By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist
This article originally appeared on the Durham Region Area Archives Group website to celebrate Archives Awareness Week. This annual event, held across Ontario from April 3-9, 2017, is designed to raise awareness of the many resources that can be found in archival collections around the province.
This year marks the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. The year will be filled with celebrations, retrospection and imagining where this country will be in another 150 years. To begin the celebration, member institutions of DRAAG have looked through their holdings to find the most interesting item from 1867 and 1967 in their collections!
On August 26, 1867 an Oshawa resident by the name of T.N. Gibbs received a telegram from John A. Macdonald. The telegram is rather significant, not only because it was sent by Canada’s first Prime Minister, but it talks about the first election after Confederation.
Gibbs was not new to politics but this election would be his most notable. He ran against Reformer backed George Brown and Liberal John Sandfield Macdonald. While Gibbs won, it was widely accepted that he do so by corrupt practices.
Gibbs was the only successful Conservative candidate in this area. This meant that he acted as the local confidante for Sir John A. Macdonald. So much so, that we have another little note sent to Gibbs by Macdonald in our collection.
Canada celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Confederation on a large scale. Locally, Oshawa joined in on the celebrations as well. Between beard growing contests, NHL exhibition games and special performances, the City marked the anniversary in a prominent way. Students in Oshawa schools spent a good part of the school year preparing for a Centennial Celebration held at the Civic Auditorium. The program included songs and dances, art work and projects that highlighted the differences between life in Oshawa in 1867 and 1967. The grade 7 and 8 students from E.A. Lovell School actually put on a performance showing the differences in physical training in 1867 and 1967. In the archives, we have the binder that was developed to outline all of the activities Oshawa schools engaged in related to the Centennial.
Be sure to visit the Durham Region Area Archives Group website to see what gems are in archives from around our Region and to learn more about local archives!