2017 President’s Report

In the years leading up to 2016 Glengarry History has done very well in dealing with important and challenging issues. By-laws were updated and steps were taken to assure compliance with provincial and federal requirements . Help and support were provided to get the Nor’ Westers and Loyalist Museum on its way to independent functioning after seeing the Pioneer Museum’s move in that direction just a couple of years before. The establishment of the Glengarry Archives is surely a monumental achievement. How fortuitous to have, at this time, the highly-qualified Allan MacDonald come on to the scene . Many thanks are owed to the boards of Directors and the able and assiduous work of the two presdents who preceded me: Robin Flockton and Allan Macdonell before him.

Perhaps it was a fortunate time for me to be asked to try on the role as president in the summer of 2016. Allan, also vice president of Glengarry History, and the members of the board have been supportive and comforting to work with. I am very grateful. Many thanks are due to Bill MacMillan who is withdrawing from his role as treasurer. Bill combined his qualifications as an accountant with an eagerness to positively contribute. Always there to be helpful! He has agreed to stay on board for one more year while the next treasurer takes command.

We now are able to pursue various interests and support activities that come to focus in historically rich Glengarry and beyond. The Grand Ressemblement on June 25, 2016 saw the erection of a plaque at Green Valley which includes appreciative acknowledgement of the support of Glengarry Historical Society in a matter of great significance to the historic development in the Francophone community. The Glengarry Fencibles Trust seemed very grateful for our $5,000 contibution in their ambitious project to revive the Bishop’s house at St Raphael’s to become an attractive historic, artistic and cultural center. An application for a plaque to commemorate John Rae as a person of national historic significance in recognition for his contributions to modern economic thought is in the works.

Our luxury in the past year has been the opportunity to explore the interests that have arisen in the “Speakers Series” which have featured eight different topics. In September we were entertained and intrigued by local francophone authors, Jean-Claude Larocque and Denis Sauve, in their animated presentation on the Green Valley reaction to the restrictive implications of the Ontario’s Bill 17 of one hundred years ago. It seemed appropriate to be in Green Valley that evening despite the nervous tension brought on when the caretaker forgot to open the Community Center for our event as he had gone out of town at the time. Some rather panicky phone calls rescued our agenda.

Then back to the Church-on-the-Hill in October for a well-attended session as Mackie Robertson brought Gord Black to tell about the logs, logs retrieved from underwater. Fittingly for November, Robin Flockton informed listeners about the WWI involvement of the 154th Battalion. In December we stretched our focus to reach out as far as western Canada as we followed the rising of the Metis – their colorful lives and struggles.

Mackie held everyone’s attention by getting the 2017 series going with a look at “Fuel innovations in WWII”. February was the right time to review some of the Glengarry News stories that appeared 125 years ago when the paper began its invaluable recording of the events and condition of Glengarry. Allan MacDonald’s masterful delivery in his own characteristic style with numerous quips pointed to stories of obvious relevance to the county residents.

There was still more to come. Dane Lanken charmed us through the world of the photographic exploits of Duncan Donovan. This was another wonderful display of Glengarry scenes from an earlier time. To wrap up the Glengarry History “speakers series” for this term/year David Anderson took us to Dunvegan in examining a very noteworthy and accomplished linguitic scholar, Rev John MacKechnie, whose pastoral role in the community unraveled amidst some controversy. It was interesting to take another look.

It is quite satisfying to look back at the wide range of topics or stories of the eight sessions we shared. Whenever possible we encourage the speakers to put their talks or a version of them on our website to be widely shared. There are already a number of entries there. Just go to glengarryhistory.ca. The stimulation of subject, the social satisfaction of getting together, and involvement with issues and community is good for the soul. Special thanks and recognition is due to Suzanne Bujold and Carole MacMillan for always coming up with very nice refreshments to contribute in making for a pleasant atmosphere of social interchange. It takes time and care to put it together, baking and cleaning up. They always are so grateful when a good number of you help out. Thanks to Marilyne who quietly keeps bringing the wonderful home-made donuts.

What directions and issues to focus on for next year ?? Maybe you have suggestions ?? Some subjects or speakers to focus on might be …………

One more project before we turn to next season’s speakers series : participation in the Alexandria Canada Day 150 year celebration parade. Glengarry History will be on the scene in style!

Richard Bleile (President)