York inaugurates the Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian History

A public lecture and reception will be held Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7:30pm to inaugurate the Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian History. The celebration and lecture will be held in Robert R. McEwen Auditorium in the Seymour Schulich Building on the Keele campus.

York Professor Marcel Martel, the University’s first Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian History, will deliver a lecture titled “The Marijuana Debate: Drug Use and Canadian Society”.

Right: Marcel Martel

A distinguished scholar, Martel is a professor of history at York. His research focuses on post-1945 Canadian political and public policy. In 1997, a revised version of Martel’s dissertation, Le Deuil d’un pays imagine, was published by the University of Ottawa Press. It received the Michel-Brunet Award from the Institut d’histoire de l’Amérique francaise, for the best history book published by a young historian that year.

The book was an analysis of the relations between Francophone Quebec and French-speaking minorities outside of the province, encompassing cultural, political and constitutional questions, and explaining the decline of the concept of “French Canada” after 1960.

Martel, who received his MA from York in 1988 and PhD in 1994, is one of the most popular lecturers in the Faculty of Arts History Department and is an active participant in important departmental and University-wide committees.

From 1999 to 2001, Martel served as a member of the short-listing panel for the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. This award is given to the best high school history teacher each year. In June 2000, he was elected as a member of the Canadian Historical Association Council for a three-year term and, in June 2002, to the Ontario Historical Society Board, also for a three-year term. As well, he has organized international conferences on such topics as “L’Université et la francophonie” and the “Etats généraux du Canada francais, trente ans plus tarde”.

Avie Bennett, after whom the Historica Chair in Canadian History is named, was chancellor of York University from May 1998 to June 2004. Over the past 10 years, Chancellor Emeritus Bennett has been a member of the Premier’s Economic Council of Ontario and the Governing Council of the University of Toronto. He is a member of the  Board of Directors of the York University Foundation. 

Right: Avie Bennett

Bennett has been a board member of many organizations including the National Ballet of Canada, the National Ballet Foundation, and ABC Canada, and he was on the advisory board of the National Ballet School and the United Way of Greater Toronto. He is currently chairman of McClelland & Stewart Ltd., a member of the executive committee of the Historica Foundation, and co-Chair of the Canadian Democratic and Corporate Accountability Commission.