About Us

For more than 40 years, Ontario has been addressing environmental issues and emerging as a world leader in many environmental innovations, policies and laws. A good example is the Environmental Bill of Rights, a unique piece of legislation that allows the public to participate in environmental decision making. The year 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 – the law that created the Office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO). In celebration, the ECO prepared this special environmental history project: Beginnings, a Genesis of Environmental Protection in Ontario. Some guests from Ontario’s environmental community were invited to tell their stories and experiences in the environmental movement. The stories have been recorded in audio format and are available on this website, along with photos and documents.


The Hosts
Gord Miller and John Swaigen were on a fishing trip in 2011 when they concluded it was important to capture the stories and voices of some of those who were involved in the environmental movement, as some key people (like Bob Hunter, Gary Gallon and most recently Charlie Ferguson) had already passed away and can no longer tell their tales. That is how the idea of Beginnings came about. Anne Wordsworth, the voice you hear at the beginning of each story, took on the role to coordinate and organize the sessions. To keep the stories concise yet accurate, Anne invites three guests (sometimes two) to tell each story. If you have any story or people suggestions, please submit them here.


“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” – Aldo Leopold