Barb Dickson Presents


Barbara Dickson

Barbara Dickson

Barbara Dickson

As an historian, speaker and author, Barbara Dickson has entertained, educated, and enlightened audiences for almost twenty years.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992, Barbara refused to succumb to her illness without a fearless fight. She quickly re-discovered her love of writing and history when she retired from her career as an IT software analyst. Barb has spent many years researching local and Canadian history including Canada in the early to mid 1800’s, Ireland’s Great Hunger, and the invaluable contribution made by Canadian men and women engaged in war work during World War II.

Now a multi-published author and public speaker, Barb has been invited to speak to myriad organizations, her presentations appealing to a wide range of audiences, including:

Barb Presents "Bomb Girls"

Barb Presents “Bomb Girls”

  • Schools
  • Women’s groups
  • Church groups
  • MS associations
  • Veteran legions
  • Retiree associations and retirement homes
  • Business and professional organizations
  • Historical societies
  • Corporate events
  • Support groups

Barbara brings her own unique perspective to your event, whether she’s sharing what life was like in Toronto in 1833, offering a glimpse into the incredible work carried out by courageous women who risked their lives to bring their men home during the Second World War, or inspiring her audience to look to their future with hope and confidence, equipping them with practical ways to make immediate improvements in the quality of their lives.

Barb Dickson - Book Signing

Barbara Dickson – Book Signing

Barbara’s current speaking platform includes a wide choice of presentations.

  • “Scarborough’s Bomb Girls”: Come and learn about one of Canada’s best kept secrets–the vital work undertaken at a top secret munitions factory during WWII. The General Engineering Company (Canada) Ltd. employed over twenty-one thousand mostly young women and mothers who worked around the clock six days a week, risking their lives handling high explosives to fill ammunition for Canada’s Allied forces. Come hear about these amazing, courageous women. What’s more, learn about the over four-kilometre tunnel system built under the complex that still exists today.
  • Life in “Muddy York”: Come discover Toronto through the eyes of a newly-arrived immigrant in the mid-nineteenth century.
  • An Emigrant’s Journey to Canada: Barb presents a harrowing true-life account faced by future Canadians as they survive a two-month voyage upon the unforgiving and turbulent North Atlantic in 1833.
  • Where the Irish Died: The Irish people helped build Canada, but at a great cost. Countless died from poverty and disease, especially during the Great Hunger from 1845-1852. Tragically, tens of thousands died upon Canada’s shores before they had a chance to begin a new life. Even more tragically, many of their final resting places remain unmarked or unremembered today. Come be part of honouring the courage and tenacity of the Irish people and their lasting quiet legacy to Canada’s history.
  • MS Doesn’t have to Be a Mess: A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis doesn’t mean giving up or giving in. It means getting tough and getting even.

To contact or book Barbara:

  • Leave a reply below
  • Send an E-mail to: barbara at barbaradickson dot ca
  • Write in care of:
    P.O. Box 30001
    RPO Huntingwood
    Scarborough, ON M1T 0A1

Upcoming Speaking Engagements: 

See where Barb is speaking here.

Audiences Respond:

Women's Event at Cornerstone Community Church, Mississauga, Ontario

Women’s Event at Cornerstone Community Church, Mississauga, Ontario

“Wow! What a wonderful turnout last evening. The headcount was 100. The committee is very happy with the enthusiasm for your programme with so many questions and comments. Thank you for your great presentation and should you decide to write another book as a sequel of the subject of GECo or of another subject we certainly would be interested.” ∼∼ Jan Howe, Chair, Programme Committee, Scarborough Historical Society

“…the (GECO) program  was a huge success and I will be in touch in the New Year to set up another!”  ∼∼ Cathy Pyper, Community Branch Head Eglinton Square Branch of Toronto Public Libraries

“Your presentation on GECO was excellent! I myself, was not aware that there had been any under ground tunnels in the area during World War II. In spite of the fact that you are living with M.S. your positive attitude to life left a big impression. You gave us an afternoon that I am sure we will all remember.” ∼∼ Evelyn Lonergan, Telco Community Volunteers

“Our guest speaker, Barbara Dickson, kept our members completely enthralled with her presentation of the massive contribution by (mainly women) workers at the Scarborough G.E.C.O. plant during World War II.” ∼∼ Gord Blackwell, President, Scarborough Centre Probus Club

“It was such an incredible and inspiring event. Barbara Dickson gave the story of the birth of her book which in turn was much of her life story and then shared a beautiful devotional message that carried through from the theme of her book. We had over 80 ladies there and everyone came away from the event captivated and challenged by Barbara’s message of God’s amazing love.” ∼∼ Captain Shelley Kerr, Salvation Army Scarborough Women’s Ministry

“It was a pleasure to hear Barb speak at EMD Serono and it was incredibly well received by the group!” ∼∼ Darina Landa, Senior Coordinator, Partnerships & New Business Development MS Ontario

“We at the MS Centre of Hope, the local MS Chapter for Sudbury were treated to a rare presentation.  Barbara Dickson author extraordinaire, travelled from her home in Scarborough and gave us a presentation of her book, “Mountains for Maddi”.  It was actually her personal story of how she has gotten to this point in her life.  She has MS, but that is only a part of Barbara.  It was so interesting, there was only silence during Barbara’s presentation.  The book is great, and we bought her out.”  ∼∼ Laurel Ireland, Sudbury Chapter of the MS Society of Canada

“The ladies were still commenting on Barb’s life story (four days later.)  It has had a lasting effect. They were all touched by Barb’s visit. She has a wonderful ministry and purpose.” ∼∼ Caroline Tiberio, Women’s Ministries, Cornerstone Community Church, Mississauga

13 comments for “Barb Dickson Presents

  1. Edith Chantler
    August 23, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Hello Barbara. We would like to book you to speak to us at Knox United Church Women on Sept. 19th. I think someone from our group spoke to you but so many are on vacation that I am unable to find out who it was. Hope you are available! Thanks, Edith

    • August 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Hello Edith, nice to hear from you. I am available September 19th. In fact, while I don’t have the name of the woman who asked me to speak to your group — I suspect it was at another event and they approached me — I did book it on my calendar with the expectation I’d hear from someone from Knox. Send me details of the day and we’ll go from there. I look forward to working with you. Barbara

  2. DebbieThomas
    July 11, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Interested in having you speak at our Probus Group -905 895 1237

  3. DebbieThomas
    July 11, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Hello Barbara, My name is Debbie Thomas and I am member of the Newmarket Ladies Probus Group and I was given your name as a possible Speaker. Would you be free to do a Presentation in Aug . or Oct.. My number is 905 895 1237 Thankyou

  4. Tanya Costello
    June 12, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Good afternoon,

    I have heard your talk about Scarborough’s Bomb Girls when I worked at the Donway Place Retirement. I am now the Recreation Coordinator at another retirement home and am interested in booking the presentation here st Rayoak Place.

    I did not see a presentation price sheet on your website. Depending on the cost I would be looking to hold the presentation on a Wednesday afternoon in July.

    I look forward to your response,

    Tanya Costello

    Recreation Coordinator

    Rayoak Place
    1340 York Mills Rd
    Toronto, ON
    M3A 3R1

  5. Susan Mc Millan
    May 4, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Is there anyway we could get a tour of the Scarborough site. My husband’s Sister is coming from England in June and if we could that would be great

    • May 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Susan, thanks for your inquiry. How exciting to have family coming from overseas. We can chat about a possible GECO tour. I’ll be in touch. Barbara

  6. Judy Mahood
    November 8, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Hello Barbara
    I read Bomb Girls and thoroughly enjoyed the book.
    I suggested it to my book club and we are reviewing it in Feb. 2017.
    Would you be able to speak to our group? The meeting is Wed. Feb 8 2017.
    The meeting is at noon in West Hill. Lunch will be served. There will be about 10 women.
    Some of us either worked or lived in Scarborough and I know there will be great interest.
    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    • November 8, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Judy,

      So glad to hear you enjoyed Bomb Girls and for recommending it to your book club. I’d be happy to come speak to your group. I’ll contact you via e-mail to work out details. Thanks again. Barbara

  7. Eilleen McKay
    March 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

    My Dad worked at Woowich Arsenal and he was asked to come back to Canada to work at Geco. My parents and I came back in a convoy on the Baltrover which was bringing ferry pilots back to Canada. We docked on April 1st at Halifax. I have two pics of the bomb girls from Shop no.2 with my Dad and Mom also. I also have two invitations, one is for the first annual dinner and one for a farewell to two workers. They are both signed by people attending. I also have a letter dated June 15th 1945 giving Dad notice as of July 15th 1945.

  8. Drew Stoltz
    August 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Hello Barbara,

    I am interested in the locations of the actual tunnels. If you would be so kind as to reply to my email I am provide additional details on myself and my coordinates.

    Thank you.

    • August 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Drew, thanks for your inquiry. The tunnels are spread throughout the GECO site, located south of Eglinton from Warden Avenue east to Birchmount Road. Entrances to the tunnels are privately owned. Access and admission into the tunnels must be made through the owners of the properties. Is there a particular tunnel area you were hoping to get access to?

  9. Rita Pasquarelli
    March 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm


    I am writing to enquire about the details (fees, schedule, etc) to book Barbara Dickson to speak at Kingsway Lambton United Church/United Church Women’s unit meeting on May 15.

    Thank you,

    Rita MacDonald (nee Pasquarelli)

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