Saturday, September 23, 2023

New year, new Bryson: Celebrating 150

Zainab Al-Mehdar
Bryson December, 19 2022
In 1856, a trading post known as ‘the small port of Havelock’ was established on the Quebec shore of the upper Ottawa River. Seventeen years later, in 1873, it was renamed Bryson, after lumber baron George Bryson. It became the administrative centre of the county until 1914 when a fire destroyed most of the village.
Today this riverfront village has a lot to celebrate. In honour of its 150th anniversary in 2023 the town will be hosting festivals throughout the year for all of the Pontiac.
A committee of 12 members will be organizing and working together in the spirit of showing off the town’s heritage. “We’re off the highway, people drive by the small town often and we want to give a reason for people to actually make the detour and come in town,” said Meghan Griffin, a volunteer and resident of Bryson.
The committee consists of a mix of Pontiac residents, members of the Bryson Recreation Association, Bryson Revitalization, Lions, Lionettes, Golden Age, and Fire Brigade. Rather than each organization doing activities independently this year they decided to collaborate to host bigger events, explained Griffin.
In addition in 2023, they are taking the opportunity to revitalize the town and work towards creating a better quality of life for the residents and attracting newcomers to the Pontiac.
“It started off with wanting to have a couple of little festivals and celebrations, but I think everyone was just enthusiastic and excited about it. So the ideas got bigger and bigger. And at the same time, Bryson on a separate project is investing money in its parks in 2023, so the timing worked out well,” said Griffin.
The kick-off event will be their new year’s eve party on Dec. 31, with live local band REWD. The town will also be debuting a limited edition commemorative can of pale lager produced and designed by the microbrewery, Brauwerk Hoffman.
Following the new year’s party, the town will host a 10-day winter festival with carnival games, dog sledding, a ball-hockey tournament, comedian/illusionist Martin Rozon and local musician Ben Chabot, community brunches, a father/daughter dance and a mother/son dance.
An unexpected coincidence, the RCMP was also established in 1873 and is Bryson’s ‘birthday twin.’ To help celebrate their 150 the RCMP Musical Ride is kicking off their season with one of their first stops in Bryson.
Lastly, Bryson will also be organizing a summer festival in August, with details to come in the new year.
The importance of not only just celebrating but also revitalizing the town was brought on to remind people of how great Bryson is. The town was also inspired by the MRC and its rebranding campaign and the committee wanted to do the same.
“When you’re a resident here sometimes we forget what’s right in front of us. So we’re like let’s take this opportunity to remind residents of Bryson and invite the Pontiac as well to come and see Bryson and do a little mini marketing campaign to try to revitalize the town a bit. You know, celebrate our community spirit,” said Griffin.
To check out the schedule of events head over to the Bryson 150 Facebook page.


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