Wednesday 20 February 2013

The History Fair

We walked along the icy sidewalk past dozens of cars.  We entered Brantford Christian School where several parents chatted in the lobby.  We opened the gym door where we stepped back into history.  From the ceiling hung the maple leaf, Quebec's fleur de lis, Ontario's trillium, British Columbia's rising sun with a Union Jack -- all of the provincial flags.

In the middle sat tri-fold display boards filled with history projects:  an Emily Carr display, a history of the sturgeon complete with a net, a Vimy Ridge tribute replete with toy soldiers climbing a ridge painted green and a German flag at the top.  Hanging from one wall was a pioneer quilt, filled with pioneer stories.  On a table sat Teddy bears and the history of Winnie the Pooh.  A peace display included maple leaf boxes with pledges inside.  Against the back wall hung a giant map of Canada surrounded by profiles of North American explorers, including Henry Hudson, completed by Jacqueline and her friend Natalie.

Another display featured musicians including Gordon Lightfoot, highlighting his song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".  One student studied Stompin' Tom Connors, including a photo of potatoes, paying homage to his "Ketchup Song".  Guests were treated to artwork from The Group of Seven in varying shades of the rainbow.  It's hard to believe that one of the group, Lawren Harris, was born right here in Brantford.  In one corner stood a woman dressed as a pioneer in front of a table with artifacts from Myrtleville House.

A professor from Laurier-Brantford, one of the students' parents, delivered a talk and a power point presentation about Vimy Ridge, geared toward the children.  The highlight was when the professor picked a student from the group to pick up a heavy backpack which the primary students couldn't even lift, to emphasize how much gear a soldier had to carry on the battlefield.

In another corner sat my display about the British Home Children.  One photo simply showed a Victorian chair.  It's hard to believe that my great-grandma, Daisy Blay, was so poor that her mother owned nothing but a chair, having sold every other piece of furniture to pay the rent.  No wonder she sent Daisy, at the tender age of 8, to Canada to work -- she felt it was her only chance at survival.

Although I wanted to browse some more in the gym,  it was getting late.  As we closed the gym door, we closed the door to history.  I look forward to the next history fair in four years.  We walked down the icy street, now with lots of empty parking spaces, our breath hanging in the air.  Thank you, BCS, for the trip down memory lane.

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