Saskatoon

Canada 150 Stories preserves history of Sask. seniors

Amy Janzen has turned her internship at Saskatoon’s Sherbrooke Community Centre into a project collecting dozens of stories of people’s — and Canada’s — history.

English honours student gathering collection of stories, poems, art pieces

With the help of the centre’s program involving sixth grade students, the English honours student has been speaking to the residents at Sherbrooke, producing stories, poetry, visual art pieces and photographs. (Sherbrooke Community Centre/Facebook)

Amy Janzen has turned her internship at Saskatoon's Sherbrooke Community Centre into a project collecting dozens of stories of people's — and Canada's — history.

Janzen said it was actually her supervisor who suggested collecting 150 stories for Canada's 150th anniversary.

With the help of the centre's program involving sixth grade students, Janzen, who is also an English honours student at the University of Saskatchewan, has been speaking to the residents at Sherbrooke, producing stories, poetry, visual art pieces and photographs.

Residents who live with dementia were also included in the project, with one resident's memories being turned into a poem. (Supplied by Amy Janzen)

"[There are] a lot of stories about growing up in the '30s, which was very interesting but was also very difficult to talk to them about."

Janzen also included the residents who struggle with dementia.

"It was difficult only getting fragments of information from some of the members with dementia," Janzen said. 

But what Janzen was able to collect would be used somehow. One woman kept telling Janzen about her mother's garden, so Janzen wrote a poem inspired by what she was told.

Janzen has also spent time with some of the Elders at Sherbrooke.

One elder shared a lot with her about Indigenous culture through medicine wheel art, Janzen added.

"He explained to me a lot about the significance in the colours that he used, which a different colour represents a different natural element. And then, too, he explained a lot of the significance of the animals in Indigenous culture."

Janzen said she is currently at the halfway point with about 70 stories collected.

"I'd really like to see this continue. I'm not sure what it'll be."

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend