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September 24, 2010

Looking Back – Looking Forward

Capreol Garden of Life 

In my recent article on the Northern Ontario Railway Museum & Cultural Centre I made reference to their efforts to improve the grounds. Last week they announced a formal garden dedicated to organ transplant donor awareness. The Garden will highlight the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch and will honour donors some of whom helped as many as 8 people by donating their body by signing a donor form. 

Monument Recalls Black Mark 

For a nation with a history built on immigration and tolerance Canada has an unbelievable record of abuse of some people – Native, Japanese, Eastern Europeans, disabled, etc. One sorry tale has been recognized with a memorial to the turning away of 900 Jews from Canada in May 1939. They returned to Nazi Germany where many died. 

The Canadian Jewish Congress has commissioned a moving memorial in cooperation with Pier 21 – Canada’s Immigration Museum in Halifax. It will be unveiled later this year. An education package has been prepared for teachers to help students understand racism and discrimination. 

On another painful front there is a billion dollar lawsuit alleging systemic abuse and neglect of former developmentally disabled residents at  Ontario’s former Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia for decades. 

Historical Art Auction 

The late Frank Casey was an outstanding painter from Sturgeon Falls. Some of his work will be exhibited at the Sturgeon River House Museum in West Nipissing October 12-17 and 42 of his works will be auctioned on Sunday October 17th. Casey’s work was influenced by the Group of Seven and reflects northern themes. Wayne LeBelle, La Societe Historique de Nipissing Ouest and the Museum are overseeing the event. Casey’s daughter’s Iris has provided the works for the event. For lots of information on these events Google Frank Casey Painter and you will see several sites including YouTube. 

Iris Casey(L), friend Diane Johanson and Wayne LeBelle discussing some of Frank Casey’s paintings in anticipation of the “Frank Casey’s Northern Ontario” exhibition and auction in West Nipissing. Ian Morrison photo.

Early Feminist Revisited 

The old Hardy Boys books were a huge success in past decades.Many written by Leslie McFarlane from Haileybury. (see my 2007 article on McFarlane – Google Heritage Perspectives Leslie McFarlane). They were balanced by the iconic American girl sleuth Nancy Drew. Two hundred million Drew books were sold along with 5 movies, 2 series and 28 computer games. All were written by anonymous authors with a pseudonym Carolyn Keene. 

Judy Bolton was another popular feminist sleuth and Drew’s rival in the 1950-60s. All 38 Bolton books were written by Margaret Sutton who died at 98 – nine years ago. All 38 of the books will be available again this month for those wishing to remember the past and for those who want a new read with a female touch. 

Grey Owl’s Pilgrim of the Wild 

The classic Grey Owl book which profiles his transition from trapper to environmentalist with the help of his Iroquois wife Gertrude Bernard (Anahareo) from Mattawa is back in a new paperback edition. It includes a new informative and accessible introduction. (Dundurn Press). A great read for those interested in the life of Canadian icon Archie Belaney aka Grey Owl. 

Speaking of Books 

I hope to have a book of some of my favourite Heritage Perspectives columns out by Christmas. Check with Gullivers Books and  Toys North Bay or go online at www.pastforward.ca. My son Clarke also has a book out this month. He is a film studies professor at Queens University and is interested in grassroots culture of all sorts. The book,available on Chapters Indigo, is called Random Acts of Culture: Reclaiming Art & Community in the 21st Century. 

I will be in South America until mid November so my column will be curtailed. 

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