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Well-travelled tuque gone astray

By Nick Zacharias


Little Harrison Barker is the most recent owner of a very loved and storied hat that dates back almost half a century. It’s currently missing, believed to be dropped somewhere along Hudson’s Main Road or on the way to Jack Layton Park, and its return would make the family very happy.

Poor Harrison has lost his hat. At the tender age of 15 months, he can hardly be held accountable, and surely he hasn’t a clue what the fuss is about, but the rest of his family is upset over the loss because it’s no ordinary hat.

Family heirloom

Though we often think of jewelry or furniture when people speak of family keepsakes handed down for generations, this one is special too. “That hat is one of our most precious family heirlooms,” says young Harrison’s grandmother, Hudson resident Dawn Svoronos who knows the storied trajectory of the tuque.

“The hat was hand-knitted in 1975 by Harrison’s great-grandmother Enid Barker, who is now deceased, and was worn by Harrison’s father Scott Barker, who wore it for seven winters starting from age one,” says Svoronos. “He learned to skate, ski and build snowmen with that hat on.” Evidently, he was so attached to the hat he even slept with it on for a few years.

A patriotic tuque

Enid Barker was taken with the ‘new’ maple leaf design of the Canadian flag, then a recent addition to popular culture as it was adopted in 1965, replacing the old Canadian Ensign. Says Svoronos, “She raised her family to be proud Canadians. When she made this hat, it was her way of instilling Canadian pride early in the life of her grandson. When it became too small for him to wear, I squirrelled it away with the thought that I would surprise him with it if one day he had a child of his own.”

Lost in Hudson

The hat survived through roughly 40 years, including about 25 relocations within Canada and all over the world, and finally landed back with Scott Barker and his wife Viviane, who joyfully passed it on to their own infant son.

“It’s sad that the hat moved all over the world and we have to lose it here, back in Hudson,” says Svoronos. The hat was dropped in October while they were out for a family stroll in the ‘tree streets’ of the village, or on their way by the old Château du Lac en route to Jack Layton Park. “It’s such a bright red-orange colour it’s hard to miss; my hope is that someone saw it and picked it up, and they may hear about us and help us bring it back to the family. We have so few real family heirlooms – we have two cups that my father brought over when he moved to Canada from Greece with literally nothing else but the clothes on his back, and we had that hat. I really hope it comes back to us!” Anyone who may have picked it up can make a grandmother’s day by calling Dawn at (514) 442-3176.

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