Wednesday, May 22, 2013

GCHS 46th Annual Dinner - 3 Rs and more

The 46th Annual Dinner of the Society was held at the Durham Legion on May 15, 2013.

Janet Iles, President of the Society, welcomed everyone to the dinner. After announcements and introductions of the head table and the members of the Board of Directors, those gathered enjoyed a beef and chicken buffet dinner.

Roger Lamont brought greetings from the Bruce County Historical Society. Petal Furness brought greetings from Grey Roots.

Lynda Chiotti in her presentation of the Society's Heritage Certificate of Recognition to Andrew Armitage outlined his many contributions to the preservation and promotion of Grey County's history.

As you may have noted in the title of this posting, it references the 3Rs. This relates to the talk by Ross Kentner and it is not referring to Reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. Ross Kentner's talk shared his concerns about heritage preservation.
 He stated,
the present state of heritage preservation throughout the region is like standing on an ocean beach and hearing the siren of a tsunami warning! In fact, we're all overwhelmed by the present threats to our heritage and I include our politicians when I say that.

The types of threats to heritage preservation he mentioned are natural disasters, the "march of time" and the "attitude of politicians at all levels of government that heritage can only be preserved if it can be afforded",

Kentner had several suggestions but one key one was

with so many historic structures at risk, it's not going to be enough to save a building. It's got to be re-purposed, re-stored and re-cycled as a viable component of the local economy. We all thought thatʼs what we had accomplished with the Marine Rail Museum in Owen Sound.

He praised as examples of what can be done with the heritage 3 R's: the former Knox United Church to Harmony Centre and the former Meaford Town hall and Opera House that has become the Meaford Hall Arts & Cultural Centre. He gave kudos to the Grey County Council for voting to restore the 140-year-old arched bridge over the Spey River south of the village of Chatsworth. His challenge to the Historical Society was "Who is going to market and how?" after the work is done.

Kentner strongly believes that "in Owen Sound the harbour is our heritage heart and soul" and that "Owen Sound is arguably the geographic and historical epicentre of Great Lakes marine history".

He spoke at length about the Owen Sound Marine and Rail Museum and the city's decision that it should close. One of the challenges he put to those in attendance concerned this Museum.

At the Owen Sound Marine and Rail Museum we had a major harbour front tourist attraction. The decision to close it must be revisited and should be reversed! I can't think of any more urgent initiative for this organization to champion than that!

Ross Kentner left the listeners with many challenges for the Heritage community that includes the Grey County Historical Society.

photos by Mike Kirby


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