Park Extension Historical Society
Société d’histoire de Parc-Extension
President’s Report to 4th Annual General Meeting
Rapport de la présidente à la 4e Assemblée générale annuelle
9 November 2013 – 821 Ogilvy – le 9 novembre, 2013
This year was a busy one, as the Board offered different activities and applied for and carried out a labour-intensive student summer jobs project. We joined other groups for a couple of community events, such as Leave Your Car at Home day. The year began, however, on a somber note when our founding Treasurer, talented and cheerful Shirley Moge Laberge, passed away. Membership in general remained stable, although we have to do more to encourage renewals.
Financially, the CSJ government project, that covers only payroll, had a negative effect when we had to pay penalties for a couple of errors made through the President’s inexperience. This seems unfair for volunteer groups. The Archives studies student, Allana Mayer, and Geography student, Kiley Goyette, contributed a great deal over their seven weeks. Our files are in better shape and the digital files are backed up; new member Janice Kerfoot has professional experience in this field as well. As for the Built Heritage Research post, we are grateful to have had our wish fulfilled to make a convincing case to promote the image of the Ogilvy-Athena square area, as the University of Montreal campus causes major replanning in the district. This is something to pursue, indeed it is a duty, since our Society is the main spokesman for local built heritage.
We continue to speak at borough Council meetings and contact the Comité citoyen. The demolition of the Barclay School caretaker’s house in April and the impending disappearance of the St. Roch Presbytery spurred our efforts to try to influence the local social housing corporation (Hapopex) to retain more features of that 1950’s presbytery in their new project. We are inspired by a parallel case in Saint-Henri, where a burnt-out church was replaced with housing but the local historical society made sure that commemorative panels were installed in front.
It is tremendously important, as a neighbourhood organization, to enjoy the social aspects of our society. February’s story-telling night at Café l'Artère was a good experience. We thank the President of the Beaconsfield-Beaurepaire Historical Society, who grew up in Park Extension, for inviting board and members to their historic location on the Lakeshore in July.
Although few members take advantage of the French and English history groups we belong to, FHQ and QAHN, their programs, media sites and magazines are appreciated. We were able to find a good interview for a QAHN oral history radio/web project: a resident with vivid memories of being a milkman when his father grazed cows on what became Rockland Shopping Centre.
Visiting historical exhibitions and giving guided walks, especially the Jane’s Walk for which Beaumont street was the focus this spring, continues. Sasha Dyck and Leslie Lutsky are now quite experienced in this. The Dialogue Circle of the Women’s Connection Project invited us to tell about the life of an old-time resident. As for exhibits, we went to the Centre d’histoire de Montréal once again and had an eye-opening tour of the Montreal Archive vaults. One hopes the care we witnessed being given to original documents there will continue as records become invisible, thanks to digitization. And so we look forward to new challenges in 2014.