| Jun 28, 2007


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Feature Article - June 28, 2007

Pioneer Museum season opening

by Karyl Waldie Steinpatz

The Cloyne and District Historical Society opened the doors of its Pioneer Museum for the 2007 season on Saturday, June 23, with a barbecue and casual tours of the newly arranged and very spiffy museum. Student curator Holly Lemke was on hand to meet and greet visitors, as were several members of the C&DHS.

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Under the smiling summer sun and the competent direction of Eileen Flieler and Carolyn and Gordon McCulloch, the day was great fun. Peter Turner and Hugh and Sheila Rose were on station at the barbecue and catered well to the line-ups. Everyone circulated around the museum grounds, happily munching and chatting while admiring the beautiful gardening successes of Georgina Hughes and Trudy Deacon who have been working hard all spring to keep those darn weeds down and the flowers blooming.

Throughout the spring, ever since it became warm enough to work indoors without heat, President Margaret Axford and the Museum Committee have been striving to give the interior of the museum a new look and to put on display many artifacts that have been stored away because of lack of space. And they have succeeded admirably. In addition, many finishing touches have been given to the interior of the building itself, such as ceiling fans and corner molding. Displays cases have been re-arranged to better show off their contents.

The highlight of opening day was the presentation to the museum by Wilma and Dick Dodds, patrons of the museum, of Wilma’s mother’s wedding dress and veil, plus the original framed 1928 wedding certificate of Wilma’s parents, Ila and William Wagar of Slate Falls.

The marriage of Ila and Bill read like an old love story. Ila Renshaw from near Toronto went to teachers’ college (then called Normal School) in North Bay in, I think, 1926 (along with, by coincidence, my own father, George Waldie). Students then were paid $1.00 per day during their one-year training on condition that they would commit to teaching in a “northern school” for a stipulated length of time after graduation. My father was sent to Rydal Bank, and Ila Renshaw’s northern posting was Slate Falls.

Shortly after arriving there she spotted Bill Wagar walking down the road and was told he was “the only bachelor in town”. Seems it was love at first sight for both of them, thank the saints. In 1928 they were married and started their family. Bill became Reeve of Denbigh. A few years later they moved to Newburgh where they farmed and Ila taught a bit and Bill, true to form, became Reeve of Newburgh. Oh, and. They rounded out their family at eight children all great kids and wonderful friends of mine! What a story, eh!

The wedding dress Wilma presented was hand-made by Ila in the flapper-style of the times and it is gorgeous. Ila was a tiny person and the dress is a tiny silk perfection. Come and see it. Right beside it sits a framed photo of the bride proudly wearing it.

For the month of July, the museum also boasts, under Perspex, a pictorial collection from the Glaeser family of Denbigh which is highly interesting and we are grateful to the family for loaning it to the museum.

The park beside the museum is beginning to recover well from the tornado of a few years back (officially called a microburst) which decimated its beautiful age-old pine trees. The new plantings are taking hold and the gazebo invites people to picnic there once again.

Inside the museum, in addition to its incredible collection of local artifacts, some great productions are offered for sale. The 2008 edition of the Heritage Calendar, featuring people and sights of local antiquity is now available, and copies of The Oxen and The Axe are still available (on a first-come first serve basis as the fourth printing is very depleted and the book is in re-do and re-print mode as I write). To our great pleasure we also offer for sale beautiful prints and cards taken from paintings rendered by local artist Carol Brown, among others. Come see some of Carol’s originals in the museum.

The Pioneer Museum is situated in the middle of Cloyne, on Highway 41, the Old Addington Road, and is open from 10am 4pm, 7 days a week until Labour Day.

Come visit us. We’re very friendly and the museum is outstanding.

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