Top 5 History Stories from Oshawa, Pickering and Durham Region

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Published December 27, 2022 at 12:34 am

History stories are often winners in the newspaper viewership wars as people are often inspired to read about the past in their community.

Or maybe they’re just easier to read than the often violent hard news of today. In any case, they’re a blast to write and some of our most popular articles published this year were, in fact, history stories.

Here are five of the Top History Stories of 2022:

5.) Aquino Tank Weekend

One of the highlights of the season at Oshawa’s Ontario Regiment Museum is the tank weekends, and the biggest of them all is Aquino Days Tank Weekend, a re-enactment of a bloody battle in the spring of 1944 near Aquino, a town in south-central Italy.

Aquino anchored the western end of the Hitler Line, a defensive line of obstacles and strong points which blocked the advance to Rome along the Liri Valley.

After four days every tank in the unit was hit at least once by anti tank fire. The regiment suffered five wounded and one missing in action. The regiment destroyed one German Tank, one Self-Propelled Gun, and several AT guns and the Hitler Line was finally taken on May 23, 1944.

4.) Communities mark D-Day

Hollywood has always paid attention to D-Day and the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944: 78 years ago today.

News flash to American movie watchers (and, unfortunately, some Canadians as well), Canada was there that day, as they were every day from 1939 to 1945. And despite taking heavier resistance from the Germans than any other beach save perhaps Utah, it was the Canadians, at the cost of an estimated 1,000 men, who pushed further inland that day than any of the other forces.

3.) Fossmobile shines at Concours d’Elegance

Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance has seen every exotic car imaginable, from beautifully restored mechanical masterpieces that pre-date the Great War to modern multi-million dollar hyper cars, and almost every model in between.

But the judges and visitors at Canada’s most exclusive car show have never seen anything like the Fossmobile, the replica of Canada’s first gas-powered motor car, built by George Foss of Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1897 and lovingly reverse engineered and re-created by his grandson Ron.

The replica, which was completed this year by Foss, a crew in Burlington and at the Legendary Motor Car Company in Halton Hills, enjoys a permanent home in the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa and has been exhibited in only a select few shows in 2022. One such show was Cobble Beach this past weekend and Foss just couldn’t say no to being part of the elegance that surrounds the show.

2.) History of Pride Month

As communities around the world hoist high their Pride flags to celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community, it’s worth remembering the hard-fought battles that brought LGBT rights to its current place in the sun.

June has long been a month celebrating the LGBT community across the world. The first month of summer was chosen to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the spark that lit the powder keg of the modern Gay rights movement. The Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village (operated by the Genovese Mafia family) was known as “the Gay bar” in the city due to its demographic mix of patrons and its location.

The bar and its patrons were caught unawares on June 28, 1969 when police infiltrated the 200 strong crowd and called in the Public Morals squad for a raid. They entered and barred the doors at 1:20 a.m. The patrons refused to provide ID and a riot ensued with the inflamed crowd hurling beer cans and coins at the officer to “pay them off” after rumours spread of the reason for the raid. Ten officers barricaded themselves and some demonstrators inside Stonewall.

The assault on Stonewall was immediately intricately tied with gay liberation and chant of “Gay rights” rang out in the streets.

 

1.) Oshawa artist brings Pickering blacksmithing history to life

If there is anyone who can capture 175 years of blacksmithing at Pickering Museum Village in just seven images, it’s Oshawa artist Dani Crosby.

Crosby uses a blend of modern pop art and realism style to tell the story of the unique history of the Greenwood Blacksmith Shop and the impact the ‘Smithy’ had on the historical Pickering community. Art is about telling a story through pictures and Crosby educates and celebrates the history of blacksmithing by telling its stories through seven pieces of art.

Images illustrate the history of farming that was possible in Pickering because of the blacksmith farriers, the history of horse racing made possible by blacksmiths, and celebrate Pickering Blacksmith artist Bill Lishman who worked in Greenwood Blacksmith Shop for many years.

Two of Crosby’s pieces will be installed as murals at Highway 7 and Concession Road 6 – in front of where the museum is located. The other artworks will be reproduced as banners to be installed in key areas of the city.

 

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