Celebrate Queensborough, past and present, this Sunday

Queensborough school, vintage photo

A funky vintage photo (it’s actually an old postcard) of Queensborough‘s one-room schoolhouse. If you look closely you can see the old wooden sidewalk. This and many more interesting historic photos will be on display at that same schoolhouse, now the Queensborough Community Centre, on Historic Queensborough Day this coming Sunday, Sept. 7. You are warmly invited!

Well, my friends, summer is over. I mean, sure, technically it’s not over over until Sept. 21 – but we all know that the Monday of the Labour Day weekend is the real last day of summer. I expect that many of you this evening are, like me, gearing up for the busy school and workdays of fall, for shorter days and cooler weather and activities that probably don’t include swimming in the river and whiling away sunny afternoons reading in the chaise longue.

But you know, the end of summer does not mean the end of fun! And this evening I want to tell you about – and warmly invite you to – a very special event that will be a terrific way to mark the first weekend of the fall season.

It is Queenborough‘s first-ever Historic Queensborough Day, a day to celebrate the long and interesting history of this beautiful little hamlet on the Black River, and at the same time to show off the work that is constantly being done by people in the community to keep it looking beautiful. There are a bunch of activities planned that we think will appeal to visitors and residents of all ages and abilities; and of course there will be food, because, you know, serving up good food is very much a time-honoured Queensborough specialty.

I’m going to provide you with more information (and some photos of the gardens that are a highlight of the day) in posts later this week. Tonight, I want simply to tell you about what Historic Queensborough Day holds in store, and to encourage you to mark it on your calendar for this coming Sunday, Sept. 7, and come and take part. Whether you have lived here all your life or have never once been to Queensborough, I am sure you will enjoy the day; and if you are one of the many people in what I am beginning to think of as the “Queensborough diaspora” – people all over the world who have roots in, or connections to, our tiny north-of-7 village here in central Hastings County – well then, think of it as a bit of a homecoming!

Okay, as I said, more to come as the week progresses, but here are the details you need about Historic Queensborough Day, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014:

  • St. Andrew's United Church

    Historic St. Andrew’s United Church. The service this coming Sunday starts at 11 a.m. (Photo by Dave deLang)

    After a slowed-down summer schedule, services resume at St. Andrew’s United Church – built in 1890 as St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, and the only one of the four churches that Queensborough once boasted to still be in operation – at 11 a.m. with our minister, The Rev. Caroline Giesbrecht, in the pulpit. You are most welcome to join us for the service in this pretty and historic church, and to start your Historic Queensborough Day off that way.

  • Starting at noon and running through till 4 p.m., there will be a barbecue going on at the Queensborough Community Centre, which is the former one-room schoolhouse built in 1901. My husband Raymond will be serving as sous-chef to master barbecuer Frank Brooks as hamburgers (with meat from Tim Toms’s One Stop Butcher Shop in nearby Madoc, and they are the best hamburgers ever) and hot dogs are grilled up. For dessert, there will be homemade goodies thanks to many of the women in the Queensborough community.
  • Queensborough Community Centre

    The Queensborough Community Centre, as it appears today. It will be a hive of activity on Sunday.

    Also at the Queensborough Community Centre, starting at 1 p.m., will be a raft of displays about Queensborough’s history. Vintage photos and documents will tell the story of early settlement, notable residents, interesting and historic buildings, women’s groups, the churches, the schools, the farming community, the cheese factories, and lots more. (I actually can’t wait to spend a whole bunch of time poring over this stuff.) And here’s the best part: we want you to share your knowledge of Queensborough history. We’ll have it set up so that there will be places where you can write in information that you might have that adds to the general pool of knowledge about this fascinating little place.

  • New street signs photo

    Queensborough’s new street signs. (Photo from Our Backyard Tweed)

    Now, moving down to the heart of Queensborough, the river that runs through it: at 1 p.m. in the park area beside the Black River,”downtown,” there will be a ceremony attended by representatives of our local municipal councils and our Member of Parliament, Daryl Kramp, at which two important community initiatives will be recognized. The first is the work of the Queensborough Beautification Committee to create and erect attractive and distinctive new street signs for the village, along with all the other wonderful work the committee’s members do to keep the hamlet looking so nice. The other will be an official unveiling of a sign erected under the auspices of the Queensborough Community Centre Committee that outlines the history of the village. Yes, there will be a few speeches, but I promise they’ll be brief!

  • For all you expert gardeners and would-be gardeners out there, as well as those of you who just like strolling through and enjoying beautiful gardens: a highlight of the day will be visits you can make to the gardens of Ann Lee and Brian Stanbra at 2225 Queensborough Rd. (just west of town) and Sylvia and Brian MacNeil at 1861 Queensborough Rd. I have spent a good chunk of this sunny Labour Day Monday visiting the two gardens myself and taking some photos that I’ll share in a post in a day or two, and people, let me tell you: these gardens are just amazing. To be amid so much colour and beauty, and have a chance to talk with the people who put all that work, love and knowledge into creating it, is humbling and delightful. You will love seeing what they have created. Here is just a taste:
The MacNeils' garden

Looking down at Brian and Sylvia MacNeil’s spacious and well-kept grounds from the edge of their glorious garden.

The Stanbras' garden

Dahlias in gorgeous fall bloom in the garden of Ann Lee and Brian Stanbra.

  • Queensborough walking tour

    A walking tour of historic Queensborough – only $3 (all proceeds to a good cause) each!

    And finally, you can take in the sights and historic buildings of Queensborough – in one of several ways. We hope that you will use your copy of our Historic Queensborough brochure – and if you haven’t yet had a chance to get one, don’t worry! We’ll have them for sale that day, and all proceeds (they’re an affordable $3 a pop) go to the work of the Queensborough Community Centre Committee – to take a tour of the village and learn about the history of the buildings in it. And here’s the fun part: you can do that tour by horse and wagon, if you like! Bruce Gordon of neighbouring Madoc Township – though a Queensborough native; Bruce’s family were our neighbours across the way when I was growing up in Queensborough – will have his team of horses and wagon on hand, and yours truly has got talked into being the guide for anyone who’d like to see the sights in that old-fashioned way. Of course you may also stroll, bike or drive around on your own, and homeowners and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions.

So does that not sound like a wonderful way to spend an early-September Sunday? I personally can’t think of anything better. People in Queensborough have been sprucing up the place:

John mowing the grass

Our friend and neighbour John Barry at work cutting the grass along the sidewalks of Queensborough. John donates enormous amounts of time and volunteer labour to keeping Queensborough looking nice.

And the local press has been visiting to write stories about the event:

Photographing the Anglican Church

Reporter Brett Mann of the Central Hastings News weekly newspaper photographs Queensborough’s historic Anglican Church (the first church built in town). Brett paid a visit Saturday as legwork for a story about Historic Queensborough Day.

And Raymond has made up some nifty badges for the volunteers to wear:

Historic Queensborough Day volunteer badgesMeanwhile, the bakers are planning their baking, and a whole bunch of us will be at the old schoolhouse this coming Saturday, setting up displays and getting things ready for your visit the following day.

Whether your roots run deep in Queensborough, or whether you’re just curious about this lovely little place I keep telling you about here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, please come spend Sunday, Sept. 7, with us!

2 thoughts on “Celebrate Queensborough, past and present, this Sunday

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