Bridgewater - getting ready to party like its 1899


BRIDGEWATER – A year-long party is being planned to celebrate this town's 125th anniversary.

"We want to build out something that's going to be a full year of celebration from January right through to the end of December," said Patrick Hirtle, Manager of Community Attraction & Communications for the town.

The official incorporation of the town was Feb. 13, 1899.

The town has created a link, bridgewater.ca/125, where you can check out a map of activities and links will explain a bit more about each activity.

"Our approach with this is, as much as it's cool that the town is doing events over the next year to celebrate this big anniversary, we also want the community to feel as though they can embrace it and lead their own events too and be a part of the celebration," said Hirtle, who added that these events can be added to the map and will be promoted on social media.

"It's still early. For our part, if folks have ideas about ways that they would like to see the community celebrated this year, we are here to hear those."

He also added that the TOB125 anniversary logo, made by town staff, can be used by those hosing event's that coincide with the anniversary.

For more information or to register your event, you can email: festivals@bridgewater.ca.

To kick off the celebration, the town will host its second annual Frost Fair market Feb. 10 and 17 at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre.

"Last year we ran into some bad weather, a cold wind on the first Saturday and freezing rain the next so we ended up moving into the LCLC, our backup location. That went so well for us, it was kind of a no-brainer to go back there this year," said Hirtle.

The event will feature 35 vendors offering a wide variety of items for sale, along with music, games and many other activities for the young and young at heart.

On the town's anniversary date, a special pictorial cancellation unveil will be held starting at 11 a.m. at the main Canada Post building on North Street in Bridgewater. The South Shore Stamp Club (SSSC) will be hosting the event and everyone is invited. There will also be special goodies to enjoy.

Cheryl Grantham, secretary of the SSSC, said the club has been involved in all the pictorial cancellation that Bridgewater has had, including in the mid-1990s when Lunenburg County was named the Forestry Christmas Tree capital and cancellations were designed for many of the area's small post office.

Other cancellations were made when Bridgewater turned 100 years and when the Pijinuiskaq Park opened in 2017.

Grantham said this year's cancellation was designed by Paul McDonald who works at the Bridgewater's Canada Post North Street location

"The society asked me to come up with a diagram. We are using right now this kind of light standard in Bridgewater, so I incorporated that. We used to have cobblestone sidewalks downtown so I used that and we were also a port of trade so that's where the ship comes in," he described.

Since it is a special cancellation mark, you will have to ask for it, but McDonald said they would be more than happy to oblige, adding that they still have the stamp from the Pijinuiskaq Park opening available as well.

Grantham said it takes about two-or-three months to work through the process of getting a cancellation through Canada Post.

"You have to approach Canada Post with an idea and a sketch and more importantly the reason you want one and some of the history," she said. "If you look at cancellations it gives you an idea of what the community is like and in this one, the stamp will say 'Historic since 1899' and with the design it will tell people right away what's going on and something about our community."

Along with the unveiling, Grantham is pulling together a photo display of locations around town, what it looked like many years ago, compared to what certain locations look like now.

Another big, new event being introduced by the town this year will happen Aug. 17 at Shipyards Landing – one that involves water...a lot of water.

"We recognize, historically, that water carnivals were a big part of the summertime community celebrations here in Bridgewater during the early half of the 1990s," said Hirtle. "We wanted to take advantage of some of the nice weather and make use of Shipyards Landing to highlight our connection to the river, a piece that is largely why Bridgewater became the community that it is today."

A familiar event that hopes to be greatly expanded in 2024 is the Harvest Moon Music Festival. This will be the third year for the event that has wrapped-up the Music on the Riverbank Tuesdays that occur during the summer.

This year's festival date is Sept. 21 at Pijinuiskaq Park.

"We're conscience of the fact that we've done the festival the last couple of years, but we want to do it bigger and better this year, because it is such an important year," said Hirtle. "Because of that, we're going to have a little more budget to play with and we're going to be aggressive going after more grants to hopefully get some bigger names in for that weekend."

It's time to party like it's 1899! Be ready to have some fun this year and celebrate look back over the town's resilience, it's diversity, beauty, recreational opportunities, shopping and everything that makes us the hub of the South Shore today.

Thank you for printing this article from lighthousenow.ca. Subscribe today for access to all articles, including our archives!