What a summer to celebrate and commemorate! All across this province and our nation I've been part of anniversaries and events. I would have attended the events and visited most of the locations even without all the hoopla, but the enthusiasm and importance attached to the special dates raises the profile and gives people a reason to get things done.
Sometimes extra grants are available, sometimes people shift their volunteer focus to drive a special project and sometimes it just seems natural to put energy and resources into our culture and history leaving more memories and a plaque or two to help keep the story alive.
Birthdays and wedding anniversaries are important venues to share the story of a person, couple or family. They provide us with memories of the event as well as a sense of the past and hopes for the future. The events I've attended this year have done the same.
I've enjoyed living in Saskatchewan all of my life and am fascinated by the land and the people. We don't celebrate dates attached to our First Nations people, but we see a strong culture and I've been very lucky to be involved in several celebrations showcasing the art and culture.
Dates have become important since European contact. In Newfoundland, last week I visited a site recognized as the first English settlement in Canada. In Cupids they are celebrating their 400th anniversary and have added more storyboards and tours and even an interpretive centre to their community.
Archeologists and historians have found many remnants of the past aided by the journals of one of the first Europeans to live in the beautiful setting.
Last month, I attended the rededication of Fort Pitt 125 years after the Northwest Resistance of 1885. What had been once hard to find and lacking in information has been upgraded to include much more of the story and visual clues to the past.
Celebrations of the Year of the Metis here in Saskatchewan are also ongoing all summer long.
Next week, descendants of the African American pioneers who settled just north of Maidstone in 1910 will be gathering to remember and celebrate a century since their ancestors made their home in the area.
I've also attended festivals celebrating significant milestones and I am part of a provincial group proudly entering its 40th year.
It may sometimes take a 50, 100 or more years celebration to recognize the significance of a relationship, event or place, but when it happens and the stories are collected and told something special is saved and protected for all of us to learn from and enjoy even when the party is over.