Dr. William J. Smyth to Receive the 2016 Floyd S. Chalmers Award!

The Champlain Society is pleased to announce that Dr. William J. Smyth, geographer and President emeritus of the National University of Ireland (Maynooth), is the winner of the 2016 Floyd S. Chalmers Award for his book Toronto, The Belfast of Canada: the Orange Order and the Shaping of Municipal Culture

In this book, published by University of Toronto Press, William J. Smyth detailed the Orange Order’s role in creating Toronto’s municipal culture of militant Protestantism, loyalism, and monarchism. One of foremost experts on the Orange Order in Canada, Smyth analysed its influence between 1850 and 1950 in the Ontario capital by examining public displays of sectarian tensions.

This is what the jury especially valued about Smyth’s Toronto, The Belfast of Canada:

“In this study of Toronto’s labour force, neighbourhoods, and civic culture, Smyth presents fresh insights into the history of Ontario’s leading city across a century-long span. In his focus on the role of the Irish in the city’s evolving culture, its streetscapes, meeting halls, and colourful characters and their indiscretions come to life. This rich book will appeal to a broad constituency of readers interested in urbanism, labour history, immigration and the complex realpolitik of an evolving cultural identity. Smyth’s engagement with the changing twentieth century moves on from his previous work and incorporates recent historiography with the breadth of vision of an experienced scholar.”

The award will be personally given to Dr. Smyth at the Annual General Meeting of the Champlain Society on Saturday, 24 September 2016 at 2pm. Dr. Smyth will also speak about his book. The meeting will take place at Heliconian Hall 35 Hazelton Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 1M6. All are invited.

Established in 1983, the Floyd S. Chalmers Award is given annually to the best book written on any aspect of Ontario history in the preceding calendar year. The award selection committee was composed of Dr. Roger Hall (Western University), Dr. Jan Noel (University of Toronto), and Dr. Brian Osborne (Queen’s University). The prize includes a $1000.00 cash award as well as an Inuit carving, as dictated by Floyd S. Chalmers himself.

The Chalmers Foundation entrusted the Champlain Society in 1982 to make this award annually. The Champlain Society, founded in Toronto in 1905, is dedicated to making the voices of the past survive through the written text. It publishes an edited volume of textual document each year and maintains a rich depository of digitized books. It continues to be based in Toronto, but reaches around the world with its www.champlainsociety.ca website.

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