Museum seminar celebrates early settlers

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This Sesquicentennial year provides an opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. But it is also a time to reflect on the hard work and sacrifices that brought us to this point in our history. The St. Marys Museum's next seminar on Thursday, March 16, describes how in the middle of the 19th century, immigrants began arriving to this part of southern Ontario, many driven from their homelands by grim conditions in the hope of a better life in Canada.

The Museum seminar will concentrate on the St. Marys area. It will describe how settlers were encouraged to choose this corner of the Huron Tract, where these first arrivals came from and how they made their way into an area of dense forest that surrounded what is now the Town of St. Marys. Their story will be told with maps, historic photographs and, whenever possible, with the help of contemporary diaries and letters.

Ken Telfer is one of the presenters. He has a particular interest in the travel routes that brought immigrants to St. Marys. He has studied the voyages of immigrant ships as well as debarkation records. Before the coming of the railway in the late 1850s, those travelling to St. Marys from older settlements near Lake Ontario and Lake Erie had arduous journeys. Telfer will describe the many hazards of travel by wagon or stagecoach over rugged and muddy tracks through the bush.

Museum Assistant Bethany Kearsley is the other presenter. She has led many school visits on the theme of Early Settlement. The March seminar is the adult version of this very popular school program. Her presentation will include a discussion of the early industries – including farming – that provided incentives for location in St. Marys.

The seminar is Thursday evening, March 16, 2017 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Cost is $12 or $10 for Museum members. Space is limited and therefore pre-registration is necessary.

For more information or to register, call 519-284-3556 or email