About Us

PFLAG Canada - Peterborough ON was formed in Peterborough, Ontario in 1999, mostly through the work of Peterborough residents John and Katie Syrett. Katie and John's son had come out to them a few years earlier. Katie was speaking with Paul Cummings who was then at PARN (Peterborough Aids Resource Network) and working to provide support for gay and lesbian teens in the area. Katie wanted to do something to help and Paul suggested she start a local PFLAG chapter. Katie contacted Joyce Barrett, a local family physician who has a daughter who is bisexual. Dr. Barrett in turn contacted Dianne McKay, who is a retired Registered Nurse, and who has a son who is gay.
In the beginning, the volunteers held once a month drop in meetings in the Unitarian Church and PARN helped with publicity. Very few people showed up at the first meetings, but those who did were determined. Some of them are still involved to this day. The main goal of these meetings was to talk to parents who were having trouble accepting that their children were gay, or who were concerned that their children would have a harder time in life because they were gay. PFLAG helped these parents see that their kids are fine just the way they are.
These early supporters of PFLAG Canada - Peterborough ON also worked with a youth group sponsored by PARN to provide education about being gay or lesbian and the problems gay teens and their families can face. They met with guidance counselors and teachers to talk about ways to make school a more accepting environment for gay students.
PFLAG Canada - Peterborough ON got off to a good start. Thanks to support from PARN and other groups, the volunteers persevered and the chapter continues today.

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Past Volunteers

Dr. Joyce Barrett, President 1999-2014

Dr. Joyce Barrett
  • We mourn the passing of Dr. Joyce Barrett, longtime PFLAG volunteer and co-ordinator who along with Dianne McKay managed PFLAG Peterborough for many years.

    January 23/14
    On behalf of myself and the board of PFLAG Durham Region, we would like to express our deepest condolences to Joyce's family. May you all find the strength to get through this most difficult time. She will always be remembered for her enthusiasm, contribution, dedication and hard work within the PFLAG community. She will be greatly missed.
    Tanya Shaw-White
    Acting President
    Vice President
    PFLAG Durham Region (PDR)
    January 22/14
    It is our volunteers who keep us strong and through them we build our futures in the investment to PFLAG Canada and inspire change in our local communities. This week, we have lost one of our great inspirations to contribute to our chapter in Peterborough, Dr Joyce Barrett passed peacefully Saturday January 18th 2014 after her battle with cancer. She was a tireless, dedicated volunteer and leader and has been with PFLAG since 1999 and many other causes along the way.
    Our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dr Joyce Barrett, along with the Peterborough Chapter, she will be missed dearly. Our thoughts are with this community and the families and friends Joyce has been able to be there for.
    Please take a moment and remember Joyce and what she meant to us
    Jayme Harper
    National Ambassadors Program Manager
    National Past President

    23/01/14 Peterborough Examiner: Memorial Service Feb. 1 at 1:00 p.m. at George Street United Church
    21/01/14 Peterborough Examiner: Joyce Barrett mourned
    20/01/14 My Kawartha: Joyce Barrett mourned by wide circle of friends


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John Syrett, Founder 1999-2005

  • John SyrettPosted August 19, 2005
    Trent Mourns the Death of John Syrett, Professor Emeritus
    The Trent University community is saddened to learn of the death of John Syrett, Prof. Emeritus, on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 as a result of a sailing accident off the coast of Owls Head, Maine.
    Prof. Syrett began his career at Trent University in 1972 in the History department. His specialty was American history and he taught courses in European history. Over the years he served in a number of different capacities including senior tutor Peter Robinson College (1974-77), chair of the History department (1984-88), chief negotiator for TUFA, Associate Dean of Part Time Studies (1995-96) and Acting Dean of Arts and Science (1996-1997). In 1982, he won the Symons Award for excellence in teaching. He retired from Trent in 2002 to the state of Maine.
    Prof. Syrett was also a well known guest on CBC radio's 'Ontario Morning' program where he provided commentary on a range of public affairs issues including Canadian-U.S. relations.
    Commenting on the death of Prof. Syrett, Colin Taylor, Dean of Arts and Science highlighted his many contributions and service to the University community. "While John Syrett contributed at many levels as a tutor, department head, TUFA representative and as a senior administrator, I think his greatest contributions were as a teacher and lecturer. John maintained a strong following among alumni and was renowned for his wonderful lectures. The many students who benefited from his courses and guidance, together with his colleagues, will miss him greatly."

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Consider becoming a PFLAG member and volunteering with PFLAG Peterborough.

We need you at our annual PRIDE BRUNCH and again a few times throughout the year to distribute information at various events.

If you have any questions, call 705-749-9723 or email

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