Elgin Retired Teachers of Ontario District 41, with support of the Talbot Trail Optimist Club, are trying to bring comfort to women escaping domestic violence with their children and finding refuge at Women’s Place.
These aren’t restful times at best.
But Elgin Retired Teachers of Ontario District 41, with support of the Talbot Trail Optimist Club, are trying to bring comfort to women escaping domestic violence with their children and finding refuge at Women’s Place.
On Wednesday this week, the group delivered love and sleep kits to the shelter.
“Deanna Cole has sewn blankets, crib sheets, masks, sleepwear and baby quilts for the children,” Elgin RTO’s Fran Wren e-informs.
“Jane Major and her family have donated toiletries and books. Snow suits, warm jackets, mitts and hats were purchased with a $1,500 donation from the Talbot Trail Optimist Club. Several women have created colourful, sturdy tote bags to house writing materials, books, toiletries, sketch books, journals and colouring supplies for the children.”
Theirs is an ongoing commitment.
“We hope to continue with this project as the need is great during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The end of a landmark
It survived a devastating fire.
But not a pandemic.
The landmark Wayside restaurant has closed in Talbotville. Lights are out, the sign is dark, the parking lot barricaded.
“COVID has killed a lot of people,” Trudy Kanellis says on the phone.
Trudy and husband Nick sold the resto two years ago to look forward to retirement; they now have the keys back and are winding up the business.
The Wayside will complete a few catering contracts but that’s it.
The restaurant’s new owners at first announced in early November the closing would be temporary.
But, now, Trudy says, “We’re not reopening.”
The Wayside is one of the oldest continually operating restaurants in Southwestern Ontario. It dates to 1936 and, until 1975, also was a Greyhound bus depot. There’s a Greyhound Bus Lines plaque above the fireplace. At one time, as many as 40 buses stopped there each day, a restaurant history says.
Nick bought the property in ’75 from London restaurateur Eddie Escaf. Trudy started working there in ’84 and married Nick in 2001. That same year, a roofing fire forced a top-to-bottom rebuild.
It’s always been a popular country spot featuring a plentiful salad bar and buffet, and earning high praise online.
Well. Wasn’t that just the Big Noise from Winnetka that blew into town on Sunday.
And once the winds had calmed a bit and the rain stopped sheeting horizontally, we got in the car and took a quick look around.
Over on Queen Street, a parked car was squished under a giant limb that the wind had torn off a tree. It was only one of many limbs and, even, whole trees we saw on the ground.
And smaller branches everywhere.
On Wellington Street, shingles on the road. Over on Horton Street, a whole wall of siding gone off a house. On Sunset, a power line down. Traffic lights in town and, in Port Stanley, dangling on just their wires.
And in Port, well, you might have thought by the number of cars at Little Beach that it was a summer weekend. Folks were watching the big waves – and the surfers surfing them.
William Street to Main Beach was closed. We were thinking an alternate route when an 8×10 sheet of metal blew across the road. We figured things might be a little dangerous, still, and came home.
Passing by the former Trinity Anglican Church, we saw a number of men in traditional Muslim dress, with pickup trucks and a utility trailer. Several of the men were wearing the white robes of an imam.
There has been a persistent rumour around town that Trinity, which closed in January, is to become an Islamic faith centre when the sale of the property goes through at the end of the month.
That would serve well the local Muslim community, whose need for a convenient Friday place to worship was met by St. Hilda’s/St. Luke’s on Elm Street offering a prayer room before churches closed because of COVID-19.
No one in the know is confirming the rumour, and the property’s new owners in Mississauga haven’t responded to messages.
And in the few minutes it took to get home, grab and camera and a notebook and head back, everyone was gone.
A big fundraiser
It’s a major funder for the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre and, even though COVID-19 concerns forced a rethink of its annual art auction and fun night out, this year’s sealed-bid sale of 52 pictures still raised just over $26,000.
“We were thrilled, absolutely thrilled,” says Sherri Howard, the art gallery’s education and events co-ordinator.
That compares favourably with last year’s full-fledged evening and live auction of 86 artworks, which netted $33,000.
Top seller this year was an untitled black and white enamel painting by Clark McDougall, picturing a country roadside. It fetched $3,888.
Currently being hung at the gallery is an exhibition of recent donations to STEPAC’s permanent collection of more than 1,800 artworks, to open Saturday. A major piece is a huge untitled Ron Kingswood painting of waterfowl. The permanent collection is an invaluable repository of the community’s art history, including even the internationally reputed artists who have influenced it. At the entry to the 28-piece show, an abstract Riopelle lithograph.
More modest in scale is a show and sale of close to 340 miniature artworks continuing through year-end in the art gallery’s small Gallery 3. The miniatures, picturing a range of subjects in a range of styles, along with a few 3-D entries, are the work of 60 artists. Many are well-known and some, as young as 12 and 14, very talented newcomers to the local art scene. And prices? Starting at just $25.
A Christmas tradition
Each year about this time of year, it was “The.Best.Assignment.Ever.”
Lucky was the Times-Journal photographer sent to former St. John’s Anglican to photograph Lois Paddon and her kitchen crew baking those lovely sugar cookies in the shape of old St. Thomas’s Church, and icing them with the date of the historic building, 1824.
The cookies were for a very St. Thomas Christmas tradition … to be served along with hot mincemeat tarts and warm cider at an annual community Christmas carol sing at the old church. But there always also were a half-dozen for the T-J newsroom. Most of them made it back. I swear. Honest.
For almost three decades, the annual carol sing has been held on the first Sunday in December, which is the start of the Advent season on the Christian calendar, heralding Christmas.
And David Fisher’s handbill for the sing, with its advice to “Dress Warm,” always has circulated. Bundle up because the old church is not heated and, most years, it has been chilly, to say the least. Even snuggling real close in the box pews.
(I do remember the year it was so unusually warm, the Rev. Phil Uptgrove, that year’s celebrant, happily showed off the Hawaiian shirt and shorts he was wearing under his winter overcoat!)
But as we all know, this year isn’t just another year, and there won’t be a 29th annual Christmas carol sing this year at Old St. Thomas’s, accompanied by a Salvation Army brass band with a collection to benefit the Sally Ann’s community ministries.
Instead, a short program of soloists is being filmed at the church and is to be shared online, the Rev. Canon Nick Wells, Old St. Thomas’s rector, says.
And viewers are being asked to donate to the Sally Ann or community charity of their choice.
Also cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns, a candle-lighted Christmas Eve service of lessons and carols.
‘Designed by notable Hal Sorrenti’
You just know a Hal Sorrenti home when you see one in Port Stanley and about.
They just look like they belong. They’re wood. They’re local.
A feature is their ship-like multi-level verticality, frequently accented by a tower.
There’s the house on Main Street in Port, on Dexter Line at Fairview, on Sunset Road at Fruit Ridge. And the one-time garden centre on the Glanworth curve … the one on the east side of the south part of the curve itself.
Here’s the bumpf for an Orchard Beach home perched on the hillside with a lookout to the lake:
“Enjoy spectacular lake views from any of the four balconies and enhance your lifestyle with its spa-like main level, spiral staircases and floor to ceiling windows. The unique architecture features several yacht-like elements, designed by notable Hal Sorrenti.”
It listed in June for $1.125 million.
I think Hal shared a particular vision for Port, along with a number of other young people who saw a future for a little fishing village that, while the future, also had deep respect for Port’s hardworking past.
I don’t know what Hal would think of Port today, where development seems to have taken the village in another direction. Several directions. Some say you could live on the beach in a little Oakville, now, if you wished. Or, a bit farther back, in a pastel-colored place somewhere in the Caribbean. (I’m just waiting for the cabana-clad to flip flop down to the lakeshore in January!). And, of course, up the hilltop, you could live in any suburb, anywhere.
Well, Hal removed some years ago to the Honduras, and built a successful design practice there.
And it’s where he now has died.
There’s an obituary online in the northshorebeacon.ca with a lovely story that demonstrates the caring character of the man:
“A man broke into his house, tied Hal’s hands behind his back and held a knife to his throat. Hal felt badly that he only had $30 and suggested that the thief return tomorrow as Hal would have $200 for him. Hal secured the money, but the thief did not return. Hal felt sorry for the guy.”
Flowers declined. An act of kindness requested in his name, instead.
* * *