It’s that time again where we look forward to the monthly meeting of the Friends, when we can discuss goings-on and upcoming events.

It’s also a time to reflect on the year that’s been. And, here, we can thank Margie Hadley for producing a newsletter that features, among other things, an interview with the Beaverdams Girls – whose memories of living in Beaverdams and attending Sunday School in the church from the 1930s helps us remember how vibrant and enriching village life could and still can be!

Beaverdams Girls and David 12-11-14

Newsletter March 2015

We also are encouraging those interested to attend the Ontario Heritage Conference Niagara 2015 that’s being hosted in Niagara-on-the-Lake from April 30 to May 3. Of special interest is the presentation that will be given by Vice-President Melanie Battell and our consulting engineer Mark Shoalts about the church: its past, present and future. If you’re interested in attending this session on May 1 from 3.30 to 5,please let us know and we’ll see if a special conference rate can be arranged.

Finally, but not least importantly: the Friends are meeting this coming Wednesday, March 25th at 7 p.m. at Trinity United Church on Pine Stret in Thorold.

We hope to see you all there!

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Whereas in and by a Statute of the Province of Upper Canada …

So begins the deed that permitted the conveyance of no more than 5 acres to non-established (or state) – the so-called ‘dissenting’ – religions, to found a “Church, Meeting-House, or Chapel, or a Burying-ground.”

And, with this remit the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Township of Thorold, in the County of Lincoln in the Niagara District of the Province of Upper Canada established Beaverdams Church on June 26, 1832.

All identified as “yeomen”, Hiram Swayze empowered the following Trustees with the establishment of Beaverdams Church for the sum of 10 pounds: James Brown, John Street Sr., Samuel Street Jr., James Hagar, Jonathan Hagar, William Moore and John Ker.

Thanks again to Robert Halfyard, we can pore over photographs of the original deed, now stored in Toronto at the United Church of Canada Archives.

Courtesy of Robert Halfyard

Courtesy of Robert Halfyard

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A walk down memory lane …

The February 2015 meeting not only brought together nearly 30 Friends, but also lots of archival material and exciting plans for Spring and early Summer.

Here you will find offerings from Robert Halfyard and Gina Armstrong. Enjoy!

 Here’s a preview of some Upcoming Events:

• Look for the auction of a handmade quilt as well as a framed archival photograph of the church from the Henderson’s Pharmacy collection at the Thorold Craft Sale on May 9th.

• The Friends are delighted to announce a fundraising concert by organist Dr Andrew Henderson at St Andrew’s Church in Thorold on June 6th.

• The 183rd anniversary of the dedication of Beaverdams Church will be commemorated by Rev George Addison at the church on June 7th.

• Get ready for the 3rd annual Beaverdams Church and Village yard sale on June 13th (rain date: June 20th). Start saving up your goodies for donation!

• And, the summer wouldn’t begin properly without the Mayor’s annual Canada Day Picnic … so make sure to attend and visit the Friends of Beaverdams Church display.

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Hidden Treasures!

Do you have plans for Wednesday evening?

Not only will the Friends be hosting our monthly meeting at Trinity United on Pine Street in Thorold on February 25th at 7 p.m., but we’re be trying something a bit different after the business portion is complete: a show-and-tell of artefacts and other memorabilia from or about Beaverdams Church!



What an exciting opportunity to share memories and learn a bit more about the people and history that have shaped this important landmark!

Do you have something you would like to bring along? Please do so!

We look forward to seeing you!

If you haven’t yet, you can also become a Friend or renew your membership
help contribute to the restoration of historic Beaverdams Church!

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Beginning the new year on a positive (and dry) note

It’s hard to believe we’re now in the second month of 2015  … but for historic Beaverdams Church the time has not been wasted. For those of you who visit the church frequently or follow us on Facebook, you’ll know that a new (heritage approved) roof was installed at the church two weeks ago – replacing the crumbling asphalt shingles and ensuring that none of the 20-odd centimeters of snow that have fallen over the past few days got into the building!

[Check out some photos of the new roof and the news report]

The first meeting of the Friends of Beaverdams Church for 2015 last Wednesday January 28th was extremely well-attended, proving again how momentum is gathering for this worthy cause.

Membership renewal notices were hand-delivered or mailed out last week as well. If you’ve received yours, please make sure to get yours back as soon as possible – or if you’re not yet a member, please consider becoming one!

Friends form August 2014

We look forward to your continued support and welcome all newcomers wanting to become part of the restoration of this important community and national landmark!

2015 promises to be an exciting year in the annals of
historic Beaverdams Church!

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2014 in review

In case you’re interested, there are some interesting stats to be share from this report generated by the website’s host:

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A dickens of a night!

Nearly 180 people filled the pews and aisles as period-costumed carolers singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” processed into Thorold’s Trinity United Church last Saturday evening. Thus, began the two-hour dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by the St Thomas Community Players of St Catharines.

Chain rattling and bell ringing along with the timbral voices of the characters resonated powerfully in the church’s 1849 interior.

Later, enjoying a hot cider and a festive biscuit or piece of cheese in the hall, it was hard not to suppress enthusiasm for the year it’s been for the Friends of Beaverdams Church.

And, indeed, twelve months later, it’s hard to believe how much has been achieved. With its ranks more than doubling to nearly 100, the group held its first official elections in April, bought historic Beaverdams Church from the City of Thorold for $2 in August, and received corporate charitable status designation from the Canada Revenue Agency in late November.

President David Cowan observes how well everything has come together for the group this year: “It’s actually impressive how quickly approval the CRA approved our application for charitable status … Six weeks has to be a record! It confirms and reinforces the importance of saving Beaverdams Church, both as a heritage building and as an emblem of community spirit.”

“Notably, corporate charitable status means that the Friends can now apply to corporations and foundations for grant monies that will help with the larger restoration expenses.” He adds: “We can now also give receipts for tax purposes to individuals who make donations.”

And, in the space of only three years, nearly $40,000 has been raised through community fundraising events and donations.

Dickens Night alone netted a staggering $3,700 through a combination of ticket sales and donations! Importantly, the journey is not only about receiving but also giving back to the community. It is for this reason, that the Friends will be offering $500 to Community Care Thorold from the proceeds to help those less fortunate over the holiday season.

Anyone who’s watched a grassroots organization take hold and fly will recognize the hallmarks of success in the story of the Friends of Beaverdams Church!

As recently elected councilor Michael Charron and former co-chair of the Heritage Thorold LACAC notes, the Friends of Beaverdams Church organization “represents the best of community activism.”


Special thanks go to Marg Newby and the St Thomas Community Players for their amazing performance, to Rev. George Addison and members of Trinity United Church for facilitating the event and coordinating the reception as well as to Siobhan Bland, Marilyn Chapman, Pamela Minns, Beate Wolf, Big Red Markets for their contributions – and to Donna Cowan and Sarah King Head along with the other Friends of Beaverdams Church for their dedication and tireless work in organizing the event.

Check out some of the photos from the event!


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