behind the rings of village's heritage slippery elm tree
This Slippery Elm reigns over Bayfield's Main Street and is a heritage treasure for the district. (Photo by Melody Falconer-Pounder)
The focus of heritage is generally the bricks and mortar within a locale but natural heritage is also an integral part of the rich fabric that makes up the community landscape.
For this reason members of the Bluewater Heritage Committee (BHC) and the Bluewater Blooms Committee for Communities in Bloom are combining their efforts in recognizing and promoting Bluewater’s heritage trees. Once a month Ainslie Willock, BHC member and Thyra Knudson, Bluewater Blooms member, will share with the Bayfield Breeze their knowledge of a heritage tree.
This month they offer insight into a grand dame – the Slippery Elm Tree located on the road allowance in front of 19 Main Street in Bayfield or known better to most as The Red Pump Restaurant.
To say it is huge may be an under-statement. It’s a Slippery Elm or Ulmus Rubra, named in 1793 by Pennsylvania pastor and botanist Gotthilf Muhlenberg. It's native to Eastern North America. It's also called: red, gray, soft, sweet, moose and Indian Elm. Apparently, it's similar in general appearance to an American Elm but more closely related to the European Wych Elm.
In 1987, this resident of Bayfield was measured and was found to be 26.8 meters high with a diameter of 150 cm (59 inches) and a circumference of 471 cm (185 inches). It was listed in Gerry Waldron’s book Trees of the Carolinian Forest, printed in 2003, as the largest of Ontario’s specimens.
Bill Rowat, president of the Bayfield Historical Society, and Willock measured it in 2011 and found its circumference to be 513 cm (202 inches). Steve Bower, now retired from the Ministry of Natural Resources in Clinton, measured it last year too and determined that is now shorter but wider than it was 25 years ago.
Perhaps some subscribers have heard of a Slippery Elm canoe? The Iroquois used to make their canoes out of the bark of this variety of tree. They’d construct it from the bark of an entire living tree by turning the bark inside out so that the rough side would be the canoe's interior. The Huron’s much lighter birch bark canoes easily outmaneuvered these heavy canoes. The bark was also used to build roofs, large chests and storage vessels for grains and household goods that even held maple syrup. Slippery Elm has been used to make, furniture, crates, charcoal, veneer, caskets and even wagon wheel hubs as the interlocking grains act as shock absorbers. In a pinch, chopped Slippery Elm bark could also nourish people and animals in the wintertime. The seeds, released as leaves, are forming in May, feed birds. The leaves and twigs are also fodder for deer and rabbits.
Native people called it Slippery Elm because of the inner bark that swelled when in contact with water becoming slippery and producing a soothing ointment and versatile medicine. Almost all cough lozenges contain Slippery Elm.
Like its close cousin, the bouquet shaped taller White Elm, it too can be killed by Dutch Elm Disease. Waldon’s book states, “Individual trees may live as long as 200 years.”
Willock and Knudson hope that no one will ever learn how old this gorgeous heritage tree is. It is their desire that it will live on and on and never have its rings counted.
If anyone has a story about a Slippery Elm; they are welcome to share it with Willock and Knudson at: email@example.com.
Two area couples share title "Conservationist of the Year"
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) announced their Conservationist of the Year award winners at a ceremony held at Ironwood Golf Club east of Exeter, on March 15. Shown l-r are award winners Bill and Ann Phelan, from north of Bayfield, with Paul Hodgins, vice-chair of the ABCA Board of Directors, and award winners Joan and John Love, and their son Tom, of the Grand Bend area. (Submitted photo)
A Bayfield couple, along with another couple from Grand Bend, was recognized as "Conservationist of the Year" by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) at an awards ceremony held on March 15.
The annual award was presented to Joan and John Love, of the Grand Bend area, and Ann and Bill Phelan, from north of Bayfield.
ABCA has recognized outstanding achievements in conservation and protection of soil, water, and living things with the annual presentation of conservation awards since 1984.
“Tonight’s award winners have completed many stewardship projects on their properties over several years and that improves water quality in their communities,” said Paul Hodgins, vice-chair of the ABCA Board of Directors. “These two local couples are also excellent ambassadors for the positive projects that can be done in our communities.”
Conservationist of the Year award winners Joan and John Love have a 200-acre farm in the Parkhill Creek watershed. They have decommissioned two unused wells, reduced sediment and bank damage through two low-flow equipment crossings, and retired (from pasture) land bordering a watercourse that runs the length of their farm. Trees have been planted over several years to gradually naturalize the retired pasture land. They have also built and maintained a walking trail from their home to the naturalized area and the mature woodlot and installed bird houses and bluebird boxes. Students from Grand Bend Public School and the Grand Bend Scouts were involved in several projects at the Love property during the 1990s. The Loves also have a tree-planting project planned for 2012.
“Joan’s and John’s willingness to share their property and their knowledge to educate local youth is as important as the work they have done on the property,” said Ian Jean, ABCA Forestry and Stewardship Specialist.
The couple, as well as their son, Tom, who has been very active in the projects on the farm, attended ceremony, held at Ironwood Golf Club east of Exeter, to receive the award.
Conservationist of the Year award winners Ann and Bill Phelan purchased their forested property north of Bayfield, in Bayfield North watershed in 1992. The Phelans have added wood duck nesting boxes and other management innovations to create habitat for wildlife. Ann Phelan has also provided a valuable service by providing near-real-time input of rainfall and stream flow data to support various Ausable Bayfield Conservation projects. The Phelans have undertaken Gully Creek stream rehabilitation and stream bank restoration projects with the help of the Bayfield Anglers, Maitland Valley Anglers, and local Scouts. They have also created a wetland at the back of their property. This wetland will reduce runoff and erosion and provide habitat for wetland species.
“The work the Phelans have done is a model of how existing natural areas can be enhanced to further protect our landscape and improve water quality,” said Mari Veliz, ABCA Healthy Watersheds Coordinator.
The Conservation Award recognizes individuals or groups who protect soil, water, and living things through their positive actions within Ausable Bayfield watersheds. The winners received a framed, limited-edition conservation print of the Latornell Tree, by Bonna Rouse, one of 310 prints made for a special edition by Conservation Ontario. The ABCA will also make a donation towards a tree and plaque at a Commemorative Woods site maintained by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.
results of report to aid progress of revitalization
Community members are welcome to attend the next meeting of the Bayfield Main Street Revitalization Committee (BMSRC) on March 26.
The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Lions’ Community Building.
Recently, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) granted the Municipality of Bluewater the funds needed for a storm water management study. According to BMSRC member, Ainslie Willock this study is well underway.
Anyone wishing to view OMAFRA”s Downtown Revitalization Program should visit: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/edr/dr/index.html.
One of the first steps in the OMAFRA program is to submit a report. Bayfield submitted one in 2010, entitled the Bayfield Business Retention and Expansion Report. This report is not available online but if copies are available by contacting Willock at 519 565-2469 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Once we have that storm water report, decisions can be made on how to move forward on Main Street,” said Willock.
The BMSRC met for the first time this year on Jan. 6th. The BMSRC consists of the following organizations and representatives: Bayfield Ratepayers Association, Paul Hill and Ainslie Willock; Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce, Janet Snider and Roger Lewington; Bluewater Heritage Committee, Roma Harris and Dave MacLaren; Huron County Economic Development, Douglas Barill; and Bayfield Ward Councilor, Geordie Palmer. Snider and Willock will sit on the Communications Sub-Committee while Harris, Hill, Lewington and MacLaren are on the Green Sub-Committee.
Topics of discussion at the winter meeting included: meeting government grant requirements, formulating a communication plan to keep residents apprised of progress and seek their input, and to include “green” cost saving features in the plan such as French drains and plantings.
“We expect to have the results of the storm water study soon and the Municipality of Bluewater and the BMSRC will make it available for comments by residents,” said Willock. “Looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting as we work to revitalize our Heritage Main Street.”
Gothic style building was home to St. John's Anglican Church
This historic building originally built as an Anglican Church is located at 75779 Parr Line in Varna part of the Ward of Stanley East. (Photo by Melody Falconer-Pounder)
The mandate of the Bluewater Heritage Committee (BHC) is to promote the preservation and maintenance of architectural and/or historic buildings, cultural landscapes and natural heritage features. It is an advisory committee of the Municipality of Bluewater.
The BHC offers March’s “Heritage Feature of the Month”, St. John’s Anglican Church, as a perfect example of Bluewater history.
Devotion to faith and craft are hallmarks of this historic building on the south side of Varna. Built in 1862 by a little congregation on land donated by George Beatty, a communicant, this building was originally an Anglican Church. The gothic-style church had a tall spire that has since been removed. The interior of the church, which had reflected the simplicity of Puritanism, was given color and warmth during the incumbency of Rev. Paull. A bolt of lightning in 1940 struck the church and minor repairs were required.
History notes that its parishioners moved there from Bayfield but they continued to maintain their connection through weekly choir training sessions. Records indicate that in 1915 that the congregation was comprised of 14 families with an average attendance of 43; five Sunday School teachers and 18 scholars with an average attendance of 13.
The church lives on in the milestones held within its sanctuary. The last marriage performed there was between Mary Elizabeth Beatty and John MacVicar, of London, in 1953. The last Baptism held within its walls occurred in 1958 for Sylvia Wilson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Wilson, Jr. It is interesting to note that St. John’s did record another baptism in Feb. of 1966 but this one was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dean Aldwinckle for their daughter, Barbara.
On Nov. 21, 1965, St. John’s Church was deconsecrated at a ceremony officiated by Bishop Harold Appleyard. The building was sold to Marilyn Kalbfleisch. She attempted to form an independent congregation without success.
The building was sold several times and remained vacant until it was purchased and restored by the late Debby Somerville (2011) who for several years operated a decorating and giftware business called “Decadence in the Country”.
The Bluewater Heritage Committee meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. Meeting locations rotate between Bayfield, Hensall and Zurich. The next meeting will be held on Apr. 3 at 7:15 p.m. at the Hay Township Hall, 10 Victoria Lane, Zurich. Please note the special start time is for this meeting only.
In honor of World Water Day, the Bayfield Ratepayers Association (BRA) is hosting a special meeting to help provide insight into “Lake Huron and Water Quality” on March 22.
Guest speaker, Bob Worsell, public health manager for the Huron County Board of Health, will share his knowledge on the subject through a power point presentation.
This meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building.
The BRA regularly meets on the first Saturday of the month at 9 a.m. at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building. Their next meeting will be held on Apr. 7.
Reminders of the monthly meetings can be found on the Post Office Notice Board and on the BRA website: http://bra.camp8.org/.
John Hazlitt, one of the authors of 'The Power of the Maitland' will be the guest speaker at the March 26 meeting of the Bayfield Historical Society.
Hazlitt, along with Ted Turner and Doug Culbert, authored this book that was published in late 2011. The trio explored the waterways of the Maitland watershed to uncover evidence of early settlers harnessing the power of the Maitland River.
In addition to being an author, Hazlitt is a passionate environmentalist, hiking enthusiast, historian and woodworker. He cares deeply about Huron County's heritage and it's future. These combined interests should allow for an enjoyable and informative evening.
The meeting will be held at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building starting at 7:30 p.m.
It is a Lenten tradition at Trinity Anglican Church to join in fellowship over a hearty bowl of soup while delighting in a great cinematic work.
“Soup and a Movie at Trinity” will be held over the next three Mondays from 6-9 p.m. A free will offering is asked to cover the cost of soup and buns and all in the community are welcome.
The final movie on the schedule is Crimes and Misdemeanors, March 26.
For more information contact Terry Boa-Youmatoff at 519 524-1774.
Communities around the world will demand action on climate change by marking Earth Hour on March 31. All are encouraged to turn their lights off for 60 minutes starting at 8:30 p.m. (local time).
To celebrate Earth Hour in Bayfield everyone is invited to turn off lights at home and head to St. Andrew’s United Church for a concert given by the Glee Sisters choir, and their sister organization, Elliot’s Liquidation Band. In addition the St. Andrew’s United Church choir will perform. The evening will commence at 8 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
This year, Bayfield’s version of Earth Hour will also feature guest speaker renowned environmentalist Ray Letheren. “Water” will be his topic.
There will also be an update on the Bayfield Tree Project. Donations will be accepted for the upcoming planting season with receipts available for donations over $20.
Organizers suggest participants bring a flashlight, candle or hurricane lamp to the event because for one hour the lights will be off in the church as well!
Another exciting series of Toronto Film Circuit films brought to you by the Bayfield Film Society at the Bayfield Town Hall have begun. The films will be shown on the second Thursdays of the month at 7:30 pm.
Those without a subscription can still attend as a limited number of tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 per film.
The spring schedule of films includes: Margin Call, Apr. 12; Sarah’s Key, May 10; and The Guard, June 14. The final film will begin with a wine and cheese celebration at 6:30 p.m.
For more information contact: Lynn Gillians, 519 565-5884 or by e-mail email@example.com; or Margo Robeson, 519 565-2827 or e-mail Margo10510@comcast.net.
The Bayfield Town Hall will be the site of a mystery play and bistro on the evening of Apr. 21.
The evening, that will also feature a silent auction, will benefit the Huron Women's Shelter and Second-Stage Housing. Since 1985 the Huron Women’s Shelter in Goderich has been a sanctuary for women and children in crisis.
“It is a sad fact that the recent economic downturn and tragic tornado have increased the need for a safe place for too many women and their children. The Women's Shelter has been extremely busy,” said Gail Grant past board member with the Huron Women’s Shelter.
Tickets are available now for $30. Please call Gail Grant at 519 565-2435 or the Women's Shelter directly to purchase.
One Care is sponsoring several programs for both men and women to keep up with their desire to stay fit.
Dancefit and Toning classes are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. The cost is $40 for four months or $3 per class. The classes are held at the Bayfield Community Centre.
The Sit and Get Fit classes are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m. On Fridays a Stretching Class is offered at 10:15 a.m. for approx. 45 minutes. This class is suitable for everyone. Both of these fitness opportunities are held at the Bayfield Community Centre and cost a $1 per class.
For the more adventurous among us, there is Pole Walking. Walks for women are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays while walks for men are held on Monday and Friday mornings All walks begin from 6 Main Street and begin at 8:30 a.m. Poles are provided free for those who require them.
A Yoga Class will be held at the Bayfield Town Hall starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. The cost for is $3 per class and participants are asked to bring a yoga mat. A time of quiet reflection and meditation follows the yoga class starting at 11:15 a.m. All in the community are invited to take part.
Indoor badminton is played on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Varna Complex The cost is $3 each and no experience or equipment is required to play.
Call 519 565-2202 for more information on the above exercise opportunities.
For those people looking to exercise their minds, Women’s Bridge is played every Wednesday at 1 p.m. No partner needed to play the cost is $1.50 per game. For more information call Brenda Blair 519 565-2881.Mah Jongg games are also offered on the first and third Thursdays of the month starting at 1 p.m. Call 519 565-2468 for more information.
Both Bridge and Mah Jongg are played at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building.
Huron Ridge Acres would like to invite all in the community to participate in their Winter Walking Program - a terrific way to escape those winter “blahs”. On Tuesdays and Fridays during January, February and March the owners open the greenhouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people to come and walk on the ice-free, snow-free sidewalks. Those who take part can enjoy the smell of things growing, and the sunshine on days when it shines, along with some relaxing background music. There is no charge – it is the Steckle’s way of saying thanks to the community for their support of Huron Ridge.
Spring ahead with Zumba Bayfield! All are invited to join the group that meets every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in the Bayfield Community Center. The cost is $10 per class. Zumba is a Latin inspired, easy to follow and calorie burning dance fitness party. For more information contact Jamie Thomas via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Facebook Group
The Bayfield Diners’ Club luncheons are now back in full swing.
Anyone who is 55+ years of age is invited to join the club members for their weekly Thursday lunches at the Bayfield Community Centre. Newcomers are most welcome to join in the meal.
The club cook is Peggy Cunningham; several volunteers capably assist her. Anyone who can donate two hours of their Thursday to help prepare or serve the lunch would be most welcome and should contact Dianne Argyle at 519 565-2800.
Participants should call Betty Young at 519 565-2502 no later than 10 a.m. on the Monday prior to the Thursday lunch to inform organizers of their intention to attend or not to attend the luncheon. Or if Young is not available please contact Jane Davidson McKee at 519 565-2653
The cost for the lunch is $8 per person. Anyone who wishes to enjoy the meal but cannot make it to the community centre is invited to order a take-out lunch.
The community lost three of its finest members this past week with the passing of Charles Isaacs, William Kelm and Terry Hillier.
Charles Isaacs of RR2, Bayfield died on March 14. He was 88 years of age. The sympathy of the community is sent to his wife Lorna, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A funeral service was held on March 19th at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Clinton. He will be interred in Exeter Cemetery.
Also on March 14, William Kelm of RR 2, Bayfield died. He was 87. His wife Kathleen Kelm predeceased him. His three children and their spouses as well as four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren will miss him. The funeral service was held on March 19 at the Falconer Funeral Home - Bluewater Chapel in Goderich.
Terry Hillier died on March 17 at the age of 68. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Dawn, and their family and friends. A celebration of his life will be held on March 24 from 1-4 p.m. at the Bluewater Golf Course. Donations to the London Regional Cancer Centre or Stratford General Hospital can be made as expressions of sympathy.