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February 23, 2007

Heritage Activity in Perspective


There have been and will be lots of heritage events this month, and in the near future, some of which follow. 

Charles Darwin, the famous scientist who convinced the scientific community that species develop over time from a common origin and established evolution as the unifying theory of life sciences essential to Biology and other disciplines was born on February 12, 1809.  His 198th birthday was celebrated around the world including at Nipissing University.  His book The Origin of the Species has never been out of print since its publication in 1859.  Darwin, hesitatingly at first, stated that man evolved naturally through many stages including apes to become what humans are today.  This created conflict with the idea of a divine creator – a conflict that continues to some extent today.  Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion has been number one on the best seller list for several weeks. 

At Nipissing University Biology Professor Peter Nosko gave a presentation on his recent trip to the Galapagos Islands where Darwin collected material that helped develop his ideas.  Nipissing biology graduate student Julie Robinson gave a talk on her work on the limestone barrens of Newfoundland.  The Biology Society hosted a traditional Darwin birthday party at 100 Georges. 

Coincidentally Abraham Lincoln who was born on the same day as Darwin in 1809 was in the news this week during Black History Month as Barack Obama became a legitimate contender in the U.S. presidential elections by announcing his candidacy at an historical Lincoln site. 

On the same date as the birthdays above at Toronto City Hall a large group of blacks and politicians celebrated the 200th anniversary of Britain’s abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.  It is estimated that Britain took 3 million slaves to its Caribbean colonies from 1700 to 1807.  Canada had over 4000 slaves at one time – many were owned by prominent families.  Mayor David Miller pointed out that over 4 centuries 50 million Africans were forcibly taken to the Americas to labour on sugar and cotton plantations.  Miller proclaimed March the 15th as the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. 

February is also Black History month with many activities across the province including the Toronto event above. 

February 19-25 is Ontario Heritage Week.  The North Bay Museum  - now called Discovery North North Bay had a Movie Night last night featuring North Bay’s history in film and photos. 

Doors Open Ontario is a cultural and historical phenomenon that started in Toronto in 2000 and has spread across Ontario.  It is now coming to North Bay on May 12, 2007.  The idea is to open various sites of historical interest to the public with volunteers talking about the location. 

North Bay has a dozen such locations lined up including stores, an old school, the Capitol Centre, and the oldest church in North Bay.  There will be extensive notice of the event and there will be a new website at www.doorsopennorthbay.com.  You can also drop in to the Museum in the old CPR station or call 476-2323.  If interested in other locations across Ontario phone 1-800-668-2746 for a glossy catalogue or log on to www.doorsopenontario.on.ca

Trinity United Church at Ferguson and McIntyre is celebrating its 125th anniversary on Saturday and Sunday March 3-4.  There will be an open house on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon with tours, performances, displays, authors and a tea etc. with lots of opportunity to reminisce.  The event is open to the public and further information can be received by visiting the church or calling 474-3310.  Trinity is also one of the stops on the Doors Open event mentioned above. 

Dr. Brian Osborne Professor Emeritus at Queens University, one of the major figures in historical geography in Canada visited Nipissing February 13-15.  He spoke on his area of expertise and also on the late Dr. Tom Cummings who is of special interest to him during his visit.  Dr. Osborne is the past president of the Ontario Historical Society. 




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