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October 10, 2013

Remembering Grey Owl on his Birthday

On September 18, 2013 the Globe & Mail featured a photo of Grey Owl feeding a beaver and recognized his birth 125 years ago on September 18, 1888.  He died just shy of his 50th birthday 75 years ago.  The North Bay Museum had a lengthy exhibit of his work this spring and the  Mattawa Museum opened an exhibition on September 22 .  Grey Owl's remarkable writing and speaking skills on northern life, conservation, native rights etc. are well remembered. 

New Grey Owl exhibit in Mattawa Museum

The Mattawa  exhibition centres on a fine new display of Grey Owl at his desk in a log cabin writing.  It was created by Curator Jane Leonard and unveiled at the opening. Mattawa's Gertrude Bernard, Grey Owl’s muse who he called Anahareo is still remembered at the museum with a permanent exhibit.  The new book on Anahareo's life by Kristen Gleeson is available at the museum. 

Phil Chester who donated a large collection of work on Grey Owl to the museum was one of the speakers as was one of the men involved in the multi million dollar Grey Owl movie in 1999. 

Jeanette Lalonde, left, the wife of the late Albert Lalonde, Grey Owl's grandson, as well as his three great granddaughters and one great great grandson were at the opening of the Grey Owl exhibit at the Mattawa Museum to make a direct connection with Grey Owl.

Jules Paivio Remembered.

The architect of the Mattawa Museum Jules Paivio who lived in Cameron Township and was recognized as a leader and last man standing in the MacKenzie Papineau Canadian batallion  in Spain was also remembered . Paivio died recently at age 96  and was profiled in an article in the September 30th Macleans magazine. (Google Heritage Perspectives Paivio for more on Jules) 

Good Year for Museums 

Local Museums were busy this summer.  I visited several.  The Commanda Museum featured refreshments and a unique 1812 display.  The Nipissing Museum was a part of a well planned day celebrating Nipissing Township's 125 anniversary.  Discovery North Bay which is open all year currently features a bilingual exhibit the Fur Trade Nation which looks at the Voyageurs and native people in the trade over 300 years.  On until November 30th

Honey Bees Heritage 

There is indisputable evidence that honey bees – the necessary pollinators of crops and plants – have been dying en masse. The North Bay Heritage Gardeners will feature a special evening on the issue on October 9th at Discovery North Bay starting at 6pm. A feature length movie followed by a discussion led by Board’s Honey Farm will follow. 

Pending Events

A couple of other November datesare be of interest. Fifty years ago in November 1963 history was made in Mattawa when Dr. Firmin Monestime was elected as Canada's first black Mayor. He officially became Mayor for the first of many victories on January 1, 1964.  There is a move afoot for an exhibition on the event in Toronto with a possible showing in Mattawa.  The remarkable Monestime story is told in my book The Meeting of the Waters available in bookstores throughout the area. 

Canada’s History Magazine Remembers 

The October-November issue of the magazine has a lengthy article The monster storm of (November) 1913 was the Great Lakes region’s most destructive weather event on record.” I wrote about the article in Community Voices on February 7, 2003 because one of my wife’s relatives Captain McConkey the Captain of the Regina was lost with his crew among 256 deaths in the storm (Google Heritage Perspectives McConkey). 

The lengthy new article records the finding of dead crew members from another ship with Regina life preservers leading to the conclusion that McConkey courageously  tried unsuccessfully to save people on another ship by sharing some of their life preservers. 

An excellent magazine for history buffs with many other interesting stories. 

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