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COMMUNITY

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Vernon library celebrates 40 years in schoolhouse EMC news – For 130 years, the old schoolhouse on Highway 31 in Vernon has been a place of education and community. First, it was a pillar of the village as Osgoode Township’s Schoolhouse No. 20 serving Vernon. Sixty years later it was replaced by a new school, and in 1961 became Club 31 – Vernon’s hub for community events, wedding showers and get-togethers. In 1972 the club allowed Osgoode Township Library to fill the northwest corner of the old schoolhouse with shelves of books, to act as its Vernon branch. When the club was hosting events, a curtain was pulled across the shelves to hide them. “I’m told the rod is still there behind the valance, as a legacy,� said Donna Clark, the rural library manager for the city. In 1982 the entire building was converted into a library, and since then has been a different kind of hub – one of reading, research and learning. On Saturday, June 2 the Vernon branch of the Ottawa Public Library will celebrate 40 years in its historic home, as part of Doors Open Ot-

build birdhouses, plant gardens and maintain the skating rink outside when their class work was complete. Duncan said despite the fact that the building now has a circulation desk inside the front door and its walls are covered with colourful books, he can still picture exactly how it was. “I can remember, just as plain as day,� he said. The branch’s public service supervisor Donna Bowen, who has lived in Vernon her entire life and has worked at the library for 20 years, said visitors respond well to the building. “People come in and say, ‘It’s so cozy in here.’ And then I tell them it used to be a school and they say, ‘Ah, OK,’� she said. The schoolhouse feeling still clings to the heritage building. “In one sense things have changed, but in another way there are still a few things that haven’t.� Before the library made its home in the schoolhouse, it was located at the Porteous general store where it was founded in 1900, at the corner of Lawrence Street and Highway 31. In 1987 the library was renovated, and in 2007 it received an accessible washroom where the original library shelves were once located. In

tawa. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. visitors can pop by the library to have some cake and check out the historic site. Walking through the red brick building, former student Erwin Duncan, now 84, has a keen eye for clues that the room was once filled with as many as 40 students from grades 1 to 8. He points to where the large woodstove used to sit in front of the main door, including a burn mark on the original hardwood floors. He notes a curtain rod sconce from which curtains hung during plays and special performances, and the footwide ledge that is all that’s left of the teacher’s platform at the front of the room. Two wooden desks with wrought-iron legs and inkwell holes are used as display tables in the middle of the library, although they now face the wrong way. A ceiling imperfection above the door marks where the belfry rope hung, and an even bigger hole marks the ventilation pipe for the indoor toilet that came after Duncan’s time. Duncan attended the school between 1934 and 1942, under the tutelage of Lloyd Lemoine, an unconventional outdoorsman that let them

Emma Jackson

Former student Erwin Duncan and branch supervisor Donna Bowen settle into some original school desks, two of many signs that the Vernon library branch was once the village’s one-room schoolhouse. The branch will celebrate 40 years in the schoolhouse on June 2. 2011 and 2012 the building got an accessible entranceway and ramp. Apart from structural changes, the library has also changed in terms of what it offers residents. Since amalgamation into the City of Ottawa in 2001, the branch has gained access to over two million items in the city’s collection. With grow-

ing online resources, residents can now easily request items to their home branch, and can access bestsellers through the express reads program, Clark said. The library will serve cake

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Open house a chance to meet working pups Emma Jackson

are also welcome to donate their soon-to-be-obsolete pennies. Pet dogs should be left at home. For more information call 613-692-7777, email events@guidedogs.ca or visit www.guidedogs.ca.

In fact, the Guide Dogs training centre in Manotick brings clients from across the country to live at the centre for four weeks while they train with their guide dog before taking it home. The training centre will be open to the public between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Visitors can enjoy tours of the training centre and the kennel buildings, as well as guide dog and assistance dog demonstrations throughout the day. Although the event is free, donations are accepted and visitors are welcome to check out the many souvenirs in the gift shop. Doucette said visitors

co-ordinator Steven Doucette. “They’ll get to meet EMC news – The Casome puppies in our fosternadian Guide Dogs for the ing program, working dogs, Blind is offering dog-lovers dogs in training.� across the city a chance to Doucette said visitors meet some of the most loyal will also get a few lessons in dogs in the country. “guide dog etiquette� – like The guide dog charity when you see a guide dog in has its national headquarharness, don’t pet it. ters and training centre in He said the point of Manotick, and that centre the open house is to raise will host an open house as awareness about the orgapart of Doors Open Ottawa nization, and to bust some on Saturday, June 2. myths about where and how Families can visit puppies guide dogs are trained. in training andDare see working To Compare “It’s a common miscondogs in action. on 100’s of Rolls ception that the CNIB (for“It’s a chance to meet a Saxonies, Graphics, Berbers, merly the Canadian Nationlot of dogs, which everyTextures, Commercial al Institute for the Blind) body loves, but especially trains them,� kids,� said special events EE Doucette said. FR UNDERPAD emma.jackson@metroland.com

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EMC-GBC-6TH-BW-W20-2012-A

Emma Jackson

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ttUPMMGSFFtt Manotick EMC - Thursday, May 24, 2012

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Manotick EMC  

May 24, 2012

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