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There’s a lot of history packed into village of Auburn

21 May
Main Street of Auburn.

Main Street of Auburn.

heather boaBy Diva Heather Boa

The main street of Auburn is pretty this time of year.

The road is surprisingly wide and grand trees are just starting to come into bloom. There’s a post office shingle and a number of sheds in which business might take place, but most of the buildings, including an ivy-covered church, on main street are now homes. There are no cars parallel parked at the side of the street and my car rolls quietly.

At this time of day, people are outside waiting. Waiting for the bus that will bring their children home from schools in neighbouring communities. A woman sits in her idling car in the church’s driveway. A mother and a her two youngsters sit on the steps in a doorway. A man on a bike waves as he rides by.

It’s worth a day trip to come poke around Auburn, if you’ve never turned off Cnty. Rd. 25 or Base Line Road. Check out the Huron Bay District Co-operative for garden flowers and supplies, maybe grab a bite to eat at the Auburn Grill or pack a lunch and enjoy it in the park down by the Maitland River. Or stay overnight at the Auburn Riverside Retreat, a family-run campground, which also has timber framed cottages and pine cabins for rent.

And while you’re there, keep in mind these historical notes that were gathered by researcher Diane Smith for a project done by the Municipality of Huron East to expand the Huron County Historical Society’s Driving Tour a few years ago:

Auburn – The village is divided, east from west, by the Maitland River. The lines of four different township boundaries auburnsignintersected here, and those lines also divided Canada Company land open to settlement from the government-owned hinterland beyond. Later, streets and plans were divided along the same lines, thus creating Auburn’s distinctive layout of “dogleg roads and offset lots.” Auburn, as with many other locations, became an area of settlement because water power was readily available here. The village was called both Auburn and Manchester – early maps of parts of the village dated 1854 and 1856 called it Manchester while the post office name assigned in 1854 was Auburn. In fact, the name of the village was Manchester, for all other purposes except postal service, until 1978 when it officially became the Police Village of Auburn.

United Church – The Presbyterians had begun a congregation in Manchester in June 1860. They were the first to construct a unitedchurchchurch building, which opened in March 1863. In the early days, the service was given first in Gaelic and then in English. The old Knox Presbyterian Church became Knox United Church when the three Protestant denominations united in 1925. The church building you now see dates to 1904. The red brick manse to the west was built in 1913, but the original Presbyterian Manse on the east side dates to the 1870s.

Apple Farms – (Maitland Terrace) The once abundant orchards of Auburn and the rest of Huron County supplied maitlandterracethe local apple evaporator plant. The Caldwell General Store was converted into the plant in the late 1890s. It continued in business until it was destroyed by fire in 1925. Local apple supply dwindled and by the 1930s the rebuilt plant was closed.

Dam – Manchester Park – In the mid-1840s, most of the land of what would become the auburnparkfuture townsite of Auburn was bought by the first settler to arrive here, William Robert Garratt. Because the provincial government had reserved all the waters of the Maitland River for its own use, Garratt was stymied in his plans to build a mill, and he soon left. Eneas Elkin was next to arrive in 1850, buying land in the Hullett section. Elkins ran a ferry service across the river. In 1854, Elkin had the northern part of his farm surveyed into a town site he called Manchester Village. Sales of lots enabled him to build a dam and a four-storey grist mill on the Maitland River just south of the main village site. In the late 1860s, a spring flood destroyed Elkin’s mill dam and it was then rebuilt by James Cullis. A short distance downstream the Cullis sawmill provided another essential service to the village.

Have a look, too, at the unique entrance signs on Cnty. Rd. 25 that announce your arrival in Auburn. These blocky cement letters are listed among the Folk Art Treasures of Huron County, a book written by Ron and Bev Walker.

Mouth-watering exhibit at Huron County Museum

11 May
A 25-minute is chock full of interesting recipes, cookware and tips.

A 25-minute is chock full of interesting recipes, cookware and tips.

rachellynnBy Diva Rachel Lynn

When I first heard the Huron County Museum was going to hold a Delicious exhibit I was very excited. Why? Because it’s about food. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love food; I love eating, cooking, baking. I love sweet, salty, savoury. I. Love. It. All.

The Delicious exhibit combines a look at favourite foods from our ancestors with cookbooks and kitchen items from the Huron County Museum & Archives Collection. Will Kernohan, acting assistant curator, told me they wanted to create an exhibit that added a community engagement piece. In all, 70 people have donated recipes for display.

20150502_155844As soon as I walked into the front doors on opening day I could smell the coffee, sweets and delicious spread of cheese wafting down from the second floor. Scattered in the mezzanine were round tables covered in adorable red and white checkered table clothes where visitors could sit and enjoy the food spread provided. But where was the food?! I found the source in a separate room on the same floor; a sampling of locally produced foods. Included were coffee (Coastal Coffee), maple syrup (Robinson Maple Syrup), donuts, cheese 20150502_152704(Pine River and Blyth Cheese), bread (Burdan’s Red Cat Farm & Bakery), salamis (Metzger’s), preserves (Bayfield Berry Farm) and apples (Laithwaite Apple Park). The sampling of local products was only available opening day.

DSC_0095Huron County Museum Registrar Patti Lamb advised me there are 200 artifacts and cookbooks on display. The oldest ones are the wooden “Bread and Dough Mixer and Storage—Made by William Johnston in 1860”; the silver tea services circa 1840s; the hand egg mixer circa 1881; and the pink Victorian furniture circa 1880.

DSC_0081There is also a wonderful display for children to come and interact with. The original cookbook was provided by local resident Rhea Hamilton Seeger: Fun to Cook Book (1960).

Will showed me around the exhibit and shared some wonderful stories from people who submitted their favourite family recipes, memories and food related photos. Here are a couple of my favourites:

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Photo on left side of this is a picture of local Goderich mother making Christmas pudding, photo on the right is a picture of grandmother who developed the Christmas pudding recipe. I love the picture blown up as it shows how well used it is with the stains on the corner. That’s my kind of recipe.
Here is a snap shot of some of my favourite family recipes:

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One of my other favourite pieces was watching the 25-minute video that was compiled of all the different types of recipes, cookware and famous people like Julia Child providing tips. At the end of the video there is a special appearance (you’ll have to watch to see who it is) and a recipe is made from one of the ones found at the Museum. The recipe originates back to 1890 created by dispensing chemist F. Jordan.

DSC_0107There is still lots of time to submit your own recipes. You can email it, or my suggestion is to visit the exhibit and while you’re there add your photocopy of the recipe on the recipe board.

There was so much history in that room, it’s too hard to share it all with you. You’ll have to go check it out yourself. The exhibit is ongoing until Sept. 13 so you have plenty of time.

Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol
110 North St
Goderich ON N7A 2T8
www.huroncounty.ca/museum

Click here for details of admission fees and hours.

Open
Click here for a detailed list of their exhibits for 2015

Psychic medium stirs up the past in dinner at Part II Bistro

23 Apr
Medium Kelly Elston reads the crowd at Part II Bistro.

Psychic medium Kelly Elson reads the crowd of women gathered at Part II Bistro in Blyth. Photos courtesy of Darlene McCowan Photographer.

heather boaBy Diva Heather Boa

BLYTH – Tonight I heard from my dad and my grandmother, which is weird because they’ve both been dead for more than a decade.

As generally happens when family gets together, they wanted to talk about the people we have in common – my aunts and uncles, my mom and my two brothers – and pass on a few hellos. The messages played out kind of like a cross between 20 questions and charades, as they communicated through Goderich psychic medium Kelly Elson during a group reading held at Part II Bistro in Blyth.

From what I gather, Dad showed her a symbol that looks like the Roman numeral II, which in the language of the dead (my words, not hers) can mean he’s trying to talk about twins, someone who is a Gemini, somebody’s birthday, or the parallel of two things falling close together. After more questions, it was possible that something happened on a holiday, or two somethings happened on two holidays.

Bingo.

My father was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer on Labour Day weekend in 1999. And he died on Victoria Day weekend in 2000.

She also said he kept coming back to a Canada flag.

kelly peek 2What I didn’t tell the medium was that my dad made a stained glass maple leaf set into a stepping stone, which was donated as the centre piece for the IODE Maple Leaf chapter’s public garden in Goderich. After he died, someone stole that stepping stone.

She asked too if lily of the valley, those delicate white flowers found in the woods, mean anything to me because dad kept pulling up handfuls of them.

Maybe a bingo.

Flowers were one of my dad’s many passions. He loved trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpits and ferns from the forests, so he probably liked lily of the valley too. I don’t know for sure.

Kelly made her way around the room, telling the women gathered for this dinner what she saw – someone named John who smelled like a woodstove, about a hundred people gathered to pass on their thanks to a nurse, a father-in-law whose image appeared in black and white to signify he’s been gone for awhile, a grandmother holding a child in a pink blanket, a woman in an intense game of poker, and the images just keep coming.

The accuracy of some of her statements was quite astounding. There was instant intimacy in a room full of strangers and some of what was said should stay within the confines of that dining room.

Peter and Sarah Gusso, of Part II Bistro, were wonderful hosts, setting up the dining room in long rows of tables so that clusters of friends sat alongside strangers for the evening. The three-course meal included: spinach and bosc pear salad, with gourmet trail mix, Blyth spiced goat cheese and a maple-citrus-mustard vinaigrette; pineapple chicken atop a bed of coconut rice with volcano rice, all topped with a fresh salsa; brownies with coulis, plus a table tray of lemon tarts, coffee cakes and strudels.

Part II Bistro has a schedule of wine, Scotch or beer tastings, live music and other events. Check them out on Facebook or online.

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Ten reasons to visit Bayfield sometime soon

22 Apr

10bayfield eventsNEW

Thursday night at the movies at Huron County Museum

8 Apr

movieconnections3

claireheadshotBy Diva Claire Carter

HURON COUNTY – The Huron County Museum just launched a new temporary exhibit called Movie Connections.  Artifacts from the collection and archives have been selected based on themes of movieconnections2popular classic movies.  Some were easy guesses (an awesome classic jukebox and cheerleading uniform), while others were less obvious (an old-fashioned wheelchair comes to mind).  The exhibit has been beautifully decorated, with objects in big, old wooden cases, and film reels on the walls.  Movie Connections seems like a great way to feature different objects and tell interesting local stories.

You may make the guessing game a little easier for yourself by taking a look at the list of featured films.  I’m told many of the films were selected from top 100 lists, and the collection is aimed to represent different decades in film-making.  There is a great variety, from serious to upbeat (Grease sing-along anyone??).

Films are included with the price of admission, and free for members of the Huron County Museum or any of its partner sites (Grey Roots, Bruce County Museum and movieconnections1Cultural Centre, Waterloo Region Museum and Simcoe County Museum.)  Popcorn will be served, and you can also bring in your own snacks.

Titanic (1997)– April 9

The Pianist (2002) – April 16

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – April 23

Citizen Kane (1941) – April 30

The Green Mile (1999) – May 7

The Young Victoria (2009) – May 14

Grease (1978) – May 21

The exhibit runs from April 7 through May 23.  Films will be shown in the Huron County Museum Theatre each Thursday evening, starting at 7 p.m., with an extra showing of The Young Victoria on Victoria Day Weekend.

Admission: Adults. $7.50; Seniors aged 65+, $6.50; Students aged 11+ & in school, $5.50; Children aged 6 to 11, $4; Family living in same residence, $25; Pre-schoolers up to age 5, free, and; Members, free. HST extra.

The Huron County Museum is located at 110 North Street, Goderich.  For more information, call 519-524-2686, or email museum@huroncounty.ca

movieconnections

Ten Great Things to do in Huron County this March Break

13 Mar

 

File Photo.

File Photo.

  1. Families can spend every day of the week at Huron County Museum, where there’s always something going on. There’s the Drop-In Family Games Room, with oldies like Atari, Nintendo, crokinole and vintage crafts. Or Movie Madness, complete with popcorn. Follow the clues on a self-guided quest for answers then enter a draw for an iPad Mini or dinner & movie night for the whole family. And, finally, there’s a History Hall App Launch Party preceded by a showing of vintage footage from Huron County main streets.
  2. Get outdoors for Maple Magic Sugar Shack at Samuels Hotel on Saturday, March 13. Come out for horse drawn sleigh rides, Robinson Maple Products maple tours, activities, heated patio, hot alcohol and non-alcohol drinks all day, and a maple-themed dessert extravaganza.
  3. The Municipality of North Huron has a week of day camps, with bowling, tropical games, candy sports, skating and swimming. As well, there are daily swimming and skating times.
  4. Catch the Peter Mennie’s Abra Kid Abra Magic Show at the Blyth Festival on Saturday, March 21 at 1 p.m. You and your kids will get a big laugh. Then afterwards, head across the road to Queen’s Bakery for a hot chocolate and a treat.
  5. Spend a few hours on the lanes at Little Bowl in Goderich. They’ve got specials on two games and shoes package and two hours all you can bowl package.
  6. Strap on the skates for free ice time at the Central Huron Community Complex, courtesy of the local Optimist Club. There are time slots for figure skating, shinny and public skating.
  7. Travel through ancient Egypt, the Wild West, the Medieval Times, and even back to the future during March Break activities for the whole family at the YMCA in Central Huron.
  8. Bingo, martial arts, shinny, a walk on the McNaughton-Morrison Trail, and plenty of other activities are on the slate of events during March Break in the Municipality of South Huron.
  9. The warm weather makes it a great time for an outdoor hike. The Watershed Outdoor Club hosts a Signs of Spring and Hiking Smart on Thursday. This event is part of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority’s programming.
  10. For the 66th year running, Goderich arenas will be the battlegrounds for some of the best Pee Wee hockey around, with the Goderich Lions’ Young Canada Week. Watch boys and girls team compete through the week.

 

Bayfield hosts The Tall Ships

14 Jul Tall_Ships_Bayfield3

Tall_Ships_Bayfield5Diva Christine visited Bayfield to get a glimpse of two Tall Ships that docked here for the weekend.

Per CKNX Radio, the Tall Ships were hosted by ten local service clubs including the Optimists. Chair of the Optimists Tall Ships Committee, Mike Dixon described the ships:  “both two-masted square riggers, 72 ft long, and both with a permanent crew of about ten. Each ship also carries a temporary crew of a dozen students who sign on for one to two weeks.”  Bayfield is the first of eight stops the tall ships will make on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes this summer.

Tall_Ships_Bayfield2

Tall_Ships_Bayfield1

 

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