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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Whoop Whoop!

The website has crossed another threshold: 15,000 hits!

And, the news only gets better … but you’ll have to attend the meeting tonight at Trinity United Church in Thorold at 7 p.m. to get the details!

There are still some tickets left for Dickens Night on December 6, so please contact Donna at 905 227 7556 or donnajcowan@hotmail.com to reserve them.

It’s an event you won’t want to miss: with the St Thomas Community Players presenting what’s sure to be a most highly entertaining version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

But, also, it will give you a chance to make a direct donation to two extremely worthy causes: the restoration of historic Beaverdams Church and helping replenish the seriously depleted resources at Community Care Thorold.

Scrooge saw Marley's face 1933

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Have you bought your ticket?

Dickens Night is fast upon us! 

On December 6th, Charles Dickens’ classic seasonal tale “A Christmas Carol” will be presented at Trinity United Church in Thorold. Adapted by B.A. McPetrie, the play will directed by Marg Newby and the performed by the St Thomas Community Players of St Catharines.

In the spirit of the season, proceeds go to Community Care Thorold and toward the restoration of Beaverdams Church.

Space is limited and tickets are selling fast so don’t delay and order yours soon! You can get yours in Thorold at Henderson’s Pharmacy or Print Three Thorold, or call either 905 227 7556 or 905 680 6608 (email us at beaverdamschurch@gmail.com) for more information.


Watch this space for news about the church’s new roof in the next few weeks!

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And the answer is …

An innocuous enough question (“Where are the highest tides in the world recorded?”) launched the second annual Trivia Night at Trinity United Church on October 4th.

Eighty-three more questions and 16 visual identifications – along with a lot of huddled brainstorming – and Table 4 was able to claim victory with a total of 64 correct answers!

It was an excellent evening, attended by more than 100 people, with fabulous door prizes, a 50-50 draw and three tables brimming with silent auction treasures.

After expenses, about $3000 can be added to the restoration fund, a sum that will contribute to the cost of a new, heritage-approved roof. With work scheduled for November, the Friends of Beaverdams Church will to be able to look back at 2014 as a year of successes and great strides forward!

Many thanks to the tireless efforts of the Trivia Night helpers: Adam Barker, Emma Battell Lowman, Denise Bradden, Dave Cowan, Leslie Daniels, Susan France, Marilyn Fraser, Julien Gingras, David Griffiths, Sarah King Head, Cathy Ker, Eileen Spencer, Jamie Symons, Lil Sypes, Teresa Tepylo and Jack Yarnell.

Melanie Battell and Donna Cowan held it all together, while Margie Hadley can again be credited for developing another batch of excellent questions! And, thanks to the inimitable emceeing of Bill Vander Klippe, to the markers Farley Hadley, Lynn Hadley and Joe Dekker hidden behind the screen, and to the energetic runners, Dakotah, Evan and Caroline.

Check out the photos!

We hope you’re as excited about the upcoming Dickens Night on December 6 as we are! Tickets are limited, so order yours soon by contacting donnajcowan@hotmail.com or by calling 905 227 7556

Pamphlet 2

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Hear ye, hear ye!

As all the final details of the transfer of ownership are ironed out, the Friends of Beaverdams Church are looking forward to an exciting few months of fundraising activities and further restoration efforts.

First up is the second annual Trivia Night on Saturday October 4th at 7 p.m at Trinity United Church hall in Thorold. Anyone having attended last year will remember the scintillating atmosphere of conviviality and competition along with overflowing silent auction tables and the exciting 50-50 draw! You’ll find all this – and more – in only a few short weeks. Please contact Melanie for more information and tickets at mbattell@cogeco.ca or 905 227 2174.

trivia night

Also, don’t forget to mark Saturday December 6th on your calendars for Dickens Night, featuring the performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by St Catharines’ St Thomas Players. Proceeds will go to Thorold Community Care and the Beaverdams Church Restoration Fund.

But, before all this, please come out to show your support for Beaverdams Church at the next Friends meeting this Wednesday, September 24th at Trinity United Church in Thorold. Beginning at 7 p.m., we will discuss our fundraising activities and the restoration progress. 


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The Friends have it!

Following a resoundingly positive vote from the membership in favour of ownership and after ironing out some details with the City, historic Beaverdams Church is now proudly owned by the 100-odd volunteers who make up the Friends of Beaverdams Church.

The transfer was finalized on September 2 when mayor Ted Luciani gave Friends president Dave Cowan and treasurer John Henderson the keys to the 182-year old church. The decision to sell the church for $2 to the group was approved by Council on August 29, and ends months of discussion and negotiation about how best to realize the restoration of this important building.

Courtesy of Paul Forsyth, Niagara this Week

Courtesy of Paul Forsyth, Niagara this Week

“Our special Beaverdams Church is now under the ownership of the Friends of Beaverdams Church,” says Heritage Thorold LACAC secretary Pamela Minns, explaining the doubly significant nature of this transfer:

We have an excellent group of people here, who are eager to bring this special building back to life for all to appreciate and enjoy.  It is a well-known fact that this meetinghouse style church has always been a very important place to the people of Thorold, and under the guidance of the “friends” we know that it is on its way to a restoration that we can all be proud of.  As they have in the past, I know that the citizens of this city are going to support this work in any way they can.

Councillor Becky Lott agrees: “I’m excited that this church now has a real chance to be restored. It is now in the hands of a group who truly care about its fate and I wish them all the best in this project.”

For more information, see Paul Forsyth’s article in the recent issue of Niagara this Week.

You too can help by becoming a Friend – or attend the upcoming fundraisers! 


Following its great success last year, Trivia Night returns on October 4 – again, at Trinity United Church in Thorold. If you’re interested in tickets or would like to donate to the silent auction, please contact Melanie at mbattell@cogeco.ca or 905 227 2174.


Fancy a bit of Dickens to get you in the Christmas spirit? Then, you’re sure to enjoy Dickens Night on Saturday December 6 with a retelling of the classic by St Catharines’ St Thomas Players. Watch this space for more information in the coming weeks!

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Coming full circle

After a few months of negotiations, The Friends of the Beaverdams Church would like to announce that the City of Thorold has agreed to sell the church for $2 to the community-based group. In addition to ownership of the church premises, the group has been licensed by the government to own and operate the cemetery, in compliance with Ontario statutes.

© James Head 2012

© James Head 2012

The closing date will be August 29, 2014.

It’s a huge undertaking, but given the groundswell of support that the Friends have enjoyed both within and from the community, we are certain that this is the right step. *

Importantly, it is through being able to take these steps forward that the Friends will be able to realize the restoration of historic Beaverdams Church at an accelerated pace.

The Friends are pleased to be able to rely on continued support from various partners at the community level and within government.

“The energy and dedication of the Friends executive”, says President David Cowan, “plus the loyalty and support of the membership will ensure that the restoration of this historic building for the public’s use and enjoyment will definitely happen”.

* The Friends are protected by a combination of general, directors’ and property insurance through the Ontario Historical Society as per the group’s incorporation therein back in September 2013.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Friends or would like to help,
please come out to Trinity United Church on Pine Street in Thorold
on August 27, 2014 at 7 p.m. for the monthly meeting.

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