Glencoe. Tartan Days in Glencoe celebrates Scottish heritage. On July 20th, our volunteers were at Glencoe’s Historic Train Station dressed in period attire, conducting free tours of this wonderful facility. We shared the history of the area and displayed interesting books, displays and artifacts. Volunteers from Backus-Page House near Wallacetown, in Elgin County, were with us with a superb visual display featuring Scottish settlement.
Our Archives were busy that day with a G & DHS yard sale fund-raising event. As it was a brutally hot day, folks visiting our sale were invited inside to cool off and look around. Thanks again to volunteers who helped that day.
Meanwhile, across the street from the Train Station, members of Upper Thames Military Re-enactment Society (UTMRS) were encamped. The re-enactors gave visitors, particularly the children, an idea of what British military life in Upper Canada was like during the War of 1812. Many thanks to these volunteers who escorted our wonderful piper, along with a number of children up Main Street. (Did I mention that it was brutally hot…those guys wear wool clothing!)
The Classic Car Show, free Pancakes, BBQ’s, Thistle Contest, Children’s Fun Zone, merchant events, town wide yard sales and many other events pleased many visitors during this year’s Tartan Days.
Ken Beecroft, President, Glencoe & District Historical Society
On Wednesday evening April 17, 2019, the Glencoe & District Historical Society hosted the Annual Meeting at the new ARCHIVE facilities. President Lorne Munro welcomed those attending and introduced the guest speaker, our own historian Harold Carruthers. Fifty people attended this event, the first program to be presented at 178 McKellar Street, Glencoe.
Although President Lorne introduced Harold, no introduction was needed. Harold mentioned that the presentation is a continuation of one that he did last April 2018 at Glencoe’s Historic Train Station.
Harold showed 300 images spanning the period between the 1880’s and the 1960’s, focussing on the street scenes of Glencoe Ontario. Harold also focused on the human perspective, highlighting parades and social events. Many people, long gone, were recognized by members of the audience.
Upon conclusion of the display at 8:15 p.m., President Lorne Munro thanked Harold for his interesting narrative. A time of fellowship followed the presentation and audience members enjoyed exploring the new facility. The Annual Meeting and Election of Executive Officers led by President Lorne Monroe followed.
Presentation by Stan Grizzle as part of Black History Month. 2 p.m. February 20, 2019 – Held at The Archives, 178 McKellar Street, Glencoe, ON
Stan Grizzle and his father both have devoted their lives to fighting racism. Stan discussed the start of the slave trade in Africa at the end of the European middle ages and the era of Portuguese exploration. European exploitation of the western Senegal coast continued for centuries. Slave ships and unspeakable conditions prevailed. The colonization of the West Indies and the American south grew with the economic dependency upon the slave industry.
Early Canada did not actively take part in slavery and over time became a haven for runaway slaves from the south. Pacifist religious groups such as Quakers and Mennonites, along with free slaves in the north, developed the “underground railway”, that is a network that assisted the movement and transportation north to U.S. Abolitionist communities and to Canada.
Stan talked of the three waves of struggle to get to Canada, particularly during times of conflict such as the American Revolution, The War of 1812 and of course the American Civil War.
Getting to Canada was not easy. It is difficult to imagine the hardships of the escape and the struggle to survive upon arrival. Many communities were developed in Canada by the escaped slaves and their network of supporters. Today we realize that our heritage and identity has benefitted from this cultural diversity but it was not always so. Even here in predominantly European Canada, the struggle for racial equality has been difficult.
Stan continued with the amazing story of his father, Stan Grizzle senior. Stanley George Sinclair Grizzle was a Canadian citizenship judge, soldier, political candidate and civil rights and labour union activist. Born in 1918 in Toronto to slave descendants, he was the oldest of seven children. Stan felt the systemic bigotry and prejudice growing up and into his youth, and vowed to make a difference wherever he could.
While working as a railway porter as a young man, Grizzle became active in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). Upon his return to Canada after serving in Europe during World War II, Grizzle became more active in the union. He was elected president of his union local, and pushed the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to open the management ranks to blacks.
Stan Grizzle Sr. plunged into other causes and was a leader in Canada’s civil rights era of the 1950s, working with the Joint Labour Committee to Combat Racial Intolerance. He worked hard. He understood the value of an education which was so difficult for a person of colour to obtain. He achieved a degree at Ryerson in Toronto.
In 1959, Grizzle was one of the first Black Canadian candidates to run for election in Ontario politics. Although he wasn’t elected, he caused Ontario to take notice. In 1960, Grizzle went to work for the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In 1978 he was appointed a Citizenship Judge by Prime Minister Elliott Trudeau. In recognition of his work with the BSCP and his civil rights work, Grizzle received the Order of Ontario in 1990. As further recognition, he received the Order of Canada in 1995.
On November 1, 2007, a park on Main Street in Toronto’s east end was dedicated the “Stanley G. Grizzle Park” in a ceremony hosted by Toronto Mayor David Miller. Judge Grizzle died in November 2016 at the age of 97, six days before his 98th birthday.
conclusion and brief time for questions and answers, at 2:50 p.m., President Lorne and Ken B. thanked Stan for his presentation and presented him with an honourarium, which he graciously donated back to historical society. He was also given a Glencoe & District Historical Society medallion and pen as mementos of his visit with us.
Red Noble outlined Canada’s participation in the European Offensive, and in particular the advance up the “Italian Boot”. He handed out copies of detailed maps which attendees referred to. The Battle of Ortona took place during the heart of the Italian Offensive by the Allied forces in December of 1943. Ortona is a coastal town located on the Southeast coast of Italy. December 20, 1943 was the official first day of the assault.
The Canadian Regiments advance 3000 yards into Ortona. Buildings on outskirts of town are taken and held from the veteran German defenders. Engineers move into town under artillery support. All first day objectives are achieved. The next day the 21st, bitter street fighting develops.
Ortona is an old traditional coastal town with a strategic deep water port, designed for coastal defence. It consists of compact tall multi-storied houses. Most buildings are at least four stories high with narrow streets between, which made manoeuvring for tanks extremely difficult. Armour could only advance down main roads, leaving little support for the infantry in most cases.
The German defenders prepare the way with strategic barriers and booby-traps. Fierce street-fighting during the battle would give it the nickname “Little Stalingrad”. Canadians quickly learn and adapt to the enemy’s techniques. Several adaptations involve leapfrogging and mouse-holing, that is blowing holes in walls in order to advance instead of going outside.
And so it continued for 8 long hard days and nights. The Germans finally withdrew, but at a heavy cost to Canadian Forces.
After the battle, all allied forces studied successful Canadian street fighting tactics, many of which are still used today in areas of conflict.
President Lorne Munro and Ken Beecroft thanked Red for his presentation and display of photos and newspaper articles. Marilyn McCallum presented Red with an honourarium, which he graciously donated back to G&DHS.
Members’ Meeting – Wednesday January 16, 2019 – 2:00 p.m. held at the Glencoe Historic Train Station, Glencoe, Ontario