Museum exhibit to honour the life of G.I. Smith

Sherry Martell
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TRURO - The life of an outstanding Colchester County resident will be celebrated this weekend when an exhibit opens in his honour at the Colchester Historical Museum.
The Life and Times of George Isaac (G.I.) Smith, a dedicated family man, soldier, politician and lawyer, will open Saturday at 2 p.m. offering a glimpse of his accomplishments and interests.
"I think that this is someone who helped shape Colchester, but not just the county, he did a great service to the province and the country as well," said museum curator Aidan Norton. "He is somebody who really devoted a lot of his life to public service."
Smith's passion for politics was fostered at a young age, and he served as a Progressive Conservative MLA for Colchester County from 1949 to 1974, as well as premier of Nova Scotia from 1967 to 1970.
He served with the North Nova Highlanders during the Second World War, and by the end of the conflict had earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire.
In 1975 Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau appointed Smith to the Senate where he served his country until his death in 1982.
"A truly remarkable cast of Colchester men and women has served as MLAs over the past 160 years," said Smith's son Rob Smith.
"It is important to remember these people and the values for which they stood.
"It is hoped this exhibit will help to ensure that a legacy of integrity, ability and innovation in public service will continue to thrive."
Smith described his father as a pack rat and said he kept boxes of personal treasures stored away for years at the family's home, which were rediscovered when their mother moved from the house.
Many of those items will be included in the display, such as his lawyer's robe, journals, photographs he took and poems he penned.
The exhibit also includes Smith's military uniform, medals and war memorabilia, and a number of editorial cartoons drawn by Bob Chambers, depicting many of the issues and debates Smith played a role in during his political career in the 1960s and 1970s.
A special exhibit opening ceremony will be held Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. with a number of guest speakers who will share personal recollections of their close relationship with Smith.

Organizations: Colchester Historical Museum, British Empire

Geographic location: Colchester County, Nova Scotia

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