I’m writing this letter at the height of a very wet summer. After another successful festival, the board is taking a much deserved rest, and though we’re still working on different projects, we’re taking a break from meetings. This respite has given me a chance to reflect on the 2019 Historic Festival and Doors Open. I attended a number of offerings, and saw a lot of familiar faces, which was great. I love that our members come out and celebrate history with us.
Just as nice were the number of new people I met. I spoke to a woman and her pre-teen son at a tour of the City of Edmonton Archives. The boy, no doubt starting to tread that line where he’s too cool for his parents, couldn’t have been happier to be there. They told me of their love for history – and how it’s something they explore together.
I met a couple, recently retired, at the Heritage Mile tour in Sherwood Park. They’d already been on some other tours, and were planning on doing a handful more over the course of the week. They were new to the festival, and were taking it in as a way to get to know their community and spend some quality time together.
I met a number of families, many of them new Canadians, at our launch at the Old Timers Cabin, where we hosted a family picnic and games for kids. What a great way for young families to get to know their city and take part in some excellent (and free!) programming.
Looking forward now, for whatever reason (no doubt the result of too much schooling) I always see September as the start of a new year. This is no less true when I think about the Edmonton and District Historical Society, as our cycle of programing starts again in the fall.
Our educational initiatives, made possible through the Phyllis Arnold Learning Fund will start again in earnest. Jim Higgs will visit classrooms throughout the City and provide high-quality enrichment opportunities through History in the Classroom. Students will attend the History Centre at Fort Saskatchewan Heritage Precinct, made possible in part through bussing subsidies provided by EDHS, and Shirley Lowe will entertain and enlighten through History in the Community.
Also in September our free Speakers Series will start again, though now it will be held in our new home at the Old Timers Cabin on Scona Road. As always, we can look forward to quality speakers on a variety of topics.
Reflecting on the festival and thinking about the upcoming year, I can’t help but be struck by the strength of EDHS’ programming, and how it manages to educate, inform, and entertain, while at the same time providing a venue for people to meet new people, spend time with loved ones, and get to know their community – present and past. I’m really looking forward to a new year of programming and community, and I hope you, our valued members, will continue to be there with us.