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BCLG Governance

In accordance with the Constitution and By-laws, the BCLG is governed by a Board of Directors and Officers. Directors are elected by the general membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for staggered two-year terms. Theoretically, there are four officers: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected from the Board of Directors at the first meeting of the Executive Committee following the AGM. The Secretary and the Treasurer are elected by the general membership at the AGM and there are no term limits. For practical purposes, the single position of Secretary as defined in the current By-laws has been split into two: Recording Secretary and Membership Secretary. In 2019, the BCLG Executive will be considering some amendments to the Constitution and By-laws to reflect this and other changes that have been made in practice, such as the minimum number of general meetings to be held annually.

The Board of Directors and Officers for 2018-19 are listed below with some biographical background on each person. The Executive Committee is made up of these directors and officers and may also include Advisors: BCLG members with expertise and/ or specific skills relevant to the light station preservation/ restoration project. Advisors may have previously served as a Director or Officer; they may opt to attend executive meetings on a regular basis or from time-to-time, as needed; but they do not have voting privileges at Executive meetings.


George Thomson, Director and Chair

George is the great-great-grandson of the first lightkeeper, also named George Thomson. George grew up in the Aldershot area and then pursued higher education in California, where he attained a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After a brief period working for a Boston firm, he returned to Canada to take over the family business, Thomson-Gordon Group, based in Burlington, Ontario. George has sailed for many years as captain on a deep sea salvage tug, sharing his ancestor’s love of the sea. Also a pilot since the age of 17, George Is an Honorary Director and past Vice-Chair of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. He is now serving his fourth term as BCLG Chair.

Sharon Clark, Director and Vice-Chair

Sharon works for the Hamilton Port Authority as a Community Relations Officer and joined the BCLG in 2017 after a partnership between our group and the HPA was formed.

Stewart Patch, Treasurer

Stewart graduated from Queens' University with a degree in engineering and worked for Bell Canada as a network enginner in Ottawa for nearly thirty years. After taking early retirement in 2004, he moved to Dundas to join his partner Ann Gillespie. He began attending the bi-monthly General Meetings and became more involved when his financial and computer programming skills were revealed. In addition to serving several terms as Treasurer, and one term as Chair, Stewart has maintained the BCLG website for a number of years.

Recording Secretary

Barbara Murray, a founding member of the BCLG, who has served as both Chair and Treasurer, was elected Recording Secretary at the November 2018 AGM but she resigned in January 2019. The Executive Committee is currently searching for a person to fill this position. The principal duties of the Recording Secretary are to prepare minutes for all General Meetings (including the AGM) and to take notes at meetings of the Executive Committee.

Gloria Pffeferle, Membership Secretary

Gloria, now semi-retired from a publishing career, became interested in lighthouses when working part time painting miniature lighthouses. She has been a member of the BCLG since 2006 and since 2008 has been responsible for memberships, which involves maintaining an up-to-date membership roster, taking care of membership renewals, and recruiting new members.

Bruce Hoyle, Director

Bruce attended McMaster University and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and joined the Credit/Legal department at Simpson-Sears. He was a Director of the Canadian Credit Institute. He continues to work in commercial finance at various companies including Chase Manhattan Bank, Deutsche Bank, GE Capital, and currently DLL/Rabobank. He has previously served as BCLG Treasurer and is a long-term resident of Burlington.

Patti Hoyle, Director

Patti was born and raised in Hamilton, attending the nursing program at Mohawk College. She qualified as a Registered Nurse and worked for many years at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton. Since retiring she has pursued many interests, including volunteer work, dancing, and travelling. Patti has been involved with the BCLG for over 15 years and her instinct for sales has been of great value in our fund-raising activities.

Robin McKee, Director

Robin graduated from McMaster University, with a BA in History, and Mohawk College, with a certificate in Broadcast Television. He is also a qualified museum worker, with a Certificate in Museum Studies from the Ontario Museum Association. Robin has lived in Hamilton since 1971 and worked at CHCH-TV as an on-air audio technician man from 1978 until his retirement in 2009.

Robin is currently the Chair of the Mountain Heritage Society, and a long-standing member of several other local historical societies and heritage groups including the BCLG. Through his own business, Historical Perceptions, Robin leads “Stories in the Stones” tours of the historic Hamilton Cemetery, researches and makes presentations on different aspects of Hamilton's history and heritage, and collects related historic photographs.

Robin was a contributing author to numerous publications on local history, including The Hamiltonians, Vanished Hamilton, Vol. I, II and III, First Here, plus two sequels (edited by the late Margarat Houghton), and Memories of the Beach Strip, by Gary Evans. At the Hamilton Heritage Day Awards in February 2018, he received the Reverend T. Melville Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award.


Tony Thoma

Tony is currently Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Technology and Media Studies at Mohawk College in Hamilton. In academia, Tony has managed a large technical faculty working with industry partners to bring the latest trends in technology to the market and prepare students for successful careers including topics such as Automation, Robotics, Mechatronics, Industry 4.0, Big Data, the Internet of Things and Cognitive Analytics that assist manufacturers in becoming more competitive. Tony has also held senior-level positions in industry including: Vice-President, Operations at Matalco Inc. and Global Technical Director at Wescast Industries.

Tony is a licensed Professional Engineer (PEO), a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, has served as a member of the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Tony has also recently served as chair for the steering committee for the City of Hamilton’s Citizens Jury for the upcoming LRT initiative.

Tony holds several degrees, including an M.B.A. from the University of Western Ontario, an Honours B.B.A from Brock University, and a B.Sc. in Metallurgy and Materials Science from McMaster University. More recently Tony has completed the McMaster University Chartered Directors Program.

Shawn Selway

Shawn Selway is a licensed industrial mechanic (millwright), who trained in the Steel Company of Canada’s Basic Works in Hamilton, Ontario. He operates Pragmata Historic Machinery Conservation Services (website), a company which provides consulting and technical services to preservationists. He is interested in the relationship between technical and political solutions to problems.

Shawn also has a B.A. in Religious Studies from McMaster University and is the author of Nobody Here Will Harm You (2016), a book about mass medical evacuation from the Eastern Arctic during the second half of the twentieth century. Shawn is a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) - Ontario Chapter.

Ann Gillespie

Ann graduated from Carleton University with a Masters degree in the Canadian Studies program, specializing in the history of Canadian architecture and building technology. She was subsequently employed by the City of Hamilton for 16 years as a Heritage Researcher/ Planner. After taking early retirement at the end of 2001, she became a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Consultants (now CAHP - Ontario Chapter) and established a part-time consulting business under the name Gillespie Heritage Consulting.

For a number of years, Ann actively participated in the volunteer activities of the Hamilton Region Branch of the ACO (Architectural Conservancy of Ontario) and contributed numerous articles to the ACO's  magazine: ACORN.  Ann is a long-standing member of the BCLG and served as the group’s Recording Secretary for three years (November 2015 to November 2018). She has since taken over the task of maintaining and updating the website, with ongoing technical support from Stewart.