The NYHS presents an excerpt from the Society’s Oral History interview with Barbara Kane.
I grew up in Windsor, Ontario and came to Toronto in 1939 and lived here ever since. I married a chap who was born and lived in Toronto and we moved up to Upper Canada Drive in 1951 and l lived there until 2011. We had two children both of whom were school teachers, now retired, and unfortunately my husband died many years (ago). I don’t think there was a North York Historical Society then but our next door neighbour was Dorothy Duncan so that is how I got involved in a way in the North York Historical Society through her and through Penny Potter. Penny was the President. I think and I said to her one day when you become the President I will be your Secretary… Eventually she was the Secretary when I first joined the Society and then she became the President and I was typing up minutes for her… So that is how I got involved through Penny and Dorothy. They really don’t have any connection with the society except for being members now.
Penny was the President for a couple of years (1986-87) (followed by) Ed Ralph (among others). (I was) Secretary for all of those people. I did the minutes for the executive meetings.
Then after I had to retire from my job as secretary in the public school, and which I enjoyed, but when you get to a certain age you have to resign whether you want to or not. So, then I worked for the Ontario Historical Society for a while (and) that was interesting as well too. That was of course under Dorothy and then, well for medical reasons I had to stop and no
longer work which I didn’t really want to do but I didn’t have any choice. I was kind of in the background.
It was interesting when I first worked for the OHS. We had very small working quarters at 5151 Yonge at the corner of Empress and Yonge, and we had just the upper floor of that building there. Then Rob (Leverty) and Dorothy worked (it out) and we moved over to 34 Parkview Avenue and it was a big difference because it was so much bigger and so much more space and it was really great. That was interesting. It was a nice move to 34 Parkview. We published a couple of books about the 1837 Rebellion…
Well different people wrote articles for the book but we had to type it up and had it printed. I was involved in workshops which were great because you met a lot of people that way too, and the workshops weren’t just in Toronto they were outside the city in some cases too which was interesting and you meet more people. And also, I was involved in the Ontario Historical Society’s conference meetings that they had. They would have an (annual) general meeting every year and it was at a different place or they would hold workshops in different places and it was interesting work.
Before I met Dorothy Duncan I wasn’t particularly interested in history, but Dorothy made it more interesting. Doing the kind of work that we did with and for her made it kind of interesting too.”
Originally published in the August-October 2017 North York Historical Society Newsletter