PEI

P.E.I. archives showcase 133 years of Old Home Week

Some of the images in the online exhibition include historic newspapers with advertisements for Old Home Week, and photos of horse racing and carnival rides.

'It gives everybody a feeling of, you know, connection to a lot of really good memories'

Just as they do today, children waited in line for the merry-go-round at Old Home Week in 1962. (P.E.I. Public Archives and Records)

The Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island has created an online exhibition showcasing photos of Old Home Week over its 133-year history.

John Boylan, public services archivist at the Public Archives and Records Office, said the exhibition features "quite a combination" of archival material. Some of the images include historic newspapers with advertisements for Old Home Week, photos of horse racing, carnival rides and old buildings where events used to take place.

"My personal favourite, strangely enough, is a picture of a couple of women who are judging the bread baking competition," Boylan said. 

"So just an awful lot of great content in terms of a lot of the things that people love about Old Home Week: the rides, the food, the horse racing."

Horse racing during Old Home Week in 1969. (P.E.I. Public Archives and Records Office)

According to its website, Old Home Week began as a two-day event in October 1888. It featured similar events to today's festival, including livestock shows and displays of arts and crafts. 

'Really good memories'

Boylan said the archives office wanted to look back at the history of Old Home Week, particularly because the festival's events "have been sort of muted over the last couple of years" because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was just a good chance to sort of dig through [archives] and come up with some interesting content from over the course of the history of it," he said. 

Randolph and Richard Sanderson stand with their father's prize-winning cattle in 1965. (P.E.I. Public Archives Office)

Boylan said showcasing these archival photos is important as many Islanders and Canadians with a connection to P.E.I. probably have memories of Old Home Week. 

"I just think it gives everybody a feeling of, you know, connection to a lot of really good memories."

The full online Old Home Week exhibition is available on the Public Archives and Records Office website. A slideshow of the exhibition's photos is also being displayed on TV screens at some public libraries across P.E.I. 

An Old Home Week advertisement in the Guardian circa 1964. (P.E.I. Public Archives and Records Office)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tarini Fernando is a web writer at CBC Calgary and master's student at the University of Calgary. She can be contacted at tarini.fernando@cbc.ca.

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