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In 1998, the FBP Board of Directors introduced an annual award which recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who contribute generously of time and spirit to Park initiatives. This award is dedicated to the memory of Helen and Peggi Armstrong who gave so much to this organization, thus setting the standard for all recipients.

2019 - Community Resource Centre, Friends In Deed!
photo of kim groslegThe FBP has long advocated for increased opportunities to get children and their families outdoors and active. Thankfully, over the years we've had plenty of help from liked-minded people and organizations. One of the local community champions that we have worked with for several years, is the CRC team from nearby Killaloe. It's become a tradition that each winter our two groups pitch in to co-host Winter Magic, an annual event that celebrates outdoor family fun in our polar season. The CRC arrives via the Toy Bus, which is filled with play equipment, craft supplies, storybooks and homemade cookies! Rumour has it that Clifford the Big Red Dog is often a frequent hitchhiker. Friends like this, are friends in deed — and indeed! Pictured is Kim Grosleg, Manager CAPC and EarlyOn programs.

2018 - Irene Mask, Volunteer Extraordinaire
photo of irene maskAll of our volunteer directors pour countless hours into supporting Bonnechere Park. But when one lives just down the road, the pressure to give that little extra is always there. And whenever we asked Irene to drop in and help out, she never said no. A long-time hiker on our Park trails all year 'round, Irene was eventually encouraged to take an active role on the administrative side by becoming an FBP Board member. She enthusiastically served in several positions, eventually stepping into the role of President, and along with her husband Ralph, played a key part in our accomplishments over the past decade.

2017 - Jane Duff, FBP Founding Board Member
photo of jane duffA founding member of the Friends of Bonnechere Parks, Jane sat on the original FBP Board in 1992. As a tireless volunteer she has given countless volunteer hours to develop FBP programming, access funding and support the development of strategic alliances. In 1994, she was instrumental in acquiring financial support for development of the wildlife-viewing platform at the mouth of the Bonnechere River where it flows into Round Lake, offering countless campers and Park visitors the opportunity to observe birds and animals in their natural habitat. Since then, Jane has supported numerous FBP projects and initiatives including development of the Davenport Cultural Heritage Centre, the FIT Trail and the children’s playground to name only a few. Jane has also assisted in hosting several public historic archaeological digs along the Little Bonnechere River to help instill a better understanding of the cultural heritage of the early settlers. As well, she has been a strong supporter of special events such as Wolf Howls, Spirits Nights and summer festivals presented by the FBP over the past 25 years.

2016 - Carmen Goold, Ontario Culture and Sport Regional Advisor
photo of carmen gooldCarmen delivers Ministry programs and services to primarily not-for-profit organizations in communities throughout Renfrew County. Over the years, Carmen has helped facilitate many key FBP projects with a goal towards building healthy community. Her hands-on approach to fundraising, networking and delivery has spurred the FBP board to implement best practices around strategic planning and good governance. She introduced funding opportunities that enabled the FBP to develop programming for people of all ages while at the same time promoting active outdoor play, and developing and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage of the Little Bonnechere River. Our link with the Canadian Heritage Information Network, initiated by Carmen, enabled the FBP to benefit from the Virtual Museum of Canada’s funding program to provide online access to artifacts uncovered at various archaeological digs.

2015 - Mike Runtz, Naturalist, Photographer, Writer, Educator
photo of mike runtzMike has been an active volunteer with the FBP since our inception. His dedicated research and interpretation of animal habitats along the Little Bonnechere River has provided the basis for many of his books and park-based interpretive programs. A highly respected naturalist, nature photographer and natural history author, Michael is most comfortable in the outdoors howling with wolves, luring moose out to the woods, netting dragonflies and photographing beavers. His intimate familiarity with the wilderness makes him the perfect ambassador for nature. His photographs give viewers a captivating glimpse of a world seldom seen.

2014 - Jim Fraser, 20 Years at Bonnechere Park
Jim came to Bonnechere Provincial Park in 1987, and for 20 years he nurtured and redeveloped this picturesque campground into one of Ontario's premier provincial parks complete with enhanced facilities, accommodation options, hiking trails, and a full slate of summer programming reflecting the Ottawa Valley's natural and cultural heritage. In addition to his duties at Bonnechere Park, Jim was also superintendent of a dozen smaller provincial Parks in Renfrew County, including Foy Provincial Park at the east end of Round Lake, and Bonnechere River Provincial Park, a 23-km stretch of shoreline linking Algonquin and Bonnechere Parks. He also oversaw twelve other MNR-owned parcels of land that have the potential for Ontario Parks designation. Jim was also one of the founding members of the Friends of Bonnechere Parks, established in 1994, and shortly thereafter, the Bonnechere Cultural Heritage Project. Spearheaded by a dedicated group of professional and avocational archaeologists, this project has been the catalyst for a wealth of archaeological based programming along the River for more than a decade. Read More>>

2013 - Brent Frederick, Park Staff and Super
While we all admire Brent's dedication to the Bonnechere family of Parks over a 20-year span, it's his wry sense of humour that mkes him the best of friends. Brent first came to Bonnechere as an EYC summer student in 1989, laying out canoe and hiking trails, and working on the Bonnechere River between Algonquin Park and Round Lake. He returned in 1993 and stayed until 2007. During that time he was foreman at the Round Lake Ontario Ranger camp, then Assistant Superintendent and finally Acting Superintendent. Brent was involved in various capital projects at Bonnechere Park including bringing electricity to the campground and the construction of four rustic cabins. He was also on staff when the Park was open over three winter seasons, offering ski trails, a skating rink and roofed accommodation plus camping. Brent has always been a great supporter of the Friends, assisting in many of our initiatives and special events, including the infamous burnt pig roast. Ask him to share that story with you next time you see him!

2012 - Pikwàkanagàn First Nation
Ron Bernard accepted the 2012 Directors Award on behalf of Omàmiwininì Pimàdjwowin (OP) - The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre, and the community of Pikwàkanagàn. It recognizes Elder Dorothy Commanda, Irwin Sarazin, Linda Sarazin and Chief Robert Whiteduck, who contributed to the development of Discover the Spirits of the Little Bonnechere - A Cultural Heritage Activity Book for Youth, published in 1996. As well, the contributions of various Pikwakanagan community members including Ron Bernard, who over that past 15 years have joined us on several archaeological excavations along the Little Bonnechere River. Linda Sarazin was a key player in our Adventures in Time partnership, presenting time-travel vacation packages to visiting media and tourists. Throughout 2011, a significant contingent of Pikwàkanagàn community members contributed to the development of our Footprints in Time (FIT) trails enhancement project featuring the natural and cultural heritage of the Ottawa Valley. Participants included Bonnie Commanda, Elsie Commanda, Noreen Kruzich, Ron Bernard, Michele Gervais and Aimee Bailey. For almost two decades, the Friends and the community of Pikwàkanagàn have walked a path of sharing the stories of the first peoples who lived along the Bonnechere River.

2011 - Glenna Roberts, Enthusiastic Archaeologist
Anyone who has spent time working alongside Glenna at an archaeological excavation, knows she sets the bar very high when it comes to dedication to detail and overall stamina. Glanna is a member of the Ontario Archaeological Society - Ottawa Chapter, and a long-time supporter of archaeological outreach programs at Bonnechere Park. She has worked with the Friends to co-host OAS conferences, public archaeological digs, and our annual family archaeology day. We admire her quiet manner and her quick wit.

2010 - The Carleton Place Gang
Every spring for about the past 20 years, the Carleton Place Gang decends on Bonnechere Provincial Park for a weekend clean-up. Arriving ahead of the busy summer season, members of the CP Gang spend a couple of days working their way through the campsite, cleaning up winter-falls and doing other small chores that help bring the Park back to shape. We recognize the CP Gang for all their volunteer efforts and their many years of dedication to the Park. We look forward to welcoming the next generation.

2009 - Ken Swayze, Archaeologist
In his quiet diligent way, Ken Swayze has helped uncover and record the archaeological history of the Little Bonnechere River. In particular, he focuses on the prehistoric era -- a perspective that offers both challenges and new horizons. Over the years, Ken has worked on various research excavations, as well he has provided valuable support and expertise in the presentation of public archaeological programs both in the field and at Bonnechere Park. In October 2009, Ken was the lead archaeologist on the Back to Basin research dig.

2008 - Laurie Fraser, Volunteer Extraordinaire
For 20 years Laurie volunteered countless hours in supporting husband Jim's efforts to create an oasis of hospitality, rich in natural and cultural heritage for the enjoyment and enlightenment of many who were drawn to the Little Bonnechere River. Often working behind the scenes, Laurie was always there to plan events, host visitors, and prepare and serve meals. For over a decade, Laurie was a founding member and secretary of the FBP Board of Directors. Her generosity, and willingness to give of her time, energy and talents, and most of all her friendship is much appreciated.

2007 - Alasdair Fraser, Photographer
Alasdair Fraser received the 2007 FBP Directors Award for his keen interest in sharing and recording the scenery, people and events along the Little Bonnechere River. As well, his quiet manner, graciousness and kind ways have enriched many of the Friends’ gatherings. Though son Jim is no longer Park Superintendent, we hope that Al and his friend Ann will continue to think of Bonnechere Park as their favourite Ottawa Valley getaway for many years to come. Read more in the Fall 2007 newsletter [.pdf 700 K].

2006 - Marian Clark, Licenced Archaeologist
Marian Clark joined the OAS Ottawa Chapter in 1982. Since then she has energetically prepared fundamental agenda for many Chapter meetings and archaeological expeditions including those co-hosted by the FBP along the Little Bonnechere. Over the past decade she has helped arrange several programs of cultural interest including Archaeology Day, school programs and public digs at Bonnechere Park. Read more about Marian's contributions to the FBP in the Fall 2006 Circle of Friends newsletter [.pdf 644 K].

2005 - Merill Burchart, Folk Artist and Woodworker
In his trademark quiet and unassuming manner, Merril has long supported the efforts of the FBP. Drawn to the area through family history, Merril has left his mark on Bonnechere Provincial Park through his various donations of hand-crafted woodwork and painted pieces. He has created several miniature replicas of the Basin Depot cabin and the famous Cockburn pointer boat. In spring 2002, he unveiled his prized contribution to the FBP: a life-sized version of the pointer boat that holds court under the north canopy of the Davenport Centre. After 100 hours of construction, Merill and members of his family launched the craft upriver near Basin Depot and paddled down to the beach at Park. The Little Bonnechere had arrived. At the time, historian Rory MacKay congratulated Merill and his crew for navigating a pointer boat on the Bonnechere for first time in a century. Read more about Merill's journey in our Spring 2002 Circle of Friends newsletter [.pdf 926 K].

2004 - Fred Blackstein, Master Canoeist and Wilderness Enthusiast
For six years, Fred Blackstien kindly offered his services to co-host the highly popular Wilderness Skills Course. Hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts learned about reading maps, using compasses and GPS, and how to survive in the wilderness. Over the years, Fred donated all registration fees to the FBP — thousands of dollars were raised for program enhancement at the Park. Fred continues to be a strong supporter of the FBP and can often be seen paddling along the Bonnechere. Fred is shown here in his prized, orginal birch bark canoe built by Stan and Jackie Sarazin from the Pikwakanagan First Nation at Golden Lake. The Sarazins come from a family which is known internationally for the art of traditional birch bark canoe making. This canoe was built for display of the traditional methods at the International Plowing Match, held in Pembroke in 1994.

2003 - Tom Ballantine, Licenced Archaeologist and Curator
Tom Ballantine received the 2003 FBP Directors Award in recognition for his contribution towards the various archaeology programs and digs hosted by the FBP along the Bonnechere River and at Basin Depot over the past decade. In 2002, at the invitation of Park Superintendent Jim Fraser, Tom became a member of the Bonnechere Cultural Heritage Project which conducts scientific studies, collects information and develops protection models relevant to key cultural heritage sites in the region. A licensed archaeologist, Tom hails from Gooderham and is curator of the Haliburton Highlands Museum. Although he had no previous connection with the Bonnechere River Valley, Tom understands the value of what he learns through his explorations and studies of this region. “You can take what we’re doing here on this river home to your town and do the same thing,” he said. “It’s just that here there’s a bunch of people who wanted to do it. They had the gumption to go out and do it.”

2002 - Dave Croft, Avocational Archaeologist
dave croftContributing to the Ottawa Chapter’s Public Archaeology Day at Bonnechere Park is only a small part of Dave's contribution to the Upper Ottawa Valley communities. A resident of Pembroke ON, Dave is a regular speaker at area schools and considers getting the next generation knowledgeable and excited about archaeological conservation an important responsibility. Dave has also been a valuable volunteer member of archaeological efforts at both the Basin Depot and Lafleur Homestead sites over the past seven years. Dave’s knowledge of aboriginal and Euro-Canadian artifacts is admirable. He is equally at home on either kind of site and never discriminates. Read more about Dave in our Fall 2002 Circle of Friends newsletter [.pdf 708 K].

2001 - Herschel Payne, Fine Artist
herschel payneRecognized internationally , Herschel Payne has been artist-in-residence for Bonnechere Provincial Parks since 1995, and has come to call this river valley his artistic home. The artist has created a legacy by painting the special qualities of our area, and as an ambassador of the region through the many art workshops he teaches in Ottawa, Bonnechere and Algonquin Parks, and Pukaskwa National Park of Canada. In recognition of the artist's dedication to the Bonnechere-Algonquin region, the FBP named in his honour a walking trail that travels through both parks; Payne's Pine Trail is featured in Walks of the Little Bonnechere. Herschel Payne is also artist-in-residence for Pukwaskwa National Park of Canada, and The Taylor Statten Camp at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. Read more about Herschel in our Fall 2001 Circle of Friends newsletter [.pdf 196 K]. Photo: M. Runtz

2000 - Ontario Archeological Society Ottawa Chapter
ontario archaeological awardSince its inception, the FBP has developed strong relationships with several like-minded people and organizations who share in our vision to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Little Bonnechere. One of our most willing and capable partners in this quest has been the OAS Ottawa Chapter. Over the years, this dedicated group of volunteers has helped us rediscover our identity by teaching us how to dig into the past — literally! They have worked with us to co-host public digs, kids’ workshops and interpretive programs for teachers and students. They have taught us about the scientific method of archaeology, conducted test pits, helped us write books, dated our artefacts, and shared in the rush that comes when one uncovers yet another treasure.

1999 - Friends of Algonquin Park
friend of algonquinThe Friends of Algonquin Park [FOA] have been good neighbours to the FBP. They have helped by providing books and other stock during the early years of the FBP Bookstore, when there was little or no cash to flow and they supported the publication of Spirits of the Little Bonnechere. The FOA have assisted in the co-operative undertaking to investigate the archaeology of Basin Depot in the Bonnechere watershed of Algonquin Park and supported the FBP's conference on Cultural Heritage Tourism in Ontario. The Friends of Algonquin Park are true practitioners of partnership, and under the wise guidance of their Directors their staff continue to provide the highest quality of service to the public, including the directors and members of the Friends of Bonnechere Parks. Read more about the presention to the FOA in the Fall 1999 Circle of Friends newsletter [.pdf 248 K].

1998 - Roderick MacKay, Avocational Archaeologist and Historian
roderick mackayRory was presented with the inaugural Board of Directors Award for his outstanding contribution to Bonnechere Provincial Park, and his love of the area and the people who have called Algonquin and Bonnechere home, particularly over the last 150 years. Rory is an accomplished teacher, avocational archaeologist, librarian, blacksmith and author. Rory authored Spirits of the Little Bonnechere, which was published by the FBP in 1997. Rory was also recognized for giving so much of his time and spirit to the efforts of the FBP. He has conducted pioneer blacksmith demonstrations at the Park, aided in the research and writing of Discover the Spirits of the Little Bonnechere, established the Friends’ first website, donated historic artifacts for display at the Park, and provided a wealth of research and support to several Park projects including the Bonnechere Cultural Heritage Project. Read more about Rory in our Spring 1999 Circle of Friends newsletter [.pdf 236 K].




Each FBP Board of Directors Award is an original ceramic saucer created by potter Dan Hill of Wilno. The design is based on a saucer recovered by Peggi Armstrong at a Basin Depot dig, in 1996. At the centre of the saucer is the Garvey homestead. The lip of the plate is decorated with archaic arrow heads, representing the past, and pinecones, representing the future.
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