Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paper Trail

Since its inception in the early 1990s the Tyrconnell Heritage Society has gone through many changes. With the passage of 16 years from the moment the concept was first envisioned many of the original founding members have retired or moved on. Locked within the experience and memories of those individuals is a wealth of information about the Backus Page House site, the organization and the area itself. The opportunity exists to access information from a small number of those founding members who remain in the community while a portion of that information is gone forever. A glimpse into yesterday can be found, on occasion, hidden in the extensive paper work accumulated through the operation and administration of the society business. The current administration is working to compile a complete source of board meeting minutes and have been reasonably successful in doing so. One item of interest that has come to light is a log book kept by A. L. Paterson. The entries are brief but act to give the reader a clear glimpse into the birth pangs of the THS. The first entry in the handwritten notebook reads thusly:

“March 28, 1993- At a meeting of the W.E.G. & Historical Society it was brought up that the Ministry of Natural Resources was considering disposing of Morley Page house in Dunwich Twp. D.C. Mckillop & Don carol were asked to write to the Ministry expressing the opinion of the group. DCM. wrote and submitted a 7 page report.”

Moving further into the notebook another entry notes some progress:

“Wed July 28
Meeting held at Wallacetown Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Several persons were phoned and invited to be present.
14 present
-get acquainted, discussion on how to proceed.”

Later on that year it can be seen that the foundation for the Society was being laid in place:

“Thurs. Nov.18. 7:30 p.m.
Meeting at Wallacetown Hall.
18 persons present
- meeting chaired by DC. McKillop
- decision to ask for rent- free use of hall for meetings
adopted name of Tyrconnell Heritage Centre
-next meetings will be Dec 9, 1993 and Jan 13, 1994 (second Thursday)
-nominating committee named
D.C. McKillop, Anne Lilley, Alice P to bring slate of officers to Jan. mtg.
-Alice to send account of meeting to local newspapers and insert notice of next mtg in paper. “

The last entry for the year is as follows:

“Thursday Dec 9,1993.
Meeting at Wallacetown Hall
-Speaker Henry Valks of Min of Nat resources
-encouraging re our proposal
-would probably give house & 5 acres of land.”

Following entries in the notebook show that 1994 was a very busy year with community members meeting regularly to work out the details of how the organization should proceed. Correspondence and records indicate that in June of 1994 the Tyrconnell Heritage Society became an incorporated nonprofit organization as an affiliate of the Ontario Historical Society. With its incorporation in place the Society was ready to take the next step in fulfilling its mission to restore and preserve the Backus-Page House and the grounds situated in the heart of the Talbot Settlement.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Flat Thomas in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Flat Thomas Talbot has recently been spotted down beach side in Central America. Flat Thomas accompanied Martin and Magda Harding to Tamarindo, on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. According to the Hardings "This was his first day, so he hadn't acquired a tan yet"!
According to Wikipedia, the first European to reach Costa Rica was Christopher Columbus in 1502. Costa Rica declared its independence from Spain in 1821. By 1821, Thomas Talbot had managed to acquire more than 65,000 acres for himself , referred to by some as his "palatinate or princely domain", in the townships of Dunwich and Aldborough.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Water, Wind and Fire"

"Water, Wind and Fire"
A performance by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra
June 30th, 2009 at 7:30 P.M.

Port Stanley Waterfront "Berm"Pull up your lawn chair on Port Stanley's harbourfront "berm" and be lulled by the sweet sounds of the American Wind Symphony's 45 piece orchestra onboard barge Point Counterpoint II's floating stage. This open air, waterfront concert is presented by the County of Elgin and the Municipality of Central Elgin. Partial proceeds of the event will benefit the Stork Club Museum and Hall of Fame and the United Way. A Fireworks display presented by the community of Port Stanley businesses will complete the magical evening at approximately 10:15 p.m. Donations for fireworks will be gratefully accepted by the Port Stanley Volunteer Fire Association.

For tickets go to or call 1 877 700-3130
For more information visit and/or call (519) 631-1460 x 168

Park in St. Thomas and Take the Aboutown Shuttle to the Performance
Don’t want to struggle to find a parking place in Port Stanley? Why not park your car at 450 Sunset Drive at the County of Elgin Administrative Building and take the Aboutown Shuttle to the Show? Shuttles will run from 5:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. and again for the return trip from 9:30 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. More information on the Aboutown Shuttle will be posted on shortly.

American Wind Symphony Schedule
This isn’t just an ordinary event, but an entire musical, multi-cultural and learning experience! The performers busy Port Stanley Schedules include a Patron’s Concert, Public Tours of the Barge and Musical Workshops onboard Barge Point Counterpoint II. For more information on the American Wind Symphony’s Schedule go to:

Performer Billeting
Would you like to house an international performer from June 28th to July 2nd? Do you have a family member who may benefit from expert musical tutelage? For 52 years, it’s been traditional for the musicians who make up the American Wind Symphony Orchestra to live with local families for a few days at each stop on the concert route. Whether traveling through the U.S. or abroad, the experience of getting to know the local residents has long been a rewarding highlight for these fine young performers. This year’s tour of the Great Lakes, Illinois and Mississippi Rivers is no exception. Click here for billeting info

Public Tours of Point Counterpoint II Barge – Monday June 29thth 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm &
Wednesday July 1st from 3:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M.

The Floating Stage …
The American Wind Symphony Orchestra brings with it the world’s "most unique showboat" – Point Counterpoint II. A silvery wonder which draws fascinated attention of passers-by, this self-propelled floating art gallery is the centre of community activities during the orchestra’s residency in Port Stanley. To find out more about touring Point Counterpoint II go to:

Patron’s Concert – Monday June 29th – 7:00 P.M.
A once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the American Wind Symphony in their natural element – on Point Counterpoint II! A limited number of tickets will be available for the symphony concert experience which will also include a tour of the barge’s art centre and a wine and cheese reception. Tickets $100.00 + GST. To purchase tickets contact Lindsey Morritt at and/or call (519) 631-1460 x 168.

Chamber Ensembles and/or Quartette Performances Available For Hire – Monday, June 29th -1:30 pm and Wednesday, July 1st – 7:30 P.M.
Ever wanted a miniature symphony in your own backyard? Members of the American Wind Symphony in either chamber ensemble or quartette configurations are available for hire for the price of $500.00 + GST during Monday June 29th at 1:30 pm and/or the evening of July 1st. For more information and/or to confirm a performance contact or call (519) 631-1460 x 168.

Student Music Workshops – Wednesday, July 1st 1:45 – 3:00 pm
For budding musicians! An unparalleled opportunity for students of local music academies and schools to work one on one with American Wind Symphony musicians on board the barge. For more information contact or call (519) 631-1460 x 168.

The Music
Wind Symphony concerts begin with the spectacular opening of the vessel’s music shell, powered by hydraulic lifts. As the roof is raised, the first strains of Aaron Copland’s "Fanfare for the Common Man" are heard – and an evening of fascinating sights and sounds begins. Musicians are arrayed in a series of stainless steel sculptured "trees," so that all are visible. And the percussionists are not wallflowers in this group – they perform right out front, with their gleaming batteries of timpani, drums, mallet instruments, chimes and bells. More …

Fireworks Presented by the Port Stanley BIA – June 30th, 10:15 P.M. (approx.)
Conveniently timed so you can sleep in on July 1st, the community of Port Stanley businesses are again sponsoring an evening of fireworks that will follow the symphony’s performance. Pull up a chair, lay out a beach blankie or sachet up to the bar at GT’s for a spectacular view at Port Stanley’s waterfront. The view is just as great from the berm, following the American Wind Symphony performance. Donations gratefully accepted by Port Stanley’s Volunteer Fire Association … remember to fill up the big boot!