Back Room Talks

Back Room Talks

Special Event – Friday May 20 2022 at 7:00 pm

Stephen Bruce Medd “If Lilacs Could Sing”

Please keep this special date open Friday May 20th from 7:00 PM to 9:00. We are reopening the museum after two years of closure. Our special guest will be Stephen Bruce Medd sharing with you the historical poems about the area that he has written and set to music. All sales of his book, “If Lilacs Could Sing”, will be donated to the Red Cross Ukrainian Relief Fund and his final number will be “The Sunflower Prayer” composed by Stephen in the Ukrainian Dorian Musical Scale. Please join us for an evening of song and history.  

True Canadian Stories!

The Old Woman and the Wishing Tree and The Tibetans of Belleville

At 2 pm on Sunday, February 16 (Family Day Weekend), join us at the Neilson Store Museum for a bit of story-telling and song with Suzanne Pasternak.

The Wishing Tree was the oldest Sugar Maple in the world at 731 years. Considered a powerfully magic tree by both the first nations peoples and the white settlers in West Lake, she had the ability to grant wishes. This is her story.

In 1972, the United Nations asked Canada to allow the gentle followers of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan refugees from the Tibetan Himalayas, to immigrate to Belleville and Lindsay, Ontario. This is the story of their remarkable journey and how the good people of Belleville embraced them.

Bring your children to listen to Suzanne. Refreshments will be served after the performance.

If Lilacs Could Sing!

On Friday, March 20 at 7:00 pm (almost the first day of spring!), join us at the Museum for an evening of song and poetry with Stephen Bruce Medd, author of “If Lilacs Could Sing”.

Bruce writes and adapts historical ballads for a journey through time in his book of songs and history. He retells the stories of the Loyalists refugee settlers, the First Peoples (Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe) that lived in our area. Stephen writes, “Folk music, with its evocative lyrics about people, places and time, was the most natural way for me to tell some of the fascinating stories of our past. Lilacs were brought to North America in the early seventeenth century by the first European settlers. The sweet fragrance of their softly clustered flowers is a harbinger of Spring. But they also mark the beginning of the colonization of North America and the transformation of the traditional lands of the Indigenous people. Imagine what ballads we might hear If Lilacs Could Sing!”

Back Room Talk

Suzanne Pasternak's posterOwls for Dinner…or an Introduction to Project SNOWstorm

Friday, March 2, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Speaker: Janet I. Scott

Emerald or Stella

Janet will talk about Project SNOWstorm what it is, why and how this snowy owl project began and how it ties into life on Amherst Island and Janet. Come out and hear about this special owl monitoring project and the unexpected results that scientists are discovering about the secret lives of snowy owls. Janet is a graduate of Queen’s University, a teaching professional for over 50 years and a bird-loving Amherst Island resident. Janet has been especially interested in owls since 1983 and moved to Amherst Island in 1984 (coincidence?!).

 Light Refreshments after the talk. 

The Board of Directors of the Neilson Store Museum & Cultural Centre will be sponsoring the following talks this spring…

Friday, March 30 – Larry Jensen – Sailing in the Caribbean 600 Race

Friday, April 27 – Terry McGinn – A Demonstration of Tabletop Role Playing

Friday, May 18 – Thomas Sylvester – The William Perceval Map of Amherst Island – 1857

The Museum will be opening for the season on the Victoria Day Weekend – May 18 to 21 – come and see our new exhibits!

We encourage you to get involved as a volunteer and are grateful for assistance with our talks, special exhibits and fund-raising events.

You can also become a Museum member and/or donor (with a donation of $200 you will be recognized on our Donors’ Board at the Museum).  

Donations to your island Museum always welcome! (donations are tax-deductible)

The Neilson Store Museum & Cultural Centre presents a Back Room Talk

Friday October 27 2017 at 7:00 pm

John Schutzbach presents “My Wanderings in Europe and People I Have Met”

Free admission.  A donation to the Museum is encouraged.

DrumgooleFriday June 16 2017 at 7:00 pm

Matthew Maas – The History of Amherst Island, its Stone Walls and the Drumgoole Family

All welcome.  Free event.  A donation to the Museum is encouraged.

Light refreshments following the talk


with photos and drawings by Margaret Maloney & Peter Large on Friday, March 24th at 7 pm Come join us for an evening of photos and adventure stories with travellers Margaret & Peter. (Peter’s Limited Edition Prints may be purchased, with all proceeds to go to the Museum) Light refreshments following the talk.

Back Room Talk

Gloria M. Hunter-Alcock author of

Gloria M Hunter AlcockNurse at The Top Of The World

Friday, February 17th at 7 PM

Gloria M. Hunter-Alcock was schooled in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. Following a variety of careers across Canada, she travelled to England and Scotland in 1961 to gain the training in nursing and midwifery that would allow her to look after the Eskimo people. In 1965, she returned to Canada, spending two years at the Nursing Station in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT and opening the first Nursing Station in Resolute Bay in 1969. Over the next twenty-two years, Gloria served as Director of Public Health Nurses for Northwestern Health Unit. Gloria will share with us some of her adventures living in the Far North and handling medical emergencies.

 Light refreshments following the talk.   

The Board of Directors of the

Neilson Store Museum & Cultural Centre

encourages you to get involved as a volunteer.

We are grateful for assistance with our talks, special exhibits and fund-raising events.

You can also become a Museum member and/or donor

(with a donation of $200 you will be recognized on our Donors’ Board at the Museum).  

Just get in touch with our President, John Schutzbach at  613-389-3525  

 Donations to your island Museum always welcome! (donations are tax-deductible)


 Shyanne Shurtliffe has graciously agreed to speak on January 27 at 7:00 pm.

Back Room Talk - Shyanne Shurtliffe 20170114 Back Page - Back Room Talk