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Culture Home Recreation Holiday 2015 | Volume 9 | Issue 4

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Table of Contents

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 4 A Victorian Christmas in Elgin County 8 A Robson Legacy 12 Early Ice Sports in St. Thomas by Pete Sheridan 15 Puzzler Parlay by Shelley McVittie 16 Elgin Map & What's in Season 18 Spiced Fruit Tarts with recipe, by Chef Cindy Bircham 20 Leo’s Tree Farm 24 Holiday Season Events in Elgin 32 Victorian Colouring Page by artist Laura Woermke

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EDITOR • Debra Bagshaw • editor@relishelgin.ca DESIGN • Joanne Rowles • jo@relishelgin.ca ADVERTISING INFO • ads@relishelgin.ca 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

www.relishelgin.ca Copyright 2015, 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.

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From the Editor

FROM THE EDITOR

OUR COVER IMAGE

Chatting with Eleanor Robson about the paintings of Peter Robson got me thinking about nostalgic winter scenes (Peter did several) and inspired to try and pack as much of the feeling of an old-fashioned holiday season as we could into this edition.

Our cover image is Peter Robson's Story Time Bear, part of a planned children's book. The poem below by John Peowrie was written to accompany the illustration.

With a glimpse at Peter Robson’s whimsical Story Time Bear illustrations and manuscript I thought of the fine art of encouraging children to nod off to sleep. When Christmas or any big celebration is tomorrow that is even more difficult. Most of us can remember that feeling of childhood anticipation.

Story Time Bear Falls Asleep It was almost before He could say ‘goodnight’, And almost before He could put out his light; The tiny town folk From his book did creep, And before story bear knew —He was fast asleep.

May your celebrations, whatever form they take, be just the right mix of favourite traditions, anticipation and quiet moments (perhaps reading a story time book to a child).

Debra

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Community

A Victorian Christmas IN ELGIN COUNTY

A tree sparkling with decorations; cards signed, sealed and posted; a bounteous holiday feast centred around a golden turkey; festive crackers ‘snapping’; joyful carol singing—these are all commonly practised Christmas traditions whose origins or, at least, popularity can be attributed to Victorian England. The Victorian era (1837-1901) was the period of British history when Queen Victoria reigned. Victoria herself wasn’t responsible for the spread of all the Christmas traditions of the day but she and her German-born husband can certainly claim credit for the popularization of the Christmas tree. Though there were Christmas trees before Victorian times Prince Consort Albert brought the custom to the royal household from Germany. In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree and soon everyone in Britain wanted one. By the end of the 19th century, many facets of the typical Victorian Christmas had caught on in Canada. Even today, for many, planning (or imagining) a warm and festive holiday celebration brings to mind’s eye the traditional “Victorian Christmas”. Here are some ways you can inject a little of that warm and fuzzy Victorian style (or at least a bit of nostalgia) into your holiday season.

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Leo’s Tree Farm

Canadian trees in Victorian times were often decorated with homemade decorations, including brightly dyed popcorn, until the 1890s when Christmas ornaments began to arrive from Germany. A visit to Leo’s should put you in a “deck the halls” frame of mind, whether your ornaments are kid-made or lovingly collected over the years. Read about Leo’s West Lorne farm, where memories have been made for twenty years, on page 20.

Jack and the Beanstalk

During Victorian times lucky children were taken to the pantomime for holiday entertainment. Pantomime came to Britain in the 16th century as a traveling Italian street theatre and evolved over the centuries. In the nineteenth century stories like Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella were reworked to create “pantos” which specialized in puns and word plays. Over the past few years, many local children have had their first theatre acting or audience experience with the Elgin Theatre Guild’s holiday pantomimes. (For the uninitiated, don’t be misled by the “mime” in pantomime—these interactive performances are NOT without words). Jack and the Beanstock plays December 3rd-13th—find the details on page 29.

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Community Victorian Home for the Holidays

Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives has been transformed into a Victorian home (or at least the parlour, dining room and bedroom of one). An informative guide to the displayed objects includes many interesting tidbits plus a list of rules on table manners from the Nineteenth Century Household Guide, 1896. The exhibit will be decorated for the holidays and available as one of the stops during the Annual Museum Volunteers’ Annual Christmas Tour of Homes on November 20th and 21st—find details on page 26.

Warm and Whimsical Greetings from the Peter Robson Gallery

One of the biggest trends introduced by the Brits in Victorian England was the Christmas card. Henry Cole commissioned the first one in 1843 from artist John Callcott Horsley. Initially, costs of both printing and postage were prohibitive but when those came down, Christmas cards were on their way to becoming a booming and long-lived industry. In late Victorian times snow scenes became popular. Although Sparta artist Peter Robson painted in a wide variety of styles, many of his winter scenes burst with a whimsy and nostalgia that perfectly matches the Christmas season. Some of these paintings are available as art cards at the Peter Robson Gallery. Find out what’s new at the gallery on page 8. Below: Please, Mr. Postman by Shelley McVittie

A Christmas Carol at the Old Town Hall

A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens was written at a time of industrialization, urbanization and growing interest in holiday traditions. It helped popularize the incorporation of family, charity, goodwill, peace and happiness as part of the Christmas celebration. All of those traditions can be found wrapped up in the Aylmer Community Theatre’s presentation, Deck the Old Town Hall, on December 18th. It’s a fundraiser for the Aylmer Corner Cupboard and the evening’s entertainment includes music, dance, storytelling, carol singing and A Christmas Carol Radio Play directed by Ron Sawyer. Find the details on page 30.

Puzzling Pastimes by ARTIST Shelley McVittie

Early wooden puzzles grew steadily in popularity throughout the 1800s amongst the upper class in Europe and the U.S. You’ll find a short history of the popular pastime in Shelley McVittie’s article on page 15. At the Village Collective in Sparta you’ll also find five of her nostalgic paintings—Please, Mr. Postman; The Sewing Lesson; The Pine Pantry; The Laundry Line and The Gingerbread Makers—in puzzle format and just waiting to be part of your holiday down-time. Above: Marley's Ghost from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (illustration by John Leech, 1843) Opposite page: Village Christmas, by Peter Robson, depicts Victorian era Christmas in Sparta

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Community Spirited Feast

The Old St. Thomas Church

Christmas Carols at the Old St. Thomas Church

The origins of Christmas carols can be found thousands of years before Victorian times, but it was the Victorians who helped revive and popularize them. The first significant collection of carols was published in England in 1833—Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern by William Sandys. Singing carols at the Old St. Thomas Church Annual Carol Sing has become an anticipated tradition for many. Hundreds of people pack the 1824 church to sing a selection of carols, nibble on 500 or so mincemeat tarts and approximately 600 church-shaped cookies, be warmed by several gallons of apple cider and leave filled with a generous measure of Christmas spirit. Find details on page 30.

The Christmas feast has its roots in time before the Middle Ages but it was in Victorian England that the “turkey and all the trimmings” dinner started to take shape. Turkey began to replace beef and goose as the star attraction for wealthier British families in the 19th century. The beautiful crackers that today grace many a Christmas table were invented in 1848 by confectioner Tom Smith. Inspired by French bon bons (sugared almonds wrapped in twists of paper) he created simple packages filled with sweets and later came up with a way to increase the excitement of opening, by adding a “crack!”. Later on, the sweets were replaced by small gifts. Mincemeat evolved over time—you can read about its makeover and find Cindy Bircham’s “Spiced Fruit Tarts” recipe on page18.

Victorian Streetscapes

Increased wealth, much of it due to a surge of railway activity in St. Thomas and across Elgin County, encouraged the construction of many grand buildings during the latter 19th century. In Ontario, styles of residences constructed during the Victorian era included Italianate, Romanesque, Renaissance, Gothic and Classical Revival, Second Empire Beaux Arts, Arts and Crafts and Queen Anne Revivals. The Victorian style encompassed any building built between 1840 and 1900 of Classical or Gothic design with a “dressing up” via swirls, patterns and details.

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Community Locally, many of the grand homes built during the Victorian years are included in walking tours which can be found on-line at www.elgintourist.com/Tourism/Heritage-Trees-Walking-Tours (Aylmer, Port Burwell, Port Stanley, Talbot Settlement, Sparta and St. Thomas). One example, the Telegraph House (205 Main St, Port Stanley) built in the early Victorian style mixes gables of Gothic Revival and the bay windows and quoining of the Italianate Style. For a feeling of nostalgia try one of the walking tours when there’s a frosting of snow. Or take a stroll down Talbot Street in St. Thomas where you’ll find many examples of late 1800s architecture including St. Thomas City Hall (1899) in the late Richardsonian Romanesque style, or the Southern Loan Building located at 384-390 Talbot St.

Laura Woermke has contributed to this edition of Relish Elgin a splendid Victorian-era woman for your colouring enjoyment (back cover). A book full of Laura’s drawings, colour me happy, is available from the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre gift shop with proceeds going to the Art Centre. Although many popular Christmas customs have a strong Victorian influence, they are just a part of the kaleidoscope of holiday traditions enjoyed in Canada. Those have been derived through influences from First Nations, European explorers, pioneers, early settlers and later immigrants which makes for infinite possibilities of flavours to bring to the Canadian holiday table.

Colour Me Victorian

The first colouring book is thought to have been the Little Folks’ Painting Book, published in 1880 with illustrations by British artist Kate Greenaway. (Crayons weren’t yet being massproduced.) In recent years, colouring books for adults have become wildly popular. Fans credit the books which are available in a wide range of styles and themes with providing relaxation and de-stressing benefits. Artist

1878 Christmas © Tony Baggett / fotolia.com

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Arts

A Robson Legacy

Eleanor and Peter Robson moved to Sparta in 1981 and together built a life focused on Peter’s art, their gallery business, shared adventures, and community connections and contributions. A recent chat with Eleanor revealed that although she had to begin a new chapter in her life when Peter passed away in May 2014, she has been delighted to find it connecting in countless ways to the story they began together. Peter Robson grew up in England, the eldest of five children in a busy, noisy household. He turned down a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in order to help out at home, but he was intensely driven from an early age to learn through reading and to seize opportunities for artistic training. He emigrated to Canada in 1966. Eleanor was born in Scotland, came with her family to Canada in 1956 and grew up in Toronto. At age sixteen, she started a dancing school which grew from a few students to 350. She completed Honours English at University of Toronto, paying for most of her education through funds from her business. Upon graduation she got a job on a 4-month trial basis at a high school in Mississauga, but quickly

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decided teaching wasn’t the career for her. She laughs, “The fact that I was barely older than the students and had zero practical experience may have had something to do with that.” When she answered a Toronto Star advertisement for an executive assistant to a rug and tapestry designer she met her future husband, Peter. “He was designing handmade rugs and tapestries for places all over the world; in effect what he was doing was watercolours. My job was to transfer that information into a formula for people producing the rugs.” Over the years, as they worked together in their carpet retail businesses, Peter would often say that someday he would like to go to a little village in England and sit by the river and paint. Then, while they were living in Barrie, tragedy struck. Ian, Peter’s middle child of three from his first marriage was killed in a car accident. Devastated, he and Eleanor sought a quiet place of refuge. Peter was familiar with Sparta and had family nearby so that’s where they chose to make a new home. The two decided that Peter would paint. Eleanor remembers, “There was no master plan. We just wanted to do something he had always wanted to

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Arts do. We had no idea if people would like what he did. I got a job in London. Peter went out into the countryside and painted and came back and painted some more, working out of a rented space at the west end of the Sparta Tearoom. In April of 1982 he had completed seventeen watercolours and they had a gallery opening, with the pieces unframed and propped on shelves. Eleanor remembers, “They all sold. We were tickled and thought, well maybe there is a possibility of doing this for a living!” Peter’s artistic talents, ever-growing repertoire of techniques and broad knowledge of poetry, mythology, history and literature meant he was comfortable in a wide variety of styles. He and Eleanor developed the gallery and with each year it was discovered by more and more people. They also made connections which led to a blossoming demand for commissions of Peter’s work. Over the years, the Robsons also purchased nine of Sparta’s historic buildings which were ramshackle at the time (including their own gallery and home, “The Abbey”). They restored them, preserving the facades, and hoped others would be attracted to Sparta to live and work as artisans.

Eleanor acknowledges that Peter’s passing was an enormous change but she was determined to carry on in the same spirit—sustaining the business, being involved in the community and finding personally enjoyable and meaningful activities to replace the gaps created by Peter’s absence. Eleanor notes, “I love the business. Steve and I have worked together for more than thirty years. Some of Peter’s work had never been reproduced—we have kept very good archival records and can often bring back the original work as reference so that we can offer new prints.” Although the ‘romantic’ landscapes have a timeless appeal, Peter also did many ‘impressionistic’ style plein air paintings which have never been seen. She sees many opportunities for keeping the gallery offerings fresh along with continuing to provide complete custom framing services. Eleanor is also working on a retrospective show of Peter’s work at the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art

Son Steve Robson joined the business as it expanded to include custom framing. Many of Peter’s paintings helped to raise significant funds in support of local charities. He and his brother Alan created the sculptures for the Pinafore Park “Memory Garden”, which he proudly called “a work of love”. In 2011 he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Award through the St. Thomas Rotary Club in recognition of his community service. Due to health problems over the past few years Peter had to cut his once fourteen hour work days down to a few hours. However, right up until his death, he continued to forge ahead, managing to accomplish a lot in a limited amount of time. Although the Robsons’ community involvement during those years was a little more in the background, they continued to contribute generously whenever they were asked for donations of artwork.

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Above: Eleanor with Peter Opposite page: The Mill Pond

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Arts Centre in 2017 (May 13th to July 1st). Preparation has entailed selecting pieces to represent a lifetime of work and arranging for loan of original pieces. Some of them will be coming from a distance—Gateway to the Millennium is a very large canvas which was a fundraiser for Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket and is currently on Vancouver Island. The exhibit will also feature a massive incomplete canvas displayed with scaffolding and brushes—a museum replica of JMW Turner’s The Wreck of the Minotaur along-side one of Peter’s finished replica pieces. “Peter loved to work on museum replicas of work by artists he admired like John Constable and William Turner. They took a great deal of time and because they can’t be reproduced, not many people got to see them. Steve and I are really looking forward to the show and I think Peter would have been very pleased about it.” Just for fun, Eleanor has stepped back into her dancing shoes, reviving one of her early passions and lending her talents to several projects. She choreographed a routine for Aylmer Community Theatre’s production of Dearly Beloved, and is working on a couple of surprises for St. Thomas Elgin

Winter Warmth General Hospital Foundation’s Black Tie & Pearl’s 1920s themed gala fundraiser. She has also become very happily involved with the St. Thomas Railway City Rotary Club. She admires the support for local and international causes given by many service organizations and wanted to contribute in that way. After attending a few meetings of Railway City Rotary she decided that this group was a good fit for her. She is obviously proud of the achievements of this relatively new club and their support for organizations like Inn Out of the Cold, Fresh Start, and Caring Cupboard, their encouragement of youth involvement through their “kids division” and their work to help eradicate polio worldwide. Though she keeps very busy, Eleanor notes, “Peter is with me all the time. All of these things that people say tend to become cliché. But it’s not. Everyone goes through these situations in a different kind of way. I am lucky—I am surrounded all the time by the work and by him. My house is like an old shoe, I just put it on. I admit, I have conversations with him.”

Eleanor in Peter's studio in front of his in-progress replica of JMW Turner's The Wreck of the Minotaur

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She has also become attuned to noticing little coincidences of events. Eleanor often proudly wore Peter’s Paul Harris Award pin from the Rotary Club. A chance encounter with a Rotarian who noticed it resulted in her connecting with the Railway City Rotary group, which she later learned had been

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Arts chartered the month Peter passed away. By chance, Peter’s show at St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre will mark the third anniversary of his passing. There are plenty more examples and Eleanor says, “I believe in serendipity.” As a member of the Railway City Rotarians, she was pleased to take part in the annual teddy bear drive for Christmas Care at the Stars games before Christmas last year. The fact that she and Peter had been long-time Stars fans, and that Peter had indulged her love of teddy bears by giving her many as gifts over the years made the experience particularly meaningful.

composed short poems to accompany them. They had worked on the idea on-and-off over a period of four months and Peter had put together an outline for The Story Time Bear and filed the pages in a binder. However, both men had busy careers and the project was put on a shelf and forgotten. Eleanor is anticipating with pleasure the work of putting together the book Peter had in mind, and donating it for a fundraiser. “After Peter passed, I found the manuscript and felt it was just like opening an amazing Christmas gift. With it I could create something wonderful. And that would just tie everything together.”

Eleanor is also excited about another teddy bear gift she discovered after Peter’s death. Back in the 90s, he had dreamed up an imaginary land of bears with locations like Tiny Town, Wobbly Woods and Village of Sparta. He created twenty-four lovely whimsical watercolours and his close friend, John Peowrie

Find out more about Peter Robson Studios & Gallery at www.peterrobsonstudios.com. Visit the gallery at 46340 Main St, Sparta or call 519-775-2522.

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Early Ice Sports in St. Thomas By Pete Sheridan

In the autumn of 1865, 150 years ago, a lot at Wellington and Queen Streets in St. Thomas, just opposite the Elgin County Courthouse, was being prepared for the winter. The land was being levelled, a well was being sunk, and a shed to house the pump was being built. As soon as the weather was right, this would become the new rink of the St. Thomas Skating Club. Skating was not a new activity for the area. The winters of the nineteenth century were cold. Ice was not only possible, it was inevitable. The mill ponds and flood plains that surrounded the western edge of St. Thomas were natural playgrounds for the winter sports lover. Just as today, these natural rinks held danger. Two years before the construction of the Queen Street Rink, a young boy of 13, Richard Hutchinson, son of Hutchinson House proprietor William Hutchinson fell through

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the ice while skating. He would die two days later. The newspaper report of the time urges boys of St. Thomas to take care while skating. In 1877 the Curling Club was established. They would join with the Skating Club to build a new rink on the northeast corner of Metcalfe and Centre Streets. This site would remain the most important ice surface in the City for the next seventyseven years. Demand for ice time grew and soon privately operated rinks were on John Street, Catherine Street (now St. Catherine Street), The Gravel Road (now Sunset Drive), and anywhere else an expanse of frozen water would allow the locals to skate or slide a rock. By 1880 the management of the Metcalfe arena was handed over to the St. Thomas Curling and Skating Rink Company. Both the skaters and curlers

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Š fotolia.com/Mikhail Olykainen

Local History


Local History desired their own ice surfaces; eventually the curlers would retreat across Elgin Street, to become the winter occupants of the Roller Skating Rink. In 1893 the first indoor ice surface was built at the Metcalfe site. It would be named the Granite Arena and arrived just in time for the new winter religion: Hockey. By the early 1890s Canada was in the grip of a hockey mania from which it has never fully recovered. The Ontario Hockey Association was formed in 1890. St. Thomas joined in the competition for the league's second season in 1892-93. We played in a group with London, Stafford, Ayr, Galt, and Berlin (now Kitchener). 1893 was the first year for the Stanley Cup, then known as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. The challenge rules had not been set by the start of the 1893 season, but in theory, the St. Thomas team could have been eligible to challenge for the Cup if they had won the OHA Championship. Unfortunately they placed last in their group, a feat they managed to repeat the next year losing two games to London, 12-2 and 9-2. This would be the end of St. Thomas' involvement in Senior hockey competition for seventy five years. Soon the OHA added junior and intermediate divisions. St. Thomas entered these leagues with mixed results. The lack of victories did not stop the growth of the game. A small city league played for local

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glory. Teams from St. Thomas Collegiate, the MCR Railway, and even the Bankers gathered on Friday nights at the Granite Arena. The City League was a popular entertainment. The league received $100 annually in exchange for the Rink Co. collecting the gate. By the turn of the Twentieth Century the Granite arena was feeling cramped. Plans were made to replace the ageing Granite. On January 1, 1906 the new Granite Arena was opened with a masquerade carnival. Over thirteen hundred people turned out to skate, over 400 in costume. Skating fever swept St. Thomas. Merchants offered the lowest prices in “skating boots” and skating scarves were advertised as the “fad of the season”. Hockey and Curling tournaments were held at the new facility attracting teams from Detroit, Toronto, Below, left to right: The RCAF-T.T.S. Hockey Team vs. the Fingal Bombers" (probably representing the Fingal Bombing and Gunnery School) in the Granite Arena, St. Thomas, circa 1944 (Elgin County Archives, Scott Studio Fonds); Granite Curling Rink, St. Thomas, circa 1906(?) (Elgin County Archives, Moore Postcard Collection); an unidentified girls' hockey team in the Granite Arena, St. Thomas, circa 1900 (Elgin County Archives, C.W. Ellis Fonds)

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Local History Toledo and Buffalo. The Arena's proximity to the Grand Central Hotel provided one of the necessities of recreational hockey and curling: easy access to a bar. The new Granite Arena would serve St. Thomas for the next half century. The 1930s saw a series of warm winters. The natural ice of the Granite was unreliable, and activity at the old arena decreased. By 1939 the St. Thomas Curling Club folded due to lack of ice after sixty-two years. In Hockey, the entire home schedule of the 1931-32 OHA season was cancelled due to lack of ice. In the late 1940s the Granite saw hockey played on roller skates with the St. Thomas Pill Pushers, sponsored by Small's Drug Store. With the opening of the Memorial Arena in 1954 artificial ice came to St. Thomas. The Granite Arena was torn down. The new arena brought hockey

success. The old arena and outdoor rinks are now largely forgotten, but they can easily be recalled or imagined when we walk down a winter street under the streetlights and the stars, and remember when we were young. Pete Sheridan is a local historian and president of the Elgin Historical Society (EHS, www.elginhistoricalsociety.ca). He created the EHS website and has added a substantial amount of content, including several videos, making it an invaluable resource. The EHS Annual Sports Night, Wed Nov 25th, will feature aspects of St. Thomas’ century plus love of hockey. The meeting will be held at Memorial Arena & Auditorium, 80 Wilson Ave, St. Thomas, and all are welcome to attend.

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ON SEPTEMBER 8 TO DECEMBER 24, 2015:

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Recreation

Puzzler Parlay by Shelley McVittie

Did you know there was a time when regular God-fearing folks would have picnics in graveyards, taking along a puzzle to play with whilst visiting the grave of a dearly departed loved one and there was not one thing what-so-ever at all sinister about it? That’s just creepy, but that is not what this article is about. Puzzles have been around for over 250 years! John Spilsbury, an English map maker and engraver made the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767 when he chopped up a wooden map of Britain and challenged the public to reassemble it. ‘Dissections’ was what they first were called, however the introduction of the treadle saw in 1880 changed that and saw them renamed ‘jigsaw puzzles’—even though it really wasn’t a jigsaw they were cut with, it was a fretsaw! While puzzles were originally created for children, adult puzzles started to emerge by the 1900s, and they were an extreme challenge as they had no pictures on the boxes—so all remained a mystery till the puzzle was fully assembled. Wooden puzzles sold for $1.00 and that was much more than a cardboard one that sold for about 25 cents. The 1930s proved to be the golden age for puzzling, thanks to the Great Depression! During this time, there were tons of bored, down-on-their-luck folks, looking for ways to pass the time. Dozens of weekly puzzle series were released every Wednesday and folks would run out to buy them so they could be the first among their friends to solve them. Retailers advertised by offering free puzzles with purchases of items like toothbrushes and soap. You

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could even rent them for a few cents in restaurants and diners. Both brain-teasing and curiously relaxing, a good jigsaw puzzle is still one of folks’ favorite ways to while away a rainy afternoon or a summer’s day in the park or at the cottage. Needless to say, it is difficult to take a puzzle outside on a windy day, so rather than graveyards or days of bluster, our Canadian winters were the more likely times one would see a card table set up by a fireplace, all covered in bits & pieces of the family puzzle. Our Christmas tradition usually involved our receiving of the family puzzle to entertain us during the upcoming snowy months. Here, we would chitchat, sit and stare for hours, shifting the cardboard pieces all around until after much determination, reasonable concentration and, more likely, extreme luck, a picture would be unveiled. Then there comes that let down, when something you rather enjoyed was suddenly over—but wait—after a quick trip to the attic, rescue comes with another wooden box full of bits and pieces. Aahhh … life is good again. Shelley McVittie is owner and manager of The Village Collective in Sparta, a collaboration of over 20 artists and artisans. Her heart-warming paintings connect the viewer to places and times from a generation or a few ago. Five of them are now available in puzzle format. Find out more at www.thevillagecollective.com.

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Map of Elgin

Feast on Fresh! IN NOVEMBER & DECEMBER Apples • Asian Vegetables • Beets Brussels Sprouts • Cabbage • Carrots Cauliflower • Cooking Onions Cucumbers (greenhouse) Garlic • Green Onions • Leeks Lettuce (greenhouse) Mushrooms

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Parsnips • Pears Peppers (greenhouse) Potatoes • Radishes • Rutabaga PORT GLASGOW Spanish Onions • Sprouts • Squash Sweet Potatoes • Tomatoes (greenhouse)

Visit us for a tour of the winery! Tour our vineyards, processing area, fermentation and barrel rooms, then enjoy a tasting, all in the good company of our resident winemaker. Please call ahead.

QUAI DUVIN

519-775-2216 • www.QuaiduVin.com 2km north of Sparta, Ontario

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Eco-Conscious Seasonal Cut Flowers Sunflowers • Special Events & Weddings

Photo by Captivating by Sarah West

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Sea s o n ’ s

G re et i n g s f ro m

ORGANIC EGGS, PASTURED PORK & GRASS-FED BEEF AVAILABLE THROUGH THE WINTER PLEASE CALL AHEAD TO ENSURE AVAILABILITY

ORDER YOUR HOLIDAY GREENERY TODAY!

NOW BOOKING 2016 & 2017

WEDDING ARRANGEMENTS

Janis & Mark Harris and children Cameron, Nathan & Megan janisandmarkharris@hotmail.com

519-668-9537

www.harrisflowerfarmpasturedpork.weebly.com Member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers

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Affordable for Fa milies

519-631-0279 • 42828 Shorlea Line, St. Thomas

www.McsmithsOrganicFarm.com

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Food & Drink

Spiced Fruit Tarts by chef cindy bircham

Each year when the holiday season approaches the world is filled with messages of good cheer and hopes of peace. Despite these warm, heartfelt offerings, the sounds of the season expose an inevitable rift that has been dividing us for centuries: those who love mincemeat and those who hate it. Mince, as its commonly known, (and its holiday cousins plum pudding and fruit cake) are traditional, strongly spiced, rich & dense desserts meant for times of celebration and sharing. Mince in particular can cause intense facial cringing for fear of 'meatiness' or perhaps the hate is more reserved for dry, shrivelled raisins. Historically, mincemeat contained bits of mutton or beef with the addition of fat, spices, dried fruit, and a healthy dose of brandy. This savoury preparation was a form of preservation meant to be enjoyed at the beginning of a meal as opposed to the end as is now the custom. Over time the meat itself was removed from the recipe, however, the fat from beef kidneys (known as suet) remained as its richness and flavour added a contrast of savouriness to the sweet. Modern versions (including the recipe that follows) may have butter substituted for suet or removed entirely. It's incredibly difficult to alter a taste memory from a horrible past experience. Certain foods and aromas can transport us to the past with just a whiff in the air or from hearing the name of a dish. The smells of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg may bring a sense of exotic warmth and togetherness to some and to others the memory of soggy pastry, chunks of cold fat, and family squabbles. I may not be able to amend the family rifts but I can help the culinary divides with a few tips: 1. Use quality ingredients. If the raisins in the back of your cupboard resemble ammo for a Red Rider BB gun, soak them extra long or replace them.

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2. Soaking dried fruit in brandy or rum greatly improves the spiritedness of the mince (this also applies to the cook). Whatever the macerating liquid, heat it before adding to the fruit for greater plumpness. 3. Texture is just as important as flavour. Use a cooling rack after removing baked goods from the oven - the air circulation prevents condensation from forming which makes pastry soggy (this applies to cookies, cakes, and breads, too). 4. Baked mince tarts or pie should never be served cold. If necessary, reheat before serving. 5. A heap of whipped cream on a mince tart is like a bow on a present. 6. A new name can sometimes resurrect an old world food into a younger generation without the negative association of its predecessor. Instead of mince tarts, I prefer to call them Spirited Heirloom Fruit Pastries or simply Spiced Fruit Tarts. To the haters of mince, I say, "Taste it again. You might change your mind". For those who decline, that just leaves more for the rest of us. Pass the whipped cream, please. Cindy Bircham is a professional chef and recipe developer cooking her way across Elgin County with a passion for quality, local and made from scratch. Follow her latest food finds and adventures at www.facebook.com/ElginHarvest. You can also sign up there for her newsletter and receive notification of “bake days� on which you can pick up pre-ordered sour dough bread and other delectable goodies baked in a wood fired oven.

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Food & Drink 1. Rinse and drain raisins, cranberries, and currents; set aside in a medium bowl. Gently heat brandy in a small pot and once hot, pour over raisin mixture. Cover and let macerate at room temperature at least 8 hours. 2. Meanwhile, grate the frozen butter into small shreds; keep frozen until needed.

Spiced Fruit Tarts Makes about 2 kg (enough for 3 x 8" pies or 36 tarts) 1 1/2 cups golden/Thompson raisins 1 cup dried cranberries 1 cup dried currants 1 cup brandy (or apple cider or orange juice) 1/2 cup frozen unsalted butter 2 lb Northern Spy apples (5-6 large) 1 cup finely chopped pitted dates 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger 1/2 cup finely chopped candied citrus peel 2 cups brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp salt prepared pastry shells for tarts or pies

3. Wash, core, and grate apples (no need to peel); set aside in a large bowl. To the apples, add the chopped dates, candied ginger, and candied citrus peel and stir to combine. Add the frozen butter shreds to the apple mixture and mix gently, keeping the butter shreds from clumping together. Stir in the brown sugar, spices, and salt. 4. When the raisin mixture is plump and cool, combine it with the apple mixture. The spiced fruit filling can be refrigerated for several weeks or used immediately (the flavour improves with at least a few days rest). 5. To bake: fill unbaked prepared tart or pie pastry shells with filling. Top with decorated pastry pieces and bake at 350°F until golden brown and juices are bubbling (about 30 minutes for tarts, 45 minutes for pie). Cool slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Photos by Chef Cindy Bircham

Our retail store is open year round! Reds, Whites, Specialty & Fruit Wines • Wine Jellies Sparkling Cocktails • Gourmet Goods • Giftware Plus Tours, Weddings & Events

QUAI DUVIN

519-775-2216 • www.QuaiduVin.com 2km north of Sparta, Ontario

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Community

Leo's Tree Farm

After hiking through the woods, sipping hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts on an open fire, many visitors to Leo’s Tree Farm develop a warm holiday glow, in spite of the cold. Some of them don’t even purchase a tree. And that suits Leo just fine.

Recently, as the busy harvest season was winding down, Leo de Wit chatted about his farm and led us along some of the trails he proudly shares with the public during the month of December. Leo planted 7,000 trees on his farm in 1985 because he likes them. He also wanted to forge a connection between rural and urban life by giving people a reason to visit a farm, so in 1996 he opened Leo’s Tree Farm. Since then, visitors have come to appreciate an experience which provides reasons for visiting well beyond that of just finding the “perfect” tree. The de Wits’ farm and home are set against woodlots of deciduous trees along with bush lots of the

conifers destined for Christmas festivities. Visitors are welcome to trek back through the woods in search of their tree, or to just enjoy the fresh air and a country walk in the woods. Many people stop to admire or have a photo taken beside the Native Trail Marker Tree. The de Wit family had always admired the sugar maple’s massive beauty, although they hadn’t been aware of the reason for its unique formation until recently. In the summer of 2013, a forester walking their bush recognized it as a Native Trail Marker Tree. These were created when a sapling was bent over and its leader tied or weighed down; later lateral branches except one or two were removed. Surviving examples are rare. Leo notes, “It’s on a historic river to lake trail and points toward Brock’s Creek. It was likely created about 300 years ago, so is probably one of the oldest man-made parts of history in the area!” Those who are on the hunt for just the right Christmas tree can select from pre-cuts or go out to one

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from

JEFF YUREK, MPP ELGIN-MIDDLESEX-LONDON

Here to help you with: Ontario Disability Support Program, OHIP Cards, Driver’s Licences, Ontario Works, Birth Certificates 750 Talbot Street, Suite 201, St. Thomas, ON, N5P 1E2 P: 519-631-0666 | T: 1-800-265-7638 E: jeff.yurekco@pc.ola.org | www.jeffyurekmpp.com

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Community of the bush lots to cut their own. There are several varieties to choose from—the farm’s website describes the unique characteristics of each. There’s Fraser fir (with soft needles that don’t fall off), blue spruce (one of the most popular for its beautiful blue tinge), white pine (considered by many to be the most beautiful), Scotch pine (a well-wearing choice), white spruce (with slender branches; needs lots of watering), and concolour fir (easy to decorate and doesn’t drop its needles). Leo says “The most popular tree used to be spruce, then it was pine and now it’s Fraser fir. They make up 90% of what I plant.” He remembers a few years ago when Martha Stewart’s magazine had a white pine tree on the cover. “Everybody came looking for white pine.” He grins, “We don’t grow a lot of white pine. It takes eight years to grow one—you can’t be in a hurry with trees.” The trees available range from small to stately 15’ specimens suitable for a room with a cathedral ceiling. You can cut your own or Leo’s helpers are happy to cut your selection for you. They will also retrieve it with a four-wheeler, although Leo says, “Some people are quite possessive of their tree and prefer to drag it out of the bush themselves.” Of course dragging the tree from the woods would help build your anticipation for a steaming cup of hot chocolate. A warming reward for all your hard work awaits you at the rustic shack, complete with woodstove, chairs and a big urn of hot chocolate.

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

Find our featured cars and trucks online at www.bridgeviewstthomas.ca

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Community And then there are the chestnuts—many more people have sung about “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” than have actually had the experience (or enjoyed the nutty, sweet flavour). Leo’s 1 ½ acres of chestnut trees yield the nuts which Leo gathers, hulls and offers along with a fire for roasting. A variety of fragrant greens for creating your own garlands is also provided, spread out on long tables. It’s a great opportunity for the creative and crafty to pick out a custom selection of greens at a reasonable price. The farm is open from December 1st to 24th, but ensuring a supply of nicely shaped trees in a variety of sizes for that month requires work throughout the year. Students are hired to help plant new trees (mostly from seedlings). About 80% of trees planted will survive to Christmas tree size and suitability over several years. Dead trees and stumps need to be removed. Each of the 10,000 trees requires pruning, mostly with a machete which Leo demonstrates with skill and surprising speed. “You have to be careful not to over-prune—you want a tree that looks nice but still natural, not too perfect or it will look like an artificial tree.” Reaping the fruit of the chestnut trees entails a harvest-time competition with the deer. Says Leo, “They love the taste—you have to get the chestnuts off the ground promptly, before the deer do.” Over the last couple of winters deer have also caused considerable damage to many of the Christ-

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Open Wed-Sat 10-5 & Sun 12-4 • Mother’s Day to Dec 19, 2015

‘A LAVENDER CHRISTMAS’ OPEN HOUSE NOV 28 & 29

47589 Sparta Ln, Sparta • 519-494-5525 • buds@steedandcompany.com • www.steedandcompany.com

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Community mas trees by eating the shoots. “That is unusual,” says Leo, “but with the severe winters, the deer were desperate for food.” Locals, urbanites and outdoor lovers visit the farm and generally spend at least an hour there. Relatives of one family come from Chatham, London and St. Thomas and meet at the farm to visit and enjoy time together. Many families with university students show up in the latter half of December after school breaks for vacation. The “kids” insist that the family wait till they get home to get the tree so that they can be included in the traditional trip to Leo’s. Leo believes that until the last few decades, many urban dwellers had reason to visit a farm as they weren’t too far removed from family or friends who lived on one. But those ties and opportunities are rapidly disappearing and, with them, the feeling of connection between rural and urban people. A visit

to his Elgin County farm provides a perfect way to get in the Christmas spirit, create memories, share traditions and reconnect to the local rural area. (Oh yes, and you might just find your perfect tree). The de Wit family farm includes Leo, his wife Anneke and daughters Sarah & Emma. The operation includes cash crop (corn and soy beans) along with chestnut trees, Christmas trees and three solar systems. The Tree Farm is open December 1st to 24th, 9am-9pm, located at 24483 Silverclay Line, West Lorne. To find out more call 519-768-2741 or visit www.leostreefarm.com. Photos courtesy of Leo's Tree Farm

This year, give the gift that gives twice!

Shop at Connections between Nov 1st and Dec 24th and receive a

25% off coupon

*

valid from Jan 12th to Mar 11th 2016. Connections features fair trade and project based products from around the world. It is owned and operated by the YWCA St. Thomas—Elgin. All profits support local programs!

OPEN ALL YEAR

302 Bridge St., Port Stanley (theatre building)

519-782-7247

www.ywcaconnections.com

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* discount does not apply to consignment items

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© fotolia.com/glaz2

Events

Be Merry

EVENTS ACROSS ELGIN • MORE AT WWW.RELISHELGIN.CA This is a condensed version of the events listings that can be found online at www.relishelgin.ca. Please visit the website for a more extensive list, and more details on the events appearing here.

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS Until Fri Nov 27 EXHIBITION: Home for the Holidays

Featuring three Victorian room scenes; open Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm & Fri 9am-1pm and during the annual Christmas Tour of Homes on Fri & Sat Nov 20 & 21 Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives, 14 East St, Aylmer 519-773-9723 | www.amtelecom.net/~aylmermuseum

Until Thur Dec 24 Exhibition: Birds & Butterflies

Large-scale colour photos following migration of monarchs from Canada to Mexico, plus work by local artists featuring birds of the region; contact museum for times Elgin County Museum, 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-1460 x160 | www.elgincounty.ca/museum

Sat Nov 14 to Sat Jan 2 Exhibition: Jeff Willmore'S Aerial Selections

Opening Sat Nov 14th, 7pm; "I am a veteran of my form who works within a rough continuum and simply persists in finding excuses to make paintings." St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca

ONGOING EVENTS Every Saturday Galaxy Cinema Family Favourites

11am; $2.99; portion of proceeds to Free The Children; Sat Nov 14: Ice Age 3, Sat Nov 21: Home Alone; Sat Nov 28: Arthur Christmas; Sat Dec 5: Polar Express 3D; Sat Dec 12: Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas Galaxy Cinema, 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-5777 | www.cineplex.com/Events/

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various dates St. Thomas & County LibrarY PROGRAMS

www.stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/calendar/ www.elgincounty.ca/library/calendar/

Various Dates Classes at Little Red Mitten

Including knitting, crocheting, weaving and more Little Red Mitten, 86 Talbot St, St. Thomas 519-207-2880 | www.littleredmitten.ca

Various Dates Social Painting Nights

For adults/children/families; $20 and up; register ahead Art Gallery of Lambeth, 2454 Main St, Lambeth (London) 519-652-5556 | www.artgalleryoflambeth.com

NOVEMBER EVENTS November Weekends Canadale Christmas Open Houses

Free photos with Santa (BYO camera; 12pm-3pm, except 11am-3pm Nov 8 & 15), story time, face painting, crafts; live reindeer (except Nov 28/29); all-day STEGH Auxiliary breakfast; visit website or call for details on workshops Canadale Nurseries, 269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-7264 | www.canadale.com

Wed Nov 11 Remembrance Day Fri Nov 13 John Wise P.S. Shopping Extravaganza

6:30-9pm; admission by non-perishable food donation John Wise Public School, 100 Parkside Drive, St. Thomas Contact Andrea, 519-902-1335 www.facebook.com/events/659143510855481/

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Events Fri Nov 13 to Sun Nov 15 The Village Collective Christmas Open House & Sale

Fri 11am-4:30pm, Sat 11am-8pm, Sun noon-4pm; specials offered by over 20 local artists and artisans of the Village Collective plus other village merchants The Village Collective, 46349 Sparta Ln, Sparta 519-775-2856 | www.theVillageCollective.com

Fri Nov 13 to Sun Nov 15 VictoriaN Elegance CHRISTMAS Open House

Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-4pm; gifts & décor from around the world, several decorated trees, jewellery and fashions, 15-20% off, complimentary wine & cheese Victorian Elegance, 109 Talbot St W, Aylmer 519-765-3634 | www.victorianelegance.ca

A staged studio portrait by St. Thomas photographer W.A. Cooper showing three unidentified people “tobagganing”; circa 1875 (Elgin County Archives, Ian D. Cameron Collection)

Fri Nov 13 to Sun Nov 15 20th Annual St. THOMAS ROTARY CLUB Christmas Tour of Homes

Sat Nov 14 Aylmer Performing Arts: The MacKenzie Blues Band

Fri 6-9pm, Sat & Sun 10am-4pm; $17 in advance, $20 at door; includes five festively decorated homes 519-633-0838 | www.rotarystthomas.org

7pm doors, 7:30pm show; $25/show, $125/season ticket Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre, 38 John St S, Aylmer 519-765-3039 | www.artsinaylmer.com

Fri Nov 13 to Sun Nov 15 St. Thomas-Elgin Artists' Guild Show & Sale

Sat Nov 14 Roy LeBlanc as Elvis

Fri 6-9pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm; affordable, original quality art in all mediums; admission is free CASO Railway Station, 750 Talbot St, St. Thomas stthomasartguild.blogspot.ca

Gospel & Elvis Favourites with Central United Junior Choir at 2pm ($20); Evening with the Roy LeBlanc Band at 7pm ($25); tickets at OK Tire, Wind n Willow, church office Central United Church, 135 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-3503 | www.centraluc.ca/FundraisingEvents

Sat Nov 14 St. Thomas Horton Farmers' CHRISTMAS Market

Sat Nov 14 Scottish Pub Night with THE Finlay Band

8am-noon; stock up and find gifts at the last market day of 2015; face painting, Santa, freshly roasted chestnuts Horton Farmer's Market, Manitoba St, 1/2 block north of Talbot St, St. Thomas | www.hortonfarmersmarket.ca

7pm doors, 7:30pm concert, 9pm dance; $20/person; proceeds to CAMO for Paisley, for families with sick kids; tickets at church office or door; free parking on Moore St St. John's Anglican Church, 20 Flora St, St. Thomas 519-631-7368 | www.stjohnschurchstthomas.com

Canadale’s Annual

CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSES Saturdays & Sundays November 7-29

• Amazing Sales • Live Reindeer • Kids’ Club Activities • Lunch with Santa • Photo Opportunity with Santa & Mrs. Claus (bring your camera) • FREE Seasonal Decorating Demonstrations • STEGH Auxillary Lunch • Workshops: Urn & Door Swag, Designer Urn, Birch Reindeer, Fairy Garden, Grinch Tree, Live Wreath, and Everlasting Centerpiece

Open 7 Days a Week Visit us on

Facebook

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269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas

519-631-7264

www.canadale.com

Workshops & Demo

s

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Events Thur Nov 19 to Sat Nov 21 Family Flowers Parade of Poinsettias

9am-5pm; thousands of poinsettias, all 15% off; free coffee, donuts & cider; decorations for inside and out; fresh greenery & trees; feed live nativity animals Family Flowers, 44329 Talbot Ln, St. Thomas 519-631-6004 | www.familyflowers.ca

Thur Nov 19 to Sat Nov 21 Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale

Thurs & Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-2pm; unique, handmade fair trade gifts, jewelry & home décor from around the world Old Town Hall, 36 John St S, Aylmer 519-765-3026 | www.mcson.org

Fri Nov 20 Downtown St. Thomas Tree Lighting

5:30pm; the Downtown Development Board lights the tree at City Hall to celebrate the start of the holiday season; Santa arrives close to 6pm

Family Flowers Parade of Poinsettias Wed Nov 18 IGNITE Elgin

7-9pm; free admission; get informed, entertained, educated & inspired at this high energy event of 5 minute talks by passionate people who have an idea and the drive to share it; reserve a seat or register to speak online St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | 519-637-8230 | www.escf.ca

Thur Nov 19 Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

6:30-8:30pm; by goodwill donation; reserved seating; documentary presented by Alzheimer Society Elgin-St. Thomas St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | Contact Stacy, 519-633-4396 www.facebook.com/AlzElgin

Home + Garden Living

Parade of Poinsettias

Fri Nov 20 & Sat Nov 21 Aylmer-Malahide Museum Volunteers' 14th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes

Fri 7-10pm, Sat 1-9pm; $15/person; four unique homes decorated for Christmas, plus the Museum; tickets at the museum, tour homes & local merchants; Baptist Church turkey dinner Nov 20 at 6pm (additional $15/person) Museum is at 14 East St, Aylmer 519-773-9723 | www.amtelecom.net/~aylmermuseum

Fri Nov 20 to Thur Dec 3 Arts & Cookery Bank'S 12 Day Light It Up, Bake It Up & Hang It Up Celebration

Nov 20: gingerbread house making; Nov 21: cookie bake; Nov 22: yuletide White Cup Brunch; Nov 24: Opening night of Scottish Christmas Market; Nov 26: It's Time to Hang it Up Evening; Dec 3: Fest-a-Month Scotland The Arts & Cookery Bank, 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne 519-768-9986 | www.theartsandcookerybank.com

15% OFF all poinsettias NOV 19-21 ONLY

Thurs Nov 19th to Sat Nov 21st Over 13 Thousand Vibrant Poinsettias! Greenery & Wreaths • Live Trees • Urn Inserts Holiday Sales • Decor for Inside & Out Free Coffee, Cider & Treats Feed Live Nativity Animals!

Open Mon to Sat 9am-5pm • 519-631-6004

44329 Talbot Line, RR3 St. Thomas

www.familyflowers.ca

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Events Fri Nov 20 to Sat Dec 5 Home for Christmas Western Elgin Shopping Event

Participating businesses in Rodney, New Glasgow, West Lorne, Eagle, Dutton & Wallacetown offer draw tickets to win prizes (drawn Dec 7); includes one-day Home-Based Business Christmas Shoppe Sat Nov 28 at West Elgin Legion, 142 John St, West Lorne (10am-2pm) westelginfarmgirl@yahoo.ca

Sat Nov 21 The Eagle Shores Artisan Show

10am-3pm; 12 local artisans, baked goods & light lunch Eagle Community Centre, 9346 Graham Rd, West Lorne www.facebook.com/events/1420919751551268/

Sat Nov 21 Dutton Santa Claus Parade

3pm; 12 Days of Christmas theme; free cocoa, visit with Santa after parade; presented by Wallacetown Optimists Miller Rd & Currie Rd, Dutton

Sat Nov 21 STEGH Foundation Fundraising Gala: Black Tie & Pearls

7pm-12am; $100/person (incl $20 gaming coupons); proceeds to new Patient & Family Resource Centre; 1920s themed venue, gaming for prizes, gourmet food stations, silent auction, bar service & entertainment; special guest Chef Michael Smith; tickets at Foundation office St. Anne's Centre, 20 Morrison Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-2030 x2246 | www.itsourhospital.ca

Sun Nov 22 Living Library

Drop-in 12-3pm, last seating 2:45pm; explore the diversity & history of the cultures in the region via shared 15 minute stories of immigration & settlement experiences; international desserts and refreshments for sale St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | Contact Shelley Harris, 519- 631-9800 x233

Sat Nov 21 Winter Gift Shop Sale

12-4pm; art, jewellery & gifts by gift shop artists St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca

Sat Nov 21 St. Thomas Optimist Santa Claus Parade

6pm; Bright Lights, Christmas Delights theme Downtown St. Thomas | optimistsantaclausparade.com

Sat Nov 21 Tom McInerney's Privateers

7:30pm doors open, 8pm show; $10/person; Tom McInerney with Mac Edwards, Don DiCarlo, Larry Ernewein & Sandy MacKay; cash bar St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca

Annual Cookie Bake at The Arts & Cookery Bank

THIS HOLIDAY SEASON #SHOPELGIN elgintourist.com

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Events Mon Nov 23 Track to the Future

Fri Nov 27 Red Show & Sale

6:30-9:30pm; $10/adult, students free; launch of the new Wellington Block Innovation Centre by the City of St. Thomas, St. Thomas Public Library & Thames Valley District School Board; speakers Natalie Panek & Jesse Hirsh St. Thomas-Elgin Memorial Centre, 80 Wilson Ave, St. Thomas | 519-319-6445 | www.eventbrite.com/e/ track-to-the-future-tickets-19250607084?aff=es2

7-10pm; featuring fabulous art by regional artists, complimentary hors d'oeuvres & live music; admission by donation to Port Stanley Food Bank (food or cash in kind) The Windjammer Inn, 324 Smith St, Port Stanley

Thur Nov 26 Grand Opening & Open House at Gear Up Driving Academy

Sat Nov 28 Aylmer Santa Claus Parade

5-7pm; door prizes, appetizers, beverages & cake Elgin Business Resource Centre, 300 S Edgeward Rd, St. Thomas 519-615-7757 | www.facebook.com/gearupacademy

Fri Nov 27 PORT STANLEY Dicken's Day Night Parade

Fri Nov 27 West Lorne Santa Claus Parade

7pm; meet Santa after parade for a photo & goodie bag

2pm; presented by Kinsmen Club Aylmer Fairgrounds to Talbot St, Aylmer | www.aylmer.ca

Sat Nov 28 Canadian Cancer Society Heroes For Hope GUNS 'N' HOSES Hockey Game

7pm; canned goods collected by Port Stanley Sailors Junior Hockey Team; kids, bring your letters for Santa; presented by Port Stanley Lions & Lioness Clubs Contact Ray, 519-782-4308 | rayfilewood@rogers.com

6-8:30pm; admission by donation; St. Thomas Fire Fighter Association vs St. Thomas Police Association; silent auction; net proceeds support prostate cancer research Timken Centre, 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas 519-432-1137 | www.cancer.ca/heroesforhope

FRI NOV 20

WEST ELGIN

TO

SAT DEC 5

2015

WESTERN ELGIN SHOPPING EVENT

FESTIVE FINDS, CLOSE TO HOME At Shops, Restaurants, Libraries & Garages in Rodney, New Glasgow, West Lorne, Eagle, Dutton, and Wallacetown

WEST LORNE • RODNEY • PORT GLASGOW

Winter in

Wonderland

...experience the magic of the season! SANTA CLAUS PARADES West Lorne - Friday November 27th Parade at 7pm; meet Santa at the arena afterward for free skating (until 9pm) and face painting!

Rodney - Saturday December 5th

2:00pm - Free library program 3:30pm - Snake Lady show, wagon rides & kids’ activities 4:30pm - Hot dogs & cocoa from Rodney Lions Club & Fairles 5:30pm - Parade; Santa at Legion afterward

We’re just down the road and off the beaten path.

519-785-0560

COME SEE WHY THE WEST IS BEST!

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www.westelgin.net

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Events Sat Nov 28 Treblemakers Choir: Concert to End War

7:30pm; $12 adults/$5 students advance; $15/$6 at door, $30/family of 4+; featuring music from WWI, WWII through the present, Christmas songs & songs of peace Calvary Unitd Church, 221 Stinson St, Rodney 519-768-1717 | facebook.com/TrebleMakersWomensChoir

Sat Nov 28 & Sun Nov 29 A Lavender Christmas

Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-4pm; festive cheer & delightful lavender treats; lavender collection door prize draw Steed & Co Lavender, 47589 Sparta Ln, Sparta 519-494-5525 | www.steedandcompany.com

Sat Nov 28 to Thur Dec 31 Port Stanley Christmas Lights

Sun-Thurs 6-9pm, Fri-Sat 6-10pm; Fri Nov 27th preview; official lighting Nov 28, 6pm; cash donations to Make-AWish Foundation; food donations to the local food bank; note that back yard will be closed on Dec 25th this year Behind Foodland, 1 block off Colbourne St, Port Stanley www.facebook.com/Port-Stanley-Christmas-Lights140946022672489/?fref=ts

Port Stanley Christmas Lights

DECEMBER EVENTS

6-8pm; candlelit forest walk with local performers, hot beverage and surprise guest at the end of the trail! Springwater Conservation Area, 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer | 519-773-9037 | www.catfishcreek.ca

Thurs Dec 3 Fest-a-Month Dinner: SCOTLAND

6:30pm; $35/person; celebrating the Scottish Highland The Arts & Cookery Bank, 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne 519-768-9986 | www.theartsandcookerybank.com

Thur Dec 3 to Sun Dec 13 Elgin Theatre Guild: Jack & the Beanstalk

Thurs-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm; $12/person; a traditional British Panto by Peter Denyer, fun for kids and adults alike Princess Avenue Playhouse, 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-8530 | www.elgintheatreguild.ca

Fri Dec 4 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

5:30pm; candlelight vigil to remember the 14 students murdered on Dec 6, 1989 at École Polytechnique de Montréal, and others who have died from abuse & violence Pinafore Park Memory Garden (near entrance), 95 Elm St, St. Thomas | 519-633-0155 | www.vawsec.on.ca

Sat Dec 5 Port Burwell Santa Claus Parade

6pm; from Port Burwell-Bayham Royal Canadian Legion to the Library; goodies and hot drinks at the Lighthouse

RELISH ELGIN HOLIDAY 2015

Sat Dec 5 Christmas Spirit Walk

Sat Dec 5 Springfield Santa Claus Parade

1pm; Springfield

Sat Dec 5 Rodney Parade & Christmas Celebration

2pm free library program; 3:30pm Snake Lady show, wagon rides plus other activities; 4:30pm hotdogs/hot chocolate sponsored by Lions Club and Fairles; 5:30pm parade downtown; Santa at Rodney Legion after parade 519-785-0560 | www.westelgin.net

Sat Dec 5 & Sat Dec 12 Backus-Page Christmas Dinner

5pm; $100/person (reservations required; $50 receipt); 1850s dinner by candlelight with costumed servers Backus-Page House, 29424 Lakeview Ln, Wallacetown 519-762-3072 | www.backuspagehouse.ca

Sat & Sun Dec 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20 Santa Treats Train Rides

Departs at 11am, 1pm & 2:30pm; scenic ride in a heated car on the Port Stanley Terminal Railway, with mince tarts and hot cider on the way to meet Santa Port Stanley Terminal Rail, 309 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-3730 | www.pstr.on.ca

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Events Sun Dec 6 Breakfast with Santa

Fri Dec 18 Deck the Old Town Hall

9am-noon; $8/adults, $6/child 10 and under; pancake breakfast with activities, Santa photos & entertainment; tickets at Seniors' Centre, Yurek Pharmacy, Geerlinks Home Hardware, Alzheimer Society Office and at the door St. Thomas Seniors' Centre, 225 Chestnut St, St. Thomas 519-633-4396 | www.facebook.com/AlzElgin

7pm; $25; music, dance, storytelling, A Christmas Carol Radio Play, appetizers & cash wine bar; Aylmer Corner Cupboard fundraiser from Aylmer Community Theatre; advance tickets at Aylmer Video; tables of 8 available Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre, 38 John St S, Aylmer 519-765-3039 | www.aylmertheatre.ca

Sun Dec 6 Optimist Club of Fingal Shedden & District Santa Claus Parade

Fri Dec 18 West Elgin Choral Society: A Picturesque Christmas

2pm; A Storybook Christmas theme | Fingal

Sun Dec 6 Old St. Thomas Church CAROL SING

3pm; freewill collection to the Salvation Army Winter Relief Program; Salvation Army Band, mince tarts, church cookies & hot cider; everyone welcome; dress warmly Old St. Thomas Church, 55 Walnut St, St. Thomas www.oldstthomaschurch.com

Sun Dec 6 Belmont Santa Claus Parade

6pm

Sun Dec 6 Aylmer Performing Arts: JohN McDermott Trio

2:30pm doors, 3pm show; $25/show, $125/season ticket Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre, 38 John St South, Aylmer 519-765-3039 | www.artsinaylmer.com

Sat Dec 12 Straffordville Santa Claus Parade

10:30am; meet Santa at Community Centre after parade From public school to community centre, Straffordville

7:30pm; $12 advance, $15 door Upper Town Hall, 199 Currie Rd, Dutton | 519-768-3491

2016 EVENTS Sat Jan 16, SAT Feb 20 & Sat MAR 12 Aylmer Performing Arts: 2016 SHOWS

7pm doors, 7:30pm show; $25/show, $125/season ticket; Sat Jan 16: WIngfield, Lost & Found; Sat Feb 20: Rant Maggie Rant; Sat Mar 12: Trent Severn Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre, 38 John St South, Aylmer 519-765-3039 | www.artsinaylmer.com

Thur Jan 28 to Sat Feb 6 Aylmer Community Theatre: Heroes

Thurs-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm; $18/adult, $10/student, $12 preview (tickets@aylmertheatre.ca) Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre, 38 John St South, Aylmer 519-765-3039 | www.aylmertheatre.ca

Thur Feb 11 to Sun Feb 21 Elgin Theatre Guild: Jake’s Women

Thurs-Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm; $18/person, $12 first Thurs Princess Avenue Playhouse, 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-8530 | www.elgintheatreguild.ca © fotolia.com/glaz2

WE STRIVE FOR ACCURACY IN THESE LISTINGS, BUT DETAILS SOMETIMES CHANGE SO PLEASE CALL AHEAD.

FIND MORE AT WWW.RELISHELGIN.CA

More events, details and past event photos can be found on our website.

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RELISH ELGIN HOLIDAY 2015


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BAKERY • PRODUCE • GROCERY • DAIRY • FRESH & DELI MEAT • BULK FOOD • PET FOOD

CHRISTMAS TREES • HOLIDAY DECOR EVERYTHING FOR YOUR HOLIDAY FEAST

519-633-9691 .

1030 Talbot St St. Thomas

OPEN YEAR ROUND

Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm • Sat & Sun: 8am-6pm We proudly support local farmers.

www.briwoodfarmmarket.com


Curl up with a mug of hot cocoa and unwind by colouring this illustration by Laura Woermke Laura's new adult colouring book, colour me happy, is available at www.lulu.com and in the gift shop of the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre.

Profile for Joanne Bagshaw

Relishelgin holiday2015 14 e  

Relish Elgin is a print and online magazine that promotes the people, places, businesses and events of St. Thomas & Elgin County, Ontario, C...

Relishelgin holiday2015 14 e  

Relish Elgin is a print and online magazine that promotes the people, places, businesses and events of St. Thomas & Elgin County, Ontario, C...

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