Did you know that Collingwood had a housing boom during World War II? Or that for many decades, Collingwood residents marked the arrival of the holiday season when Harry Bell's sleigh bells rang up and down the streets?
These are just some of the many insights into the town’s past that can be heard on Stories from Another Day, a podcast produced by the Collingwood Museum. The podcast, which launched last spring, travels through the town’s past to uncover the people, events, and stories that have helped make this town into what it is today.
Hosted by Ken Maher, the podcast releases a new episode every other Tuesday on topics ranging from historical moments, royal flubs, furry friends, political intrigue, potential invasions, ship launches, lost ships, holiday memories, and so much more.
“There is just so much history here in our little town,” said Maher, who is a local pastor and long-time volunteer at the museum.
Maher moved to Collingwood over a decade ago and started volunteering with the Museum Advisory Committee a few years later. He became enamoured with the town and “took a real interest in the museum”
“The museum is such a jewel and I wanted to be able to give a little volunteer time back to the town,” said Maher. “Every time you feel like you are getting a handle on the town, its history and how things used to be, you uncover a new document or artifact.”
Maher said the museum is always looking for new ways to engage with the community and share the history of Collingwood and a few years ago they started toying with the idea of producing a podcast.
“There is just so much to the history of Collingwood that I never knew about,” said Maher. “And I was sure that I was probably not alone.”
When things shut down for the pandemic, Maher said it became pretty clear it was time to finally get the podcast up and running since people could no longer come and engage with the museum and its exhibits in person. It took a bit of time to build up a catalogue of episodes and make sure any additional research was completed.
The museum published its first episode, titled “Beginning at the End” on May 4, 2021 to honour Museum Month last year.
The inaugural episode looked at the end of a pivotal era in Collingwood's history: Shipbuilding. The topics since have stemmed from things Maher has personally uncovered that piqued his interest, and he said he has no concerns about coming up with topics to talk about in the episodes to come.
“I probably have a full three seasons worth of stories mapped out, but I know I am just scratching the surface,” he laughed.
One of his favourite episodes so far was on the life and times of John Rutherford Creelman, Chief Constable of Collingwood from 1874 to 1876.
“It’s just a tragic and ridiculous story that only history could tell you,” said Maher. There are a lot of really funny stories, and there are a lot of really tragic ones in our town’s past…”
This year, Maher is also hoping to find ways to get feedback from the community and learn the stories they want to hear. He said, “The people of Collingwood have such a real love for their history and they are so very well informed.”
Maher said has learned so much over the past year, but the thing he likes most is hearing feedback from the community when the stories connect with the audience and spur up a conversation.
“I really love when the stories resonate and we get to hear more information coming back from the community of the things they remember about these people or events,” said Maher.
Listen to Stories from Another Day at anchor.fm/cwoodstories or any podcast provider.