New Brunswick became a province in 1784. In 1984, two hundred years later, the people of the province celebrated this anniversary.
In Bathurst, the citizens felt that this was a great time to announce their love and respect for not only the province but our town/city.
A major city committee was set up and Clare Wilt became the president of the group. They decided to celebrate every day of the year.
There were dances, parties and every event throughout the area would be dedicated to this theme. Costumes became a fun thing and everyone became involved. Wilt had costumes made for sale or for loan.
Every month of the year had a special theme. January became “Feed the Birds Month” and so on every month. The Heritage Commission sponsored several costume workshops which were very successful. Many people wore the costumes on a daily basis. Parades and special groups became very colourful and fun.
Everyone on the committee were asked to do something significant to commemorate the year. Jessica Ryan of the Heritage Commission decided to write a radio program A Minute in History which aired every evening over CKBC just after the news. This became a popular program.
This program was accomplished with the use of a cassette tape recorder. There was one full week of research and writing each story. One written page – 8.5 x 11 inches – took one minute to read. Some of the info came from old The Northern Light’s and at one point, Louise Wafer (then city clerk) even called the NB Archives and we received copies of the original minutes of the Town Council at its inception.
After recording on Sunday the cassette was taken to Al Hebert and he saw to it that the program got on the air all year. Every one loved the stories as they called the next day especially if a family name had been mentioned. No harmful info was given. Many school children were using the facts at school history class.
The original cassettes and notes were requested by the NB Archives to be placed in the section of NB History as oral history. Copies of all of the program are filed in the archives of the Bathurst Museum. A similar program of some of the stories was recorded in 1998 telling some of historic events on the 200th anniversary of the Holy Family Parish 1798—1998.
The year 2014 will see New Brunswick turn 230 years old as a province of Canada.
(Editor’s Note: The article was written by Bathurst native Jessica Ryan who is an Order of New Brunswick recipient, president of the Bathurst Heritage Commission, and manager of the Bathurst Heritage Museum.)