Call me if you need a guest speaker for your meeting. Tell me a story you would like to hear (see below) or let me pick one. Now that I am retired, there is more time for public speaking - and I love doing it. I can even fill in on short notice if need be. Hope to hear from you!

Call Dan Buchanan at 613-439-8992 or send email to

Stories to Tell:

Rum-Runners: The Story of Ben Kerr and Prohibition. (This one is NEW!)

An exciting and shocking story of the roaring '20s in Ontario where rum-runners challenged the storms of Lake Ontario to smuggle booze to the American side. Hear the story of Ben Kerr, the most notorious of the bunch, who ran his last load of booze out of Presqu'ile and ended up crushed by February ice near Colborne. Based on two books by C. W. Hunt, "Whisky and Ice" and "Booze, Boats and Billions.

The Dr. King Story

Based on my first book, "Murder In The Family; The Dr. King Story", published in 2015, hear about the only person ever executed in Northumberland County and how the author is direclty connected to the murderer. It is a family story, so to speak but is known around Brighton and Cobourg as local lore. Can you imagine 10,000 people attending a hanging in June 1859, at the old Court House in northwest Cobourg? Here is a true-crime story to match any.

The Sinking of H.M.S. Speedy

H.M.S. Speedy was lost off Presqu'ile in 1804 and the result had lasting effect in the region. Learn about the raw politics of the time and why the Speedy sailed to begin with - at the insistence of the Lieutenant-Governor, so a murder trial could take place in the distant and brand new village of Newcastle, on Presqu'ile Point. You will be amazed by the evidence that suggests the remains of H.M.S. Speedy have been found and what that might mean for the future. Fascinating Ontario history!

Riding The Rails: Railway History of Brighton

Presented for the first time at Brighton History Open House in February, 2016, Riding The Rails takes is through the building of the railways in the 1850s, the expansion and bankruptcies of the later 1800s, touches the emotions of going to war on the train and shows how the railway supported the development of Brighton up to the 1970s when the smaller stations closed. Learn how Ralph and Eugenia Bangay saved the original Grand Truck Railway station from destruction and how Memory Junction Museum began, including how the communiity supports it with donations of money and labour. This is truely a ride through time.

Dance Hall Daze

Presented for the first time at Brighton History Open House in February, 2015, Dance Hall Daze highlights the history of two beloved venues, The Brighton Opera House and Presqu'ile Pavilion. Both met their end in the 1970s but for many decades these two meeting places defined the cultural activities of the time. From travelling theatrical companies at the Opera House in the 1910s to Rock and Roll at the Pavilion in the 1960s. Many people have emotional recollections of their experiances in these places and, well, it is just so much fun to reminisce.

The Breakaway

On a rainy, cold night in 1852, a small lake north west of Hilton broke through its gravel banks and cascaded down a narrow, steep valley, It destroyed a saw mill and killed two men, then damaged a second mill before crashing through to the Trent River. Learn about these dramatic events from the point of view of the people who lived there at the time and see how the disaster led to dramatic improvements that shaped Brighton Township for many years to come.

The Old Percy Road

Number 30 Highway is smooth and fast today but this road was built as a result of the disaster of The Breakaway in 1852. Learn about the old road that existed before the Brighton and Seymour Gravel Road was built in the 1850s. Some of the earliest settlers in this area cleared land along the route of the Old Percy Road from Brighton to Norham. Find out how that old road helped to open up the area for settlement and provided transportation for people and produce for the very early timbering community at the south end of Percy Township.

First Settlers of Brighton

Obediah Simpson is said to be the first settler of Brighton in 1796 and when he came to this area there were other early settlers within a ten mile radius who were getting established as well. Learn about the first mills built at Brighton by Alexander Chisholm, the first ship captains that settled at Presqu'ile, the Keeler Group at Colborne, Asa Weller and his bateau railway at Carrying Place, the Bleekers at Trent Port and the Dingman families at the south end of Percy.

The Creation of Brighton Township

Brighton Township had a very unusual beginning. Cramahe and Murray Townships were surveyd in the 1790s and Brighton Township was created in 1852 out of parts of these two. Why did this happen? How did it happen? When did it happen? Learn all about the conditions at the time and the people who were involved.

The Latimer Photos

The Codrington Public Library is host to a unique and amazing collection of over 700 photos of local folks who happened to stop at Latimer's General Store in Hilton during the late 1920s and early 1930s. These photos have been combined with family tree and local history information to present a snapshot in time for the area. Meet the folks who drove up and down The Gravel Road, see the old cars and clothes and some of the characters of the community.