At its 2019 Convention, held on June 1-2 in Knowlton, Quebec, QAHN presented the coveted Marion Phelps Award to Joseph Graham of Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides. Joseph Graham, or “Joe” to many in the heritage community, is an outstanding volunteer who has contributed to his community in many ways, in particular in connection to the preservation of the history and heritage of English-speaking Quebec. A resident of Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides in the Laurentians, Joe, through his writing and his involvement in various local projects and organizations, has had an invaluable record of service for over thirty years.
In Sainte-Agathe, Joe led the way with several local heritage projects, such as the preservation of the town’s train station, the buildings of the former Mount Sinai Hospital, the McGibbon house, and the conversion of the former CPR train corridor into a linear park, now the P’tit Train du Nord Park, a year-around recreational trail for skiing, cycling and hiking. Joe also participated in the production of a film celebrating the 150th anniversary of the town of Sainte-Agathe.
Joe is perhaps best known for his vast opus of written articles. These have appeared in QAHN’s own Quebec Heritage News magazine, and in Joe’s monthly historical column in the Main Street in Lachute -- the only monthly English newspaper north of the St. Lawrence. Joe also writes a history column in the Doncaster Ballyhoo, and has had articles published in The Beaver, the Montreal Gazette, Skiing History magazine and elsewhere. His book, Naming the Laurentians (2005) was on the Montreal-area bestseller list for many weeks and is a valuable resource for anyone who ever wanted to know anything about the history of the Laurentians.
QAHN and his life-partner and long-time collaborator Sheila Eskenazi have been long-time supporters of QAHN and have actively contributed to the organization over the years. QAHN Executive Director Matthew Farfan said that heritage network "could not think of a more deserving recipient" of the Phelps Award than Joseph Graham. "Joe," Farfan said, "is a true friend to history and heritage in Quebec, and a tireless advocate for preservation and education. QAHN salutes him for his outstanding and ongoing contributions."