150 Words For 150 Years

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday (for Europeans of course, not for those who were already here) Atwater Writers Exhibition ran a writing contest: 150 Words For 150 Years.

Writers submitted from all over Canada, the U.S., and several other countries too, such as India and Serbia.

I wrote a non-fiction piece about two particular incidents, 86 years apart, involving my grandmother’s copper kettle.

The kettle was given to her in 1912, a wedding present, just days before she and my grandfather (six days married) set sail from England for Canada. My mother gave the kettle to me when I moved to Canada.

Yesterday AWE and Atwater Library held a 150th Day Party.  The winners and runners-up of the writing contest (I was lucky to be one of the runners-up) read their pieces, and people in the library’s digital literacy project showed their 150 second videos. My copper kettle came along for my reading!

Atwater Library is important to me, not only as my local library but also  because it’s where the Quebec Writers’ Federation lives! QWF is a treasure trove of workshops, resources, and networking for Quebec English-language writers.

Originally the library, the oldest subscription library in Canada, was the Mechanics’ Institute, the first in British North America, founded in 1828.

Atwater Library - Mechanics' Institute, Montreal

…the aim of the new Montreal Institution was[…]  “to see to the instruction of its members in the arts and in the various branches of science and useful knowledge.” Rather than classroom activities, the institution ran a lecture program, organized weekly information sessions and had a library and reading room. Atwater Library

This actual building dates from 1918-20 (so just a wee bit younger than my copper kettle!) and is a national historic site.

Atwater Library - Mechanics' Institute, Montreal

The medallion over the extremely heavy front door says IM (Institute of Mechanics). The side door below, which looks as though it would be even heavier, is not too bad as long as there’s not a strong wind!

Atwater Library - Mechanics' Institute, Montreal

Can you tell it was a gloomy, rainy day in Montreal yesterday?


Enjoy other doors from around the world at Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors


14 thoughts on “150 Words For 150 Years

  1. What a lovely treasure to have all these years!! Congrats on being a runner-up!

    My great-grandmother came from England to Canada in 1902 at the age of 7. Her future husband came from Scotland to Canada in 1911 at the age of 16. They moved to the Los Angeles in 1923, where my grandfather would eventually meet and marry my grandmother. I’m always fascinated by the journeys people take that bring others into their life and set courses in history. 🙂


    • Do you have snippets of stories from their journeys that have been handed down? I love seeing photos and hearing those little stories/legends – I’m trying to write down the ones I was told as I remember them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately my great-grandmother passed away when my grandfather was 12 so I’m sure quite a bit of history was lost there.
        My mother did discover some descendants of her siblings still living in Canada and has gleaned some stories.
        We do have many tales from their life in Los Angeles, like how my great-grandfather played the bagpipes in the parades as having been a member of the Canadian Army.
        My mother also recorded and wrote up extensively the stories that my grandfather and grandmother had to tell of their upbringing and travels, so those will be well preserved for future generations.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun post Susi.
    Oh those gloomy rainy days are starting to wear me down 😦
    Though I’m an east-end boy I’ve been in there a number of times over the years. I always knew there was some historical significance to that building and now I wish I had paid more attention to noticing the architecture. D’OH!
    A good excuse to go back again soon if ever I can make my way around all of M. Coderre’s orange cones 😉


    • Funny you should mention the orange cones because there are quite a number right at that corner! I got diverted this evening and took an hour and a half (via Verdun) to go what should have been a 20 minute drive! At least I didn’t end up going over the Champlain Bridge so I should be grateful for small mercies.

      Liked by 1 person

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