Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre presents Trailblazer exhibition – those who made a difference

What does it mean to be a trailblazer? This title is given to individuals who clear a path that was not there, who take risks, and show people what is possible. The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre (BCM&CC) is proud to present Trailblazers, an exhibition created by The Canadian Centre for Gender + Sexual Diversity (CCGSD).

This exhibition recognizes the lives and work of 12 remarkable individuals who have acted as a voice for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and advocated for equal rights and freedoms in Canada. 2SLGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation that stands for: two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), intersex, and asexual, the plus-sign signifies a number of other identities and is included to keep the abbreviation brief.

Trailblazers highlights Canadians who have led the way for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and includes a Bruce County native, Jim Egan, who was a prominent activist widely known for his role in the landmark Supreme Court Case Egan v. Canada.

John ‘Jack’ Nesbit (L) and James ‘Jim’ Egan (R) on their farm near Chesley Ontario ca. 1954-1955 James Egan fonds F0110, Courtesy of The ArQuives


“As a Museum, it is not only our role to share the stories that have traditionally shaped our perception of history, but also those voices that are not as often heard. When we recognize these stories, we see a much more complete picture of our past and current history,” says Cathy McGirr, Director, Museum & Cultural Services.

In collaboration with this exhibition, the BCM&CC is offering educators in Bruce and Grey Counties the opportunity to participate in a live digital field trip; this content is suitable for grades 7 and up. These field trips will feature a virtual tour through the exhibit, video and stories from Fort Papalia, retired educator and founder of Kincardine Pride, and activities to take your learning forward and build a more inclusive community. If you have a group interested in participating in these workshops, please contact BCM&CC Education Coordinator Mike Schwindt at

“I am honoured to assist in facilitating this excellent program,” says Fort Papalia. “It is important that we share the little-known stories of ordinary Canadians who struggled and fought against prejudice, injustice, harassment, violence and social condemnation of their times for the human right and freedom to love, marry and raise a family with a person of the same sex. A story that is not yet complete.”

Canadian Grammy and Juno award winning singer and songwriter k.d. Lang is one of the many Canadian Trailblazers. Lang’s story is featured in this exhibit. Source: Mandy Hall [CC BY 2.0 (https//]
Additional educational programming for secondary students and educators is also available while the exhibition is open. They will learn about the history of community engagement, legal changes and civic action in Canada relating to the 2SLGBTQ+ community through the CCGSD’s Youth Take Charge: 2SLGBTQ+ History program. This online program offers flexibility in how and when these resources are delivered and will complement educators lesson plans. Register for this program by visiting the CCGSD website at

As part of the exhibition, the BCM&CC has also partnered with the Bruce County Public Library with a sampling of resources that are available in their branches, to learn more about these resources and more visit the BCPL website. There are many other resources and elements of this exhibition that include the Queer colouring book, as well as information regarding pronouns and creating positive and inclusive spaces, and the Pride Flag used in the first Pride Parade in Bruce County in 2017. The Trailblazers Exhibition is displayed in the Bruce Gallery beginning on March 2, 2021 and will be open until May 31, 2021, this exhibition is proudly presented by Bruce Power. Learn more at and follow us on FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

Bruce County Public Library has a number of literary resources to be borrowed

The BCM&CC will is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 4:30 PM. Discover more and plan your journey through Bruce County history at