Note to Glengarry History Members – October 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has stymied activity at Glengarry History.  Our last public event was that of March 5, 2020.  The anxiously anticipated feature “Memories of Our Grandfathers, Glengarry Country Doctors” by Elizabeth MacGillivray and Cloe Ann Baker scheduled for April did not happen; hopefully, we can re-schedule . The Annual General Meeting in May could not be realized. Circulated among the membership and posted on the GH website was the President’s report on Glengarry History 2019-2020 and the Treasurer’s (Board approved) Financial Statement for the year 2019

A meeting of the GH Board in September, 2020 signalled efforts to renew activity.  David Joseph and David McPherson were welcomed as new members to the Board.  Plans were put forth to lay out at least a tentative schedule for the monthly Speakers Series events.  Reservations were made at the Glengarry Sports Palace as being a larger venue to accommodate “social distancing” requirements for an October 1, 2020 event featuring Robin Flockton “From Presentation to Publication : Glengarry and the First World War” (also intended as a book signing occasion).  Mackie Robertson (November)  and   David Rayside (December) were in our plans to captivate our interests through the rest of 2020.  Unfortunately, the uptick of the ominous corona virus has foiled these arrangements.  “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley. An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain for promis’d joy”  (Robert Burns).

But,….behold some happenings of interest.  An initiative by Robin Flockton has led to  Glengarry History doing a partnership project with the Royal Canadian Legion and North Glengarry Township whereby heritage plaques will be erected in honour of Alexandria newspaperman and militia commander Lieutenant Colonel A. G. F. (George Sandfield) Macdonald.  One of these will be placed at the “Garry Fen”, Alexandria’s manor house, and the other sign destined for the Alexandria Cenotaph (the Glengarry Soldiers Memorial) situated on an acre of land donated by Lt. Colonel A. G. F. Macdonald in memory of his son Fraser, killed on the Somme in 1916.  The artfully-designed plaques with inscription in English and French  and  the posts with mounting apparatus have been prepared by Significo, a local establishment. Our intention is that this will be done before winter.

The inhibiting effect of the prolonged pandemic on an organization’s functions  such as monthly GH Speakers Series gatherings has provoked consideration of alternative approaches.  What technical applications might be used??  Some aspects of our monthly talks/events have appeared at glengarryhistory.ca .  Note, for example, the Dane Lanken discourse on Munro/MacIntosh video recorded by John Woodrow which is now posted on YouTube.     Musings at Glengarry History about doing “YouTube” type recordings of some of our features were spurred by the “Glengarry Fencibles Trust” late summer “Bishop’s House” presentation.

                                      The Glengarry War Memorial Project

When Robin Flockton informed about the completion of the Royal Canadian Legion Glengarry War Memorial Catalogue 2020 his enthusiastic suggestion was that many interesting revelations and stories are likely to come to light.  A subject for another talk ?  Rather than attempt another pandemic-challenged gathering in a room, we realized that this topic could lend itself to a technical approach as a video or YouTube type of presentation. The plaques could be photographed or filmed with context and narrator.   Ambitious and inspired, Robin has drawn up details for the “Glengarry War Memorial Project” which he presented to the Board in September.  A motion of support was passed and unanimously approved.

The War Memorial Project will be a recognition of all Glengarrians who sacrificed their lives in two World Wars, South Africa, Korea, and Afghanistan. History of the Memorials, stories captured in narration, song, verse, anecdotes.  Drone and still photography accompanied by sound recording of voice and music.  Coordination, script, research, and all the etcetera’s by Robin Flockton.  The coordination and support of both Royal Canadian Legions 423 and 544, North and South Glengarry Townships is important and forthcoming.

                                      Archives  Developments

At the December GH Board meeting a motion to support the Glengarry Archives project with a $5,000 donation was passed.   Robin Flockton’s resignation as GH representative at the Archives Board made necessary the search for his replacement. Jeff Manley’s quest resulted in the Board’s approval of candidate Warren MacIntosh at the meeting in February.

At the September, 2020 Board meeting Warren MacIntosh presented an encouraging update  that most of the work at the Archives has been completed.  Perhaps a small ribbon cutting ceremony in the fall with a full grand opening in the spring of 2021.

Just to remind our members and friends:

  1. a) Be it known that Glengarry History has invested in the printing of another 50 copies of  the “Dictionary of Glengarry Biography” which can be readily purchased at local outlets such as the Archives, book stores, museums, or via the GH website.
  2. b) Funding:  Inability to hold monthly Speakers Series events stops that source of funds.   Reception of outstanding GH membership fees will be appreciated.  Also note that tax receipts are issued for donations of $20 or more.
  3. c) Buy Robin Flockton’s very comprehensive presentation contained in his book “Glengarry and the First World War”,  the proceeds of which go to the Glengarry County Archives.

                             Glengarry History  at  glengarryhistory.ca

A fairly extensive coverage of the aforementioned Lt. Colonel A G F Macdonald can be found on the website. Check  articles on a number of topics in the ” Currently Featuring” section.  Efforts will be made to post more entries as we go forward.  Also to be found are announcements and scheduling (when circumstances permit).   It is comforting to think that some of our historically-inclined friends who are not able to attend our events in person can have access to the activities and concerns at Glengarry History.

                                      Richard Bleile ( GH President)