Dr. Jane Irwin
Remembering Jane Irwin
(There will be a memorial service for Jane on May 23 2013 at 2pm at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.)
It is with heavy hearts and fond memories that the BHS Executive mourns the loss of our colleague and friend, Jane Irwin, on February 6, 2013.
While on paper she was the BHS Director of Digital Collections, in reality she wore many more hats! Jane was the driving force behind the archives, while also working in the community to save historic properties and heritage trees, and being a resource on all things 'Burlington history'. She was also a visible presence of the Friends of Freeman Station. For her years of contributions to the preservation and sharing of the history of this city, she received the Queen's Jubilee Medal last year.
It is only fitting, then, that Jane is being nominated posthumously for the City of Burlington's newly created Heritage Person of the Year Award.
Here are some excerpts from the nomination submissions so far:
"Jane Irwin was a long time member of the Burlington Historical Society. Until her passing she was the Digital Archivist responsible for the large collection of historical documents of Burlington history stored at the Central Library. Jane was the heart and soul of the archives and worked as a volunteer to ensure records were organized, catalogued and stored safely in order to make the information available to all who sought to know more about the history of the people of our city."
"Jane was always an expert on built heritage in Burlington. Home owners who contacted Jane were always given whatever information she had to help them in their requests [...]"
"Jane constantly championed Burlington's Heritage even though there are some people who may believe our country's precious heritage should be forgotten, ignored or demolished. Jane kept herself informed of regulations and requirements of what constituted Heritage properties in the eyes of the regional and provincial governments. She was always upgrading her knowledge to be able to be prepared to defend the cause of Heritage and what it means to the community."
"In earlier days she taught at Trent. Once she was in Burlington full time, local heritage and book writing consumed her. She became the Archivist at the Burlington Historical Society. She worked tirelessly going through donations by many residents of Burlington. She loved getting articles books papers photos anything. She would log them in and meticulously file them away. [...] She felt it was necessary that we accumulate as much as possible so that residents would better understand the heritage of Burlington and what makes us what we are."
"Jane was also a published author including a book about Canadian Cemeteries. At the time of her passing she was working on a Gravesite Recognition Programme and had recognized the local gravesites of 71 veterans of the War of 1812"
"She loved using her Apple computer to upload to Halton Images and then to Our Ontario. [...] She loved doing this. She has uploaded over 4000 images of Burlington. In fact in the summer of 2012 she had two volunteers out taking pictures of Roseland and Wellington Park. She uploaded these and made a slide show for the recent Heritage fair."
"Jane recently was part organizer of the committee to recognize the 'Burlington White Oak Tree' - an 300 years old tree which was used as a surveyor's benchmark for the original plot of land granted to Joseph Brant. The city-owned oak, now standing by the north shore of Burlington Bay on Allview Ave, is possibly Canada's oldest living White Oak."
"Jane had opposition to her views. She was one of the very few who supported the Heritage District in Burlington. She fully understood what it would mean and the benefits. She lived inside the proposed boundaries. A month ago she recounted how she was walking down the street and overheard a detractor of the Heritage District moan what could they do from having people sell their homes to people who just tore them down for modern glass structures. She knew full well a District would have prevented this, but wasn't prepared to say "told you so"! Jane has also butted heads with City staff and politicians. She [did it] for the betterment of heritage in Burlington, not her own gain. In the end many maybe disagreed at times but had respect for her knowledge and views."
"Beyond the Burlington Historical Society, Jane Irwin was a driving force in the creation of the Friends of Freeman Station. Until her passing, Jane was the VP of the not-for-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, re-purposing and restoration of the 100+ year old railway station also known as Burlington Junction."
"We have lost a tremendous resource to the BHS but City alike. I can think of no one else more deserving [for] the Heritage Person of the Year. We just did not know how lucky we were..."
To continue to the BHS website click here!