Our History

Past Chairs

October 1962 - September 1977

Murray D. Smith
Pictured left at the AIS National Convention in Memphis, TN in 1977.

(taken from The Bulletin of the American Iris Society,
Vol LVIII, No. 3, Series No. 226, Summer 1977)

October 1977 - June 1985
Jack Taylor

(taken from The Bulletin of the American Iris Society, Vol LVII, No. 2, Series No. 221, April 1976)

July 1985 - 1990 - George Richard

1990- 1996 - Alan Laing

1996 -1997 - Irene Specogna and Ed Preston

1997 - 1998 - Glen Brubacher

1999 - 2001 - Lyn Hickey

2002 - 2004 - Jim McMillen

2005 - present - Terrance Laurin

R.D Little of Richmond Hill, ON was recognized as being one of Canada's
top iris breeders and growers during the 1950s and 60s. 
He was one of the founding members of the Toronto Region,
part of the Canadian Iris Society.
(picture from The Toronto Daily Star: Saturday, June 11, 1960

Where It All Began...

On October 31, 1962 twenty members of the Canadian Iris Society (CIS) met at the Richmond Hill Library, in Richmond Hill, ON to discuss the formation of the Toronto Region.

The following is an excerpt from the letter sent by Mrs W.A. Harris, Secretary/Treasurer, to Mrs. Bruce Richardson (Alberta), Secretary of the CIS, advising her of the details of the inaugural meeting.

“I have been instructed by members of the Executive of the newly formed regional group in Toronto, to send the following information to you.

The meeting was held in the Library, Richmond Hill, on Wed. evening Oct. 31.  Mr M.D. Smith acted as Chairman, gave a short review of what the group hoped to accomplish, asked for suggestions as to the number of meetings necessary.  Mr Davison of King, Ont. suggested four, this motion was passed.  The four meetings – General, Iris show, Iris Auction, Annual.

 Mr Little moved that we hold our first show in conjunction with the Richmond Hill Hort. Society, to take over the Iris section of the show.  Approved.  Mr. Gordon Caldwell to make necessary arrangements.

Mr M.D. Smith suggested a display garden, members were in favour.  A committee headed by Mr. R.D. Little will have the task of finding suitable site.

Hopes of having a(n) auction again this year were expressed, subject to approval of the C.I.S.

 Twenty members were present namely:

Mr & Mrs C. Copeland, Mimico, Ont.

Mr & Mrs F.W. Caulfield, Aurora, Ont.

Mr. & Mrs Davison, King, Ont.

Mr & Mrs B.G. Palmer, King, Ont.

Mr & Mrs M.D. Smith, Toronto, Ont.

Mr R.D. Little, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Mr G Caldwell, Richmond Hill, Ont

Mr T McKend, Willowdale, Ont.

Mr E.V. Peck, Toronto, Ont.

Mr H. Hayes, Newmarket, Ont.

Miss V. Laurin, Willowdale, Ont.

Mrs. Beatty, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Mrs E. Bartlet, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Miss S. Peck, Toronto, Ont.

Mrs W.A. Harris, Toronto, Ont

Election of an Executive followed, the following were elected.

Chairman                             Mr M.D. Smith.

Vice Chairman                     Mr B.G. Palmer.

Publicity                               Mrs F.W. Caulfield.

Show Chairman                   Mr G. Caldwell.

Sect-treas.                           Mrs W.A. Harris.

Display garden                     Mr R.D. Little.

Auction                                 Mr E.V. Peck.

 The letter finishes off with the following comment:

 “We hope to get rolling and am sure the rest of the Toronto and district members are behind us, a few I know are opposed to the regional group idea, but as it has been said so many times “we cannot please everyone”, however we shall try anyway.”

In 2002 the Toronto Region Iris Society became an affiliate of the American Iris Society (AIS) - Region 16.  When AIS Region 16 was dissolved in 2010, and AIS affiliates in Canada were realigned with existing AIS regions in the U.S., the Society became an affiliate of AIS Region 2.  At the same time, due to increasing pressure from its members and the general public, the Society changed its name to the Ontario Iris Society.