Friday, June 5, 2015

DORIE

Pingponging back-and-forth from her home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Dorie Billich settled just north of Stouffville, Ontario, above Toronto. Venturing from home, Dorie attended McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario for her undergraduate degree, then returned to Winnipeg for her masters before returning to the Toronto area with her future husband.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines curator as: "One who has the care and superintendence of something; especially : one in charge of a museum, zoo, or other place of exhibit". 

Ascending the lush grass rise of Gibson Park Dorie walks with a stride and confidence of someone in charge. Dorie is curator of the Toronto's historic site, Gibson House in North York. Spanning a great linear distance as if spanning time, is a bold new feature of the adjacent Gibson Park: a massive black granite wall, laser-etched with photographic images of life in rural north Toronto. A vision in black and white, Dorie is perfectly attired to stand next to the granite narrative.  

Presiding over a vibrant history, home and artifacts of Scottish land surveyor, David Gibson's house, Dorie has a staff of about 15, several of them, costumed interpreters. With an easy laugh and nurturing demeanour, she cares greatly for her staff and the history of this site. 

DORIE FUN FACT: In 1988, At a north Toronto, Canada Trust bank, Dorie worked behind the counter as a teller. A week after intensive robbery training, three armed balaclava-wearing robbers robbed the bank at gunpoint. She and others in the bank thought this was some sort of bank-sanctioned training drill. But no! Lucky for us, she is out of harms way in the comfort of Toronto's Gibson House!

(Tomorrow: Gibson House costumed interpreters)
In a city like Toronto, it is rare to find a place with ample parking and next to a subway station. Unplug and take a trip back in time at historic Gibson House: 
5172 Yonge Street. (North York Centre subway stop)
416-395-7432 
http://goo.gl/Zqvy5L


PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

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