Long Branch Historical Society meets at 6:30 pm, Feb. 19, 2013 at Long Branch Library

The next meeting of the Long Branch Historical Society will take place at the Long Branch Library, 3500 Lake Shore Blvd. West, on Tues., Feb. 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm.

Corporate logo of the Village of Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey). Source: Long Branch Historical Society archives

At this event some of the artifacts from the Long Branch Historical Society archives will be on display.

Next steps

A General Meeting will follow chaired by Barry Kemp, a former President, with a focus on next steps for the Society.

In the event it’s not possible to fill the executive positions – president, vice president, secretary, and membership secretary – at the meeting, two possible options come to mind.

The Society could attempt to amalgamate with another Historical Society. Alternatively, it could continue in a shell form, whereby it would be ready to start up again in the future, when there’s a group of people with the interest and capacity to organize the running of such a Society.

A decision will be made as the General Meeting regarding the executive positions. In the event they are not filled, the other two options will be discussed and a decision will be made.

Each group has its own culture

The requirements for running such a society are pretty straightforward from what I’ve been able to gather in the past twenty-five years of volunteer work. The following thoughts are based on my own experience; other people may have other views about these topics.

It’s been my experience over the years that a volunteer organization needs an agreed-upon way to make decisions and a capacity to follow through on them, enough volunteers to fill positions, and a culture of mutual respect and cooperation so that things get done and people enjoy being part of the group.

It’s also helpful to have a leadership succession strategy in place and a strategy for ongoing growth and renewal of the organization. Term limits for officers can be helpful in ensuring that leadership succession is seen as integral to a group’s long-term success.

A code of conduct can be useful as well, along with a means whereby such a code is consistently enforced by a majority vote of a board of directors. By way of example, a local organization that shows the capacity to maintain such a code of conduct is the Mimico Residents Association.

The culture of a group is a key ingredient for its success. It’s easy to establish the culture when a group is new. It’s almost as easy to re-establish the culture during a period of major renewal. It can be difficult to change it otherwise.

The above-noted requirements are consistent for volunteer groups whatever their scope or purpose. When the conditions are in place, volunteers are pleased to undertake enormous amounts of work – which is in many cases required to achieve anything of significance. When the conditions aren’t in place, volunteers will tend to look elsewhere for opportunities to help out in the community.

History of Long Branch Historical Society

Volunteer groups of all kinds – the Lakefront Owners Association comes to mind, by way of example – come and go.

There are many historical societies in communities across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. They are a great way for people to celebrate and preserve local history.

By way of a bit of background about the early years of the Long Branch Historical Society, I’m pleased to share the following PDF file, concerned with the Society’s preparations for the 1984 Long Branch Centennial Projects:

archives items 1

[Click on the link to open the PDF file.]

1984 archaeological dig at Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site

Among the many projects of the Society in its early years was the initiation of a preliminary archaeological dig at the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site at 85 Forty First Street in Long Branch.

That was a tremendous achievement – of lasting benefit to the community.

The 1984 archaeological dig – along with the work of Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Laurel Broten and Ward 3 TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough, and letters from nay people – played a key role many years later in the successful efforts to keep Parkview School (subsequently renamed St. Josaphat Cathedral Catholic School) in public hands.


Aerial view looking east along Lake Shore Blvd West from near Long Branch Loop, Ontario Archives Acc 16215, ES1-814, Northway Gestalt Collection. The photo shows the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site as it appeared in November 1949. Click on the image to enlarge it. Click again to enlarge it further.

View of Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site (greenspace in photo) at 85 Forty First Street in Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey), November 2010. Jaan Pill photo


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