08 July 2011

A Country without a History is a Country without a Soul

The Society's and Belleville's Town Crier, Bruce Bedell
opened the event with a fine Cry
“A country without a history is a country without a soul”

Founding member of the Society
Lee Jourard was the MC for the ceremony.
He noted the Trillium grant was
"another step towards reality"

for the archives project.
I attended an event today which was opened by a town crier. It’s not often that we get a chance to do that these days; it hearkens back to days lost to history. But this town crier is quite real and quite NOW - Bruce Bedell opens many history-making events in Belleville. And today’s event certainly made history.

Today, at the future home of the Community Archives, the Society accepted a plaque commemorating a $34,500 grant from the Trillium Foundation towards the cost of shelving in the new Community Archives.

A goodly number of folks attended. There was pride and excitement in the room as momentum is clearly building in the the campaign to bring the Community Archives home to the new building on Church Street.

Noting that Trillium receives its money from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, Honorary fund raising chairman Peter C. Newman hit the nail on the head. He said “buy tickets”. It’s that simple - our governments are showing their commitment and the citizens of Hastings and Belleville need to show the same in raising the remaining money for the campaign.
Lou Grinaldi, MPP for
Northumberland-Quinte West
Sometimes speeches can be dull. Today was really an exception as political representatives from the City, County and Province shared their own personal reasons for investing in archives and offered complimentary and encouraging words to the volunteers who have worked so hard to get this far.

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of  
Education, MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings
MPP Lou Rinaldi reminded folks that qualifying for a Trillium grant is a vote of confidence in the importance and viability of the project and talked about his personal commitment to preserving our history for our children and grandchildren.

MPP and Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky spoke of the need to “preserve the stories of who we are” and the importance of  archives "even for those who think they don't need it."  She shared tales of her family's long history in Tweed and Hastings County. Inspiring. The archives are all about honouring our ancestors and our past.

People like Orland French had a vision for this new home for the archives. The Society's Board of Directors has done amazing work. Archivist Sharon is providing outstanding leadership. HCHS volunteer labour is legendary, and it continues. Work has been painstaking, but progress is being made every day. The Unlock the Archives campaign is succeeding. The downtown storefront is engaging the public. A substantial amount of money has been raised, but more is needed.
From left to right, Lou Rinaldi, Richard Hughes, Hon. Leona Dombrowsky and Bonnie Pelletier 
(of the Trillium Foundation) with the commemorative paque.
Rick Phillips, Reeve of Tyendinaga Township, representing the County of Hastings, and Councillors Pat Culhane and Garnet Thompson, representing the City of Belleville, were also there to express the continued support of the other partners in the Community Archives.
Strong supporters of Canadian Heritage - Minister Dombrowsky, Reeve Phillips, Councillors Thompson and Culhane pose with Peter C. Newman at the end of the ceremony.
A story about the event in the Belleville Intelligencer may be viewed here.

More pictures taken at the event may be viewed in this album.

Story Lindi Pierce, pictures Nick White

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