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25th Anniversary Edition “A Look Back”

May 1993 to Present

Gravenhurst Seniors Club Spring 2018 ALL ABOUT US


Gravenhurst Seniors Club 2018 Board of Directors EXECUTIVE President Past President 1st Vice President 2nd Vice President Secretary Treasurer

Ruth Robertson Fred Schulz John Mowry Aileen Passmore Ellen Camm John Mowry

DIRECTORS Director Director Food Services Health & Well Being Membership Newsletter Property Recreation Ways & Means

Ron Belfry Anneka McVee Lynne Briden Sandi Wilson Lillian Gillan Fred Schulz Lorne Robertson Bob Macksey Carol Macksey

Wheelchair Accessible & Elevator Equipped

Submissions All submissions to be included in the next issue of “All About Us� should be submitted before June 15, 2018. Submissions can be left at, or emailed to, the Gravenhurst Seniors Centre, 480 First St. N., Gravenhurst, Ontario P1P 1B9. Submissions that promote and/or enhance the activities of The Seniors Centre and Seniors are always welcome. Pictures are also welcomed. Opinions and concerns about issues facing the Centre are welcome. Try to keep submissions to a maximum of 1000 words. All letters to the editor must be signed with first and last names. Your ideas are important. Tel: 705-687-8126 Email:



Newsletter Committee Editor Contributing Writers

Committee Members

Cover Design Distribution Photographer Production Editor Proof Reader Secretary Treasurer

Fred Schulz Ellen Camm Ruth Robertson Fred Schulz Garnet Schenk Pat Wright Jim Goodwin Cyril Fry Garnet Schenk Ruth Robertson Wendy Forsythe Pat Wright Wendy Forsythe Harold Campbell Cliff Flavell Fred Schulz Wendy Forsythe Jeff Childs Pat Wright Ellen Camm Lynn Quesnelle

Published by:

The Gravenhurst Senior Citizens’ Club 480 First Street North Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1B9 1-705-687-8126 United Senior Citizens of Ontario: Affiliated Club #325

Volume 26, Number 1 Spring 2018

The Editor Says—Spring Edition

The snow banks are finally melting and it is my pleasure to welcome you to a special Spring edition of All About Us featuring stories, photos and memories of the past 25 years of All About Us. In the special 25th edition, you’ll enjoy reading articles on Host/hostesses and Food Services, The Workshop, Bi-focals Band, Activities, Special Items and What Was on That Corner. There are also articles on the Seniors Games, Horticultural Society and History of the Seniors Activity Centre. The committee comprised of Ellen Camm, Garnet Schenk and Pat Wright have worked very hard to pick interesting and informative articles, however it’s impossible to include all the wonderful activities and people that have been involved with the Centre over the past 25 years. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Wendy Forsythe, our Production Editor who has worked tirelessly with the layout of this special edition. Enjoy a trip down memory lane has you read through these articles from the past and view the photos over the past 25 years. Fred Schulz Editor

Letters to the Editor Letters may be edited for size and clarity. Letters to the editor are printed at the editor’s discretion. Tel: 705-687-8126 Email: ALL ABOUT US


Table of Contents Page 2

Title Board of Directors Submission Info 3 Newsletter Information The Editor Says 4 Table of Contents 5 President’s Message 6 Activities at the Centre Now & Then 7 Health & Well Being Now & Then New Health & Well Being Director 8 Christmas Social/Buffet Dinner 10 All About Us—The History of the Newsletter 1993 All About Us Cover 11 1993 All About Us Editorial 12 Culinary Corner 13 Volunteer Articles 14 Food Services 15 Horticultural Society 16/17 History of the Seniors Activity Centre Presidents 18 Seniors Art Gallery 20 Quilted Wall Hangings/Our Quilt 21 The Bifocals 22 Gravenhurst Landmark 23-26 What Was On That Corner 28 Wood Working Shop & Woodcarving 29 Opera House Verandah 30 Activities—25 Years Later 32 Senior Games OSGA 34 Coming Events

Hosts and Hostesses Needed Volunteer 7 hours a month Regular and replacement people required Keep the Club running smoothly Contact Lynne Briden 705-687-8527

Happy Birthday &

Happy Anniversary to all of our Members who celebrate in the months of March, April & May



All About Us

President’s Message I am writing this message from our place in Lakeland, Florida. A few members approached me last year asking if I would be interested in stepping into the position of President as Fred Schulz’s term was coming to an end. With the understanding that I would miss the first part of my term, I agreed, and here I am! With Lynn Quesnelle’s assistance, I was able to attend our Director’s meeting in January on facetime. Technology is great! I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fred for his service to the Seniors Centre as President for the past two years. He has done a fabulous job! A big thank you to Ron Belfry for connecting with the Scotiabank, who is not only selling tickets to our monthly luncheons, but matching the cost of each ticket sold with a donation to the Centre. What a great idea to increase our revenue! If you have any suggestions, and are willing to organize a fundraiser, please speak with one of the members of the Board of Directors and we will see if we can make it happen. Each month Lillian Gillan reports on our membership numbers. It is amazing to see the number of new members joining us. This has indicated that you, as members, are promoting the Centre to friends and neighbours. In 2017 we had 520 members. I challenge you to increase the number for 2018 to 525. This would keep our Treasurer, John Mowry, very happy. This is the 25th Anniversary edition of All About Us, and this issue has included 25 years of memories. I hope you enjoy the accomplishments of our Centre over these past issues. Ruth Robertson ALL ABOUT US


Activities at the Centre—Now & Then Spring 2018



Autumn 1998

Health & Wellbeing —Now & Then

Spring 2018

Autumn 1998

New Health and Well Being Director Sandi Wilson We welcome our new Director of Health and Well Being, Sandra (Sandi) Wilson. Sandi is not a stranger to the Centre as she has been hostessing and her husband Steve has been playing billiards for over a year. After Sandi and Steve were married, they settled in Pickering from 1973-2004. In 2004 they moved to Sutton and resided there until 2012. Sandi has been married for 45 years and is mom to 4 adult children, and 6 grandchildren. Sandi grew up in Toronto, did her RN training at Toronto East General, and later took courses in Addiction Counselling. This led to her having her own counselling business in Pickering. She has practised nursing in many fields. She worked a night shift at Ballycliffe Nursing Home which is a psychiatric hospital. In addition to her nursing duties, she did laundry and prepared breakfast for patients. Sandi also worked for Weight Watchers as a receptionist when she lived in Sutton. Sandi inherited her family cottage in Gravenhurst which her dad built. When Sandi and Steve decided to move to Gravenhurst the cottage was renovated. During that time they stayed in a motel. Sandi needed something to do, and that is when she came to the Seniors Centre. We have been so fortunate to have both of them active in our Centre. Sandi’s hobbies include crafts, sewing, knitting, quilting and cross–stitching, and of course family. Submitted by Ruth Robertson ALL ABOUT US


Christmas Buffet Dinner Sunday, December 10, 2017 Aileen Passmore, Ruth Robertson and Lynne Briden co-ordinated the Christmas Buffet Dinner on December 10. It was a great success. The social time began at 5:00 p.m. and the catered dinner was 6:00 p.m. It snowed all day but 81 guests managed to arrive.

Christmas Social * December 14, 2017 Anneka McVee, Bernice Sopher and Fern Holmes co-ordinated the 2nd annual Christmas Social on Thursday Dec. 14, 2017 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Jo-Anne Hodder also volunteered her assistance with this event.

We enjoyed a delicious Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. Rob Gifford donated a carved Christmas pin, and Garnet Schenk was the lucky winner. Everyone had a good time.

Anneka had many prizes that were donated from various businesses and from some members. We had “count the candies� in 3 jars and a few games too. The weather was cold and sunny and we had 51 in attendance. Various members brought treats so the dessert table was full. Great job volunteers! Santa stopped in to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. With the help of all the volunteers, this event was a great success. A good time was had by all. * * * * *



Lillian in the Lounge working on Memberships



All About Us The History of the Newsletter The All About Us newsletter has a rich tradition dating back to May 1993. It has provided not only the ideal vehicle to advertise the many activities of the Centre, but also recognize the hard working, dedicated people that contribute to making the Centre a vibrant part of our community. We have had numerous committee members, who have given their time, to make the newsletter a popular resource in the Centre’s community. Some of these people include Bev Moore, who was the first Editor, Pat Wright, Cliff Flavell and myself. Molly Ayling created the first cover of many followed by Glenna Kergon. Their artwork has been admired for years, and depicts our Community in its natural setting. A wealth of talented writers have contributed greatly, providing both informative articles, and stories about the Centre, and its people. Past issues of the newsletter provide a window into the life and times at the Seniors Activity Centre. Not only has the newsletter kept the membership informed, but it has reached out to the community at large, as well as members who have relocated. All About Us involves a number of areas of expertise, such as production, proof reading, photography, advertising and distribution in order to produce a quality publication. To the many people responsible for the publication over the past 25 years, thank you. by Fred Schulz

Past Editors Bev Moore Mary Irvine Greg Doiron Gord Locklin Garnet Schenk Fred Schulz 10


Spring 1993-Spring 1995 Spring 1995-Spring 1998 Summer 1998-Spring 2002 Summer 2002-Winter 2011 Spring 2011 Summer 2011-present

The First Cover—All About Us May 1993 Volume 1 Number 1 Cover by Molly Ayling



Culinary Corner Recipes Originally Published May/June 1994



Volunteers – Then and Now Volunteers have always been an important part of the Seniors Centre. The Senior Citizens Club has been held at various locations over the years. From 1974 until 1991, the club was held at the Opera House as a “drop-in centre”. Seniors were able to play table games (eg. cards, bingo) and they needed volunteers to help with these activities. Once they moved into the new Seniors Centre in July 1991, there was room for more activities, and naturally more volunteers were needed. The Centre could now hold more events and volunteers were called on to help in the kitchen, co-ordinate, or set up for events. There has been no shortage of volunteers throughout the years. Without volunteers, the activities at the Seniors Centre couldn’t have taken place. You just have to look at all the events that have taken place at the Centre to appreciate the hard work involved by the volunteers. Our Centre keeps everyone busy. A big thank you to all these men and women, and we look forward to many more years working with them.

Hosts & Hostesses May 1993 We thank you for a job well done! Jean Johnson—Co-ordinator Edith Rae Agnes Atherley Lillian Gillian Bess Adshead Elma Stahls Bev Skelding Helen Young Helen Menzies Grace Brooks Effie Hie Ruby Speicher Ruby Allen Pearl Crocco

Martha Hofstra Helen Dalby Herb Meyers John Ayling Grace Nichols Eleanor Sutton Kay Ferguson Muriel MacEachern Doreen McIntosh Betty Hulks Melva Clarke Obe Johnson Eileen Draper Norma Scott Neola Meyers Molly Ayling Bruce Gillian Marjorie Johnson Eileen South Margaret Duncan Ruth Griffin Vi Patterson Fern Lipiski Millie Rowe Marjorie Davidson

Hosts and Hostesses 25 years and counting When the Seniors Centre opened in July 1991, the idea that someone should be “up front” whenever the centre was open was suggested. That person would greet visitors, show them around the building, and offer tea and coffee. In other words, make them feel welcome. This was an important roll at the Seniors Centre. Jean Johnson was the mastermind behind the “Hosts and Hostesses Program”. She recruited members and set up a daily schedule in May 1993. A few members that started in 1993 are still active members of our club today. There have been members in the program for 20-25 years. Lynne Briden is now looking after the schedule, and it is a time consuming job. The time that hosts and hostesses give is appreciated. The program began with 38 hosts and hostesses on the list, along with spares. At the end of 2017, there were about 34. This list changes as members move away, or are no longer able to volunteer. The Centre is always on the lookout to recruit new members for this program. It’s an important part of our Seniors Centre, and we thank everyone who has given, and continue to give their time. You can’t go wrong with a cup of coffee and a friendly chat., so join us for the next 25 years.

Red Aprons – Then and Now Vera Ann Ruttan was innovative in her thinking when she arranged for men to serve tea at a bazaar in 1991. This probably was the beginning of the Red Aprons. Over the years, you will see these men in photos, in their red aprons and red ties, at various events in the newsletter. The Red Aprons remain popular to this day. There are nine men available at this time. Ron Belfry is in charge of recruiting, and does a great job. A luncheon or special event wouldn’t be the same without these men serving, and to our good fortune, cleaning up too. They do an excellent job and the kitchen staff couldn’t do without them. Over 25 years later and still serving! Volunter Articles by The Anniversary Edition Committee



Food Services The first Director of Food Services was Margaret Sheldrick, and she was assisted by Jean Johnson. These ladies looked after the kitchen for 10 years until 2001. In September 2001 Helen Flavell took over with the assistance of Mabel Hillman. In 2004 Vi Cooke and Aileen Passmore took over the position of Director of Food Services . From 2005 to 2010 there was no one filling the director position at the Centre, however, Aileen Passmore and the volunteers would all get involved when there were events. In 2011 Lynne Briden became the director and remains to the present. During this time there have been many luncheons, dinners, socials and bazaars where the kitchen has been hopping, including the Monthly Hot Luncheons, Christmas Dinners, the Annual Bazaar and Luncheon, New Years, Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s Day Dinner and Dances and many more In 2011 the kitchen was expanded in order to accommodate the increased membership and number of celebrations . The expansion took two and a half months until completion with the help of many members who volunteered their expertise. An opening ceremony was held on October 14, 2011, and the new kitchen was ready for business. Food Services is an important and vital part of the Seniors Centre. The newsletter provides information on upcoming functions and the highlights of many events which take place each month. The Anniversary Edition Committee



Lorne Roberson with volunteers busy at work during the Kitchen expansion in July 2011.

Gravenhurst Horticultural Society

The Gravenhurst Horticultural Society has been affiliated with the Gravenhurst Seniors Centre since the building was finished in July 1991, when we moved in. The Horticultural Society planted over 2000 plants in 1992 and 1993. This group planted flowers locally for many years. They have looked after our gardens at the front of the Centre and at the top of the ramp over the years. As the Seniors Centre membership and activities grew, storage became a problem. An 800 sq. ft. Workshop/Horticulture building was constructed in 1993 to free up space in the main building.

The Horticultural “Grow Room”, as it is called, allows the Gravenhurst Horticultural Society to start bedding plants for the various flower beds that the Society cares for in the Town. The craft room downstairs provides space for the rug hooking group as well as the Horticultural Society. They hold their Board and Committee Meetings in this room, each month, and their General Meetings are held in the auditorium, seven times during the year, in the evening. They have their Annual Flower Show at the Seniors Centre and have done so for many years. They have a current membership of about 55. They also have other events at the Seniors Centre, and you can find this information on the “Coming Events” page in our newsletter. The events vary so keep an eye on our newsletter. The Anniversary Edition Committee



History of the Seniors Activity Centre I started this summary of the history of the Seniors Activity Centre by paraphrasing a quote from Harry S. Truman. “People make history, not the other way around. Unless there is strong leadership, society stands still.” Progress over the years, by the Gravenhurst Seniors Club, reflects the truth of that quote. Progress occurred because skillful leaders, over the years, seized the opportunities to change things. It was in 1950 that Mrs. G Marshall, Mrs. J. Aitken, Mrs. H. Bishop and Mr. J. Fryer got together and provided the igniting spark that energized and inspired them to start the Senior Citizens Club. No specific date and notes have been found in our archives of those early days. These individuals were trying to do something for the well-being of seniors in the Town of Gravenhurst. Mr. John Fryer was the 1st President, and you will find his name on the President's plaque that is in the hallway upstairs. Minutes of meetings were not recorded until 1957, and it was Marg Bonnis who realized this necessity. These hand written minutes are in hard covered books, and kept in the office. In the first recorded meeting there were 26 members meeting together for food, cards and social gatherings. The records show that they had around 20 members for quite a few years and their bank balance was around $220.00. Meetings and card playing were held wherever they could find a spot, the basement of the Opera House, a room at the Rubberset Plant, in Wes Boyd's home, Orange Hall, St. James House, and the old Baptist house.

The Gravenhurst Seniors Club affiliated with United Senior Citizens Club in Oct. 1969, under Zone 39. USCO had a strong voice in improving the lives of seniors and dealt with Provincial and Federal levels of government. In 1971 they started meeting at the Town Hall. In 1974 they renovated the basement of the Opera House and moved to what was called “the Drop In Centre”, but had to vacate during June, July and 16


August, because the Muskoka Festival needed this area for storage. In 1986, Rotarian Mike Lipiski visited the Seniors Club in the Opera House and found the conditions were deplorable and this was the catalyst that started the ball rolling for a building that the seniors could call their own. In 1987, with the support of the Rotary Club, Mike set up an ad hoc committee consisting of himself as chair, Jack Hastings, and Jim Cruickshank to conduct a survey to determine the need for a seniors building before the Rotary would commit funds to a building project. The survey results clearly indicated the need of a seniors building. This is when Mike and a group of 20 other people started the campaign to raise funds to build a Seniors Club. They solicited funds from all the local Gravenhurst clubs and businesses and raised the $300,000 to build the original club that opened its doors in July 1991. This same year Phyllis McCarrol appointed an Interim Board of Directors, that served until the first General Meeting was held in November. It was at this meeting when the interim board was elected by the membership. The official opening of the building was in June 1992. Mike Lipiski appointed himself as the Volunteer General Manager during Phyllis' term of office and after her term, he became President from 1994-95. In 1993 the Workshop/Horticulture building and storage area was built, under the direction of Mike Lipiski and Roy Kerr, then Director of Property. The Club's land was not large enough to accommodate this building so a slice was severed from our neighbours, Bob and Betty Ann Betts, who donated this land to the club. There were over 20 people interested in woodworking and most of the original tools were donated. The original club was designed to accommodate 100 members and when the membership grew to over 500, it was Mike who realized that the building was too small. In 1995 he had an artist’s sketch of the proposed addition hanging in his office and he campaigned and showed the draft drawings that Roy Kerr provided. They opened the new addition in 2002, and this

created the building we have today. In 2006, Mike was recognized for all his efforts and the auditorium was dedicated to him and is known as the Michael Lipiski Auditorium. In 2008 the organization and running of the extensive programs and operations of the club became too involved for a Volunteer, and Gord Locklin, after investigating other clubs, recommended that an Administrative Assistant be hired. President Roy Kerr hired Lynn Quesnelle as our Administrative Assistant, and Pat Wright, our Financial Assistant was added to the payroll. We continue to have these 2 ladies on staff, plus a Custodian. The original kitchen was built to serve 75 to 100 people but with the increase in membership, and numbers of celebrations, it became inefficient. Lorne Robertson, Director of Property, then handed the job of designing a new kitchen to a ladies’ committee, and the expansion of the kitchen was completed in 2011. All of our needs and activities start with one person’s ideas and interests, and grow from there, and this is the reason we have a great “Gravenhurst Seniors Activity Centre”. Submitted Respectfully by Roy Kerr and Ruth Robertson (Autumn 2015) It must be recognized that the Town of Gravenhurst has always been a supportive partner of the Gravenhurst Seniors Club. They provided the building lot on which the centre stands while the Seniors Club had the responsibility to raise the bulk of the funds to erect the building. The Town continues to help with operating costs of the building. Attached to this article is a list of the Presidents who served the Seniors Activity Centre from its very beginning to the present time. In addition, the Presidents have always been supported by a Board of Directors and staff that offered strong support for the goals and objectives of the Seniors Club.

I want to conclude this article with a quote from Mahatmas Ghandi in which he said, “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith can alter the course of history.” Looking back over the years since the Seniors Club was organized, we have a strong, positive leadership and with that we have had determined spirits that helped change the course of history. Up-dates submitted by Garnet Schenk – 2018 “The History of the Gravenhurst Senior Citizens Club 1950-2000” book is available at the kitchen/coffee area. by Garnet Schenk originally published Winter 2014 condensed Spring 2018

Gravenhurst Senior Citizens Club Presidents—1950 to Present

John Fryer Charles Kemp James Blackley Alex Marshall David Main Edna Traves David Main Burton Myers Viola Thompson John Hemmer Max Anderson Christine Mitchell David Haslett Mary Henson Phyllis McCarrol Michael Lipiski Roy Kerr John Ayling Clifford Flavell Violet Cooke Gordon Locklin Clifford Flavell Roy Kerr Lynn L. Beaton Garnet Schenk Ruth Robertson Clifford Flavell Fred Schulz Ruth Robertson

1950 - 51 1952 - 53 1954 1955 1956 1957 - 58 1959 - 61 1962 1963 - 69 1970 1971 - 75 1976 - 79 1980 - 86 1987 - 88 1989 - 93 1994 - 95 1996 - 97 1998 - 99 2000 - 01 2002 - 03 2004 - 05 2006 - 07 2008 - 09 2010 2010 - 11 2012 - 13 2014 - 15 2016 - 17 2018 -



Seniors Centre Construction of Upper Level stage, roof, trusses—1991/92

Construction of Extension View of ceiling and stage area—2002

Seniors Centre Art Gallery Originally published Autumn 2010 One of the lesser known art galleries in Muskoka is located right here at the Seniors Centre. We have a wealth of talent on display. Paintings, prints, photographs and fabric art of well known and not so well known artists have been donated or are on loan to the Centre. “Muskoka Road” painting , on loan for this Art Tour, was one of the first paintings displayed on the walls of the expanded auditorium in 2002. For the next five years, paintings by Dorothy Locklin decorated this panel. This display was completed in 2007 with the presentation of her last painting “Quebec Autumn Scene”, a print of which has been presented to the Centre. The panel has been completed with a Certificate of Appreciation and a photo of the artist. Ross Ashforth also has a section to hang 18


Seniors Centre Construction closing in the Lower Level—1991/92

Construction of the New Addition in 2002 pictures. The themes of his work are numerous—Ontario scenes, European landscapes, still life and many other subjects. In spite of frequent requests, Ross does not sell his work. I certainly would be proud to own an “Ashforth” painting. The Palette Art Group includes several artists who meet at the Centre every Wednesday morning. They have two sections of wall space and various painters take turns hanging their work. Newest to our walls is a painting by the artist, Melba Smith. One day when visiting her home, I saw her work and convinced Melba to share her talent with us. The “gallery” also included fabric art – quilts, needlepoint and rug hooking (the Rug Hookers have two pieces hanging in the Craft Room). And there is wood craft too. Next time you are visiting the Centre, take a tour of the “art gallery” and enjoy the art work on display. by Donna Irwin condensed article Spring 2018



Quilted Wall Hangings Continue to Brighten Auditorium by Fred Schulz Originally published Autumn 2015

Have you ever wondered about the history of the beautiful quilted wall hangings in the Auditorium of the Gravenhurst Seniors Centre? In 1989, Shirley Barlow was the Chairman of the Donor’s Recognition Committee for the new Gravenhurst Seniors Centre, and established the extremely creative recognition quilt for those who donated $100 to $1,000. A series of five quilted wall hangings were created to recognize those individuals who donated to the centre. Each donor had their name embroidered on one of the blocks of the quilt. Each block is done in a traditional pattern using a variety of bright colours and was designed by Shirley Barlow who also hand-embroidered all of the names on the quilt blocks.

Shirley Barlow – Chairman of the Donors Recognition Committee for the new Gravenhurst Seniors Centre in l989.

The project, which continued for one year, included members Gwen Irons, Cathy Pickard, Noella Mason, Ruth Alton and Edith Rae who all contributed to the love of doing the quilting and piecing of the blocks. Phyllis Wardman was in charge of the bookkeeping for the recognition wall hangings. The quilted wall hangings continue to bring a bright cheery addition to the Michael Lipiski Auditorium at the Seniors Centre and on many occasions individuals can be seen looking at the many names that were hand stitched on each individual square of the quilts.

Our Special Quilt by Donna Irwin Originally published Summer 2015

The quilt in the craft/board room is one of the Seniors Club’s valuable historical possessions. It was made in 1977 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee and Gravenhurst’s Centennial. Women members of the Club crafted the quilt depicting famous buildings in Gravenhurst, significant objects to the town, and plants and animals found in Muskoka. Under the guidance of Edith Rae, Shirley Barlow, and Jenny Kerswell, quilt blocks were embroidered, sewn together and then quilted. The names of Club members and some family members were added.

Edna Fountain with Special Quilt 1993 20



Bifocals Concert Band The Bifocals Concert Band has been affiliated with the seniors club since the Centre opened. The band started with adult music classes at Gravenhurst High School, for a semester each year, from September to February. After the semester was over, the band met weekly to practice. The band’s practise locations moved around from living rooms, church basements, the Opera House, and the Legion to name a few. The Auditorium at the Seniors Centre was large enough to hold the band and they moved their practises after the Centre opened in 1991. Their practices are still going strong on Tuesday mornings. The band has presented many concerts in the area over the years. If you haven’t been to one of their concerts, you’re missing out on some good entertainment. We are looking forward to many years of association with the band. The Anniversary Edition Committee

The Gravenhurst Seniors Centre Official Opening in 1992

The Bifocals Band at the official opening of the Seniors Centre in 1992.



Gravenhurst’s Most Significant Landmark

Article originally submitted Winter 2003 The Gravenhurst Opera House continues to be one of Gravenhurst’s most important attractions and the home of many great musical and theatrical performances of the past 100 years. One of Muskoka’s most significant landmarks is the heart of cultural activities, featuring both local and commercial entertainment year-round. Built in 1901 as a multipurpose meeting place, it has certainly lived up to its original intentions. Town council met there for decades. It served as a courthouse, and was even the temporary location of a bank, following a downtown fire. The performance space upstairs has been used by a vast array of entertainers, from local amateur troupes to top-flight professionals. Robertson Davies directed there and Donald Sutherland got his start as an actor on the stage. More recently, the theatre has resounded to the music of Peter, Paul and Mary, Tommy Hunter, and Sylvia Tyson. Live theatre continues to grow and thrive on the stage by both professional and local theatre groups. Fred Schulz has returned to manage the Opera House this year and is very excited about the future. “I’ve



never run into a performer that didn’t love being on stage at the Opera House,” said Fred. “They love the venue, they love the audiences in Gravenhurst and Muskoka, and they feel right at home here.” “It is my goal to attempt to provide programming that is both enjoyable and affordable for our year-round and seasonal residents,” said Fred, who added that he wants to continue to market the Opera House to both local groups and individuals, as well as touring professional performers, and theatre companies. The Opera House continues to be busy on a yearround basis with a number of local events and performances, corporate rentals, and professional entertainment presentations. “This historic 334-seat theatre provides an intimate setting suitable for all types of entertainment,” added Fred. This past summer, the Opera House saw the addition of a second stage being added to the Trillium Court, to provide a smaller performance venue, most suitable for theatrical productions, as well as music presentations. The Opera House is the community’s living room, with event and activities to attract people of all tastes, interests and cultural preferences. Watch for announcements regarding upcoming performances. by Fred Schulz

What Was on that Corner?

Article originally published Autumn 2014

Gathering information for this article was a very pleasant experience in several ways. I arranged an interview with Jack Davie who now resides in the Granite Ridge Retirement Residence. Jack was born and raised in Gravenhurst. His father owned and operated a grocery store on the east side of Muskoka Road, three business doors south of the intersection of Muskoka Road & Brock Street. Jack served in the military during WW11 and after his military service, he worked for the Federal Government as an Accountant. The corner in question is the intersection of Muskoka Road & Brock Street to the east, as well as Bay Street to the west. The Albion Hotel building is located on the northeast corner of the intersection and has been a hotel and business block for many years. The Post Office is located on the northwest corner, a clothing store is located on the southwest corner and the southeast corner now has a toy store in the front of the reconstructed building and a hair dressing salon and sports store in the rear portion. There are residential apartments on the second floor. A fire occurred in the old structure several years ago, and what remained of the building was demolished and a new structure was erected in its place. The new building is tastefully designed to blend into the architecture of the buildings around the intersection and at the same time reflect some of the historic design of the turn of the century. Jack opened the discussion by talking about what is now the toy store. The building housed two long narrow stores. One half was a Drug Store operated by a Mr. McLeay and the other half was known as Gerard’s 5 & 10 Cent Store. Jack recalls that the Gerard family operated the first 5 & 10 Cent Store in the Town. There were residential accommodations above both of the stores at that time. The Drug Store eventually expanded into the area that had been occupied by Gerard’s 5 & 10 Cent Store and it was operated as a Drug Store, more recently known as the Gravenhurst

Pharmacy until the disastrous fire severely damaged the structure. The Gravenhurst Pharmacy moved to a temporary location in the old Green’s Garage (next to Fabricare Cleaners) on Muskoka Road South before moving to its present location on Brock Street, one block from its original location, occupying a portion of the Dominion Store, later Giant Tiger Store. The next two buildings located south of the Drug Store on the east side of Muskoka Road were of particular interest to Jack. One is now occupied by a Medical Office and the next one is now a Yoga Studio. Where the Medical office is located was a Grocery Store called John Groves Ltd. The store was managed by Jack Davie’s father who later bought the business. The Yoga Studio location was recently occupied by Penny Varney’s Gift Store. Both these locations were at one time occupied by a restaurant known as Basil’s Fine Foods. Going back a few more years, both buildings were the home of Stedman’s V & S Store. Jack recalls that the location now occupied by the Yoga Studio was at one time operated as Laycock’s Dairy. They pasteurized, bottled and sold milk at that site. Jack provided me with enough material for another article. But one thing of interest that he told me was that when you were at the intersection of Muskoka Road & Brock Street and looked south, you could see two gas pumps on the sidewalk in the first block, one on each side of the road. They were located at the existing hardware stores. The operator would pump gas by a hand operated pump into a glass bowl or glass cylinder or drum located near the top of the device. The bowl was marked out in gallons. The operator would then drain the gas out of the drum into a container or into the tank on the vehicle. I recall one such type gas pump that Jack described located in my home town. By Garnet Schenk



What was on that Corner (Part 11) Article originally published Winter 2014/15

When one stands at the intersection of Muskoka Road & Brock Streets, and looking west down Bay Street, the Post Office is located on the northwest corner of Bay Street and Muskoka Road. On the south side of the street across from the Post Office is a trend setting clothing store called Muskoka Bear Wear. The area just north of the Post Office on the west side of Muskoka Road has seen many changes in occupancy. A portion occupied by a dental office and a thrift store was a feed store in the 1920’s serving the rural farm area around Gravenhurst. The building located on the south side of Bay Street facing Muskoka Road has been a commercial building since its construction and is now occupied by the Bear Wear clothing store. Prior to the clothing store, a florist shop operated out of that location. When my family and I arrived in Gravenhurst in 1971, the Royal Bank of Canada served its clients out of that location. From the 1920’s on, for a number of years, a Mr. Cherenza operated a fruit and vegetable store at that location and he was believed to be one of the first persons to operate such a specialty store in town. The structure also served as a local pharmacy operating as Drury’s Drug Store for a period of time. We have discussed the historic occupancies looking west and north of the intersection. Let us change our position and look east. On the north side of Brock Street is the well-known landmark, the Albion Hotel, and on the south side, there are two new businesses in the rear of the building facing Brock Street – one is a Beauty Salon and the other is a shop called Trend Setter, a modern sporting goods outlet. The building was reconstructed after a devastating fire. To the east of those businesses, there is a building containing Rebelein’s Bakery which has been operated by the Rebelein family since 1959. The easterly half of the structure was used as a restaurant for a few years and more recently as 24


an extension to the bakery operations catering to the summer trade. Prior to the bakery locating in the building, it was occupied by Gravenhurst Plumbing and Electric. The building has also housed a Chinese restaurant and a shoe repair shop operated by the Tremblay family. It is interesting to note from the recollections of Mr. Davie that at one time the building served as the Post Office for the town prior to the construction of the present one. East of the present Rebelein building is a structure occupied by Taylor Chiropractic. At one time this building was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Passmore. Mrs. Passmore operated a bakery in the building and established a reputation of producing the best baked goods in town. Note: The information used in this article was obtained through an interview with Jack Davie who spent his boyhood years in Gravenhurst. His father also operated a store on the main street of Gravenhurst. Jim Passmore, a member of the Gravenhurst Seniors Club also confirmed some of the information. By Garnet Schenk

What Was On That Corner Originally published Autumn 2016

The building located at 196 Muskoka Rd S., the corner of Royal Street and Muskoka Rd. S. has served as retail store, the home of the local newspaper, living accommodation, as well as different business and professional offices. The ground floor at present is occupied by the Pizza Pizza outlet. Historical records for the building show that a Miss Arnott came to Gravenhurst from Scotland in 1886. Shortly thereafter Miss Arnott opened a business at that location. The 1891 Census for Gravenhurst lists Miss Arnott as a Dressmaker. In 1904 and 1906 Dunn’s Credit Ratings listed her as operating a Dry Goods and Millinery outlet. The business was obviously successful as her niece Ida Dass came from Scotland to serve as an Assistant in Millinery. The 1901 Census for Gravenhurst shows that Ida Dass and her brother Henry C. Dass lived with their aunt here in Gravenhurst. It is interesting to look at the term Assistant in Millinery. The dictionary defines a milliner as one who not only is a vendor of bonnets and dress wares but also one who designs, makes, trims or sells women’s hats. Those definitions give us an idea of the type of activity that was involved in operating a dry goods and millinery business during that period of time in Gravenhurst. In part it was a personal service business that thrived in a growing pioneer community. Little is known about Henry Dass until he purchased the Gravenhurst Banner in 1920. He moved the office and the press equipment to the second floor of 196 Muskoka Rd. S., owned by his aunt, Elizabeth Arnott. The timeline is not clear on how long the Banner was printed at that location. It is clear that it was located there for a number of years. It has been reported that the old flatbed presses used in the printing business at that time literally shook the whole building. It was also rumored that there was an unpleasant noise factor associated with their operation for those people entering to pay an invoice or do business at the lower level business. After the late 1940’s a number of business and professional services occupied the building. The lower level was used in part for real estate offices by different agencies. Karl Husslestrom and his wife

operated their real estate office at that location prior to moving the business to Royal Street, now occupied by Anny Lynders Hairstyling. Dr. Hurst, an Optometrist also occupied part of the building for a number of years. The ground floor is now occupied by the local Pizza Pizza outlet. As one examines the history of the businesses in the Town of Gravenhurst one can see how and why they were established and why they thrived. The life cycle of a business or service responds not only to the needs of the community over time, but also is impacted upon by cultural and technological change in the business environment. The skills of a milliner are no longer in demand at the local level. The items the milliner used to take pride in producing are now mass produced in a factory environment and shipped to retail outlets. The technology for preparing and printing a newspaper has changed to the point that the preparation and layout of a newspaper are, at the present found often as separate business functions from the printing of the paper. Culture, technological progress and the manner of doing business affects the life cycle of a business venture from its beginning to its end. It is true, in a general sense, that the Gravenhurst business community has thrived, because it has been successful in responding to the needs and desires of the people and the community on the time continuum of cultural and technological change. That indeed is what makes it so interesting to look at the history of businesses located in the buildings along Gravenhurst’s business core. Miss Arnott, in addition to having her business interests at 196 Muskoka St. S., owned and lived in a home on Royal St., now occupied by Anny Lynders Hairstyling. It is also evident that Miss Arnott had a commitment to Gravenhurst. The records show that she was listed on the voters list in 1945, but I suppose that is another story for a future article. Reference: Statistical information was provided by Archivist Judy Humphries, Gravenhurst Archives. By Garnet Schenk



What Was On That Corner Originally published Spring 2017

in November of 1960. The new one story addition faced Muskoka St., with a new entrance, an extension to the lobby and Post Master’s Office. Over the years, several professional people had used some of the office space upstairs. These included E.W. Clairmont, a lawyer, surveyor Bart Tompsett and Town Planner J. Ross Raymond. The Gravenhurst Post Office was given the designation as a historical building by the Gravenhurst Historical Committee. The tower clock was completely restored, and on April 10, 2016, helped to mark this historic event.

The Gravenhurst Post Office has provided postal service to the residents of the community since 1862. The post office has not always been located at its present location nor was it always in a Government owned and operated building. The first post office opened in Gravenhurst on August 1, 1862. It was located in McCabe’s Tavern (the Freemasons Arms). In 1868 the Cockburn family built a two storey structure on the southeast corner of Muskoka Rd. and Brock St., and the post office was moved into that building. That building was destroyed by the great fire that swept over much of the Town. After the fire, the post office was relocated a short distance east, on Brock St., to a building next to where Gravenhurst Bakery is located. It remained there until 1925. In 1913 the Federal Government purchased an empty lot , on the northwest corner of Muskoka Street, where the post office is now located. The lot had at one time been the location of the Steamship and Stage Hotel and then the Windsor Hotel, both of which had burned to the ground. Although the lot was purchased in 1913 the advent of the Great War delayed the construction of the new post office. Construction of the new building began in 1925 with the grand opening on July 5, 1926. The original building was a one story structure, much smaller than the present building. If you visit the lobby of the Post Office, there is a picture, as well as a historical narrative of the building on display. In 1931 a second story was added, and in 1934 the building was enlarged again. The structure was once again renovated and enlarged in 1951. In 1960 a single storey wing was added which was officially opened 26


Over the years the post office has served the people of Gravenhurst in another important way. It was a place for a social visit, a short chit chat and a review of the bulletin board, before you picked up the mail. The ritual of picking up the mail provided the opportunity for people to exchange local news. The advent of the Street Boxes has changed that for many people, however, the post office is still a focal point for many people, in the Town of Gravenhurst. Reference: from information prepared by Gravenhurst Arhives. By Garnet Schenk

Stop in to see us for all your home, garden, paint and giftware needs.

Gravenhurst Home Hardware 1170 Muskoka Road Phone: (705) 687 - 3479 Owned and operated by Ian & Tara McNaughton



Wood Working Shop and Woodcarving The volunteer Supervisors are all well skilled and ready to help those less knowledgeable in the use at the Seniors Activity Centre The wood working shop has always been an extremely busy part of the Gravenhurst Seniors activities. In late 1993, the workshop opened for business. Many of the tools were donated by members, through the Trillium Foundation, personal donations and the Walkers Point Seniors donated their workshop equipment as their shop closed. Zone 39 donated $1,000.00 for workbenches and other equipment. Besides working on their own projects, the woodworking group have taken on major projects over the years. They built and donated a large playhouse for Habitat for Humanity, constructed birdhouses for Communities in Bloom, built an obelisk for the Gravenhurst Horticultural Society for their garden in Town, built the cross that is in front of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, constructed a Pulpit and Mercy Seat for the Salvation Army Church with material donated, restoration of the Bell Tower from the old West Gravenhurst Elementary School (later used as a community hall), and restoration of the Opera House porch or veranda. The workshop also completed the grandfather clock, and the functional spinning wheel you see in our lounge today.

of the power tools available. There is a safety first approach to everything in the shop and if you don’t know something – ask. You can enjoy the self-satisfaction of creating your dream piece, have many hours of relaxed concentration in an atmosphere of congenial companionship, and wind up with something that you have created. To accomplish this you have only to take any rectangular piece of wood, cut, carve and then create your own project. The Shop President is Godfrey Cook who has been in the position for a number of years. As well as overseeing the shop activities, Godfrey has a group of several people (men and women) who meet on Wednesday afternoon for strictly wood carving. Rob Gifford has been involved with the shop since 2012, a self-taught extremely talented carver who has generously provided beautiful carvings for fundraisers for the Seniors Club. He has also looked after all the maintenance of the power equipment in the shop. The shop has volunteered their time for many years, to make, repair, fix and generally help the Club whenever something is out of whack or needs to be repaired. The shop has been and continues to be an extremely important part of the activities at the Seniors Centre. by Fred Schulz Construction of the Workshop/Horticultural building in April 1993.



Opera House Verandah Restoration Article originally submitted Sept/Oct 1996

The idea of rebuilding the Opera House Verandah was started by Mike Lipiski. He put the idea to the members of the Workshop at the Seniors Centre and things got rolling. At this point we had to organize a work force and Ernie Taylor was asked to be in charge of the whole operation. We started by going to the Town yard where pieces of the original verandah were located and we were able to obtain enough old pieces to make replicas. We were able to get as far as the roof last fall until snow and cold weather forced us to stop, and in May of this year we were able to start up again. All the railings and spindles were milled at the Seniors Workshop, and as the parts were made, they were taken to the Opera House basement where they received three coats of paint, and then were ready for assembly. A few anecdotes:  We had to report for duty by 8:00 a.m. or the boss wanted to know the reason why we were late.  Coffee break had to be at 10:00 a.m. sharp with no excuses accepted by our in-house caterer.  There were lots of sidewalk superintendents, and of course, we listened to every one of them!  It got so cold last fall that we had to wear thick gloves while working so our fingers wouldn’t freeze.  At the completion of the job, we all got

together for a barbecue and some reminiscing. Without the expertise of Ernie Taylor, I don’t know how far we would have gotten. The following seniors worked through sun, snow, rain, sleet and hail to get the job done. John Ayling Floyd Cooke Don Hillock Al Jewiss Mike Lipiski John Prebble Ernie Taylor

Margaret Briggs Des Cunningham Gil Hunter Enka Krauth Keith Pinkney Jack Tansley Ray Wright

We would also like to thank the hostesses at the Seniors Centre who prepared and sent coffee and goodies each morning to the Opera House for the workers. A time capsule will be put in one of the posts at the time of the Opera House Verandah dedication scheduled for sometime in August. It will contain such things as: The Senior Citizens Club calendar of events All About Us Newsletter List of volunteers who worked on the verandah Plus other things of interest

There has been a lot of praise received for the Opera House Verandah and everyone who worked on the project should be justifiably proud of a ‘job well done’. Submitted by Ray Wright



Activities – 25 years later Before the new building opened, the activities were limited to what facilities could accommodate. Card games, bingo and table games were popular. There were seven locations where the seniors club met from 1950 to 1991. Once our new seniors building opened, the members moved in and I’m sure they said “let the games begin!” A questionnaire was published by the interim Board of Directors, which was published by the Gravenhurst News entitled “A Salute to the Seniors Centre” in November 1991. The Centre needed input into day and evening programs. As a result, equipment was needed, some was donated and some was purchased through grants. In May 1993, the newsletter “All About Us” came about in order to share information on activities at the Gravenhurst Seniors Club. Twenty five years have come and gone and the newsletter is still going strong. Vera Ann Ruttan, interim Director of Recreation and Culture, developed and organized a full activity schedule which was published on a monthly basis showing the weekly activities available. This schedule is still used to this day. Activity Leaders play an important roll in supervising and organizing the various activities and over the past 25 years, they’ve done a great job. In August 2000, President Cliff Flavell, observed that membership was continuing to increase and felt more space was needed for new activities. Many of the activity groups organized card tournaments to help raise funds for a new addition. The grand opening was October 2002. The monthly activity schedule was constantly adding new activities. The Centre has grown from 7 activities on the May 1993 weekly schedule to 35 in 2017. This includes some activities shown on the Health and Well Being Schedule. The newsletter is a great reference to keep up to date on activities at the Centre. Shuffleboard, darts, billiards, bingo, euchre, bid euchre and bridge were shown as weekly



activities according to the first issue in May 1993 of All About Us. Over the years, a few activities have been discontinued. The Seniors Centre hosted Square Dancing from 1996 for about 10 years, Scottish Country Dancing for 6 years, horseshoes in 1997 for 5 years, reflexology in 1997 for about 10 years, and yoga from 1996 until the end of 2017. The Elderberries Choir practiced at our new centre for about 15 years and had a few concerts at the centre. New activities were added at the request of members as long as an activity leader was available. Since the 1993 weekly schedule, table tennis, bean bag toss, line dancing, arthritic exercise, palette/art group, texas hold’em poker, fitness, crokinole, carpet bowling, social ballroom dancing, rug hooking, cribbage, workshop, toe nail clinic, and blood pressure clinic have been added. The Centre also had 6 handed pepper in November 2015 for over 1 year. Overall, 35 activities were enjoyed by the members of the Senior Club in 2017 and the Centre is looking forward to 2018. The Anniversary Edition Committee

Mister Roberts HAIR DESIGN Seniors’ Discounts on Tuesdays through Thursdays


Monthly Luncheon—April 2012

Graham Eliot’s Goodbye Party 2014—18 years Custodian

Big Bucks Bid Euchre 2017

Workshop/Carving Group 2017



The Seniors Games – OSGA The Ontario Seniors Games Association is made up of forty districts across the province of Ontario. They were started in 1986. Each district stages their events in May and June. We represent District 11. There is also an arrangement that provides for district competitions in the odd year and in the even year, both district and provincial competitions are held.

The provincial competitions are called ACTIFEST and these games are hosted by a city in Ontario. Multiple winners at the District level have the opportunity to compete in one event at the ACTIFEST competitions. The events are open to Seniors 55 and older. You do not have to be a member of any club. Some of our members participate in various games and look forward to this event. This is not an event of the Seniors Club, but we do host some games to qualify.

The provincial games are later in the summer. In 2014, we had some members head out to Edmonton to compete in the Canada Senior Games. Some of our members have been participating in these events since May 1994. There are over 20 competitive categories listed for games. For 19 years, Howard and Donna Irwin were our Gravenhurst Seniors Centre convenors and then Bill Buckley took it over in 2014. A lot of work goes into these events and we couldn’t manage without the help of our volunteers to set up games, and look after the lunches, and anyone that is needed anywhere. A banquet is held to honour the winners in our district. In our “All About Us” newsletter, we have recorded the winners (gold, silver and bronze) since 1994 and look forward to many more.

The Anniversary Edition Committee

We wouldn’t be here without the support of our neighbors. So it feels good to return the favor. That’s why your local Gravenhurst Tim Hortons are proud to be part of this great community.







Gravenhurst Seniors Centre Newsletter  
Gravenhurst Seniors Centre Newsletter  

2018 March 25th Edition Newsletter