Elizabeth Barr, Toronto Star
Back when children sat too close to television screens, I used to press my small nose to the TV to watch a dreadful show called Queen for a Day. Contestants would tell their sad stories, and say what a monetary prize would do to make them happier. The audience, using a sort of misery meter, would determine who was the saddest of them all and crown her Queen for a Day. Even as a kid, I thought those contestants had hit the end of the line.
Never say never. I wrote in support of an application for my beloved Amherst Island to be named one of Heritage Canada’s 10 most endangered places, hoping that my letter help would push the needle on Heritage Canada’s misery meter and bring the island’s plight to public attention. Amazingly, it did. Amherst Island made the 2013 list, released Wednesday. Amherst Island is a relatively small farming island in eastern Lake Ontario.
There is archeological evidence of the presence of First Nations people on Amherst Island between 4,500 and 3,800 years ago. Champlain first mapped the island in 1615, and European settlers arrived in the late 18th century. Immigrants from England, Scotland and Ireland arrived throughout that century and the population supported two villages, five churches and a truly impressive number of taverns. Read article