What is Heritage?
- Heritage can be something you can touch and see but it can also be things you can't, like music, stories, spoken histories and traditions.
- It helps us remember where we came from and where we belong.
- Heritage is all the things that make up our own story, tangible and intangible, and as we value them we must protect them.
In today's fast food wireless connected society, who has time, or the inclination, to go digging through dusty bins of old newspapers and musty old postcards? We're all busy. If you are a parent with more than one child, your second (or third) job is probably driving a family taxi. A history book may be your lowest priority reading category. And if you are on Facebook, you are inundated with the latest thoughts, photos and videos from your multitude of "friends." And you also have to devote some time to championing global warming and alternative energy options while you sort your garbage into a least three categories of recyclable waste as your contribution to saving the world in the next 30 days.
On the other hand, if you live in a small caring community like Portland, Ontario, with beautiful Big Rideau Lake in your front yard, just maybe you have a different world view and a different set of priorities and values. I believe that what Portland offers is a sense of belonging, being connected to something that is really good and is bigger than me. That sense of belonging is derived from the connections to the past, the stories from our ancestors that explain why it is so important to care for each other and help each other.
In the last decade we have learned much about DNA. Our DNA connects us to all of humanity. But DNA does not tell us much about those people. DNA is an abstract connection. It does not tell us their stories that become our stories as we are inspired by them and make them our own inspiring stories for the next generation. I am convinced it "takes a village to raise a child." As I learn more about my ancestors I become more confident, more positive and less anxious about the future, and more willing to contribute to my community.
Click on the tabs below to explore the history, the beauty and diversity and inspiration that abounds in and around Portland: