Cobourg Remembers the Great War

Along with a program of events happening over the next six weeks, Victoria Hall will host displays to commemorate the end of the first World War.  To launch these events and displays, a grand opening ceremony was held in the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall on Sunday afternoon with over 100 people coming to see two videos (see below), some speakers, a sample of two of the plays being presented and displays of banners, photographs and artifacts.  The collection of events was primarily driven by Dean Hustwick – the Town’s Director of Community Services – with help from his staff and inspiration from Hugh Brewster.  Randy Barber recently moved to Cobourg and has provided a large number of WWI artifacts  – some of these are now on display.

Dean Hustwick
Dean Hustwick

As well as the artifacts and banners telling the story with colourized photos, there is a collection of 42 photos showing the last 100 days of the war when “the Canadian Corps played a crucial role in defeating the German Army on the Western Front.”   The photos are from the AGN collection and were last displayed in 1989.  The speeches started with Dean Hustwick who thanked everyone contributing.  Mayor Gil Brocanier named a number of those present: MP Kim Rudd, Mayor of Alnwick/Haldimand John Logel, Mayor of Port Hope Bob Sanderson, Deputy Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf, Deputy Mayor John Henderson, Councillors Suzanne Séguin, Brian Darling and Aaron Burchat.

Hugh Brewster, who first suggested the play Last Day, Last Hour, praised Cobourg’s enthusiasm and hard work, especially Jack Boyagian of Northumberland Players for not only agreeing to produce the play but to add two more! He also said that Victoria Hall has a lot of historical connections to WWI and commented that “the past informs the present and inspires the future”.

Jeremy Diamond, President of the Vimy Foundation, introduced the video Return to Vimy (see it below) which was produced in collaboration with the National Film Board  (NFB) and features a good collection of actual footage from the war.  Most of it has been colourized.

In addition to the ongoing displays in Victoria hall, the AGN has an exhibition of paintings by Charles Pachter giving a feel for the War.  Charles also spoke to the gathering giving an insight on his work.

Short segments of the plays Last Day, Last Hour and Mary’s Wedding were then staged by actors from these plays – see photos in the gallery below.

Here is the video produced by the Town to promote Armistice 18 events (1:30 min):

Armistice 18 Upcoming Events

  • Last Day, Last Hour  – a new play recreating the charged atmosphere of this epic trial.  Presented in the historic courtroom in which it all took place. Oct 19 thru Nov 11 Tickets here.
  • Mary’s Wedding – a moving story that highlights the last great cavalry charge of the war – in the Firehall Theatre – Sept 21 to Oct 14 – many performances now sold out Tickets here.
  • The Stars on Her Shoulders – Oct 18 to Nov 10. A play reading about a group of Canadian Army Medical Corps Nursing Sisters. Tickets here
  • Speaker Jack Granatstein – October 14 acclaimed as the dean of Canada’s war historians.  Free tickets here.
  • Speaker Charlotte Gray – Nov 4 has been hailed as Canada’s best-loved historical writer. Free tickets here.
  • Speaker Tim Cook – Oct 21 Historian at Canada’s War Museum  Free tickets here.

This impressive video is a tribute to the Canadians who fought and died in the war (9:08 min).

Return to Vimy – by NFB and Vimy Foundation



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Wally Keeler
6 November 2018 12:07 pm

Concerning the Last Day Last Hour: “The film made by TVO on Sunday will be on The Agenda this Thursday at eight. Set your PVR! And Canadian Press will soon have an article that will be in papers across the country as well as online.” — Jack Boyagian

John Draper
Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 November 2018 12:23 pm

Did you see the McLeans article? The link is in the news update in the column at right.

Walter L. Luedtke
7 October 2018 9:45 pm

Sad that Cobourg does not have a proper historical museum where archives and Cobourg memorabilia and artifacts, such as these, can find a permanent home.
Sidbrook would probably have served well as a museum.
Too late now!

7 October 2018 6:31 pm

Great event but unfortunately poor planning as usual. The Sweet Water music show had to be cancelled on the 14th of October although it was booked a year in advance – it is a very popular and very well attended live music event. Too bad for the public that supports this event and the entertainers that will not be paid for their time spent preparing a year in advance for this and the Towns revenue loss. Note the Entertainment Calendar has not been updated to show the cancellation.

John Draper
Reply to  Frank
7 October 2018 6:51 pm

Thanks for the pointer. The calendar has now been updated.

Walter L. Luedtke
2 October 2018 4:18 pm

Congratulations to Director of Community Services, Dean Hustwick, and his Staff for spearheading this memorable event.
Splendid work and best wishes for completing the Cultural Master Plan for Cobourg.

Bill Thompson
1 October 2018 9:32 pm

What a great effort put forth by those to remember the “war to end all wars” Armistice and displays of historical war artifacts of those veterans now long gone.
Perhaps a similar effort to recognize WWII and the sacrifices also should be made for “the greatest generation” which is rapidly disappearing
The music of the Blitz era etc for one example would bring back a lot of memories to those who who served overseas I’m sure as well as to those who kept the home fires burning.
The roles played by the army as well as the town’s own HMCS Cobourg with a similar display of her historical memorabilia would be most appropriate for consideration I would hope.

Reply to  Bill Thompson
2 October 2018 2:51 pm

Bill you seem to have a number of detractors based on a ‘thumbs down’ on your comment above. Seems congratulations and suggestions are not to be provided.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  gerinator
2 October 2018 3:51 pm

Sadly,as Wally Keeler first identified and stated on this blog a while ago , the direction / number of arrows didn’t reflect an agreement or disagreement of the stated opinion of another but the like/dislike of the person posting..
Sad observation on the maturity level of some as I would think that most people on this site are supposed mature adults but evidence shows that may not be totally accurate now for the second time.
John Draper removed the arrows about a year ago (.? ) I believe possibly for the same reason and it now has returned sadly.
I would hope that John would consider removing it once again and possibly terminate this immature practice of some..
Hopefully it would encourage more productive opinions other than verbal bashing.and automatic down arrows .
Possibly if enough people requested , it would become a reality.

John Draper
Reply to  Bill Thompson
2 October 2018 4:57 pm

I don’t recall removing arrows. About a year ago I changed technology platforms and it took a few months for me to discover that the “Vote-up” “vote-down ” arrows were available on this platform. I think your statements of why people vote is an opinion and not proved. If there is too much verbal bashing, especially if it is off-topic, then the comments are deleted. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  John Draper
2 October 2018 5:22 pm

My mistake obviously by inferring that the reason for no arrows was a personal decision ,as there had/ has been very obvious evidence of it being possibly a personal issue by name calling some.rather than a technical decision.
My statement, in agreement with Wally Keeler’s original with it being a personal issue vice an opinion difference, may indicate however that there may be others who possibly have the same impression that I had.
Situation clarified …thanks

Wally Keeler
Reply to  gerinator
2 October 2018 5:53 pm

It is a worthless metric. Perhaps a mix of personal and political with a touch of mischief. I lean towards the personal because I cannot explain such. What else could explain Mr Thompson’s positive suggestion getting a thumbsdown swarming?