His­tory buffs com­ing to town

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

The town of Stanstead is steeped in An­glo­phone her­itage, so it’s not sur­pris­ing that the Que­bec An­glo­phone Her­itage Net­work will be hold­ing its An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing, an event that will bring dozens of vis­i­tors from around the prov­ince to the town, here on June 1st.

The Que­bec An­glo­phone Her­itage Net­work, also known as QAHN, was founded in 2000 by Town­ship­per Richard Evans and has its sole of­fice in the Mar­guerite Knapp Build­ing in the Bor­ough of Len­noxville. It has been ful­fill­ing its mis­sion of pro­mot­ing the preser­va­tion of Que­bec her­itage and the his­tory of Que­bec’s English-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties through such ini­tia­tives as the pub­li­ca­tion of Her­itage Trail guides, hold­ing her­itage es­say and photo con­tests in Que­bec schools, giv­ing out an­nual awards to in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions who help pre­serve An­glo­phone her­itage in Que­bec and, most re­cently, with the “Sig­nif­i­cant Ob­jects for Telling Iden­tity: English Que­bec through 100 Ob­jects” pro­ject.

“QAHN is there just to make sure the An­glo­phone pres­ence is known, rec­og­nized and cel­e­brated. We’re not there to cre­ate ar­ti­fi­cial di­vi­sions where none ex­ist. It’s fan­tas­tic work­ing at the grass roots level, like our an­nual Marion Phelps Award which is given to an in­di­vid­ual and the Richard Evans Award for or­ga­ni­za­tions. Re­cently, The Miner Farm pro­ject in Granby re­ceived that award. There, a group of Fran­co­phones said ‘Let’s keep it’,” com­mented QAHN pres­i­dent Kevin O’Don­nell in an in­ter­view with The Stanstead Jour­nal.

The re­tir­ing pres­i­dent con­tin­ued: “I be­lieve the or­ga­ni­za­tion is mak­ing a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to Que­bec in gen­eral. An­glo­phone roots go back quite a num­ber of years and there is no one ‘cookie cut­ter’ ver­sion of an An­glo­phone; we cel­e­brate that. If you don’t ac­tively pre­serve her­itage, some­times im­por­tant peo­ple are for­got­ten, even whole ar­eas are for­got­ten. They just fade away.”

One ben­e­fit to be­com­ing a mem­ber of the Que­bec An­glo­phone Her­itage Net­work is re­ceiv­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s mag­a­zine, Que­bec Her­itage News, four times a year. “I read in our own mag­a­zine about Mon­treal South. I had no idea that there was a town for about one hun­dred years, un­til the 1960s, on the South Shore; it was ab­sorbed by one of those other towns, like Longueuil,” said Mr. O’Don­nell, who lives in Hud­son. “We have a sta­ble of peo­ple who vol­un­teer, are pas­sion­ate, and con­trib­ute sto­ries to the mag­a­zine.”

Mr. O’Don­nell vis­ited Stanstead once be­fore, on Town­ship­pers’ Day, and he’s look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing for the An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing. “Matthew Far­fan, whose on the Board, sug­gested we have the meet­ing in Stanstead about a year ago. I’ve never been to the Haskell Li­brary or to the Ma­sonic Lodge, but Matthew, who’s a mem­ber of that Lodge, has told me a lot about it. And I love the idea of this lady putting up a li­brary smack on top of the bor­der. There’s also such beau­ti­ful scenery in the area. It’s an in­cen­tive for mem­bers to come to the AGM, get­ting to visit an in­ter­est­ing town; it draws mem­bers to the meet­ing. The mayor him­self will join us at the be­gin­ning of our meet­ing so we’re quite hon­oured.”

“I’m al­ways try­ing to boost the vis­i­bil­ity of Stanstead,” said long-time Stanstead res­i­dent Matthew Far­fan who is also the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Que­bec An­glo­phone Her­itage Net­work. “Philippe will say a few words at our busi­ness meet­ing in the morn­ing. That’s tak­ing place at the Golden Rule Lodge in Stanstead, the old­est Ma­sonic Lodge in Que­bec which dates back to 1860. It’s very un­usual for this build­ing to be open for a pub­lic event like that,” ex­plained Mr. Far­fan who is also an his­to­rian.

Af­ter the meet­ing, QAHN mem­bers will re­ceive a guided tour of the Colby-Cur­tis Mu­seum fol­lowed by their an­nual awards cer­e­mony over lunch at La Vieille Douane Bistro. “One of the awards is the Marion Phelps Award, named af­ter a lead­ing fig­ure in Town­ships Her­itage who re­cently passed away. It is to hon­our an in­di­vid­ual who has ex­celled in vol­un­teer work pre­serv­ing her­itage. The Richard Evans Award goes to a group or as­so­ci­a­tion that has ex­celled and, this time, it’s go­ing to a group from the Town­ships. We’ll also have a few spe­cial awards,” said Mr. Far­fan.

“Ross Mur­ray will give a hu­mor­ous talk, at lunch, about life on the bor­der. Af­ter lunch, we’ll walk across the foot­bridge for a guided tour of the Haskell. Many of our mem­bers have never been so it should be a lot of fun for our vis­i­tors.” The QAHN mem­bers scat­tered around the prov­ince were sent brochures of the area in ad­vance. “Many will stay a day or two or, if not, come back an­other time. They’re com­ing from the Gaspé, Que­bec City, the Ou­taouais, the Chateau­guay Val­ley, Ot­tawa, Mon­treal, and they all rep­re­sent his­tor­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tions and mu­se­ums. Stanstead is a very his­tor­i­cal town and one of the most beau­ti­ful towns in the Town­ships, so I re­ally wanted to show it off.”

Peo­ple in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing this event must call QAHN, at 819 564-9595, to reg­is­ter by Thurs­day, May 30th.

Photo coutesy

QAHN Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Matthew Far­fan (right) is look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing QAHN pres­i­dent Kevin

O’Don­nell (left) and other mem­bers of QAHN to Stanstead, this Satur­day, for the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing and Awards Cer­e­mony.

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