34th Townshippers’ Day Shines
Despite the rainy morning and crisp temperatures Townshippers’ Day, the biggest cultural and heritage celebration for the Eastern Townships English-speaking community, was a smashing success with local residents and visitors enjoying an exciting day of events and entertainment on Saturday, September 14.
The 34th Townshippers’ Day, affectionately dubbed T-Day, which took place at Bishop’s College School (BCS), an independent boarding and day school in the Borough of Lennoxville, brought together visitors of all ages and linguistic backgrounds, in mutual celebration of the vitality and creativity of the English-speaking community of the Eastern Townships.
Organizers quickly responded to the festival site’s soggy weather conditions by reducing the distance between a majority of the tents and events to allow an estimated 2,500 visitors to enjoy activities and flavours that showcase the Englishspeaking community.
The day’s Opening Ceremonies were hosted by CBC Radio One host Susan Campbell and Andrew Chang of CBC News: Montreal, paving the way for the presentation of the 2013 Outstanding Townshippers (OT) and Young Townships Leader (YTLA) awards.
The OT award, a peer-nominated award which recognizes community members who work passionately, and collaboratively to make the Eastern Townships a better place to live, work and raise a family, was presented to Garnet and Sandra Morrison of Bury, Everette Taylor for his work in Richmond, and Emma Stevens for her work in Knowlton. Sixteen year old Melbourne native Andrew Boersen accepted the 2013 YTLA, which draws attention to youth dynamism and involvement by celebrating young people from the region who serve as role models to other youth as well as to adults.
With the site officially open, visitors were able to explore the festival site, encompassed within BCS’s beautiful quad and memorial rink, one of the oldest in the country. In the rink visitors discovered over 60 heritage, community, governmental and educational services, groups and organizations serving this community – including the Townshippers’ Association’s various partners.
With well over 110 items up for grabs, the silent auction was an active site in the rink. Other busy areas included Townships Expressions which featured works created by local artists and hosted a reading with comical columnist Ross Murray author of You’re Not Going to Eat That, Are You? and Don’t Everyone
Jump at Once, and the launch of two books; Language Matters edited by Endre Farkas and Carolyn Marie Souaid and Torrent’s Gate: Thomas Wolfe Visits Quebec by Steve Luxton.
Throughout the day festivalgoers enjoyed an array of fascinating performances that included local dance troupes presenting modern country, traditional Irish step and old-fashioned square. Audiences were spellbound and charmed by Ry Guy Magic, engaged and fascinated by the musical mastery of Amos Joannides and left in stiches by renowned comedy tag team Bowser & Blue.
Organisers were delighted by the number of smiling visitors and even more thrilled that the festivals commitment to minimize its environmental footprint was maintained with only one bag of garbage to show for the whole day.
Rachel Hunting, Executive Director of Townshippers’ Association, said; “Even though the grey skies brought periods of rain, T-Day shined through. It was tremendous. There was a wonderful mix of people who enjoyed the day and we had quite a lot of positive feedback from visitors. We can’t wait for the 35th Townshippers’ Day next year.”
Townshippers’ Day is one of the biggest annual events for Townshippers’ Association, a non-partisan, non-profit community organization serving the Eastern Townships English-speaking community. Bishop’s College School was a gracious host for the 2013 edition.
This year’s T-Day activities were made possible thanks to the generosity of a variety of supporting partners, including CBC; Canadian Heritage;Ville de Sherbrooke (Borough of Lennoxville); Bishop’s University; BRP; Global Excel, McDonald’s (Mario Iannuzzi); Stansted Journal; Services Postale De L’estrie; The Sherbrooke Record; Jean Coutu Lennoxville (Ph Lapointe Lussier Lajeunesse); Caisse Desjardins De L’est De Sherbrooke; Ministry Of International Relations, La Francophonie and External Trade For The Government Of Québec. Townshippers’ Association wishes to sincerely thank these partners, as well as the numerous other contributors whose donations – both financial and in-kind – went a long way towards making such a wonderful, community event possible.