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County’s rich heritage in the spotlight this week

Carlos Romanidis and Amanda Goulet toast to the sounds of fiddler Luke Norton, performing at the kick-off event for PEC Heritage Week February Flashback.

Showcasing Prince Edward County’s rich heritage could become an economic driver for the immediate future.

Saturday, representatives from several groups behind the the organization of activities and events this week in the County, launched ‘Flashback February Heritage Week’.

“We’ve all come together this year to celebrate heritage, said Peter Lockyer, historian and filmmaker from History Lives Here, noting Ontario Heritage Week comes and goes each year without much fanfare, or economic benefit.

Landon Lynch, of Oakville, and Adara Kilduff of Picton test out old-fashioned toys from the PEC Museum at the PEC Heritage Week February Flashback kick-off event at Parsons Brewery.

“This time of year is usually quiet. If this could become like a Maple in the County event, of that sort of size and scope and of economic value, we could showcase history as an economic driver,” said Lockyer. “We have plenty of history, we just don’t make any money out of it, so if we can by partnering with all of the other assets we have in the County, that’s the recipe for success. If history made money, like it does in many other places in the world, everybody would be in favour of maintaining the heritage aspects we have.”

Flashback February Heritage Week in Prince Edward County is a first attempt to bring groups and businesses together to create a lively week of activities to brighten the mid-winter lull.

Steve Ferguson, South Marysburgh councillor and president of the Prince Edward County Historical Society, said the week comes about thanks to the organization by numerous people and groups, spearheaded by The heritage advisory committee, the historical society, County museums, library and archives, the Friends of Sandbanks, History Lives Here and the Regent Theatre.

Groups are only part of it, said Ferguson, noting many people have played an important role in the history and heritage of Prince Edward County.

“History and heritage is not just buildings. We certainly have built architecture being preserved with people like Alex Fida (Falconer House), Alexandra Bake and family (several downtown buildings), Jonathan Kearns who is re-modelling the Legion, and Greg Sorbara (Royal Hotel) who has also purchased the Wexford House,” he said “But heritage also involves an education componenet as represented by people like Libby Crombie with the annual Christmas House Tour, and Peter Lockyer with History Lives Here film series. There’s also heritage landscape preservation and celebration and making sure they’re protected as shown through the work of County residents Liz Driver and Edwin Rouse as members of the heritage district.”

Businesses too, have a place in celebrating the County’s heritage.

Chris Parsons

Parsons Brewing Company, the host for the Flashback February kick-off, was a purposeful choice.

“People walking in here today say ‘nice barn’, but those who know their history and heritage look at this as a stunning example of restoration of an early property,” said Ferguson.

Host Chris Parsons told the crowd the business is based on heritage, through the buildings pain-stakingly restored and refurbished, and also through its craft beer.

Chris and Samantha Parsons restored two historic buildings they bought and moved to the Hwy 49 property. The bottle shop was previously a blacksmith shop, a drive shed and at one time, a parsonage.

“We glean from Europe where
every little town like Picton would have two or three breweries,” he said. “We have outdoor communal space for a sense of community, a strong connection with farmers and beers as local as you can get with barley from Big Island, malted local north of Belleville; hops from hillier and we’re going to have batch number 100 brew which is our own barley coming up and our own hops – striving to make in an old-world way, with modern techniques to make it something to be proud of.”

Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith thanked the couple for salvaging some of the County’s heritage andturning it into something that’s spectacular.

“I think it’s an important time to make sure we recognize all the efforts that are going on in our community,” said Smith. “We have so much history in the County to celebrate and we can turn that into economic development because people are so passionate about what they do.”

That history includes the country’s first Prime Minister Sir John A Macdonald who spent a lot of time in the County as his parents operated the grist mill at Glenora and he as a young lawyer fought his first court case here. The politician would tell an audience “you would rather have John A. drunk, than George Brown sober”.

“I’ve said this a few times, that our country’s first Prime Minister would love the County a lot more now than he did back then with our breweries, wineries and cideries,” Smith chuckled. “But he did say that we live in a great country and we will live in the greatest country in the universe – if we preserve it. It’s the work of people in Prince Edward County who are doing their very best to make sure that we preserve the heritage we have.”

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff declared February 19th to 25th as Heritage Week and invited guests packed into the brewery to raise a toast.

Prince Edward County 225 Celebration committee members Pam Piercey, Ken Dewar and Shirley Lewchuk with the time capsule that will be filled and sealed with artifacts to be unveiled on a date yet to be determined.

“Flashback February celebrates the past, the present and the future,” said Quaiff. “Heritage comes alive in the County. We can taste it in our drinks, and in the food on our plates. Our collective heritage is preserved in our music and in our literature in our photographs and historical objects, in our visual arts, and in our landscapes and streetscapes. This week offers us a chance to celebrate all of those things together.”

The week includes hands-on learning opportunities, live demonstrations, talks, culinary offerings, film screenings and stories – all led by talented chefs, experts, curators, artists, and innovators sparking conversation, leading activities, and digging into rich history.

Events continue Wednesday with a presentation about dinosaurs by Peter May, founder and president of Research Casting International in Trenton which provides museums around the world with restored dinosaur fossils, casts and mounts. Meet at 1 p.m. at Macaulay Heritage Park on Church Street in Picton for the presentation. Admission is by donation.

The Picton Branch Library will host a special children’s presentation on History in 3D beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

History inspires figurative felt sculptor Gesina Laird-Buchanan and she has modelled some of her greatest works of art on historic Canadian figures – including Sir John A Macdonald, Tom Thomson and Emily Carr. Visit Macaulay Heritage Park at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 to learn more about needle felting and to see her works up close. Admission by donation.

Jackson’s Falls Country Inn will host a heritage themed dinner Thursday evening. Advance tickets only, by contacting the Regent Theatre at 476-8416.

The launch of the 2018 History Moments Series Friday at the Regent Theatre will feature three films from 1-3 pm including stories of the House of Falconer and Alex Fida’s efforts to save an historic Picton home and an excerpt from the documentary Sponsorland, about a County family of Syrian refugees and their sponsors.

The new History Moments series of 10 films, including the story of County resident Jennie Creighton, of Cressy, who travelled to Watertown in the 1860s to take a dressmaking course. She met a young clerk in a drugstore named Frank Woolworth and together they started the Woolworth chain of five and dime stores.

There is also a story from Peter Lockyer’s family called The Letters.

“It focuses on an extensive collection of letters kept by my great grandmother from and to her son Chris Railton Lockyer, who died at age 19 in August 1917 at the Battle of Hill 70 in France,” said Lockyer. “The letters have been kept in my family for 100 years and passed down through the generations in memory of him.”

Saturday’s events include a look at Early Ontario pottery, including the Hart-Lazier earthenware unique to the County and Bay of Quinte area. Meet at 1 p.m. at Macaulay Heritage Park for Moe Johnson’s presentation. Admission by donation.

In the evening, Chef Michael Hoy will present a heritage themed dinner at 106 Bridge. Advance tickets only. Contact the Regent Theatre at 476-8416 to book.

Heritage Week wraps up Sunday with a Hearth to Table Victorian Culinary Workshop and dinner under the instruction on historian Tammy Lloyd, of Lady Victorian Historical Presentations. Participants will cook and bake their way through a complete 19th century dinner using the open hearth and wood-fired oven at Macaulay house. Contact the museums at 476-2148, ext 2521 for details.

Click here for a table of events and times for the remainder of the Flashback February History Week events 

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  1. Gil Charlebois says:

    Possible celebration activities advertised in the peak summer tourist season to capture the essence of our County???Max exposure!!

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