“We are not makers of history. We are made of history,” a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. is a sentiment we all have to acknowledge.
For two days this past weekend Sat., Sept. 14 and Sun., Sept. 15, Upper Canada Village held their annual Agricultural and Quilt Exhibition.
Just a kilometer or two down the road from the village, a group of interested Morrisburg residents and dignitaries gathered along the pathway that runs the length of the village’s waterfront area, to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony opening the Morrisburg Heritage Waterfront Path.
Both locations along the St. Lawrence River try to capture the distant and not so distant past.
The Upper Canada Village takes on history, right down to the authentic clothing and equipment, depicts in a snapshot of the past, a small slice of the evolution of everything. From flowerpots to a quilt, from a horse’s harness to the design of a horse drawn utility wagon, a visitor to the village can see the origins of many items that have become everyday tools we all use today, at least on the farm.
Remember, rural culture was well under way and flourishing before urban sensibilities began to form as people migrated from farms to fledgling cities.
The Morrisburg Historical Waterfront Path is a slightly different kind of history lesson.
The path, featuring 15 signs portraying photographs of a before and after Morrisburg downtown area gives visitors a look into a different time and place for the village. The images depict a thriving, healthy community.
After the flooding the culture and health of the area suffered a bit with a confused community coming to terms with their new footprint and infrastructure.
The lesson here is that for the residents of the nine villages that were impacted by the flooding, life went on in its own relentless way.
The signs along the path point to a history of the area in general and Morrisburg in particular, that are memories of happier times for many residents.
But of course, to sit still is to repeat history, and the signs all around us indicate change is a life saving feature we all should encourage when we can.
One of the features of the village was a concert put on in front of Cook’s Tavern. All of the instruments used sure looked as if they had arrived from the distant past in a time machine.
These days all of the instruments from the violin to the banjo have evolved to what they are today including first-rate sound systems that enable performers to entertain thousands as opposed to a handful of folks at a local barn dance or smokey tavern.
History proves, that most of our social constructs do get better over time and actually realize the ultimate visions of their creators.
The waterfront path in Morrisburg does that. It reminds those walking of what once was while never straying far from what actually is.