In the late 1950s, the small town of Belleville, Ontario boasted a rough, tough, and unstoppable hockey team, the Belleville McFarlands, which, powered its way to a world hockey championship title in Prague, Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1959.
Fifty years later, in partnership with the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame, we celebrated this remarkable moment in time with the premiere of a documentary on the team, an accompanying book, a downtown parade, and a memorable “sold-out” evening at the Empire Theatre in Belleville.
The event prompted the city to erect signs honouring the team, and it was an emotional moment for these older men – who in their prime – were the best hockey players in the world.
We repeated this success in August 2011, the 50th anniversary of the last victory in Picton waters of the legendary race boat, Miss Supertest III, which captured successive wins against its American competitors.
A weekend event featuring the return of the boat, the launch of a Canada Post commemorative stamp, and our documentary on the Supertest team premiered at our local historic Regent Theatre, alongside a book on this famous Canadian sports history – which together made this a memorable event that is still talked about.
We once helped transform an old story in our community into another product – a re-enactment and play – as a fundraising initiative for another local heritage project.
The story was the trial of two Prince Edward County men in May 1884 for a botched robbery and murder, a crime that stirred the community into a mob demanding blood. The community got their vengeance and convicted two men to hang in the gallows that still exist in Picton’s old courthouse. But it’s unlikely the community got justice. Many believe the trial was a travesty, and two innocent men met a gruesome death that haunted residents for decades.
The product – a play in the same courtroom where the trial took place – accompanied by a tour of the gallows and prisoner cells together with a reception at one of our finest inns – was another “sold out” affair that raised considerable funds for the project.
We offer historic walking tours of downtown Picton during the tourism season. These 90-minute tours led by experienced guides take visitors on a journey into the past.
We also host History Nights at various historic locations and resort venues throughout the year.
We started these popular presentations some years ago at The Regent Theatre with guest lecturers discussing a broad range of historical themes – the sinking of the Titanic, the years when the small town of Quinte West (Trenton), Ontario was the “Hollywood North” of Canada, the War of 1812, and our country’s more recent military intervention in Afghanistan.