“Voices from the Past: A Retrospective from Prince Edward Heights”

“Voices from the Past: A Retrospective from Prince Edward Heights” the popular series as heard on 99.3 County FM is now available online.

“Voices from the Past: A Retrospective from Prince Edward Heights” is funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizon’s for Seniors Program.  The series explores the history of Prince Edward Heights, a former institution for people with intellectual disabilities.

This six-part series, an original 99.3 County FM production, finally shares the story of “The Heights,” recording the facility in PEC history.  The idea for this unique project was introduced by Suzanne Pasternak, a gifted storyteller who has spent over 33 years collecting oral histories from across Eastern Ontario, including the Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence River.

In 1971 an abandoned WWII Royal Airforce Bombing and Gunnery School in Picton became the unlikely community home for people with intellectual disabilities, staff members and their families from all over Ontario. Prince Edward Heights was established during the Community Living Movement, which was spearheaded by the families of people with intellectual disabilities seeking a more fulfilling livelihood for community home residents.

Advocates of the Community Living Movement argued that people with intellectual disabilities have a right to participate in community life and that with government support and funding, a sense of community could be fostered between people with intellectual disabilities and the residents of the larger community. This funding saw residents of the Heights attend family dinners outside of their community home or attend workshops and life programs.

Despite the Heights being a significant part of Prince Edward County’s history, the stories of the facility and the people who both lived there and interacted with its residents has never been told.

Over the past year the radio station invited any former residents of the Heights, their families or former staff with a story to tell to reach out to the station.  Then Suzanne Pasternak, the Executive Producer, conducted an extensive number of interviews.  The series is produced into approximately twenty-minute long fully produced segments including original music.

Each show was aired on 99.3 County FM and is now available online and through the Community Station Exchange for community broadcasters across Canada.

Access to the audio is free of charge providing it is not being used for any commercial or political purpose and the audio must be used in it’s entirety (no repurposing edited or partial segments of any show).

Click here to access the audio, feel free to share it with members of your family, peers, friends, and/or others in your organization for education and entertainment purposes.

For more information, please contact our of Executive Producer of the series Suzanne Pasternak at suzannepasternak@gmail.com; or Craig Mills, GM, 99.3 County FM (613) 476-2229 or gm@993countyfm.ca

Original press release: Click here for more information.