Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 P.E.I.M.H.F. Annual Heritage Awards presented

For photos of the receipts – see PEIMHF Photostream on Flicker
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2013 Heritage awards honour history,
community-conscious Islanders
By Morgan Stride, Guardian Newspaper February 21, 2013 – Page A5
            Waldron Leard grew up in a house full of history.  His father and two uncles were both history buffs.  His dad collected historic objects, and his uncle, George, was a genealogist.  Later in life, when health problems kept him at home, Leard turned to history as a hobby to keep himself occupied and give something back to the community.  Soon, he built an addition to his house specifically for his heritage collection.
            Tuesday evening at the Beaconsfield Carriage House in Charlottetown, the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation honoured Leard and many others for their contributions to preserving and promoting P.E.I.’s heritage.  The awards were presented by Tourism and Culture Minister Robert Henderson, who was standing in for Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis.
            Heritage awards committee chair Clair Nantes read the citations.
            The history community is close-knit and friendly, said Leard, who won the award for volunteer of the year.  At the same time, people seek him out from  off-Island for his advice on historic sites and genealogy.  He used to do birth parent research until they became too stressful, he said.
            ‘I’m pretty proud of my Island.  I love how they hold on to their history.”  Leard said the Island calls its people home.   “I went away for a bit, but I had to come back.  You hear that a lot, where Islanders leave, but sooner or later have to come home.”  Leard said he’s impressed with the museums in the province.  “They know how to get it right,” he said.
            The Guardian earned the Heritage Foundation’s publication of the year award for a coffee table book published to commemorate the 125th anniversary, entitled Prince Edward Island: 125 Years Through Our Eyes.
            The community of Lennox Island received the Irene Rogers award for its extensive restoration to St. Ann’s Church.  Jim Bernard accepted on behalf of the community.  Restoring the church was like an impossible dream, Bernard said.  “We had to push to get the funding we needed.  The community pulled together enough to fix the steeple and the foundation.  It just proves that no matter how impossible something seems, you just have to go out and do it if you want it.”  Bernard said he was honoured to accept the award for his community.
            For Bonnie Aitken-Townsend, author of The Road to Fortune, it’s all about her children.  The book is a 761-page history of Fortune community, spanning more than 200 years.  The massive undertaking began humbly, with notes she took from her grandfather’s stories.  “When the initial run of 525 books sold out in two months, I was surprised.”  Aitken-Townsend said a second run will be available in March.  The book has proven popular with schools due to its easily accessible writing style.
            Henderson said he admires P.E.I.’s passion for heritage.
            Heritage groups on the Island help show the economic benefits of heritage sites, as well as the benefits for community.  There have been a lot of great opportunities to visit these sites as the minister of tourism, he said.  “Sometimes we spend a lot of time talking about building when we talk about heritage, but it’s really all about the people,” he said.  Islanders take their heritage more seriously than any other province, said Henderson.  “The old saying goes, ‘you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you came from.’  Islanders definitely know where they came from.”
Heritage activities:
-        Bonnie Aitken-Townsend, for The Road to Fortune;
-        George Arsenault, for La Roche 7 Grand Ruisseau;
-        Benevolent Irish Society, for the Irish Heritage Lecture Series (George O’Connor accepted);
-        Howard Clark, for the Red Barn Museum (Shirley MacDonald accepted);
-        Chris Faulkner, for Holey Dollars and Dumps of Prince Edward Island;
-        Carter Jeffery, for his P.E.I. Heritage Buildings blog;
-        Same McBride, for The Bravest Canadian;
-        Wayne MacKinnon, for The Politics of Principle;
-        Bea and Jack O’Brien, for the Joe O’Brien Museum (Janet and Charles MacDonald accepted);
-        P.E.I. Cooperative Council, for the documentary Building a Better World (Todd McEwan and Maureen Gallant accepted);
-        David Weale, for Red magazine;
-        Wyatt Heritage Properties and Hockey P.E.I. for Replay: A Community on Home Ice;
Natural Heritage Activity Award:  Rosemary Curley (Garrett Curley accepted on her behalf)
Volunteer of the Year:  Waldron Leard
Youth Volunteer of the Year: Brendan Ronahan.
Publication of the Year: The Guardian for the book Prince Edward Island: 125 Years Through Our Eyes (Don Brander accepted)
Mary Cornfoot Brehaut Award: Linda C. Harding
Irene Rogers Award: Community of Lennox Island, for the restoration of St. Ann’s Church (Jim Bernard accepted on behalf of the community)
Wendell Boyle Award:  Come All Ye creative team and cast (Wade Lynch and Jessie Inman accepted on behalf of show)
Award of Honour:  Katherine Dewar

Here’s a link to CBC’s story on the award to Lennox Island Community for the restoration of St. Ann’s Church.

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