Heritage Lives: What Kind Of Year Will We Have To Look Forward To In 2022?

 By Terry Hughes

Our postcard from the past dated 1909 shows an image of a very young person representing the coming year, a symbol that often appeared in publications of the day as we welcome the New Year. And when you look at the times in which it was issued many events were about to take place that showed signs of hope.

 In Canada the passing of Victoria would be followed by the death of her son a few years later and begin the reign of George V that would last until 1936. All of their passings were due to health issues. 

 Here in Welland we were just beginning to enjoy the availability of hydro-electricty for both home and industrial use due to our proximity to Niagara Falls. With the promise of significant traffic, Michigan Central railway was double tracking their lines to Buffalo, Niagara Falls to the east and Detroit to the west that would require a new double track swing bridge across the third canal. Until this was done, the N.S. & T. line was halted just across the Welland River. 

Merchants on East Main and West Main streets were enjoying the placement of a steel swing bridge across the canal that would join these two entities after a thirty year absence. It was christened the Alexandra Bridge after a member of the royal household. 

Our neighbours to the south were going through a change of leadership in a manner that was significantly different than here in Canada. Thanks to an assassin’s bullet, President Teddy Roosevelt would become the new leader and one has to wonder whether this would set a precedent for gun violence in the coming years!  This decade would also mark the growth of the United States as a major industrial giant along with “Jim Crow” in the south. 

Today, we have had to deal with the COVID that has had a negative impact on how we interact with each other. Common courtesies have fallen by the wayside because our daily routines have been interrupted. The imposition of rules and regulations that once were observed by my generation as set down by the authorities are subject to questions by so-called experts through a variety of media today. In an effort to gain respect of the general public we, instead, are confused and tired of long-term solutions that don’t work because we are not pulling in the same direction. And what really has clouded our judgment is that this health issue has become political in both countries! Needless to say, patience is in short supply.

Race and gun issues are very much a part of daily life in the U.S. While doing an interview with a reporter over the devastation of the tornadic storms earlier this month, a local politician was wearing a holstered revolver on his belt. Would you believe that in this day and age, making lynching a federal offence is still opposed by some local politicians in the south. Major cities in both countries but in particular the U.S. are seeing ballooning crime due to gun violence.  

The two hundred-year experiment in democracy is in doubt because extreme right and left wing groups have opposing agendas. Every institution is now questioned and consensus building is now a thing of the past. 

Here in this country political games have led to disruptive feelings of doubt. The resignation of two federal cabinet members because they questioned the leadership is unnerving. In the meantime the opposition is unable to develop clear and common proposals that are agreeable to all of its members

And then we have our own race problems. For too long issues involving treaty, health issues and natural resources have been neglected.  

And what do we say about how the indigenous populations who have had their dignity taken away and placed in residential schools that were supposed to bring them the benefits of Christianity.  

The answers may be found in the many spiritual teachings that we all have been exposed to and mixing them with some common sense, compassion and civility we may eventually find some answers.


Next column: Hanging Out In the 1950s. 

(Terry  Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

3 thoughts on “Heritage Lives: What Kind Of Year Will We Have To Look Forward To In 2022?

  1. Claire Masswohl

    Enjoyed reading this historical reflection. absolutely right Terry, we have lost so much with this health issue that has become so political. Thank you and love the Posat Cards of that era.


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