KAGAWONG—Fundraising for the ambitious Old Mill Heritage Centre Lester B. Pearson exhibit planned for this season is well underway with the launch of a GoFundMe campaign. The cost of putting on the exhibit, which will feature both local artifacts and a collection of personal items including the late prime minister’s Nobel Peace Prize, is tagged as at least $10,000.
Progress on the central element of the exhibit, a mockup of Mr. Pearson’s office, has been surging ahead leaps and bounds in recent weeks and is largely complete but for the placement of artifacts.
“Brad MacKay has been doing an incredible job,” said Rick Nelson, curator of the Old Mill Heritage Centre and the driving force behind the themed exhibits that have become the hallmark of the museum in recent years.
Mr. Nelson has high hopes that the current Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, will find the time in his busy summer schedule to stop by for a visit. “Mr. Pearson was very instrumental in the career of Justin’s father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau,” he noted. “He took him under his wing when he was a rookie MP and moved him up ahead of a lot of more experienced MPs and opened doors for him around the world.”
The curator points out that the Old Mill Heritage Centre museum exhibit will be the only place in Canada celebrating our only Nobel Peace Prize winner on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary. “This will be the only place to see these artifacts of Lester B. Pearson,” he said.
The display will also offer the opportunity to celebrate the career of Billing’s Mayor Austin Hunt and Senator Thomas Farquhar, the MP who stepped down to make way for Mr. Pearson in, what was at the time, a rock solid safe Liberal riding.
Mr. Nelson notes that it was the government of Lester B. Pearson that brought Canada its maple leaf flag to replace the former Red Ensign, building a unique tie between the two solitudes (French Quebec and English Upper Canada, aka Ontario) free of the reminder of the Union Jack and the Plains of Abraham.
One of the high points of each year’s exhibit is the History Day in Kagawong on August 10, which follows the theme of the major museum exhibit each year. This year will feature the reminiscences of journalist and author Patricia Pearson, one of Mr. Pearson’s grandchildren.
In the meantime, Mr. Nelson is asking those on Manitoulin who have a connection with Mr. Pearson to step up for the GoFundMe campaign and to share the link www.gofundme.com/lester-b-pearson-and-canadian-flag with their contacts to get the word out as far as possible.