Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eileen Collard and Her Costume Collection

If you are interested in the history of fashion you will want to head to the Joseph Brant Museum where there is a small but excellent exhibition of women's clothing from the 1920's. Currently there are 10 dresses (with hats, shoes and purses) on display that make up just a small part of the wonderful Eileen Collard Costume Collection. Especially interesting are the flappers dresses heavily laden with beads and sequins. These items don't often come out of storage due to a shortage of exhibition space. I understand that future costume exhibitions from different eras are in the planning stage.

To find out more about Eileen Collard and her contribution to the history of fashion in Burlington click here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Scanning Day at Burlington Central Library

Next Saturday, Burlington Public Library in partnership with the Burlington Historical Society is hosting an Old Photos Scanning Day. Grab your old photo albums and come to the library on Saturday, September 25 from 10am to 3pm for our photograph scanning marathon!
If you have any old photos of your family or business taken in Burlington's younger days, we invite you to share them with us. Bring your photos in and we’ll scan them for you. You keep the original and get a scanned copy, and we keep a copy for our archives. Some images may be added to our online historical photo collection. Please provide a memory stick or an email address when you come in. No appointment is necessary and scanning will take place in the Burlington History Room, Central Library, 2nd floor.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Doors Open 2011 Here We Come!

I think that the numbers speak for themselves. Burlington's very first Doors Open event drew just shy of 5,000 site visits over June 12 and 13th. 15 sites including St. Luke's Church, Ireland House, Knox Presbyterian Church, the Gingerbread House, the Estaminet, Lowville School House and Lowville United Church hosted tours, provided storyboards, and allowed access to archives. Several sites even provided homemade scones, tea,coffee and lemonade. Many visitors said they have been devoted fans of Doors Open events in other communites and commented that they were more than pleased that Burlington partipated this year. Hopefully this will just be the start.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Historical re-enactment - a different take

We often think of historical re-enactments as having to do with military events, such as the yearly re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek at Battlefield House. But St. John's Anglican Church on Dundas St. and the Ireland House Museum have a different idea. On Sunday, June 6th guests will be welcome to become a member of the wedding party during the re-enactment of a historic Ireland Family wedding.

During the re-enactment guests will follow the wedding couple, Eliza Ann and John Ireland, through the day including a wedding brunch, shower, visit to the family home of Ireland House culminating in the wedding ceremony and banquet at St. John's Anglican Church.

For details and tickets call the museum at 905-332-9888.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tales from the Crypt!

For those of you who have visited the Hamilton Cemetery and wondered what it was like inside a a crypt - I can tell you. The answer is deep, dark, dank and a little creepy. I was fortunate (some would disagree) to be able to go down into the Colonel Robert Land crypt two weeks ago. The Hamilton Chapter of the United Empire Loyalists were unveiling a plaque denoting Robert Land's crypt as a Loyalist burial site.

John Land, a descendent of Robert Land, was on hand to share with the audience a brief history of his ancestor's life. And what a life it was - Robert Land can be described as the first white settler in Hamilton, a loyalist spy, prisoner, pioneer and explorer. To learn more about Robert Land click here. I also highly recommend Robin McKee's tours of the Hamilton Cemetery.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Desjardins Railway Disaster

If you have walked along the Hamilton West Harbour cycling path you may have noticed a plaque commemorating the Desjardins Railway Disaster of 1857. The historic marker is on the path just underneath the High Level Bridge. I have always been extremely interested in this important if gruesome event in Hamilton's history, and now, thanks to a digitized project undertaken by the Hamilton Public Library, I can satisfy my curiosity. The library has done a beautiful job of digitizing the original booklet that reads like a forensic study of the disaster. You can flip through an online copy of the "Full Details of the Railway Disaster of the 12th of March, 1857 at the Desjardins Canal on the line of the Great Western Railway". Here you will read about how the train fell through the swing-bridge into the icy canal below killing 57 passengers in an instant. You will read about the community's response to the event and learn something about the victims - among them a Church minister, plough maker, bookseller, gas inspector, quartermaster, flour merchant and stock breeder, as well as several infants. Click here to read this wonderfully copied orginial document.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Government promises funding to help celebrate 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812

On March 4th the Federal budget promised an influx of $75 million to upgrade historic sites connected with the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. This is good news for our area as the Battle of Stoney Creek, a pivotal conflict during the War took place June 6, 1813. The Ontario Ministry of Tourism has said the bicentennial will be a major event for Ontario, with close to 13 million Americans and Canadians saying they will attend an event. Both Hamilton and Burlington have committees currently planning events. More about these as I get the details. To learn more about the War of 1812 and the upcoming Bicentennial click here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Volunteers needed for Burlington's First Doors Open

Burlington is hosting it's very first Doors Open event this June (Sat. June 12 and Sun. June 13). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure to attend a past Doors Open event in a participating community, here's how it works. A community will pick a number of heritage related sites and those sites kindly open their doors for free to the general public. It usually runs over a weekend, and each site is run by volunteers who welcome, interpret and answer questions about the historic importance of each location. Sites are usually located within walking distance to each other, while others require a drive in the country. Nearby communites such as Hamilton, Guelph and Oakville have had great turnouts in past years. To read more about Doors Open events in Ontario in general click here. To reach Doors Open Burlington website click here. Volunteer application forms and information are on the site. The event is entirely volunteer driven and we will need well over 100 volunteers to make it work. I encourage anyone interested in Burlington's heritage to consider giving a few hours of your time and sign up for this great event.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Celebrate Heritage in Burlington all month long

This year the Burlington Heritage Week Committee has stretched the community celebration to last the entire month of February. The events are spread throughout the city. For example - Paletta Mansion is having an open house as is the Halton Region Museum, Joseph Brant Museum in holding an Antique Clinic, and Central Library is hosting a number of talks such as The Design of an Historic Garden at Dundurn Castle and also The History of the Freeman Railway Station. Details about these events and many more can be found by clicking here, (be sure to scroll down to where it says "For a detailed list of upcoming Heritage Month Events" for the information).

PS - you have to love technology - I am posting this blog entry from Glasgow, Scotland having just visited the fabulous Stirling Castle!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sir John A Macdonald and his birthday party

The Sir John A. Macdonald Society in Hamilton hosted another successful birthday party for our nation's first charismatic Prime Minister who was born January 11, 1915. A Scottish piper led the parade of 100 or so people in the biting cold to the monument of Sir John A. in Gore Park where wreaths were laid by a number of dignitaries. Back in the auditorium of the Crowne Plaza Hotel (nice and warm I might add), MC Steve Paikin introduced author Roy MacSkimming who talked about the writing of his novel, entitled Macdonald. Other speakers included Hamilton Councillor, Bob Bratina who spoke about Macdonald and the building of the railroad and past mayor of Hamilton, Bob Morrow who led the audience through a rededication of Canadian Citizenship. What with the Highland dancing and the Union Jack birthday cake, a good time was had by all. To read the novel Macdonald go to the Burlington Public Library catalogue, the library owns 5 copies - . To learn more about Sir John A. click here.