Any non-profit organization such as The Niagara Foundation depends on a roster of committed directors and volunteers. The Foundation has continued to be effective and engaged in the community over the past 60 years thanks to the time and energy of the 70+ individuals who stepped up to serve on the Foundation board.
- Lyle Hall, Chair
- Sam Ridesic, Vice-Chair
- Gabe Takach, Secretary
- Jane Dagg, Treasurer
- Clare Cameron
- Bruce Caughill
- Michael Fox
- Dr. Richard Merritt
- Weston Miller
- Albrecht Seeger
- Paul Shepherd
We thank all our past directors for their time and support. In particular, we acknowledge the vision and dedication of our past leaders listed below.
- Gerald Wool, 1962 to 1992
- Roy Tranter, 1992 to 1996
- Norman Howe, 1996 to 2003
- Tony Doyle, 2003 to 2007
- Richard Merritt, 2007 to 2010
- Paul Shepherd, 2010 to 2013
- Michael Howe, 2013 to 2020
- Janice Thomson, 2020 to 2022
About current directors
Click a director’s name to view a brief background
Bruce and his wife, Jennifer, relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake from Ottawa in 1999 and since then have raised a family and become grateful members of this community.
A practicing lawyer since 1992, Bruce currently serves as Managing Director (Canada) with Rush Street Interactive, an online gaming enterprise, after positions as Chief Legal Officer with Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission and with Falls Management Company, former operator of the Niagara Casinos.
Previously on the boards of Niagara College, the Niagara Health System and the Niagara Symphony, Bruce, along with Jennifer, founded and continues to run the Niagara-on-the-Lake Rangers youth basketball association, for which they were awarded NOTL Volunteer of the Year (Sports and Recreation) honours in 2012.
With NOTL family roots dating back to the 1790s, Bruce’s commitment to maintaining the heritage and culture of this special place runs deep. He joined The Niagara Foundation board in 2023.
Clare Cameron grew up in Jordan Village, surrounded by heritage buildings that were being restored and transformed. Her education in Art History, History and an MBA focused on curatorial practices, changing land use patterns in Niagara, and organizational leadership. Clare has worked for corporate archives, National Historic Sites, and museums. Her municipal career includes professional expertise in records and information, access and privacy, information technology, data analytics, and customer experience.
From 2018-2022, Clare was the Deputy Lord Mayor and a Municipal Councillor in Niagara-on-the-Lake. She has volunteered and contributed perspective to the Town’s Municipal Heritage Committee, and Canada Sesquicentennial and Urban Design Committees. Clare is raising a young family, and running a small business that is inspired by the unique history and places across Niagara-on-the-Lake. She is passionate about the value of heritage and cultural landscapes in creating and sustaining healthy communities.
Clare joined The Niagara Foundation board in 2023.
A member of The Niagara Foundation board since 2004, Jane has made her home in Niagara-on-the-Lake since 1979. Fortunate to both live and work in NOTL, career experience at The Shaw Festival and the Prince of Wales Hotel includes fundraising and event planning. This career experience has happily been put to use at The Niagara Foundation. Mindful that ‘the town’ includes all communities – not just Old Town – she is committed to preserving Niagara-on-the-Lake’s heritage through thoughtful and considered progress.
Michael and his wife, Beckie, have lived on Gate Street since 2002. He is chair of Friends of One Mile Creek, a volunteer group formed in 2003 by landowners in Old Town that has implemented several stewardship projects to revitalize the creek’s natural heritage. He also is involved in the NOTL Syrian Refugee Project, which has facilitated the immigration of three families over the past seven years.
Michael’s company, Inspiring Media Inc., publishes Canadian Woodworking magazine. He was at Rogers Publishing in Toronto until 2012 when he retired after 30 years in newspaper and magazine publishing. He is a past chair of Magazines Canada and the Canadian Marketing Association.
He has been a director of the Foundation since 2019.
Lyle is a native Calgarian who relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2008, via Vancouver and Toronto. Following a consulting career with KPMG and HLT Advisory, he now works as a sole practitioner on a variety of hospitality projects in both the public and private sectors. His experience includes projects across Canada and numerous international locations. He also serves as an advisor and/or director to several hospitality-related, start-up ventures.
Lyle is currently a member of the Shaw Festival Theatre Boards of Directors and Governors. Past volunteer roles include director and Chair of Tourism Toronto (the destination marketing organization for the greater Toronto area) as well as Treasurer and Vice-President of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants.
Lyle has been a member of the board of The Niagara Foundation since 2017 and is committed to preserving valuable elements of the town’s heritage and cultural uniqueness.
Dr. Richard Merritt is a retired ophthalmologist with a life-long passion for Niagara’s rich cultural heritage which has inspired him to author two books and contribute to several others pertaining to local history. He is a past-president of the Niagara Historical Society, The Friends of Fort George and The Niagara Foundation and co-chaired several commemorative committees including the important ‘Landscape of Nations’ on Queenston Heights. He has been honoured as Niagara’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’, ‘Co-Citizen of the Year’ as well as a ‘Living Landmark’ by The Niagara Foundation.
He has been a Director of The Niagara Foundation for 43 years and serves on the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum’s Collection Management Committee. He continues to conduct historical tours in the area and is currently writing a narrative biography.
He is the proud father of two daughters and “Gampy” to three remarkable grandchildren.
Raised in the heart of Old Town, and the third generation of his family in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Weston has a long-standing passion for the town’s unique and special character and is driven to ensure that it is properly preserved. After completing his education at Trinity College at the University of Toronto, Weston returned to Niagara-on-the-Lake to establish his career. Weston is involved in several community organizations that are close to his heart, including serving on the Board of Directors and Governance Committee of the Royal Oak Community School, and the Board of Directors of the Chautauqua Residents Association. Weston has always admired the work accomplished by The Niagara Foundation and is happy to be joining this extremely hardworking and passionate group.
Weston joined the board in 2023.
Sam Ridesic and his wife, Robin, have owned property in Old Town for more than 20 years and permanently relocated from Toronto in 2013. They chose to raise their four children in Niagara-on-the-Lake and were a founding family at Royal Oak Community School (located at the formal hospital site).
In 2008, Sam and Robin purchased the historic Kerr-Wooll Home on Prideaux Street and undertook a complete restoration of this last 1700s home which was rebuilt in red brick in 1815 after being razed in the War of 1812. Sam is a Managing Direct and Senior Partner at the Boston Consulting Group and led the firm’s North American Consumer Goods and Retail Practice for seven years. Sam and Robin own The Exchange Brewery on Queen St. Sam is on the Board of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and has served on the Advisory Board of Butterfield and Robinson.
Sam has been a member of the board of The Niagara Foundation since 2012 and is passionate about preserving and sharing Niagara-on-the-Lake’s unique heritage, while also protecting the long-term health of the local community. This includes enhancing the attractiveness of Niagara-on-the-Lake to children, families, seniors, and businesses through the planning, services, and investments we make in our community.
Born in southwest Germany, Albrecht immigrated to Canada – specifically Niagara-on-the-Lake – in 1978. A student of Viticulture and Agriculture, Albrecht continued his family’s tradition of growing grapes and together with his wife and daughters, presides over a vineyard in Niagara.
Albrecht has spent decades involved in wine industry-related boards and organizations, including the Grape Growers of Ontario, Brock University’s Cool Climate Viticulture Institute, Grape Research Committee, and the Grape and Wine Festival board of directors.
Albrecht feels Niagara-on-the-Lake’s rich history is one to be proud of and one to be preserved. He is a proud supporter as well as member of the board of The Niagara Foundation since 2019.
Paul Shepherd was born and educated in Toronto, graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Early professional experience included positions in Chicago, London, UK, and Copenhagen, allowing extensive travel with his wife, Marilyn, throughout Europe, Scandinavia, USSR, and other iron curtain countries before returning to a long architectural career in Toronto. Working in major partnerships brought experience in corporate and institutional architecture, and interior design. He continued as a sole practitioner for 15 years. His continuing clients were major corporations and institutions. Paul also taught at Humber College for a dozen years.
Through his years of architectural practice Paul was involved in many restoration projects: historic banks, several churches, and the Capitol Theatre, Brantford.
Marilyn’s parents, John and Marguerite Gwynne, purchased The Whale Inn, built in 1835, (also known as The Elliott House) in Old Town in 1972. John Gwynne was a Director of The Niagara Foundation in its early years. When the Shepherds inherited the house in 1989, they proceeded with its historical designation.
In 2002, Paul joined The Niagara Foundation as a Director, and is a Past President.
Gabe was born in Budapest, Hungary, went to high school in Kingston, Ontario, got his engineering degree from Queens University and practiced law at the Toronto firm of Tory, Tory, Deslauriers and Binnington from 1971 until his retirement in 2010. Gabe and his wife, Sylvia Dunbar, bought their house on Regent Street in 1991 and soon after their arrival became active in heritage and preservation under the influence of their neighbour, Margarita Howe.
Gabe served on the Board of Governors of the Shaw Festival for six years, the last two also as Vice Chair. Gabe joined the board of the Foundation in 2014.