By Cecilia Nasmith
Cobourg's many and varied observances of the Armistice centennial last year did not go unnoticed – the Armistice 18 programming has been shortlisted for the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Community Programming.
This award recognizes efforts to encourage interest in Canada's history and heritage with recognition of exceptional achievement in five areas: teaching, museums, community programming, scholarly research, popular media and teaching (an award bestowed with great fanfare in 2000 upon St. Mary Secondary School teacher Gary O'Dwyer).
Cobourg's contribution was made between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11 last year, when the town hosted the nation's largest commemoration of the centennial of the Armistice that ended World War I in honour of the young nation's significant contributions to the allied war effort and the many sacrifices of the men and women who served,
Armistice18 offered a variety of showcases that included music, art installations and history exhibits, a speaker series, and theatre productions.
The project was led by the town's Community Services Division, which coordinated these events – one of the highlights of which was a play called Last Day, Last Hour: Canada's Great War on Trial. This play focused on Sir Arthur Currie, under whose command the Canadian Corps's incredible military achievements helped turn the tide of war right up to Nov. 11, 1918.
The play took place in the beautiful Old Bailey Courtroom in Cobourg's Victoria Hall – which is where the actual trial of Sir Arthur Currie took place in 1928.
Mayor John Henderson said that the town is honoured to be included on the list, which includes a very impressive list of finalists.
“This project deserves to be recognized and we are grateful for the community support and national recognition Armistice18 has already received,” the mayor said.
Eighteen other English projects join Cobourg's on the shortlist from across the nation. These include Cumberland and District Historical Society in BC (100th Anniversary of the Death of Albert “Ginger” Goodwin), Culture Summerside in PEI (for 1919 – Prince Edward Island Soldiers Return from the Great War), Calgary Gay History Project in Alberta (for a project of the same name), Young Imaginations of Pictou, Ont. (for Canada's Cultural Roots – Kanyen'keha:ka O:kara'shon'a), Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society in Vancouver, BC (Chinatown Through A Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yucho Chow), Impact Tourism of Kinuso, Alberta (History Check Mobile App), Billy Bishop Home Archives and Museum in Owen Sound, Ont. (Living Memory: Jeszcze Polska nie aginela – Poland is not yet lost), Brandon University Public History Program at Brandon General Museum and Archives in Manitoba (Looking To The Past: Brandon Labour History Exhibition), Myseum of Toronto (Myseum Intersections), Kumugwe Cultural Society in Courtenay, BC (Potlatch 67-67: The Potlatch Ban – Then And Now), PowerFilledYouth TO of Toronto (for a project of the same name), Prince Albert Historical Society of Saskatchewan (Indigenous Mural Project), Canadian Research and Mapping Association of Montreal (Project 44), Shingwauk Residental Schools Centre of Algoma University at Sault Ste. Marie, On. (Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall), Tashme Productions of Montreal (The Tashme Project: The Living Archives), Thunderbird Inc. of Grande Prairie, Alberta (for a project of the same name), Toronto branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (TOBuilt) and Trail of the Caribou Research Group of Portugal Cove St. Philip's, Newfoundland (for a project of the same name).
In addition, Quebec has produced six French projects that were shortlisted. These include Musee dees Ursulines de Trois-Riveieres in Trois-Rivieres (1699-2018: L'historire d'une Vie), Societe D'histoire et du Patrimoine de Val-David in Val-David (Centennaire de Val-David), Centre D'archives Vaudreuil-Soulanges in Vaudreuil-Dorion (Memoire du Quartier Harwood), Societe Historique de Saint-Henri in Montreal (Moments D'histoire), Pointe-a-Calliere, Cite D'archeologie et D'histoire de Montreal of Vieux-Montreal (Nous Sommes Montreal) and Musees Gaspesiens of Bonaventure (Portraits Vivants).
These represent a remarkable variety of initiatives. Two awards will be presented – one French and one English – for innovation in community programming. The prize is a cash award of $2,500 and a trip for two to Ottawa to accept the award.