Coaticook welcomes Townshippers this Saturday
Coaticook’s downtown, where many of the T-Day activities are taking place, received an impressive makeover in the last year, complete with cobblestone sidewalks, granite borders and lovely lampposts.
T- Day is coming to Coaticook this Saturday and the town is ready! Townshippers’ Association has teamed up with the town of Coaticook’s 150th Celebration committee to put on one of the biggest Townshippers’ Day ever to celebrate not only the host town’s historic birthday, but also the Townshippers’ Association’s 35th anniversary. T-Day runs from 9:00 am to about 5:00 in the afternoon, but many will undoubtedly stick around town for supper and return to the Coaticook Gorge for the wildly popular Foresta Lumina. Visitors to T-Day are encouraged to drive straight to the La Frontaliere high school, on St. Paul Est, to park their cars and then take a shuttle bus to the activities. There will be handicapped parking available at the Pavillon des Arts et Culture, on Wellington Street.
“It is the first time that we are hosting Townshippers’ Day and we are very, very anxious to open our doors to everyone! Everyone is welcome and most of the events are free, except for buying food. We also hope that our local population will come out to the event and re-discover their hometown!” commented Emilie Drouin, the coordinator of Coaticook’s 150th celebration.
The action will take place on six different sites around the beautiful town with free shuttle buses available throughout the day even though most of the sites are within a reasonable walking distance. The five sites located around the downtown area are: the Pavillon des Arts et Culture on Wellington Street, where the Opening Ceremony will take place; Parc Chartier, on Child Street across from the Town Hall; the Beaulne Museum on Union Street; Ecole Gendreau on Cutting
Street; and the Bibliotheque Francoise-Maurice de Coaticook, on Main Street. The names alone of those streets show how important the English community was in the founding of this now predominantly Francophone town, something the Societe d’histoire et de patrimoine de Coaticook will no doubt explore in the special exhibition they are putting on in the Francoise-Maurice library for the occasion.
The sixth T-Day site is down at the Gorge de Coaticook where members of the Weetchumpee Community will set up a native village complete with teepees, native American food tastings, sacred ceremonies and celebrations. There will be activities for children as well. There will be special, white shuttle buses taking visitors from the other sites downtown and from the main T-Day parking area, located at La Frontaliere high school, to the Gorge.
The Opening Ceremony will kick off the day at 10:00 in the Pavillon des Arts et Culture and will include the Outstanding Townshippers Awards and the presentation of Young Townships Leaders. “For our 35th anniversary we’ll be launching a special edition, Taproot V, at the Pavillon des Arts at 11:15, after the Opening Ceremony. It will be a proper book launch with wine and nibbles, live music with Julia Rohan, and it will be emceed by CBC’s Susan Campbell,” explained Kate Holbrook of the Townshippers’ Association. A few of the 28 contributing writers, such as Ross Murray, David Gosselin and Tricia McDaid, will read their pieces during the launch. “It will be a joyful celebration of all these writers. Taproot is a collection of poems, prose and photographs and it has always been edited by Brenda Hartwell who does a fantastic job,” she added.
The afternoon line-up of free entertainment at the Pavillon, beginning at 1:00 pm, is the hilarious Magician Ry-Guy, a multicultural choir, followed by the Mike Goudreau Trio at 3:00. A huge Silent Auction will also be set up at this site.
The sweet sounds of the Harmonie de Coaticook will fill the air at Parc Chartier where there will also be food and refreshments and demonstrations by the Rainbow Country Cloggers. It will be free to visit the Beaulne Museum, where there are several art exhibits and an exhibition around women’s fashion, but if you would like to indulge in a ‘High Tea’ service on the Chateau Norton’s expansive veranda, you’ll have to make reservations first by calling 819 849-6560.
Sixty exhibitors and artisans will set up shop in Ecole Gendreau, just around the corner from the Museum. The school’s new playground will be open for children to run around in. Children can also take part, just a few steps away from the school, in a free English story-telling at the Francoise-Maurice library at 11:00 am, as long as they are registered first by calling 819 849-4013.
“This won’t be your average T-Day so people should really plan what they want to do. It will be very intriguing and a real discovery of Coaticook. This year we have no big tent because many of the activities will be indoors, in heated areas, so we should be fine rain or shine. I’ve been working with Coaticook for a year and they have been very friendly, really open to receiving visitors. It’s such a beautiful town and there is so much to do there, T-Day will be like a ‘taste’ of the town and then people will come back,” concluded Ms. Holbrook.