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Forest History Ontario

We are dedicated to celebrating Ontario's rich forest history and making it available for your enjoyment and use.

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photo Sherry Hambly old log path through woods

Our Mission

To further the knowledge, understanding and preservation of Ontario's forest history through our objectives.

Our Objectives

  1. To preserve forest and forest conservation history
  2. To encourage and further the development and recognition of forest history
  3. To support research and studies of forest history
  4. To support the archival preservation of records and materials relating to forest history
  5. To promote the better understanding of forest history through public education
Objectives Acheived

To locate published and unpublished written documents, photographs, archival holdings, art, music, and other historical artifacts about Ontario's forest history.


To create and maintain databases of documents and archival holdings; support preservation of individual artifacts.


To provide a central avenue into Ontario's forest history to support education on our forest history, further forest history research, support future forest policy development, and facilitate access for general interest pleasure.

Our Story

facebook 2b treesSource: Two Billion Trees and Counting - The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz, by John Bacher

Perhaps some view forests simply, as “a large area covered chiefly by trees and undergrowth”; they are though, a complex ecosystem changed and matured through time, by varying geology and changing climate, evolving with natural processes such as fire and the escalating influences of human activity. Complexity increases when considering the changing relationship of people and their idea of forest. To First Peoples it was home, shelter, food supply and source of spirituality. To early immigrants seeking fortune and opportunity it was a barrier to be harvested and something to be removed to support critical agriculture needed to survive. Early on, the value of forest products was recognized and exploited as the forest became a vital source of economic development, supporting communities, industry, and overall growth in the province.

As development and populations increased conflict became inevitable and it became increasingly apparent the forest was not endless as it first seemed or as resilient as was once imagined. Change was necessary as people began to understand forests must be respected and well managed to continue to provide the multiple benefits people had come to depend on. New forest management practices and planning processes continue to be designed using science and research to ensure sustainable development and help balance changing needs and evolving priorities.

Throughout all, forests have fired our imagination, inspired art, been a haven for recreation, and they have come to be recognized by most as a vast birthright of natural wealth to be prized and protected, essential to Ontario’s quality of life. In Ontario today the forest continues to hold a prominent role in people’s consciousness. Whether it’s the ever-increasing value placed on green space and the urban forest, preserving vital wildlife habitat under an abundance of growing pressures, or realizing emerging economic opportunities related to the forest’s significant role in sequestering carbon or providing an array of valuable resources for the future; the challenges ahead are significant.

Forest History Ontario believes that Ontario’s Forest history is an important story. It is the foundation of Ontario’s story. It is a story of people – leaders and pioneers, workers and entrepreneurs. It is a fascinating story - of exploration and development, of research and education, of fables and facts. Each of them has insights to reveal and valuable lessons to share. We think it vital that we do our best to ensure these stories are not lost; rather that they’re captured, collected, and made accessible; so future Ontarians continue to benefit from the value of the learning and richness of the lore.


Our Board of Directors

Jim Farrell, Chair/President

Rob Galloway, Past Chair

Brooke McClelland, Forests Ontario, Treasurer

Fraser Dunn, Secretary

Professor Mark Kuhlberg, Member

Faye Johnson, Member

Amy Howitt, Member

Dolf Wynia, Member

Mike Willick, Member

Bill Thornton, Member

Terry Schwan, Member 

Caroline Mach, Journal Editor

Amy Howitt, Website Manager

Sherry Hambly, Facebook Manager (Page)

Faye Johnson, Facebook Manager (Group)

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