Our Nautical Nights Winter Speaker Series, in partnership with Kingston Yacht Club (KYC), has become an annual tradition at the Marine Museum. It’s one other way to keep us connected and warm during the cold winter (and spring) months!
We feature a wide variety of speakers who draw on the unique power of storytelling to share their perspectives and research. Speakers cover a range of topics surrounding environmental, social and military histories, as well as current issues or phenomenon. These unique evenings are free of charge, but we do welcome donations to help cover speaker honorariums and future events.
Winter 2021 Speaker Series
Join us for our 4th annual Nautical Nights Winter Speaker Series in partnership with Kingston Yacht Club. This year we are featuring a number of local historians, storytellers and maritime experts. This series will be held virtually and you will be required to register to receive the link to the event. Full speaker details are below along with link to register.
AND, Kingston Yacht Club offers take-away! Order your meal over the phone and enjoy some fresh and delicious local cuisine - it's almost like being there in person! Menu is available here.
Local Shipwrecks and Historic Sites
13 January 2021
During the War of 1812 Kingston was the scene of a remarkable shipbuilding contest with American forces across Lake Ontario at Sackets Harbor. Some of these hastily built British warships had “as great bulk as any on the Ocean” as one contemporary Royal Navy officer observed. Following the war, the vessels eventually fell into disrepair and were towed from the Royal Navy base at Navy Bay and sunk. Today, three of these wrecks (HMS St. Lawrence, HMS Prince Regent, and HMS Princess Charlotte) are commemorated as the War of 1812 Shipwrecks National Historic Site of Canada. Jonathan will outline the story of these once formidable warships, illustrate the wrecks themselves and describe their commemoration as a national historic site.
Jonathan is a Kingston native who learned to dive in 1988 and began his introduction to underwater archaeology upon joining Preserve Our Wrecks (Kingston). In 1994 he joined Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team where he is presently a Senior Underwater Archaeologist. Jonathan has worked on underwater archaeology projects across Canada, including ongoing work on the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror from the Franklin Expedition.
Lady Franklin and the Lost Franklin Expedition
Dr. Erika Behrisch
27 January 2021
In the 1850s, the search for the lost Franklin Expedition was considered England’s “Modern Odyssey,” and Lady Franklin nothing less than the “Penelope of England.” Today, she is still often portrayed as a symbol, but now as a conniving strategist whose own ambitions propelled her husband to his tragic end.
This presentation considers the life of one of the Victorian period’s most compelling women in a new light: not as a Penelope or conniver, but as a master of narrative. Moving between history, biography, and fiction, Erika explores how Lady Franklin’s character continues to fascinate, rile, and inspire as much as the lost Franklin Expedition itself. Dr. Erika Behrisch is a Professor at Royal Military College.
10 February 2021
Seaway Queens focuses on the design and beauty of the most celebrated Lakes vessels built on the U.S. and Canadian sides of the Great Lakes between 1950-69. Includes first-person accounts and interviews with some of the builders and shapers of both the vessels and the industry as a whole. It also takes a brief look at the modern era, where technology and innovation ensure the freshwater fleet continues to play a vital role in society.
Jim McRae has been on and around Lakers all of his life, beginning as a young boy when he first started visiting the ships during winter layup in his hometown of Montreal. Over the years, he had part-time jobs aboard ship during college, and has featured the Great Lakes - Seaway industry in much of his work over two decades. He’s probably shared stories with more sailors than anyone else in Canada, beginning with his dad.
A History of the Sandbanks
24 February 2021
A history of the Sandbanks, driven by political events both within Canada and in the United States in the 19th century.
How the Sandbanks of Prince Edward County appears today have been shaped in the 19th century primarily by political decisions taken in the United States since the War of Independence. From the appearance of Loyalist and Quaker settlers in the late 18th century, through deforestation for both farm lands and the production of ships’ masts for the Royal Navy, to American policies on alcohol consumption and trade, the Sandbanks bear the marks of each of these events and more over the past 200 years.
The presentation will explore these various key events and the resulting impact on this world-famous natural wonder.
If Lilacs Could Sing
10 March 2021
Stephen Medd is a performing songwriter of historical ballads and spiritual songs inspired by the remote Canadian landscapes that he traveled as a young exploration geologist. In 1999-2000 Stephen assisted Avril Lavigne in her early development by writing 3 songs for her that were Avril's first-ever studio recordings.
His recent project entitled, If Lilacs Could Sing is a book of ballads and accompanying recordings about the fascinating historical events and people of the Greater Napanee, Kingston and Bay of Quinte region in which he lives. The opening ballad, Ripple on the Water, is a tribute to the Loyalist refugee settlers and to the First Peoples in their traditional territory (the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe). The historical compilation includes local stories from the 17th to the 21st Century including the tragic endings of two of our region's most endearing ships: the schooner Lyman Davis Schooner and the steamer Quinte.
24 March 2021
Known to some as the first European to explore the upper Mississippi, and widely as the namesake of ships and hotel chains, Pierre-Esprit Radisson is perhaps best described, writes Mark Bourrie, as “an eager hustler with no known scruples.” Kidnapped by Mohawk warriors at the age of fifteen, Radisson assimilated and was adopted by a powerful family, only to escape after less than a year. After being recaptured, he defected from a raiding party to the Dutch and crossed the Atlantic to Holland—thus beginning a lifetime of seized opportunities and frustrated ambitions.
A guest among First Nations communities, French fur traders, and royal courts; witness to London’s Great Plague and Great Fire; and unwitting agent of the Jesuits’ corporate espionage, Radisson double-crossed the English, French, Dutch, and his adoptive Mohawk family alike, found himself marooned by pirates in Spain, and lived through shipwreck. His most lasting venture as an Artic fur trader led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
The Remarkable History of the Legendary Red Jacket, a Canadian Sailing Icon
7 April 2021
Red Jacket represented a quantum leap in both design and construction. Her short overhangs, stripped out interior, separate keel and spade rudder, large sail plan, and attention to detail would become the hallmarks of all future Ocean Racers. However, it was her obsession with light weight combined with high strength construction elements, embodied in her use of a fully balsa cored hull (the first vessel in North America to do so), that pioneered the way, not only for racing yachts, but the whole composite industry that followed. She was the first Canadian and non-American boat to win overall title at the Southern Ocean Racing Conference.
Join Rob as he explores the Museum's most recent acquisition, bequested by Red Jacket's last owner, Peter Milligan. The Museum expects to receive the vessel in spring-summer 2021.
Autumn 2020 Mini-Series
Thank you to everyone who goined us for the special edition of our Nautical Nights Speaker Series featuring our Forged In Fire: Kingston Goes to Sea project in partnership with Kingston Yacht Club.
Kingston's Fighting Corvettes
4 November 2020 at 7pm
Join Roger in a discussion on the legacy of the Royal Canadian Navy corvettes built at Kingston Shipyards during the the Second World War. Twelve Flower class corvettes were built at Kingston during the war, fighting the enemy on the Atlantic, St. Lawrence, English Channel, Normandy, North Africa and the Caribbean. Kingston built HMCS TRENTONIAN was the last of corvette lost in action with the enemy and its legacy will be featured with many personal photographs provided by the survivors.
18 November 2020 at 7pm
What was life like for the Canadian women at war?
"Extraordinary Women, Extraordinary Times" reveals personal accounts, many being told to us for the first time, of courage, survival and endurance. Canadian women will mesmerize and beguile you with their heroism, contributions and suffering as they share firsthand accounts of ferrying planes, decoding top secret messages, fighting with the Polish Resistance, or surviving the hell of Auschwitz. Join Sherry in a discussion of her book in this Nautical Night feature.
Dr Michelle Clarabut
9 December 2020 at 7pm
In this final presentation, we recognise the life and sacrifices of Canada's sons and daughters through the eyes of former Royal Canadian Naval Reservist, Grant MacDonald.
Join Michelle as she explores the life and works of Grant MacDonald housed in the Marine Museum's collection; including original drawings and paintings of Canadian Second World War Sailors and WRCNS.