Volunteering at Fort York, Toronto, Canada

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Information about Volunteering at Fort York, Toronto, Canada

Published on March 17, 2014

Author: angelalagamba

Source: slideshare.net


Enclosed in this Fort York Newsletter is a photo from my volunteering escapades in 2013. We just celebrated 200 years of the Battle of 1812.

(Fort York retains the rights to copy and images for this entire publication).

Welcome to the first edition of Fort York’s volunteer newsletter.The news- letter is a way of keeping volunteers up to date with the happenings around the Fortandtopassoninformationinafun andinformativeway. May 2014 will mark the two year anniversary of when I took on the role as the Coordinator of Volun- teers. Our volunteer base has grown to over 180 people during this time. What continues to amaze me is the passion for Fort York and its history that each of the volunteers possess. Volunteers take pride in their roles whether it be as a Historic Cook, Greeter, Host, or Gardener. As volun- teers continue to be seen as valuable resources, volunteer positions continue to grow to includeVolunteer Lead,Ac- tivityLeaderaswellasournewestrole, NewsletterVolunteer. Included in this newsletter is an update onthenewVisitor’sCentre,avolunteer profile, a look at Spadina House and its volunteer program, some interest- ing stats on our volunteer base, future Fort York events, an exploration of an artifact at FortYork plus some pictures frompastevents. Thankyoutoeveryoneinvolvedinthis newsletter. It has been quite the learn- ing process and I really appreciate all those who contributed their time by in- terviewing, researching, writing, proof- reading, taking photos, and designing. I hope you enjoy the first edition of “GoodFortune”. Thanks again! Cathy Martin Coordinator of Volunteers Fort York National Historic Site Welcome to the first edition of Fort York’s volunteer newsletter A Fort York Volunteer Newsletter March 2014 Volume 1, No. 1 GoodFortune February 22 – Mad for Marmalade March 10 – 14 – March Break April 27 – Battle of York Day May 19 – Victoria Day May 24/25 – Doors Open Toronto June 7/8 – Field Trip June 10 – 19 – Luminato June 20 – 22 – Indigenous Arts Festival July 1 – Canada Day July 5 – 6 – TURF July 17 – Taste of Toronto August 4 – Simcoe Day September 6 – Riot Fest September 19 – 21 – On Common Ground September 28 – Great War Symposium September 29 – October 12 – Nuit Blanche October 17/18 and 24/25 – FortYorkAfterDark November 11 – Remembrance Day December 6/7 – Frost Fair Contents • Welcome to the first edition of the Fort York’s Volunteer Newsletter.......................................1 • Upcoming Events for 2014........1 • Fort York Interview with David O’Hara, Museum Administrator ................................2 • Our Newsletter Team...................2 • Commonwealth Culverin Drake Cannon.............................................3 • Spadina Museum..........................4 • Volunteers & Staff at the Great Gatsby Garden Party ..................4 • Volunteer Profile...........................5 • Volunteer Contributions for 2013............................................5 Upcoming Events at Fort York 2014 Happenings at Fort York 1Fort York Volunteer Newsletter Frost Fair 2013 - by Alex B Wright

Fort York Volunteer Newsletter 2 Fort York Volunteer Newsletter David O’Hara, Museum Administra- tor, Fort York National Historic Site, was asked recently to talk about volunteers and their contribution to Fort York both now and in the future. Hi,David.Thankyoufortakingthetime to contribute to our inaugural volunteer newsletter. Regarding the construction of the Visitor Centre, what are the latest updates? Construction of the Fort York Visitor Centre is moving right along. The build- ing shell is largely complete and our General Contractor, Harbridge + Cross, will be working to complete the interior finishing once hydro and gas connec- tions are complete and the building is heated. The contractor has also recently cleaned up the forecourt of the building along FortYorkBoulevard.Concretecurbsand walkways have been installed and a por- tionoftheparkinglotiscomplete.When the Visitor Centre is complete, Fort York will be much easier to find with a very visible front entrance at 250 Fort York Boulevard. The building is scheduled to be complete for June of 2014. Although permanent exhibits will not be installed until a later date, we are planning for 2014 events and temporary exhibits that will start to bring the new facility on-line as part of our overall operations. What positive contribution do volun- teers make in the running of Fort York? Volunteers have become such an impor- tant part of what we do here at Fort York and we’ve seen such a positive impact on the overall visitor experience. What would you like to see as the volun- teers’ role when the new Visitor Centre opens? One of our main objectives with con- structing the new Visitor Centre and re- habilitating the Garrison Common is to improve and expand the presence of the entire national historic site. In your opinion, how can volunteers fur- ther enhance the visitor experience? With new events and programs and with the new Visitor Centre opening in 2014, I’m hopeful that we can continue to provide interesting and meaningful opportunities for new and existing vol- unteers to get involved with Fort York. We certainly welcome any feedback or suggestions from all of you as we move forward. Thank you, David. I am sure our com- mitted and enthusiastic group will have plenty for you. Fort York Interview with David O’Hara, Museum Administrator by Marta Mullis Our Newsletter Team Jason Barnes Bruce Chown Aisling Dunniece Christine Evans-Staves Jade Jenkins Courtney Maxwell-Alves Sarah Milton-Lomax Marta Mullibus Brian Thomson Alex Wright Pamela Wright Mary Yacoubian Serena Ypelaar Volunteer Recognition Event Fall 2013 Photoby:AlexWright

Fork York Volunteer Newsletter This cannon, which is on display in the Centre Blockhouse (Blockhouse number Two), was brought to Fort York in 1793 by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe. It had been cast in the 1650s and as such was obsolete by the time it arrived at Fort York. However a shortage of equipment forced the British to use old weapons in Canadian defence. The gun was an 18 pounder which is capable of firing an 8.2 kg ball 1800 yards (1650 meters). The cannon was originally thought to be French. It was possible to tell that the original cypher had been chiselled off and a new one applied in its place. The new cypher looked like ‘GR’, for Georgius Rex to honour one of the Kings George. This lead to the suggestion that the ‘French’ gun had been captured, had the cypher cut out and a British one applied. But what actually occurred was the Cromwellian cypher (this consisted of two shields representing England and Ireland) had been cut out after the monarchy was restored in 1660 and ‘CR’ for Charles I had been applied. It was cast in the mid-1650s in England for Oliver Cromwell’s navy; the purpose of the cannon was to arm the fleet with larger guns than what the Dutch had, during a time of conflict with Holland. There are two possible reasons as to how it arrived in Canada. One possibility being that it was used by the French at the siege of Fort Oswego in 1756 and afterwards recaptured by the British. The other possibility is that it was shipped to New York by the British in the 1690s during the War of the League of Augsberg, moved from Schedentady to Oswego in 1759 during the Seven Years War and then sent west to be used at the capture of Fort Niagara. During the American Revolution the cannon was mounted in defence of the loyalist Lake Ontario naval base on Carleton Island. Even though the gun was considered unserviceable it was moved to Toronto in 1793. Governor Simcoe brought it in an attempt to fortify York during the frontier crisis of the 1790s. In 1807 the army condemned the gun and considered it completely obsolete and cut off its trunnions and button. However as they were desperate for artillery in 1813, it was used during the Battle of York at the Western Battery (near present day Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place). It was left behind by the Americans as it was deemed too obsolete to enter US service. In the 1820s the cannon was repurposed at Fort York by the British. The new purpose of the cannon was to protect the North Soldiers Barracks from wagons and other vehicles that might get too close to the building. This was achieved by placing the cannons into the ground near the west end of the Fort. Today, the lower parts of the gun show the erosion caused by the burial. During the 1930s, when Fort York was being restored, the gun was disinterred to become a museum piece and is now on display in the Centre Blockhouse. The gun is an artefact of the City of Toronto Collection. Acknowledgements: Bruce Chown Kevin Hebib Carl Benn, ‘Researching Fort York’s venerable veterans: The Simcoe Guns’ 3Fort York Volunteer Newsletter Commonwealth Culverin Drake Cannon by Aisling Dunniece

Fort York Volunteer Newsletter 4 Fort York Volunteer Newsletter Spadina Museum located just south of St. Clair Avenue West on Spadina Avenue is a 55 room mansion that has been restored to the interwar era. The Austin family bought the house from politician William Baldwin in 1866. The Austin family were a prominent family in Toronto at the time with James Austin founding both the Dominion Bank and Consumer Gas. WhenhissonAlbertinheritedthehouse herenovatedandexpandedtheproperty to how it looks today. Four generations of the Austin family owned the property until the city acquired the house and much of its contents in 1982. During the expansion and renovations the Austin family inpeticular Mary Aus- tin were careful to keep samples and files regardingtheirlifewhichmakesthemu- seum as it is today incredibly accurate at representing the life of a family in To- ronto during the 1920s and 30s this was also of great help during the museums restorations both before it opened in the 80s and in 2010. Spadina relies heavily on its volunteer base to offer the programming that it does every year. David Healey Volunteer Coordinator at the museum said that their volunteer numbers are fluid and include docents who give guided tours as well as special event volunteers who assist at events like The Great Gatsby Garden Party. He says that having vol- unteers allows flexibility to offer large programs and planning, to continue at the Museum. Although they have used volunteers since the early nineties The Museum reinvigorated their volunteer program in 1997 which included a major call for volunteers and overhauled the training program for volunteers. In 2014 the staff and volunteers at Spadina are excited to expand the suc- cess they have had with their Down- ton Abbey tours. From March 10- April 13 they have a costume exhibit from the show as well as artifacts and costumes from the house and Austin family. The Downton Abbey Tour includes a detailed look at the the newly opened third floor servants’ rooms. There, and in other areas of the house, the tour parallels the characters and events from Downton Abbey to the Austin family. Guests will also get to try their hand at setting a formal table service, imagine the bustling activity of a kitchen that would’ve been Mrs. Patmore’s dream and take in the am- biance of a elegant drawing room that would’ve certainly pleased the dis- cerning eye of the Dowager Countess. Along with the Downton Abbey tour they will continue their hugely suc- cessful ‘Meet the Austins’ tour and other special events. As a part of volunteer reward recog- nition Spadina House are delighted to invite Fort York volunteers for a free tour of Spadina house in the spring. More details to follow. Volunteers & Staff at the Great Gatsby Garden Party - June 23rd 2013 Spadina Museum by Jade Jenkins

Fork York Volunteer Newsletter 5Fort York Volunteer Newsletter Volunteer Profile: Alex Wright, The Man Behind the Camera by Sara Milton-Lomax Alex Wright sat down for an inter- view with me one dark and snowy night in December 2012 under cir- cumstances that would have baffled anybody who lived at Fort York in December, 1813 – we interviewed by telephone, not in person. Alex has been volunteering with Fort YorksinceMay2012andhasputinover 81 hours to date as a Historic Host, Gar- rison Greeter and as a Photographer. Photography comes as second nature to Alex as he taught photography and media studies to Grade 7 and 8 students at John Buchan Senior Pub- lic School and John McCrae Public School in Scarborough for 30 years. His teaching included camera and darkroom studies and calligraphy.  Photography has been a life-long interest for him. He started in high school, using his photography skills for the student council. One of his first jobs was working at Towers in the photography department. Alex has also done medical and techni- cal photography as well as photos for Dog’s Canada. He told me that for this kind of work you have to shoot correctly the first time as you cannot do any editing. Along with volunteer work at Fort York, he has volunteered for SNAP newspaper since 2007. His most satisfying experience at Fort York was the 200th Anniversary Bat- tle of York re-enactment. He told me that he worked over 16 hours that weekend and he enjoyed all of it. His favourite pictures are usually of his fa- vourite model, (his daughter “Muffin” – Pamela). Alex has a truly romantic reason for volunteering at a Historic Site. He was born in the UK; his wife was born in Canada. He loves Canadian history, and she loves British history. They both love the Isle of Man. On one visit to the Isle, they renewed their wed- ding vows at a church ruin. Thanks Alex! Volunteer Contributions for 2013 It All Adds Up To Wow! Fort York volunteers contrib- uted 1624 hours for 2013* There were a total of 151 Volun- teers who participated in the events of 2013 - 104 individuals plus two groups - Rick Leswick and Cadets - 21; and the ELP (English Language Program) - 26.   We added 3 new volunteer roles to the programme for a total of 7 roles which include Heritage Cook, Heritage Gardener, Heritage Host, Garrison Greeter, Activity Lead- er(new), Volunteer Lead(new), and Newsletter Volunteer(new) There were 15 events that volun- teers participated in during 2013. They included: Mad for Marmalade March Break April 27 Battle of York Day Doors Open Toronto June15/16BattleofYorkWeekend Indigenous Arts Festival Lost Rivers Canada Day Simcoe Day On Common Ground Georgian Mess Dinner Fort York After Dark Citizenship Ceremony Remembrance Day Frost Fair * This figure does not include the 2443 hours provided by the Historic Cooks. Outstanding!

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