Two History Moments produced by History Lives Here Inc. on the canning industry of Prince Edward County are featured at a new exhibit, which opened May 13th at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum in Ottawa.

Video plays in French or English

Food Preservation: The Science You Can Eat is an exhibit which tells visitors the story of food preservation from the first days of settlement when aboriginal peoples and settlers dried, salted and buried food to survive long winters to technological advances such as the canning of foodstuffs in the 1880s and development of frozen foods in the 1930s. Today, scientific innovation in the food industry allows us to grow and import food from all over the world that retains its nutritional value over an extended shelf life. Finding ways to preserve food is one of the greatest advances in civilization.

Canadians can take credit for many of these scientific breakthroughs. Research at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa where the museum is located has resulted in a staggering number of discoveries of new plant varieties, processing techniques, and food products. While the preservation of food through the canning process dates back to the Napoleonic era, the fruit and vegetable canning industry in Canada took root in the small community of Prince Edward County in the 1880s. In 1882, Wellington Boulter, the father of the canning industry in Canada, started a small factory in Picton, Ontario. Soon other factories dotted the landscape of this small community, and the area became so dominant in the industry shipping canned goods all over the world that the region became known as the Garden County of Canada. Our History Moment on the origins of the canning industry in Prince Edward County is one of two video features showcased in the museum exhibit. 

Our second History Moment featured in the exhibit tells the story of early attempts to advertise canned goods. The first products of the canning industry would be considered unacceptable by today’s standards. Lids were soldered shut by hand and bits of solder often dropped into the canned food. The first tins reacted with the food and caused lead poisoning. Sanitary practices throughout these rudimentary factories were largely absent as the science of canned foods had yet to be discovered. To counter consumer resistance, the early canners spent a great deal of effort on the labels that adorned their products. Embossed colour labels created by design firms in Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal enticed consumers to try these canned products. Today, these spectacularly beautiful labels are artwork that reflects early advertising approaches. Some of the labels that adorned canned goods produced in Prince Edward County were quite likely designed by Group of Seven artists who supported their weekend painting expeditions by day jobs at lithographic firms supplying canning companies with labels.

“We encourage Canadians to take in this wonderful exhibit, “says Peter Lockyer, the producer of the History Moments series. “And we’ve very honoured to have our history features as part of the display. It’s an indication that our work showcasing old forgotten stories from communities throughout Eastern Ontario has a timeless value to museums like the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum and the thousands of visitors they receive each year.”

To learn more about the Food Preservation: Science You Can Eat exhibit at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum, visit their website at http://www.cafmuseum.techno-science.ca

Wind, Waves and Canvas Sails: Re-live The Era of the Tall Ships This Summer

Experience the great age of sail onboard the tall ship, the St. Lawrence II, as part of a once-in-a–lifetime sailing adventure on Sunday, June 15th and Monday, June 16th 2014.

Your travel adventure includes a half day onboard this magnificent 70 foot square rigger as it departs Napanee at noon on Sunday, June 15th making its way under full sail to the quaint harbour in Picton, Ontario. Hear the rich maritime history of the region while helping to navigate this great ship on its journey. 

A three-course dinner created by acclaimed chef Michael Sullivan, and overnight stay at the elegant Merrill Inn brings the day to a close.  After a sumptuous hot breakfast at the inn on Monday morning, an experienced guide from History Lives Here Inc. will take you by bus on a customized tour of Prince Edward County to some of its unique heritage sites, with lunch at the Agrarian Restaurant and shopping in the charming village of Bloomfield before a visit to the Black Prince Winery. Return transportation to Napanee is provided by Franklin Coach Lines.

The all-inclusive tour price is  $545/pp plus tax based on double occupancy. This two-day tall ship adventure is limited to 24 adults so book soon! 

To book tickets and for further information, contact:

Brigantine Inc., 53 Yonge St., Kingston, ON K7M 6G4

Tel.: 613 544–5175

Email: info@brigantine.ca

Website: www.brigantine.ca

Tall Ship Itinerary Cruise

June 15/16, 2014

As part of the inaugural Napanee Riverfront Festival taking place on the weekend of June 13-15 2014 (www.downtownnapanee.com), Brigantine Inc., the owners of the tall ship the St. Lawrence II, and History Lives Here Inc., are offering a sailing adventure cruise from Napanee to the nearby community of Picton, Ontario. 

Experience life onboard this great ship as part of the crew learning timeless nautical skills from master mariners. Hear the rich maritime history of the area from historical author, Dave More, the manager of Brigantine Inc., as you re-live the era when tall ships, their crews and cargoes made the area a dominant commercial centre within a young country. Discover the history of Prince Edward County while staying at one of the area’s finest inns, savouring fine food, and visiting one of the local vineyards in Canada’s newest wine region.

Sunday, June 15 2014

Noon departure from Napanee for Picton

Departure is from the Waterfront River Pub and Terrace, 22 Water St. in Napanee

Lunch will be served onboard

6 pm arrival at Picton with transport to the elegant Merrill Inn for dinner and overnight stay [www.merrillinn.com]

Monday, June 16 2014 8 am–9 am … Breakfast

9 am … Bus pick up by Franklin Coach Lines [www.franklincoachlines.com]

9 am–1130 am … Heritage tour with local historian Peter Lockyer of History Lives Here Inc. [www.historyliveshere.ca]

1200 pm … Lunch at the Agrarian Restaurant, Bloomfield [www.AgrarianPEC.ca]

1 pm–2 pm … Shopping in the village of Bloomfield [www.bloomfieldontario.ca]

2:30–4 pm … Wine tasting at The Black Prince Winery [www.blackprincewinery.com]

4 pm … Bus transportation to Napanee

4:30–5 pm … Arrive Napanee

All bookings for this adventure cruise are through:

Brigantine Inc.,

53 Yonge St., Kingston, ON K7M 6G4

Tel.: 613 544–5175

Email: info@brigantine.ca

Website: www.brigantine.ca



March 2, 2014

Our History Moments series of historical vignettes on local history themes were shown at the 2014 Belleville DOCFEST held February 28 – March 2 at various downtown locations in the city.

As in past years, the vignettes appeared before many of the international and local documentaries showcased during the event, which brings together films, filmmakers, and audiences. Over 50 films were shown this year.  All 500 passes for this year’s festival – its third year – were sold and many of the films drew standing- room only crowds.

“Documentaries are the last domain of thoughtful, and well-researched journalism addressing significant world issues, “ says Peter Lockyer of History Lives Here Inc. 

“ In this multi-channel universe of often trite and mindless reality shows, documentaries remain faithful to basic journalism standards shining a light on stories that would otherwise remain untold. We’d like to congratulate the many volunteers who organize Belleville’s DOCFEST as it is becoming another public platform for discussion of important local and global issues.”

The History Moments can now be seen before movies at The Regent Theatre in Picton, The Aron Theatre in Campbellford, and the Empire Theatre in Belleville as well as on TVCogeco and CKWS TV in Kingston. 

Some of our features on the canning industry of Prince Edward County produced as part of our very first series in 2009 were recently selected by the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum in Ottawa for use in a new exhibit on the Canadian food industry to be opened in May 2004.

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
Email: info@TheRegentTheatre.org


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   http://issuu.com/pictongazette/docs/picton_gazette_jan9

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



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.




The popular History Nights At The Regent lecture series will begin Monday, January 6, 2014 at 7 PM at The Regent Theatre with a lecture on the movie years in Trenton, the period 1917 – 1934 when this small community was the “Hollywood North” of Canada.

Peggy Dymond Leavey, author of a book on the movie industry in Trenton, will discuss how the industry settled in this unlikely place, the boom and bust cycle of film companies that established there, and the legacy of the heady days when stars and starlets rubbed shoulders with local residents appearing as extras and stagehands in blockbuster productions.

The lecture is the first in a series of three monthly Monday night lectures on historical themes. 

On Monday, February 3 2014, Skyline Hotel executive Sean Billing will discuss the business case for history – his company’s purchase and return to Canada of The S.S. Keewatin, a luxury liner built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to carry their passengers across Georgian Bay and Lake Superior to their rail terminals at the present town of Thunder Bay. The hotel chain purchased the vessel from an American collector to return The Keeewatin in 2012 to its original homeport in Port McNicoll near Barrie, Ontario. 

The series concludes on Monday, March 3rd 2014 with Kingston author, David More, discussing the life and career of naval commander Captain Rene –Hippolyte Laforce, the Commodore of the French Navy on Lake Ontario in the 1750s. The British so admired his skills they hired him to fight with them during the American Revolution.

History Lives Here Inc. sponsors the History Nights At The Regent series in association with The Merrill Inn and The Regent Theatre. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students including HST. 

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

Tel: 613 – 476 – 8416   www.The RegentTheatre.org

2014 Lecture Series


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 -0099www.theempiretheatre.com

History Moments Series 5 Promo