Our Board

Executive Directors

Ian Mackay
Chair
Ian Mackay is the current Chair of ACO Port Hope. Ian’s background is in law, business and music, having worked as General Counsel at Sony Music Canada, and President of Re:Sound. He is passionate about architecture and landscape, and has restored two heritage homes in Port Hope (the Marion Garland house on Augusta Street and the Little Bluestone on King Street).

Bruce Bowden
Past-Chair
Bruce Bowden has lived in Port Hope since 2009 and joined ACO a year later. While a member of Western’s History Department for sixteen years, he also carried out a variety of administrative roles in the Social Science Dean’s office for much of that period. While Registrar at Trinity College, U of T for twenty years, he also taught an annual seminar as an Adjunct appointee to the University’s History Dept. He has produced papers and lectures on various topics, such as Vernacular Architecture, Georgian style Canadian furniture, first nations and Loyalist histories, as well as WWI and WWII subjects. Has extensive volunteer experience, having sat on various committees and boards, most recently for the Northumberland Learning Connection, Port Hope Library Board and as Chair of the ACO’s Advocacy Committee.

Susan Layard
Vice Co-Chair
Susan Layard is a retired school administrator and teacher of history and mathematics. She taught for 21 years at The Bishop Strachan School, where she also served as Head of Mathematics, and for 13 years at St. Clement’s School, where she was the Director of Curriculum and Student Services and Principal of the Summer School. During the 2006-07 year of school construction, she was the Principal. After formal retirement in 2011, she went on to direct the school’s annual professional development institute for teachers of Advanced Placement courses. Throughout her career, Susan was also heavily involved with music, coaching music groups at both BSS and St. Clement’s, and outside, working extensively with Canadian composer Udo Kasemets. Since moving to Port Hope in 2016, Susan has been a Board member of St. Mark’s Maple Court, which provides affordable housing for seniors, and an active volunteer for ACO Port Hope. Susan joined the Executive in 2019 and serves as Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee.

Katherine McHarg
Vice Co-Chair
Katherine has been an active member of our chapter for several years, opening her previous home on Ellen St. for ACO’s 2012 House Tour. She holds degrees in Fashion Design, English Literature, and Education, and retired from teaching with the Toronto District School Board recently. She served as a Trustee of the Port Hope Library Board for six years, known for bringing creative ideas forward for both outreach and design elements. A member of the Marketing working group, Katherine also works on strengthening internal partnerships within our branch. Katherine joined the Executive in 2021.

Brenda Willows
Treasurer
Brenda is a retired CPA and her 45 years business experience includes 15 years at Trent University as Financial Reporting Analysis and nine years as Accounting Manager of the Canadian practice of McKinsey & Company.  In addition to volunteering with ACO Port Hope, she also works at the Port Hope food bank and Municipal Animal Services.  She enjoys art classes and fitness classes at the YMCA.

Susan Carmichael
Secretary
Susan Carmichael has over 30 years experience in the retail financial services industry in North America, Mexico and the UK. Also, for 25 years has provided accounting and administrative support for a spousal business. With two others she self-published a book on Gardens in Northumberland County, and volunteered for 9 years on the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation Finance Committee. Between 2009 and 2014 she was a Director, then Secretary, for the ACO, and from 2008-10 chaired its House Tour Committee. Her present role on the Community Futures Development Corp. in Northumberland County continues till 2020.

Directors

Laura Antonik
Laura is a graduate of Art History from U of T and holds a certificate in New Media Design from Centennial College. Laura moved to Port Hope during the start of the pandemic and joined the ACO to share her passion for architecture and beauty. As an award-winning designer with 20+ years experience, her career includes the redesign of The Globe and Mail’s website, digital editorial design for the magazines FASHION, Toronto Life and Weddingbells, and broadcast website design for HGTV, Food Network and History Television. She now lives in a mid-century bungalow and enjoys exploring Port Hope with her husband and their two dogs.

Tom Cruickshank
Tom has been a member of the ACO since he was in university in the 1970s, served the Port Hope LACAC in the 80s and the ACO board in the early 2010s. He has an abiding interest in local history and heritage architecture, a subject he has pursued in no less than five books, some with architect Peter Stokes. His work includes Old Ontario Houses, Old Toronto Houses and Port Hope: A Treasury of Early Homes. For the better part of 25 years, he worked in the Canadian magazine industry, first as editor of the Century Home here in Port Hope and later, Harrowsmith Country Life. He is currently at work on an inventory of the older buildings of Hamilton Township. 

Lydia Bell-Gradon (Svenningson)
Lydia and family moved to Port Hope in 1996 and she joined the ACO in 2010, thoroughly enjoying volunteering for house and garden tours. During her career as a senior administrative assistant, Lydia worked at financial holding companies, developers, a Toronto law firm, and most recently finished 20 years at Trinity College School, Port Hope, in September 2021.

Bill Bickle
Marketing Committee Chair
Bill chairs the Chapter’s Marketing Committee and co-chairs the House Tour Committee with his wife Marnie. Their house on Charles Street was on the last physical Tour in 2019. He and Marnie moved from Toronto 25 years ago and have lived in, and/or restored, four older homes, including Bill’s family home in Canton, an 1840 Ontario Cottage. Bill grew up in Canton and attended high school in Port Hope before an Accounting degree at Queen’s followed by an MBA in Organizational Behaviour from York, and 25 years at Royal Bank where he was responsible for the bank’s web content strategy in the early days of the Internet, and marketing to the small and medium-sized business sectors. He consults nationally with churches and denominational leaders about organizational health, specializing in Congregational Development and Restorative Practice.

Janet Eby
After obtaining an undergraduate science degree at the University of Toronto, Janet’s career began at Ontario Hydro in health and safety, both conventional and nuclear. Having obtained her MBA at the University of Toronto, Janet moved to finance and business planning at Ontario Hydro, then left to become the Corporate Secretary of a large Ontario- based association. She then had manager and director-level positions in internal audit for the banking and insurance industries. Most recently, Janet worked at a large electrical utility where her roles were diverse, such as managing annual business planning, reporting on performance, and developing corporate and line of business strategies. Before retiring, Janet became the Manager of the Research, Development and Demonstration group where she supervised staff in managing a broad range of research projects. Transportation electrification continues to be a special interest. Janet and her husband, Timothy Foley, moved to Port Hope in 2005 and live in one of the town’s designated Ontario cottages.

Jennifer Wadds
Jennifer and her husband Denzil are the (slightly overwhelmed) owners of 77 Augusta Street, also known as the Wickett Mansion. Jennifer’s family has a historic farm on Rice Lake and she grew up appreciating the wealth of history and heritage buildings found in Northumberland County. Jennifer andDenzil escaped the city in 2015 when they moved to Port Hope with their three children and an assortment of animals. When she is not chasing bats out of her attic, Jennifer is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology as well as the owner of a small private practice. She is the past vice-chair of the board of her professional provincial association(OSLA) and is currently co-chair of the Ontario sub-committee of the board of the Canadian professional association (SAC). Jennifer looks forward to contributing to the preservation of the historic architecture of our beautiful community.