Walking Tours of Historic Picton

Again this summer, History Lives Here will be hosting walking tours of historic downtown Picton. 

Let experienced guides take you on a 90-minute journey into the past along the side streets of the town. Hear the stories of the days when this small community was the epicentre of Confederation, a titan of trade dominating the Canadian canning industry, and a bustling shipping port. 

Tours are held Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings starting June 28th, 2019 through the summer/fall tourism season.

Tours begin at 10 AM. Tickets are $25/per person including tax.  There is a family rate of $60 including tax for two adults and two children under 15.

All tours are booked through

The Regent Theatre,

224 Main Street,

Picton, ON

Tel: 613 – 476 – 8416

or online at www.TheRegentTheatre.org

Flashback February 2019

The second annual celebration of Prince Edward County history – Flashback February – starts Saturday, February 16th, 2019! 

Flashback February Poster

This week-long event begins with a tribute to the infamous Fox Sisters, two teenagers from Consecon who in the 1840s were making $150 a night in the United States as “rappers” – clairvoyants supposedly connecting grieving relatives with their loved ones in the afterlife.  Parapsychologist Scott McClelland bring his paranormal show to The Regent Theatre in Picton to showcase this spiritual history.

Making Waves Program

History Lives Here Inc. is part of the founding group of organizers for the celebration hosting two events – a recital at The Picton United Church on Sunday, February 17th featuring professional organist Murray Baer with a program of contemporary music. The church is one of the County’s most historic landmarks – the site of the first Methodist conference in Canada in 1824. We’re also involved in organizing the MAKING WAVES Film Festival at The Regent Theatre on Friday, February 22 from 1 – 3:30 highlighting films on local and Canadian maritime history including a feature documentary on the epic journey of the Polar Prince icebreaker which crossed Canada’s three oceans as part the country’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2017. For tickets and more information on all events, visit www.flashbackfebruary.com


Imagine a village once named after a British customs clerk in Boston, Benjamin Hallowell, who was forced to make a run for it when mobs threatened to tar and feather him during the American Revolution. Later, that same community was re- named after a Welsh soldier, Sir Thomas Picton, once described by British military hero Lord Wellington as a “rough, foul-mouthed devil.”  During the first months of the War of 1812, a group of defeated American troops were paraded by their British captors down the main streets of communities like Picton throughout Upper Canada.

Hear these stories – and others – this summer as experienced guides take you on a 90-minute tour of Picton’s historic downtown. Starting on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018, twice – daily tours will take visitors along the streets of Picton to tell stories from the community’s rich past. The Wednesday through Sunday tours are another heritage initiative of History Lives Here Inc., the producers of the popular History Moments regional television series that plays before movies at area theatres like The Regent.

“ We’re dedicated to telling the stories showcasing the hidden history that is all around us,” says company founder Peter Lockyer. “ Our History Moments series has helped awaken the community to the history that has shaped this place. Over the winter months, we were working in local high schools to teach students how to tell their own hometown history stories. Now we’re taking the series to the streets through walking tours to share these wonderful stories with visitors and residents. This is a way of ensuring we document this history before it is lost to Time, while highlighting the need to preserve all the special places in The County for the future.”

The tours, says Lockyer, can also have a significant economic impact encouraging visitors to explore, shop, and dine in the downtown. The company is working closely with the Picton Business Improvement Association, The Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce, Picton Home Hardware, The Regent Theatre, and The Community Development department to develop this tourism experience.

“ Picton’s downtown is a vibrant heritage district with lots of history and varied visitor services,” says Sarah Doiron, the Executive Director of the Picton BIA. “We’re interested in developing tours and other events and activities to encourage residents and tourists to fully experience all the downtown area has to offer.”

Tours are Wednesday through Sunday at 9:30 – 1100 AM and 4:00 – 5:30 PM. Group tours are available upon request. All tours are booked through The Regent Theatre. Contact The Regent box office at 613 – 476 – 8416 or book online at www.theregenttheatre.org

CELEBRATING HOMETOWN HISTORY: The Launch of the 2016 History Moments Television Series

The rich history of the Quinte area will be celebrated at a special event on Friday, October 14th, 2016 from 5 pm – 7:30 pm at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ontario.

The event will showcase the premiere of twelve, two-minute stories of the region as part of the History Moments television series now in its sixth season. The series tells untold or forgotten stories from the past from Eastern Ontario communities – stories of early settlement, founding industries, prominent people, and events, which have shaped the history of the area and Canada. The series is broadcast on CKWS TV in Kingston, CHEX TV in Peterborough, TV Cogeco cable, before movies at several participating theatres, online on the websites of sponsors and community partners, and is distributed into local libraries, museums, and schools as learning resources.

Municipalities, businesses and tourism and heritage organizations sponsor the History Moments series. History Lives Here Inc., a Picton communications company, produces the History Moments series.

“These are old stories, but we believe there are new audiences for them,” says journalist Peter Lockyer, the creator of the series. “There was a time when Eastern Ontario was at the very epicenter of Confederation as a driving economic, social and political force. Those days are gone. But as we approach Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2017, it is timely to celebrate the past as a way of preserving it for future generations.”

This year’s series tells the story of Belleville as a railway town, the building of the Trent –Severn Waterway in the 1830s, the construction of Canadian Forces Base Trenton as a work project during the hard years of the Depression era, the restoration of Picton’s historic Royal Hotel, the history of Albert College, a Belleville private school that is older than Canada, the life of Quinte artist Manly MacDonald, and the making of Picton’s Sir John A. Macdonald sculpture to celebrate the life of Canada’s first prime minister and his early years as a “Quinte boy.”

The launch event is open to the public.

Historical Walking Tours Picton

One of the best ways to discover community history is through walking tours. 

Courtesy of Sandra Foreman Photography

History Lives Here Inc. has provided guided walking tours of Picton to visitors for over a decade now sharing stories of streets, buildings, people, and past events, which have shaped the community. 

Courtesy of Sandra Foreman Photography

One of the most popular tours is of the historic Glenwood Cemetery in Picton. Opened in 1873, this 62-acre property of winding roads, rolling hills, and mature trees is the final resting place of Wellington Boulter, the father of the canning industry in Canada, temperance pioneer Letitia Youmans, and a convicted murderer, a 23-year old man many people believed was hanged in 1884 for a crime he didn’t commit.

Courtesy of Sandra Foreman Photography

Experienced guides take you on this journey into the past. Tours last approximately 90-minutes.  The cost is $20/per person. A family rate (for two adults and two children under age 16) is $50. To arrange a tour, contact us by email at historyliveshere@bell.net 

The 2016 History Moments Video Series – APRIL 2016

The latest installment of our popular History Moments series is currently in production.

These highly – produced, two-minute television vignettes celebrate the history that is all around us. They are short stories from the past – stories of early settlement, founding industries, prominent people, and significant events, which have shaped the history of Eastern Ontario and Canada. These are old and forgotten tales. But there are new audiences for them. And as Canada approaches its 150th birthday in 2017, now is the time to tell these epic stories of our communities.

This year’s series – our sixth – will be launched Friday, October 14th at a gala event to be held at the Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ontario. Current stories include a portrait of Belleville artist Manly MacDonald (1889 – 1971), one of Canada’s foremost painters famous for his canvases of farming, pastoral scenes, and small towns in rural Ontario.  

Another story tells the past of Picton’s Royal Hotel, a landmark historic building on Picton’s Main Street built in the 1880s to accommodate upscale travelers expected to visit the community after the completion of the railway. Over a century later, the Royal was an abandoned building in need of extensive repairs. But today, the hotel is undergoing a massive restoration under the direction of Greg Sorbara, Ontario’s former finance minister, and his family. It is scheduled to re-open in late 2017 as a boutique hotel. 

Other stories in the series include tales from the era when Belleville was a railway town and the catastrophic railway accident in the 1870s that prompted a community effort to build the Belleville hospital. 

History Lives Here at the Belleville DocFest

Sandra Foreman Photography

History Lives Here has been a regular contributor to Belleville’s popular DOCFEST since the event’s inception five years ago. Organized by a small volunteer group of ardent documentary fans, the event has proved to be a sold-out success with the community hungry for thoughtful programming that rarely makes it to television and the big screen.

Courtesy Ben Quaiff

DOCFEST also provides a showcase for local filmmakers and students. Our entry this year was a seven-minute feature on the Music At Port Milford youth music camp that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Founded in 1986 by professional violinist Doris McLaughlin, today the camp is run by her daughter, Meg Hill, and her two daughters along with a small, volunteer board. Located on an old Loyalist homestead overlooking South Bay in scenic Prince Edward County, the camp attracts 40 talented students from across North America for intensive week – long workshops conducted under the direction of some of the best classical musicians in the world.  

Among Giants: Inside Trenton’s Dinosaur Factory

The Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed the forested river valleys of North America 65 million years ago – the dominant predator of its age. Up to 12 metres long and six metres tall, scientists estimate the creature could consume up to 230 kilograms (500 pounds) of meat in a single bite.  At that rate, it would certainly have taken several villages to raise this child.

Sandra Foreman Photography

But while the T-Rex in the cavernous warehouse of the Research Casting International plant in Trenton, Ontario still looks fierce, this one is a re-creation – a skeletal model destined for display at a special exhibit opening this year at the Tokyo Museum. Our job was to photograph the T-Rex in its assembled state before the model was taken apart for shipment to its new home so the museum could use the photos to promote the exhibit.

Sandra Foreman Photography

Making reproductions of dinosaurs is a rare skill set.  But that’s the day job of the 20-person staff of Research Casting International, one of four companies in the world capable of undertaking this work.  Under the direction of owner, Peter May, who used to work at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, the company has several projects underway at any given time for museums the world over including the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in the United States. In their own way, they are making history.