Heritage Week begins in the Province ~ Virtual Visits Abound


February 15-21 marks Ontario Heritage Week 2021 – an opportunity for communities across the province to celebrate Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage. This is the 37th year that Heritage Week has been commemorated in Ontario and there are any number of places and spaces a person can visit. Due to the pandemic, much, if not all, of the events are offered online.

The Theme for 2021 is, The Environment. Ontario’s wilderness, vast forests, lakes and wetlands, meadows and ski trails, snowmobile trails, ice-fishing lakes, fly-fishing rivers and speckle trout streams are all part of Ontario’s rich heritage. If you have pictures and stories to share, a social media campaign running on twitter, instagram and facebook is underway. To get caught up in the exploration, use the hashtag #ONheritageweek on social media platforms. The hashtag #ONheritageweek will open doors to any number of places to discover or visit again.

Some twitter, instagram and facebook accounts to follow:

  • Ontario Heritage Trust @ONheritage
  • Ontario Historical Society @OntarioHistory
  • Ontario Museums ( Ontario Museum Association / Association des musées de l’Ontario #MuseumsOntario #MuseesOntario). @museumsontario
  • And of course, #Sault Ste. Marie’s official twitter account: @CitySSM

Updates and more are posted to the Sault’s official twitter account about municipal initiatives & general operations, along with stories about #TheSoo #TheSault.

The Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT) has a province-wide mandate to conserve, interpret and share Ontario’s heritage. The OHT supports and helps facilitate heritage in Ontario each and every day. OHC is a centre of expertise, and serves as the heritage trustee & steward for the people of Ontario.  [Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O.1990] and falls within the purview of The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

Each February, the OHT invites Ontarians to participate in Heritage Week – to celebrate heritage in all its forms (cultural and natural, architectural, archaeological and collections), its diverse traditions and cultural expressions.

Since 1974, the third Monday every February has been designated as Heritage Day in Canada. This year, Heritage Day, Feb.15, 2021 was also Family Day in the province of Ontario, and National Flag Day in the country.

In 1985, the Ontario government designated the third week in February as Ontario Heritage Week, with the federal Heritage Day kicking off the week. Beginning Tuesday, February 16, 2021 the City of Sault Ste. Marie will move to ‘Yellow-Protect’. This allows various facilities to re-open with public health and workplace safety measures in place. Check with the City of SSM website for any virtual heritage week events that may be planned.

In conjunction with Black History Month, and Ontario Heritage Week, OHT is inviting people to a virtual, and free lecture with award-winning author Esi Edugyan. Edugyan. She is a two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner. Her lecture will include a virtual tour though ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site’.

Award Winning Author Esi Edugyan will give a virtual lecture as part of Ontario Heritage Week – through the Ontario Heritage Trust. photo courtesy wiki-commons

Did you know? ‘At a bend in the Sydenham River near the town of Dresden stands Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site. The museum – built on the site of the Black settlement that Rev. Josiah Henson helped found in 1841 – preserves the settlement where Henson and his wife Nancy lived. Today, thousands of people make pilgrimages to Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site to discover more about our past.’

The lecture includes an ‘exclusive talk on her internationally acclaimed novel Washington Black – touching on the themes of Black heritage, identity, belonging and displacement.’

Edugyan is the author of three works of fiction and one non-fiction. She writes richly imagined and impeccably researched stories that illuminate complicated truths about race and belonging. Esi Edugyan was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta ~ her parents were immigrants from Ghana.

In this pre-recorded event, she will provide insights on her writing process, researching history and bringing Black stories to life. Edugyan’s debut novel, ‘The Second Life of Samuel Tyne’ was published in 2004. In 2011, ‘Half-Blood Blues’  and ‘Washington Black’ in 2018.

The broadcast will also include a virtual visit to Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site and a question-and-answer segment with Esi Edugyan that features questions from youth and leaders from Ontario’s Black heritage community. During the 19th century, Ontario became a destination for thousands of enslaved and free African-Americans seeking freedom and new beginnings.

Screenings for this 70-minute event will be available for a limited time only. Pre-registration is required.