Fair heritage to stay where it is
an age where money is everything, when most governments are willing to sacrifice their history and heritage for pennies on the dollar, it is comforting to see that the Village of Ayer’s Cliff is willing to sacrifice revenue in favour of keeping a big part of its historical roots.
The town has voted on a resolution that will designate the Fairground as a historical and heritage part of the town, in fact freezing it from any development in the future.
If a large lot, far away from downtown, has an asking price of over a million, one can imagine what the fairground, with direct access to the main street, would fetch. The fairground is a condo developer’s dream come true. And we all know how much of an important factor taste and preservation of heritage are in whatever they are doing.
So the town is sacrificing a lot in the short term to preserve itself for the future.
We are preserving a slice of history; not a Disney recreation of one, but the real thing. Completely unorganized, with substandard buildings built when the need arose and when the money was available, rather than following a master plan.
There is something corny about the Fair; its official name is the Stanstead County Agricultural Fair. Well, there is corn, a lot of people don’t even care to visit the horticultural pavilion, skipping it for the real corn: Popcorn. The smell pervades the place.
Then you will go to the Grandstand, designed for everybody under four and a half feet tall. The rickety structure almost sways when it is full. Again, the smell will get to you: the concession is just underneath and if the popcorn doesn’t get to you, the hot dogs and hamburgers will. And you will first endure the torture and then forget about it, almost as if, still in the present, you were back in the 1800’s.
For the first time in the preservation game, Ayer’s Cliff is not trying to preserve historical buildings; individually they have no merit whatsoever, nor the site, but the whole.
An atmosphere, if you will, to be preserved for a long time. Not even a yearlong one, but a week during the fading days of summer. Yet, the week of the Fair is almost the trademark of Ayer’s Cliff. It alone survives in the region, there were others back in time.
We are preserving a culture, a real one, not an artificial or recreated one. On a warm evening, when teen boys and girls, bunched together, are eying each other, their parents, if present, looking the other way as their parents did before them, for 170 years. They will eat cotton candy, a rather new arrival, less than one hundred years old, hear the strange carny call that forces you to spend money on games that you always lose but somehow win, almost magically, when the girl you love wants the big plush bear. No need to worry - as in wrestling, nothing is fixed and regulated…
So a town wants to officially preserve ‘magic’. If there is one endeavour that must be supported with our heart and soul, this is the one. In Le Journal de Montreal of Saturday May 23rd, Councillor Mr. Marvin Rotrand is saying that there are too many councillors in Montreal. What a coincidence after my letter to the Editor of Wednesday May 20 expressing my view that there are too many ridings in the Province of Quebec and too many councillors in Montreal compare to Ontario and Toronto. Mr. Marvin Rotrand has been a councillor in Snowdon since 1982 and is demanding a public consultation on the subject regarding the number of councillor that Montreal should have. My question is why a public consultation? Why can all these elected councillors cannot decide that there is too many councillors? I do not want to know who created that monster I just would like to see elected peoples decide that enough is enough. Imagine 103 councillors for Montreal with a population of 1, 7 million compare to Toronto with 45 councillors with a population of close to 4 million. By the time we go all around the councillors asking them if they are in favor of a motion most of them forgot the question. We are all responsible to a certain degree of all these nonsense in voting for past and present government agreeing to this Babel Tower. Let us be practical in order to make our future a little less complicated and more efficient like Toronto, Calgary and other large cities in North America.
Maxime Doyon born in Stanstead living in Dudswell