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.

Press Release: History Nights

Re-live the earliest days of Canada’s maritime history on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 at 7 PM at The Regent Theatre in Picton as the History Nights At The Regent winter lecture series concludes with a presentation on our first native–born naval commander.

In the first years of the country that became Canada, the might of the British navy safeguarded our borders. But even the British suffered defeats. In 1756, a French naval commander named Rene – Hippolyte Laforce defeated British forces in the only naval battle in history between the British and the French on the Great Lakes. Laforce so impressed his enemy they hired him to fight for them against American forces during the War of 1812. Later, he helped transport Loyalist settlers into the area, and conducted hydrographic surveys.

Hear the story of this French naval commander told by Kingston historian, David More, the author of several award-winning books on Canadian history published by Fireship Press. More is also the manager of Brigantine Inc., a Kingston charitable organization providing naval training to young people onboard its tall ship, The St. Lawrence II.

History Lives Here Inc. sponsors the History Nights At The Regent lecture series in association with The Merrill Inn and The Regent Theatre.

For ticket information, contact The Regent Theatre, 224 Main St. in Picton

Telephone: 613-476-8416


A small crowd braved a wild winter storm in Picton last night to attend the launch of the 2014 History Nights At The Regent lecture series.

This series of three lectures on heritage themes kicked off with a presentation on the heady days of the movie industry between 1917-1934 in Trenton, Ontario when a series of Canadian companies set up shop in this unlikely place.

Guest speaker, Peggy Dymond Leavey, the author of a book on the subject, told the story of the Canadian movie industry of the times, the “boom and bust” nature of the first film companies, their impact upon the community, and the legacy of the era.

It was the time of silent films – romances, comedies, and the occasional blockbuster epic like “Carry On Sergeant” a film with a staggering $500,000 budget shot on location in various Trenton and Kingston sites.  When it premiered at the Regent Theatre in Toronto in November 1928, nearly 18,000 people showed up to view the film and hear the live orchestra that provided the musical soundtrack.

But the industry was never a commercial success, and the Ontario government, which owned the Trenton studio, got tired of its annual losses. It closed the facility in 1934 and ordered all the films destroyed. Miraculously, some survived the government dictate, and in 1965, 2,400 reels of film were discovered in a North Bay barn. For all its ups and downs, the whirlwind days of making movies in Trenton left a legacy. Today, there is still a Film Street in Trenton and a cairn in front of the old studio that is now a textile plant.

Click link for Picton Gazette’s articles on pages 3 & 5

The next History Nights At The Regent lecture is on Monday, February 3rd at 7 PM when Sean Billing, an executive with Skyline Hotels, will discuss his company’s multi-million dollar investment in the restoration and return of the CP luxury liner, the S.S. Keewatin, to its homeport of Port McNicoll near Barrie, Ontario in 2012.

For tickets, contact the Regent Theatre, 224 Main St. in Picton Tel: 613 – 476 – 8416

History Nights at the Regent – Journeys of Explorer Samuel de Champlain – Mar 4, 2013


The Epic Journeys of French Explorer Samuel de Champlain through the Quinte area

French explorer Samuel de Champlain remains a man of mystery nearly 400 years after his voyages through the wilderness of the country that became Canada including two journeys which brought him through the Quinte area.

The exact date of his birth is uncertain. The location of his grave following his death on December 25th, 1635 in Quebec City is still unknown. And the authenticity of an astrolabe discovered in a farmer’s field near Cobden, Ontario in 1867 and believed to be an early navigational instrument he lost during his travels in the Ottawa Valley, remains a deep part of Canadian mythology.

But Champlain was a remarkable man. Born into a family of merchants and mariners in the 1570s, he developed extraordinary navigational and cartography skills at an early age. He was a gifted artist and author able to depict his lifelong travels in published accounts. Unlike others of his time, Champlain was also deeply interested in aboriginal culture encouraging exchanges among his men and his native allies to promote the learning of native languages and their customs. Most of all, Champlain was a great adventurer exploring the unchartered land of North America and leaving an enduring legacy as The Father of New France.

Learn more about this illustrious French explorer on Monday, March 4th at 7 pm at The Regent Theatre in Picton when Professor Patrice Dutil of Ryerson University in Toronto, and the President of the Champlain Society of Canada, discusses the life of Samuel de Champlain, his journeys, and the circumstances which brought him through the Quinte area.

The lecture is another of the History Nights At The Regent winter lectures on historical themes sponsored by History Lives Here Inc. in association with The Black Prince Winery, The Merrill Inn, and The Regent Theatre. Call the Regent Theatre Box Office for Tickets: (613)476-8416 ext 28 or toll free (877)411-4761 or use the form on the box office
Admission is $15 (including tax.) Students $5

History Nights at the Regent Theatre – The Legacy of Our Decade of War in Afghanistan – Feb 4, 2013


In 2001 Canadian troops went to war for the first time since the Korean War in the 1950s.

Our soldiers joined troops from an international coalition to fight the U.S. – led War on Terrorism on Afghan soil, thought to be the host country for terrorism organizations and the world’s most wanted man – Osama bin Laden. Canadian soldiers were stationed in the hot, dry areas of Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan clearing villages of Taliban insurgents in hard-fought battles that stretched into years. Some of their work included building schools, roads and other projects while providing security so Canadian development programs to encourage democracy, human rights reforms, and a civil society could take root in the country.

But all of this work exacted a heavy price as billions of dollars in military and development aid was poured into the country, and 158 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in ambushes, suicide attacks and roadside bomb explosions.

Was Afghanistan worth the price we paid? Is there any legacy to the decade of Canadian effort in the country? Was it a victory or a defeat for western forces?

Hear the views of Afghan author and journalist, Nelofer Pazira on Monday, February 4th at 7 PM at The Regent Theatre in Picton. Now living in Toronto, she fled Afghanistan with her family in the 1980s as the fundamentalist reign of the Taliban gripped the country in fear and brutality – an escape she chronicled in her 2005 book, A Bed of Red Flowers. Nelofer is an award-winning film and documentary producer/director, broadcast commentator, and a frequent advisor to international organizations working in the region.

The address is another in the series of “History Nights At The Regent” winter lectures sponsored by History Lives Here Inc., a heritage communications company based in Picton and The Merrill Inn, one of Ontario’s finest inns.

Tickets are $15 (including HST) Students $5

For tickets and info on more lectures in the series, contact: Call the Regent Theatre Box Office for Tickets: (613)476-8416 ext 28 or toll free (877)411-4761 or use the form on the box office Admission is $15 (including tax.) Students $5

History Nights at The Regent Theatre – Titanic! November 12, 2012

Join us on Monday nights throughout the fall and winter of 2012/2013 for monthly History Nights at The Regent Theatre.   

Our first History Night features Greg Curtis of Kingston, a member of the international Titanic Historical Society, discussing the sinking of the Titanic.   

When Greg was a young boy, he received a lump of coal for Christmas….and he was thrilled to get it. The small piece of coal had been recovered from the Titanic wreck and it further encouraged his life-long interest in this great ship.  

This year marks the 100th anniversary of this dramatic maritime disaster in April 1912 off the coast of Newfoundland. The Titanic was a titan of its time and one of several massive floating luxury hotels built by its owners, the White Star Line, in response to new and larger vessels constructed by their rival, The Cunard Line. Promoted as unsinkable, this great ship made history on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York when it struck an iceberg at high speed late on the evening of April 14, 1912. Within just a few hours of the collision, the Titanic split apart from the great weight of water filling its holds and at 2:20 am on the morning of April 15th, it slipped beneath the waves to a final berth in the deep, cold waters of the Atlantic.  

The Titanic was full of mysteries. The vessel had received plenty of ice warnings and yet it cruised close to top speed. The first lifeboats were nearly empty when they were lowered. Later lifeboats were dangerously overcrowded. Most of the ship’s 2,240 passengers perished. Some were traveling under false names to escape past lives. Survivors went on to live lives that were both celebrated and infamous. And it’s sinking a century ago remains an enduring tale that has inspired multiple movies and books.  

Join us at The Regent at 7 pm on Monday, November 12th, 2012 for this first History Night at The Regent!  

Call the Regent Theatre Box Office for Tickets: (613)476-8416 ext 28 or toll free (877)411-4761 or use the form on the box office website
Admission is $15 (including tax.) Students $5

Titanic History Night

Future History Nights include: 7 PM Monday, January 7th, 2013 – The War of 1812 by one of Canada’s leading military historians, Maj. John Grodzinski, Phd. and Assistant Professor, The History Department at the Royal Military College in Kingston 7 PM Monday, February 4th, 2013 – The War in Afghanistan from an Afghan Perspective by Toronto author and filmmaker, Nelofer Pazira, who escaped Afghanistan with her family to re-settle in Canada 7 PM Monday, March 4, 2013 – Patrice Dutil of Ryerson College and The Champlain Society traces the epic voyage of French explorer Samuel de Champlain through the Quinte area in 1615 7 PM Monday, April 1, 2013 – A Gettysburg Address: Meet members of the Gettysburg Foundation as they discuss the marketing of history