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Dunkley Foundation to sponsor Leacock Medal

The Stephen Leacock Associates Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Dunkley Charitable Foundation has generously stepped forward to sponsor the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour award and its associated student essay competition for the next five years.

 Brad and Sara Dunkley, trustees of the Foundation, said that as native Orillians they were keen to ensure that the award receives the financial backing that it deserves.  Brad won the student essay competition in 1993, and fondly remembers attending the Gala Award Dinner where John Levesque received that year's Medal, and Harry Boyle entertained guests with his speech as the Mayor of Mariposa.

Brad and Sara Dunkley

 Michael Hill, President of Stephen Leacock Associates, said that the Stephen Leacock Associates has always been a non-profit group funded by outside sources. Thanks to those generous funders, we have been able to award monetary prizes to our great humour writers over the past 73 years.  After three years without a sponsor, the Dunkley Foundation's generous support of the award is very welcome, and the consistent funding will enable the Associates to further develop the Leacock Medal award and student competition.

 The sponsorship agreement came about as a result of the publicity surrounding the recent fundraising campaign, and will be reviewed by both parties in 2025 with a view to renewing it for another five years.

 Stephen Leacock Associates thanks all those generous donors who have contributed to the fundraising campaign over the last two months.  The proceeds of the campaign will now be used to shore up our financial reserves, and will enable us to explore other potential initiatives such as funding a writer-in-residence program and regular humour nights to maintain awareness of the award.

October 15, 2020

AGM set for November 8, 2020

The Board of Stephen Leacock Associates will hold its annual general meeting on Sunday, November 8, 2020 using the Zoom online meeting software.  Members of Stephen Leacock Associates and members of the public are welcome to attend the AGM, the public session of which will commence at 3 p.m.  Anyone wishing to attend the meeting should contact the Associates at to register no later than Friday, November 6, 2020.  Registrants will be emailed the link to the meeting and instructions on how to use Zoom.

October 8, 2020

Submissions are being accepted for the 2021 Leacock Medal

Authors and publishers are encouraged to send in their entries now for the 2021 Leacock Medal for Humour.  Details about the submission rules and process are given on our Leacock Medal Award page.  The deadline is December 31, 2019.  The list of entries received so far is given here

October 8, 2020

Heidi Jacobs makes her acceptance speech

Finally, a month after the event, we have a short video of Heidi's acceptance speech that she made on a flying visit to Orillia in August.

September 20, 2020

Fundraising campaign kicks off for Leacock Medal

Fundraising Campaign ButtonFor the past three years, the Leacock Medal has lacked a major sponsor, and the prizes for those years have been funded out of reserves.  Those reserves are now running low, and are barely sufficient to fund the awards for 2021.  Consequently, the board of Stephen Leacock Associates has decided to launch a multi-pronged fundraising campaign to obtain both short-term and long-term funding.  The initial thrust will be a crowd-funding campaign that launches today on the FundRazr platform at

While we pursue longer-term financing through sponsorship and grants, the aim of the FundRazr campaign is to shore up our finances in the short term.  Our ultimate aim is to achieve self-financing for the Medal by building on the endowment fund that was established last year by generous donations from local benefactors.

The FundRazr campaign will reach out to the literary community, publishers, authors and the general public to spread the word about the difficulties we are in, and to encourage donations to keep the medal alive beyond 2021.

The board members are confident that with the help of the literary community and the public the Leacock Medal will survive for many more years.

August 17, 2020

Heidi Jacobs "presented" with Leacock Medal!

Heidi in front of Leacock HomeOn her way to Algonquin Park, Heidi Jacobs, the winner of this year's medal, and her husband Dale stopped off in Orillia.  Jay Fallis, one of our Leacock Associates board members, took the opportunity to persuade her to be "presented" with the medal in front of the Leacock Museum.  Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gala Award Dinner was not held in June this year, so Heidi has missed out on being recognized so far for her achievement. 

There were a few problems on the way to making this happen.  First and foremost was the fact that the medal stocks are stored in a bank vault in a temporarily-closed bank branch, and are not accessible in order to engrave one with Heidi's name.  For the presentation, one held in the Leacock Museum that was originally presented to Will Ferguson (which is a story in itself) was borrowed for the day.  Secondly, because of COVID, no-one could shake hands with Heidi, so this was a photo event only.  Heidi kindly made a short acceptance speech which we have recorded and will publish in a few days.

Despite the lack of hoopla, we applaud Heidi's achievement and send her our heartfelt congratulations.

August 15, 2020

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2021 Leacock Medal

Authors and publishers are encouraged to send in their entries now for the 2021 Leacock Medal for Humour.  Details about the submission rules and process are given on our Leacock Medal Award page.  The deadline is December 31, 2020. 

August 3, 2020

Heidi L. M. Jacobs Wins Leacock Medal!

The board of Stephen Leacock Associates is pleased to announce that Heidi Jacobs is the winner of the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for her novel Molly of the Mall: Literary Lass and Purveyor of Fine Footwear, published by NeWest Press.  The award of the medal is accompanied by a prize of $15,000. 

Heidi L.M. Jacobs was born and raised in Edmonton. While attending the University of Alberta, she worked in a wide variety of retail jobs, including selling shoes. She is currently the English and History Librarian at the University of Windsor.

The two runners-up, Amy Spurway (for her novel CROW, published by Goose Lane Editions) and Drew Hayden Taylor (for his play Cottagers and Indians, published by Talonbooks) will each receive a prize of $3,000.

The board congratulates all the winners for their splendid efforts.  

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the medal and cash prizes will not be awarded at the usual Gala Dinner but will be mailed to the winners.  The authors' achievements will be celebrated instead at next year's Gala Dinner, in 2021.

June 5, 2020

Jacobs, Spurway and Taylor named on Medal shortlist

The Stephen Leacock Associates board of directors is pleased to announce the shortlist for this year’s Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.
In the running for the medal and $15,000 prize are (in alphabetical order by author surname):

Heidi L.M. Jacobs was born and raised in Edmonton. While attending the University of Alberta, she worked in a wide variety of retail jobs, including selling shoes. She is currently the English and History Librarian at the University of Windsor.




Amy Spurway was born and raised on Cape Breton Island, where, at the age of eleven, she landed her first writing and performing gigs with CBC Radio.  She has worked as a freelance writer, communications consultant, editor, and performer.




An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario, Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on numerous documentaries exploring the Native experience.

“Our panel of judges has selected three finalists from the 84 books that were submitted this year,” said Leacock Associates president Michael Hill. “It’s a gruelling process to read and evaluate all those books and come up with three that merit being named to a ’short’ list. The Leacock Associates thank the readers for their time, effort and expertise.”

The medal winner will be announced on Friday, June 5, 2020, by press release and social media.

May 1, 2020

Leacock Medal Longlist Announced

The Board of Directors of Stephen Leacock Associates is pleased to announce its 2020 long list for the 73rd Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. 

Board President Michael Hill has thanked the Canadian panel of judges from all across Canada and the committee of local readers for their recommendations. 

The full list of the eleven authors and their book titles is given here.  Normally, there are ten books on the list, but this year two books tied for the last place.

April 19, 2020

Gala Weekend Festivities Cancelled!

The following press announcement was released today:

Cancellation of Gala Weekend

ORILLIA, Ont. — The President and Board of Directors of Stephen Leacock Associates regretfully announce that the Gala Weekend activities at which the winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour is named have had to be cancelled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, judging of the 84 submitted books will continue, and a long list of 10 and a short list of 3 will be published on the planned dates of Sunday, April 19, 2020 and Friday, May 1, 2020 respectively. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 5, 2020.

The medal and prize money will be awarded as usual, and the winner and other shortlisted authors will be invited to attend the Gala Weekend in June, 2021 when their achievements will be belatedly recognized.

Cancellation of Student Award Competition

The Board also regrets the necessity of cancelling the Student Humorous Essay Award for this year owing to the disruption to the school year caused by the pandemic . Entries received so far will be returned to their authors and their entry fees will be refunded.

March 30, 2020

Please renew your membership for the coming year!

Our membership year runs from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.   When you renew now, your membership will be paid up until March 31, 2021.

Renewing your membership is a simple process that can be accomplished on-line on our web site.  You can view the instructions by clicking on the following link:

You may pay using a credit or debit card, or by sending us a cheque.  Membership costs a mere $10 per person per year.  This year, we are introducing Life Memberships for $100 (single person) or $200 (dual membership)

When renewing on-line, please update your profile to let us know of any way in which you can participate in the running of our organization.  We welcome your skills and any help we can get. We also welcome any additional donations you may include, and (as we are a charity) will issue tax receipts for any donations $25 and over.

Anyone who is not yet a member and wishes to join us can fill in our on-line membership application form at this link:

March 5, 2020

Final entry count is 84!

All book submissions for the 2020 Leacock Medal have now been received, some having been in transit for several days.  The final count is 84, which is the largest number of entries we have ever received.  The list can be found here.

January 21, 2020

62 and Counting!

62 books have now been submitted for the 2020 Leacock Medal.  Only two weeks left!  Hurry, before time runs out!

December16, 2019

Keep submitting those books! 

We have now received 45 books for the 2020 Leacock Medal.  Our deadline for submissions is December 31, 2019, so there are only four weeks left!  Don't delay!

Keep track of the books received so far by clicking here.  Interested in submitting a book?  Then see the rules for entry and submission instructions.

December 3, 2019

New President and Board Member for Stephen Leacock Associates

Michael HillAt our Annual General Meeting on November 3, the appointment of Michael Hill as President of Stephen Leacock Associates was approved by the members in attendance.  Michael had previously served as our president for several years up until 2016.  He is well known as the former artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival, and recently wrote a history of the festival.  Michael replaces Nathan Taylor, to whom the Board is very grateful for his efforts for the Associates over the past three years despite trying circumstances. Nathan will still continue to be a board member.

The members also approved the appointment of Daphne Mainprize as a new board member.  Daphne was formerly the curator of the Leacock Museum. She has retired to Orillia after serving in several capacities for other organizations.  Daphne will be heading up an important initiative, about which more information will be published later.

We welcome both Michael and Daphne and look forward to benefitting from their contributions.

November 4, 2019

Students - Do you want to win cash prizes?

Stephen Leacock Associates is re-instating the students’ humour competition for humorous stories or humorous personal memoirs for those between 14 and 19 years. They may be students in public, separate, private or home school situations in Ontario.

There will be cash prizes for the authors of the three winning student essays. More details will be published shortly.

See our Student Award page for the Entry Conditions and examples of essays by previous winners.

The three winners will be honoured at the Laugh With Leacock Night, the Friday of The Leacock Gala Weekend, June 5, 2020. There they will read their pieces and receive their cash awards. In addition, each will receive a Gift Certificate towards a humour book of their choice from Manticore Books who will be onsite that evening. As well, they will hear excerpts from the books of the three finalists for The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and get to meet these and other professional authors.

Please spread the word about this more-than-worthwhile competition!  FYI: There is a module on Humour writing on our website here.

Inquiries may be made to

November 1, 2019


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2020 Fundraising Campaign Donors

The donors listed below each contributed $100 or more to our August/September/October on-line fundraising campaign. We are very grateful to all of you (including people who donated lesser amounts) for your support of the Leacock medal.

Lesley Holland Toronto, ON
Christina Perry Conception Bay South, NL
Valerie McDonald Toronto, ON
Kit Dobson Calgary, AB
Simon Hally Bracebridge, ON
Margaret Atwood Toronto, ON
Leslie Dobson Orillia, ON
John Frankel Toronto, ON
Derek Ford Orillia, ON
David Wimsett Kentville, NS
Sheila Burvill Ottawa, ON
David Eastaugh Toronto, ON
Karla Tremblay Toronto, ON
Verla Hall Orillia, ON
Peter Babiak Vancouver, BC
James Mallinson Toronto, ON
Nickle Family Foundation Calgary, AB
Dick and Wendy Johnston Orillia, ON
William Greenizan Toronto, ON
Ted Tiffany Midland, ON
Steve Skurka Toronto, ON
Mary Lou Fallis Port Hope, ON
Michael Mallinson Toronto, ON
June Maresca Markham, ON
Gilbert Storey Richmond Hill, ON
Joan Dejesus Georgetown, ON
R Bruce MacKeen Guysborough, NS
Mauer Chiarello Toronto, ON
Melanie Hazell Toronto, ON
Peter Nosalik Waterloo, ON
Graham Yeates Kitchener, ON
Edwin and Margaret Johnson London, ON
Susan Grant Orillia, ON
Grant Dickson Toronto,ON
Donnajean Jefferies Orillia, ON
Barbara Bissonette Washago, ON
Richard (Dick) Bourgeois-Doyle OTTAWA, ON
Drew Taylor Curve Lake, ON
Douglas Gibson Toronto, ON
Lynn Murray and Bob Gauldie Orillia, ON
Marion Reidel Guelph, ON
Andrew Lam Toronto, ON
Daniel Byers Orillia, ON
Anne Kallin Orillia, ON
Joe and Pat Dell'Aquila Cambridge, ON
Judy Millar Calgary, AB
Derek Ford Orillia, ON
William Tweed Toronto, ON
Terry Toews Swift Current, SK
Marian Robinson North Bay, ON
Beverley Slopen Toronto, ON
Caged Element Inc. Etobicoke, ON
Karleen Bradford Orillia, ON
Janie Chang Vancouver, BC
Sandra Thomson Nanaimo, BC
Lynda Simmons Burlington, ON
Christopher Cameron Campbellford, ON
Christine Barbetta Toronto, ON
Peggy Bereza Victoria, BC
Vivian Carter Unionville, ON
Kenneth Drope Keswick, ON
Wendy and Fred Fallis Coldwater, ON
Elsa Lam Toronto, ON
Susan Juby Nanaimo, BC
Doris McLean Orillia, ON
William Deverell Pender Island, BC
Jodie Schaefer Barrie, ON
Mark Lefebvre Waterloo, ON
Jay Fallis Orillia, ON
Terry Fallis Toronto, ON
Words Indeed Publishing Toronto, ON
Sue Mallinson Orillia, ON
David Mallinson Orillia, ON