Tag Archives: clinton

School on Wheels was home for travelling school teacher, family

18 Jun
Sloman School on Wheels has a permanent home in Clinton, Ontario.

The School on Wheels Museum  has a permanent home in Clinton, Ontario.

by Diva Karen Stewart

CLINTON – The School on Wheels Museum in Clinton has long been on my list of places to visit. Last Saturday I got my chance and had not only a guided tour but also enjoyed Tea with Toby as well as well over an hour’s one-on-one time with the delightful Toby Sloman Rainey.

Museum staff, Carolyn Brophy, shows me one mode of communication implemented by the Sloman’s on the train. A note would be attached to this switch that would be grabbed by someone on a passing train. It may be a simple grocery list. The switch was dropped on the ground and one of the students would run down the track to retrieve it.  Then, on a return train, the product(s) would be delivered.

Museum staff, Carolyn Brophy, shows me one mode of communication implemented by the Sloman’s on the train. A note would be attached to this switch that would be grabbed by someone on a passing train. It may be a simple grocery list. The switch was dropped on the ground and one of the students would run down the track to retrieve it. Then, on a return train, the product(s) would be delivered.

Standing in Sloman Memorial Park is the original 100-year-old wooden train car that the Sloman’s lived in for most of the 39 years that Toby’s father, Fred, brought an education to the children living in isolated areas of Northern Ontario.

Toby is the youngest daughter of Fred and Cela Sloman. At 77 she’s spunky and committed to creating a lasting tribute to her family’s heritage. Toby shared plans to hopefully one day build an interpretive centre on the grounds and perhaps develop a professional flower garden on the extensive property. There is hope of also building a covering above the rail car to protect it from the elements.

During Tea with Toby, she talked about life on the railcar, which seems quite extraordinary to me, but was just the way it was for her – a young child who didn’t know anything different. She, and her twin brother, William, were the youngest of the Sloman family, which also included older sisters Liz, Margaret and Joan. The children were all taught in the school car by their father until Grade 12. Then, each was boarded in Clinton to attend their 13th year at the Clinton High School in order to prepare them for their post-secondary studies. Toby did take a number of correspondence courses when they became available starting in Grade 10 year, and she recalls complete culture shock while attending Grade 13 in Clinton. As a young woman who loved to spend most of her time in the bushes of Northern Ontario (with her brother) she found it odd that “she wasn’t to speak to the boys” at the school – “protocol” of jealous teen girls at the time. She said she felt like a lone fish.

Two sets of bunk beds and a trundle bed that doubled as a sofa made compact living space but room for everyone.  The sofa is not the original.

Two sets of bunk beds and a trundle bed that doubled as a sofa made compact living space but room for everyone. The sofa is not the original.

The audience asked questions about pets, and the children (they had cats and dogs and at one time a pet skunk, Petunia). I was surprised to discover that the children being taught were mostly of Italian origin as I had expected them to be First Nations. Toby had friends in each community and she feels her family was treated like royalty all along the track.

Religion was not a significant part of their weekly rituals but the family did attend the Anglican Church in Clinton during summer breaks. And she talked about her dad as the teacher – he dressed in a shirt and tie, as that was expected of teachers by the Ontario Department of Education. She suspects he was the only person seen to wear a tie by some of the folks in the communities they visited.

The Sloman route is shown on the right side of this map. They were part of a system that ran over 4,500 miles of track through Northern Ontario.

The Sloman route is shown on the right side of this map. They were part of a system that ran over 4,500 miles of track through Northern Ontario.

It’s clear Toby adored her father. She admits she now understands his choices and commitment to this lifestyle was both courageous and extraordinary (when she was younger he was just ‘dad’).

There was no television. There was no radio. In the evening Toby remembers men of the community coming to the railcar for poker games. Christmas and Easter were big in each of the communities they visited so the celebrations were a month long.   Sometimes movies were shown when the projector was run off a car battery. Personally, Toby read a lot and – to this day – doesn’t remember ever being bored.

The compact kitchen where Cela Sloman prepared meals for her family of five while travelling the rails in Northern Ontario - every year, for 39 years - from September through June.  Imagine how creative she must have been!

The compact kitchen where Cela Sloman prepared meals for her family of five while travelling the rails in Northern Ontario – every year, for 39 years – from September through June. Imagine how creative she must have been!

We talked about arts and culture in the region and the importance of sharing our collective stories.   Years ago the Blyth Festival premiered the Sloman’s story in Fires in the Night by Carol Sinclair. I remember opening night when the playwright presented Cela Sloman with a bouquet of flowers. I didn’t think that standing ovation was ever going to end. Toby remembered that too.

This heritage museum has educational, railway and historic significance.   They host special events and activities. This summer they’re highlighting Games and Toys of the Past including a special day this Saturday – June 20.   The Bayfield, Clinton and Vanastra Lions will be hosting a Steak Bingo from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and there will be games and a scavenger hunt on the property from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Collectors have donated toys and games and the museum will have a special display on site.   I highly recommend you gather your children or grandchildren to visit the School on Wheels. You won’t be disappointed.


 

Open: Victoria Day to last weekend in September, Thursday through Sunday and Holiday Mondays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: 76 Victoria Terrace, just West of Hwy #4, Clinton, ON N0M 1L0

Contact: 519-482-3997

Cost: Admission is by Donation.

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Miniature horses a big hit with kids at Clinton Spring Fair

8 Jun

miniature4

By Diva Christine Harris

CLINTON – The annual Clinton Spring Fair drew a good crowd again this year, from the Friday opening ceremonies through to the Sunday miniature horse show.

miniature1On Sunday, the midway had its bracelet day where you could ride all the rides for one price, and in the show ring REACH Huron, the local equine centre, the miniature horses were in competition.  The Miniature Horse Show is part of the American Miniature Horse Association that holds shows in the U.S. and Canada.  With 30 different classes during this competition, there is something for everyone to see.

The kids in the stands were quite interested to see this small breed of horses, which must not exceed 34 inches to enter the show.

miniature3Ribbons are awarded for first to sixth place, but each one is hoping for that blue ribbon when they enter the arena to have their horse judged.  Though the prize money isn’t huge, you can tell the pride is when the winner leaves the circle.

Now in its 161st year, organizers have it down to a successful science, with a full lineup of events, including the demolition derby, canine agility show, homecrafts, talent search, parade, mini-tractor pull and other family events.

If you missed this great community event, then mark July 3 to 5 on your calendar for the annual Kinsmen Pluckinfest in Clinton, with a street dance, teddy bear parade, chicken barbecue, holeyboard competition – if you don’t know what that is, then you’re in for some exciting times – firemen’s breakfast , town-wide yard sale and more. For more information, check the Kinsmen website or to find out more about the community, check out the Municipality of Central Huron’s website.

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Clinton’s Trial Farmer’s Market Deemed a Success

15 Aug

P1020268by Diva Karen Stewart
Clinton & Central Huron BIA has a trial Summer Market operating Wednesdays until September 4 from 8am to 2pm at the Library Park.   “Originally planned to close on August 14th, the market was extended a couple of weeks as this season’s unique weather sees produce maturing later than is typical here,” says Co-ordinator Sandy Garnet. “Downtown businesses report increased traffic and there’s a strong desire from our merchants to expand the season in 2014.”

There are vendors who sell fresh meats, fresh baked goods (including gluten free), cheese, maple syrup and honey, farm fresh eggs, as well as home made crafts and one of a kind items. The main feature, however, is the farmers and their fresh picked fruits and vegetables.   Averaging ten vendors each week, the market can easily accommodate up to 20 and hopes to encourage more vendors from Central Huron.

Check out some of the local flavour featured at the Farmers’ Market.  And, if you’re gluten free check out the Almond White Chocolate Coconut Squares from Humble Roots Bakery – I can vouch for them … they are quite tasty.

Location:

The Market is located 27 Albert Street, Clinton, Ontario N0M 1L0
Wednesday 8am – 2pm, until September 4th

Contacts:

Sandy Garnet, Made in Huron, 519-525-0671 (Made in Huron on Facebook)
Nina,  ReLook Nook, 519-606-4001  (Re-Look Nook on Facebook)

4 year old Landin Carter

4 year old Landin Carter

Gluten Free, Lactose Free and reduced sugar baking from Humble Roots Bakery in Milverton.

Gluten Free, Lactose Free and reduced sugar baking from Humble Roots Bakery in Milverton.

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Ross Dobie of Auburn sold frozen meats and fresh vegetables for a Hurno County-based Mennonite friend. Ross Dobie of Auburn sold frozen meats and fresh vegetables for a Hurno County-based Mennonite friend.

Pauleen Kerkhof, a local Epicure consultant is a regular vendor at the Market.

Pauleen Kerkhof, a local Epicure consultant is a regular vendor at the Market.

An Evening at the Clinton Spring Fair

5 Jun
100_1559by Guest Diva-for-a-Day, Amanda Piskorki
Last weekend I attended the 159th Clinton Spring Fair. Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the night life of the fair that consisted of fair rides and some games to win prizes. I was surprised to see the games and rides still in full swing at 9PM! I guess they didn’t want the fun to stop. Also, an event on Saturday, the demolition derby was the most popular amongst my crowd as was a beer tent where I shared conversation and drinks with fellow fair goers, friends and family. I will definitely be attending next year and encourage others to as well.  In my opinion (this was) one of the best events of summer!

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games at Clinton Fair

games at Clinton Fair

Amanda Piskorski lives just outside of Goderich near Dunlop.  She is Cooping in the Planning and Development department in Goderich for the summer, assisting Karri Sonke a GIS specialist. Piskorski goes to school at Georgian College for Environmental Technology in Barrie.

Off to the races in Clinton

30 May

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

This past Sunday, the four divas decided to head to the horse races at the Clinton Race Track. The four of us have heard of ladies dressing up in fancy hats and dresses, so we thought we would do the same. We first went in and checked out the baked goods and found the lucky number 7 from the OLG ads!

We could see the horses in the distance, getting warmed up and ready to go. The next step was to get a drink, we had heard that beer was $2.75 a can and it was true. We all took a quick peek at the race line-up and decided that we would likely base our bets on names and colours. Lisa was our lead on betting, as she has done it more than twice!

We watched a few races first and then headed in for our first bet. I bet on horse number 7 and it won, too bad I chose show, not win, but it got me $12.50! We stayed for a few races and a great time was had by all. We will be back!

Races happen every Sunday from May 20 – Sept.30 check out this link for more information:

Also, you may have heard that the Ontario Provincial government may close race tracks if they decide to back out of an agreement that gives the tracks and horse owners a share of slot machine revenue. After visiting the track I definitely think this would be horrible for rural communities. There were hundreds of people and families at the event on Sunday. The track holds events and caters to people of all ages, while gambling can be an issue, this day to me was more about camaraderie and having a good time!

For more information visit: http://www.clintonraceway.com/

Baby Lambs: an hour at sheep farm

11 May

By Divas Jenna Ujiye and Maegan Reinhart

Last Saturday was filled with fluffy little lambs and lots of sheep! We thought it would be fun to check out a sheep farm and we knew that there would be lots of lambs too! This farm is located just east of Clinton, there are others in the County, but you would have to call them to see if you could get in to take a peek! Enjoy the photos and video!

Looking for a fascinator? Marita’s has them!

6 May

By: Divas Jenna Ujiye and Maegan Reinhart

You just never know what you might find when shopping at Marita’s Fashion Boutique in Clinton. While on a quick shopping trip we thought we would check out the new stock at this great women’s clothing store. The front window was lit up with bright spring colours of red, orange, blue and white and we knew there was going to be something for us.

While looking at all the great fashions we found some great dresses and, the best part, beautiful fascinators! We have been looking for great head pieces for when we head to the live races at the Clinton Race track. Jenna ended up buying the whole outfit, she just couldn’t resist. The prices were excellent, the dress was $60.00 and the fascinator was $24.95.

We even found a little friend who like the fascinators as well and she modeled the white one for us! Maegan tried on a great dress and is still contemplating on whether to go back and buy it.

Just as we were about to leave we found these great spring jackets in blue and red… our favourite colours! They weren’t even out on display yet, but they allowed us to try them on. We didn’t buy them, but will likely return next week to get them, as they won’t be there for long!

If you are looking for a new piece to add to your wardrobe, Marita’s probably has it. They are located at 15 Victoria St, Clinton, ON.

Mon: 10:00 am 5:00 pm
Tue – Fri: 10:00 am 5:30 pm
Sat: 10:00 am 4:00 pm
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