Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Linking up with Brighton

Last Saturday I attended a history hoe-down in Brighton. What a weekend! The event featured two performances of an outstanding Brighton railway history 'variety show', performed for appreciative full houses each time. Raconteurs, a delightful children's choir, the massively entertaining musical duo RandR, and a station-master emcee on a train station 'set' designed with Memory Junction Museum treasures, led us through the rich history of the area and related the central role of the Grand Trunk railway, and the town's 1856 station.

The organizers acknowledged the tremendous debt the area owes to Ralph and Eugenia Bangay, who created and maintain Brighton's historic Memory Junction Museum, popular with locals and tourists alike. Even Jimmy Wales is talking about the place on Wikipedia! This past year, a group of volunteers have stepped forward to keep the place rolling (oops, hands up, Fletch!) Here's an account of a fun and fruitful fund-raiser in August. I'm not alone in hoping for official recognition and a solid future for this museum. Must we leave the citizens to preserve a town and municipality's history?

The  Saturday event was a showcase of exhibitors all with a history perspective. The usual suspects of course. Researcher/author/genealogist Dan Buchanan, Susan Brose, another formidable Brighton history researcher/writer , event producer and history stalwart Dot Connelly and other principals in period costume. I met the authors of an area apple growing history, talked to the folks dedicated to keeping Proctor House astonishing, the volunteers working to preserve Presqu'ile's iconic lighthouse, and the Friends of Prequ'ile. Notice a 'volunteer' theme to this account?

I set out with the intent (and the $20) to purchase Susan Brose's impressive History of Brighton Businesses 1816 - 2009. But there were so many  folks selling raffle tickets....and my money dribbled away on good causes. The book will have to wait til next visit to my new favourite town (yes Mark I know. They can't all be favourites.)

All this and more! As soon as I arrived at home, I received a call from a lovely woman who informed me that my tiny contribution toward a ticket won me a Provincial Parks season pass! (Considering that we have 8 or 9 weeks of PP camping planned for this summer, it will get good use.) So, thanks Friends of Presqu'ile! If you have ever enjoyed this outstanding provincial park, you will have tasted some of the fruit of this group's hard work - from the magnificent boardwalk, to the NHE programs, to the tree-planting and trail maintenance. And if you have, you ought to become a member, and give back a wee bit in return. Attend the Waterfowl Weekend March 19 and 20, 10 to 4 to welcome some weary migrants.

Spent some time with the volunteers behind the Brighton Digital Archives project which my CQL editor Catherine Stutt and all-round fine sort Dennis Fletcher (he of Quinte Sailability) are working on, out of the history hub at Hilton Hall. Hmmm. Has alliterative potential that even corny old me will pass on.

So many exhibitors, such networking, learning, fun. Women's Institute munchies. A visit with my old Fogorig friend Florence. I'm still smiling.

And I am eternally grateful to the organizers. See you next year at Brighton's History Open House, held during Heritage Week.

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