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.
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