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Holiday 2010 | Volume 4 | Issue 4

is h e l g i

The Artwork of

Shelley McVittie St. Thomas Christmas Tour of Homes Aberlin Dairy Goat Farm Music by Firelight Elgin Events, Recipes & More


Farm Mark Your N et eighbourhood



In-Store Bakery • Fresh Produce Grocery • Dairy • Meat • Bulk Foods Pet Foods • Garden Centre

PLUS Christmas Trees • Poinsettias Garlands, Rope & Wreaths We proudly support local farmers.

519-633-9691 1030 Talbot St . St.Thomas

OPEN YEAR ROUND Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm Saturday & Sunday: 8am-6pm

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 5 Elgin Events 9 Aberlin Dairy Goat Farm

With goat cheese recipes from Woolwich Dairy

13 Brewing Up Some Buzz

Railway City Brewing's newest seasonal brew

Seasons Greetings Stay Connected to the Farm!

Storage Potatoes Fresh Organic Brown Eggs Organic Chickens (whole & pieces) Pastured Beef & Pork


42828 Shorlea Ln, St. Thomas

Wintertime in the municipality of

West Elgin Central to Everything, Second to None

Village shops decked out for the holidays; Festive foods at family owned restaurants; Sparkling snowy vistas; Winter recreation outdoors and at ‘the rink’.

West Elgin Santa Claus Parades West Lorne - Fri Nov 26th at 7pm Rodney - Sat Dec 4th at 5:30pm

We’re just down the road and off the beaten path. WEST LORNE • RODNEY • PORT GLASGOW 519-785-0560

14 Map of Elgin

Featuring locally in-season produce

17 Entertaining Elgin Music by Firelight

19 Artist Shelley McVittie 23 Inside The St. Thomas Rotary Club's Annual Tour of Homes 27 Winter Recipes Roasted Carrot Hummus and Winter Lentil & Apple Salad

Our Cover Image

Homeward, by Shelley McVittie See our story on Shelley starting on page 19, and visit her website, with online emporium, at Editor Debra Bagshaw • Layout & Design Joanne Bagshaw • Advertising Info • TO SUBSCRIBE Send a cheque for $10 (to cover mailing) to the following address. Includes 5 issues. Relish Elgin Magazine P.O. Box 20058, St. Thomas, ON, N5P 4H4 519-633-1992

Copyright 2010, Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. All rights reserved. Relish Elgin is published by Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. Reproduction of any material published in Relish Elgin is strictly prohibited without the written permission of the Publisher.


Lotus Thai Restaurant


He's making a list; he's checking it twice ...

November & December Deal:

Spring Roll Saturdays 6 Spring Rolls for $5

VISIT US IN OUR NEW LOCATION AT 295 Talbot St., St. Thomas

Now A Licensed Establishment

HOURS: Mon-Fri 11:30-9:30 Sat 2-9:30, Sun 5-8



Saturday November 13th Dutton - 1pm Saturday November 20th St. Thomas - 6pm Friday November 26th West Lorne - 7pm Port Stanley - 7pm Saturday November 27th Aylmer - 2pm Saturday December 4th Springfield - 1pm Rodney - 5:30pm Port Burwell - 6:30pm Sunday December 5th Fingal - 2pm Belmont - 6pm Saturday December 11th Straffordville - 10:30am

To find out what's on in Elgin, or to add your own event, visit 1-877-GoElgin

Elgin Events



Now until SAT Nov 27 EXHIBITION: PUTTING THE 'C' INTO CHRISTMAS Christmas gifts that begin with “C”. Aylmer & District Museum 14 East St S, Aylmer 519-773-9723 Now until Sat Nov 27 EXHIBITION: CLARK McDOUGALL'S BARNS Elgin County Museum 4th Floor, 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas Sat Nov 6 Horton Farmers’ Market Harvest Fest Celebration 6-9:30pm; Adults $15, Kids $10 Horton Farmers’ Market Building Contact: Tricia, 519-777-9529 Sun Nov 7 Wedding Expo Bridal Show 11:30-4:30; $5 advance, $9 at door St.Thomas Golf & Country Club 42325 Sparta Ln, Union 519-639-2336 Fri Nov 12 - Sun Nov 14 ‘Twas the Art Before Christmas The St. Thomas-Elgin Artists' Guild annual show and sale. Fri 6-9pm; Sat 12-9pm; Sun 12-4pm Canada Southern Railway Station, 750 Talbot St, St. Thomas

Visit to view our complete events listings.

Sat Nov 13 Appetizers & Dips CLASS 1:30pm; $10 (registration required) Heritage Line Herbs; 519-866-5577 53443 Heritage Ln, RR#1 Aylmer Sat Nov 13 Donizetti’s Don Pasquale from The Met: Live in HD Galaxy Cinema, 519-631-2261 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas Sat Nov 13 - Sat Jan 8 Exhibition: Mary Louise White: Threads of Thought Reception Nov 13 at 7pm St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre 301 Talbot Street, St. Thomas 519-631-4040; Sat Nov 13 - Sat Jan 8 Exhibition: CURE FOR THE COMMON PHOTO St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre 301 Talbot Street, St. Thomas 519-631-4040; Sat Nov 13 & Sun Nov 14 St. Thomas Rotary Club's Christmas Tour of Homes 10am-4pm; $15 adv., $17 at door 519-633-0838 or 519-631-0211 Candlelight Preview Fri Nov 12 (Tour, auction & dinner; $75/person) Sat Nov 13 & Sun Nov 14 Pinecroft Pottery Annual Pre-Christmas Sale 8122 Rogers Rd South, RR#5 Aylmer 519-773-3435;


Sun Nov 14 Vienna Lioness’ Annual Christmas Craft Show & Sale 9am-3pm; $2 Admission Vienna Community Centre 26 Fulton Street, Vienna Contact: Sally, 519-874-4325 Fri Nov 19 Christmas in the Park Tree lighting, music, hay rides, cookies and a visit from Santa. 7-9:30pm; Dutton Centennial Park Contact: Kate, 519-762-3209 Fri Nov 19 to Sun Nov 21 Aylmer & District Museum Volunteers’ Christmas Tour of Homes Fri & Sat 7-10pm; Sun 1-4pm $15; 519-773-9723 Fri Nov 19 Winter Music Series: Fred Eaglesmith Port Stanley Festival Theatre 6 - 302 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-4353 Fri Nov 19 St. Thomas Tree Lighting Ceremony Refreshments, entertainment, horse drawn hay rides, prizes, and a visit from Santa. 6-7:30pm; St. Thomas City Hall 519-633-5248


Events Sat Nov 20 Edison Museum Mystery Dinner & Silent Auction 5-10pm; $30/person Vienna Community Centre 26 Fulton St, Vienna Contact: Jean, 519-874-4505 Sat Nov 20 Aylmer Performing Arts Presents Bill Durst Old Town Hall Theatre 38 John St S, Aylmer; 519-765-1616 Sat Nov 20 Windows of Christmas The CASO Station will be decorated with wreaths; silent auction, kids' activities, refreshments. 1-7:30pm; 750 Talbot St, St. Thomas 519-633-2535;

Thurs Nov 25 - Sun Nov 28 Portside Gallery Show & Sale Reception Thurs Nov 25, 7-9pm. 11am-5pm; 519-782-7066 187½ Main Street, Port Stanley Thurs Nov 25 - Sat Dec 4 WEDS Presents Never Kiss a Naughty Nanny West Elgin Dramatics Society Theatre 199 Main St, Dutton 519-762-2862

Sat Nov 27 - Fri Dec 31 Holiday Fantasy of Lights Pinafore Park, St. Thomas 5-10pm; Thurs Dec 2 - Sat Dec 11 Elgin Theatre Guild Presents A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Princess Avenue Playhouse 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-8530 Sat Dec 4 Port Burwell Lighthouse Lighting 6pm; Sat Dec 4 Christmas Spirit Walk Springwater Conservation Area 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer 519-773-9037

Fri Dec 10 Denise Pelley: Christmas From the Heart Port Stanley Festival Theatre 6 - 302 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-4353; Sat Dec 11 Aylmer Performing Arts Presents Dan Hill Old Town Hall Theatre 38 John St S, Aylmer; 519-765-1616 Sat Dec 11 Verdi’s Don Carlo from The Met: Live in HD Galaxy Cinema, 519-631-2261 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas Sat Dec 18 3rd Annual Celtic Christmas with the Sheridan Band $10/person; 519-633-6118 Princess Avenue Playhouse 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas

Sat Dec 4 & Dec 5 Pinecroft Pottery Annual Christmas Sale 8122 Rogers Rd South, RR#5 Aylmer 519-773-3435 Sun Dec 5 Carol Sing at THE Old St. Thomas Church With the Salvation Army Band, guest speakers and refreshments. 3pm; 55 Walnut St, St. Thomas

Events may change subsequent to publication. Please call ahead to confirm details.


Event Photos • Business Directory • Event Listings • Recipes • News Bits



© Lorado

Sat Nov 20 42nd Annual St. Thomas Elginaires Christmas Show 2 & 7:30pm; $15 (students free) Parkside Collegiate Institute 241 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas Contact: Peter, 519-933-3986

Weekends from Nov 27 - Dec 19 Santa Treats Train Rides Port Stanley Terminal Rail Station 309 Bridge Street, Port Stanley 519-782-3730;


Christmas Open Houses

Fri Nov 12 - Sun Nov 14 Victorian Elegance Lots of inspiration and 15-50% off discounts on many items 109 Talbot Street West, Aylmer 519-765-3634

Sat Nov 13 & Sun Nov 14 Canadale Nurseries Entertainment, kids' activities, sales, food and special guests. Get pictures with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their live reindeer! Santa & his reindeer return Nov 27 & 28. 269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-7264; Thurs Nov 18, 3-8pm Cedarhurst Salon & Spa Refreshments, demonstrations, draws and 25% off retail products 519-631-7629 76 Talbot St, St. Thomas Thurs Nov 18 - Sat Nov 20 Family Flowers Annual Parade of Poinsettias 44329 Talbot Ln, St. Thomas 519-631-6004

Fri Nov 19, 6-9pm Wiener’s Floral Designs 20% off artificial Christmas arrangements; additional 5% off with food bank donation 18 George St, St. Thomas 519-633-6003 Nov 20 & Nov 21 Heritage Line Herbs Product sampling, vendors & stocking stuffer sales 53443 Heritage Line, RR1 Aylmer 519-866-5577 NOV 22 - 27 ROSE KLEIN All ready-made jewellery 20% off; 15% off all semi-precious gems, seed beads & findings in December 48330 Wilson Ln, Belmont 519-857-5255; Thurs Nov 25 - Sat Nov 27 Dutton/Dunwich & West Elgin Home for Christmas Shopping Weekend 519-762-2965 or 1-866-401-2965


Thurs Nov 25 - Sat Nov 27 Empire Valley Farm Market Thurs & Fri until 8pm; Sat until 4pm 27983 Talbot Line, Wallacetown 519-762-3504 Sat Nov 27 & Sun Nov 28 Sparta Country Christmas Santa & giveaways from local merchants Village of Sparta 519-775-0054

Sat Nov 27 & Sun Nov 28 Lavender Blue Lavender Farm Lavender cider and cake, Christmas gift ideas 47589 Sparta Line (3km east of Sparta) 519-494-5525; Weekends in December Rush Creek Wines Complimentary wine & cheese tastings and surprise specials each weekend 48995 Jamestown Ln, Aylmer 519-773-5432;



Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence 2009 WINNER

Don’t forget to order your store-made ham or fresh turkey for the Holidays!

PRESENT THIS AD & RECEIVE 10% OFF YOUR PURCHASE (Valid until February 28th, 2011; Meat Packs excluded)

Why Farmgate? Our meats are all grown and processed in Ontario, with no antibiotics or hormones. Try our store-made deli meats, which are lean, low in salt and free of gluten, phosphates, chemical nitrates and nitrites. FREE DELIVERY AVAILABLE • COME IN AND ENJOY A DELI SANDWICH IN OUR NEW SEATING AREA

Mon to Sat 9am-6pm • 519-637-0055 • NEW LOCATION: 19 Elgin Street, St. Thomas


Downtown St. Thomas

Home to great shops, services, restaurants, offices and attractions West Village is where you’ll find unique shops and services, restaurants, banks and the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre. Talbot Centre revolves around City Hall and includes shopping, banking, churches, cafés and a microbrewery. Market Square is home to the CASO railway station, the Elgin County Railway Museum, shop. restaurants and the Horton Farmers’ Market. East Village offers fast food & specialty restaurants. Fri Nov 19, 6pm CITY HALL TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY Sat Nov 20, 6pm SANTA CLAUS PARADE

East Village


Talbot Centre


West Village


Market Square

ArtsFood & Recreation & Dining

Getting Your


Not long ago, goat cheese was considered a “specialty” item – today it has become a mainstream treat in many Canadian kitchens. Elgin County farmers Linda and Lambert Dekort help meet the growing demand for the goat milk used in cheese and other products. The Car-A-Van Tour, presented each October by the Elgin Federation of Agriculture, gives the public an opportunity to visit a sampling of Elgin County farms. The Dekorts graciously opened their Aberlin Dairy Goat Farm for the 2010 tour. During the tour, Lambert described how the goats are guided twice each day, by turns, into the 18 stall parlour. He offered visitors a cup of coffee and some information on goat milk, and explained that Aberlin Farm’s milk is shipped to the Ontario Dairy Goat Co-op and most is made into soft cheese at Woolwich Dairy in Orangeville. He then detoured to the goat pen to gently lift a new-born kid from its mother and off to the nursery. The Dekorts established the goat farm in May of 2000 with 50 bred doelings. Lambert’s father had owned the farm as a cow dairy operation since 1963, and initially the Dekorts also maintained the cow milking herd of 35. When the cow barn burnt in a fire, they decided to switch over completely to goats and expanded their herd to 150. Today it sits at 250 to 300 milking goats, and 150 dry and young stock.


The Joys of Kids Linda enthusiastically supplied more information about Aberlin Farm. They have been happy, says Linda, with their decision to convert to goats. An efficient dairy cow operation would have required the purchase of expensive quota and the construction of a substantial barn. Linda appreciates the fact that dairy goat farming is “a little lighter and cleaner”. Linda laughs, “That was an important consideration since none of five daughters was interested in a future milking anything.” She recalls times when first aid was required for cows, and her job was to hold their heads - it was not an experience she enjoyed. Linda finds the goats to be remarkably cooperative when it comes to the milking routine, contentedly filing toward the parlour at the appropriate time. Since the October 2010 farm tour, the Dekorts have started preparation to upgrade their 18-stall parlour to a 36-stall “double eighteen” which will cut the milking time in half. Aberlin Farm’s association with the Ontario Dairy Goat Co-op has been a good one. Says 


Food & Dining  Linda, “Meetings and newsletters are helpful; everyone on the board also milks goats and it is progressive in its decision-making.” She speaks highly of the board manager, Lisa Thompson, who has done an excellent job of researching new markets and products. To complement the soft cheese production at Woolwich, the board is researching possible production of a hard cheese, and in November will release a new drinkable yogurt. (Preview samples of the yogurt were given away at the September International Plowing Match.) Four other farms nearby to the Dekorts' also ship to the co-op. These farms range in size, from a relatively new smaller operation to one with around 900 milking goats. Challenges Dairy goat farming does present its own unique challenges. Naturally, goats breed in autumn and kid in the spring, providing an over-supply of milk in spring and summer, and not enough in winter. “That is a challenge,” says Linda, “because the consumer wants goat cheese all year long.” To encourage breeding in the spring the goats are exposed to a bit of “simulated fall” by manipulation of lighting and temperature in their environment.

are complicated births and we were grateful that everything went smoothly on the tour day.” Linda mentions one more interesting challenge with goats: “They are smart; they have the mentality of a dog. The kids are like playful children and have a tendency to do what you don’t want them to do. You form an attachment much more readily than with cows, and the loss of one hits home more.” From Farm to Table The Lamberts are proud of their product, and they enjoy the Woolwich cheeses in their home. One of their favourites, says Linda, is the “Woolwich Elites” – creamy chevre layered with gourmet toppings like roasted red pepper or cranberry. Mmmmmm… Christmas entertaining made easy and delicious!

The heat of summer also affects milk production. “We are constantly working to keep the milk flow even throughout the year.” In addition, goats have their own particular “realm of diseases”. The Dekorts take the kids away from the mom to the nursery as soon as they are born, to safeguard their health. They used to let the babies nurse, and then later had to train them to go to a bottle. They now remove the babies before bonding occurs, which has proven less stressful to both mother and kid and the babies readily accept their Dekort “mothers”. Spring and fall kidding seasons are busy with 5 or 6 does (usually with 2 kids each) giving birth on an average day. Linda was delighted that visitors on the farm tour had an opportunity to witness the births of some kids. She notes, “Occasionally there



Delicious Goat Cheese

Food & Dining

4 3 cups ½ cup ¾ cup 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp 1 2 8 oz 2-3 Tbsp 2 Tbsp

fresh pears with stems (Bosc) full bodied red wine (like a Shiraz or Cabernet) granulated sugar water lemon juice vanilla extract orange cinnamon sticks strip of orange peel, without pith Woolwich Dairy soft unripened Goat Cheese log (original flavour) fresh orange juice icing sugar

© sbossert


• Remove goat cheese from package and place in a small bowl, allowing it to come to room temperature and soften. • Poaching Liquid: Use a small to medium sized cooking pot that holds 4 pears. Add wine, sugar, water, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon sticks and orange peel. Begin heating the liquid to a low simmer. • Carefully peel the pears and cut into halves and remove the core. Add pears to the liquid and simmer for 20-25 minutes until softened, turn the pears to allow all sides to soak. Remove pears and set aside to cool completely. • Remove cinnamon and orange peel and simmer liquid to reduce down while stirring occasionally to approximately ½ to ¾ cups of rich, thickened red wine sauce. • Remove from the heat and allow to cool. • Goat Cheese Stuffing: Add orange juice and icing sugar to the goat cheese and mix. • With a piping bag or melon baller, fill the core cavity with the goat cheese stuffing. Drizzle with the wine sauce and garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

FESTIVE BAKED BRIE 250 g Woolwich Dairy Goat Brie or Triple Crème Goat Brie (8.8oz) 2 Tbsp maple syrup 1 Tbsp dried cranberries 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped walnuts

• Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C). • In a small bowl, mix fruit, syrup and walnuts together and spoon on top of Brie. • Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins, until soft. • Serve with crackers or thinly sliced baguette bread.

Recipes courtesy of Woolwich Dairy. You can find more great goat cheese recipes on their website,



TURKEY FARMS INC. Your Local Stop for Turkey & Store-Made Turkey Specialties

Share Something Local With Your Friends! Fresh, all natural beers - craft brewed in small batches using only the finest natural ingredients. AVAILABLE AT AREA LCBO’S

Open Mon to Fri 9am-5:30pm & Sat 9am-4pm

10882 Sunset Rd, Talbotville


Order your fresh Christmas Turkey or Roast by December 15th to ensure availability.

168 Curtis St., St. Thomas


OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK TOURS AVAILABLE Visit the brewery to discover our latest


Wind n Willow


NEW: Products from Roothams Gourmet & The Garlic Box, EasyScent - the innovative cold release by Lampe Berger Paris, Kyber Outerwear Funky Zoo Collection & Fashion Jewellery PLUS: Teas & Accessories, Wind & Willow Mixes, Christmas Decor & More

Get inspired November 13th & 14th on the St. Thomas Rotary Club’s Annual Christmas Tour of Homes

435 Talbot St, St. Thomas • 519.637.3904 • &

Railway City is



Clovermead's Christy Hiemstra and Railway City Brewmaster Barb Ziola celebrate their bee-beer collaboration. Railway City Brewing Company’s “Beer of the Month” creations keep things interesting for those seeking a bit of variety in their local beer options. They also reflect the brewery’s commitment to promoting all that Elgin County has to offer. The seasonal brews are designed to create a little beer conversation, or in the case of the November selection, some “buzz”. Local apiary Clovermead is known for its selection of tasty honeys (as well as an unbelievable adventure farm, educational tours, gift shop and famous bee beard events). This summer was a good one for honey production at Clovermead—it seemed like just the time to celebrate with a bee-beer collaboration. In October, Railway City co-owner Paul Corriveau and brewmaster Barb Ziola met with Chris and Christy Hiemstra of Clovermead to make a selection for November’s honey enhanced ale. From Summer Blossom to Goldenrod, Barb considered the taste profiles of each of the Clovermead honeys. She was impressed with the intense flavour of the buckwheat but, in the end, Goldenrod came out the winning selection for the new beer.


After touring and tasting, Barb loaded up her pail of honey, anxious to get brewing. What should the new beer be called, wondered Paul? “Well,” Barb laughed, “my creative talents are in the brewing department—it’s the marketing guy’s job to come up with a name as good as the beer.” Stop in at Railway City in November to check out the Clovermead honeyed ale, and the name. (Don’t be surprised if Chris Heimstra has a hand in the naming—anyone who's visited Clovermead's Bee Adventure Farm knows he's got a knack for coming up with outrageously creative bee puns).

Railway City’s regular beers include Iron Spike Blonde, Copper and Amber, and Dead Elephant Ales. Visit them at 168 Curtis Street, St. Thomas (519-631-1881) or Clovermead's Gift Shop at 11302 Imperial Rd N, Aylmer, is open all year (519-7735503,


Savour the Season Map of Elgin County



ille W

Apples • Asian Vegetables • Beets • Brussel Sprouts Cabbage • Carrots • Cauliflower Cucumber (Greenhouse) • Garlic Leeks • Lettuce (Greenhouse) Mushrooms • Onions • Parsnips • Pears



Peppers (Greenhouse) Potatoes • Radishes Rutabaga • Sprouts • Squash Sweet Potatoes • Tomatoes (Greenhouse)


109 Talbot Street West, Aylmer



Enhance your home this Holiday Season with exquisite decorations. Get inspired by our decorated trees bursting with delight. Glamorous ladies’ fashions & accessories await. We have gifts for everyone, including the baby.

COME AND JOIN US FOR OUR CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE Nov 12-14: Fri & Sat 9:30-5; Sun 12-4 • 15-50% discounts off many items

FEATURING SAVANNA’S TEA ROOM L.L.B.O. Full Lunch Specials • High Tea • Perch Dinners • Reservations Recommended



Beyond the Garden Gate LADIES' FASHIONS




© paradoks_blizanaca

Map of Elgin County


Join us for our Christmas Open House during

SPARTA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS November 27th & November 28th

PARTY WEAR • RED HAT BOUTIQUE LARGE SELECTION OF FAIRIES • WEBKINZ FURNITURE • HOME DÉCOR In the Historic Village of Sparta • 10:30-4:30 Daily • 519-775-2361



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Centrepiece Marketing presents the 2010/2011 Port Stanley Festival Theatre





DECEMBER 10 2010


Christmas From the Heart

May 25 to June 11th


June 15th to July 2nd

“BOEING BOEING” By Marc Camoletti

July 6th to July 23rd

“7-10 SPLIT”

A World Premiere by Michael Wilmot July 27th to August 13th

“DUMP GUYS” By Simon Joynes

MARCH 12 2011


Returning to her Old Neighbourhood

August 17th to September 10th


Season Subscriptions & Gift Certificates Available Now Great Christmas Gifts! Artistic Director


General Manager

APRIL 2 2011 Juno Award Winner


With Special Guest Andy White

Presented in association with the


6-302 Bridge Street, Port Stanley Please call the Box Office:

(519) 782-4353

Or visit our website:

Tickets $22 each/$25 at the door 519-782-4353

Music by Firelight

Arts & Recreation




In the same way a well-used Gibson guitar waits quietly in a corner, seemingly begging for someone to strum the strings and bring it to life, music has beckoned Lauren for as long as she can remember.

She recalls being given a child-sized guitar before the age of five. She's been told her father played a mean Honky Tonk piano, but doesn't remember it he died when she was quite young. She found her next guitar in a thrift shop during high school and hooked up with a friend who played classical music. Lauren “noodled” her way around the instrument. “Melodies would lend themselves to words for me,” states Lauren. She took formal music lessons, and still has the now-tattered page on which, in her teens, she wrote her first song. At age 17 came her first big break - playing the coffeehouse scene in front of real live audiences. Fate, though, has its own plans. It steered Lauren away from the stage and down the great road of life. There have been great adventures, and many bumps in that road. But her path always drew her back to music, just like re-discovering a favourite pair of comfy old slippers. Though Lauren’s life began in the inner city, she has gravitated to smaller centers through the years, and is now firmly nestled in the wilds of Southwestern Ontario. “I've found that most people in big cities are entertainment spectators – they see shows, listen to music and go to concerts and events, whereas out here folks are entertainment creators – we put on shows, play music, and put on our own concerts and events. That's for me.”


So it was perhaps inevitable that after a musical hiatus - except for finding personal solace over the years strumming her guitar in the privacy of her home - Lauren had an epiphany moment when a neighbour invited her out to a night of karaoke. Her friend declaimed, “This girl can SING!”… so began a band called ‘The Neighbours’ that performed bluegrass throughout the area. After several years together The Neighbours drifted in other directions, catapulting Lauren down a new road: developing and fronting a country band. Music, for Lauren, has now come full circle. She performs as “Music by Firelight”, a solo act, at festivals, parties, concerts and weddings throughout Elgin and beyond, altering her set list as required to suit the venue. She is a musical chameleon, loving and performing many styles of music, but her favourite is the simple, stripped down acoustic guitar and voice.  


Arts & Recreation  Though this diverse individual has dipped her toe into many waters over the years, the ability to lose herself in the solace of music has been always there waiting for her. Like many of us wanting to go our own way, life has other things in store. But regardless of what transpires in her life Lauren continues to gravitate back to the guitar and her music. When it comes to performing, the joy, passion and love of her musical craft reaches out to every member of the audience. “Music needs soul in order to come to life. Technically you can be very good and pick every note perfectly, but if it lacks life, it is empty. Music is storytelling: it is giving an experience to the people who are listening and watching. All the greats can do both.”

As the sun sets over the tree-line, a mellow guitar and a haunting voice ring out from the back porch in harmony with songbirds, a fluttering Canadian flag and the nature that envelops her tranquil home. Lauren is an honour to know and a distinctly captivating pleasure to hear. Lauren's website is Her next performance in Elgin is on December 3, 2010 at the Christmas Fantasy of Lights in Pinafore Park in St. Thomas from 6:30 to 9pm.

Lauren has travelled the globe, for work and play, but she always returns home grateful for the great accident of being born Canadian.

Dave Ferguson hails from Aylmer and has been writing for over fifteen years. He’s a member of several writing groups, of the Professional Writer’s Association of Canada and currently chairs a creative writer’s workshop in St. Thomas. Find out more at


HOLIDAY SPECIALS Free Custom Labelling Perfect for corporate or personal gifts (6 bottle minimum) Unbeatable In-Store Offers All Season


with Winemaker Jamie Quai and Chef Sandy Douglas One per Month from January to May

Summer Sounds Delicious 2011

Tickets will be available just in time for Holiday gift giving! 45811 Fruit Ridge Ln, St. Thomas




Arts & Recreation

Shelley McVittie


Alive with colour, Shelley McVittie’s paintings connect the viewer to places and times from a generation or a few ago. Details of multi-coloured quilts swaying on a clothesline, children busy at imaginative play, the world of books, Christmas baking and cozy rooms are depicted in scenes that invite a closer look. A self-taught artist, Shelley discovered early in life that she could express herself far better and more easily with brushes and paints than with conversation. She has painted on just about everything from front doors to milk cans, cookie tins, walls, Masonite and canvas. She favours acrylics due to their vibrancy of colour and the fact that they blend the way oils do, but are more environmentally friendly. She loves to delve into colours and is still amazed by the exhilaration of colour combinations which, for her, can “actually sing like music”. Says Shelley, “I usually just paint with my feelings of the day—a painter of the heart. Family life; an easy pace are important to me. I hope that my paintings convey a subtle message about allowing children to remain children a little longer, to have their childhood. I incorporate a lot of books in my paintings – classics, quiet reminders of the most fantastic journeys and the highest kinds of adventure that books can take you on.”


Words that come to mind when looking at Shelley’s art are detailed, enchanting, gentle, whimsical. She is sometimes asked what drew her to that particular style. She notes, “It is an ideal really—the way I see the world through rose-coloured glasses with a kind of romanticism and enthusiasm, I think endears my work to certain people. I pour my heart into each and every piece, and I hope that is what shines through. My hope is that it evokes an emotion in the same way, say, music can.” Many artists dislike marketing their work, but it’s a role Shelley takes on with enthusiasm and flare, evidenced in her country shop and gallery “Cobblestones”. It’s a talent that may just come naturally. Says Shelley, “My mother loved being a shopkeeper—she ran a gift and antique store in Windsor called ‘Venture Inn Boutique’”. Once Shelley completes a painting, her creative merchandising energies kick in. Each piece is inspired 


Join us for complimentary Lavender Cider & Cake at our Christmas Open House November 27 th & 28 th Our gift boutique offers unique handcrafted gifts & gourmet foods created from our harvested lavender. Also Available at Kingsmill’s Open Wed-Sat 10-5 and Sun 12-4

47589 Sparta Line (3km E of Sparta)


herbs Join us for our Annual

CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE November 20th & 21st

Product Samplings • Vendors • Sales Gift Baskets & Gift Certificates Available

APPETIZERS & DIPS CLASS Saturday November 13th

$10/person (preregistration required)

CHRISTMAS HOURS: Tues-Fri 10-5; Sat 10-4

New products arriving daily

Events Every Weekend in November & December Visit our Website for Details 53443 Heritage Line, RR#1 Aylmer • 519-866-5577

CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE WINE & CHEESE Celebrate the season with a multitude of flavours, every weekend in December! Nibble on a savoury selection of cheeses and spoil your taste buds with our wines. Try Spiced Apple, Decadence (strawberry chocolate), Santa’s Chimney Cleaner (a unique blend of lightly spiced red currant and fruit), and don’t forget Rockin’ Raspberry or our best-seller Blueberry Rush. Our store is bursting with entertaining giftware, gift baskets, 24 styles of stemware, stocking stuffer ideas and the beautiful art collection of Shelley McVittie.

A New Surprise Christmas Special Each Weekend All tastings are completely complimentary!

Open 7 days a week - Monday-Saturday 10-5 & Sunday 12-5

(519) 773-5432 | Just 20 mins from the 401! Exit onto Hwy 73 and go south through Aylmer, then turn right onto Jamestown Line (we’re #48995).

Arts & Recreation  by memories and acquaintances and, in turn, sparks ideas for creating related products and displays that will tell a little more of the story. The treasures of Cobblestones are displayed in an enticing series of layered vignettes. Many items incorporate Shelley’s artwork, or complementary work from artist and cottage-industry friends that fit into a nostalgic theme. A display of vintage-inspired hostess aprons and coordinating waterproof gloves is accompanied by a little story on the history of aprons; a sewing themed painting is the backdrop for a pretty jar of buttons, a nostalgic note, and some vintage sewing notions. Shelley continuously dreams up creative ways to incorporate her artwork onto items like handy little storage boxes, bridge sets, cards, calendars with pockets, cookbooks of family recipes and more. However, one opportunity that sent her artwork around the world came about quite by accident. Says Shelley, “A gentleman approached me at a show in Toronto, asked to purchase one of my prints, and commented that he enjoyed making prints into puzzles.” The encounter was forgotten until she got a call from Ravensburger with a request to license “Please Mr. Postman” for a limited edition puzzle. Shelley was thrilled to have her artwork reproduced internationally by the renowned puzzle maker. Shelley’s work also appears world-wide through licensing of her images by a Canadian cross-stitch pattern company and another who makes Scrapbook Papers. She is happy to have found unique ways to make a living, and still do what she loves to do best – brush those imaginative, colourful images onto canvas.

Above: The Sewing Lesson; Previous page: Calendar Girls; On the cover: Homeward Experience the Fine Art of

“Please Mr. Postman”


Visit Shelley McVittie at her Gallery and Gift Shop, Cobblestone's, located at 48664 John Wise Line (519-773-5912). Find out more at


Paintings, pottery, teddies, handwoven throws, vintage games, lotions, potions & more!

48664 John Wise Ln, Aylmer | 519-773-5912 Tues-Sat 11-4:30 & Sun by appt. VISIT THE ONLINE CHRISTMAS EMPORIUM AT




324 Smith St, Port Stanley • 519-782-4173 •



Saturday Brunch 9:30-2 • Sunday Brunch 9:30-3 (Live Music 11-2) Lunch Tuesday to Friday 11-3 • Dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5:30


Bistro Nights Thursdays & Fridays - 2 courses $22, 3 courses $26

Private Dining Room Available • Gift Certificates

Recommended in Where to Eat in Canada 2008-2010

Bed, Breakfast & Bistro

Over the Bridge, Before the Beach


Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Holiday Season! 519-631-0666 • 1-800-265-7638 • TTY: 519-631-9904 • FAX: 519-631-9478 New Office in the Canada Southern Railway (CASO) Station: 750 Talbot St., Suite 201 (2nd Floor), St. Thomas, ON • N5P 1E2 •

269 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas • 519-631-7264 Mon-Fri 8-5:30, Sat 8-5 & Sun 11-5 •

Pictures with

Santa & his Re


Christmas Open House Saturday November 13th

& Sunday November 14th

• Family Photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus • Live Reindeer • Free Sinamay & Seasonal Decorating Demonstrations

Make Your Own


with Scott Hoffman, Floral Designer with Winward Silks

• Free Christmas Urn Decorating Demonstrations

• Sign up to make a Birch Wood Reindeer for your front yard!

Santa & Mrs. Claus return with their reindeer Nov 27th & 28th

Christmas Decor


Ontario’s Favourite Garden Centre

Tour of Homes

Home & Garden


The St. Thomas Annual Christmas Tour of homes is a highly anticipated event of the holiday season, attracting both décor and architecture enthusiasts. The tour is presented each year by the Rotary Club of St. Thomas. Organizers of the 15th Annual edition have responded wholeheartedly to requests for more older homes. The 2010 line-up features an intriguing mix of architectural periods and styles, including a newer home built using bricks from the old Royal Hotel on Talbot Street in St. Thomas, a magnificent Victorian, a majestic Edwardian, a quaint Ontario cottage and one in traditional Cape Cod style. We checked in with a couple of the home owners and decorators in the weeks leading up to the November 13th/14th tour weekend. Wellington Street Edwardian This home was built in 1908 in the classic Edwardian style for Dr. Colin McLarty, a prominent local physician. Associated with the reign of Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, Edwardian homes typically had fewer, larger rooms than their Victorian predecessors, simple designs, straight rooflines, smooth brick and relatively maintenance-free detailing. The large


wrap-around front porch sets off the grandeur of this century home located near the Court House. The present owners acquired the house in 2001 and have undertaken extensive renovations including new cherry floors, shutters and custom millwork. Owner Lisa says she has enjoyed recent home tours and thought it would be fun to participate, and support a good cause at the same time. Decorator Jeannine Eitel notes that, upon first entering the home, she was thrilled with the spacious, light rooms and with Lisa’s taste in decorating. She is most excited about her plans for the dining room, which features two unique, breathtaking chandeliers. She envisions the table topped with tall cylindrical vases, aglow with crystals and LED lights; splashes of colour from Amaryllis; mirrored chargers; glinting snowflakes and a narrow tree in the bay window. The room begins to glow in the mind’s eye and Lisa’s eyes sparkle in anticipation of the undertaking ahead.  


Home & Garden Homeowner Libby says she got involved with the tour through her Mum and Dad. She says, “Both have been active Rotarians since the '60s. I grew up observing the wonderful work the club does globally and locally. Our family felt donating our home for their biggest fundraiser of the year was a way of giving of ourselves for their very worthwhile event.”

 Ken Fox of Berry Hill Ltd. has participated in the tour since its first year. In the beginning he participated as an outdoor decorator, but for the past few years has collaborated with Jeannine to create festive home transformations inside and out. Says Jeannine: "I am never disappointed with the buying selections Ken makes. They always seem to work well." Visitors will enjoy the up-to-date style elements of this home, along with the aura of 1908, when manufactured ornaments were just beginning to come into vogue, dinner may have been goose stuffed with chestnuts, pork and apple dressing, teddy bears were popular and children of even well-off families seldom received more than one gift. 1933 Cottage on Isabel Street Leap ahead 25 years to 1933 when this lovely Ontario cottage was built. Railway iron supports the main floor, a testament to the importance of our railway past. During this time period, many smaller homes were built—the trend was toward less overhanging roofs, and the front porch decreased in importance, often replaced by just a niche. True to the period, this home welcomes with its quaintness and retains many of the era’s details with beautiful stained glass accents, gleaming ¾” oak hardwood floors and a pocket door at the entrance.


For Libby, the personal joy of Christmas decorating comes from “the sheer chaos and laughter of a living room full of family, dogs, boxes of decorations lugged out each holiday season, and the process of our kids carefully unwrapping every decoration like it was a precious jewel. From the grade 3 pipe cleaner reindeer to the baby photo in a handmade frame, each decoration has its own story and is placed lovingly back on the tree year after year.” Decorator Terry Ranta Hall of Wind n Willow is inspired by the home’s palette of lovely room colours, tailored to the individuals of the household. Terry is a seasoned Christmas Tour participant—previously, she decorated a grand house on the Christmas Home Tour in western Elgin. That home's predominantly rose-coloured décor meant her colour selections were somewhat limited, but Terry took delight in that challenge. This year’s home will allow her to run with a variety of colour themes, tailored to each room and incorporating many of her finds of the season. The year this house was built was the one in which a popular Christmas day past-time was invented—


Home & Garden the board game Monopoly. It was also the worst year of the Great Depression. In the Ladies Home Journal of December 1933, Caroline Lamb King advised homemakers that no matter how modest the celebration, “The principal thing is to make everything look and taste as Christmasy as you can. And most important of all, don’t forget to be merry!” A Christmas Tour of Homes is one delightful way to get into that merry frame of mind! Clark McDougall, Charlie Rowe’s Lane, 1963 Collection of McIntosh Gallery, The University of Western Ontario


A Life on the Land September 11 to November 27 Experience the rural landscape of Elgin County through the distinctive style of nationally significant local artist Clark McDougall (1921-1980)

The 15th Annual “Tour of Homes” runs Saturday November 13th & Sunday November 14th from 10am to 4pm. It is made possible by a dedicated committee of The Rotary Club of St. Thomas, gracious home owners, decorators and hundreds of volunteers. Tickets include great writeups on each of the five homes. For tickets or information, call 519-633-0838 or 519-631-0211, or visit the Rotary Club's website, Decorations on page 23 are from Berry Hill Ltd. (75 Burwell Rd, St. Thomas); Decorations on this page are from Wind n Willow (435 Talbot St, St. Thomas).



Interior of Col. Talbot’s Home (The Den), c. 1850 Col. Richard Airey Elgin County Archives Gift of Nancy Geddes Poole

Col. Talbot Comes Home December 1 to December 23 Furnishings, artifacts and costume related to Col. Talbot, along with the first exhibit of a recently donated portrait.

Elgin County Administration Building, 4th Floor, 450 Sunset Drive (Hwy 4), St. Thomas, Ontario

Tuesday to Saturday 10-4 519.631.1460 ext. 160


Quality Used Cars & Trucks • Sales, Service & Leasing BUY • SELL • TRADE • LEASE 1207 Talbot St, St. Thomas • 519-633-0240



Top Quality • Handmade • Fresh

Belgian Callebaut Chocolate

& Celebration Creations Wedding/Event Decorators

Trays & Baskets Chocolate Letters Novelties Chocolates & Truffles

11 Hiawatha Street, St. Thomas

Great Stocking Stuffers


Delivery Available

Staff & Customer

Appreciation Gifts

Merry Christmas Wishing you & your family a safe & happy holiday season!

Joe Preston

Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Constituency Office 24 First Ave, Unit 2 St. Thomas, ON N5R 4M5 519-637-2255 / 1-866-404-0406 Fax: 519-637-3358

Winter Comfort Food



3 medium carrots, peeled and cut in chunks ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup water or sour cream 1 can chickpeas (15 oz), rinsed and drained 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 cloves garlic, minced 1tsp toasted sesame oil ½ tsp each, salt & pepper ¾ tsp cumin chopped Kalamata olives & fresh cilantro © • Toss carrots with oil. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in a preheated 375˚F oven for 45 minutes, or until tender. Cool. • Put carrots, chickpeas in a food processor. Add water, lemon juice, garlic, sesame oil, salt, pepper and cumin and purée. Spread mixture on a serving platter and top with olives and cilantro. Serve with toasted pita triangles.

WINTER LENTIL & APPLE SALAD 1 medium Ontario Beet 3 Tbsp olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 slices bacon, cut into thin strips 1 can lentils, preferably green (19 oz/540 mL) 1/2 cup diced Ontario Carrot 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley 2 tbsp lemon juice (approx) 1 Ontario Garlic clove, minced 2 Ontario Apples 1/4 cup feta cheese (optional) • Peel beet and cut into pieces no larger than 1/2-inch (1 cm). Place on large baking sheet and toss with about 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in 400°F (200°C) oven, stirring once or twice, until beet is tender, 15 to 25 minutes. • Meanwhile, in small frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove to paper towel and pat dry. • Drain lentils and rinse with water, then drain well. In medium-size serving bowl, stir together beets, lentils, carrot and parsley. • Whisk together remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper; stir into lentil mixture. Core apples and coarsely chop; stir into salad. Taste and add a little more lemon juice, salt or pepper if needed. Sprinkle with bacon and feta (if using). Serve at room temperature. Recipe & photo courtesy of Foodland Ontario.



SAVOUR ELGIN MEMBERS Clovermead Bees & Honey

Empire Valley Farm Market & Greenhouses

From fine dining, quaint bistros and unique tea rooms to casual diners and delis, Elgin County’s restaurants will satisfy every craving.

Farmgate Markets Deli & Fresh Meat

Heritage Line Herbs & Silver Birch Tearoom

You can also visit Elgin’s own microbrewery, take a cooking class in a historic bank, experience adventure at a bee farm, and so much more.

Horton Farmers’ Market

Kettle Creek Inn

Killer Desserts

Travel our culinary trail and you’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Savour the Season in Elgin County.

For information on the Savour Elgin Program, call

1-877-GO ELGIN x137 or visit

Lavender Blue Lavender Farm

Mad Hatters Tea Room / Quaker Barrel

Pinecroft Pottery & Green Frog Tearoom

Quai du Vin Estate Winery

Railway City Brewing Co.

Ruby’s Cookhouse

Rush Creek Wines

The Arts & Cookery Bank

The Windjammer Inn

Profile for Joanne Bagshaw

Relish Elgin Holiday 2010 Edition  

Relish Elgin magazine is a seasonal publication promoting the people, places, businesses and events in Elgin County, Ontario, Canada.

Relish Elgin Holiday 2010 Edition  

Relish Elgin magazine is a seasonal publication promoting the people, places, businesses and events in Elgin County, Ontario, Canada.


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