The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the January 11, 2012 issue. Reprinted with permission.
Book chronicling Kaz pioneers fits 150-year celebration timeline
by Lucy Scholey
For the first time in its 150-year history as a municipality, Kazabazua has a chronicling of the pioneers who developed the little village up the line.
It's entitled "Celebrating 150 years: Aylwin Township," a massive, near-600 page collection of newspaper clippings, interviews, dates, timelines, 2,750 photos and even road reports. It has already sold out at least five times at Irwin's, a hardware store in the heart of Kazabazua.
Author Alexa Pritchard spent about three hours every day for the past two years compiling information, interviewing seniors, collecting photos and driving as far north as Maniwaki for road reports and other documents.
"It's more to honour the pioneers who came up here," said the 65-year-old historian.
The book begins in the 1830s, when lumbermen made up most of the population, and priests on saddleback trekked up to preach.
The municipality - then called Aylwin Township - was formed Jan. 1, 1862.
The book ends in the 1920s, about a decade before the municipality's name changed to Kazabauza, which stems from an Algonquin word meaning "hidden waters."
The book is just in time for Kaz's 150th anniversary celebrations this year. Pritchard said the municipality asked her to write the voluminous book for the event. She jumped at the idea, saying "I guess I have a fascination with things in the past."
As a 10-year-old, Pritchard did a school project on Kazabazua. Two years later, her family moved to Ottawa, where Pritchard still lives as a federal government employee with Foreign Affairs, but her family owns a summer cottage in Kaz.
Although she moved from the area, her interest in Kaz history did not wane.
She has written three, shorter books about pioneers in the area for their families' descendents.
Pritchard said she hoped to get about $40,000 in funding for the project, and former Kaz director-general Sandra Lacharity was to help her apply for grants. But Lacharity has since resigned, leaving Pritchard with no financial help.
Pritchard said she expects to recoup most of her research expenses in book sales. The history enthusiast said she's not hard done by the lack of funding.
"The history has been recorded, so I'm OK with that," she said, adding that she was not paid for her previous historical books.
Kazabazua Mayor Ota Hora said he was not aware that Pritchard requested funding - or that Lacharity asked her to write the book.
"I, personally, was not approached on any of this," he said. "I assumed she was doing this on her own and she wanted to do it."
He added that it's an "amazing" piece of work and very much needed in Kaz.
"I may spend the 150th anniversary going through it day-byday," he said. "Thank goodness somebody did this."
Pritchard said the experience in itself was worthwhile.
"We know the Wakefield area has been pretty well covered, but not this far up," she said.
"Celebrating 150 years: Aylwin Township" is available at Irwin's store on Hwy 105 in Kaz. You can also buy a copy from Pritchard at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a cheque to 5 Frederick Place, Ottawa, ON, K1S 3G1.
The cost is $49.95, taxes included.
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