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November 20, 2009

Remembrance Day and Restoration Project

I have attended many Remembrance Days over the years and with November 11 (The day I wrote this) such a beautiful day I decided to head to Powassan to attend their event. The Globe & Mail noted the same day that “Remembrance Day is growing like poppies” and “A moment of silence has become 2 minutes and a commemorative day becomes a week . As more veterans die and more soldiers’ bodies return Canadians have a growing interest in Remembrance Day.”

Chisholm Township Mayor Barb Groves, one of many guests, presenting wreaths at the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Powassan,  November 11, 2009.-D. Mackey photo

My first reaction when I got to Powassan ,beside the fact that it was a perfect day weather-wise, was that the park on the corner of Memorial Park Drive and Main St. was crowded with many children in the audience. I was moved by the old veterans, the speakers, the prayers, the music, the laying of wreaths etc. The event was well organized and went like clockwork.

I am sure similar events took place in communities across Canada. It is an hour of deep thought , respect and compassion for those who fought for us.

The OPP stopped traffic and people watched in the Park and from across the street – no one moved – except the guy from Community Voices who was taking pictures. I hope you took a moment to remember those who fought for us and those who fight for us now.

Heritage Restoration

I wrote about the preservation of significant buildings recently as a part of our heritage. Many of the buildings have long histories but some, at a personal level are equally important even if not having as long a history. At a personal level one of the memorable events in my family life took place 37 years ago in the spring, summer and fall of 1972 – 37 years ago.

Family heritage project by Doug Mackey summer summer of 2009 with photo  of original building.-D. Mackey photos

I decided to build a log cabin on some recreational property I had in Chisholm Township with two of my teenage sons (Paul 17 and Eric 14). Paul was studying architectural drafting at Central Technical School in Toronto and designed a two story building 25’ x 25’.

We gathered a half dozen additional teenagers and drove for 36 weekends in a row from Toronto to the building project. We got it done by working 10 hours a day except we had to put a tarp on the roof and finish the roof next spring along with the fireplace. It was built Scandanavian style with fitted joints. We cut, stripped & placed over 100 logs from the nearby bush.

We became a remarkable team and it was an experience of a lifetime. In 1983 when my mother died she left a small legacy that allowed the addition of a kitchen and hydro. The family used it regularly until about 7 years ago when for various reasons it was neglected and fell into disrepair. The bush had encroached and the roof leaked etc.

Over the past 3 years I have worked on restoring the building and cleaning up the lot so we can see the huge beaver pond from the house. The photos give an idea of the restoration which I know will be used by our children and grandchildren in the years ahead.

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