TO ALL THE MEMBERSHIP OF MLHS AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO PARTICIPATED
Four years ago, Barry and I learned there would be celebrations for the Selkirk Settlement bicentennial. We knew this was something we wanted for MLHS – it would be a wonderful showcase for what we do and who we are. The two of us instantly had a vision for an outstanding event. The overall celebration plans then suffered a collapse at the top, and it took almost two years before a new umbrella organization took the reins – The Bicentenary Committee of the Selkirk Settlement. That committee grew to some 20 people representing a great variety of Scottish organizations, and although MLHS interprets far more than just Scots, we certainly were an ideal fit.
We took our dream to the Board of MLHS who immediately agreed with the vision. We created a Committee of our own. Carol Douglas, Louis Gagne, Bill Fernie, Debbie Young, Olivia Arnason and me, with Barry attending until “broken leg”. Meetings – meetings – meetings. More meetings. Meetings. Grant applications. Meetings. Provincial grant; federal grant. Meetings. As a committee, we each had unique skills that moved the planning in all its directions. Barry: research and scripting and always attention to historic truth in the story and in costuming; Bill: contacting the men for participation, getting prices and carpentry; Judy: everything to do with the actual ceremony and all invitations outside MLHS; Debbie: contacting the women for participating, organizing everything and everyone not part of the actual ceremony, getting prices and supplies; Carol: agreeing to do everything nobody else could take on; keeping Judy calm; Olivia: getting prices, creating the much-commented-upon Settlers’ Brew; Louis: all I know is whenever I asked for something or could something be fixed or moved or assenbled – Louis did it.
Arguments and discussions – Why does our event have to be on a weekday? The first day of school? Will Lord Selkirk attend our event? Will people take a day off work for this once-in-a-lifetime event? Will all the other groups support us? Why are we undertaking such a huge responsibility? What if it rains? What if nobody comes?
Well – they came – the weather was perfect – all the People of Red River came alive and gathered together for the day and it was indeed a magnificent event.
We would like to recognize the following:
ALL OF OUR MEMBERS who portrayed the PEOPLE OF RED RIVER – both of quality and the more common sort. Every one of you contributed to the picture of life at Red River. The amazing feature of the day was the fact that all of you went ahead more or less on your own without prompting or prodding and simply did your “thing”. The whole day brought the People of Red River to life through your individual contributions.
Kevin Walters for cutting through all the red tape and organizing so many of the detail of setup challenges
Phyllis Fraser and Lawrence Proutt, co-chairs of the Bicentenary Committee for their support
Shelly Glover, MP, representing the Federal Government
Minister Flor Marcelino, representing the Province of Manitoba
Councillor Dan Vandal, representing the City of Winnipeg
Dr. Philippe Mailhot of the St. Boniface Museum for introducing the historic context in French and English
Jean-Marc Lafond for carrying on with the historic context
Larry Fisher who organized an impromptu concert
The “Gentlemen” for their entertaining presentations
D’Arcy Stearns & Company for sharing their musical talents and for confusing the Scots with their unique “bagpipe”
Maryse Gagne for playing the cello in the VIP tent even if the VIP’s didn’t go there much
Kirby McRae for piping the parade and at other times during the day plus two more lads that showed up later
Lara Arnason for lovely harp music
Kaiti Reider and the little Nisimis fiddlers
Colin Mackie and the Festival du Voyageur lads for their participation
Rob Tisdale for providing libation for the gentlemen in the form of half a bottle of “Famous Grouse”
Gary Styrchak for his table display of 19th century penmanship
Alex Borger who took on the ever popular role of a surgeon at Red River
The Gehman family and McInnes Family for displaying and demonstrating all the farm tools including the quern
Angela Temple for taking walks around the village with her friendly ram
The members of the Voyageur Corps from Fort William who attended along with their cannon
The Forces of Lord Selkirk under the command of Captain Matthey (Frederick Carsted)
The members of the Red River Voyageur Corps under the command of Chris Black
The flag party – Louis and Louis-Simon Gagne
La Brigade de la Riviere Rouge for ferrying those NWC men across the river and parading to La Verendrye Park
Orille Haugen with his huge Metis flag and two ox carts
Cpl. Houle of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for talking with us and with the public
All of the members of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders who never tired of talking to our visitors
The outstanding display put on by La Compagnie Franche de la Marine
the members of the City of Winnipeg Police mounted patrol
Michelle Gervais representing Tourisme Riel / CDEM with her displays and her volunteers who handed out brochures and flags
Jocelyne Pambrun with her beautiful display of Metis costume
Miguel Villefaure “Etchiboy” with his display of sashes, etc.
Paulette Duguay with her L’Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba table display
Shirley Delorme Russell with a display from the Louis Riel Institute
St. Boniface Hospital for providing additional parking spaces at no cost
And finally and most importantly, for the presence of Lord Selkirk of Douglas, for his eloquence, good humor and enthusiasm for everything we were doing. We also have to note that so many visitors came, not for the Settlers’ Brew, but simply to meet Lord Selkirk.
We – Barry and Judy – and all the Arrival Committee thank all of you for bringing this ambitious dream to such a wonderful fulfillment on Tuesday, September 4, 2012. It was by far the largest undertaking we have ever planned – and YOU – all of YOU played a part and made the dream come true.
I, Barry, add my specific thanks to Jackie, Maryse and Sophie who loaded the motor home with all of the bits and pieces from the marquee, and all those, including my son Russell, for loading Judy’s van with the rest of our worldly MLHS possessions, including the cursed flag pole and dumb flower pots.
I, Judy, add a mea culpa in advance if I have forgotten anybody – which is likely.