County History Nights

In partnership with the County Cider Company and St. John’s Anglican Church in Waupoos, History Lives Here will be hosting four area authors speaking about the rich history of the region. Join us for dinner and drinks at The County Cider Company and then for the lecture at the nearby St. John’s Church. Contact County Cider for tickets and reservations @ $45/person plus tax. Tickets will also be available at the door of the church for $25.

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

A JOURNEY INTO THE PAST: WALKING TOURS OF HISTORIC PICTON

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

Heritage Week in Prince Edward County

The Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee, the Prince Edward Historical Society, The County Museums, the Prince Edward County Library and Archives, the Friends of Sandbanks, History Lives Here, and the Regent Theatre have teamed up to organize Flashback February during Ontario Heritage Week Feb. 17-25.

“Prince Edward County is a crossroads of history,” says Jennifer Lyons, Head Curator of The County’s museum system. “This area has been an epi-centre of the development of Eastern Ontario and Canada’s 150 years of social, economic, and cultural achievements. That history is all around us in street names, historic properties, and the cultural landscapes that make this a special place. We hope to create some history ourselves by making this an annual celebration of who we are.”

The inaugural Flashback February will include hands-on learning opportunities, live demonstrations, talks, culinary offerings, film screenings and stories – all exploring the relationships of past, present, and future in Prince Edward County. Talented chefs, experts, curators, artists, and innovators will be on hand to spark conversation, lead activities, and dig into our rich history.

“We often think of heritage in terms of conservation, but it is just as important that we take the time to recognize and celebrate our many cultural, natural, architectural, and archaeological resources that we strive to protect,” says Robert Quaiff, Mayor, County of Prince Edward. “Heritage might be our past, but it still informs who we are today. I look forward to a fun and active exploration of that history throughout Flashback February.”

Flashback February will kick off with a launch event on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 2-5 pm at Parsons Brewing Company in Picton, one of a number of local companies pioneering the development of the craft brewing industry in the area.  Sunday night features a County-themed Trivia Night hosted by the Museums at the Wellington Legion.   On Monday, Feb. 19 starting at noon, the Friends of Sandbanks Park will host Family Day outdoor activities at Maple Rest Heritage House at West Lake. As an indoor option that day, Suzanne Pasternak presents County History, Legends & Music, an event for kids and grownups. Also on Family Day, the Friends of the Wellington Heritage Museum will host a pancake breakfast at the Wellington and District Community Centre from 8-10 am.  

Two afternoon lectures at Macaulay Heritage Park anchor the mid-week events – one by Peter May of Research Casting International in Trenton, one of three companies in the world making replica dinosaurs for world museums. The second lecture highlights the work of artist Gesina Laird-Buchanan of Napanee who creates life-size models of iconic historical figures like Mohawk leader Molly Brant and artist Tom Thomson from wool. The Museums and the Libraries will also team up for a series of demonstrations replicating historical objects through 3-D printing processes, with sessions for children and general audiences.

A mini Film Fest will be held at the Regent Theatre on Friday, Feb. 23 beginning at 1 pm, presenting films on County history.

Heritage–inspired dinners, prepared by local chefs Lee Arden Lewis and Michael Hoy, will be held in the evening on Thursday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 24.

During the day on Saturday, Feb. 24, expert Moe Johnson will offer a presentation about the pottery of early Ontario, including the Hart-Lazier earthenware that was unique to the Bay of Quinte area.

The week-long celebration concludes Sunday, Feb. 25 with an all-day Victorian culinary workshop at Macaulay House in Picton, where a multi-course period dinner will be prepared and enjoyed by registrants.

For more information and to view the week’s schedule of activities, please visit www.thecounty.ca/county-government/departments/museums/whats-on/flashback-february/.

To purchase a ticket for one of the heritage-themed dinners or to attend the Film Fest, please visit the Regent Theatre website www.theregenttheatre.org/tickets/ or call 613.476.8416.

THE 2016 HISTORY MOMENTS LAUNCH

Over 120 people attended the launch of the latest History Moments television series at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ontario on Friday, October 14, 2016.

With a restored, vintage Halifax bomber serving as a backdrop to the event, 12 more short stories of Eastern Ontario history were shown on a large screen to a crowd of VIPs, municipal officials, members of local heritage organizations, and residents.

Mayor Jim Harrison of the City of Quinte West welcomed visitors to the museum and event noting the rich history of his community and the area. Several stories in the series showcased the military history of Trenton including the construction of the Trent-Severn Canal by British engineers in the 1830s, the building of CFB Trenton as a federal government “make work” project during the Depression Years, and the role of the base as an air training facility for Commonwealth pilots during the Second World War.

“We’re very pleased to have been able to launch our series in such an historic place as the National Air Force Museum of Canada, and for the continued support from sponsors like the City of Quinte West,” says series’ creator, Peter Lockyer of History Lives Here Inc. “Every year our team of researchers, and writers go on a journey of discovery as we search the collections of area archives, libraries, historical societies, and museums to tell these wonderful stories.  As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, I can’t think of a better gift to Canadians than to tell them these stories from our past.”

The current series will air on CKWS TV in Kingston, and CHEX TV in Peterborough over the next weeks before its re-broadcast on TVCogeco cable stations and before movies at several participating area theatres.

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.