National portrait collection

Induction ceremony comes to Ottawa for first time

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives does not exist just for Toronto. That’s the message that Marie Robertson wants to spread and it’s one of the reasons that this year’s induction ceremony for the Archive’s National Portrait Collection will be held in Ottawa.

The event has never wandered from its hometown of Toronto and Robertson hopes that holding it elsewhere is a trend that will continue. It is a “Canadian” archive, after all, she points out.

Robertson is a member of the Portraits Committee and coordinator of the Ottawa event. Her own portrait was added to the collection in 2002.

“I think building this collection and getting it out and holding the induction ceremony in different cities and just seeing if we have enough money to tour the collection just increases the visibility of [the Archives], period,” she explains. Robertson hopes the visibility will increase donations, increase people’s interest and increase the number of people who use this important resource.

The Archive is entirely volunteer-run, with a mandate to preserve the history of lesbians and gays in Canada. It has existed since 1973 and will move to a permanent facility in 2006.

The National Portrait Collection was established in 1998 to mark the Archive’s 25th anniversary. Original portraits of 25 Canadian lesbians and gays who have contributed to the growth of an out and proud community formed the initial collection. In the years since, 29 portraits have been added and have contributed to a growing historical record of persons who have made significant community contributions.

Ottawa activist Denis LeBlanc will be among 10 activists from across Canada whose portrait will be inducted at the afternoon ceremony. The other inductees include Christine Bearchell, Richard Charles Bebout, Bernard Rene Courte, Harold Desmarais, David Keeley, Peter Millard, Gerry Rogers, Tim Stevenson and Barbara Thornborrow. Each portrait is a new and original work by a Canadian artist.

Carmen Paquette is a previous inductee and a ceremony co-host. Paquette is very happy to be involved and particularly pleased that the event is being held in Ottawa.

Paquette’s portrait entered the Collection in 2000. She was touched to receive the recognition and was thrilled to be among such good company, but points out that there are thousands working very hard to make GLBT realities commonplace and accepted. Past inductees from Ottawa have included John Fisher, Charlie Hill and Alex Munter, whose portraits were added in 2000.


Nov 21. 5-8pm. 145 Loretta St.

(Second Floor). Tickets $25.


Nov 22. 2pm. Saw Gallery. Free.

Portrait exhibit (previous years).

Nov 18-22. 11am-6pm. SAW Gallery.

67 Nicholas St.


Kerry Beckett. 237-7133 x23.

Marie Robertson. 416-778-5214.


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Culture, Canada, History, Ottawa

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