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February, 2005 - Nr. 2


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Organizations Hold Heritage Week Events

  TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - Ontario Heritage Week provides an excellent opportunity for the people of Ontario to celebrate Ontario's vibrant history and the contributions diverse communities have made in shaping the province's past, Minister of Culture Madeleine Meilleur announced today.

Minister Meilleur made her remarks this morning at a reception to launch Ontario Heritage Week hosted by the Ontario Heritage Foundation at the Sharon Temple in Sharon, Ontario. "This year's theme - Ontario's Heritage: Our Shared Legacy - is an open invitation to learn about our province's history and social development," said Meilleur. "As Ontarians, we share the responsibility to preserve, protect and promote our provincial heritage in all its forms."

The reception featured an operatic rendition of a song written by the Children of Peace, the 19th century Quaker sect that built the Sharon Temple in York Region, and a storyteller who recounted the history of the Temple and its builders. Other speakers included: the Ontario Heritage Foundation's chairman, the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander; James Young, mayor of East Gwillimbury; and Jenny Carver, president of the Sharon Temple's board of directors.

"The Children of Peace left us a musical legacy and built structures that are irreplaceable. They also built Ontario's first organ and opened Ontario's first homeless shelter," said Mr. Alexander.

Heritage organizations across Ontario are holding events showcasing the province's history. The Wilno Heritage Society has organized the Polish Kaszub Heritage Film Fest highlighting Polish-Canadian settlement history. The Lifeworlds - Artscapes: Contemporary Iroquoian Art exhibit at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford focuses on the meaning of land and space in indigenous life. The Museum of Health Care in Kingston is presenting Potions, Pills and Prescriptions: Remedies of the Early 1900s.

Ontario Heritage Week 2005 runs from February 21 to 27. A complete list of Heritage Week 2005 events can be accessed through the Ministry of Culture's Web site at www.culture.gov.on.ca.



  • Since 1974, the Heritage Canada Foundation has designated the third Monday in February as Heritage Day. This year, Heritage Day falls on February 21, 2005.
  • In 1985, the Ontario government designated the third week in February as Ontario Heritage Week, with National Heritage Day kicking off the week. Heritage Week is an important opportunity to celebrate Ontario's diverse cultural heritage and to recognize the important work of heritage organizations and volunteers throughout the province in preserving Ontario's irreplaceable historic sites and places.
  • Only two other provinces - British Columbia and New Brunswick - offer a full week of heritage-related activities.

The theme of this year's Ontario Heritage Week - Ontario's Heritage:

  • Our Shared Legacy - encourages Ontarians to celebrate all aspects of the province's history and heritage. Beginning with the First Nations, and on through the eras of French exploration, the Fur Trade, and early British settlement, down to the present day, every community has contributed its own traditions and beliefs, and established its own landmarks - special places that tell their unique stories. Woven together, these threads create the rich tapestry that is Ontario's cultural heritage.
  • Many heritage-based organizations and municipalities use Heritage Day and Ontario Heritage Week as vehicles to stimulate awareness of heritage resources and heritage-related issues within their communities.

The Ontario government's support for the heritage sector in 2004-2005 includes:

  • $2.7 million for almost 200 community museums;
  • $700,800 in annual funding for 13 provincial heritage organizations;
  • $134,200 in annual operating funding for approximately 160 historical societies/heritage organizations.

A full list of community events taking place throughout the province during Ontario Heritage Week 2005 is available in the Festivals and Events online listings at www.ontariotravel.net.


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