Pianist and composer Richard Herriott will add to the fun with a special evening of film and classical music planned to celebrate Presqu’ile’s 100th anniversary.
  • On Saturday, August 27, Presqu'ile Provincial Park will celebrate its 100th anniversary with the silent film

A special evening of cinema and classical music is planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Presqu’ile.

On Saturday, August 27, Presqu’ile Provincial Park will celebrate with the silent film “Tillie’s Punctured Romance,” featuring Cobourg Hollywood star Marie Dressler. Produced in 1914, “Tillie’s Punctured Romance” was the first entirely silent comedy film, starring the legendary Charlie Chaplin and Keystone Cops.

In the silent film era, live music, improvised by pianists, complemented the on-screen action. Concert pianist Richard Herriott will be at the keyboard for the screening, for this tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Presqu’île. Organizer Marianne Marusic said the film will be “an hour of fun for all ages” as audiences listen to “amazing music” accompanying the comedy.

“Richard Herriott’s keyboard genius has always amazed me. He has a great sense of humor, which will help set the mood for the movie,” Marusic said, in a prepared statement.

Herriott, an internationally renowned musician, has a special attachment to the park.

“I look forward to playing at Presqu’ile Provincial Park showcasing my improvisational skills. Presqu’ile remains deeply important to me as my family used to camp at the park frequently,” Herriott commented.

In September and October, Herriott will give concerts in Cobourg and Brighton to create a suite he has composed, in honor of Presqu’ile and the surrounding area. This book is called ‘Postcards from Northumberland’ and is more serious in nature. But for the August 27 event, it’s all about antics and comedy.

As part of the anniversary program of the Presqu’ile, the public will be invited to participate in the creation of the history of the Presqu’ile by staging key moments in the history of the park, all set to music by Herriott.

“Engaging the audience, especially the younger members, will bring the story to life,” Marusic said. “Although Richard is an extremely accomplished musician, I have a feeling some silliness is going to ensue!”

At one time the area that now comprises the park was intended to be the center of regional government, but in 1804 the schooner “The Speedy” sank with the loss of several government officials. In 1840 the county seat was moved to the town of Amherst, now known as Cobourg.

The Presqu’ile became a park in 1922 and was a popular tourist spot, with a hotel, a dance pavilion and a golf course. Although these features are no longer part of the park, Presqu’ile continues to attract visitors who enjoy the sandy beach, camping, hiking, and wildlife.

“Tillie’s Punctured Romance” will be presented on Saturday, August 27 at 8 p.m. at the Presqu’île amphitheater and is free with admission to the park.

More information about Marie Dressler can be found by visiting the Marie Dressler Museum in Cobourg at www.mariedressler.ca.