Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Rememberance of people & things past ...
In Cambridge MA this neighbourhood commemorates people with signs. Virtually every corner was named after someone. A veteran. A resident.
Nothing special was done the corner to designate it a "square" as far as I could see, it was still the small inner city intersection of two residential streets.
But it certainly gave an amazing sense of history, of continuity, of neighbourhood, of topophilia, to the area. There were individuals here before you, who made a difference. Who were they?
If I was doing this in my west side neighborhood, I think signs honouring residents would be the start, but they could also commemorate events, geography, history ...
History is written by the victors, so the saying goes, and history tends to commemorate the upper classes who have the means to memorialize it.
For every cute wooden house in Upper Canada Village there were dozens of families huddled in tents, which are conspicuously absent from the village.
In citiies like Ottawa, neighbourhoods with clusters of academics and senior civil servants (or neighbourhoods that interest these classes) will get historic commenorations, like Sandy Hill, The Glebe, and Lowertown. Dundonald Park, surrounded by large victorian/queen anne homes, gets a historic name board; Plouffe Park gets a standard sign board. There is less history for the poor.