3Government Press Release

Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming.

for immediate release
November 29, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action…
An Ontario Town Lands a Starring Role in a Historic Casting Call at Rideau Hall

(Winnipeg – November 29, 2011) – With a cast of 55 Huron County residents, locals in St. Joseph, Ontario are starring in their own true heritage tale of one of the most colourful residents of their rural French-Canadian settlement.

‘Narcisse’ by Paul Ciufo, is a play about Narcisse Cantin (1870-1940) who is best known for his audacious plan to create a canal linking Lake Huron to Lake Erie. Cantin turned St. Joseph into an early 20th century boomtown on the speculation of the canal’s construction. Along the way, Cantin won the support of prime ministers, giants of industry, local folk and even the recently canonized Brother André.

The St. Joseph and Area Historical Society spearheaded this pioneering play. Local folks assumed the lead roles, stitched the costumes and built the props. For fostering community pride and enhancing civic memory, the St. Joseph and Area Historical Society is recipient of the newly created Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming.

Honourable mentions include:

Herstories Café – Features free monthly events and informal talks by local, academic historians, archivists, history educators, curators and community members who all share intriguing stories about local women’s history.

Fort Macleod Historical Association – Developed a creative and active educational program to educate community members about the earliest days of the North West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod and their relationship with the Blackfoot people.

Pointe-du-Buisson/Musee Quebecois d’archeologie – Created a permanent exhibition entitled, ‘Fouilles 100% publique’ to present the results of over 14 years of archaeological excavations in the community.

Created by Canada’s History Society, the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming celebrates programming developed by volunteer-led heritage, community and cultural organizations at the grassroots level. Members of the St. Joseph and Area Historical Society will receive this prestigious award from His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada on Monday, December 12, 2011 in Ottawa at 10 a.m. at Rideau Hall. The announcement and presentation of the award is part of the newly constituted Governor General’s History Awards.

“Canadians most often get their first taste of the ‘stories’ that make up our history through local and community initiatives such as these. They provide important texture and context to the history we learn at school and read about in books or watch on television,” said Deborah Morrison, President & CEO of Canada’s History Society.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to highlight some of the country’s most extraordinary community-led efforts to commemorate the past and hope they will inspire others to do more as well.”

In total, seventeen Canadians will be honoured along with the St. Joseph and Area Historical Society at Rideau Hall as part of the Governor General’s History Award presentation. Announcements continue throughout the coming week and profiles of all the recipients, along with students’ stories and essays will be available at: www.CanadasHistory.ca/GGAwards.

The Governor General’s History Awards bring together students, teachers, historians, museums and community organizations, writers and media producers to celebrate as well as learn from each other. The day prior to the award ceremonies, recipients will participate in a public history forum at Library and Archives Canada. This year’s forum, “Speaking of History: How History is Explored Beyond the Classroom” is open to the public to attend onsite or online by registering at www.CanadasHistory.ca/HistoryForum2011.

About Canada’s History Society

Canada’s History Society is a national charitable organization devoted to popularizing Canadian history. In addition to presenting the Governor General’s History Awards and publishing Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver) magazine, as well as Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids, the Society also produces a number of educational and online programs to encourage more discovery, celebration, and understanding about our rich history and culture. More details can be found at www.CanadasHistory.ca.