Margaret Phillips

Year of Award:
Margaret Phillips

This year, QAHN was pleased to present this prestigious award to Margaret Phillips, the volunteer president of Cantley 1889, a heritage group in the Gatineau Valley. An official announcement was made to this effect during QAHN’s Annual General Meeting, held via Zoom, on Saturday, June 11.
According to QAHN’s Awards Committee, Margaret Phillips has been a creative force in preserving and promoting heritage in the Gatineau Valley for over twenty years. Most recently, she has been active researching and writing material for the Parc du Traversier plaque project, which commemorates Cantley’s ferry service that was active from about 1850 to 1927.

In 2010, Phillips was the founding president of Cantley 1889; she has been its president since 2017. She has also served as a board member of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society (GVHS) on several occasions, and as a member on numerous project committees. Her many projects have included the preservation of the Blackburn Pioneer Cemetery in Cantley, Quebec, where an interpretive plaque was unveiled in 2021. She has alo served as chair of the Tugboat team project, and as a member of the virtual museum committee, the natural heritage committee and the Sculpted Rocks committee. Her wide ranging interests illustrate her concern for all aspects of local history and its strong connection to the natural world.

Phillips’ nominator, Cantley 1889 vice president Valérie Crevier, spoke of “Margaret’s passion for history.” Following a successful career as a teacher, Crevier says, Phillips did not retire “from sharing knowledge with others, it is in her DNA... Cantley would not be the same without Margaret’s community involvement.” In the words of colleague Marc Cockburn, the past president of the GVHS, “Margaret has been a builder, a leader and a mentor for the GVHS for over 20 years, and her many and varied contributions and the resources she created will continue to assist the GVHS to make known the history and heritage of the Gatineau Valley.”

Similarly, Michael Cooper and Lucie Bazinet, of Wakefield’s Fairbairn House Heritage Centre, note that Phillips “has been an advocate, leader and lobbyist for all aspects of heritage in the Gatineau Valley” whose “energy, attention to detail, and ability to bring together heritage enthusiasts [have been] to the benefit of our region.”

During her acceptance of her award, Phillips said that she was “humbled and very honoured. We’re a small grass-roots heritage group, and if it wasn’t for all of my cohorts and colleagues, this would never have happened. I’m so grateful to QAHN for recognizing us and honouring us this way. It’s made such a difference.” Phillips added, “I just want to especially thank [QAHN] for helping us with the Blackburn Cemetery plaque. It’s changed everything for that cemetery; it’s now a really respected and lovely place for everyone in the community to visit and learn about our first pioneers… I’m just really overwhelmed.”