A trek through time with Wiar­ton res­i­dent Vic­tor Last

Wiarton Echo - - PAST AND PRESENT -



Lo­cal his­tory and pho­tog­ra­phy afi­cionado Vic­tor Last, of Wiar­ton, is burst­ing with ex­cite­ment to present “A Trav­eler’s Guide to Wiar­ton” at the Wiar­ton Arena and Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on Oct. 24.

“Ev­ery­thing came to­gether like serendip­ity. I got re­ally ex­cited about it,” Last said about his ex­pe­ri­ence of pulling the pre­sen­ta­tion to­gether.

In an in­ter­view, Last said the word “trav­eler” - not “tourist” was cho­sen quite con­sciously for the ti­tle of his show.

The pre­sen­ta­tion, hosted by the Town of South Bruce Penin­sula Mu­nic­i­pal Her­itage Com­mit­tee, con­sists of over 200 pho­tos, which al­low Last to “go into the homes of peo­ple,” he said.

Where a tourist is “a per­son who vis­its Dis­ney­land and comes back,” Last’s show will de­pict “trav­el­ers” as de­fined and in­spired by Paul Bowles’ 1949 novel, “The Shel­ter­ing Sky” (which was made into a film of the same name in 1990).

“A trav­eler has no idea how long he’s go­ing to stay, where he’s go­ing next,” Last said. “They’re there to be­come part of the com­mu­nity.”

The pho­tos Last will present, all of Wiar­ton, are from 1870-1929.

The au­di­ence will see “maybe a fu­neral, a wed­ding, lots of pa­rades, mil­i­tary men on horses” and “boy scouts that are very scary; these are the orig­i­nal Baden-Pow­ell Scouts,” Last said.

One his­tor­i­cal scene cap­tures This photo of Ber­ford Street in Wiar­ton, circa 1890, is one of about 200 pho­tos which will shown by Vic­tor Last, of Wiar­ton, at a pre­sen­ta­tion at the Wiar­ton Arena on Oct. 24. cat­tle be­ing herded down Brown Street.

Seen through Last’s artis­tic eye, view­ers will ex­pe­ri­ence in­ti­mate vi­gnettes of ev­ery­day life on the streets, in the homes, at work and in the parks of Wiar­ton.

“It’s the lit­tle bits in the cor­ner that you’re drawn to,” Last said. “You’re go­ing to see the de­tail.”

In pre­par­ing the show, Last would some­times take one sec­tion of a pho­to­graph and blow it up full size, let­ting the zoomed in im­age re­veal a story and “a way of life.”

Two or three of the pho­tos were taken more re­cently by Last him­self, he said, adding, “I have taken lib­er­ties” by ren­der­ing the photo of a his­tor­i­cal site in sepi­achrome to em­u­late a vin­tage photo.

Last be­came es­pe­cially an­i­mated when he glee­fully de­scribed two older pho­tos, which he re­ferred to as the “clinch­ers” of his pre­sen­ta­tion. One is a scene circa 1890 of about six peo­ple sit­ting atop a rock slab on the “north park on the top of a hill be­fore the road went through,” he said. “That pho­to­graph was just a knock­out.”

The sec­ond is a photo of a boat in Wiar­ton har­bour with “peo­ple dressed to the nines” on three decks and about 100 peo­ple on the dock, also “dressed to the nines.”

To reg­is­ter for the pre­sen­ta­tion, call the South Bruce Penin­sula town hall at (519) 534-1400, ex­ten­sion 122.

Ad­mis­sion is the do­na­tion of a non-per­ish­able food item for the Penin­sula Com­mu­nity Food Bank. The pre­sen­ta­tion runs from 1-4 p.m.

Re­me­di­a­tion work has not yet be­gun at the Cabot Head Light Sta­tion, but a pub­lic ten­der will be pub­lished in the near fu­ture and work is planned to be­gin this fall, a spokesper­son for Fisheries and Oceans Canada said in an email, Oct. 4.

“It was an­tic­i­pated that re­me­di­a­tion work would be­gin in midSeptem­ber; how­ever, un­fore­seen mi­nor pro­cure­ment chal­lenges have re­sulted in a slight de­lay for the pro­ject,” Ros­aleen O’Ma­hony, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ad­vi­sor, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Fisheries and Oceans Canada said.

O’Ma­honey said the DFO rec­og­nized the im­por­tance of the Cabot Head Light Sta­tion to the com­mu­nity “and are work­ing dili­gently to have it re­opened as soon as pos­si­ble. We are hope­ful that re­me­di­a­tion work will be com­plete and it will be safe for the pub­lic to visit the site in the sum­mer of 2019.”

Ahead of the site’s an­tic­i­pated re-open­ing, North­ern Bruce Penin­sula coun­cil learned from staff of con­cerns of Dyer’s Bay and area res­i­dents about traf­fic to the pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion should it re-open.

Af­ter sev­eral op­tions were con­sid­ered, coun­cil de­cided at its meet­ing in Lion’s Head on Sept. 10, to send out a re­quest for pro­pos­als for al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of trans­porta­tion - such as a shut­tle­bus or by boat - to the Cabot Head site next year. Coun­cil hopes to re­ceive in­no­va­tive pro­pos­als, which will ad­dress res­i­dents’ con­cerns by min­i­miz­ing traf­fic along the route. It was noted in the staff re­port that if a so­lu­tion is found for al­ter­na­tive trans­porta­tion, it could also rep­re­sent an op­por­tu­nity for a new busi­ness on the penin­sula.


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