Article written by Elspeth McCulloch and featured in the Frontenac News June 29, 2022
Fifty years have passed since the original Pioneer Club members joined to record and celebrate the rich history of their ancestors in the communities of Addington Highlands and North Frontenac.
On Saturday June 24, 2022, about 60 museum supporters gathered in Benny’s Lake Heritage Park in Cloyne. We tapped our toes to the “North of 7 Bluegrass” stylings of The New Pickled Chicken, enjoyed barbeque lovingly prepared by Janet and Joe Wilson and Cathy Newcombe, and reconnected with each other after two long years of COVID, and the storms that have recently ravaged our area.
During words of welcome from by Shirley Sedore and Ken Hook, the museum staff, Rebecca Delyea, Josie Heyman, and Jacob Heyman distributed delicious, frosted chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. Margaret Axford spoke the genesis of the Pioneer Club and its’ 50-year evolution of documenting the lived experiences of the local people. The community has continued to diversify and grow, with waves of new members from “South of 7” who come seeking the rugged beauty of this beloved land.
Catherine Grant of the Cloyne District Historical Society’s Board formally welcomed the communities of Griffith and Matawatchan to the CDHS catchment area, an effort championed by Lois and Mark Thomson, publishers of the Madawaska Highlander. Thomson remarked that the consolidation is logical as the communities of Denbigh, Vennacher, Griffith and Matawatchan have many important historical linkages.
Nancy Strachan of the Land O’Lakes Garden Club spoke to the Truth and Reconciliation Medicine Wheel that has been thoughtfully and beautifully created as a remembrance to the Indigenous children who lost their lives and suffered staggering traumas in the Canadian residential school system. The garden lies between the Museum and the Barrie Hall on Highway 41. Strachan said that garden is designed as a large medicine wheel, featuring four sacred plants: cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco. It is the Garden Club’s hope that this space can be used as an open and safe meeting place for dialogue and storytelling among Indigenous and Settler communities, so that together we may acknowledge the past and begin to heal.
The Cloyne Pioneer Museum will be open every day from 10 am to 4 pm through Labour Day. Stop by for a museum tour or to pick up one of our many books about local history.
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