A calendar worth keeping
Thousands of pictorial wall calendars will arrive in mailboxes from various charities and businesses throughout December, or will be purchased as gifts for Christmas.
Cats, nature scenes, swimsuit models, sports teams – you know the ones. They make the rounds every year and are just as likely to end up in the recycling bin as on a wall.
But the 2017 Kinsmen Calendar might just be an exception, a keepsake to be tucked away for years to come.
“You’ll never see another calendar like this,” said John Kastner, general manager of the Stratford Perth Museum, which worked together on the project with the Kinsmen Club of Stratford.
“It’s a commemorative calendar that people can keep for years,” said Bob Walters, chair of the Kinsmen calendar committee.
The calendars are a photographic celebration of Stratford’s history that is intended to mark Canada’s sesquicentennial. They sell for $10, with $5 going back to the Kinsmen and their community projects, and $2 to the museum.
The images were provided by the Stratford-Perth Archives as well as the Stratford Festival Archives, and feature some of the key events in the city’s history – some well-known and a few less so.
There’s the homecoming of the Perth Regiment from the Second World War in January of 1946, and a homecoming of a different sort: the Stratford Senior Hockey Indians from the Allan Cup Final in Fort Frances in March of 1952. There’s also photos from the opening of the Stratford Festival in 1953.
“The opening of the Festival, the Perth Regiment coming home are obvious,” said Kastner. “But there’s some pretty unique stories here too – saving the park system, the sale of city hall and the reversal of that decision. Those are two things that really had a lasting impact on the city.
“We worked hard to choose things that really define Stratford. The images are one thing, but the stories are another.”
Accompanying each photo are a few paragraphs of history. Along with the photo of a peaceful march of striking factory workers through the downtown in September of 1933, we learn that the strike turned violent on Sept. 26 when workers from outside the city were brought in, and the Canadian military was sent in to keep the peace. The military wasn’t used in a similar way again until the 1970 FLQ Crisis.
There’s a photo of flooding in the Avondale Cemetery after Hurricane Hazel hit southern Ontario in October of 1954, and a developer’s sketch of a proposed hotel to replace city hall, from August of 1971.
“I think the images are outstanding,” said Walters, who points out that smaller digital images are also available on kinsmencalendar.ca, where visitors will soon be able to add their own comments and recollections of the photos.
Walters is also hoping that people may scan and send their own pictures in to the site, or perhaps even turn some valuable old photos over to the museum.
The calendars are available at several Stratford locations, including the museum, Black Angus Bakery, Black Angus Restaurant, Blowes Stationery, Domino’s Pizza, Orr Insurance, Sinclair Pharmacy, Queen’s Inn and West End Pharmacy.
They are also available from any Kinsmen Club member, or can be purchased online at www.kinsmencalendar.ca.