Telling the story of my life in my home - Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mi Legacy Lives Here - MacDonald Island Park Legacy Wall

Photo credit to MacDonald Island Park

A few weeks ago I noticed something was going on in the front hall of MacDonald Island Park.  Whatever it was, it was all shrouded in black curtains and blocked by barriers, but I admit it - I was sneaking a peek whenever I could. Since I'm at Mac Island almost daily it wasn't really a challenge, but my curiosity was growing. I could see what appeared to be photos, and a timeline, and screens. The wall seemed bright and colourful, and I was intrigued. So, when the wall was revealed at "The Craze" I was delighted - because it's one of my favourite things, a monument to history and community, and, in a funny way, the future. I attended the ribbon cutting for the new "Mi Legacy Lives Here" wall yesterday, and it was a thought-provoking experience.

Photo credit to MacDonald Island Park

There is something you notice almost immediately on seeing this wall - it is a legacy wall of a different sort. Most legacy walls are static in nature - a plaque, some photos, perhaps a timeline and a pithy quote or two. But this is a wall of a different type indeed - an interactive wall, where community members can submit photos to be displayed on the screens. Once the photos are submitted you can search your name and find your photos, "like" them, and then see them go into the rotation on the screens.

Now, there are still those heritage photos - archival photos of our past, and photos that have special meaning for many of us - including Don Scott, the principal of McMurray Law Office, who sponsored this wall. I've had the opportunity to visit Don's office a couple of times and found myself transfixed by his collection of heritage photos. Not only do they line his boardroom and the walls of his waiting room, they also play on a screen in that waiting room, photos from all periods of the history of this community. The best thing is that Don can tell you about the photos - where they were taken, and when. He can tell you the location so you can compare what the end of Franklin looked like decades ago and today. You can tell this is a passion for Don, history and heritage and community. His sponsorship of the legacy wall at MacDonald Island not only makes sense it seems pretty darn perfect to me. It's like the ideal marriage of his personal interest and passion, and making all that into something for the entire community to enjoy.

Photo credit to MacDonald Island Park

And I believe it will be enjoyed, too. Some people aren't that into history, and some find archival photos dull - but I suspect they can get behind seeing themselves, or their families, on those screens. One of my favourite quotes from the opening of the legacy wall yesterday was when Tim Reid, Mac Island COO, said "history never looks like history when you are living through it" - and that's exactly the point of this wall. This is our legacy in development. This wall is a living legacy, as we add our photos of our families and events. This is history, and we are making it, every single day - we just don't realize it. As we add our photos, as the years roll on, our history grows, and this wall will reflect it.

Photo credit to MacDonald Island Park

Sometimes I wonder about how people in the future will see this era. I know that Don, like me, is one of those who loves to search out those old photos, to find that tiny bit of history that ties it all together or astonishes you with it's relevance. I know that the digital era has changed that a bit, and perhaps the time of searching through boxes of old photos found in attics is over. If it means that walls like this are possible, though, then I think that just maybe things will be okay - because with developments like the new "Mi Legacy Lives Here" wall we can not only make history we can watch as it happens, every single day.  And that seems pretty incredible to me, people.

Photo credit to MacDonald Island Park

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