Winter blast chills attendance at museum’s event

The attendance at the Scarborough Historical Museum’s Love, Scarborough event hit a record low as a result of Saturday’s sudden winter shock.

Temperatures dipped down to the -15 C range and the wind chill made it feel even colder. Employees in charge of running Love, Scarborough waited patiently in the museum’s Victorian-style Cornell House, making cider and sugary treats for potential visitors.

Unfortunately, the cold weather and slippery roads meant the only people visiting the museum on Feb. 11 were there for other programs which run on a weekly basis.

Elaine Savva, the museum coordinator, says getting people to make the trip to the museum can be very difficult in the winter months. The museum is connected to Thomson Memorial Park and is located on Brimley Road north of Lawrence Avenue.

“It’s crazy as it gets warmer because people are out and in the park. It’s sad that it’s so seasonal because we really have great things that are going on all the time,” Savva said.

“I think that it is important to promote that idea of being in love with Scarborough and [having] pride in your community.”

– Michelle Ridout

Love, Scarborough runs every weekend in January and February. The event encourages people in the community to come out and share their favourite memories about Scarborough and record them in the museum’s community memories kiosk.

Michelle Ridout works at the museum and baked devil’s food cake for guests on Saturday. According to her, events like these are important for community sharing and solidarity.

“I was talking to a friend about Montreal versus Toronto and she was saying, ‘People say they love Toronto but people say they’re in love with Montreal’ and I think there’s a big difference there,” Ridout said. “I think that it is important to promote that idea of being in love with Scarborough and [having] pride in your community.”

Caitlin Ryan, who volunteered at the museum in the past, now works there part-time while attending university. She says an event like Love, Scarborough can change the negative image the community has received in the past.

“It just shows how the people who actually live here really feel about it. It’s not what the media says, it’s what the residents feel,” Ryan said.

Scarborough Historical Museum coordinator Elaine Savva describes how the Love, Scarborough event came to be.

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/jd_ElaineSavva.mp3]

According to Savva, getting the right message out to the public about museum events and attracting everyone from Scarborough can be tricky and requires creativity.

“It’s the challenge between reaching out to the community, being relevant to the community and listening to what their wants are. We want to respond to that, and what they want,” Savva said.