Book commemorates 175th anniversary celebrations
CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland Today Cobourg's poet laureate, Ted Amsden, recites the piece he composed in honour of the town's 175th anniversary at the launch of the photo book commemorating the year. His poem, The Bell Tolls, refers to the Victoria Hall clock tower, of course, but is also meant to evoke the role bells played in the life of the town in times past.
The town's 175th anniversary was a year to remember, and there will always be the picture book to prove it.
Cobourg, Celebrating 175 Years ä Its People, Pride and Passions was officially launched this week in a Victoria Hall ceremony that was also meant to be a reception to thank the volunteers of the anniversary committee.
"No matter what they are doing in Cobourg, there's never a shortage of volunteers. It's one of the most giving communities in Canada," Mayor Gil Brocanier stated.
The mayor listed a few highlights of the year, such as the Cobourg Stamp Club's 175th-anniversary commemorative cover, the Victoria Hall Volunteers speaker's series, the Cobourg Public Library's lecture series on life in 1837, the Blue Rodeo concert ä "and, of course, I really liked the War of 1812 re-enactment with Alderville First Nation."
A lasting and significant highlight of the year was the opening of the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre, which will reopen every summer with a new exhibit.
"It was the first year for us, but the first year of many things to happen at that site," commented former mayor Joan Chalovich who ä in addition to serving as anniversary-committee chair ä is a long-time volunteer who has worked for years to help get the museum up and running.
Among the highlights of the book, along with the photos, is the commemorative poem by poet laureate Ted Amsden. The Bell Tolls refers to the Victoria Hall clock tower, of course, but is also meant to evoke the role bells played in the life of the town in times past.
Chalovich recalled being part of the commemorations of the town's sesquicentennial year in 1987, and she was delighted to bring back Bill Johnson and Russ Donaldson who were so instrumental in the photo book for that year.
One thing that has changed is how the events commemorating the anniversary were planned. In 1987, she said, the town actually presented events.
"Now we have many groups who can take the lead and have events that are well attended, so we decided instead to invite them to mount their events for 2012 and provide some seed money for their activities," Chalovich explained.
That amounted to 48 different organizations, Councillor John Henderson estimated.
"And you can imagine how many people were attached to each organization," he said.
"It will probably be the marketing book for the Town of Cobourg for the next year or so," Chalovich said.
"Collectively, we can inspire each other to preserve the past and contribute to the future."
The book is $30, tax included, at Victoria Hall and Dressler House.