Publisher and Patron
Floyd Sherman Chalmers (1898-1993) made outstanding contributions to Canada through his work as a journalist and philanthropist. He started in the newspaper business when he was 17 as a reporter for the Toronto News and Toronto World. Chalmers moved on to the Financial Post in 1919, advancing to the position of editor in 1925. He eventually rose to occupy several senior executive positions with the Maclean-Hunter publishing company, becoming its Honorary Chairman in 1979.
Chalmers was extremely active in promoting the arts in Canada. He guided numerous organizations by serving influential roles: director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, vice-chairman of the Royal Conservatory of Music, president of the Canadian Opera Company and the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, and chancellor of York University. He founded the Floyd S. Chalmers Foundation, and initiated the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. The foundation continues to provide substantial assistance to young Canadian artists. Chalmers was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967, and was elevated to a Companion of the Order in 1984 in recognition of his contribution to the arts.
The Floyd S. Chalmers Award in Ontario History was established by Chalmers in 1983 when he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Historical Studies Series. It is given annually to the best book written on any aspect of Ontario history in the preceding calendar year. In 1993, having completed its government mandate to commission and publish 30 books on the history of Ontario, the Series was disbanded. Its final act was to transfer the administration of the trust fund and the award to The Champlain Society.
Adjudication of the Award
The Chalmers Award is administered by Michel S. Beaulieu. Entries are solicited from publishers, and are adjudicated by a panel of distinguished Canadian historians. The panel is currently chaired by Brian Osborne, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University, and Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University. The other members are Dr Sarah Carter, Professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair, Department of History, Classics, and Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Dr Jan Noel, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto.
Submissions are judged on the basis of the strength of the book’s arguments, the range and significance of the subject, the quality of the research, and the excellence of the literary style. Entries have covered a broad range of topics, but some categories are not eligible for submission: diaries and volumes of documents (unless accompanied by substantial interpretive material prepared by the editor), textbooks, collections of essays by different authors, books in translation, and bibliographies.
Winners of the Chalmers Award in Ontario History are announced at the annual meeting of The Champlain Society. Winners receive a cash prize, as well as an Inuit carving. No award will be made if none of the entries are deemed to have sufficient quality, and in some years an additional entry may be recognized by receiving “honorable mention.”
For additional information about the Chalmers Award, please contact Lauren Mitchell