As mayor I am continually impressed by the volunteers and organizations dedicated to fostering greater understanding of our local history and cultural heritage; telling the stories of Kingston. In a city with a history as rich as ours, there are certainly a lot of stories to tell. Recently city council approved a new commemoration strategy that aims to expand the diversity of Kingston stories told. The focus is to provide a framework to share a balanced view of our heritage, not only hearing the stories of our British heritage but also the less widely shared or known stories from our French and aboriginal heritage. Together these stories span hundreds of years and many generations of men and women that have helped make Kingston what it is today.
What’s great is the number of stories already being shared and the rich diversity they showcase. This diversity was seen and celebrated at the recent Kingston Heritage Fund Award ceremony.
The City of Kingston Heritage Fund was established by council in 2013, as a part of the Kingston Culture Plan. The fund is designed to support groups and organizations who are contributing to our cultural heritage, sense of place and quality of life. The program is administered by the Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites (KAM) and this year awarded just over 200,000 to local groups and organizations to support their work.
Here is a small sample of projects that we celebrated at this year’s Kingston Heritage Fund Award Ceremony:
- ‘Elder in Residence’ program at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre
- Documentary project on the history of Kingston’s Swamp Ward
- Black History Month Celebrations – commemorating individuals of black heritage in Kingston
- Telling the stories of prison staff and the history of penitentiaries in Kingston
- A project celebrating Kingston’s film history
- A presentation of the 1867 crisis at Kingston General Hospital
- The launch of a new youth cultural heritage program
Congratulations to all of this year’s heritage fund award winners, and thank you for your efforts to tell Kingston’s stories!