Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Last weekend, I took part in an informal event intended to get Toronto talking (tweeting) about local heritage. The goal was for people to get all 230 of Heritage Toronto's plaques and panels visited and tweeted. The plaque tweets were all tagged with #TOheritage in order to track the plaqueathon. This Torontoist article provides the full explanation behind the motivation to attempt the plaqueathon (and they just happened to illustrate it with a photo of one of the plaques I drafted a few years ago).
Over two days, I visited around 30 of the plaques, spread from Christie Street to Mount Pleasant, from Dundas to Eglinton (an area of 4 km by 6 km). Some of the plaques marked conspicuous and obvious historical structures, such as Casa Loma, but others are there to commemorate lesser known events or individuals. I learned so much about this city and I find that information about the city's past becomes more meaningful when it is tied to a specific place. Knowledge about my home city's past adds another dimension to the way I think about where I live.
I set out a challenge for you! If you live in Toronto, check out this map of the Heritage Toronto panels. When you're out and about, make an effort to find one of these panels, one that you haven't read before. Those of you who live someplace else, I encourage you to stop, pause and read the next historic plaque you notice! Let me know what you learned about!
Also, and this is very important no matter where you live, if you care about local history and heritage preservation, make sure you let your elected representatives know about it.
BONUS Toronto heritage reading on greentea.tk: the Baldwin Steps and my four part series on a great escape from the Don Jail