There is a very real danger that the Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Memorial Committee could fold without an influx of new life.
The fate of the Friends could be decided as soon as Tuesday, June 24, when the group holds its annual general meeting at the McIntosh Inn, Morrisburg.
The main purpose of the Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Memorial committee has always been to be an advocate for the memory of one of the most important battles ever to be fought in Canada. Without their advocacy the memory of that November 11, 1813 battle that was a major Canadian victory that ended the eastern invasion by American forces could fade.
“Such an important battle should stay in our memory,” said Robert Irvine, who has been a part of the group since its formation 15 years ago.
The committee has accomplished much over the 15 years, including the re-opening of the Battlefield Memorial Building that had been closed, and the staging of annual re-enactments that have attracted thousands of visitors to the site over the years.
The committee had been striving to pull off two 200th anniversary events, in 2013, which they did quite successfully, attracting over 600 re-enactors, 6,000 spectators and even the Prime Minister of Canada.
“We’ve accomplished all our goals,” said Irvine. But, he worries that without a Friends
group to continually advocate for the
Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Memorial, the history of the memorial will once again fade into obscurity, where it was when the Friends group was formed.
Irvine speaks very highly of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission people that the group has worked with over the years, without whom, much of the group’s work would not have been possible. However, he sees that the history of the Crysler Farm Memorial is not the top priority for that organization.
He knows the advocacy role of the Friends is very important, and should not be lost but, over the 15 years the committee has continued to shrink.
“This year we’ve lost four or five directors, and we only had six or seven to begin with,” said Irvine. Attrition has been due to various factors, age, life, health.
For the 200th anniversary event, the organizational aspects were handled by only a couple of dedicated folks.
“We’re tired,” said Irvine, who would be happy to stay with the group through a transition phase to new leadership, which he hopes will be the outcome of next week’s meeting.
Anyone who has an interest in seeing this group continue to exist needs to come forward to the June 24 annual general meeting at the McIntosh Inn at 7 p.m.