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Documenting Acton and The Local Impacts of COVID-19 - An interview with Local Historian Scott Brooks

Acton native and radio broadcaster Scott Brooks is a local historian who started the popular Facebook page “Vintage Acton” back in 2017. Over the last four months, Brooks contributed to the chronicles of the COVID-19 pandemic by making an audio documentary about COVID-19 and its effect on the Acton community and local business.

Scott records history as its happening in his audio documentary The Local Impacts of COVID-19. What makes Scott’s documentary different from those made in the current media is that Scott’s film is centred on those who make up the Acton community. In his audio documentary, Scott interviews the town of Halton Hills, the Acton BIA, local business owners and other social groups.

(Photo: Scott Brooks, Local Historian)

Why was it so important for you to make this documentary in Acton?

When looking in the past, such as the Spanish Flu, there is not a lot of documentation on the impacts of the epidemics on local communities. I felt as though it was almost my duty to record history as it's happening for the current pandemic. It is very rare that you can actually go back into the past and hear someone speak for themselves on how they were affected by a historical event. Hearing someone’s voice while recounting their experience with a historical event makes such a difference compared to reading about it.

What was the process of documenting Acton like?

The process of making an audio documentary can be tedious and stressful; I have to decide who to interview who I believe will be the best fit to talk about the pandemic. I have to find a way to knit everything all together so that all the important components are together. It is a long but fun process. It was a challenge to narrow down the people to interview for the documentary because so many people in Acton had been affected, but of course, it was most important to include as many honest stories as possible. We could go on for years doing interviews.

Did the documentary of the breakdown of Acton change your perspective on the community? For better or worse?

You know it’s interesting, one of the things I found interesting to hear is how well the local business community actually was prior to lockdowns and afterwards. Actually, what I did find was despite the many challenges they faced throughout the multiple lockdowns they have fared quite well during the pandemic! I thought that was quite interesting to see considering how other local businesses were not so lucky throughout Canada. I am quite happy to hear that non only is business surviving but also thriving!

Scott will continue to document local history within Acton and plans on making more documentaries in the future. To find out more information about Scott and his documentary head to his website or click directly on the link below.


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