The Defining Moments Canada Team


Neil Orford


Neil is a retired History Teacher, from Dufferin County, Ontario. A winner of both the Governor General’s and Ontario Premier’s Award for History Teaching, his Digital Historian Project© won the 2015 Government of Canada History Award. He has been featured on CBC’s “The National”, TVO’s “The Agenda”, and in numerous articles across Canada. He has written for major Canadian publications and is a regular presenter at Conferences and workshops. He has worked extensively with the Juno Beach Centre and has led a Summer Institute for History teachers in Normandy. Neil is the owner and president of Defining Moments Canada, Ltd.

Blake Heathcote

Blake worked as a director and playwright in theatres across Canada, the US, and the UK. In 1999, he conceived the Testaments of Honour project. The Testaments archive contains 550 veterans’ interviews on digital video (85 in the French language), 14,000 photographs, and 4,000 documents. He created interactive video displays for the Juno Beach Centre, HMCS Haida, Veterans Affairs, and is the author of several plays and books, including the #1 Canadian best-selling Testaments of Honour book (2002), and A Soldier’s View book (2005), both published by Random House, as well as Unremarkable: A Good Place to Start book (2015), the biography of John ‘Scruffy’ Weir, one of the key operatives in the Great Escape. Blake continues on his work at

Jenifer Terry

Executive Director, Defining Moments Canada

Jen Terry (née Sguigna) graduated from Western University with an MA in Public History in 2013, after completing an Honours BA in History and English Literature. She is a creative and driven leader, who is passionate about heritage and education. Most recently, she worked for the Juno Beach Centre Association, leading their Canadian programming and playing a key role in the development of special anniversary projects and their Canadian education reputation.

Amy McBride Bowen

Communications Assistant

Amy McBride Bowen graduated from the University of Guelph in 2018 with an MA in History and received a Government of Canada History Award for her thesis on Women’s Liberation in the 1970s. Amy has worked with the Guelph Historical Society since her graduation, and as a lover of history she was excited to become a part of the Defining Moments Canada team. Since her undergraduate days at Guelph, Amy has been passionate about telling Canadian stories to ensure that they are preserved and can be shared with others.

Project Teams


Neil Orford

Program Leader

Jenifer Terry

Executive Director

Amy McBride Bowen

Communications Assistant

Dr. Christopher Rutty

Lead Historian

The Lead Historian for the “Insulin 100” project is Christopher J. Rutty, Ph.D., a professional historian with special expertise on the history of medicine, public health, infectious diseases and biotechnology in Canada. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in the Department of History, with his dissertation on the history of poliomyelitis in Canada. For his Ph.D. Christopher was supervised by the late Professor Michael Bliss, author of the seminal book, The Discovery of Insulin, which serves as the foundational source for much of the insulin story he has developed for the “Insulin 100” project. Since completing his Ph.D. in 1995, Dr. Rutty has provided a wide range of historical research, writing, consulting and creative services to a variety of clients through his company, Health Heritage Research Services. Dr. Rutty holds an Adjunct Professor appointment in the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He has also curated prominent historical exhibits, including on the discovery of insulin, most notably for the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine to mark the 90th anniversary of the discovery. Dr. Rutty has also published several articles on the history of insulin, as well as books on the history of public health in Canada, the history of the Canadian Nurses Association, the history of St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, ON, as well as numerous articles in print and online on the history of polio and the history of vaccines.

Anna England

Project Coordinator and Researcher

Anna England is a Researcher and Defining Moments Canada’s Project Coordinator for VEDay75: Normandy to Netherlands. She is a graduate of the Master of Museum Studies program from the University of Toronto and holds a Master of Arts in History from Lakehead University. Anna has worked as Research Assistant for Dr. Tim Cook at the Canadian War Museum and Museum Assistant at the Royal Canadian Military Institute.

Scott Smalley

Community History Research Fellow (Huron University)

Scott Smalley is a mature undergraduate in History and French Studies at Huron University, with a goal of earning his B.Ed and becoming a teacher.  He has a previous college diploma in Film Studies (2009) with honours at Fanshawe College, and is interested in curriculum development.

Scott has previously worked as a Research Assistant under Dr. Amy Bell of Huron University, and is a volunteer at London’s Palace Theatre as a technician and performer.  He is also involved with the Palace Theatre’s “New Stage” program, which is a theatre education program for new actors. Scott was awarded the Huron Community History Centre’s Prize for Public History in 2020/2021.

Louis Lebel


Louis Lebel has worked in the field of public history ever since working as a guide at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War museum during High School, and most recently managing visitor services at the Juno Beach Centre. Now working on finishing a master’s degree in history at l’Université de Sherbrooke, Louis’ focus is finding and sharing stories with the public at large, and he is thrilled to be able to so with the Defining Moments Canada team.

Garfield and Laura Gini-Newman

Education Leads

Copyright must be credited: Couvrette/Ottawa (613) 238-5104

Garfield Gini-Newman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE, University of Toronto. He explores how to teach through sustained critical inquiry while nurturing deep conceptual understanding and genuine competence. Garfield has worked with thousands of teachers across grades and subjects, helping them to frame learning around engaging and provocative activities and rich, authentic assessments. Currently, Garfield is engaged with schools across Canada, in South America, and in Europe. Over the past two decades request for Garfield’s services have taken him from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and across North America. His interest in effective teaching and learning has led him to actively explore the challenges and opportunities presented by teaching and learning in the digital age. In addition to his work at the University of Toronto and delivering workshops, Garfield has also authored several articles, chapters in books and seven textbooks and has taught in the faculties of education at York University and the University of British Columbia. His most recent book co-authored with Roland Case, Creating Thinking Classrooms has received widespread praise from leading educators across Canada and internationally. 

Laura is a recently retired educator with over 30 years of experience working as a university professor, classroom teacher, resource teacher, coach and instructional co-ordinator. She has taught History, Geography, Politics, Philosophy, Computer Science, Economics, and Mathematics. Laura has developed a new reasoning-focused approach for math learning that she has been sharing in her role as the math consultant with The Critical Thinking Consortium working with students, teachers and leaders to become better thinkers in mathematics and other subject areas across Canada, in the USA, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. She has published and co-authored textbooks, papers and learning resources in philosophy, history, mathematics, Indigenous education and most recently applied positive psychology. She is a certified applied positive psychology practitioner and co-founder of FlourishCo, a Canadian company that supports the cultivation of a flourishing mindset and that works with individuals, communities and businesses to help them learn how to flourish in their work and lives. Prior to her career in education, Laura worked as an economist and accountant. She has taught at both the University of Toronto and York University. She is also a professionally trained facilitator. Laura volunteers with the Alma Foundation to help young disadvantage learners in remote Andean villages experience learning success. 

Past Projects


Neil Orford

Program Leader

Anna England

Project Coordinator

Mike Bechthold

Lead Historian

Mike Bechthold, PhD ( has been writing and teaching about Canadian military history for over 25 years. He is the author/editor of eight books and numerous articles, most recently Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign (2017). He co-authored three guidebooks about the Canadian battlefields of the Second World. He specializes in military air power, the Canadian army in Normandy and Northwest Europe, and the Canadian Corps in the Great War.

Alex Fitzgerald-Black

Lead Researcher

Alex Fitzgerald-Black is the Operations and Outreach Manager at the Juno Beach Centre Association, the Canadian charity that owns and operates the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France. He has a Master of Arts in Military History from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Arts in Public History from the University of Western Ontario. Alex hosts Juno Beach and Beyond: Canada’s Second World War Podcast.

Craig Brumwell

Education Lead

Craig Brumwell has been teaching Social Studies for over 30 years in Vancouver. The focus of his practice is inquiry approaches to place-based learning through digital interactive storytelling. Examples of his projects are Dilemma 1944 and its online educational resource site, Though Poppies Grow and Kitsilano Fallen. He is the recipient of three national awards for teaching excellence, the Governor General’s History Award (2015), the Government of Canada History Award (2015), and the Prime Minister’s Award (2018).

Nathan Kehler

Digital Creative Leader

Nathan Kehler is the Executive Director of the Canadian Research and Mapping Association and one of the creators of Project ’44: The Road to Liberation. Nathan is a veteran of the Canadian Forces, having served in both Afghanistan and Latvia. His expertise is in web mapping and data management, and his passion lies in showing the history of where.

Drew Hannen

Digital Story Leader

Drew Hannen is the Vice-President of the Canadian Research and Mapping Association and one of the creators of Project ’44: The Road to Liberation. He specializes in digital preservation, collection management systems, and mapping history. Through this work, he has developed a keen interest in understanding people’s connection with the land and the role contemporary and archival maps play.


  • Program Leader – Neil Orford
  • Project Manager – Tatiana Zamozdra
  • Research & Content Development, for the Juno Beach Centre Association
    • Alexander Fitzgerald-Black
    • Jenifer Sguigna
  • Inquiry Learning, for the Critical Thinking Consortium (TC2)
    • Garfield Gini-Newman
    • Laura Gini-Newman
  • Testaments of Honour Video Interviewers
    • Blake Heathcote – English
    • Major-General (retd) Pierre Lalonde – French
  • Website Development
  • Translation Services
    • Hélène Ally
    • Geneviève Desaulniers
    • Myriam Gagnon
    • Marie Eve Vaillancourt
    • Scott Entwistle
    • Katie Beaudette
  • Copy Editing
    • John Lorinc
    • Jennifer Hounsell
  • Teacher Reviewers
    • Melanie Williams – Dufferin Peel CDSB, Cardinal Ambrozic CSS, Mississauga ON
    • Kerri Martin – École Secondaire Oak Park High School, Winnipeg MB
    • Boni Thompson – Upper Grand DSB, Mono Amaranth PS (Gr.7), Orangeville ON
    • Anne Hodgson – Rosedale School (Gr.6 & 7), Calgary AB
    • Carly Wenner – St. George’s School (Gr.8/10/11), Vancouver BC
    • Kris Tozer – Centennial Collegiate VI (History), Guelph ON
    • Dave Hunt – Unionville High School (History), Unionville ON

Pandemic 1918 – the 100th Anniversary of the Spanish Flu Pandemic

  • Program Leader – Neil Orford
  • Digital Creative Lead – Blake Heathcote
  • Project Coordinator(s) – Tatiana Zamozdra & Jessica Knapp
  • Recovering Canada Contest Coordinator – Jessica Knapp
  • Lead Researcher – Ellen Scheinberg (English)
  • Lead Researcher – Mathieu Arsenault (French)
  • Education Lead(s) (for – Garfield Gini-Newman / Laura Gini-Newman
  • Editor – John Lorinc