CAREERS AND COLLEGE: History is at the center of Algonquin College’s virtual summer speaker series

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Algonquin College’s Virtual Speaker Series returns this summer with several presentations ranging from Canada’s oldest and most intriguing Prime Minister to the horrors of the Dieppe Raid of World War II.

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The summer speaker series kicks off June 23 with a presentation by author Sarah Miller on a 130-year-old murder mystery that has become part of popular culture. The gruesome deaths of Andrew and Abby Borden in Fall River, Massachusetts on August 4, 1892, led to the trial of Andrew Borden’s daughter, Lizzie Borden, who was charged and later acquitted of the crimes.

In his research, Miller delved deep into court records and historical journals, and even spent a night in the Borden house where the murders took place. While the murders took place over a century ago, the family home remains and has been turned into a bed and breakfast and tourist attraction.

While the murders went unsolved, Lizzie Borden lived out her life in Fall River, dying at age 66 of pneumonia. In her book, titled The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century, Miller explores the crime and ensuing media coverage that made Lizzie Borden an ominous household name and the subject of several books and films and spawned one of the most horrific nursery rhymes in history.

On August 19, 1942, Canada suffered its worst losses of the Second World War. Over 900 Canadian soldiers were killed and thousands more were wounded or taken prisoner in a failed attack on the beaches of Normandy. Author Hugh Brewster will explore what led to the tragedy and its impact on the war during his presentation on August 18, a day before the 80th anniversary of the ill-fated mission to liberate France.

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The final presentation of the summer will feature author Christopher Dummit’s research on Canada’s oldest and most distinctive prime minister. Mackenzie King left a treasure chest for scholars with his daily journal entries that were never intended to be made public, but are now readily available online.

Dummitt, who has written a book about King and also has a podcast devoted to Canadian history, will explore how King’s diaries have forced Canadians to rethink the boundaries between public and private and what information is important in judging public figures. King served as Canada’s greatest leader for 21 years during three separate terms from 1921 to 1948. Mackenzie King’s presentation will take place on September 14.

All presentations in the Speaker Series are scheduled in the evening and will include a Q&A session with the presenters, allowing the audience to further engage and learn from these subject matter experts. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the College has been offering popular and free virtual speaker series for seniors over 60. Registration is available on the college website at: https://www.algonquincollege.com/pembroke/speaker-series/

Jamie Bramburger is the Community and Student Affairs Manager at the Pembroke Waterfront campus of Algonquin College.

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