A week of celebratory activities to mark Public Library Week in Ontario and the end of Deseronto Public Library’s 125th year started in fine style yesterday evening with a fundraising celebratory dinner. The room was beautifully decorated with quilts and memorabilia from times past, including this wonderful quilt which was made in 1967 to mark Canada’s centennial celebrations:

125th Anniversary display

One of the quilt squares, sewn by Doris Root, shows the Deseronto Public Library building at 309 Main Street:

Doris Root's quilt square depicting the Public Library

The Library will have some of these items on display all this week, so do take a chance to drop by and see them if you are in the area. Other events at the Library this week include a free music concert on Thursday October 20th at 7pm and a free afternoon tea event on Saturday October 22nd between 2pm and 5pm.

On Family Day the prizes for the winning entries in our Family/Heritage Day competition were distributed to the winners as part of a day of activities in the town. Congratulations to Gabe Cook, Jeremy Martin, Leah Hill, Hannah Brinklow, Erica Fox and Levi Van Vlack for their achievements.

Winning entries

Thanks again for everyone who put so much hard work into this, particularly to The Rev. Canon Cyril Betts, a member of the Deseronto Archives Board, who came up with the idea in the first place and who announced the prize winners at yesterday’s event. Thanks are also due to Mr Launderville, the Principal of Deseronto Public School, for his enthusiastic support for the competition and to Noni McMeeken, Paul Robertson and Councillor Edgar Tumak, members of the Archives Board who were all highly instrumental in its organisation.

Leah receiving her prize from Paul Robertson, Chair of the Archives Board

Well done to all the children who put so much effort into their projects. All the entries will be on display in Deseronto Public Library for the remainder of this week; they are well worth a closer look!

Some of the entries in the contest

The response from the students of Deseronto Public School to our Family/Heritage Day competition has been, well, ‘awesome’ as the children themselves would put it. It took the judges three hours to choose the winning entries. The winners will be announced on Monday, February 15th, at the Deseronto Community Centre, as part of a range of events that will be going on there that day.

The judges had a very hard job deciding on the winners: the quality of the entries was excellent. Some focused on the history of our town, while others looked at their family’s history. The range of backgrounds of the people of the town became apparent as we went through the entries: there are descendants of people from Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Great Britain and Italy represented among the children of the school. A number of students mentioned their Mohawk ancestry.

The Grade 2 class that visited the Archives two weeks ago had created haikus on the topic of their family or local heritage. As a recently-landed immigrant from England myself, this entry made me smile (and made me hungry!):

The Smell of England

Many of the entries are now on display in Deseronto Public Library and the winning six will be shown at the Community Centre on Monday, February 15, when the prizes will be awarded at 4.00pm. Please do stop by the library, if you are able to, to admire the tremendous amount of work that has gone into this contest.

The book launch today was a resounding success. Every single one of the copies of Dancing in the Sky brought to the library by Greenley’s Bookstore was sold, with a long waiting list for the next delivery.

Piles of books before they were all sold
Bill Hunt must have a very sore right hand tonight after signing over forty copies of his book. There was quite a long line of people waiting for him to autograph their copies at one point.

We estimate that 135 people came to hear Bill talk about the training of pilots in Canada during the First World War. His talk was full of interesting facts and contained a number of insights into the great impact that the arrival of the air cadets had upon the economy and people of Deseronto.

Bill was at pains to point out how important the archival record has been in helping him to research this volume: the diaries and photographs left by the young pilots have been a wonderful resource. Music to an archivist’s ears! We put together a display of photographs from the book, library books and original materials from the Deseronto Archives’ collections, as a side-show to the main event:

It was a wonderful afternoon and a tribute to the huge amount of work that went into the preparation, particularly by Deseronto’s Librarian, Frances Smith, by Dana Valentyne of the Deseronto Revitalization Program, and by the Chair of the Deseronto Public Library Board, Don Simpson. Many thanks to them, to Deseronto’s Mayor, Norm Clark, for a great welcoming address, and to the sponsors of the raffle prize: Greenleys Bookstore, The Chocolate Room and the Small Town Café and Bakery. Thanks also to Lori Brooks of the Deseronto Job Information Centre (whose domain was requisitioned for the book-signing) and to everyone who came – you helped to make this event a huge success.

Deseronto Public School pupils, 1957We’ll be posting information, images and stories from the Deseronto Archives on this site as a way of sharing the activities of the Archives beyond the confines of the Archives Room.

Back at the end of September the Archives was involved in putting together a small display in the Deseronto Public Library as part of the Town’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Deseronto Public School. Many visitors enjoyed finding photographs of themselves, their friends and siblings in the display. We are always pleased to find more class photos of Deseronto school in years gone by, so if you have any, please consider getting in touch with the archives so that we can keep a copy for posterity!