History By Driving Around

You know, just by biking, driving, or walking along you can learn a bit of history just by keeping your eyes open.  It’s been particularly interesting in the Amherstburg area during the celebrations of the War of 1812.  There are little bits and pieces available everywhere. 

In particular, I’m talking today about the plaques that dot the Ontario landscape.  I’m always taking pictures when I run across them – it’s one of the ways that I remember trips that I’ve been on.  For example, I took this one in Stratford when at the Festival last year to see Merchant of Venice.

What’s really cool is that there is a repository online so that you don’t have to actually visit the places yourself.  (Although it’s a great deal more fun if you do…)

Looking for a plaque?  Check out Ontario Plaques.  It’s a huge collection of pictures of plaques from all over the province.  While I’d like to invite y’all for a walking tour of Amherstburg, you can check out our collection at this link.

What a wonderful way to experience snippets of history from your keyboard.  Search by a location or a topic or, what the heck, look for a location on a Google Map with a pin dropped at every location indexed.

I’ll confess.  I went to Amherstburg and, while I recognized so many of the plaques, there were a few that I had no idea about.

Sounds like a cycling trip around town is in order!

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5 Replies to “History By Driving Around”

  1. I’ve always known we were kindred spirits, Doug, but this clinches it! As soon as I saw the title of your post this morning, I knew what it was going to be about! I am a little bit addicted to these, and as a kid used to drive my younger brother completely bananas by adding time to family car trips, because we had to stop and read these whenever possible. I actually use them as landmarks on drives. There is so much to learn from them, and so many stories I never learned in school. I’ll even smile at one this morning, as I park my bike at church, as the church I attend is one of the first congregations established in my city, and has a sign (though I don’t know what those fine, upstanding citizens would have made of the djembe drumming they’d hear at contemporary worship this morning).These are touchstones for me, and they connect me to the rich history that belongs to this province. They situate me. Would be neat to have a history class create the ones they think should exist in their community, or do a TourBuilder of the ones that do.

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  2. Doug, I’m enjoying these same signs out here in Alberta! Of course everything is bigger out here 🙂 so the signs include area maps and old photographs too – a great introduction to an area or landmark. I don’t even mind that they are not swipe-able or scroll-able 🙂

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  3. What an excellent idea, Lisa. I was sort of musing that myself – in Amherstburg, the Christ Church has its own plaque but there are a number of other churches without. And, certainly they would capture the rich historical story of the town.

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