[Home page] [Who is Past Forward ] [Contact Us] [Publications]

Past Forward is now on Facebook "LIKE" us to keep in touch


June 11, 2010

More History Notes in Perspective

North Bay Waterfront

The North Bay Waterfront is evolving with the Discovery North Bay Museum in the old CPR train station, a new bus terminal and an underpass from downtown to the waterfront. A new 6 million dollar effort will transform the area behind the Museum into a park with a civic square, irrigation system, brick pathways linking the area to the underpass and the Marina Point building. There are some funding issues but it is hoped things will fall in line.

The next phase will include a skateboard park and a third carousel.

Canada’s New National Natural History Museum

When I lived in Ottawa in the late 1950s my wife and I and the kids visited the National Art Gallery in an old stone building called the “Castle”. I will never forget the stunning A.Y. Jackson “Red Maple” painting at the head of a stairwell. The building which has a remarkable history in its 100 years was falling apart after many uses, including Canada’s National Art Gallery, and was recently completely renovated and reopened. Canada’s parliament met there for 4 years after a 1914 fire. The natural history collection, dispersed around Ottawa, is now back together in Canada’s new National History Museum.

Ten thousand people recently lined up to see the opening of the restoration. It holds a 19 metre blue whale skeleton along with 10 million specimens in climate controlled space. A huge new “Lantern Tower” has been added and the old building has 1.8 million kilograms of seismic steel reinforcing it. For more information (photographs, etc.) log on to Canada’s National Natural History Museum.

Brent Display

Brent in Algonquin Park on the abandoned CNR line east of Mattawa is an access point into the Park and has a fascinating history. The Friends of Algonquin Park and Parks Canada is completing 9 display panels profiling the history. Six of the panels centre on the community and 3 on the Brent Crater nearby. The official opening is in August when the Brent leaseholders will have their annual meeting. For details when the display is up check online.

My book on Brent – My Childhood in the Bush – profiling the life of an original family in Brent from 1913 to 1919 recently sold out and has been reprinted to support the display. The Friends have ordered a large number of copies as has the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre in Capreol. The book tells of a family living in a boxcar home in Brent until better accommodation could be acquired. Capreol has a reconstruction of a typical boxcar home as a part of their museum. The book will now be available in Brent and Capreol and at regular book stores.

Doris McCarthy Turns 100

I have been a fan of Canadian abstract landscape painter Doris McCarthy for years. I have seen several of her exhibitions including 2 at the W.K.P. Kennedy Gallery in North Bay in 1996and 2008 . She has received an honorary doctorate from Nipissing University among dozens of awards She taught at the Ontario College of Art until 1972 and influenced many successful painters. Bruce St. Clair who has an exhibition at the Kennedy now mentions her in his credits. She is well respected in the Burk’s Falls area where she has conducted workshops and exhibitions. Liz Trolove in Burk’s Falls has written about her and I heard Liz’s lecture on Doris a few years ago.

Doris has donated the property she bought 70 years ago on the Scarborough Bluffs (including a $500,000 endowment) to Ontario Heritage for future use by artists after her death.

Doris is also a writer and graduated with an honours degree in English at age 79 from the U of T. She has written 3 autobiographical books that are readily available. Check her out on her website at www.dorismccarthy.com <http://www.dorismccarthy.com/>.

Congratulations to this icon of Canadian art on her 100^th birthday on July 7, 2010.

Trivial Pursuit

Many of us have played Trivial Pursuit. Chris Haney the inventor of the game died last week at age 59. The game was conceived over lunch and a game of scrabble. It has sold 100 million copies in its original and many themed editions. In the Globe report on Harvey’s death they did a mini Trivial Pursuit and one question was “Who created the game’s distinctive design?” The answer was “Michael Wirstlin, then 18 years old and unemployed”. In lieu of a fee he took shares.

Michael was a close friend of a couple of my teenage kids at the time and we watched his success with interest. He visited us recently after retiring from his successful design studio and we reminisced over some of those early experiences

Painting by John David Kelly/National Archives of Canada/C-000273 The Death of Isaac Brock

Maybe they’re still mad they lost

Macleans magazine in their June 7 issue has an article talking –title above-about Canadian plans to celebrate Canadas’ victory 200 years ago in the War of 1812 where Canada is spending millions and the US very little in 2012 celebrations.I wont say much here but will dig out my copies of Pierre Berton’s Flames Across the Border 1812 -1813 and The Invasion of Canada 1812-1813 .I have an old copy of National Geographic with the story of a battle on Lake Ontario where a US ship remains on the bottom as an important historical artefact. I also have the classic biography of Tecumseh who played such and important role.Some of my United Empire Loyalist descendants fought in the war.


Heritage Perspective Home Page

Past Forward Heritage Limited: 

330 Sumach St. #41, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3K7   Tel. (416)-925-8412


Copyright © Past Forward Heritage Limited