SACKVILLE, N.B. – Live Bait Theatre was recently awarded a grant by the Department of Canadian Heritage to coordinate a variety of community events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the coming of the Intercolonial Railway to Sackville in 1869.
The Intercolonial was initiated during the lead-up to confederation and began construction in 1867, and arrived in Sackville on Nov. 30, 1869. Its arrival in Sackville marked not only a national milestone but also an important milestone for the community, presaging Sackville’s rise as the “grindstone capital of the world,” and the Maritimes (and Sackville’s) decline in building wooden ships and the eventual abandonment of the industry in Sackville.
The celebration of the anniversary of the arrival of the railway will last seven months in 2019, opening with a model railroad exhibition and ending with the launch of a CD of songs inspired by the railway. One of the major events during the year will be the presentation of the original community play “The Intercolonial.”
The play will explore themes of the period of the arrival of the train, including the lead up to the train’s arrival, including its construction; the anticipated and actual effect of the train on the economy of Sackville; its effect on the lifestyle and other aspects of daily life of the citizens; and its importance on a small scale as a reflection of its significance on a national sale. The play will use real historical facts and real historical people to tell a compelling story that Sackville community members will enjoy and will learn from. The play will consist of an all-amateur cast with professional support staff including writers, directors and designers.
As part of the development of the writing of the play, Live Bait is looking to collect stories about local railway history. Stories could include anything from stories about relatives who worked on trains or the railway in the area, stories of things that happened on trains, or stories related to things that happened because of the arrival of the train in Sackville.
People wishing to share their stories can do so by calling Live Bait at 536-2248, by visiting www.livebaittheatre.com, or by stopping by the Sackville Farmers’ Market every Saturday where Live Bait will have a booth. More information on the project, or other projects presented by Live Bait, can also be found at the above coordinates.