Laurie SiblockMuseum Manager - Lang Pioneer Village Museum
Laurie's story :
My life has been steeped in history. I grew up in a big old house in a historic town, Cobourg, and during my teen years my mother opened a vintage clothing store, Flamboyant, that ran successfully for almost 25 years, until she retired. That house, town, store and creative, strong mother had a big influence on who I am.
My love of learning and discovering new things has enabled me to experience multiple careers as a counsellor, then a fibre artist and arts administrator, and these all come together in my role as Manager at Lang Pioneer Village Museum. It is a job that demands continuous learning and stretching oneself, so it suits me well and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work in such a beautiful place with a wonderful community of people, all with a passion for history and for creating engaging experiences for others.
No biography of me would be complete without mention of two life-changing experiences that shaped my thinking in new ways. In 2013 I was diagnosed with Stage III Ovarian cancer. The prognosis was not good and I was so sick that my initial inclination was to let go, but the power of the love of family, friends and even acquaintances sparked my drive to confront my illness, and that, combined with the miracle of new medical technologies and the care of an incredible oncologist and team of doctors and nurses, brought me back from the abyss. Today, I am healthier than I’ve ever been. Cancer was an ordeal for me and my family, but it came with many surprising gifts.
One of these gifts was driven by the need to find deeper meaning in my life, a search that led me to participate in a Reconciliation Event in which I lived for a week with an Oji-Cree family in the Northern fly-in reserve community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, situated in the boreal forest 600 km north of Thunder Bay. The journey was transformative and the bonds formed with the community and family I stayed with have been lasting.
The heightened sense of love and community I experienced during my trip to the remote Northern reserve and as loved ones supported me through cancer showed me what is important in life. Family, love and community are now the centre point around which everything revolves.