20 December 2010

Angels Celebrate

The Cannifton Heritage Centre has been very busy in 2010 with often a dozen or more volunteers attending on Monday afternoons and many people coming in at other times to work on research projects and/or on cataloguing and preserving the Society's collections.

On Monday, the regular afternoon workshop took a different twist. Instead of meeting at the Heritage Centre, the "Archive Angels" (with partners, the Society's Board of Directors and other Society volunteers) came together to celebrate the year's work at the home of Lois Foster (left).

The afternoon started with an overview by Sharon White of the accomplishments in 2010 and the projects being contemplated for 2011 followed by an presentation on digitisation by Donna Fano (right).

But thanks to Lois, Sharon and others it wasn't all talk and work, an impressive collection of edible offerings was available for sampling (and re-sampling).
Archive Angels in 2010
From left to right, Lois Foster, Gerry Boyce, Adele Dibben, Laurel Bishop, Elizabeth Mitchell, Lorna Garbutt, Beth Green, Mary Jane Throop, Diane Sule, Marney Black, George Pearce and Donna Fano (not in the picture Luella Parkhurst, unable to attend Bobby-Jo Morris, Katharine Mills and Ruth Boyce)   Photo credit: Nick White

08 September 2010

Belleville’s James Bertram Collip

Article written by George Pearce and first published in Volume 253 of the Hastings County Historical Society's magazine "Outlook" - reproduced with permission. 

July 2010 presented an opportunity for Hastings County Historical Society member and volunteer research worker, George Pearce, to visit Edmonton, Alberta where James Bertram Collip (J.B.C.) began his career as a “lecturer” at the University of Alberta, circa 1914 - 15.

The purpose of the visit was to accumulate archival material from that area to place in a J.B.C. file here at the Belleville and Hastings County Archives that is currently in the redevelopment phase.

In addition, the information might serve as a future data base for a recommendation from HCHS to Heritage Belleville to consider a commemorative for James Collip who is well respected in medical research organizations as probably Canada’s most outstanding medical research figure of the twentieth century. (Background literature has been provided in an earlier submission).

In addition to those references, the book titled “J.B. Collip, and the Development of Medical Research in Canada” by Alison Li has now been received and is being studied. The book’s subtitle is “Extracts and Enterprise” (published circa 2003), McGill-Queens Press.

It appears that history has somewhat understated the role of Collip, a rather shy and reserved person, with respect to his importance among the insulin collaborators who made their discoveries in Toronto in 1921 - 22.

J.B.C.’s daughter told the writer that her father always stated — “he sought knowledge rather than fame.”  (Telephone conversation with Dr. Barbara Collip [Mrs. C.J. Wyatt] and Dr. George Pearce, June 23, 2010). Furthermore, J.B. Collip always maintained that historians would clarify controversial matters in time.

Collip’s profile has been elevated by medical historians such as G. Lloyd Stevenson, Michael Bliss, Alison Li, Francis Dworshak and others who have written books and articles about him and which have noted the roles of earlier researchers regarding the role of the pancreas in diabetes.

It seems that the Nobel Award in Medicine and Physiology in 1923 did not cover the efforts of Collip adequately. However, this is gradually being amended by historians.

With the foregoing in mind this writer welcomed the opportunity to visit Edmonton and gather archival material from the location of Collip’s early employment.

It was possible on this visit to meet with Alberta’s representative on the “Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada,” Dr. Roderick Charles Macleod, and with Ray V. Rajotte, Professor of Surgery and Medicine, and Director Surgical Medical Research Institute. These men hold appointments at the University of Alberta and assisted with suggestions and references. Visits were also possible to University of Alberta Archives, Province of Alberta Archives, Offices of the Alberta Medical Association, and Edmonton Public Library. The information collected is being reviewed and will be available shortly.

01 July 2010

Gerry Boyce's Canada Day Address

From the band shell at Zwick's Park in Belleville, local historian, longstanding Hastings County Historical Society member and author Gerry Boyce the honourary Chair of Belleville’s Canada Day organising committee gently reminded those present of some of Belleville's Canada day history. Photo's Nick White

Today we are celebrating the anniversary of an important event in Canadian history: Confederation — the uniting of four British colonies to form the Dominion of Canada.

It would be an even more important event for us today had Belleville become the capital of Canada.

In earlier years, the politicians in the United Province of Canada (as Ontario and Quebec were known from 1841 to 1867) were trying to agree on a permanent capital. From 1841 to 1859, there were 218 votes in parliament relating to this matter and several cities were considered — notably Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa (known as Bytown until 1855), Kingston, Toronto, and even Cornwall.

Belleville residents submitted a petition suggesting Belleville as a logical choice as it had 6,000 residents an expanding industry (including bustling lumber mills and foundries), it was a major railway centre and a cultural centre (Albert College).

Unfortunately, the petition was not submitted through proper channels and was not considered.

 Local members of parliament then supported Kingston’s bid, but Ottawa was selected (largely as a result of the Canadian Governor General Sir Edmund Head’s opinion that Ottawa was "the least objectionable place."

On the eve of Confederation in l867, local attention was more focused on the possible attack by Fenians — Irish Americans who hoped to capture Canada and exchange it for Ireland’s independence. Armed Irish- Americans openly drilled in several American cities and the American governments seemed reluctant to stop the Fenian activities.

In 1865 the First Hastings Rifles and the 15th Battalion of the Argyll Light Infantry were called out to defend the country. For five months, local militia stood on guard at Amherstburg.

In 1867, Belleville was preparing to welcome a detachment of British regulars. Town Council decided that it would move to the second storey of the engine house (now Bren’s Bake Shop) from its second story location over the old market building on the market square) so that the local troops might move into the former council chambers and the British regulars could move into the l5th’s armouries on Church Street.

With such excitement locally, council paid little attention to the approach of Confederation. However, a week before July 1st, council set aside $250 to provide the citizens of the area "with the largest amount of amusement and entertainment on that day."

July 1st celebrations began at midnight with the firing of the cannon on the Court House Hill. At 9:00 a.m. the Moira Company Band played on the courthouse steps, followed by a parade from the armouries to the courthouse. Mayor Henry Corby read the proclamation creating the Dominion of Canada. A military volley followed and the band of the 15th Battalion played God Save the Queen.

The Intelligencer reporter noted that "the remainder of the day passed off very quietly, there being no display of fireworks in the evening." The next day, the Intelligencer lamented that "The birthday of our new Dominion was not celebrated in Belleville with the spirit which should have been shown on the occasion."

Hats off to the organizers and the citizens of Belleville and area for this much improved celebration of Confederation!

Happy Birthday Canada

Incidentally, can you imagine what royal visitor would have been on stage with us this afternoon to help celebrate . . . if Belleville (rather than Ottawa) had been selected as Canada’s capital?