Bad weather forces North Rustico Remembrance Day ceremonies indoors

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Fierce winds and plunging temperatures moved Remembrance Day ceremonies indoors in North Rustico.

Hundreds of people packed the North Rustico Lions Club for the ceremonies, marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that silenced the guns of World War 1. Attendees included District 18 MLA Brad Trivers and PEI’s Senator from Cavendish, Mike Duffy.

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An early start to Christmas shopping season

New London Community Complex Craft Fair held Nov 4
Story and photos by Jim Brown

Auxiliary power may have been needed to keep the lights on, but the annual New London Community Complex Christmas Craft Fair still went ahead on Sunday, Nov 4, drawing hordes of shoppers looking for that perfect item to slip into a stocking or under a tree.
By early morning close to 3,000 Maritime Electric customers were still without power after a fierce windstorm, with gusts as high as 100 km an hour, lashed PEI. No doubt a good number of them found their way to New London.

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New London based entrepreneur Cristin Sawchuk (Old Home Press) designs distinctive, eye-catching apparel that reflects the unique beauty of Prince Edward Island. She was one of dozens of vendors at the Christmas Craft Fair on Nov 4.

  Kensington Intermediate Senior High students had a table at the Christmas Craft Fair, selling chocolate pretzel candy to raise funds for the school's student council. From left, are Kellie Champion, Jack Ellsworth and John Lockerby.

Sabine Schoenknecht, in photo, and her husband Michael Schoenknecht, operate the Lucky Bee Homestead in Murray Harbour North and were doing a brisk business at the Christmas Craft Fair.

Visitors young, old and in-between descended on the New London Community Complex Sunday, Nov 4 for the organization's much anticipated Christmas Craft Fair.

Helene Bouchard is surrounded by gift-wrapped lavender products at the Christmas Craft Fair. Ms Bouchard operates a lavender farm at her Stanley Bridge property. Her many products include edibles for restaurants and the home.

Kathryn deBree, of Gotta Sew, offers repairs, alterations, custom work, upholstery, mending, zippers, hemming and leatherwork at her home-based business in Kensington.

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Light standard knocked down

Department of Transportation work crews were busy across the province on Oct 16, fixing much of the damage caused by fierce winds of up to 90 km an hour. The winds were accompanied earlier in the morning by heavy rains. Above, shortly after 9 am, workers were attending to a fallen light standard about 40 feet from the Stanley Bridge roundabout, on the Cavendish side.


Jim Brown photos

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Helen MacEwen and the new resort municipality council: How our past has become our road-map to the future.

By Mike Duffy

Senator 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 peijim@hotmail.com..

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New London Fire Company holds memorial service

The 50th anniversary of the New London Fire Company was celebrated Saturday, Aug 25 and a big part of the day’s impressive slate of events was a memorial service honoring members who had passed away during the fire company’s five decades in the community. The memorial service included a bell ceremony, the laying of evergreen, the Fireman’s Prayer read by Bill Pidgeon, the roll call of honor led by New London Fire Chief Allen Cole, and remarks from PEI Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry, Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter, and provincial MLAs Matthew MacKay and Brad Trivers. Juliana Elsinga sang the national anthem.
Story and photos by Jim Brown

Sheila MacMurdo and her daughter Caedyn were two of the attendees at the Aug 25 memorial service, who have several friends in the New London Fire Company.

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Stanley Bridge area packed with fun events weekend of Aug 24-26

Story and photos by Jim Brown
It turned out to be double the fun for local residents and visitors this weekend in Stanley Bridge under sunny, cloudless skies. The River Days Festival ran Friday to Sunday and the 50th anniversary bash of the New London Fire Company was held Saturday, drawing large crowds of children, their parents and friends and family members of volunteer firefighters, past and present. It was a weekend that will not soon be forgotten.

At the Stanley Bridge Centre Saturday youngsters learned how to paint sunflowers in an outdoor tent setting, while the bridge at the Stanley Bridge wharf was a magnet for daredevils of all ages, bravely diving dozens of feet into the water.

A group of youngsters waited several long moments before diving off the bridge at the Stanley Bridge wharf.

Seven-year-old Hudson Thoy, from Stratford, got to shoot out a stream of water from a high pressure fire hose outside the New London Fire Company.

Volunteer firefighters use the jaws of life to dismantle a wrecked car at the New London Fire Company's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Meredith O'Dea, 7, was one of several participants at the flower painting workshop held at the Stanley Bridge Centre.

Devynn Wakelin, 4, and her mom Dorothy, from Rainbow Lake, Alberta, collaborated on some beautiful artwork at the Stanley Bridge Centre.

It only took a moment for this woman to plunge feet first from the bridge.

Anna O'Dea, 4, and Meredith O'Dea, 7, daughters of Jonathan and Jamie O'Dea from St. John's, NFLD, were at the Stanley Bridge Centre's sunflower painting workshop. Above, Anna is all smiles after a few brushstrokes .

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SBC launching major fundraiser

The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society is launching an ambitious campaign to raise $100,000 for renovations to the Stanley Bridge Centre by 2020.

The Stanley Bridge Centre, a former United Church, was decommissioned in 2009. A lot has happened since the building became an iconic community landmark, including its successful transformation into a multi-purpose facility that has hosted many entertainment, history and cultural events over the past several years including the more recent Father Bolger history circle.

The campaign will help pay for much-needed renovations including a new kitchen, washroom and roof.


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Parading the boats on River Days

Hundreds of people assembled at the Stanley Bridge wharf the evening of Aug 25 for what many consider one of the marquee events of the River Days Festival – the parade of boats. More than a dozen illuminated vessels passed under the bridge at the Stanley Bridge wharf and then glided back in the gathering darkness to loud cheers. Fireworks lit up the sky shortly after 9 pm.

Photos by Jim Brown

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