Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Sightings

Saturday Sightings


 In the middle of January we still see a variety of animals that are active here at the Backus-Page House Museum. Because we are so remote and near the lake, encompassed in forest, we see and hear many animals throughout our days. During the winter months our days are so much shorter that some of our employees are here until 5pm which means they are leaving in the dark. We have had many times where we have walked to our parking lot at 5pm in the dark and heard the eerie calls of a Coyote in the distance. It usually gives us goose-bumps and sends us running for our cars!
Coyotes are a popular sight and sound out here at the museum. Coyotes enjoy the various ravines and embankments that have formed throughout our forested trails. They popularly build their dens in the sides of the ravines in order to keep them safe and secluded. Coyotes are generally shy and reclusive and out here we mainly hear them and have only actually viewed them a couple times. When sighted many people believe they have seen a small wolf or a wild dog. Coyotes range in colour from red to brown and even some a greyish blonde.
 Some people fear coyotes and assume them dangerous and aggressive, however there have been zero issues with them here at the museum. Coyotes help to keep the number rodents in the area down by feeding on mostly snakes, rabbits, and groundhogs.
For more information on Coyotes in Southwestern Ontario please visit the following website:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Foodie Friday- Lemon Sponge Pudding

Lemon Sponge Pudding
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, seperated
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter, then add the sugar gradually, beating until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt; blend. Fold in 3/4 cup coconut and the flour. Stir in the milk. In another mixer bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into the lemon mixture by hand, using a rubber spatula. Pour into a 1 1/2 to 2 quart round bowl or souffle dish.
  2. Place in a shallow pan of hot water, which should be deep enough so that the water comes up to half the depth of the bowl. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is puffy and golden brown. Toast the remaining 1/2 cup coconut in a 350 F oven for 3 minutes and sprinkle over the baked pudding.
  3. Refrigerate and serve cold. 
Backus-Page House Museum

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I love the 50's: Women's Rights

Women's Rights

In 1850 the first women's rights convention was held on October 23 and 24 in Massachusetts. 900 people attended this convention. Many other women's rights conventions were held following this one. Later, national women's conventions were held annually and they included a series of meetings. The main purpose and goal of these meetings was to address and discuss rights in regards to women. For example raising awareness on topics such as equal wage opportunities, education opportunities, property rights and many more. 
By the 1950's women's rights had progressed but still needed more progression as women were still viewed as a lesser compared to males. One major example was the unequal opportunities that still existed in the labour force. Some jobs were now available to women however, the majority of jobs were still restricted to men. When women could get jobs, they still made less than men. 
As seen in the picture above the ratio of working males to females was still very unequal. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Return of World War Wednesdays!

World War Wednesdays: Canada's Participation in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games
The Canadian ski team offers the Olympic salute
     World War Wednesdays has returned! For the new segment of posts, I wanted to take a look at Canada and the Second World War from a chronological perspective through the exploration of different themes. This week, we'll start in 1936 at the summer Olympics hosted in Berlin, Germany-- commonly referred to as the 'Nazi Olympics'.
     Before we focus on Canada's participation in the games, we'll first discuss the nature of the event itself. It's important to note that Berlin had been decided as the host city two years before the Nazis came into power, but the Olympics ended up being the perfect platform for Hitler to show the world just how powerful Germany was. Forty-nine countries and their associated media would be represented at the Olympics, which provided a perfect scenario for the German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to showcase his country with an impressive technological system for coverage.
Statues created by Karl Albicker depicting the Aryan 'Master Race' Supermen of Germany
 The German athletes themselves trained full-time, which challenged the concept of an amateur competition. The vast Olympic stadium which held 100,000 spectators was completed on time for the event, as were the 150 other buildings. The anti-Semitic posters which had plastered Germany just before the games quickly disappeared in order to ensure that the games were a success and that no upsets were caused. On August 1st, 1936, the opening ceremonies were held, as seen below (Canada enters around 1:30):
     As the announcer mentions, the Olympic salute appears very similar to the Nazi salute. This fact did not go unnoticed by the participating countries, as can be seen by the entrances of Great Britain and the United States. Canada, however, decided to continue with the gesture, which created some controversy. It can be seen in the footage the way the crowd reacted to seeing Canada do this: the people erupt in cheers. The seemingly innocent gesture was perceived exactly the way it appears to us today- as a sign of Nazi sympathy- and the German onlookers misunderstand it to be just that. It is a haunting and eerie moment captured on film which is a symbol of things to come regarding the Canadian attitude towards Germany, which will be explored in subsequent posts.
     When the Nazis proclaimed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 which stripped German Jews of their citizenship, there became a great deal of uncertainty as to whether or not countries who did not support the laws should boycott participation in the Olympics. When Great Britain decided against boycotting, Canada did the same. Ultimately, not one country boycotted the games, and the participation of 49 countries was the largest in Olympic history.
     It is fascinating to think about the Canadian athletes who travelled to Berlin that summer, saw Hitler in the stadium, and performed in front of thousands of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. An interesting story is that of Irving "Toots" Meretsky, the only Jewish member of Canada's basketball team at a time when Canada was a leader in the game. A native of Windsor, Ontario, he visited a small Jewish community in Berlin while he was there, commenting that "it was obvious that they were all scared." But unlike some of his fellow Jewish athletes, he had decided to compete in the games as a sign that nothing was going to keep him from the Olympics. His bravery is just one of many examples of defiance displayed in the face of Germany during this remarkable event.
Irving "Toots" Meretsky, 1936
     If you are interested in seeing some more footage of the games, the Nazis ensured that much of it was captured on film through a state-of-the-art system of wired stadiums. Leni Riefenstahl, a favored film director, was given the contract to document the games in a way that glorified Germany and its athletes. The two-part documentary pioneered the way that sporting events are filmed to this day, and can be found on Youtube with English subtitles. Hearing O Canada played while Hitler is in view is an incredibly haunting thing to witness, and this film effectively captures the immense juxtaposition and tension that was the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics.
As part of the return of World War Wednesdays, I would like to do a Q&A post for anything that readers would like to know! Ask me anything via a comment on this post, on the Backus-Page House Facebook page, or via my personal Facebook Delany Leitch. I'd love to hear what you'd like to see in these posts or to clear up any questions!
   As always thanks for reading,

Monday, January 26, 2015

Media Monday

Happy Last Monday of January 2015
What would people in the 1850s do in the dead of winter?
Life goes on regardless of the season in the 1850s.
Animals would still be needing tended to, fed and watered on a regular basis.
Although there would be no crops to harvest at this time of year,
 many other activities would take place to ensure food on the table.
Crops harvested in the fall would be kept safe for this time of year to ensure meals for the family. Another activity that would take place to ensure protein during the winter would be ice fishing - being so close to the lake the family here at the museum would have easily been able to fish through the ice.
People also hunted regularly during the winter - a popular practice was rabbit hunting.
Other than ensuring food throughout the winter the family also participated in a variety of winter activities which could include repairing or maintaining outbuildings, fences and the home.
Many would also take the time to attempt and make their boots waterproof using
beeswax, pitch, and tallow all mixed together.
Without this practice the onslaught of frostbite was almost certain throughout the winter months.
Winter during the 1850s was harsh and rough but pioneers here survived it
through hard work, family and perseverance!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Events at Our Partner Museums

We are striving to partner with other museums to get all events and programming out to a wider audience. We share their information and they share ours.   Here are some upcoming dates you may want to mark in your calendar that other museums are hosting.    Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager

Oxford County Museum School Volunteer Workshops: If there are volunteers wishing to go from the western Elgin area, please contact and we can carpool.  
A one-time registration fee of $5 is all it costs to attend these workshops geared towards volunteers of all ages who are interested in participating in museum activities.
Feb. 11th
9:00 am - Research Your Project—Where do you begin?  What are primary sources and how do you find them?  We’ll show you how to make your way through the mysteries of researching and directing your     work to meet your planned project.
1:00 pm - Wall Text: preparing a script that visitors want to read—How often have you averted your eyes from a text panel at a museum because it’s just too wordy?  There’s a way to prepare information that you want others to read so that they will.  And are able to. 
Feb. 25th
9:00 am - Accessibility in the Museum—It’s more than just steps and doors.  It’s lighting, it’s moving through the exhibit space, it’s understanding spoken words, it’s being able to sit still and follow a program – and so much more. 
1:00 pm - Developing an Educational Program—It’s a great exhibit, but if schoolchildren can’t relate to it, what’s the point?  We’ll look at curriculum and linking the program to it, devising hands-on activities, time-management skills, and how to promote the program.
Mar. 11th  
9:00 am - Artifact Handling — Sooner or later, you’ll have to touch an artifact, and you need to do it the right way.  Gloves, no gloves, what type of gloves – we’ll sort through it and show you how to feel more comfortable handling 100 year old artifacts.
1:00 pm - Exhibit Design: Delight or Dilemma? - What makes an exhibit look like an exhibit and not a pile of old stuff?  There’s an order to it all, and the various steps will be discussed, then put into practice in class with artifacts, themes, design, and props to bring it to life.

Girls’ Night Out – An Evening of Fondue, Fashion & Fun

Attention ladies, have we got a spectacular evening planned just for you! What better way to spend a frosty winter night by warming up at the Delhi Tobacco Museum & Heritage Centre for an evening of Fondue, Fashion & Fun at our 13th Annual Girls Night Out event! On the evening of FRIDAY FEBRUARY 27th,2015 at 7:00 PM with doors opening at 6:30 p.m., ladies will have an opportunity to win some fantastic DOOR PRIZES, participate in the SILENT AUCTION and shop in our TRADE SHOW. We will also have a delicious assortment of fondue treats, specialty coffees and champagne, all the while enjoying some wonderful entertainment of a fashion show with clothing from Closet Couture BoutiqueJockey Person-to-Person, and Nouveau Orie.

~Tickets on sale TUESDAY JANUARY 6TH, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. for $25/person~

Don’t miss out on this fun and fabulous evening just for the ladies and get your tickets right away! Tickets sell out fast, so make sure to purchase tickets for you and a few friends as soon as possible!

For more information, please call the Museum at (519) 582-0278 or check us out on our website at

Carene Giosi
Assistant Curator

Delhi Tobacco Museum & Heritage Centre
200 Talbot Road - Delhi,Ontario - N4B 2A2

Telephone:  (519) 582-0278
Fax: (519) 582-0122

The Battle of Waterloo - A History Symposium on Saturday, March 28
at 8:30am - 4:00pm

In Kitchener, Ontario the Region of Waterloo operates its regional museum in conjuction with the Doon Heritage Village.  Its brand new museum building features a wonderful, state of the art theatre that seats approx. 110 people. 

We will be featuring 4 speakers on 4 topics all related to the Battle of Waterloo.

Lieutenant General Jonathon Riley (retired) will speak on the relative generalship of Wellington and Napoleon

Donald Graves will speak on the British Army from the end of the Peninsular War to its raising for Waterloo

David Markham (President of the International Napoleonic Society) will speak on Napoleon before and after Waterloo

Peter Twist will offer a comparative study on the British and French cavalry

The symposium will also offer an optional opportunity to attend a dinner and regency dance with dance callers Tom and Toni Tumbusch.

Information and registration can be found at:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Foodie Friday- Banana Bread

Banana Bread
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas) 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the shortening for 2 minutes until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy after each addition. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until thick and pale lemon in colour. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, slowly begin adding the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, alternating with the mashed bananas and combine well after each addition.
  2. Grease only the bottom of a 41/2 x 8 1/2 inch loaf pan or bread pan. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. 
Backus-Page House Museum

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Love the 50's: Coal Mining

Coal Mining

Mining took place as early as the 1500's. Just before and throughout the 1850's coal mining became increasingly in demand. For example in the 1830's the annual output increased to over 30 million tons in Britain. During this time trade unions also began to form. In Canada large scale mining became more common in the 1830's and continued through the 1850's. Steam water pumps and railways were the major advancements used in Nova Scotia at this time. Nova Scotia was the main large supplier of Canadian coal up until 1945. Coal mining reached its peak just before the 1950's. 

The above picture shows two workers shovelling coal, taken in 1953.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Museum Selfie Day January 21, 2015

It's baaaack! #MuseumSelfie day - January 21, 2015
Whether you work in a museum, are a museum mascot or one of the lovely visitors - post your pictures using #MuseumSelfie!  Feel free to follow @MuseumSelfieDay on Twitter.
Don't forget to tag @museumsontario and @backuspagehouse! We look forward to seeing all of your selfies and representing Ontario Museums at this global event.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Media Monday

Happy Monday!

We have a variety of clubs being started in the month of January. 
The first was discussed on January 5th - the Textile Arts Club. 
The second club that we have organized is called the Family History Club. 
This club will be hosted here at the Backus-Page House Museum starting on 
Tuesday January 27th, 2015. 
And continuing on the FOURTH (last) Tuesday of every month.
The purpose of this club is to provide support, resources and expertise in 
developing a knowledge of your personal Family History. 
Each month a different resource at the museum will be offered to the guests to use, 
for example: the scanner, resource library, ancestry technology, computers and tablets. 
Beginners, intermediate, and expert family history enthusiasts are all welcome!
Meetings are $5.00 each or FREE with a membership to the Backus-Page House Museum.
Coffee, Tea and Water will be available. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Behind The Scenes Sundays

Found this in the drafts folder from early December 2014, but wanted to publish it anyway. An amusing story is still amusing even after a month.  Sorry for the delay!  by Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager

What a windy week!  Monday afternoon, the hydro kept going off, so we called it an early day because the computers, heat and lights wouldn't stay on.  Good thing we left when we did, because shortly after Sarah and I left the museum the entire area was without hydro.  I couldn't get gas in Dutton and West Lorne was out when I got home.  I assumed everyone's power was back on, but boy was I wrong.  
Tuesday afternoon I arrived at the museum to find out we still didn't have electricity, which also means no heat.  It really was an 1850's afternoon.  I had a meeting with one of our funders who is very impressed with our new media project that adds video, social media, and QR codes to the museum and grounds.  David did some bookkeeping and we joked he was using an abacus to calculate since the battery died on his laptop.  The very nice gentleman from HydroOne took a walk through the park to see if one of the trees was the cause of Lakeview Line's outage, but the lines were fine and no trees were down.  We again called it an early day and stopped at Tall Tales Cafe for the mail, hot chocolate, and some raffle ticket sales.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Nominating Committee Report 2015

Board Approved List of Nominees for Tyrconnell Heritage Society`s Board of Directors to be voted on at the Annual General Meeting on February 26, 2015.  Meeting starts at 7pm at the Backus-Page House Museum.

Robert Ellis
Ken Reinke
Susan Chapman-Reinke
Paula Grafstein
Austin Pitcher
Janice Ellis
Isabel Lewis
Betty McLandress

Friday, January 16, 2015

Foodie Friday- Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Bacon and Onions

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil, divided
  • 6 slices of turkey bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp parsley
  1. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water; add the vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water until cooled to room temperature, then cut into 3/4 inch chunks. 
  2. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and sauté until they are nearly done and beginning to crisp up, about 5 minutes. Remove both from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  3. Return the sauté pan to the stove, add the remaining oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the potato chunks, sprinkle with the nutmeg, and cook without stirring until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Turn the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in the bacon and onions, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley.

Backus-Page House Museum

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Backus-Page Goes to the Bridal Show

Last Sunday, Sarah, Kelsey and I spent the day at the historic CASO Station in St. Thomas for their 5th Annual Bridal Show.  We had a great time meeting brides, some grooms, lot's of Moms and friends.  Our focus was to promote the grounds of the Backus-Page House Museum as THE place to hold your outdoor wedding.  Here's a picture of our display.  Congratulations to Dayna Walker who won a MK Satin Hands Pampering Set from us.  
                                                                              Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager

I Love the 50's: School Houses

School Houses 

Not many children would have attended school or received any education in the 1850's as they were needed to help around the house and farm. Leading up to the 1950's one room school houses became more popular. These school house also served as the Church and as a meeting spot for various community activities. School houses were usually located in rural areas and because they were in the country they had no water and little sanitation. Wells were made into toilets by using a plank with a cut out hole in it.  When water was needed they relied on the farmers near the school during the summer months and melted snow during the winter months. One big advancement for the school house in the 1950's was the ocassional milk truck, which would deliver dairy products during the summer months.

The above picture is of the Coughran School house in the 1950's. This school house had two entrances, one for the female students and one for the male students. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Media Monday

Happy Monday Everyone!

This month we will be starting a variety of clubs that will be hosted here 
at the Backus-Page House Museum. 
The first Club is the Textile Arts Club. 
It is starting Wednesday January 14th, 2015 at 7pm 
and continuing on the SECOND Wednesday of every month. 
This club offers an opportunity to receive support from talented crafters 
on your own personal projects.
Crafts can include but are not limited to: 
rug hooking, weaving, sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting and more!
Meetings are each $5.00 or FREE with a membership to the Backus-Page House Museum
Coffee, Tea and water will be available. 
All expertise levels are welcome.
 This club is intended for sharing support, advice and resources. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Foodie Friday- Grilled Turkey Burgers

Grilled Turkey Burgers
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tbsp finely minced onion
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley 
  • 2 tbsp vermouth, broth or water 
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced sage
  • 2 tsp finely minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of hot red pepper sauce 
Hamburger buns (optional)

Instructions: In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey with the remaining ingredients; mix well. Form into 4 patties and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to give the flavours a chance to develop. Preheat the grill or oven broiler and pan for 10 minutes. Broil the burgers on each side for 4 minutes or until well done. The patties will puff up slightly when done. 
Backus-Page House Museum

Monday, January 5, 2015

Media Monday

Happy First Monday of 2015!
A New Year and a wonderful year planned for the Backus-Page House Museum.
We have so many events upcoming - please check our website, Facebook, Twitter and blog for updated information on our many events!
On January 11th, 2015 the museum will be participating in the
 5th Annual Bridal Show at the CASO Station in St. Thomas, Ontario from 1-4pm!
We will have booth dedicated to the museum and all that we have to offer
 to future brides who wish to be married on our beautiful grounds!
Please stop by and see our rustic decorations and gain any
 information on weddings at the Backus-Page House Museum!
Bridal Expo 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Foodie Friday- Spring asparagus with cream sauce

Spring Asparagus with Cream Sauce
3 Tbsp butter
1 rounded Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest 
1/4 tsp dijon mustard 
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp minced parsley

2 pounds asparagus 

Instructions: Make the sauce in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until creamy. Turn off the heat, then add the egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, lemon zest, mustard, nutmeg and pepper and whisk until well blended. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes; but do not allow it to boil. Stir in the herbs, turn the heat to low and keep warm until the asparagus is cooked. Mean while, prepare the asparagus: snap the tough stem ends off the asparagus and steam until tender but firm, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain well and place on a heated platter. Pour the sauce over the asparagus. 
Backus-Page House Museum