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Local historian wins prestigious award

Former executive director of the Thunder Bay Museum and editor of the Ontario History Journal, Tory Tronrud, has received the Ontario Historical Society Cruikshank Medal for his contributions to history in the province.
Tory Tronrud
Tory Tronrud reviews an issue of the Ontario History Journal, which he has been the editor of for the past 15 years. (Photo by Doug Diaczuk -

THUNDER BAY - Tory Tronrud’s career in history can be traced back to a Grade 9 classroom in Winnipeg, when his teacher gave him a perfect grade in his history class.

“I thought this is something I was good at and my career sort of started from there,” he said.

That career that has spanned more than 35 years and now Tronrud has been presented with the Ontario Historical Society’s Cruikshank Medal, recognizing his contributions to the study and sharing of history.

The Cruikshank Medal is named after scholar and former General during the First World War, E.A. Cruikshank and is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated an ongoing dedication to pursuit of history in Ontario.  

The medal is not awarded on an annual basis, but rather to individuals the Ontario Historical Society feel should be recognized.

“I don’t do it for the recognition, except internally I feel good about it,” Tronrud said. “It’s nice to receive it, especially an award of this magnitude.”

Tronrud served as the executive director and curator at the Thunder Bay Museum for 35 years before retiring earlier this year and has been the editor of the Ontario History Journal for the past 15 years.

“A lot of my time is volunteer and keeping the journal going for such a long and glorious history is quite the challenge but something I enjoy,” he said.

“I’ve always encouraged writers of history in Northwestern Ontario to write for the journal. We have had a fair number of articles from Northwestern Ontario scholars dealing with Northern Ontario subjects that have been published in the journal.”

Tronrud’s role as editor of the Ontario History Journal and his time with the Thunder Bay Museum has helped the history of Northwestern Ontario reach a much wider audience.

“I think my experience here helped me an awful lot adapting to a much wider perspective. And I think I introduced Northwestern Ontario to the rest of the province through the journal.”

Scott Bradley, executive director with the Thunder Bay Museum, said the entire team is proud of Tronrud’s recognition and all that he’s done for the preservation and sharing of history in the Northwest.

“It’s very telling of the accomplishments professionals in Thunder Bay have added to the telling of history in Canada,” he said.

“He took the museum from a small institution publishing journals and existing in the basement of a library to the 27,000 square foot facility we have here. This is a recognition of a careers worth of work and a serious contribution to all of the professional historians across the province as well as the universities and their study of the development of the province and our country.”

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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