21 February 2013

Celebrating Heritage Week in Belleville

The Historical Society has had a long association with Heritage Belleville and its predecessor, the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC).  We maintain a strong interest in the preservation of Belleville's historical buildings, as evident in the large contingent of our members present at Heritage Belleville’s annual open house at the City Hall council chambers on Tuesday, February 21, in celebration of Heritage Week.

Mayor Neil Ellis presented the best wishes of Council and remarked on the full house of attendees.  Councillor Garnet Thompson also attended.  

The new posters on the history of the Hotel Quinte produced jointly by the Society and the Community Archives were on display, as well as building research material by Lois Foster.  Two of the speakers were well known members of the society, local author and historian Gerry Boyce and film-maker Doug Knutson.
Gerry Boyce

After a few words from Heritage Belleville Committee Chair Stanley Jones and Vice-Chair Jeremy Davis, and a presentation about Belleville’s heritage buildings by Janna Munkittrick-Colton, Gerry Boyce distributed photo souvenirs and spoke on seven interesting buildings that Belleville has “lost.” 

The buildings were: the original Albert College located on College Street dating from 1857, built by the local Episcopal Methodists as a training centre for Methodist ministers; the Congregational Church on Hotel Street (now Victoria Avenue) c 1855, which became the Reformed Episcopal Church and then the Moose Hall before demolition; the Intell/Cablevue Building (remembered by many people in the audience), demolished in 1990; the school house south of Market Square in the 1850s; Belleville Grammar School on the BCI site ca. 1860; the Hastings County Museum, located in the former Hastings County Land Registry Office and demolished after Glanmore opened in 1973; and the Point Anne cement works, which were featured in a tour in 1987.
Doug Knutson

Doug Knutson showed excerpts from a movie that he had made with John Lowry about BCI (Belleville Collegiate Institute and Vocational School), built 1927-1928 on land that had been set aside for the purpose of public education in the town’s original plot survey of 1816.  
Doug described the history of the film in a moving introduction: John had the idea of making a movie before the school was closed, as demolition seemed imminent.  So we shot it on June 17, 1997 - the last day it was officially a school.  The narrator, Eugene Lang, was incredible - he was there on the opening day and the closing day and knew everything that had happened in between!  He also knew every inch of the school.  Despite him being in his 80's, we could hardly keep up with him!

That day was also a spur-of-the moment open house - lots of people were roaming through the building.  The overall feeling was, “We can't let this go without a fight.”  I think that was the day the grassroots organization to save the building took root. When 2003 came up and I edited the video for the 75th anniversary (the year before the building was finally demolished) it was a big hit!”

The video is now an invaluable historical record of what we have lost.

Right, members of the Heritage Belleville Committee. Colin Rushlow, Vern Whalen, Janna Munkittrick-Colton, Michael Rush, Greg Pinchin (Staff Liaison) Stanley Jones, Robert Johnston and Jeremy Davis.

Pictures Nick White, story - collaborative effort.

1 comment:

  1. I have tried to reach someone at the Hasting County Historical Society for an answer to my inquiry about activity in Belleville during WWII. I am interested to know about War Contracts at Morch facility, I have been told by a member of the Soden family that Morch had a subcontract for deHaverland in Toront, to build the “wooden” body of the Musqito fighter-bomber built at the Morch facility in Belleville. Can this be confirmed?

    I have recently joint the Board of the National Air Force Museum of Canada(NAFMC)at CFB Trenton and it has become a subject that we will address at the Museum, if the fact about the production location can be validated.

    Henning Jacobsen
    613 961-0756