A Taste of History

Every year the Thunder Bay Museum holds a special A Taste of History dinner. This history-themed event takes place around a particular event, person, or period in the past, and the evening is complete with a menu prepared from the time-period and a speaker related to the theme.

Past themes have included: Titanic, Shakespeare, the Fur Trade, the silent film era, Womens’ Suffrage, the War of 1812, and Thunder Bay at 50.

A Taste of History 2024: 100th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Date: 5 April 2024 – Buy Tickets
Location: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel, Provincial Room
Guest Speaker: Dr. Mike Bechthold

Guest Speaker Biography:  

Mike Bechthold holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia and an MA & Honours BA from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Mike is the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles. His most recent monograph is Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017) and he is the co-author of a series of guidebooks about the Canadian battlefields of the Second World War. Mike is also the lead author of The History of RCAF in 100 Objects, a book written to mark the RCAF’s first 100 years. He specializes in the fields of military air power (especially tactical air operations in the First and Second World Wars), the Canadian army in Normandy and Northwest Europe, and the Canadian Corps in the Great War.

Mike is employed as a historian with the Royal Canadian Air Force History and Heritage section. He teaches history at Wilfrid Laurier University and in the past has taught at the University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, and the Schulich School of Business at York University. For 22 years Mike worked as the Communications Director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies and the Managing Editor of Canadian Military History, an academic quarterly journal. Mike is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in the UK, a Fellow of the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick, a Research Fellow at Nipissing University Centre for the Study of War, Atrocity, and Genocide, and he recently served as the Executive Director of the Juno Beach Centre Association.

Past Dinners

A Taste of History 2023: A Night of Womens’ Suffrage

Title: Women’s Suffrage and Other Ghosts of the Past: Reflecting on Women’s History
Date: 14 April 2023
Location: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel, Provincial Room

Guest Speaker Biography:  Karen Dubinsky is a professor in the departments of History and Global Development Studies at Queen’s University.  She has authored and edited several books, on topics including Canadian women’s and gender history, tourism, international child adoption, Canadian-Global South relations, the Global 1960s, and Cuban music and culture.  One of her first research jobs was with the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre’s “Herstory” project, (circa 1976) interviewing women in Thunder Bay. 

Old photo of men celebrating and opening a bottle of champagne.

A Taste of History 2020: Thunder Bay at 50

Date: Sept 18, 2020 – CANCELLED
Location: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel

This dinner was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of Port Arthur and Fort William with a themed meal from the time and a lecture by Peter Raffo entitled “Saul Laskin: Man and Politician”.

In addition to the lecture, a film was to be presented featuring newsreel footage from the local media that was first broadcast during the amalgamation era.

A Taste of HIstory logo the top of a wooden barrel.

A Taste of History 2019

Date: April 12, 2019
Location: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel

This dinner celebrated the Prohibition Era in Canada with a lecture entitled, “Something Very Unforeseen: How a Bootlegging Manager-Entrepreneur saved Labatt from Prohibition, 1921-1928”, presented by Matthew J. Bellamy of Carleton University.

Other speakers included Tory Tronrud on “The Music of Prohibition” and Kyle Mulligan of Sleeping Giant Brewery on “The Craft Beer Renaissance”.

A Taste of History logo on top of a painting of an early settlement.

A Taste of History 2018

Date: April 20, 2018
Location: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel

This dinner celebrated the history of the Canadian fur trade with a lecture entitled, “Life and Death by the Frozen Sea: The York Factory Journals of Hudson’s Bay Company Governor Captain James Knight, 1714-17”.

Our special guest speakers for this event was Dr. Arthur J. Ray, a professor emeritus of history at the University of British Columbia and former Co-editor of the Canadian History Review. Ray’s work on the fur trade and Canada’s First Nations has been widely published including books such as The Canadian Fur Trade in the Industrial Age, and Give Us Good Measure: An Economic Analysis of Relations between the Indians and the Hudson’s Bay Company before 1763.

A Taste of History logo on top of a watermarked maple leaf.

A Taste of History 2017

Date: April 21, 2017
Location: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel

This dinner celebrated the previous 100 years with a discussion focusing on the happenings during the year 1917.

Our special guest speakers for this event included four local experts who presented short talks on various local and international happenings centered around the year 1917. The speakers include: David Ratz, who spoke on Thunder Bay and the War; Michel Beaulieu on the state of Canada; Tory Tronrud on events in Thunder Bay; and Dean Jobin-Evans who presented on the music of the time.

A Taste of History logo with a watermark of Frankenstein's head behind it on a green background.

A Taste of History 2016

Date: April 22, 2016
Location: Airlane Hotel & Conference Centre

This dinner celebrated the bicentennial of the writing of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein with a lecture entitled, “The Frankenstein Syndrome and the Modern World”.

Our special guest speaker was Dr. Allan Weiss, a professor at York University and chair of the Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy. He has presented at conferences around the world including papers such as “Science, Science Fiction, and the Environment” and “Beyond Human: Fading Boundaries between Human and Machine in Canadian Science Fiction“.

A Taste of History logo on a faded out map of Canada.

A Taste of History 2015

Date: May 15, 2015
Location: The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel

This dinner discussed the bicentennial of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth with a lecture entitled, “Macdonald at 200: New Reflections and Legacies”.

Our special guest speaker for this event was Professor Patrice Dutil, president of the Champlain Society, a member of the council of the Friends of Sir John A. Macdonald, a frequent public affairs commentator on national radio and television, a contributor to the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press and La Presse, and a panelist on TFO’s weekly program “360”. His recent publications include: Sir John A. Macdonald at 200: New Reflections and Legacies (2014), and Canada, 1911: The Decisive Election that Shaped the Century (2011).

A Taste of Architecture on a blue architect background.

A Taste of Architecture

Date: April 25, 2014
Location: Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre

This dinner highlighted the unique history of architecture in Thunder Bay with a lecture entitled, “What Makes Thunder Bay’s Architecture So Consistently Great“.

Our special guest speaker was Shannon Kyles, professor of architecture at Mohawk College and architecture commentator on CBC Radio’s Fresh Air on Saturday mornings. Shannon is also the moderator of OntarioArchitecture.com.