Corn­wall cel­e­brat­ing 225 years

Seaway News - - SPORTS - KIND­NESS

What a fab­u­lous fall day it was! The in­vi­ta­tion to the un­veil­ing of The Founders’ Memo­rial Cairn from the SD& G His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety had said to look for the tent ad­ja­cent to the Wo o d h o u s e , C o r n w a l l C o m m u n i t y Mu­seum. But with cars ev­ery­where, I parked at St. J o s e p h ’ s Con­tin­u­ing Care Cen­tre lot, across the way. The his­toric event on Sun­day, Sept. 13, 2009 was well worth the walk. It was clearly a proud day for the or­ga­niz­ers.

Lo­cated in Lamoureux Park near the chil­dren’s splash pad, the Memo­rial Cairn is an im­pres­sive size. The plaque, in­scribed in both English and French states: “ Corn­wall & S. D. G. 1784– 2009 An un­der­stand­ing be­tween Mo­hawk Chief, Thayen­da­negea ( Joseph Brant) and Sir John John­son led to the set­tle­ment of Corn­wall and Stor­mont, Dun­das & Glen­garry.

On June 6th, 1784, Loy­al­ists camped on this plateau be­fore trav­el­ing to their new homes.

Sub­se­quently, Scots, Ir­ish, French Cana­di­ans and peo­ples from all cor­ners of the globe ar­rived, lay­ing the foun­da­tion of to­day’s mul­ti­cul­tural com­mu­nity.”

There was a lot go­ing on that af­ter­noon! Corn­wall’s town crier, Wes Libbey, was first to call us to­gether. Sev­eral mem­bers of the United Em­pire Loy­al­ists branch were also in cos­tume. Mu­si­cians Vi­vianne Paniz­zon and Ray­mond Lacroix were on board to per­form. His­toric dis­play ar­eas were set up un­der the tent in­clud­ing won­der­ful lo­cal art­work.

Corn­wall City Coun­cil­lor Ber­nadette Clé­ment held her own as chair­per­son, in­tro­duc­ing Eti­enne Saint-Au­bin and other dig­ni­taries, most of whom rep­re­sented the var­i­ous lev­els of gov­ern­ment from the area, in­clud­ing Ottawa. Does this woman do ev­ery­thing with ab­so­lute deco­rum and hu­mil­ity? She chuck­led as she read­justed the mi­cro­phone to reach her pe­tite stature, af­ter each very tall speaker left the podium. All were male— by the way. Mayor Kil­ger’s mo­men­tous words echoed our sen­ti­ment: “ We cel­e­brate the past with great pride and we look to the fu­ture with great con­fi­dence.”

Fol­low­ing the speeches, piper Don Black­ad­der led the march of the Pa­rade of Na­tions with flags sig­ni­fy­ing peo­ple from other coun­tries who have come to call this place their home. I was con­tent to note that the first flag be­ing car­ried was the red, white and green of my birth­place, Hun­gary. Walk­ing tours were later led by Her­itage Corn­wall. And, oh yes! What would any cel­e­bra­tion be without re­fresh­ments ably served up by the Kinettes?

Ian Bow­er­ing, cu­ra­tor of the Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Mu­seum, was pleased to point out that this Memo­rial Cairn in­scrip­tion is the first of its kind in east­ern On­tario to ac­knowl­edge the con­tri­bu­tion of Mo­hawks in the area set­tle­ment. How very fit­ting, and high time in­deed!

As a near new­comer to Corn­wall, I am con­stantly moved by the com­mit­ment of the com­mu­nity to its his­toric roots. Mem­ber of Pro­vin­cial Par­lia­ment Jim Brownell re­marked that when he was a teacher, the his­tory of this area was part of the cur­ric­ula which he taught. There is such an over­whelm­ing wealth of his­tory right at our doorstep and so many en­thu­si­as­tic, ded­i­cated in­di­vid­u­als who pro­mote the past ac­com­plish­ments of our an­ces­tors through their mu­sic, art, re­search and writ­ing. I wish I had seen more chil­dren at the Memo­rial Cairn ded­i­ca­tion. I sin­cerely hope that teach­ers from all the schools in the area will in­clude this site as part of their field trip with their stu­dents, both now and for years to come.

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