Provincial plaque commemorates naturalist Louise de Kiriline Lawrence - Ontario Heritage Trust


Provincial plaque commemorates naturalist Louise de Kiriline Lawrence

BONFIELD – Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Nipissing Naturalists Club unveiled a provincial plaque at the Ste. Bernadette Parish Hall in Bonfield to commemorate naturalist Louise de Kiriline Lawrence.

The provincial plaque reads as follows:


Louise Flach was born in Sweden and grew up on the scenic Baltic coast where she developed an interest in nature. Flach became a Red Cross nurse, serving during the First World War in Denmark, and then with her first husband Greb de Kiriline who died in revolutionary Russia. She immigrated to Canada in 1927, settled near Bonfield, Ontario and was head nurse for the Dionne Quintuplets. In 1935, she retired from nursing to study the flora and fauna – specifically birds – near her log home located at the edge of Pimisi Bay west of here. Her writing included five wildlife books, 17 scientific papers, over 500 reviews and an autobiography. Her papers and research are preserved at Library and Archives Canada and at the Royal Ontario Museum. Louise de Kiriline Lawrence was an early environmentalist and an internationally renowned ornithologist recognized by the American Audubon Society, the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, the American Ornithologists’ Union and Laurentian University, and was the first Canadian to receive the John Burroughs Medal in 1969.


“Louise de Kiriline Lawrence was an extraordinary naturalist who lived a remarkable life. Her tireless work in Ontario contributed profoundly to our understanding of North American wildlife. The plaque unveiled here today will ensure that she is remembered and that her research will be preserved for current and future generations.”
– Professor Thomas H.B. Symons, Chair, Ontario Heritage Trust

“Ontario’s natural heritage is a fundamental part of our cultural identity, which is why it’s important to recognize contributors who have helped us better understand our surroundings. Louise de Kiriline Lawrence has left behind a valuable collection that reflects an enormous part of Ontario’s natural world, showing us who we are by describing the environments that surround us. She has painted a vivid picture of the world around her, and we are proud today to be honouring her in this way.”
– Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“We remember Louise de Kiriline Lawrence’s contributions to the enjoyment and study of nature, as well as her services in health care. Members of the Nipissing Naturalists Club engage people throughout Ontario to help recognize her. We are pleased by the support and interest, particularly from past and current Nipissing residents, to make this commemoration happen.”
– Fred Pinto, President, Nipissing Naturalists Club

Quick facts

  • The provincial plaque will be permanently installed at the Highway 17 Pimisi Bay Rest Area in Bonfield.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust’s Provincial Plaque Program commemorates provincially significant people, places and events in Ontario’s history. Since 1956, over 1,270 provincial plaques have been unveiled.
  • The Trust has unveiled 49 plaques to commemorate the history of women in Ontario, as well as 37 plaques to commemorate natural heritage and the environment.

Learn more


For more information about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Provincial Plaque Program, contact Kimberly Murphy at 416-325-5074 or For more information about the Nippissing Naturalists Club, contact Fred Pinto at 705-476-9006 or

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario’s heritage.
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