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.

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. 


November 22, 2013

Peter Lockyer of History Lives Here

Ten more short stories drawn from the rich past of the Quinte region premiered last night at The Empire Theatre in Belleville.

The History Moments series showcases local history stories.  The 2013 edition – the fifth in this “popular history” series – told the story of medical researcher Dr. James Collip, a Belleville native who helped discover insulin, one of the great medical breakthroughs of the 20th century. Canadian Prime Minister, the Honourable Sir Mackenzie Bowell, the owner/publisher of the Belleville Intelligencer, was another of the features together with the stories of the heady days of the movie industry in Trenton (1917-1934), pioneer settler Asa Weller of Carrying Place, and the history of the area’s maple syrup industry. History Lives Here Inc., a heritage communications firm in Picton, produces the series.

The City of Belleville and its community heritage partners hosted the evening and Mayor Neil Ellis welcomed the over 200 people who attended by outlining the importance of preserving local history and heritage. Telling stories from the past is one part of the city’s communication plans for its downtown revitalization program.

Mayor Neil Ellis

For Richard Hughes, the President of the Hastings Historical Society, the evening was an opportunity for heritage organizations to work collaboratively to celebrate the past.

“Everyone I talked to last night was full of praise – and I talked to a lot of people.  Even before the films were shown, the mood was almost like a party,” says Hughes. “ A great deal of networking was done with different branches of the heritage and political families mixing.  This is an important side benefit of the occasion. The films were so well done, I am sure if you had asked the audience if they wanted a second showing, it would have been unanimous. “ 

Series producer Peter Lockyer introduced the History Moments noting that the Quinte region was once the epi-centre of Canada and a driving force within the economic, social and political life of the country.

“We may never again be regional power brokers within the country,” says Lockyer, “but we can re-tell these stories of another time when we were a dominant factor in shaping Canadian history. History is a big business in many communities throughout the world and it can be here. We should explore these opportunities so that history and heritage are not just vague cultural assets. They are economic drivers in communities throughout the Quinte area.” 

The Empire Theatre in Belleville and the Aron Theatre in Cambellford will soon begin playing the History Moments vignettes before movies. The series is currently shown before movies at The Regent Theatre in Picton, on TVCogeco in Belleville and CKWS Television in Kingston, online on community partner websites, and is made available as learning resources to area schools, museums and libraries.

 For more information, contact History Lives Here Inc.


Short Stories Of Our Community

Join us on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 7 PM at The Empire Theatre in Belleville for more short stories drawn from the rich past of the Quinte area.  

Included in this year’s series are video vignettes on scientist Dr. James B. Collip of Belleville, a member of the Banting and Best medical team which discovered insulin; Canada’s fifth Prime Minister Sir Mackenzie Bowell of Belleville who lead the country through tumultuous times in the late 1890s; the story of the city’s most prestigious social club, The Belleville Club, on the eve of its 100th anniversary in 2014; a feature on the pioneer origins of Belleville’s historic downtown; how the early days of the local maple syrup industry helped first settlers survive the hardships of the wilderness; and the heady era when the Canadian movie industry was centred in the small town of Trenton.  

For ticket information, contact: The Empire Theatre at  613-969

History Moments Series 5 Promo

Belleville 2012 History Moments launch speech

Thank you for sharing this special evening with us.

What we’re going to do tonight is show you 12 wonderful stories from the rich past of the Quinte area.

We might have shown you several thousand stories tonight because that’s how many there are. In fact there are so many, we will never ever run out of history.

But we thought that might make for a long evening, so we’re just going to show you 12. But the idea is that we will be back again next year at this time with another 12, and another 12 the year after that. And the series will continue indefinitely.

Why are we doing this?

One reason is that this is the 90th anniverary of the Belleville Kiwanis Club. I can’t think of a better birthday present than to share the history of the community with the community.

But there are other reasons.

One is the battle going on in communities all across the country and it is a battle that communities are losing…badly. This is the battle for heritage preservation.

In my hometown of Picton we lost an 1875 church on our Main street two years ago this month. It’s demolition followed the demolition of an entire nearby block six months before that. Today if you visit Picton you will see two weedy vacant lots where those buildings once stood.

I think we made a very poor trade.

Heritage buildings are a phsyical expression of our past.

And if you tear down all the special places in your community, you have to wonder what’s so special about your community? The sad answer to that is “absolutely nothing”. This is a squandered inheritance.

Heritage isn’t free. It’s come at an enormous cost to those who have gone before us. I think we owe them something.

We should remember them always. We should tell their stories…and we should be stewards in our time of the legacy they left us. That’s why it matters.

What if history and heritage made money?

If they did, we could partner with property owners and developers contributing dollars to projects, which preserved – rather than tore down – heritage properties.

The loss of heritage buildings is only going to get worse over the next 10-15 years as our volunteer organizations age.

Volunteers help maintain many old properties – cemeteries, archives, libraries and museums. But many volunteer community groups are aging. I could name you a dozen organizations in Prince Edward county on the verge of folding.

So the volunteer base is aging and at the same time, grants and funding for these organizations is declining.

Governments at all levels should be interested in this question because they are not possibly ever going to make up the difference in money and human capital to replace the millions of dollars and volunteer hours committed every year to a wide range of worthy causes….

Queen’s University released a study of the non-profit sector recentl and one of the stats in the study was that 7% of volunteers do 71% of the work, so you can see how vulnerable the sector is if just 7% of its members retire from volunteering.

And when they do, the churches and other heritage properties they now help to maintain are going to face an uncertain future.

So the big question is “What’s going to happen when you and I can’t do this work anymore?”

What if history and heritage made money? If they did, we could hire staff rather than recruit volunteers to do this work.

Young people don’t need a history lesson. They need jobs. And the truth is a young, skilled, competent professional working a 40-hour work week will out perform a volunteer borad. Volunteers give what they can. But it isn’t always enough.

There is a huge marketplace for history.

Every month, 68 million people around the world google the word history. They’re looking for history and we have it. And we have the means through new technologies to reach them.

History is one of the top three reasons why people travel after family and friends people.

The history channels in the U.S. and Canada exist because they link advertisers with 9.8 million Baby Boomers in Canada…. And their parents…who buy stuff…and lots of it.

We have the business case of – the online geneaology site with 1.7 million subscribers paying an average of $16.75 per month to access their records. That’s $28 million/month to look through old records of marriages, births and deaths. What do we have in our municipal archives, libraries, museums and cemeteries? We have old records.

Finally, we have the business model of Gettysburg, PA., which has turned its history forged during the 1860s during the American Civil War when 50,000 soldiers from both sides died in three days of fighting into a heritage economy – the concept that local history can be transformed into a suite of goods and services retailed to the world.

They make $385 million/year from the 3 million people who visit them each year. They’ve created 5,800 jobs and a tax base of $109 million. Now I ask you –”what could be simpler than to tell the same three days of history every year and make that kind of money?”

We have more than three days of history. We have 228 years of loyalist settlement. So why don’t we tell our stories to the world and develop a heritage economy? Why don’t we make money from our history?

If history made money, we wouldn’t tear down old landmark buildings. We’d value them as an important part of our past.

If history made money, we wouldn’t consider our archives, museums, libraries and cemeteries as municipal loss leaders and heritage beggars. We’d view them as profit centres and history factories.

If history made money, we would create jobs for young people in the history business rather than recruit an older generation as volunteers.

And if history could make money, it would answer the question –”What’s going to happen when we can’t do this work anymore?”

The answer is for us to be in the history business.

It’s not often you get to make history. But you and I are making history tonight because we are introducing our first product in the heritage economy – the 2012 History Moments series.

History has to be more than a vague cultural thing. It has to be something you can eat, something you can drink, something you can experience. This series is something you can hold in your hand…something you can experience.

So, the History Moments are just a first product because history can be a bus tour, a festival, a toy, a craft, a play, a specialty food or drink. But as a first step we need to awaken the community to the rich history that is all around is and the enormous economic possibilities if we retailed our stories to the world.

There are new audiences for these old stories. We can create a new industry from an old asset. And that’s why the past matters.

I would like to thank the Kiwanis club for allowing us to be part of their 90th anniversary celebrations.

And also to thank our sponsors – the Black Prince winery, The Belleville Intelligencer, the City of Belleville, the Corporation of the County of Prince Edward County, Essroc Cement, the Inrig family, LaFarge North America, and our community partners – the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County, the Hastings County Historical Society, the Museums of PEC, the Glenwood Cemetery, and TV Cogeco.

Finally I’d like to thank all the people who assisted in the making of the series. I don’t do this work alone so know when you watch these stories, you are watching the work of many highly-talented people.

We hope you will join us for a glass of Black Prince wine and a reception after the showing.

Here now is the 2012 History Moments Series.

Making Hometown History Belleville Kiwanis and History Moments 2012 launch!

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Kiwanis Club of Belleville.

As part of its anniversary events, the club is celebrating area history by partnering in the launch of a history series showcasing the rich past of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. The series launch will take place at The Empire Theatre in Belleville at 7 pm. on Saturday, September 29th with a second launch at 7 pm. and at The Regent Theatre in Picton on Monday, October 15th, 2012.

The series, called History Moments, features short stories of early settlement, prominent people and significant events, which have profoundly shaped the past of the Quinte region. History Lives Here Inc., a heritage communications company in Picton, has pioneered the concept in Prince Edward County producing an annual series over the past three years, which plays before movies at The Regent Theatre, is distributed into area schools, libraries, archives, and museums as an educational resource, retailed at local shops, and broadcast online on community partner websites to promote increased tourism and to enhance the profile of local heritage organizations.

“We wanted to celebrate our history as part of our anniversary plans, “ says Kiwanis President Ed Hawman. “This series is a means of celebrating more broadly with the community by showcasing these wonderful stories drawn from the past.”

“This is popular history,” says series producer Peter Lockyer. “ The series is designed to engage the community in its past – to awaken us to the history that is all around us, and the enormous economic potential of promoting our history to the world. The past can be a big part of the future if we work together to promote it as a suite of products retailed to heritage travelers.”

This year’s series will profile pioneer author Suzanna Moodie; the story of Eleanor May Bowden, the British servant girl at the Philip’s house (now Glanmore National Historic Site), one of the home children from poor English families sent to Canada and Australia to help populate these countries; the history of one of Canada’s oldest community newspapers, the Belleville Intelligencer; the company town of Pt. Anne and the Village of Wellington celebrating its 150th anniversary this year; and the story of the Fox Sisters from Consecon in Prince Edward County, two clairvoyant young women who helped shape the spiritualist movement in the United States in the 1850s.

Area businesses such as Black Prince Winery, Essroc Cement, Lafarge Canada, The Belleville Intelligencer, and the City of Belleville and the Corporation of the County of Prince Edward are sponsoring the series. Project proceeds help support the work of the Kiwanis Club of Belleville.

To purchase tickets to the launch events, contact:

The Empire Theatre (613)969-0099

The Regent Theatre (613)476-8416

The Kiwanis Club of Belleville

Launch of the 2011 History Moments Series III

Thank you for sharing this day with us. My name is Peter Lockyer and I have a company called History Lives Here Inc.

We’re here to celebrate the third series of History Moments.   

The History Moments are short, video vignettes on the local history of Prince Edward County that play before movies at The Regent, are broadcast on Cogeco cablevision, distributed into area schools, archives, libraries and museums, are used as part of the interpretative program to the over 550,000 annual visitors to The Sandbanks Provincial Park, are retailed in over 30 local stores, and broadcast online on the company website   

Starting this week, the series will be featured at another new event – the first Picton Picturefest, a cinema festival here at the Regent and other venues in the County. I like this idea – and I especially like that it is being organized by people a whole lot younger than I am – something I’d like to discuss with you today.  

The History Moments series is produced in association with The Glenwood Cemetery, The Museums of Prince Edward County, and The Regent Theatre. It’s one of several initiatives we have undertaken together to develop a history product line. We have our Gallows and Graveyards Walking Tours of Picton now in their 4th year, which takes place Friday and Saturday nights at 6:30 throughout the summer. Friday night’s tour takes you through the home and church of Rev. William Macaulay who was a titan of his time here in The County…and we also take you into the old gallows where we hanged two men in June 1884.   

Saturday night’s tour takes place at Glenwood Cemetery.  There’s a special walking tour tonight if you would like to take a tour of the restored Chapel at the Glenwood Cemetery and tour the grounds. Glenwood is actually a wonderful heritage restoration success story. So we invite you to come visit this evening and throughout the summer on Saturday nights to hear about what we’ve been doing over the last decade to restore this spectacular 62-acre heritage Victorian cemetery.  

And we have our fall/winter lectures series that we have developed. We’re working on our line up of speakers, but I can tell you that author Peter C. Newman has agreed to be one of our speakers this year. And we’re also partnering this year with Libby Crombie of Royal Lepage Proalliance Realty and Stephanie Lynn who have developed their Heritage Christmas House tour, which will take place on Sunday, December 4th.  

So we have started to develop a range of heritage products. We are doing all this to increase community awareness of the rich history that is all around us. Our thinking is that if you know about this heritage, then you will care about it, and become engaged in efforts to preserve it.  

Today’s launch of the third History Moments series is free.  

It is for two reasons. The first is that the partners in the project all feel quite strongly that nobody is every going to pay money to hear me speak.  

But the second reason is because we want to tell you that heritage isn’t free. It’s come as a result of an enormous effort by those who have gone before us…. It’s been built at great cost by the small deeds and great endeavours over the decades by people who believed – against great odds – that they could start over in a new land, build their community and build a nation.  

I think we owe them something. We owe them an equal effort to remember them…to tell their stories…and to safeguard rather than squander – the inheritance they left us.  

Last year was not a good year for heritage in Prince Edward County. In March 2009 we lost a block of our Main Street in Picton to a new development yet to be built a year later. It’s located next to the block of gracious old houses we tore down in the 1970s to build a mini mall. And it was just across the street from the old Methodist Church built in 1875 that was demolished last summer. We all watched with a certain horror and morbid fascination as the building was first mortally wounded with its side gouged out…and then ultimately ripped down.  

I remember telling you then at our launch last year that on the worst of days I was always cheered by the fact that the pyramids are safe…. as long as they stay in Egypt because in Prince Edward County we would have ripped down those piles of rocks a long time ago.  

It’s a year later. We have had a municipal election, and heritage was actually an election issue. I believe that’s the first time that has ever happened here. And so the election is over, but the problem is not.  

In fact, we have just a short distance from here, two buildings along our Main Street that can be considered as part of the “endangered species list.”  

The Royal Hotel was built in the early 1880s in anticipation of a new upscale traveler that would come to visit as a result of the completion of the railway. That didn’t happen because the railroad went under…and the Royal soon followed. And yet under new management, the Royal did become a successful hotel and an enduring icon of our Main Street. Now it’s future is again very uncertain. The roof is in bad shape…and the building is under bankruptcy protection.

A second building is the Downes House behind the Bank of Montreal across from the cenotaph. We produced a History Moments last year about this house built by Capt. John Pepper Downes in the 1850s. Downes was the town clerk back then, but he was also a talented artist who left us 12 remarkable pencil sketches of early life here. The building is in poor shape…and unless it can have a future that justifies the expense of restoring it, it too faces a grim future.  

I would add a third building that we are not yet talking about. It’s the massive United Church in Picton that has – like most churches – a declining congregation, and considerable overhead. I used to ask my Uncle Jack Ward “What’s going to happen to the church?” He said last year around this time that there wasn’t a problem because there were 4-5 people like him who could afford to drop $100 – $200,000 into the building. My Uncle Jack died last winter…now there are only 3-4 people with the kind of deep pockets to keep the building going.   Last winter, as well, one of our municipal buildings – a town hall in Demorestville – unexpectedly had its roof collapse.   

If you tear down…or lose by neglect…all the special places in your community, you have to ask, “What’s so special about my community?” And the sad answer to that is “Nothing.” Heritage has an incalculable cost when you lose it because it is never, ever coming back.  

We too are aging along with our buildings. I’m not as old as the Royal… although from time to time, my son thinks my roof could use a little repair.  

I could name you a dozen organizations in Prince Edward County on the verge of folding. It’s just demographics really…. the 9.8 million boomers and their parents are getting older.  

Municipal governments should be concerned about this because the thousands of volunteers hours that are given – for free – each year to maintain heritage properties like The Regent, Glenwood Cemetery, our five museums, and other properties, are not going be there much longer…. The millions of dollars raised by volunteers in communities all across Canada for a wide range of worthy causes – for free – may not be there in a few years either… The big question is “What’s going to happen when you and I can’t do the work we do anymore?  

I believe it’s a great folly to think that things will always be the way they’ve always been, just because they have always been. We may very soon witness a sort of collapse of communities as all these groups…and the heritage properties they maintain…can’t go on any longer.   So what’s to be done?  

I believe we have to begin having that a candid discussion about the future. There is simply no way that this county…or any other – can afford the cost of heritage preservation in the future…. unless…. we all begin to embrace profound, systemic change.   

Most heritage organizations are small, fragile, volunteer groups. They may not have  staff…and they have no money. And they have no plan for the future. They are “heritage beggars” dependent upon dwindling government grants, hard-pressed local governments which view them as “municipal loss leaders,” and the charity of their communities to support them.   I have spent much of my life working with non-profit organizations as an Executive Director, board member and chair, volunteer and consultant. Over the last decade, I have worked with a volunteer board to restore a heritage property, The Glenwood Cemetery in Picton.  So I have lived the concept I am presenting to you today. And the concept is this:   Every community has its stories to tell.  These are often hidden away in the collections of museums, libraries, cemeteries and archives. But this “hidden history” can be transformed into “popular history” – goods and services that meet the worldwide consumer demand for history and heritage. In this way, history and heritage can be considered a commodity that can be mined and refined, processed and packaged, marketed, distributed and retailed just like any other product.   Heritage organizations are storehouses of history – “history factories” – that can become “profit centres” if only we developed the untapped potential lying dormant in our communities to develop a “heritage economy.”   

The Marketplace for History   History is one of the top three reasons why people travel after family and friends.   

The History Channel links advertisers with a consumer demographic – 9.8 million boomers and their parents who are now engaged in the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. This is news to my Mother, but I am telling you this is happening.   

Every month, 68 million people around the world Google the word “history.” They’re looking for history…and we have it. And we have the means to reach them through new technologies.  

Gettysburg, PA makes $91 million/year and has created nearly 2,500 jobs from the 1.2 million people who visit annually. Every year, they tell the same story  of three days of history forged in the 1860s during the Civil War….and make $91 million dollars. 

So why don’t we tell our stories to the world and develop a “heritage economy”?  

History can be expressed in a great many ways. We need to develop our own line of heritage products such as:  

– Specialty wines and foodstuffs

– Videos, books, plays, music, lectures, and bus, walking, and historic house tours, and crafts Could we make quilts that tell the story of the War of 1812? Or the story of John A. Macdonald’s time in Picton in the 1830s to celebrate his 200th birthday in 2015?  

Could we make reproductions of artifacts, which celebrate Samuel Champlain’s visit here almost 400 years ago? I asked my friend artist Bruce Milan this week whether he could make an astolabe as a product we would sell to celebrate Champlain’s visit. I told him it didn’t have to work. I don’t think this early navigational equipment worked all that well for Sam. Let’s face in those days, you either turned left or right and you discovered some place. If you went straight ahead, you just fell off the edge of the world…in which case, you discovered space.  

– Could we have period events (re-enactments for the War of 1812 bicentennial, the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s visit in 2015, and the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald in 2015)  

– Could we work with the small army of volunteers who each year bring you the Picton Fair? The fair was 175 years old last year. We did a History Moment about that. But it won’t have a 200th birthday. The fair is brought to you by an older group of volunteers…could we work with them to transform the fair into an 1880s period fair so we are all in costume, we empty the museums of displays from the period, we ask our chefs to prepare period meals, our wineries and breweries to make heritage wines and beers to celebrate the event…. We have Taste The County help with the marketing…. Could we in this way ensure the fair has a secure future as yet another of our heritage products.  

– Could we help support The Macdonald Project?  

John A. Macdonald spent his early years in the Picton area and as a teenager, he practiced law there in the 1830s. The Macdonald Project is an initiative to erect a bronze sculpture of him in Picton during the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2015. This project and Macdonald’s birthday have the potential to be a major local, regional and national event.    

– Can we support The Miss Supertest Celebration

– August, 6,7th, 8th 2011?   50 years ago this August, the Canadian race boat Miss Supertest captured her third

– and last

– victory in the Harmsworth international races held in Picton.   

On August 6,7,8th we will celebrate this sports history with the launch of a Canada Post commemorative stamp honouring the boat, and a weekend of boat displays and activities. I’m going to show you an excerpt of a documentary we are making that will play at The Regent as part of that anniversary weekend.    

I believe heritage is ultimately about money. If it’s money that is causing us to lose our heritage, can we make money out of heritage? The answer is yes.   

We have infinite supplies of the raw resource – history;   

We have access to a skilled labour force, our creative community, who can express history and heritage in a wide range of unique, popular history products;   

We have a retail system already in place – our museums, archives, libraries, schools, and cemeteries throughout Eastern Ontario; 

We have an existing marketing arm in tourism organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Taste The County, and other groups already marketing this special place;   

And we have a worldwide marketplace for history… in addition to the marketplace here – the 700,000 people who visit us every year.  Why don’t we sell them $100 worth of history during their stay, and develop a heritage economy worth over $70 million dollars annually?  

The profits we make from our heritage economy can be re-invested in our heritage infrastructure through a revolving venture capital loan fund that provides long-term, low-interest loans to developers like the owners of the Royal Hotel and the Downes House so that they can create jobs, a tax base, and restore a heritage building.  

Until we can find ways to finance ourselves, we will always be heritage beggars. We will watch our landmark buildings and special places disappear and be unable to intervene; our organizations will simply age and tire and fade from view in the coming decade; and we will not be a factor in shaping an alternative vision for our communities that embraces and respects the past. We will –at best – watch from the sidelines.   

We need to think bigger. No amount of bake sales, silent auctions, or bottle drives is ever going to save a heritage building.   

We need to act collectively to share limited resources. We need to complement each other rather than compete. We need to become the sum of our parts rather than remain as isolated and largely irrelevant organizations.   

We can’t continue to be the Sleepy Hollow of history, the Rip Van Winkle of heritage any longer. We need to awaken to the enormous potential of developing our own business and a heritage economy. That’s why history and heritage matters.   So as you watch this year’s History Moments series, know that there was a high cost to the heritage we have…and that we need to find a way to safeguard – rather than squander – this great legacy.    

The History Moments are all sponsored by local businesses and organizations. I would like to thank our 2011 sponsors:  

1.The Adolphustown-Fredericksburg Heritage Society

2. The Black Prince Winery

3. The Glenwood Cemetery

4. The Hastings Prince Edward District School Board

5. Loch Sloy Business Park

6. Lafarge North America  – Bath Plant

7. The Loyalist Parkway Association

8.  The Mohawk Learning and Cultural Centre 

9. The Museums of PEC

10. The Picton Business Improvement Association

11. The Picton Gazette

12. The Sandbanks Provincial Park and The Friends of The Sandbanks    

I would also like to thank the people I work with to bring you this series each year – Lynn Pickering is co-producer and writer, Sandy Foreman does all our photography, Jacques Dumas of Ottawa is our audio specialist and French producer, Adam McLaren and Ben Quaiff help with the camera work, Daniela Testolini of Dolphin Media in Ottawa is our editor, Precision Transfer Technologies in Ottawa provide duplication services, and They Integrated of Belleville look after our website.   

I have to be creative in managing them because I ask them to do the impossible all the time. Last year, I can tell you that morale picked up appreciably when I announced that the Black Prince Winery was one of our new sponsors. They were a bit disappointed this year when my plans to have a History Moments on the cheese industry of Prince Edward County didn’t happen. It’s another wonderful story…but their thinking was that now that we have all this wine, we really should have some cheese to go with it. Well…maybe next year!  

These are very talented people…. and when you watch this, you will see their work, not just mine. Here now is the 2011 History Moments series.



We’ve been working on something else lately as well – a documentary that will play at The Regent on Monday, August 8th as part of the Miss Supertest celebration that takes place that weekend. I hope you’ll participate in this celebration because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, the launch of a commemorative stamp honouring Canadian sports history that was made here 50 year ago this summer. I’d like to thank another member of our creative community, Barry Silverthorn of The Electric Wallpaper Company, for his video work in taping the Toronto Boat Show last January…and driving through a wild snowstorm with us to get there.  


RUNS: 5:36    

The Miss Supertest event is a celebration of our water heritage. We hope to make this into an annual event. It’s all part of the “big picture” thinking so that we don’t value heritage so much as a  “warm and fuzzy” – a vague, cultural asset…. an afterthought…a last priority…the luxury we can never afford.  Instead, we need to consider it as an untapped commodity –“ a hidden wealth” that can drive our local economies because heritage is ultimately about money…. and big money at that.  

So some of us have started the work that needs to be done… We’re the little company with the big idea…and we’re partnering with heritage organizations in our community …and others…. to make this happen. But the work of the few needs to become the work of many if we are to succeed. We all need to become pioneers for another period.  

I think this begins with public education…. with community engagement….with product development so we develop a heritage economy. We need to make money. We need to make History.  

I’d like to invite you to join us now for a reception featuring History Lives Here wine made for us by the Black Prince Winery…. and don’t forget our walking tour tonight at 6:30 at The Glenwood Cemetery. And thank you very much for being with us today.