heritage-protection-old-saint-thomas-church | Brantford Exhibitor


For more than 40 years, she has been the guardian of one of the community’s most precious heritage assets.

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For more than 40 years, she has been the guardian of one of the community’s most precious heritage assets.

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But after four decades as director of the Old St. Thomas Church Restoration and Maintenance Trust, Lois Paddon, 88, says: “I am too old now.

So Lois retired. She was the last founding board member of the trust which over the years has maintained the 1824 church owned by the Anglican Diocese of Huron.

The organization – which recently completed a $120,000 repair of the Walnut Street building and now looks forward to the church’s 200th anniversary – was founded out of community concern that the property was deteriorating.

“A local merchant, he thought it was a shame the church wasn’t maintained,” Lois says. “From there, it spread.”

She remembers it was a Mr. Howe.

Still active in church life as a member of St. John’s Anglican Church, Lois remembers how she got involved.

“They phoned me and asked me.”

The list of works on the property is long. Old churches, old houses, as they say.

“Everything that needed to be redone, we did.”

But two things never came to light – the building’s lack of central heating and electric lighting.

Although regular worship ceased at Old St. Thomas with the 1877 opening of Trinity Anglican Church and the relocation of the congregation there, the old church is still used for special occasions, including a carol long-awaited community Christmas party, held every year until the pandemic.

To help keep attendees warm in their unheated pews, volunteers serve hot cider and ground meat pies — and sugar cookies shaped like old St. Thomas, and iced with the building’s date.

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“I’ve made so many – I’ve made thousands,” smiles Lois as the head of the kitchen team at St. John’s, now St. Thomas Anglican after Trinity closed and amalgamated. two congregations.

For now, she has custody of the cookie cutter in the shape of a church.

“I will give it to whoever wants to take over.

“I’m waiting for this person.”


The trust thanked Lois in a letter.

“For more than 40 years, you have demonstrated strong leadership, patience and a gentle sense of humor that have been an example to all who have had the pleasure of serving with you on the Board of administration.

“You’ve honed the art of cookie and hash pie making to a world-renowned level, tirelessly crafting thousands for hundreds of singers over three decades of Carol Sings.

“Your dedication to your faith, to the old church and to the community is the essence of who you are and how you live your life. We will miss you very much. »

Unknown future

The future of one of Elgin’s leading agri-tourism operations is unknown following the sale of a lavender farm in the Sparta region.

The 41-acre property is home to Suzanne Steed and Jim Bundschuh and their family, and is where Suzanne, a public health nurse, founded Steed and Co., producing lavender-based wellness products from two acres of grass and welcoming 30,000 visitors a year for a bucolic day in the countryside.

But with Jim, a former Elgin County administrator, now named operations manager for the town of Saugeen Shores in Bruce County, the family moves on.

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Their showcase farmhouse was featured two weeks ago in a two-page House of the Week article in the Globe and Mail’s Real Estate section. Asking price: $1.895 million.

Suzanne told the Globe that she would sue Steed and Co., but her lavender plants would remain.

It was not immediately clear if the anonymous buyer of the property planned to pursue the attraction.

A heated debate

An all-candidates debate for the upcoming provincial election in Elgin–Middlesex–London sparks a debate in itself.

The May 18 event at the Canada Southern Railroad Station is sponsored by the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and, although it will be taped by Rogers TV for cable, there is an admission fee of $15 – plus HST! – to attend in person.

Virtually every thumbs up on the St. Thomas Happenings Community Facebook Forum is thrown over the top, including from someone who should know – Steve Peters, former MP for Elgin–Middlesex–London, minister and chairman of the ‘Legislative Assembly.

“You shouldn’t have to pay to attend a debate,” he decides.

Chamber leader Paul Jenkins says the event was organized by the chamber for the business community it represents, and the fee simply covers the cost of a box lunch for hungry attendees at the end of their working day. It is not a source of money.

And while the debate is to be televised, Paul said space permitting, the chamber would admit others.

“It wasn’t meant to exclude people.”

another hope

Oh. Add one more candidate to the list of candidates to succeed Tory MP Jeff Yurek, who resigned his seat of Elgin–Middlesex–London at the end of February (Without a sitting local MP, excavations of the former constituency of Jeff at Canada Southern station remain open, as a generic “Elgin–Middlesex–London community office”.)

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Matt Millar, a fruit grower and small business entrepreneur from Lambeth, representing the New Blue Party of Ontario, was recently announced for the June 2 tilt in the constituency.

Founded in 2020, the Blues describe themselves as “a centre-right, anti-establishment political party” led by Jim Karahalios, the husband of Belinda Karahalios, the party’s first female MP.

She was kicked out of the provincial Conservative caucus after refusing to back the maintenance of the provincial government’s emergency pandemic powers.

Belying its monochromatic moniker, the New Blue Party has quite a colorful history. Read all about it at www.newblueontario.com/history.

“These Hands”

The hands are aged and wrinkled. They have life experience. They are holding a Bible. A hammer and tape measure. A Valentine. A microphone. An OFSAA championship ball. A tube of lipstick. And more.

All are illustrated in 56 photographs currently on display through the end of the month at the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Center.

The images are of the hands of local elders holding cherished keepsakes. And they’re part of a new book, These Hands: Moving Memoirs of Elders in Our Community.

The volume of photos and personal reflections will be unveiled April 29 in Aylmer at a gala hosted by Elgin Warden Mary French. The costume supports the fundraising campaign for the redevelopment of the Terrace Lodge. Limited tickets available at $75 each. (The STEPAC exhibition is free.)

The book was made possible, in part, by a federal New Horizon grant for seniors.

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The volume is available in print, or as an eBook or audiobook, by calling 519-631-1460 ext. 192 or by emailing [email protected] – once the county has decrypted its internet services, I guess, offline since April 1st.

These hands will also be available at branches of the Elgin County Library.


“Welcome. Ladies and gentlemen, and others, you are about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and betrayal – all those things that hold us all to heart.”

The greeting opens Chicago the Musical. And when that show finally took place last week at the Stratford Festival, with a first preview following three COVID cancellations, the afternoon audience laughed, clapped and cheered as the performance returned to the Festival Theater marquee.

It was a moment.

The mood for the day was lighthearted as strangers chatted as they lined up to enter the theater wearing masks and carrying proof of vaccinations.

And overheard as Central Elgin considers a new master plan for the development of the village’s port lands, “I hope they don’t ruin Port Stanley.”

The response from someone I recognized as a longtime resident, “They already did.”

Another moment.

No review of previews, which are works in progress. But even with an absent lead actor and his role covered by a stunt double, the show ended with the audience to a standing ovation.

Open mic

No more life as we knew it.

After two long years of the pandemic, the open mic is once again live at Streamliners Espresso Bar.

They are celebrating Earth Day with the return of coffee night from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22.

Artists – singers, songwriters, poets, etc. – can reserve their spot in the spotlight via Railway City Live on Facebook (or by emailing [email protected]).

Stay well.

[email protected]

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