Dysart welcomes public to sesquicentennial celebration
By Darren Lum
Published Jan. 3, 2017
Surrounded by articles and artifacts of Dysart’s past in the Haliburton Highlands Museum, its director and Dysart 150 organizing committee member Kate Butler said she wants everyone to join her and Dysart in celebrating the community’s sesquicentennial.
She said the museum’s promoting this event because its role includes connecting and educating residents.
“It’s really important to us to tell Dysart’s story in any way we can and celebrate our local history. We’ve been working closely with other municipal staff and with members of council to co-ordinate this. It’s just feels really important to me we take a lead role in this because it is part of our purpose and our mandate to celebrate Dysart’s history and heritage,” she said. “We need to be at the forefront at that.”
One hundred fifty years to the day, on Jan. 7 at the A.J. LaRue Arena, Dysart is recognizing the sesquicentennial with a winter party that will provide entertainment, free skating and an insight into Haliburton’s story with the debut of the Dysart 150 – The Movie produced by local history buff Kim Emmerson. Emmerson travelled to England as part of his research for the film, Butler said.
In 1861, a group of businessmen from England came together to buy a block of land from the Crown Lands Department of Canada, which sold the land to encourage settlement. They were led by Justice T.C. Haliburton and formed the Canadian Land and Emigration Company the following year. It promoted the sale of land in Ontario, mainly in what was to form Dysart et al.
Haliburton is named after the Canadian Land company’s first CEO, Justice T.C. Haliburton. Unfortunately, he never visited the town named after him, as he died only a year after our village was established.
The event will begin at 4 p.m. on Jan. 7 and include games, activities and local food vendors such as Into the Blue Bakery, featuring home made pizza, Los Abuelos for its Mexican food and Abbey Gardens. Haliburton Highlands Brewing will showcase its signature beer for the event, Trapper’s Ale, in the beer tent.
At 5:30 p.m. the event will have its official opening ceremony with speeches from local dignitaries and the showing of the movie. At 6:15, The Fire Guy will deliver some excitement with his “fire and light show” on the ice in the arena and outside. His show consists of fire eating, fire juggling and fire breathing. See fireguyshow.com for information.
A Dysart cake with the Dysart 150 logo will be cut to recognize the milestone. No one will go away empty handed, as more than 400 cupcakes will be given out.
For the night owls, the event includes a trivia night at the Haliburton Curling Club from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The diverse offering of the event, which includes a jazz trio of Haliburton Highlands Secondary School students Adrien Petric, Cam Watson and Sage Christiano, brings something for everyone, Butler said.
“We wanted there to be something for everyone to take it in our whole community,” she said.
Just before the late-afternoon event, Abbey Gardens is hosting a snowshoe or hike on their property. Snowshoes will be available to rent for $10.
Butler said this summer Dysart will host another sesquicentennial event to take advantage of the warmer weather and include its seasonal residents, who are an important part of our community. It will celebrate the country’s milestone as much as Dysart’s.
Respecting Canada Day festivities by other communities such as Minden and West Guilford, this event will be held the weekend after on July 7 to 9. It will feature live music, outdoor activities, giveaways, and other special and unique attractions.
Having the summer sesquicentennial after Canada Day is ironic, considering Haliburton was incorporated earlier than our nation was founded.
With a smile, the museum director said, “we beat Canada by six months.”
For more information see the website www.dysartetal.ca (look under events) or follow on Twitter @Dysartetal.