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John G. Dennison Award


John  attended the Queen’s College of Guyana. 
He held a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Laurentian University in Sudbury, and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Carleton University. John was the first black person appointed as Citizenship Judge for Ottawa on June 4, 2012.  He had over 25 years of experience working on multiculturalism related issues in the Government of Canada, including at Citizenship and Immigration and Canadian Heritage. He was the Founding Chairman of Cathedral Arts, the performing and visual arts programme of Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa. He has served on the Ottawa Public Library Board Foundation and volunteered with a number of  community  organizations in Ottawa.

John is the recipient of a number of awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award Medal; Lignum Vitae Award from the National Institute of Jamaican Canadians for outstanding leadership in the Ottawa community; Community Builder Award, from United Way of Ottawa, for contributing to the engagement of the Black community in the arts in Ottawa; and, Award of Excellence, from the North American Black Historical Museum and Society Inc., for exceptional contribution to improving awareness and appreciation of Black Canadian Heritage.

He is survived by his sisters: June, Joye and Vivienne;  brothers Courtney and Kenneth; only niece, Carol; nephews Richard, Charles, Ronald, and Mark and a number of great nieces and great nephews and Godchildren.

About John G. Dennison Award

The Black History Ottawa board created this award in 2014 to showcase an individual or organization exemplifying the excellence for which the late citizenship judge, John Dennison was known, in the promotion of Canadian black history and culture. Mr. Dennison, who passed away on January 14, 2014, was a staunch  supporter of Black History Ottawa for many years, and this is our way of acknowledging his legacy and reminding the community of his great work in the area of multiculturalism.

2021 recipients: Bryan & Shannon Prince

Bryan and Shannon Prince (1).jpg

In recognition of their leadership and excellence in showcasing Canada's Black History through educational and

community-based activities linked to the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum.

2020 recipients: George and Darril Fosty


George Fosty is a Canadian historian, documentary filmmaker and publisher. He is the president and founder of Stryker-Indigo New York. George is the co-author/author of nine books: "Sustaining The Wings: A 50-Year History of Sheppard AFB, 1941-1991" (1991) , "The Desperate Glory: The Battle of Dieppe, 1942" (1991), "Splendid Is The Sun: The 5,000 Year History of Hockey "(2003), "Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925" (2004), "Footie's Black Book: A Guide To International Association Football" (2010), "Short Lines: The Poems Of A Railroad Trackman 1979-1987" (2010), "Where Brave Men Fall: The Battle Of Dieppe And The Espionage War Against Hitler, 1939-1942" (2013), Tribes: An International Hockey History (2014), and "Creating Excellence: Inside the World of Stryker-Indigo" (2014). His writings also appear in the book, "Multiple Lenses: Voices From The Diaspora In Canada" (2007). In the early 1990s he worked as a Military Historian for the United States Air Force documenting the history of the USAAF and its predecessor, the U.S. Army Air Corps. He is a leading expert on the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, an all-black hockey league that existed in Eastern Canada from 1895 to 1931. In 2007, he was featured in the ESPN documentary "Frozen Out". He is a founder and president of the Society of North American Historians And Researchers (SONAHR) as well as the Black Ice Hockey And Sports Hall of Fame Conference and the Black Ice Project. In 1991 he served as a historical consultant on two NBC military documentaries: "Early Aviation In North Texas" and "Sheppard's Medical Air Evacuation-Vietnam". He has produced four hockey documentary pilots including: "All Or Nothing" (1998), and "Ice Wars: A Hockey History" (1999). He produced/co-wrote "Black Ice: The Documentary", winner of the Best Short Film Award at the 2008 Roxbury International Film Festival in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2019, Book Authority selected "Black Ice" as one of the top 37 (#28) ice hockey books of all-time.

Darril Fosty is a Canadian historian, documentary filmmaker and media publisher. He is the founder and President of the Boxscore News World Sportswire as well as the Vice-President of Stryker-Indigo New York. Darril Fosty is the co-author/author of six books: "Splendid Is The Sun: The 5,000 Year History of Hockey" (2003), "Black Ice: The Lost History Of The Colored Hockey League Of The Maritimes, 1895 – 1925" (2004), "Footie's Black Book: A Guide To International Association Football - 2010 World Cup Edition"(2010), the comedy book "The Apocalypse 2012 Cookbook: A New World Survivor's Guide For The Man, Woman and Family On The Run" (2011) and "Where Brave Men Fall: The Battle Of Dieppe And The Espionage War Against Hitler, 1939-1942 (2013) and "Tribes: An International Hockey History" (2013). Darril Fosty is the Vice President and Co-Founder of the Society of North American Hockey Historians and Researchers as well as a Founder of the Black Ice Hockey And Sports Hall of Fame Conference. He also serves on the SONAHHR Executive Board as well as on the Advisory Board of the Black Ice Project for the purposes of identifying and preserving Black Hockey History. He has co-produced four hockey documentaries and pilots including: "All Or Nothing"(1998), and "Ice Wars: A Hockey History" (1999). In 2008, he Directed and co-wrote the documentary "Black Ice: The Documentary", winner of the Best Short Film Award at the 10th Roxbury International Film Festival in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2007, he gained international recognition and acclaim for his historical work in the sport of ice hockey after being featured in the ESPN documentary "Frozen Out."

2019 recipient: Lynn Jones


Gladys Lynn Jones (who goes by Lynn) is an African-Canadian woman born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia. Lynn was raised by her parents, Willena and Elmer Jones, in a large family, which includes her brother, lawyer and activist Burnley Allan "Rocky" Jones. Her grandfather was Jeremiah Jones, a decorated World War I veteran. Growing up, Lynn was active in her local church, a musician, and an athlete (competing in the 1969 Canada Summer Games).

Lynn came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in the early 1970s, where she studied at Dalhousie University through the Transition Year Program (TYP), and earned a Bachelor's of Arts degree. She then pursued a long career as a Federal Public Service employee, working at the Canadian Employment Centre. During this time, Lynn became an active union member and advocate, and the first Black person to join the executive ranks of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). She was also a National Vice-President of the Canadian Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU). As part of the CLC delegation, in 1994, Lynn traveled to South Africa as an election observer in the first free elections (which saw the election of Nelson Mandela). In 1993 Lynn became the first Canadian-born African Canadian women to run in a Canadian Federal Election, as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in the Halifax riding.

Throughout her life, Lynn has been active in the pursuit of justice, working tireless for many causes and organizations that seek to eradicate racism, secure human rights, and achieve fair labour practices. She has been honoured with many awards including the Queen's Medal, the Congress of Black Women of Canada’s Women of Excellence award, and the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour Human Rights Award. In 2016, she was recognized with an Honorary Doctorate from Acadia University. Since her retirement from Public Service in 2011, Lynn continues to be active. She is currently the Chair of the Global African Congress (Nova Scotia Chapter), which seeks reparations for the Atlantic Slave Trade. 

Lynn Jones African-Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection

Fonds consists of material relating to the life and accomplishments of Lynn Jones, members of her family and community as well as material collected by her that documents over 50 years of African-Nova Scotian, African, and African Diaspora heritage and history.
The Collection documents Lynn's family, her own achievements (Lynn's candidacy for the NDP, union service, election observer work in South Africa, Canadian Public Service career, and involvement with the Black Working Group), and those of her brother Rocky.
The Collection also documents local, national, and international people, history and issues through a substantive collection of news clippings, pamphlets, brochures, posters, and other materials. These record local communities (especially in Truro, Nova Scotia), local events, struggles against racism locally, nationally, and internationally, and Black community organizations such as the Black Working Group set up to advise Human Resources and Development Canada on how to work with the African-Canadian community.

2018 recipient: Natasha Henry


Natasha Henry is an educator, historian and curriculum consultant specializing in the development of learning materials that focus on the African diasporic experience. In 2017, she was elected president of the Ontario Black History Society.She is the author of Firsts (2014), which was awarded the Gold Medal Moonbeam Children's Book Award for Multicultural Non-Fiction as part of the Sankofa Black Heritage Collection. Natasha is also the author of The African Diaspora (2015), Early Societies: Africa, China, and Europe (2013), Talking About Freedom: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (2012) and Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (2010). Natasha has written several entries for The Canadian Encyclopedia on African Canadian history. Natasha has developed the educational resources for several exhibits and web-based projects on the Black experience in Canada, including the CBC miniseries The Book of Negroes.

2017 recipient: Thomas Barber


Thomas Barber is a freelance writer and historical researcher whose work on early Ottawa Black History has appeared in The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, and Pan African Publications. He has done mainstream and community television and radio interviews on CBC, CTV Ottawa, CHIN, and CHUO 89.1FM. Additionally, he has made presentations to various community and government organizations, historical societies, church groups and schools about early Ottawa Black history. His display panels have been loaned to various institutions, including the University of Quebec (Hull). These panels include various newspaper accounts, maps and photos regarding early Ottawa Blacks and the White community, along with census information of 1901.
For the last several years, Tom has collaborated with Black History Ottawa at events such as the annual Heritage Day event at Ottawa City Hall. 

Most recently he was successful in putting forward a proposal to the City of Ottawa regarding a street name change in Lower town that changed a section of the former ‘Clarence Street’ to ‘Barber Street’, in honour of his grandfather Paul Barber, a former Kentucky slave who settled in Ottawa in the 1880s. 

Tom graduated with a B.A. Honors (History) and a B. Soc. Sc. Honors (Sociology) from the University of Ottawa 


About Tom's ancestor, Paul Barber: 


Born into slavery in Kentucky, in 1848, Paul Barber learned to train and care for horses on his owner’s farms.  By the time he came to Ottawa in the late 1880s, he was a highly skilled horseman who was sought out by the city’s élites to train their prized horses.  Barber became one of Ottawa’s first Black permanent residents. His marriage in 1892 to Elizabeth Brown of Renfrew is the first known interracial marriage in the city.  Settling in Sandy Hill, the Barbers had five children, and their descendants thrive in Ottawa to this day. In 2016, a section of Clarence Street in Lowertown was renamed Barber Street in tribute to Paul Barber.

Kathy Grant is a public historian and senior administrator. Since making a promise to her ailing father, a WWII veteran, to highlight the stories of Black veterans she has initiated a number of war legacy initiatives.

For the past decade Kathy has devoted her efforts to documenting, digitizing and videotaping the stories of Black Canadian veterans. She places an emphasis on interviewing veterans, inviting participation from the loved ones of deceased veterans, public engagement, and connecting Black veteran stories to Canadian history.  

Kathy’s approach has resonated with numerous stakeholders. She has collaborated with the Canadian War Museum, Library and Archives Canada, Department of National Defence, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Veteran Affairs Canada.  

Her Facebook page, dedicated to this initiative, receives half million views per year. Moreover, Kathy has made educational presentations to municipalities, schools, and community organizations in order to promote inclusive storytelling and historical documentation.  


2016 recipient: Ms. Kathy Grant


Her efforts were formally acknowledged in 2012, when Kathy received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award. Given the current WWI centenary commemoration, and upcoming centenary of the Number 02 Construction Battalion (a segregated black battalion) and Canada’s Sesquicentennial,  Kathy is currently mounting a commemorative project inclusive of a travelling exhibition, website, and community-based talks.Kathy Grant is being recognized by Black History Ottawa for her public history initiatives focusing on Canadian Black military history. She has been doing all this amazing work at her own expense on a volunteer basis for almost a decade. Her work has helped black youth better understand the contributions of our black veterans.

2015 (inaugural) recipient: Mr. Robert Dawson


Born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Bob Dawson excelled in baseball, basketball and hockey. With respect to the latter, he attended Saint Mary’s University in Halifax in 1967 and became the “first Black” to play in the Atlantic Intercollegiate Hockey League (AIHL) as it was then known. Later, Darrell Maxwell (1969) and Percy Paris (1970) joined him, making Saint Mary’s the “first and only Canadian university” to have 3 Black players on the same team and at the same time.
While at Saint Mary’s, Bob helped the Huskies compile an impressive record of 72 wins against 13 losses. The team won consecutive AIHL conference championships in 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1971, and represented the league from 1969 to 1971 at the Canadian Intercollegiate Hockey Championships.   

Rather than pursing a career in hockey, Bob went on to Dalhousie University where he graduated in 1973 with a Masters Degree in Social Work. After graduating, he joined the Federal Public Service of Canada where he worked in human resources management in the areas of staffing, employment equity and diversity, and career development. Given his passion for hockey, Bob played in the Halifax Intermediate Hockey League where he was selected a First Team All-Star in 1978-79.
In 1981, Bob and his family moved to Ottawa where he continued his career in the Federal Public Service of Canada. He resumed his love for hockey and played for 15 years with the highly successful Ottawa Travellers, which featured several former university and professional players. To this day, he continues to play hockey in Ottawa in the Ottawa Senior and Kanata Masters Hockey Leagues. In February 2012, during an event on “Reclaiming Our Black Ice Hockey History”, the Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame Society in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia recognized Bob for his achievements in and contributions to hockey. 

In recognition of his important contributions in employment equity and diversity in the Federal Public Service of Canada, Bob received the Public Service Commission of Canada’s Excellence and Bravo Awards and the Public Service of Canada’s Michelle Comeau HR Leadership Award.
While living in Ottawa, Bob has served on Boards of Directors (Ottawa-Carleton Area Police Community Council, National Capital Alliance on Race Relations), and worked with community groups/organizations and law enforcement agencies on various issues such as employment equity and diversity, race relations, and police - community relations. As a member of the he helped develop the “Community Partners in Action Strategy” for the prevention, management, and resolution of critical incidents involving the police, visible minority and Aboriginal or First Nation communities.

Bob helped in planning and organizing an international hockey conference (Constructing the Hockey Family: Home, Community, Bureaucracy and Marketplace) at Saint Mary’s in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July 2012. He subsequently planned, organized, and moderated panel discussions on Black hockey that dealt with topics on Hockey and The Black Community, Black Ice: A Retrospective on The Colored League of the Maritimes, and Hockey and The Black Experience. Now retired, Bob is a senior sports writer for Box Score World Sportswire, a division of Stryker-Indigo New York Publishing, Inc. He has written a number of articles on different sports-related issues and topics. Of particular note are the following articles on blacks and hockey – A Chronology of Racism in Hockey, 1958-2014, Soul on Ice: Blacks and Historic Firsts in Hockey, Soul on Ice: A Retrospective on Blacks and the NHL, A Season to Remember for Blacks and the NHL, Making Hockey History: Blacks in the 2013 NHL Playoffs, P.K. Subban, Hockey’s Newest Trailblazer, The Way It Was: Black Players Locked Out of the NHL 1961-1974, A Retrospective on the NHL and Ethnic Diversity, History of Black Hockey Players in Europe, and The NHL’s Black Trailblazers. In addition to writing, he has appeared on local TV and radio shows to talk about issues on blacks and hockey.  Bob is a member of the Ottawa Independent Writers and the North American Society for Sport History. In addition, he is on the Executive Board of SONAHHR (Society of North American Hockey Historians and Researchers) as well as the organization’s Black Ice Project. He is also one of the founding members of the Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame Conference in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

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