Blue Plaque Program to celebrate heritage launches with tribute to local author, Dorothy Dumbrille

Posted on Monday September 09, 2019
Dorothy Dumbrille plaque unveiling
Dorothy Dumbrille plaque unveiling

ALEXANDRIA, July 12, 2019 – On Tuesday, September 3, the Township of North Glengarry celebrated the launch of its new ‘Blue Plaque Program”, with a tribute to local author, Dorothy Dumbrille.

The Blue Plaque Program was spearheaded by the municipality's Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee as a way to commemorate local heritage buildings and celebrated locals. It was inspired by London’s famous blue plaques, which link the people of the past with buildings of the present. London’s Blue Plaque program started in 1866 and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world. Across London’s capital, rest more than 900 plaques, on buildings humble and grand, which honour the notable men and women who have lived or worked in them.

In North Glengarry we now have one such plaque and it is the intention of the municipality to grow this program in celebration of our past. Earlier this year, the North Glengarry Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee (ACHC), a committee of Council, was in the process of outlining the details of the program, when they were approached by local musician and teacher, Gabrielle Campbell, who was working on a similar project to recognize the storied history of author Dorothy Dumbrille.  Campbell had turned eight of Dumbrille’s poems into songs, setting them to music and compiling them into an album, released on June 28.

"Dorothy helped preserve Glengarry's history through books such as Up and Down the Glens, Braggart in my Step and All this Difference.  She valued people and their experiences and longed to share their stories.  Through her poetry, she expressed the beauty she observed in nature, she expressed her faith and honoured those who served in the war,” said Gabrielle Campbell.

Gabrielle Campbell and her husband, Scott Campbell, played an instrumental role in moving this project forward and they assisted on Tuesday with the unveiling of the plaque, which is located at 101 Centre Street, in Alexandria.

During the unveiling ceremony, the current homeowners, John and Moira van Nooten said that they had always heard their home once belonged to J.T. Smith, the local principal, but they didn’t know Dumbrille was his wife.

“It’ll be known as the Dumbrille house now,” said Moira.

During the ceremony, North Glengarry Councillor Jeff Manley served as the master of ceremonies. As the Chair of ACHC committee he said he was proud to assist in a program to both celebrate and preserve our built history.

“This area is so rich in history,” said Manley. “We lost some really, really good heritage buildings in Glengarry over the years and it’s because we didn’t have enough of this,” he said, pointing to the crowd of applauding supporters.

“I am excited about the new Blue Plaque Program in North Glengarry and can’t wait to see who our next candidate will be.  Thanks to Gabrielle Campbell for all of her work in spearheading this initial project,” said Councillor Manley.

In order to qualify for the blue plaque program, residences must be located in the Township of North Glengarry. The blue plaques are intended to commemorate local heritage buildings and celebrated locals. Your suggestions can be emailed to or you can call 613-525-1313. All suggestions will be presented to the Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee for consideration.


Photo Caption:

The Township of North Glengarry unveiled its first ‘blue plaque” on September 3 to commemorate local author Dorothy Dumbrille. The plaque is located at 101 Centre Street, in Alexandria. From left to right are Scott Campbell, Gabrielle Campbell, homeowners John and Moria van Nooten, North Glengarry Councillor Jeff Manley (at rear) and North Glengarry Deputy Mayor Carma Williams. (PHOTO: Tara Kirkpatrick, Township of North Glengarry).


Sarah Huskinson, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
Canton de Glengarry nord - North Glengarry Township T. 613-525-1110 / F. 613-525-1649
90 Main Street South, C.P. 700, ON, K0C 1A0

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