Biographies - Ontario Heritage Trust



Melanie Hare, Vice-Chair, Toronto

Melanie Hare is an urban planner and partner at Urban Strategies Inc., with over 20 years’ experience working with communities in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. Hare’s practice builds on her understanding of sustainable community building, urban form and economic realities to work with clients to create compelling yet implementation-focused solutions to a variety of city building opportunities. Her practice focuses on heritage conservation, brownfield redevelopment, transit supportive planning, sustainable cities and growth management. She is actively involved in heritage conservation and heritage policy, particularly at the district scale. In Toronto, she provided planning input to the City of Toronto’s Official Plan Review for Heritage Policies and worked on the King/Spadina, Distillery and Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District studies. Within historically significant communities – such as Old Town and Queenston in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Saint John, New Brunswick and Buffalo’s Riverfront – Hare has prepared policy frameworks and revitalization strategies that protect the built and cultural landscapes while providing for sensitive infill and investment. Hare has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Ontario Heritage Trust since 2009.

Lisa Brown, Toronto and Gravenhurst

Lisa Brown is a Toronto-based small-business owner of The Brown Group. The Brown Group has spent the past 20 years creating corporate sponsorship marketing programs for business, trade and professional associations and charitable clients. Immediately prior to establishing The Brown Group, Brown was the Director of Programming and Events with the Toronto Region Board of Trade, where she led a team that created, marketed and produced more than 100 programs and events per year. She has considerable expertise in establishing partnerships, marketing and events programming, and has worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Most recently, Brown served on the Board of Heritage Toronto, where she was a member of the Fundraising Committee and chaired the 2017 Heritage Toronto Awards. She is an Honours Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Guelph.

John F. Coombs, Toronto and Cloyne

John Coombs is a financial consultant with experience as an expert witness in tax litigation, following a 35-year career with the Toronto-Dominion Bank organization. Coombs retired from TD Securities in London as Vice Chair and Regional Head of Europe & Asia-Pacific, where his remit embraced securities trading, investment banking, compliance, regulatory affairs and corporate governance. His prior positions with the bank focused mainly on the corporate credit portfolio and included postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Coombs has also served as a member of the Trustee Board of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) degree from the University of British Columbia as well as a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Eileen P.K. Costello, Toronto

Eileen Costello is a partner in Aird & Berlis LLP's Municipal & Land Use Planning Group. She is the author of the Ontario Heritage Act and Commentary and regularly advises private property owners and municipal governments about property designations, heritage conservation, districts and property standards bylaws to address designated properties. Costello appears regularly before municipal authorities and administrative tribunals, as well as before the Superior Court of Justice, the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals, Community Heritage Ontario, Heritage Toronto, the Urban Land Institute, the Canadian/Ontario Bar Association (Municipal Law Section and Administrative Law Section) and The Advocates' Society. She is also Chair of the Board of Governors of The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall and a past director of the Ireland Park Foundation. Since 2008, Costello has been an instructor for the Ryerson University Graduate Program in Planning. She holds an LLB and a MScPl in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Toronto.

John Ecker, Whitby

John Ecker is a communications, marketing, branding and fundraising executive. He is the Director, Family of Faith & Special Projects at the Archdiocese of Toronto where he oversaw brand development and marketing for the $170-million Family of Faith Campaign. Previously, he was a Vice President at Indspire and held director-level positions at the Ontario Trillium Foundation, ECHO: Improving Women’s Health in Ontario, and the Toronto Board of Trade. Until the late 1990s, Ecker was the Manager of Marketing and Communications at the Ontario Heritage Foundation and oversaw the development of its Heritage Community Recognition Program, forerunner of the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards. An active volunteer, he has served on the board of Credit Canada and is a former chair of the Whitby Public Library Board and the Waterview Child Care Centre. He most recently served as Chair of Heritage Whitby (LACAC) and has been a volunteer for Doors Open. He also served as Chair of the Lynde Marsh Alliance, a land trust. Internationally, Ecker established Bimini Bound, which sent over 10,000 books and learning resources to schools on the island of Bimini, Bahamas.

Antoinette Fracassi, Ottawa

Antoinette Fracassi is a retired executive from Transport Canada, where she had been Director General for Human Resources Operations in Ottawa and Director of the Transport Canada Training Institute in Cornwall. Since retirement, Fracassi volunteers at St. Joseph's SupperTable, the Shepherds of Good Hope, The Great Canadian Theatre Company and has also volunteered at the Canadian History Museum and the Ottawa Humane Society. Fracassi also spends much time among the many books she loves at Books on Beechwood. She holds a BA in History from the University of Toronto and a certificate from the National Defence College. Fracassi also studied French language and literature at the University of Nice, France. She emigrated from Italy as a young child and now lives in Ottawa with her daughter.

Michelle A. Hamilton, London

Michelle Hamilton is an Associate Professor and Director of the Masters in Public History program at the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on historical and contemporary issues surrounding museums and heritage, social memory and commemoration, cultural identity and issues of representation and repatriation, usually in regards to Indigenous peoples in Canada. Her two books, Collections and Objections, and a recent biography of Dr. Oronhyatekha, have won multiple awards. Hamilton has over 20 years of experience working in museums across Canada.

George Thomas Kapelos, Toronto

George Thomas Kapelos is an architect, planner and professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University. Professor Kapelos is a former Chair of Ryerson's Department of Architectural Science and former President of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada. A Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Kapelos’ community involvement includes serving as a member of the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition and the Ultraviolet Radiation Working Group. Kapelos has curated a number of exhibitions, exploring themes of landscape and architecture. In his research and writings, subjects of architectural modernity, construction, pedagogy and design have been explored with reference to Canadian culture, built works and design praxis.

Susanne (Su) Murdoch, Barrie

Susanne Murdoch is Principal of Su Murdoch Historical Consulting and a former Vice-Chair of the Conservation Review Board, Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario, where she served from 2005 to 2017. Murdoch has been involved with several heritage conservation initiatives, most recently as a member of the Barrie Historic Neighbourhoods Committee and a contract/volunteer heritage consultant on the municipal project team for the Oro African Church Preservation Project in Oro-Medonte Township. Murdoch holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University, as well as a Certificate in Adjudication for Administrative Agencies, Boards and Tribunals from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Jean Yves Pelletier, Ottawa

Jean Yves Pelletier is a Cultural Developer with the City of Ottawa. He has been active in Ottawa’s heritage community since the early 1980s. He is a founding member of the Ottawa and Toronto branches of the Société franco-ontarienne d’histoire et de généalogie, the Regroupement des organismes du patrimoine franco-ontarien and the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa. He has worked as a historical resources consultant and grants officer with the Ontario Heritage Trust, the Ontario Ministry of Culture and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and as a heritage resources consultant for the City of Ottawa, the Vanier Museopark, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est and Montfort Hospital. He is a past board member of the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa, the Friends of the City of Ottawa Archives, Alliance française d’Ottawa, the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture and the Centre franco-ontarien de folklore.

Isaac Quan, Toronto

Isaac Quan is the Manager at Living Realty Inc. Prior to pursuing a career in real estate, Quan was an entrepreneur operating a diverse set of ventures that included Maple Leaf Wine - a wine export business with five retail outlets across China. Locally, he owned and operated QTAPS - supplying products and managing a demand-side management program for Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. He holds a degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Western Ontario.

Nathan Tidridge, Waterdown

Nathan Tidridge is currently an editor-at-large with Dundurn Press, a teacher with Waterdown District High School (Hamilton Wentworth District School Board) and serves as an Education Committee member with Magna Carta Canada. Tidridge has engaged extensively in teaching, study and research about community, Indigenous peoples and Ontario heritage and history. His community involvement includes serving as the Chairperson of the Souharissen Natural Area Committee (Indigenous area), as a member of the Inventory/Research Sub-Committee with the City of Hamilton, on the Education Committee for Magna Carta Canada, and with the Flamborough Heritage Society. He holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Brock University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religion and Culture from Wilfrid Laurier University. Tidridge has authored four books, exploring such topics as Muskokan identity, the Crown in Canada, and reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous peoples (via the Dignified Crown).