The crickets are chirping, the Perseids are shooting, the back-to-school specials are in the flyers; it must be mid-August. Where did the time go?
We at the Museum regularly talk about how lucky we are to be situated in the Westminster Ponds as we are, even though it means we struggle for walk-in traffic. We regularly see the herd of deer (well, everyone but Norman, who always seems to miss them), and the comical flock of wild turkeys. There are coyotes and rabbits and so many species of birds even a bird book can't help with the warbler varieties. People come to the area to canoe and fish at the ponds, to hike in the woods, to watch birds, walk their dogs (on leash, please !) , and for picnics, and softball, and any number of outdoorsy pursuits.
In fact, just the other day, on the Simcoe day long weekend, there was the first Emancipation Day picnic held since 1987. Volunteer Bethany and manager Maya (me) decided to check it out. A little history: Emancipation Day was (and is again) celebrated by the Ontario Black population in honour of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, who made the province the first in the British Empire to abolish slavery. It's kind of a big deal. At any rate, the picnic included games and pot-luck, but also a walk down to the Meeting Tree and ceremony. The Meeting Tree, local folklore holds, was an oak tree that served as a terminus point to the Underground Railroad, here in London (or back then, just south of London). The tree is still standing and indeed, it is enormous and very beautiful, towering over the surrounding woods. It has been well cared for, which probably accounts for why it still stands. According to the City forester, it is likely 200 years old, or more. It could certainly be a relic from that time, and even if it isn't the original Meeting Tree, it makes for an age-appropriate stand-in.
Getting back to Radar, now, this week marks our final week with wonderful summer student, Brent. Having him at the Museum has been a great experience. Not only has he quickly become an able and enjoyable tour guide, he has created an exceptional draft of what we hope will become a travelling exhibit. His research skills are outstanding and his love of language both entertaining and refreshing. We will be very sorry to see him go, but we are deeply grateful to him for his hard work and diligence, as well as to the Young Canada Works in Heritage program for giving us the opportunity to hire him. His last day is Friday the 16th, so why not come out and wish him good luck and make him give you the tour! Thanks, Brent, we're going to miss you.