Archive | Culture RSS feed for this section

Henderson Digitization Project Launches at HCM

15 Apr

by Diva Claire Carter

After a year of scanning, digitizing, formatting and researching, the Henderson Digitization Project is online!  The project shares over 850 photographs taken by Goderich photographer, J. Gordon Henderson, at WWII Air Training Sites in Huron County.

No. 4 Sky Harbour Class, about 1940-1943

No. 4 Sky Harbour Class, about 1940-1943

If you don’t know about this part of Huron County’s military history, here’s a quick backgrounder.  The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) aimed to quickly increase the number of pilots, navigators, bomb-aimers, wireless operators, air gunners and flight engineers able to fight in the war.  The agreement was signed by Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia on December 17, 1939.

Commandos at Sky Harbour, 1943

Commandos at Sky Harbour, 1943

Under the BCATP, over 90 training schools were opened across Canada, graduating more than 130,000 people between 1940 and 1945.  Four of these training schools were established in Huron County, No. 9 Service Flying Training School (Centralia), No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School (Goderich), No. 31/ No. 5 Radio School (Clinton) and No. 31 Air Navigation School (Port Albert).

Instructor and Student, about 1940-1944

Instructor and Student, about 1940-1944

The Henderson Digitization Project tells the story of daily life at these training sites.  Photos are varied and capture group and individuals in both posed and casual settings.   Daily life is also captured, including weddings, funerals, parties, training and flight.

Heard Wedding Party, 1944

Heard Wedding Party, 1944

I find it really exciting that these negatives have been turned into photographs and are now easily found online.  A quick flip through gives a sense of who the men and women were that worked at these air training sites and may have travelled to Huron from the other side of the world.  The Huron County Museum has been contacted by individuals from as far away as the UK who have ties to the base.

I find myself partial to the portraits of the young airmen.  The details in the different uniforms and gestures tell a story.  We don’t know the fate of each of these men, but can imagine the charisma, humour or sense of duty they brought to their jobs based on their facial expressions and body language.  This photo of F/LT Simpson is one of my favourites:

Simpson

F/LT Simpson, about 1940-1945

The photos can be accessed at http://digital.huroncounty.ca, and can be searched by keywords, categories or as a whole collection.  The Museum is asking for help from the public to identify some staff and trainees or provide additional details.

There is also a blog that provides additional details and stories behind the project and photos.  It can be accessed here, http://blog.huroncounty.ca/museum.

 

Something to look forward to in 2014

20 Dec

This blog post is a little different as it’s announcing a project that will be launched in Spring of 2014.

If you are a regular reader of OntarioTravelDivas you’ll know that Huron County offers a rich and vibrant life-style to its residents and a most pleasant place for visitors to explore.  Now visitor’s the world over will be able to learn a little more about our unique history through the Huron County Museum’s Henderson Digitization Project.    We’ll let you know when the site is officially launched …

HCM-a992-0003-342aContact:  Emily Beliveau, Digital Archives Assistant
Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol
519.524.2686, ext. 300

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Museum to Publish Hundreds of Photos Online in 2014

Newly digitized photographs from the Archives at the Huron County Museum reveal New Year’s Day festivities at Sky Harbour seventy years ago. The images, which were scanned from negatives, show trainees from the British Navy Fleet Air Arm enjoying a holiday meal alongside Sky Harbour
instructors and staff on January 1, 1944. The Huron County Museum is kicking off the new year by announcing the publication of these and hundreds more WWII air training photos on a new online collections site.

In Spring 2014, over 850 scanned images will be published on the web to conclude the Henderson Digitization Project. The year-long initiative was undertaken by the Archives at the Huron County Museum with support from a Museum and Technology Fund grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.

Between 1940 and 1944, Sky Harbour was the site of No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School, one of many wartime training schools located across the country that operated under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The new website will also feature pictures from No. 31 Air
Navigation School (Port Albert) and No. 5/31 Radio School (Clinton), all taken by Goderich-based photographer J. G. Henderson.

John Gordon Henderson (1913-1989) operated a photography studio on the north part of The Square for several decades, where Garb and Gear Source For Sports is now located. The Huron County Museum holds the collection of Henderson’s work as a professional photographer.

Before scanning, many of the images were only available as negatives, making it difficult to see exactly what—or who—was in the photo. The digital darkroom of the Henderson Digitization Project has made hundreds of images more accessible to researchers, and in a few months will make them available to everyone on the web.

Until the site launches, previews from the collection will be featured on the museum’s Facebook page, facebook.com/huroncountymuseum.

-30-

HCM-a992-0003-330aHCM-a992-0003-334New Year’s Day 1944, Sky Harbour [3 images]

[Image:12192013_13548_0.png]
Image A992.0003.330a, Huron County Museum

[Image:12192013_13548_1.png]
Image A992.0003.334, Huron County Museum

[Image:12192013_13548_2.png]
Image A992.0003.342a, Huron County Museum

HURON COUNTY MUSEUM
1
10 North Street, Goderich
519-524-2686

Beechwood Pottery Christmas Show & Sale

19 Nov

IMG_4476by Diva Trista Russell

This past weekend I had the pleasure of checking out Beechwood Pottery, which is just outside St. Columban in Huron East. I have to admit it’s in an area of Huron County that I rarely visit, but I am very glad that I made the trip!

Each year Beechwood Pottery holds their Christmas Show and Sale, which is a studio open house featuring pottery by Robert Tetu and Cora De Vries. I had the pleasure of meeting both Robert and Cora, and Robert told me the story of how he got into pottery. He previously attended art school in Toronto, but later decided it wasn’t for him. After some unfulfilling jobs, he decided to attend a pottery class with a friend, where he discovered his passion for pottery. He now runs Beechwood Pottery along with his partner Cora, which is displayed in a historic general store at the corner of Beechwood Line and Bridge Road.

When I arrived, I was greeted with some hot mulled wine while I pursued the pottery collection. There was a mix of functional pottery and beautiful decorative items. There was also some gorgeous porcelain earrings made by Cora.

beautiful and functional pottery 1

beautiful and functional pottery 1

Since Christmas is quickly approaching, I starting thinking about Christmas gifts. I think the oil and vinegar dispensers would be a great gift for a “foodie” in your life! What is great about the pottery is that all of it is ovenproof, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and lead free. I ended up purchasing some small wine mugs, which I’m going to wrap up with a bottle of wine as a unique Christmas gift!

With its one-of-kind pieces, Beechwood Pottery is definitely a hidden gem in Huron County

IMG_4479

Beechwood Pottery
44004 Bridge Road (4 km. north of St. Columban)
Phone: 519-345-2184
Email: beechwood@cyg.net

porcelain earrings - another great Christmas gift idea

porcelain earrings – another great Christmas gift idea

wine mugs that I purchased for a Christmas gift

wine mugs that I purchased for a Christmas gift

Celebrating Young Artists in South Huron

4 Nov
IMG_4470by Diva Trista Russell
Art aRound Town held the second annual South Huron Community Juried Art Show and Sale in Exeter this past weekend in Exeter. This year the theme focused on the talents of South Huron’s young people by dedicating this year’s show to Youth Art. There were entries from students in grades 7 to 12, which featured works from 18 different youth artists. There were also pieces from 35 different adult artists, with categories including three dimensional art, fabric art, drawings and printmaking, photography, and painting. All the art pieces were available for purchase – just in time for Christmas!
IMG_4471I toured the Art Show on Sunday afternoon, and upon arrival at the Exeter Lions Youth Center I was given a ballot to vote for my favourite piece (people’s choice). The one piece that caught my eye was a pencil drawing of a bicycle by Elizabeth Carr of Zurich (see photo). At first I thought it was a black and white photograph, but then realized it was a pencil drawing. It was quite impressive as the drawing looked just like a photo!
The variety of art pieces from these local professional and amateur artists made me realize that we have a lot of talent in our own area. You don’t have to travel far to find beautiful and unique art pieces!
If you’re inspired, Art aRound Town has some upcoming workshops in November, including landscape painting in oils and how to take better photos. Visit their website for more details.
IMG_4473

Sunday at the Blyth Steam Threshers Show

9 Sep
Classic Steamer

Classic Steamer

By Guest Travel Divo and Diva Wayne Vaasjo and Karen Melady

For Wayne this first time visit was a great surprise.
Wayne:  There was just so much going on.  It’s a mechanical engineer’s dream.
My highlight was the steam shovel – sort of like a fairy tale – with a man in the old engineer’s spot pulling the levers and the bucket magically goes up. Meanwhile in the back the stoker is filling the firebox, the machine is sending up a great plume of smoke that you can see from any place in the grounds.
Karen is a repeat visitor.
Karen: It’s been a few years since I last visited and I’m amazed at the increased organization and that it doesn’t change the homey feel.  There was great camaraderie among the people – those with displays, the visitors, the vendors.   And stories from the campers about the great music and the reunion atmosphere going on all week. It’s been going on for 52 years, so there are a lot of friendships made and kept up  because of this event.
Fairlane

Fairlane

1959 Retractable Ford Fairlane

1959 Retractable Ford Fairlane

We enjoyed the classic cars, the tractor pull and watching children cheer for their grampa. Loved the interactive displays and demonstrations: farm animal tent, rope making, blacksmithing, miniatures.  And just watching those great machines do their work threshing, cutting corn, shredding turnip.  A special moment was when an older man answered my question about a seeder that I recognized but couldn’t name. He described how he and his father worked the turnip seeder. I thought about how much more rare this is – a first person account of using the old farming equipment.

Here comes Grampa2 (Tractor Pull)

Here comes Grampa2 (Tractor Pull)

Steam Shovel

Steam Shovel

Wayne and I noted that it was sort of like being in a cartoon with these loud self-propelled, huge, old (and small), loud things popping up and tooting their whistles and puffing out smoke! A really grand day capped off with a swim in the lake. Love this country to coast lifestyle.

Turnip Seeder

Turnip Seeder

thresher at work

thresher at work

Old Beauty

Old Beauty

Co-ordinator Notes:  Ray Hallahan, a representative from the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association reported that attendance for the 52nd annual Steam Show was up slightly – that even the rain on Saturday couldn’t keep enthusiasts away!

750-800 trailers were on site for the three-day event, filling the trailer park  with a few located in an overflow area.

The Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Associations annual reunion is held the weekend after Labour Day each September.  Admission is $8 per person.

Falling: A Wake

5 Sep
image by Alyzen Moonshadow taken from Blyth Festival website.

image by Alyzen Moonshadow taken from Blyth Festival website.

by Diva Trista Russell

Falling: A Wake is the last production of the Blyth Festival’s 2013 season. Written by Gary Kirkham and directed by Peter Smith, the play follows retired couple Elsie (played by Catherine Fitch) and Harold (played by Tony Munch) as they discover the body of a young man on the front yard of their farm one autumn night. I had heard that this play was going to be quite comedic, but I was also surprised at how emotional it was as well. This play is actually inspired by the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 tragedy over Lockerbie in Scotland. Kirkham’s friend was on that very plane, and he wrote this play many years later.

Elsie and Harold are awakened one night by the sounds of banging and crashing, and come to realize that a plane crash occurred. Surrounded by luggage and debris, they discover the lifeless body of a 20 year-old man, sitting in a plane seat. Elsie, who loves to talk, decides to keep the young man company until the authorities arrive. Much to her husband’s dismay, she carries on a conversation with the victim, which is actually quite comedic.

Aside from the comedy, the discovery of the body reminds Harold and Elsie of their unresolved loss of their son, and is symbolic of the profound impact of grief. The couple’s lack of closure about their son and their resolve to move on was a reminder to me that we’ve all experienced loss in our lives in some way, and the healing power of letting go. I didn’t realize until I was writing this post that the title is “Falling: A Wake” not “Falling: Awake” as I had thought, which is quite fitting considering Elsie’s determination at staying by the side of the young man’s body.

Held in the intimate Phillips Studio, there was no stage set when I arrived. The props were very minimal. I learned that Elsie and Harold are a couple in real life too, which is not surprising considering the great chemistry and quick comebacks they have on set.

Falling: A Wake plays until Saturday, September 7th, including afternoon and evening performances.  The Phillips Studio is located at 209 Dinsley Street in Blyth.

For tickets, call 1-877-862-5984 or visit www.blythfestival.com.

Catherine Fitch

Catherine Fitch

Tony Munch plays Harold

Tony Munch plays Harold

Photos of Elsie/Catherine Fitch and Harold/Tony Munch are from the Blyth Festival’s website.

Sundays in the Bend

2 Sep

IMG_3824By Diva Trista Russell

I remember going to the Pinery Antique Flea Market at least once a year when I was growing up. It was the perfect excuse to go for a Sunday drive and see what treasures could be found. I went back again this year, and 2013 marks their 46th season!

The Pinery Antique Flea Market is an indoor and outdoor market with over 200 vendors. Aside from antiques, they have an incredible variety of items for sale: direct sale products (Pampered Chef, Avon, etc.), bulk candy and nuts, books, clothes, baking, plants, garden decor, furniture, purses, jewellery, cosmetics, local produce, meats, fresh coffee, organic skin care products…and more. I ended up purchasing some metal flower stakes for my flower beds that were priced at 3 for $10.

If you like antiques, you can walk down memory lane as you browse through their 7,000 square foot building. What is unique about this market is that the outdoor vendors are shaded by huge mature trees. This makes it quite comfortable to browse through on a hot summer day.

IMG_3825 IMG_3826 IMG_3830

Admission is only $1 per person (children 12 years old and under are free), and there is plenty of parking. There is also a beer garden and live entertainment beside the 1930’s vintage gas station. I ended up sleeping in on Sunday (one of my favourite past times on the weekend), so I missed the hot breakfast they offered from 8 to 10am.

IMG_3832Tip: If you are looking for some food, try Woody’s fresh cut fries. Woody’s is located in the chip truck on the path closest to Bluewater Highway. I got the small size for $2.75, and it was huge (see photo)!

The Pinery Antique Flea Market is open Sundays, rain or shine, from 8am to 4pm all summer long until Thanksgiving.

For more information, phone 519-238-8382 or send them an email.

Directions: Located on Bluewater Highway (Highway 21), 3 miles south of Grand Bend on the east side of the road, halfway between the Pinery Provincial Park and Grand Bend.

IMG_3833 IMG_3834

Prairie Nurse

26 Aug
The Hunt

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

by Diva Nicole Olson

On Tuesday this week, I had a lovely evening out at the Blyth Festival theatre. I went to see Prairie Nurse, by Marie Beath Badian and directed by Sue Miner. As described by the playwright, it was a “fictional play based on real-life folks.” It was set in 1969 in a small town hospital in Saskatchewan, where two nurses from the Philippines came to work. The lab technician falls in love with one of them, but can’t tell them apart and thus, comedy ensues.

The show has a tough-as-nails head nurse, a hunting and fishing crazed doctor, a sweet but meddling candy striper, a caring and fatherly custodian, hockey star goalie/goofy lab technician, along with the two sweet, but home sick Filipino nurses. Combine all of these quirky characters and you get an enjoyable show full of laughs. I definitely enjoyed the fun, light hearted nature of the performance. They found ways to incorporate common stereotypes and make it tastefully funny.

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

There was hardly a spare seat in the theatre, and lots of chuckles could be heard from the audience! To see this show, or other fantastic productions at the Blyth Festival Theatre, check out their website http://www.blythfestival.com/ or call the Box Office.

Blyth Festival
423 Queen Street
Blyth ON N0M 1H0
Toll Free: 1-877-862-5984
Local: (519) 523-9300
Fax: (519) 523-9804
Email: info@blythfestival.com

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Behind the Bars

15 Aug
Huron County's Gaol is a National Historic site.

Huron County’s Gaol is a National Historic site.

By Diva Trista Russell

I think this one of the coolest (and relatively unknown) summer events in Huron County! “Behind the Bars” is an interactive tour of the Huron Historic Gaol in Goderich. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings from July to August, you can explore the gaol and interact with volunteers who step into the role of late-1800s prisoners. I have to confess that I’m not much of a museum fanatic, but I really enjoyed this as it was interactive and entertaining!

The Huron Historic Gaol served as the County Jail from 1842 to 1972 and now is a designated National Historic Site. One thing I didn’t realize before is that the building housed the County Courts and Council Chambers on the top floor. The gaol also held prisoners not only from Huron County, but also from neighbouring Perth and Bruce Counties as well.

Meeting characters from the past

Meeting characters from the past

Upon entering the gaol, there is an opportunity to sign the guestbook and state your “crime”. After paying the $10 admission fee, I was greeted by a museum attendant who explained some of the faces of the gaol I might meet. There are three floors to explore, as well as the Governor’s House. The cell blocks, kitchen, laundry room, Gaoler’s apartment, surgeon room, courtroom, and holding rooms/cells are all open for viewing. In almost every room there were opportunities to meet and question those who were representing the men, women and children who lived and worked behind the bars. There were also little excerpts on the walls that detailed the background of some of the prisoners. I quickly learned that some prisoners committed serious crimes, and other some very minor offences. I got to meet a young boy, around 13 years old, who was incarcerated for not having a job!

IMG_3764Each one of the prisoners did a wonderful job of representing and staying in character. I had a nice chat with the Governor’s daughter about life in the 1800s, and when I explained why I was visiting, she was was quite perplexed about what a “blog” was. Imagine explaining technology to someone growing up in the early 1900s!

IMG_3774What is truly amazing is that everything in the building is original to that time period and still works. One of the tour guides in the Governor’s House told me that the radiator in the bedroom still works to this day exactly as it did over 100 years ago!

As an extra treat, refreshments were served outside on the court yard.  It’s recommended that you allow at least 45 minutes for the tour. I easily spent over an hour exploring the building.

I had never been to the Historic Gaol before so this was a first-time experience for me. The chance to interact with these characters definitely makes this a truly unique attraction, and in my opinion is a great way to spend a summer evening learning about history. Plus, how often can you tell people that you went to jail for a night?

Behind the Bars Gaol Tours
Tuesday & Thursday evenings until August 29, 2013, 7 PM to 9 PM (last entry 8:30PM)
Admission: Adults: $10, Children: $5; Families: $25; Ages 5 & under: Free; Members: FreeLocation: Huron Historic Gaol, 181 Victoria St. North, Goderich

IMG_3763

One Cell Block

One Cell Block

IMG_3780 IMG_3781 IMG_3783 IMG_3785Contact: museum@huroncounty.ca

A Day at the Museum

12 Aug

Brown dressby Diva Nicole Olson

Earlier this week, I thought it would be a good idea to give the mini divas a little lesson on local and world history. I packed them up and headed for Goderich. There, we took a tour of the Huron Historic Gaol and the Huron County Museum. The museum has two temporary exhibits on presently; Here Comes the Bride and The Vikings: Master Mariners, Traders, Colonists and Artisans.

Here Comes the Bride is an exhibit that showcases different styles of wedding dresses from the 1860s to the 1970s. Some even have stories to go along with them, such as who the bride and groom were, where the wedding took place and in some cases an anecdote about the couple. As an avid enthusiast of the show Say Yes to the Dress, I really enjoyed this exhibit. I noticed that the majority of the early dresses were handmade by the bride or her family and were made from dark colors. I read that this was because wedding dresses were often worn several times, to church and special occasions, and white was an impractical color because it dirtied easily.

Blue dressWedding party

VikingsThe Viking exhibit, is a travelling exhibit from the Manitoba Museum. You can learn the Viking alphabet, learn about their ship building techniques, and get a better understanding of their traditional life and contributions made. There is a slideshow to take in as well. As you can see from the photo (below), my oldest mini diva enjoyed sailing the seas, pretending to be a Viking.

Here Comes the Bride will be on until August 15, and The Vikings will be on until August 31. You can also get joint admission to tour the Gaol, so I recommend making the trip!

Huron Historic Gaol

181 Victoria St. N (Hwy 21)
Goderich, ON
(519) 524-6971

018

Gaol

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,559 other followers