Valuing our history

It’s often said that Canadian history is boring.

Well, don’t tell that to the estimated 30,000 people who converged on the village of Bath this past weekend to capture a glimpse of the visiting Tall Ships, part of the 2017 Rendez-Vous International Regatta, as well as of hundreds of re-enactors providing ‘living history’ displays.

We imagine a few of those folks came to see and hear the cannons going off during re-enactment battles, too —  a little bit of cannon fire is always a sure draw.

Boring, indeed.

The arrival of those historic vessels along the shores of Lennox and Addington, perhaps more than anything else, helps those of us living in the 21st Century picture what it would have looked like to stand on those shores 150 (or more) years ago. Hopefully, our front page photo this week will help those who couldn’t be there this weekend evoke the same kind of visualization.

Canadian history is far from boring, particularly if it’s packaged properly. It’s clear that the organizers behind this weekend’s event in Bath, the Fairfield-Gutzeit Society and others, know how to do the job right. That said, it’s not like they haven’t had any practice, having established the Lafarge 1812 Discovery Centre and staged numerous re-enactments of land and sea battles over the years. This weekend’s visit by the Rendez-Vous Regatta was just the latest example. They’re experts at ‘bringing history to life’, and it shows.

And, if you’re attracting 30,000 to a history-themed event, it’s fair to assume that, not only is Canadian history far from boring, it’s also profitable. We can only imagine the economic spinoffs this event generated for local businesses. Those who would ignore the opportunities provided by celebrating and showcasing our history are truly missing the boat, pun intended.

Thankfully, Bath and the rest of L&A County have not been shy in this regard. Our United Empire Loyalist background has always been at the forefront — the UELs even have a municipality named after them, after all.

The (newly refurbished and expanded) L&A County Museum and Archives, the UEL Heritage Centre and Park, the Allan Macpherson House and the Fairfield-Gutzeit House are just a few of the valued historic resources in L&A.

We should keep up the good work. We also should look forward to the next big Canadian history event that once again dispels the myth that ‘Canadian history is boring.’

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