Inspired by Local History or a Childhood Memory
I’m always fascinated by the stories of a place and how a town has changed over time. We are lucky to have a rich history in Cobourg. In my own family history research, I have found connections to a Métis ancestor who travelled to Cobourg on the waterways as a guide for Anna Bronwell Jameson (documented in her book Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada). She writes about her interpreter old Solomon and her travels along the waterways, including a trip to Cobourg. I also read that Solomon attended school in Cobourg in the mid-1800s even though his family lived in Penetanguishene at the time. How does your family history connect with Cobourg?
In more recent history, my dad likes to tell me about the time his family went camping at the trailer park by the Cobourg Beach when he was a child. What would your parents tell you about what Cobourg was like when they were kids? Or when you were a child?
Given that it still isn’t easy to get out and about I wanted to gather some resources that I found interesting about Cobourg’s history for you to explore for some inspiration. What would life have felt like then? What challenges would the community have faced? What brought them joy? What was simpler or more complicated than now? Who’s stories are missing? What voices from that time are harder to hear? How can we find out what they would say too?
When I write a poem inspired by history, I begin by spending some time absorbing myself in learning more. Start with questions and collect as many as you can. Then take the questions that most intrigue you and begin to look for places you might find answers. Your poem can be inspired by a feeling, a reflection, a story, a relationship, a place, an issue, a theme, or a particular moment in time. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when there is so much information and so many interesting questions to pursue. This is when you need to just make a choice (even randomly) and commit to following where it leads. You’ve got this!
Our Evolving eChapbook
Have a look at what we created last month!
Links and Groups
- The exhibits in these Cobourg Public Library exhibits are fascinating. Lots of interesting historical images. Be sure to click on the categories on the sidebar once you are in each exhibit.
- The Cobourg Newspaper Index is another fun place to explore the past.
- Social Media can be an interesting way to connect with the past. Here are some pages I follow on Facebook:
- The Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre is a wonderful place to visit when it re-opens. For now, enjoy learning on the website. The heritage centre archives posted here include some fascinating treasures!
- If you’re looking for some more glamorous history, check out the Marie Dressler House Museum website.
- I shared this site last month with some history of the lake, but I will post it again so you don’t miss it in your explorations: Cobourg History site.
- The origin of the Mississaugas of Alderville, Alnwick township
If you know of other great places to look for inspiration about our local history, please add in the comments below.