Countdown to Coaticook Celebration
The New Year is approaching fast and with it comes the 150th anniversary of the City of Coaticook, a milestone that will be celebrated throughout the year in the “Pearl of the Townships”.
“We began working on the city’s anniversary back in 2011,” said Johanne Provencher who co-presides over the Fetes
du 150e de Coaticook along with René Larochelle. Although perhaps better known for her talent in the food industry, where she was instrumental in the monumental growth of her family’s business, the Laiterie
de Coaticook, during the last 37 years before she semi-retired, Ms. Provencher has always been active in her community. “I’ve always been involved in many sectors: agriculture, culture, industry, education; I love it all. I accepted the position to be co-president of the anniversary because I’m passionate about Coaticook,” she said in an interview with the Stanstead Journal.
The city has been ‘ warming up’ for the celebration for a few years now, restoring many of the downtown buildings, facades and, more recently, sprucing up its downtown core with new paving, widened cobblestone sidewalks, granite curbs and classy new street lamps. Historic articles, highlighting the contribution of many of the city’s important figures such as Walter G. Belknap and Nathaniel Jenks, have been appearing in the town’s weekly newspaper, the Progres de
Coaticook, for a few months. “We’ll be having events all year long. We’ve accepted already about thirty different projects from organizations and individuals. We don’t have much money left for projects, but people can still submit projects that just ‘give a wink’ to the 150th; they don’t all have to be big projects,” explained the co-president.
With the theme of “Celebrate the past, prepare for the future”, it’s not surprising that several projects have been planned with the local elementary schools. “It’s a good opportunity to make the children aware that what they do today becomes the history of tomorrow,” said Ms. Provencher, adding: “I remember riding on a float, when I was five years old, at the city’s 100th anniversary celebration!” The year-long party will be officially launched, in January, at the city’s first council meeting of the New Year on January 13th. This promises to be a very lively meeting and everyone is welcome. That will soon be followed by a concert, on January 24th, at the Pavillon des Arts
et Culture with Quebec songstress Johanne Blouin who was ‘seduced’ by Coaticook just last summer during the taping of the television show La Petite Seduction. “The show is at 8:00 pm but ticket holders are invited to arrive at 6:30 for cocktails with the organizing committee of the 150th,” said Ms. Provencher.
One of the interesting projects related to the 150th anniversary is the creation of a souvenir book entitled Coaticook – Racontée par ses citoyens. Baldwin Mills resident Lydia May has submitted an historic article, the only article submitted by an Anglophone for the book, that highlights the Anglophone heritage of this now primarily French-speaking city. “The book is almost finished but we’d love to receive an article about the English churches in Coaticook; there were Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists… That’s what we’re missing,” said new Coaticook councilor Sylviane Ferland who’s in charge of that project. The article need not be exhaustive, only about five hundred words, and dates of events, although welcome, are not necessary. The article can also be submitted in English, but it must be sent in within the next month. For more information contact Ms. Ferland at 819 849 9235 or visit the website at www.coaticook150.ca.
When asked if the sales of the Laiterie de Coaticook’s famous Buches de Noel were going well, Ms. Provencher commented: “These days I’m wearing the hat for the 150th celebrations. I leave the ice cream business to ‘la releve’.” To conclude, she said: “I’d like to invite everyone to come and celebrate with us and visit the website to find out about everything that will be going on!”