• Stuart Benson

Local Hills history for homeschoolers

With students out of school, Fairbairn House is promoting its Hometown History collection of online educational resources to help parents who are homeschooling during the pandemic to encourage parents and students to get interested in local history.

The resources are a series of three videos, featuring performances by local kids, and accompanying lesson plans and activities created for local public schools and aimed at grades three through six.

The first video in the series, created in November 2017, explores the Cantley Mica mines, with performances by fake-mustachioed girls from the Cantley Youth Centre. The video is in French with English subtitles and is accompanied by a fact sheet and three lesson plans including “What is a Mica Mine.”

The second video, created in April 2018, explores the Chelsea log-drive, from providing wood to build ships to fight Napoleon, to the Gilmore saw-mills, until the final log-drive in 1991. The video features performances by local Chelsea youth, including a puppet-show and narration over historical photos of the log-drive. The lesson plan includes multiple worksheets and photographs.

Loggers enjoying lunch on a log jam in the Gatineau River between Cantley and Chelsea, 1910. Photo Courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society

The final video, created in July 2016, explores the building of the Wakefield Covered Bridge in 1920, the arson of 1984, that saw the bridge entirely burnt down, and the efforts to rebuild it in 1997. Featuring performances by students from a Wakefield Community Centre acting class, as well as claymation, a form of animation using clay figures, it is accompanied by four lesson plans, two historical maps of Wakefield from the 19th century, and contemporary news articles about the fire and rebuilding of the bridge.

Historical map of Wakefield from 1897. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

All of these resources can be found at hometownhistory.net.

The videos were created as part of a collaboration with the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and with funding from the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

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