HISTORY MOMENTS is a series of short, video vignettes on local history themes - "popular history" that tells old stories to new audiences. Launched in September 2009 at the Regent Theatre in Picton, the series is now under development in several other Ontario communities.
Every community has its stories to tell. This rich heritage is often forgotten and lying hidden within disparate archival collections. But this hidden history can be transformed into engaging, popular history told to new audiences - tourists, another generation of settlers retiring in communities, and students unfamiliar with their hometown history.
HISTORY MOMENTS is a series of brief, video vignettes on local history themes that tell the story of early settlement, pioneer settlers, first industries, prominent figures, and significant events. The objective is to showcase local history, and to raise awareness of the importance of preserving this legacy and the community organizations that are the custodians of local history - museums, libraries, cemeteries and heritage societies.
The Loyalist Settlement of Prince Edward County, Ontario
It was an American event that profoundly shaped the history of Canada. In 1784, some 50,000 American colonists loyal to the British government ran for their lives northward for safe refuge in British North America and elsewhere as the American Rebellion raged throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Several thousand ultimately settled in places like Prince Edward County in Eastern Ontario. Today, this Loyalist legacy endures.
Barley, Beer and Big Bucks: The Barley Days (1860-1890)
By the mid - 1800s, the pine and hemlock forests of Prince Edward County had been cleared for farmland. The big crop was barley shipped across Lake Ontario to Oswego, New York for the American brewing industry. It was so lucrative, some farmers paid off their farm mortgages in a single season. But it was also dangerous. Hundreds of sailors died when winter gales drove their ships onto the area's notorious shoals.
Prince Edward County: The Garden County of Canada
In the early 1880s, a new industry quickly took root in Prince Edward County, the canning of fruits and vegetables. Within a decade, canned produce from this tiny Ontario place was shipped all over the world earning the area its title as The Garden County of Canada. But by the 1970s, increasing competition from other regions in Canada, imported produce, and new regulations forced local canners to close their plants. The canning era was over.
Wellington Boulter: The father of the canning industry in Canada
Wellington Boulter was a prominent businessman who began experimenting with the canning of fruits and vegetables on his farm in Prince Edward County, Ontario in 1879. In 1882, he opened the first successful fruit and vegetable canning factory in Canada in Picton. The business made Boulter wealthy and he is still remembered as the father of the canning industry in Canada.
The Art of Selling: Selling Canned Goods in the first days of the industry
In its first days, the canning industry was an imperfect science. Exploding cans and lead poisoning were common consumer complaints. To sell their products, the early canners depended heavily upon the talents of commercial artists to create appealing labels. In a age of widespread illiteracy, pictures had to make the pitch. This wonderful art endures in collections such as the Doug Crawford Canning Exhibit at the Wellington Museum in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
Celebrating Hockey History: The Story of the 1958/59 Belleville McFarlands
In March 1959, the best teams from the world gathered in Prague, Czechoslovakia for the World Cup hockey championships. The Belleville McFarlands represented Canada. This is the story of a time, a team and the town that loved them.
A Man Called Harvey: A profile of H. J. McFarland, Picton's longest-serving Mayor
Harvey McFarland grew up as a poor farm boy in Roblin, Ontario. His childhood experience drove him to seek a better life. After a series of jobs as a logger, and threshing grain and hauling rock with his team of horses, Harvey started a construction company that made him a millionaire.
Reverend William Macaulay: The man who gave Picton its name
Rev. William Macaulay settled in Picton in the early 1800s to establish a stone church and magnificent home on property inherited from his father. As a minister and landowner, Macaulay soon became an influential figure guiding early settlement and ensuring the young community got a suitable name - Picton after Sir Thomas Picton, a Welsh general who died in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo.
Historic Glenwood Cemetery
The Glenwood Cemetery is a 62 – acre property in downtown Picton. This historic cemetery with its trademark hills, winding roads and tall trees is typical of the Victorian era and is the final resting place for many of the area’s pioneer settlers and their families. In recent years, the cemetery has been restored including an elegant stone chapel with its six stained glass windows.
The Regent Theatre: The County's Centre Stage
Greek immigrant George Cook turned a warehouse on Picton’s Main Street into a theatre and opera house in 1918. The Cook Family operated the facility for many decades. Today, The Regent Theatre is the centre stage for cultural life in Prince Edward County.
The 1884 Double Hanging
In December 1883, the big news in Prince Edward County was the story of a botched robbery in the village of Bloomfield that left one man dead. A posse followed boot tracks in the snow to the homes of two local men – George Lowder, a 23 – year bricklayer, and Joseph Thomset, a 35 – year old fisherman. Despite their pleas of innocence, both Lowder and Thomset swung from the gallows at the Picton gaol in June 1884, the only men ever hanged in Prince Edward County.