A first footing!

The first phase of the restoration process is almost complete.

It looks a bit like something out of Gulliver’s Travels, but engineer Mark Shoalts has driven 14 very large screws – German-made Krinner ground screws – all around the church. He explains how the process works: “The screws [are] driven down just to the level of the bracket that will be inserted under each post.”

Slightly adjusting the design, Shoalts decided to keep the screws just above grade and to make extensions for each bracket of varying lengths “because the grade falls more than 12″ from the northeast to the southwest corner.” Working with Lawrence Thomas from Aduvo and Kirk Dressel from Dressel’s Steelworks, Shoalts has been able to ensure the necessary modifications realize the goal of stabilizing the building.


Once in the ground the screws are all but invisible, however the brackets supporting the posts are there to mystify the uninformed – but they are an important first step in the journey to restoration!

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An amazing turnout!

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the 2nd annual Beaverdams Church Yard Sale was a HUGE success …

The chilly start did not deter the crowds and bartering was well under way by 9 a.m.

A staggering $2630.22 was raised for the restoration fund through a combination of sales and donations. Notably, nearly $400 came from individual donations!

Thanks must go first and foremost to Donna Cowan not only for organizing and coordinating the event so efficiently but for her enthusiasm! A team of dedicated volunteers and Friends also ensured the event ran smoothly: Melanie Battell, Evan and Gibson Sawatsky, Dave Cowan, Leslie Daniels, Audrey Fawn, Marilyn Fraser, Julian Gingras, David Griffiths, Margie Hadley, Caroline Head, Sarah King Head, Cathy and John Henderson, Jessica Jaeger, Erika Klassen, Helene Miller, Fred Neale, Jon Schwartz, Sharon and Mike Schofield, Eileen Spencer, Eric Stephens, Lil Sypes, Teresa and John Tepylo, Bea Vanderburgh, Bill Vander Klippe and Tony Vandermaas.

Thanks also to the Beaverdams villagers
and members of the wider Thorold community
for their generous donations, time and storage space! 

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Celebrating the past … and looking to the future

Beaverdams Church hosted nearly 90 people on June 1st for the annual dedication service and to celebrate  the memory of one of its most cherished and dedicated friends, Esther Summers (1913–2013).

The Rev. George Addison of Trinity United, Friends of Beaverdams Church president Dave Cowan and Mayholme Foundation director Corlene Taylor all spoke with great fondness of Esther and her remarkable legacy both within the Beaverdams and Thorold community – and more widely for her invaluable genealogical and archival work.

Rev. George Addison speaking to the assembled group

Rev. George Addison speaking to the assembled group

Friends president Dave Cowan sharing his memories of Esther Summers

Friends president Dave Cowan sharing his memories of Esther Summers

We also look forward to Saturday June 14 when the Friends of Beaverdams Church will host the 2nd annual yard sale on the church premises. In addition to generous donations from the community, eight independent vendors will also be selling their wares — as will various “Beaverdamers” throughout the village.

We also look forward to the stabilization work on the foundation that will be completed by heritage engineer Mark Shoalts in the next few weeks.

Please come out and show your support!

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Annual Dedication Service

It’s that busy time of year again at historic Beaverdams Church!

This Sunday June 1 at 10.30 the annual dedication service will take place on the church property with Rev. George Addison officiating. The legacy of Esther Summers on the church and community will be memorialized.

Annual service 2014

And, on June 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Friends will be hosting the 2nd annual Yard Sale. Please contact Donna for more information or if you want to donate saleable items (no clothing, furniture or electronics please): donnajcowan@hotmail.com.

Yard sale poster 2014

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Meetings … then and now

Here is another snippet from the Thorold Post – this time from 20 January 1893 (p. 6):

The old Beaverdams church was the scene of a very pleasant meeting on Thursday evening, the 12th. Many of the ladies of the neighbourhood have for some time past been organized and working for benevolent purposes, and on the above evening gave an “old-fashioned tea-meeting.” The evening was stormy, and the attendance was not as large as the provision made deserved, still a goodly sum was realized. After a sumptuous repast, served upstairs, Rev. J. Wakefield took the chair, and a good programme was rendered. A local orchestra, a male quartette, choir of choruses, all did well. Miss Caton from Thorold took part, and was as usual thoroughly appreciated. In this brief notice it would be impossible to mention individually all who took part in the program, and where all did so it would be unwise to particularize. Their work, however, was a credit to the neighbourhood.

And tonight at Trinity United Church, a meeting is scheduled to ensure that gatherings like this – more than 120 years ago – can continue to be held at “old” Beaverdams Church!

Courtesy of Trinity United Church, Thorold © 2009

Courtesy of Trinity United Church, Thorold © 2009

We hope to see you at 7 p.m. tonight!

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Another blustery evening nearly 140 years ago …

Trawling through old issues of the Thorold News appeared this story from early October 1875 about attending a “peach festival” event at Beaverdams Church.

Peach Festival cropped


In addition to the description of intense weather lighting the way to the church, one of the most notable details in this rather lengthy account is the reception on the second floor of the church where “delicacies of the season were laid out in capital order.”

On Wednesday [September 29, 1875] we received a warm invitation to go out to a peach festival that evening at the Methodist Church, Beaverdams. On expressing a doubt as to our ability to be present for want of means of locomotion, we were kindly informed that teams would be waiting at the Methodist church in town at seven o’clock, to take out any of the townspeople who would be willing to patronize the entertainment.
Seven o’clock came, and found us at the rendezvous. The night was dark and wild looking, and fears were expressed among the little knot of patient ones waiting at the church door that the attendance would be rather small. The teams were soon at hand, and off we started. When we got fairly on the road, we began to take stock of our company, and found it consisted of five ladies, four gentlemen and one boy, beside the driver. Our company should have been a very safe one (but the sequel did not prove so), as there were no less than three out of four gentlemen life insurance agents. On we were driven, the night growing darker and darker, and it was a relief to us when we saw the well lit chapel in the distance, a token that our journey was nearly at an end. We were just beginning to congratulate ourselves on the safe completion of our journey, when lo! In the act of turning the last corner, down went the left side of our wagon into a ditch. Then the ladies began to scream, and make a hullaballoo. Fortunately, however, the horses stood still when checked, and no one was hurt, but the ladies were considerably frightened. The church was reached at last by walking the remainder of the distance.
 On entering the church we were warmly welcoming by the Rev. Mr. Preston. After waiting a short time till the audience had somewhat gathered, we ascended to the upper room where the feast was laid out. Here delicacies of the season were laid out in capital order. After doing ample justice to the good things we returned to the body of the church, when the Rev. Mr. Hawkins took the chair, and the following programme was carried out: —Anthem, “God is the refuge of our people,” Choir; recitation, “The Model Church,” Mr. Hawkins; solo and chorus, “Silver Threads among the Golden,” Mr. McGlashan; recitation, “Pass it on,” Mr. Preston alto solo and chorus, “Dear Lord, accept this heart of mine,” Miss — and choir; address, “Choosing a life partner,” Mr. Brian; solo and chorus, “Autumn Leaves,” Mr. D. McGlashan and choir; address, “Improving the leisure moments,” Mr. W.H. Bone; anthem, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” choir; concluding anthem, “Saviour, breathe an evening blessing.” Rev. Mr. Preston returned thanks to all who had taken part in the evening’s proceedings.
We must say the arrangements were well carried out. Great praise is due to the choir, which, under the able leadership of Mr. D. McGlashan, of Fonthill, discoursed such sweet music during the evening.
 After the evening’s entertainment had concluded, we sallied forth in search of the team which had brought us, but the night was so dark that we could not see a finger-length before us. At last, by the help of the vivid flashes of lightening, we found our team and were soon on the homeward road. The rain poured down in torrents for the greater part of the road, but we reached home all safe somewhere about twelve o’clock.

And, as today, the roads leading to this historic site are almost unnavigable!


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A first president and a big thank-you!

The Friends of Beaverdams Church are excited to announce the results of its first cohort of executive officers for the 2104–16 term. A group of 22 members attended to elect (or confirm the nomination of):
• David Cowan as President
• Melanie Battell as Vice-President
• John Henderson as Treasurer
• Leslie Daniels as Secretary
• Sarah King Head as Membership Coordinator.

Congratulations to them all!

The Friends would also like to extend a huge “Thank You” to Teresa and John Tepylo along with volunteer Friends and students from Thorold Secondary School for hosting the annual fertilizer sale. In spite of the miserable weather, an impressive $1135 was raised to support restoration efforts at the Church.

Thank you all for your continued support!


We also want to remind everyone of the upcoming 36th Annual Arts & Craft Show at the Thorold Arena (Front Street North and St David’s Road, Thorold). The one-day event will be held Saturday May 10 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Come and see Alan Daniels’ model of the church, and stay to enjoy the offerings of 80 juried artists and artisans from across Ontario. Admission is $2.

Lots of free parking.  For more information, call (905) 227 7248 or email cathy.henderson@sympatico.ca 


And, looking into June, don’t forget to start saving up your clean, saleable household items (no soft furnishings, mattresses, clothing or computers, please) to donate to the Second Annual Friends of Beaverdams Church Yard Sale: June 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (with a rain date of June 21).

Yard sale poster 2014

For more information, call (905) 227 7556 or email donnajcowan@hotmail.com


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Upcoming Events

With Spring finally here, the Friends are looking forward to another exciting season of fundraising!

To kick the season off, the Tepylos have again very kindly coordinated and managed the annual fertilizer sale at the Rexall parking lot in Thorold’s Pine Plaza, with proceeds going to the Beaverdams Church Restoration Fund. Reports back indicate that the event has been a GREAT success!

Thank you Teresa and John for your tremendous support!

Fertilizer sale 2013

Other events on the horizon include:

• May 1–4, 2014: The Ontario Genealogical Society’s annual conference is being held this year at Brock University and the Friends are going to be there! For more information about the OGS event go to the website, or if you’d like to help share information about the church and cemetery on behalf of the Friends of Beavedams Church, please contact Sarah at beaverdamschurch@gmail.com

• June 14 (9–1) with a rain date of June 21: The Second Annual Beaverdams Church Yard Sale will again be held at church. This promises to be another exciting event, with many more independent vendors and – of course – lots of attic treasures on offer! If you have suitable items to donate or would like to help, please contact Donna at donnajcowan@hotmail.com

• July 1: The Annual Mayor’s Picnic at the Battle of Beaverdams Park in Thorold.

… and looking rather a bit forward, mark these dates in your calendars as well:

• October 25 for the Second Annual Trivia Night

• December 6 for “Dicken’s Night,” featuring the St George Players of St Catharines

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Don’t forget to vote!

Elections April 30th at 7 p.m.

As a full member of the Friends of Beaverdams Church, you can help choose the executive officers who will help direct the restoration of historic Beaverdams Church. (But there’s still time if you aren’t a member yet!)

The electoral process is simple.

In addition to those temporary (“protem”) executive officers (who will all stand for election), YOU can also nominate a candidate for one of the five executive positions: Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Coordinator. Each term is two years.

When prompted, all you have to do is nominate that person and have the nomination seconded by another full member. That person’s name will then be included on the ballot and the regular, secret voting will take place. (If the person nominated is not present, then there must be written consent from that person.)

If you have any questions about the electoral process, please consult Robert’s Rules of Order or contact a member of the Friends at beaverdamschurch@gmail.com


**Please note that we will be voting for two Members-at-Large positions at our May meeting.

Friends form 2014
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Meeting reminder!

It’s that time of the month again: the final Wednesday, that is … and time for another meeting of the Friends of Beaverdams Church.*

Do try to come out tonight, if you haven’t and especially if you have before! On the agenda will be:
• updates on plans for the church,
• details on the first restoration efforts (stabilizing the foundation once the ground thaws!),
• information about upcoming fundraising efforts, and
• discussion about the election of executive offices for the Friends at our meeting on April 30th.

Remember that it is only through our efforts that this wonderful gem can be saved for ourselves and future generations!

Hope to see you all there!

View from gallery to north end including stairs

View from gallery to north end including stairs (J. Alan Daniels © 2013)

* It’ll be in the Assembly Room at Trinity United Church, Pine Street, Thorold at 7 p.m.
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