Paul Van Nest, Kingston Historical Society

EVENT DATE: March 9, 2023

TOPIC: Yukon Gold Rush

Paul Van Nest  was raised in Brantford and attended McMaster University. He moved to Kingston in 1965. He first taught physics at RMC and then moved to the technology department of St. Lawrence College, becoming chair of that department, and served as Chair of the Heads of Technology for Ontario’s colleges in 1975-76. Beginning in 1978, he created and developed a unique Open Learning Centre, before retiring in 1996.  

Paul is an active Rotary member, serving as president in 1982 – 1983, and then secretary from 1998 – 2003. He also was chair and the lead author of one of Rotary’s Centennial Projects: “The Reflections”, which appeared weekly in the Whig-Standard and Kingston This Week  in 2021, and was  then published  as a book.

Paul is known as an expert in the history of the American Civil War, having led 62 tours of American Civil War battlefields, and has been to Gettysburg almost 200 times. He is also  a founding member of the Civil War Round Table here in Kingston, begun in 1993. He has served as Membership Chair since 2010 for the Kingston Historical Society.

Paul has written a book about his oldest cousin, a rear gunner in World War II, who perished in that conflict on Paul’s fifth birthday. To publish or not to publish? Furthermore, in pursuing genealogical history, he has traced his family’s roots to the 1647 arrival of Pieter Van Nest in New Amsterdam (now New York).

Paul manages four web pages, has been active in three local churches, has led ten church fundraising tours, as well as tours for Road Scholar(formerly Elderhostel). He and his wife Sharon have a family of 4 children and 8 grandchildren. As spring looms, Paul can’t wait to get on the golf course. But first he’ll entertain and educate us about The Yukon Gold Rush!