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Town Of Essex Hands Out Heritage Awards

Thursday February 20th, 2020, 7:48pm

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Friends of the Homestead (Town of Essex Photo)

The Town of Essex has recognized two individuals and one organization for their dedication to protecting and celebrating local heritage.

“Council is proud to support and recognize the hard work of these individuals,” said Mayor Larry Snively. “As our community celebrates Heritage Week, these awards serve as an important reminder that honouring our past is truly a community effort.”

The Friends of the John R. Park Homestead were recognized for their contribution of over 4,000 hours of service in 2019 to one of the Town’s premier tourism and local history destinations. Formed in 1996, these individuals contribute their unique talents, such as sewing, woodworking, and blacksmithing, to make the John R. Park Homestead a true pioneer experience. On top of the countless hours of volunteering, the Friends of the John R. Park Homestead also undertake significant fundraising efforts, which ensures the site will be a heritage destination for years to come.

Also receiving an award was David Brian and Stephen Punga of Académie Ste-Cécile International School. They led their grade 11 and grade 12 students in the development of a collaborative “Lost Cemeteries” project. The project surveyed graveyard headstones in the Town of Essex, most of which belonged to early African settlers. Many of these sites have been neglected or undocumented, which led students to investigate the historical context of the graveyards and the enduring impacts of racism and discrimination. The student project culminated in the creation of an interactive map and database, which has also been published to the Town of Essex website. This project helped document the past and will tell the story of the lost cemeteries for years to come.

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