Live Our Heritage Transcript

We realized that a good number of the senior citizens were dying and they’re the ones with, I mean, natural old age and and one of the things that was going with them was their recollections and their stories and it was really very sad. And so, we wanted to sort of collect this, connect this. Pam is going to tell you a bit more about the the remembrance part of the project and so, once we got going on that, we realized that the stories the people that were passing away, they were long-term volunteers, there were people that lived from the beginning of the century, beginning of the last century and so we realized that we could do something that combined physical, combine people of different ages, combined people of different language backgrounds and cultures and also make it fun. It was an opportunity also to celebrate what people had achieved. To learn more because that’s one of the risks is that that loss, the potential loss and what you can learn from it.

One of the important things for us was making sure that it was accessible and that made year round because some people are just there in the summer. So that meant that there was going to be a web part to it so that you could see and view and visit. Another part was that, it be continually growing so that we will be able to continue our history, and we will be able to inspire people to then go back and look at their information and add that to it. The final part was something very important as well which was creating physical, permanent things so the kids were using made stools made with, that had mosaics on them, that are placed in different places in the community so that they have a pride in what it is they created and again it brought together a lot of different people.

The other one is the, I think, the one that really brought my partner and I together which is, it’s called the Remembrance Wall and it is a memorial to people that have been in the services and it also includes people like First Responders and things like that. It is now a permanent spot that people can come and it was, it’s always been a place that has really recognized Remembrance Day but what’s more important is that, now, there is a physical place to visit at any time during the year and as my colleague had said, there was a woman who came this year from Rimouski and she came because she was a mother and her son had died in Afghanistan. So, these are where you can bring people in and give them a place that they realize that there are people that are respecting people that have sacrificed for us in Canada. So, the physical place to go and touch stuff and see stuff also makes it more memorable for other people.

The project is actually 20 years collection of stories, ideas and I working with a partner Barb Abston. So, she believed in my ideas and away we went with the project was. The two-year project became a three year because of COVID but it actually, I actually enjoyed the COVID part because I was able to write about, I would say about 30 to 40 stories for the project. So, I could just do my thing. For me, it was important that we document not only the tourist part of it. Barb happens to be what I call the summer resident — I am the full-time residents — they have a story that’s completely different from my story but you can weave it together on the whole. The stories actually become the same. So, it’s very important to take all sides. There’s children’s — what they see, what they understand is interesting. So, yeah, we brought in everybody but not everybody can talk, not everybody can tell stories.

So, then, we have what part can you bring in so that people are all involved? We have artists, they speak through art, whether it be hook rug, painting or whatever, knitting. So, there’s, you know, you have to look at society as a whole. There’s many parts to it, there’s sad stories or happy stories. There’s, you know, you can look at whatever. I hear it all. Maybe, I don’t want to hear it all but, unfortunately, I do hear it all. Children are part of it, we ignore children. I grew up, in my lifetime, it was you were seen and not heard but you certainly heard lots of stuff even though you weren’t supposed to be seen. Because kids are, yeah, I used to listen on the stairs to see what they were talking about, didn’t understand it all, of course, because it’s not always the right place for children but, it’s amazing what I remember and as I grew older, I could put these stories together and understand what was that like.

It’s a very nice feeling because I plan to retire and after 20 years of well, it’s longer, but 20 years of collecting and working with stuff, it’s kind of a nice way to leave a job that I really liked. I’m really fortunate to have. So, for me, it’s almost like wow this is perfect — a perfect ending to a career that I’ve really, really liked.