Heritage Committee seeking historic photos for display

November 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Orangeville’s Heritage Committee is looking for something of a helping hand from the public as it prepares to honour the community’s rich history at the turn of the year. 

Local volunteers are in the midst of laying the foundation of Orangeville’s first historical photography project, which will take centre stage at Town Hall during Heritage Week in February 2020. The idea behind the initiative is to collect historical photographs of people, places, buildings, events and special memories and compile them into one large selection.

With a revamped Heritage Committee having been launched last spring, its Chair, Coun. Debbie Sherwood, informed the Citizen that the group, made up almost entirely of new members, immediately set about coming up with ideas to not only preserve, but promote Orangeville’s history. But first, Debbie says, the group had to learn. 

“One of the first things we recognized as a committee is that we don’t know too much about the history of the community, outside of the photographs we have in our collection, or in the collection at the MoD (Museum of Dufferin),” Coun. Sherwood said. “So, we decided we wanted to branch away from the heritage buildings, and sites in Orangeville, and try and learn more about our ancestors who lived here, and reflect on some of the great things they did.”

She added, “We want to work on something that showcases, to the people, the history of Orangeville, both in terms of our people and local events.”

With that, Coun. Sherwood is asking local residents who may possess photos of historical relevance to get in touch with the committee with a view to, potentially, bolstering the historical photography project.

“We’re not really placing any kind of requirement on this. We’re looking for photos of the traditional mom and pop sitting out on their front steps, photos of special memories, milestones or events in town – any kind of image, or photography you may have that has an interesting look or feel to it, we’ll take,” Coun. Sherwood said. “Whatever we can’t get up on our display boards, we’ll put into photo albums. Every single photo will be displayed in one way or another, unless we feel they aren’t of historical significance.”

When asked to describe the most interesting photo the group has received thus far, Coun. Sherwood described one particular scene from the early 1900s.

“There’s a really cool shot of Broadway from back in the days of the horse and buggy. Back when it was dirt roads and not much else. We have that image right alongside another that shows when the town started paving roads in the 1920s – it’s a really neat parallel that perfectly captures a changing of the times,” Coun. Sherwood stated. 

Her personal favourite, however, is a shot of the original town hall building, way before the renovations and addition we see today, were complete. 

People can submit copies of their photos – originals are not necessarily required – to the committee at Images considered to be of historical relevance will be included in the display, which will be showcased at Town Hall from Feb. 18 to Feb. 21 next year. 

“This, we feel, is a really cool initiative that, really, just showcases our history here in Orangeville. We’re looking forward to seeing some nice, throwback photographs that tell the story of our community throughout time,” Coun. Sherwood stated. “While the project will be able to be enjoyed by anyone, it really will provide a nice opportunity for our children to learn about our history, and appreciate how important it is.”

She added, “We really want to preserve, and showcase, our history. As a committee, we’re really geared up and excited. Hopefully we’re able to show off some really neat tidbits of local history and learn more about our community.”

For more information, contact the Orangeville Heritage Committee at


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