An article in the Times Colonist recently started me thinking again about the possibility for a Heritage Economy. The editorialist of the said piece remarked that $11.5 million was a lot of money to spend "on plaques, monuments, battle re-enactments, films, plays and concerts to recognize a war on Canadian soil declared, largely fought and concluded by other players."
It might be noted that figure is less than half of what had originally been allocated.
And while $11.5 million might seem like a lot to most of us, especially compared with the average Canadian individual salary, it's a drop in the bucket when compared to bigger expenditures, such as international meetings. It's also a little more than double what is allotted annually to a tribunal set up to deal with public sector job disputes - except that $11.5 million must fund three years of events and projects across Canada.
The Times Colonist article also discredits deeper strategies for economic development, which begs the question, is it possible to leverage the War of 1812 Bicentennial to foster a Heritage Economy? In offering a place to connect business owners, craftspeople and tourism operators, do we not have an opportunity here for lasting change?
Personally, I think in Eastern Ontario we have a golden opportunity - and to that end, let's think beyond events and plaques, and show naysayers what can be done.
What are your thoughts?
I guess noone has commented on this, but it is important. I work on helping countries estblish the impact of their heritage and 'cultural industries'.
some areas where one could trace impact and where emphasis on outcomes might be placed.
- education; as a result of 2012-4 will the events of 1812-4 take a higher profile in schools. will peoples understanding of what took place change (as history always does!!)
- cultural assets; hopefully some of our museums will be strenghtened with new exhibits and new revenue stremas which will allow them to conserve and protect and disseminate our heritage
- improved knowledge; it is clear that the campaign is already attracting more research and new evidence and artifacts will come to life. I am an example of this - having focussed on othe epochs I now devote a lot f time ot 1812. I now have the faces of 11 friends of my 1812 ancestors and have rediscovered a 'lost' lbum of watercolours of the period
- strategically everyone agrees that War of 1812 place in history is underestimated. overall one will hope that after 2014 its place in Canadian history will have been thoroughly re-evaluated