By Mike Duffy
On Monday, Sept. 10 the new, post-election Resort Municipality council was to hold its first monthly meeting.
Mayor Matthew Jelley was acclaimed on July 27 and so were all the councillors seeking election. Bill Drost, Chris Robinson, George Clark Dunning, Lee Brammer, Linda Lowther and Kenny Singleton will steer the development of this growing community over the next few years.
It is an interesting mix of older, experienced councilors and new people with new ideas for the future of our community.
These are critical years for the municipality, as we see a new generation of visitors and retiring baby-boomers come home from years spent “away”, bringing with them new ideas about housing, zoning and culture. It will be a challenge as the tried and true learns to live with the new.
Our past is our road-map to the future. That certainly is the credo of Helen M. MacEwan, who is finishing a decade as President of the Stanley Bridge Memorial Society.
Charlottetown gets most of the attention when it comes to discussions of Island history. After all that was where the Fathers of Confederation met in 1864, to begin the process of creating Canada.
But if you ask Helen M. MacEwen, you’ll quickly learn our Island history extends far beyond Charlottetown.
Until 1865 Stanley Bridge was known as Fyfe’s Ferry, named for the ferry which carried traffic across the Stanley River. The name changed after the bridge was built.
These were the days before motor cars and paved highways linking rural areas with the capital City. Water was the key means of transport, and Stanley Bridge with its access to New London Bay was a busy port with schooners lining the wharves.
Farmers used the schooners to send their produce to market, and merchants used the ships to receive supplies which they sold to local people. The community truly was the hub of our small universe, with a busy blacksmith, a harness maker, tailor and millinery shop, and a shipyard.
All of this is documented in the Stanley Bridge Memorial Society’s richly illustrated book, the History of Stanley Bridge, Hub of the Universe. It was published in 1997, and as the older generation passes on, the book remains a valuable resource for those interested in our past.
The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society, a group of local history buffs, led by Helen MacEwen, volunteered the countless hours that were required. Now after a lifetime of work, and a decade as President, Helen MacEwen is moving into the past-president’s role. She is being replaced by Clayton Smith.
In recognition of her hard work, I was delighted to present Helen M. MacEwen with a Senate of Canada Certificate of Appreciation.
The citation reads: “In Recognition of Your Lifetime Commitment to the Preservation of the History of Stanley Bridge”
Helen M. MacEwen is a community leader, and this certificate of appreciation is a well-deserved thank you from her countless friends, fans, and neighbours.
Never one to rest, Helen’s latest community project is the 100 by 100 campaign.
The Stanley Bridge Centre, a former United Church decommissioned in 2009, will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020. The Memorial Society’s latest project is to raise $100,000 for renovations to make the building accessible, to repair the roof, and add a kitchen and washroom.
This community centre needs the support of our caring community. Your generous donation can help the Stanley Bridge Centre thrive for another 100 years.
Cavendish resident Mike Duffy represents PEI in The Senate of Canada. Your comments are welcome. Please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org..