The artefacts of our local history surround us: a strange coin in the corner of a drawer; a dog-eared photograph in an old scrapbook; the faded lettering on an old building that reveals its original purpose.
Preserving that history – before what everyone once knew becomes what no one now remembers – is the mission of local community activist and business owner Ann Brown.
She fears that Leaside’s 100-year history will be lost or forgotten, buried in a trunk in the attic or tucked away in the basement.
So, she did something about it. Together with like-minded friends and neighbours, she organized the recently-launched Leaside Heritage Protection Society, a community-wide effort to preserve, celebrate and communicate our legacy.
Reawakening our knowledge of our heritage helps us retain our community history and traditions. It helps us understand who we are and how we got here.
“The initiative was introduced to the community three months ago, via a social media post,” says Ann. “The response has been so encouraging. Today we have 320 members on the Facebook page, 150 on Instagram and regular visits to the website leasideheritage.ca.
Preserving the past comes with a small cost, as the Leaside Heritage Protection Society is supported by paid memberships at different fee levels.
According to Ann, the ultimate goal is to create a local “museum” where people can share, loan or donate material relevant to Leaside’s history.
“This is the ideal community project that can be managed from the safety of everyone’s home, an ideal time to look in drawers and old boxes for pieces of your family memorabilia and bits of Leaside history. What may not seem important may help build a story.
“Now Leaside needs a place where people can go to experience our community’s amazing past,” she says.
To make that ideal a reality there is now a Leaside Heritage committee, comprising nine area residents who share Ann’s passion and commitment. The committee will identify additional ways of preserving Leaside’s history – including exploring plans for the development of the Leaside Heritage Museum.