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Time for Turtlefest An unforgettable weekend of family fun! Stompin’ Tom Remembered Whiskey Jack concert celebrates an icon Interview with a Collector A conversation with Dr. Robert Hevenor The Legacy of Oscar Wilde Celebrating the man who inspired Annandale 100 Years of NHL Hockey Tillsonburg gets ready for the Centennial Fan Arena Exploring the Cheese Trail Oxford County’s mammoth tourism attraction
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Sesquicentennial Celebration Honouring Canada’s 150th birthday Going Strong at Gopher Dunes Full throttle fun minutes from Tillsonburg
By the Numbers Digits that will make you do a double take
Front Cover: In 1911, 1912 and 1913, the Tillsonburg Reds won 21 games without a loss and won the local championship
Discover Tillsonburg Magazine is published twice a year by the Town of Tillsonburg, in partnership with local builders and other community partners.
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1 0 0 Y E A R S O F Tillsonburg welcomes the NHL Centennial Fan Arena NHL HOCKEY
T illsonburg’s Memorial Arena has witnessed some incredible moments over the past 68 years— from graceful spins by Barbara Ann Scott, to rowdy sing-along shows with Stompin’ Tom. But this August, the facility’s distinctive Hipel roof will provide a backdrop for the big- gest outdoor party yet—the arrival of the NHL Centennial Fan Arena. A touring tribute to a century of NHL hockey thrills, the Centennial Fan Arena is expected to draw thou- sands of people during its three-day summer stop in Tillsonburg. “Not many non-NHL markets
have hosted the Fan Arena so far,” explains Kinsmen special event liai- son, Cedric Tomico. “So it’s quite an honour to be chosen.” “As a community, we’re very grateful to the NHL for giving us the opportunity to celebrate this historic milestone with them,” says Mayor Stephen Molnar. “We’re also grate- ful to the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club for their partnership with the Town of Tillsonburg on this event.” The Centennial Fan Arena is a free event and open to fans of all ages. “The main attraction is a 53-foot museum truck with more than 1000
(Top) The interior of the 53-foot museum truck honouring a century’s worth of ex- traordinary players, teams, remarkable plays and unforgettable moments. The Centennial Fan Arena also includes a second 53-foot video truck and pop out stage. (Left) Fans try out the Clear the Ice Zamboni VR Experience. All races are timed and shared on a leaderboard.
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square feet of interactive digital dis- plays, original video content, histor- ical memorabilia and unique photo moments,” says Tomico. “It’s kind of like a mini Hall of Fame.” Visitors will also have a chance to sit on a mini-Zamboni ice resurfacer and participate in the Clear the Ice Zamboni VR Experience . “You feel the cool air on your skin, the seat rumbles and you compete to create the perfect sheet of ice in vir- tual reality,” says Tomico. Of course, no tribute to the NHL would be complete without a chance to see the oldest and most revered trophy in professional sports, the Stanley Cup. In addition to activities in the Fan Arena, the weekend is also expected to include some unique community fundraising events. “On Thursday night, Ron MacLean will be here for a gala din- ner and auction to help raise funds for a new outdoor skating rink in
Tillsonburg,” says Tomico. “And our sister club, the Kinettes, are working on a ‘Breakfast with Stanley’ op- portunity on Saturday morning that will also help the cause.” Throughout the weekend, visitors will also be invited to support the “Hockey for Everyone” program in Tillsonburg. “There will be special collec- tion areas set up where people can donate their used gear and equip- ment,” says Tomico. A ball hockey tournament, skills clinic and family movie night are also expected to be part of the week- end’s fun. “We’re still working out all the de- tails, but I can tell you this much: it’s (Top) Wayne Gretzky checks out memo- rabilia in the Fan Arena museum truck. (Bottom) The Rink gives youth hockey players a chance to shine with pro- grammed games and clinics.
going to be big,” says Tomico, with a smile. “It’s going to be an absolute must for any hockey fan.”
(Below) Ron MacLean, one of our coun- try’s most beloved sportscasters, will visit Tillsonburg on Thursday, August 10.
NHL Centennial Fan Arena Hours
Thursday, August 10 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Friday, August 11 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Saturday, August 12 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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The Ri nk Master s
For a small town, Tillsonburg has produced a surprising number of hockey legends
I n the late 1800s, hockey was a strictly outdoor activity. If you wanted to play a game of shinny, you layered on your woolies and headed over to Lake Lisgar. That is, until the turn of the century when Frank and William Barkey, proprietors of the Tillsonburg Electric Light Plant, had an idea. Why not build an outdoor rink? They could even install lights to enable night-time skating. And so the Barkey Brothers Electric Rink was born. Opening on January 1, 1902, the new rink was a marvel. Located where Canadian Tire is to- day, the rink had the largest play- ing area in the province (70 x 170 ft) and could reportedly accommodate crowds of up to 2000 people in its heyday. Though it was originally constructed as an open air rink, the facility later gained a roof, walls and even live music performed by Frank’s own band. Photographs of Frank reveal a most unlikely sports hero if ever there was one. And yet, without this larger-than-life man and his brother, it’s fair to say that Tillsonburg might have remained a hockey backwater
Eddie Oatman Born in 1889 in Springford, Edward Cole “Eddie” Oatman was 18 years old when he joined the Tillsonburg Pan Drieds, the local Ontario Hock- ey Association (OHA) team named for E.D. Tillson’s famous oats. In 1909, Eddie turned professional and two years later, won a Stanley Cup with the Quebec Bulldogs (NHA). Following the win, Oatman joined
forever--a town known only for pro- ducing tobacco, and not the likes of NHL players Lloyd “Shrimp” An- drews and Russell Oatman—or their contemporaries, Colin and Gregory Campbell. As Tillsonburg gets ready to wel- come the Stanley Cup and the NHL Centennial Fan Arena this August, here’s a look back at some of our lo- cal hockey legends. The Barkey Brothers Electric Rink opened in 1902 and was destroyed in a 1927 windstorm. Co-owner and local band leader Frank Barkey is shown at right. Tillsonburg would not have another ice arena until 1949, when Memorial Arena opened.
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Eddie Oatman in 1910 (above) and with the Tillsonburg Pan-Drieds Hockey team (back row, on left).
the Pacific Coast Hockey Associa- tion (PCHA), where he played for the New Westminster Royals, the Portland Rosebuds and the Victoria Aristocrats. In 1922, Eddie got anoth- er chance to play for the Cup when he filled in for an injured player on the Vancouver Millionaires.The next year, Oatman was traded to the Cal- gary Tigers and the team won the Western Canada Hockey League title. Even after economic collapse of western hockey in 1926, Oatman persevered. He played in the minor leagues for four more teams before finally calling it quits at age 50. In all, Oatman played an unbelievable 32 years of professional hockey, and served as coach and captain of five Left-winger Russell Oatman may have grown up in his older brother Eddie’s shadow—but it wasn’t a bad place to be. In fact, it was Ed- die’s success in the PCHL that opened the door for Russell to join the Victoria Cougars in 1925. During his first season, Russ scored eight goals and proved to be a dominant different teams. Russell Oatman
force in the corners. The following year, the Cougars moved to Detroit where Oatman scored three goals in 14 games. However, an off-ice incident resulted in a mid-season trade to the Montreal Maroons. Undeterred, he went on to play 25 games for Montreal and scored 8 times. In 1927, the Maroons squared off against the New York Rangers in an unsuccessful bid for Stanley Cup. The following year was a similar story, although Oatman was now on the defending Rangers roster.
Oatman played his last hockey with the IAHL’s Hamilton Tigers and Ni- agara Falls Cataracts before retiring in 1930. William “Red” Anderson Defenceman Red Anderson was born in Tillsonburg in 1911 and played professional hockey for eight different teams from 1936 to 1943. His on-ice career included games in the AHA, IAHL and EHL, as well as one NHL playoff game with the Bos- ton Bruins.
Tillsonburg’s William “Red” Anderson (back row, 7th from left) played professional hockey for 8 years—including one playoff game in the NHL.
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Lloyd “Shrimp” Andrews Born in Tillsonburg, left winger Lloyd Andrews was a part of the Tillsonburg Reds, Dunnville Mud- cats and Niagara Falls Cataracts be- fore making his NHL debut in 1921. During his four seasons with the To- ronto St. Patricks, the 5’4” Andrews played 53 games, scored eight goals and had five assists. Undoubtedly, he would have had more points had he not volunteered for World War I. Nevertheless, Andrews made the most of his limited time. In the 1922 Stanley Cup playoffs he scored twice in five games to help the St. Pats win over Tillsonburg’s Russell Oatman and the Vancouver Millionaires. Re- leased by Toronto in 1925, Andrews joined the Can-Am league, where he scored 24 goals during the 1929-30 season. He finished his career in the CHL before retiring in 1934. In 2017, Hayhoe Homes named their newest Tillsonburg housing development “Andrews Crossing” in Shrimp’s honour. Stan Crossett Born on April 18, 1900, defenceman Stan Crossett began his professional hockey career at the advanced age of 29. Standing six feet tall and weigh- ing 200 pounds, Crossett enjoyed a significant size advantage over most of his opponents. In 1931, he signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Quakers and played 21 NHL games. When the team folded at year’s end, Crossett returned to Ontario and went into business. John Gofton During the 1960s and 70s, John Gofton was a gritty presence on a host of professional and semi-pro hockey teams. He was a part of the Memorial Cup-winning Hamilton Red Wings in the 1961-1962 season, and in 1977, won the National Se- nior Hockey Championships with the Brantford Alexanders. In an un- usual twist, Gofton also played ‘Bro- phy’ in the 1977 cult movie hit, Slap Shot , opposite actor Paul Newman. Gofton is the former proprietor of Tillsonburg Rent-Alls.
Harley Hotchkiss (above) Harley Hotchkiss may have been “Mr. Calgary”, but he was a Tillson- burg boy at heart. Growing up “dirt poor” on a tobacco farm, Hotchkiss studied geology before heading to Alberta and the lucrative oil and gas industry. In 1980, he was one of six investors that purchased the Atlanta Flames and brought the team to Cal- gary. Over the next nine years, the Flames won the President’s Trophy twice, and played in two Stanley Cup finals (winning the champion- ship in 1989). Hotchkiss served as chairman of the NHL board of gov- ernors from 1995-2007. At the time of his death in 2011, he was credited for saving not only the Flames, but the NHL as well, through the cur- rency equalization program.
Gary Green (above) When 21-year-old Gary Green real- ized he wouldn’t play in the NHL, he could have given up. Instead, the Tillsonburg native went to see Roger Neilson and offered to be an unpaid assistant coach for the Peterborough Petes. His gamble paid off. Three years later, Green was promoted to head coaching duties and led the Pe- tes to two consecutive league cham- pionships and a Memorial Cup. In 1979, Green moved to Pennsylvania to coach the Hershey Bears (AHL). Two months into the season, he be- came head coach of the Washing- ton Capitals. With a phone call and the stroke of a pen, the 26-year-old became the youngest head coach in professional sports. Terminated three seasons later, Green decided
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Sabres, who chose him in the fourth round of the NHL draft. In 1986, he won a silver medal for Canada at the World Juniors. In the years that fol- lowed, Moylan played in the OHL, IHL and AHL. He even played two years in the Finnish Elite League in Jokerit, Finland. Moylan finished his playing days with the CHL’s Brant- ford Smoke, retiring in 1994. Jeff Bes Center Jeff Bes played 19 seasons of professional hockey. In 1993, Bes won gold for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden. Although drafted a year earlier by the Minnesota North Stars, Bes never saw regular season time in the NHL. He did, however, go on to play for 17 different teams, in seven different leagues and five countries. The last eight seasons of his playing career were spent with the Laredo Bucks in the CHL. He is currently head coach with the Fay- etteville FireAntz in North Carolina.
to wait things out in the broadcast booth. It turned out to be the start of a 30+ year media career. As a broad- caster, Green has worked for CBC, TSN, USA and the NHL Network. He also serves as a senior director of Stadium Consultants International, designers of more than 100 sports facilities worldwide, including To- ronto’s Air Canada Centre. David Moylan As a kid, David Moylan loved hockey and by high school, it was clear the game loved him back. After playing at the Junior “B” and Junior “C” levels in the early 1980s, David was selected first overall in the 1984 Ontario Hockey League draft by the Sudbury Wolves (OHL). Ayear later, Moylan caught the eye of the Buffalo (Left) In 1911, 1912 and 1913, the Tillson- burg Reds won 21 games without a loss and won the local championship. Future NHL-er Lloyd “Shrimp” Andrews is shown in the middle row, at right.
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COUNTRY T H I S I S C A M P B E L L Colin and Gregory —Tillsonburg’s own NHL duo
T he odds of a kid making it from minor hockey to a steady NHL career are roughly one in 4,000—or at least that’s what the experts tell us. So you really can’t fault Colin Campbell’s late mother, Gwen, for questioning her son’s career aspira- tions back in 1965. “He told me when he was in grade six that he was going to play in the NHL,” she recalled in 1994. “I told him, ‘Be realistic. You’ve got to think of something else.’” Colin wouldn’t hear of it. One way or another, he would go to ‘the show.’ To the amazement of every- one around him, he was right. At 17, Colin left home to join Roger Neilson and the OHL Peter- borough Petes. In 1972-73, he was drafted fifth overall by the Vancou- ver Blazers of the WHA, and 27th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. (Top) Head Coach Colin Campbell on the bench of New York Rangers in 1995. (Photo by Charles Wenzelberg/ New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Hold- ings, Inc. via Getty Images) (Right) Gregory Campbell celebrates after Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver.
After a year in the WHA, Colin switched leagues. It didn’t take long for him to make his presence felt. Known as a scrappy, no-nonsense defender, Campbell’s NHL stat sheet speaks for itself: 11 seasons played, 25 goals, 103 assists and nearly 1300 penalty minutes. Campbell’s story would have been impressive enough had it end- ed there—but as it turned out, that was only the beginning. When Campbell’s playing days were over, he moved behind the bench, coaching the likes of Probert,
Gretzky and Messier. In fact, it was as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers in 1994 that Campbell finally won a Stanley Cup. Campbell’s son, Gregory, was just 10 years old at the time—and he couldn’t have been more impres- sionable. “I want to win the Stanley Cup so bad I can taste it,” a young Gregory wrote. No one was surprised. After all, Gregory was a rink rat—a kid who’d spent years rubbing shoul- ders with the greatest in the game. Still, there are no free rides in the
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(Left) Gregory Campbell #11 of the Boston Bruins poses with his father (and former professional ice hockey defenceman) Colin Campbell after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011. Gregory most recently played for the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Bottom Left) Gregory Campbell, se- lected 67th overall, poses for a portrait during the third round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. (Bottom Right) Colin Campbell wearing #6 of the Pittsburgh Penguins poses for a portrait in September, 1977. thanks to his family ties. Having a dad who doubled as the league’s chief disciplinarian for 8 years surely wasn’t a recipe for popular- ity. Then there were the no-holds- barred e-mails that came out—the ones where Colin was, well…Colie. “You get what you get,” Colin’s younger brother, Cam, told the To- ronto Star at the time of the contro- versy. Indeed, as anyone who’s ever met Colin knows, he’s a straight shooter who calls it like he sees it. Always has been; always will be. His style may not endear him to everyone, but here in Tillsonburg, he’s beloved—a favourite son, to be sure. “Colin Campbell has always been a guy you looked up to,” says Till- sonburg Mayor Stephen Molnar. “To have a father and son make it to the NHL is rare. To have that father and son hail from Tillsonburg is in- credible. To have them both play on Memorial Cup All Star teams and both win the Stanley Cup is even more amazing. They’ve made every- one in this community very proud. Colin Campbell is currently Executive Vice President and Direc- tor of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League. Gregory is a development coach for the Colum- bus Blue Jackets.
NHL and Gregory knew he would have to work hard to get his chance. Like every other kid with an NHL dream, Gregory would need to log countless hours on both the bus and bench before anyone would take him seriously. In the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Gregory got his chance. He was picked 67th overall by the Florida Panthers. He was on his way. Eight years later, Gregory was traded to the rough and tumble Boston Bruins and for the first time in his NHL career, he was headed
to the post-season. He scored a goal and three assists in 25 playoff games—including a well-timed one in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. As thousands of disappointed Ca- nucks fans spilled onto the streets that night, one proud dad made his way onto the ice to celebrate with his son. Now there were two Stanley Cup winners in the Campbell fam- ily. Despite their success, it hasn’t always been easy for Tillsonburg’s most famous hockey family. Gregory has taken a lot of heat over the years
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TURTLEFEST I T ’ S T I M E F O R An unforgettable weekend full of family fun
W hat’s guaranteed to get your toes tappin’, your kids smilin’ and your dogs flyin’? Why Turtle- fest, of course. Now celebrating its seventh year, Turtlefest (June 16-18) has become a Father’s Day weekend tradition in Tillsonburg. “We’ve got three full days of fun lined up,” says Turtlefest’s Les An- derson. “We kick things off with the Downtown Block Party on Friday night and then spread out to a va- riety of locations on Saturday and Sunday. As always, there will be plenty for the kids, but lots to keep adults entertained as well.” Friday, June 16 Downtown Tillsonburg is known for having one of the widest main streets in Ontario which makes it the perfect venue for a giant street party. “We’re really excited about the new street performers that are go- ing to be joining us,” says Virginia Armstrong, Executive Director of the BIA. The Hockey Circus Show is a family-friendly hockey tribute show that combines acrobatics, juggling, and one-of-a-kind circus stunts into three periods of ‘arena’ rocking fun. Also new this year is Flightless
Floyd, a snack-stealing, wise-crack- ing giant ostrich. “Brant the Fire Guy is always a crowd favourite, and we’ll have the hula hoopers back to show their stuff as well,” Armstrong adds. Down at the south end of Broad- way, the Country 107.3 stage will host some of the biggest names in Ontario country music, including Langton darlings Small Town Girls. Western Swing Authority, Eric Eth- ridge and Marshall Dane. “We encourage people to make a night of it,” says Armstrong. “We’re so proud of what Country 107.3 has
achieved these past few years, and this is a great opportunity to come and celebrate with them.” Saturday, June 17 “There are three venues to visit on Saturday including the Station Arts Centre, Annandale NHS and Memo- rial Park,” says Anderson. The Station Arts Centre will kick things off in the morning with the traditional Turtley Treats Baking Contest, and in the afternoon, An- nandale NHS will host free activities on their lawn, as well as a turtle- count and Turtle Tea inside.
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Over in Memorial Park, you’ll find live entertainment on the Till- sonburg Hydro stage throughout the day, plus a huge selection of in- flatables and interactive activities for kids. The Station Arts Creative Imaginations Festival also returns this year to help kids indulge their creativity. Other entertainment options will include roller skating in Memo- rial Arena, a vendor market and the brand new Honda Jr. Red Riders area sponsored by Gopher Dunes. “It’s a hands-on area where kids can learn about motorcycle safety,” says Anderson. “The Canine Wa- tersports competition is back, and of course, the Home Hardware out- door movie at dusk is always a pop- ular attraction. Sunday, June 18 On Father’s Day, it’s all about Dad (and his awesome family, of course!). “The ATV Madness competition- will pit rider against rider in a vari- ety of challenges, including a mud pit,” says venue organizer, Rick Cox. The Terrapin Toss is a brand new catapult-style event headed up by CJDL Engineering’s Matt Sweetland. Add live music to the mix, more inflatables, food, vendors and flying dogs, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to have a great time. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen! For more details, visit www.turtlefest.ca.
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This stellar cast of musical peers and friends not only share a common love of Western Swing music, but together cre- ate a sound that fuses the old with the new, paying homage to the roots of tra- ditional music in their own “new classic” original songs. Western Swing Authority Friday, June 16, 7:00 p.m. - Downtown
Winner of the 2016 CCMA Discovery Award, Eric has shared the stage with the likes of Brett Kissel, Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line. An energetic performer, he’s just released his hot de- but single, “Liquor’s Callin’ the Shots.” Eric Ethridge Friday, June 16, 8:30 p.m. - Downtown
For five years in a row, Marshall has been nominated for Male Artist of the Year at the CMAO Awards. The son of a preacher, Marshall’s songs are per- meated with themes of love, home and kindness. Marshall Dane Friday, June 16, 10:00 p.m. - Downtown
VIP tickets available! Get the best seats on the block, 4 drinks and fresh nibbles all night long. Call 519.842.4281 to order.
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The Park Stage Proudly presented by
Saturday - Memorial Park
Sunday - Memorial Park
11:00 TBA 12:30 Tom Massiah - Folk 1:00 Long Story - Country / Pop 3:00 High Water Revival - Classic Rock 5:00 Tianna Woods - Country / Pop 6:45 The Pioneers - George Tillson Skit 7:30 Whiskey Jack: Stories and Songs of Stompin’ Tom - Country
11:00 Danscene - Dance 12:00 Patrick Campbell - Folk 1:00 Gentlemen of Harmony - Barbershop
Stacey Renee - Rock Jason Maxwell - Country
2:00 3:30 5:00 6:00 7:00 8:00
Brooks Academy of Dance - Dance David Wells - Singer / Songwriter Jay Linden - Folk Judi Rideout and X Husbands - Country
2:00 3:30 5:00
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S T O M P I N ’ T O M Whiskey Jack concert celebrates a cultural icon REMEMBERED F ew people who ever heard
an important part of our cultural heritage. They’re timeless remind- ers of the Canadian experience in a world that—to borrow a phrase from former U.S. President Barack Obama—‘needs more Canada.’” And if it’s Canada you need, it’s Canada you’ll get when Fremlin and friends bring their renowned “Stories and Songs of Stompin’ Tom” show to the close of Turtlefest on Sunday, June 18 . Joining Fremlin that night will be- five-time Canadian national fiddle champion Randy Morrison, as well as a band of ace pickers and singers.
(Left) Whiskey Jack will bring “Stories and Songs of Stompin’ Tom” show to venues across Ontario in 2017 to cel- ebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. (Bottom) Press photo of Stompin’ Tom from Columbia Records. “The show is a lot of fun to play,” says Fremlin, one of Canada’s pre- mier banjo players. “We use a lively mixed-media format and audiences love it. The clap their hands, stomp their feet and of course, sing along.” Connors, who died in 2013, played several shows in Tillsonburg during his lifetime—the last in 2006.
Stompin’ Tom Connors sing the song, “Tillsonburg” ever forgot it. One of Tom’s first huge hits, the song catapulted Connors’ music ca- reer to new heights —and made the word Tillsonburg forever synony- mous with tobacco and backbreak- ing labour. “He sold thousands of copies of that song when it was first re- leased,” says Duncan Fremlin, co- founder of the band, Whiskey Jack. “That song and Tom’s other hits— ’Bud the Spud’, ‘Sudbury Saturday Night’ and ‘The Hockey Song’—are
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“In Tom’s day, there was hard- ly much of a music industry in this country at all,” says Fremlin. “Thanks to him and others that fol- lowed, we enjoy a vibrant music en- vironment today that is the envy of the world.” During a 1990 performance in Tillsonburg, Connors was presented with a plaque of appreciation from the Tillsonburg Chamber of Com- merce. “Stomp on it!” someone in the audience yelled, referring to Tom’s trademark plywood stomp- ing board.
“This is something very special that I’ll hang on my wall,” Connors told the crowd. “And I’ll defy any- body who comes to my house and says, ‘Have you been to Tillson- burg?’” In 1993, Connors selected Frem- lin and Whiskey Jack to record a comeback album with him entitled Dr. Stompin’ Tom Connors eh? The al- bum was followed by a triumphant national tour. In 2004, Whisky Jack and Stompin Tom went on the road together again, culminating the tour with a sold-out show at Massey Hall, and an unprecedented perfor- mance on the Conan O’Brien Show. “It was an honour to share the stage with Tom during the last years of his Canadian musical journey,” says Fremlin. “So we share a lot of first hand tales during our show.” “Whiskey Jack is one of the most celebrated Roots/Country/Blue- grass bands in Canadian music,” says Country 107.3 General Manag- er Carolyn Lamers. “Add the incred- ible music of Stompin’ Tom and it’s a recipe for an unforgettable night of pure Canadian entertainment.”
(Left) Stompin’ Tom Connors released his song, “Tillsonburg” in 1971, recall- ing his short career harvesting tobacco. According to former Tillsonburg News editor Bill Pratt, some of the lines in the song were inspired by a conversation Connors had with radio station owner, John Lamers Sr. (grandfather of current Country 107.3 GM Carolyn Lamers).
Enjoy an evening of CANADIAN music!
Sunday, JUNE 18 7:30 PM Memorial Park
Bring a lawnchair - $5 Turtlefest Admission
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I N T E R V I E W W I T H A A conversation with Dr. Robert Hevenor COLLECTOR
T o most people in Tillsonburg, Robert Hevenor is a family physician—a man who, for years, looked most at home in a white coat, wearing a shiny silver stethoscope around his neck. But for those privileged enough to know Bob on a personal level, a different picture emerges. He is not only a beloved friend, but also an art lover—a man who has spent the last 20 years of his life building one of most impressive collections of Canadian art in the country. Indeed, to walk through the door of his residence is to be enveloped in colour. Everywhere you look you’ll find an ever rotating, careful- ly placed assemblage of paintings. There are hundreds of paintings and sculptures in all, and it’s clear that together, they are the medium Bob has used to create his own art: a home. We sat down with Bob recently to find out more about his life as a collector, as well as the upcoming “Plein Air to Abstraction” exhibit. The exhibition, which runs from May 26 to July 16 at Annandale Na- tional Historic Site, marks the first time Hevenor has shared his collec- tion publicly.
Q. It’s been 20 years since you bought your first painting, Hay Stooks in a Field . Was there some- thing about that first piece that spoke to you? A. The colours in the work grabbed me first. So much is said in such muted tones. There is also the loose- ness of the brush strokes. The artist does so much with simple lines and minimal paint. But it was more than
just the painting itself. I found the piece in an antique shop in London and the salesperson was so enthusi- astic that the feeling was contagious. Q. When did you realize that you were hooked? A. It took about three purchases to get me truly hooked. Twenty years ago, the landscape of the art world was very different for a col-
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lector than it is now. Back then, you would try to get those “yard sale finds”. You had to really dig through antique stores and I wouldn’t pay more than $100 for a piece. Nowa- days, there are online auctions so there is definitely more competition for each piece. I have shifted my at- tention more to the artist than the subject matter of a painting.
their stories intertwine, so it’s quite manageable. I think too, their work appeals to me because it so familiar. It was painted in my backyard. Q. You have mentioned the phrase “losing yourself in honest contem- plation” of paintings. What does that look like for you? Is it an ap- preciation of technique, of colour, of subject matter? A. Well, it is an appreciation of all of those things. I find that the ini- tial impact is the most important or most impressive thing about a piece. I love to stare at a painting and mar- vel at how the artist can accomplish that impact with such simple tech- niques and strokes. This is also not unique to just me. I read an article about the director of the Frick Gal- lery in Manhattan. He said that he
Dr. Robert Hevenor’s first art purchase, Hay Stooks in a Field c. 1925 by Lila McGillvray-Knowles, WAAC
Q. Have you ever thought of diver- sifying beyond Canadian artists? How much of a factor is patriotism in your love of art? A. I have never diversified beyond Canadian art. If we, as Canadi- ans, aren’t interested in Canadian art, then who else will be? Another reason that I have collected only Canadian art is that I don’t have a background in art history. All of my knowledge is through self-study. The art world is huge and spans cen- turies. Canada’s art world is quite small in comparison, so I’ve found it easier to understand and learn. There are only a couple hundred well-known Canadian artists and
(Right Top) Clearing Weather by Franz Johnston (Group of Seven), ARCA, OSA, CSPWC
(Right Middle) Haliburton Landscape by Herbert Sidney Palmer, RCA, OSA
(Right Bottom) Clarke’s Sign, Aylmer, Ontario c. 2006 by Cathy Groulx, OSA
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Q. Tillsonburg isn’t typically known as being an “arts” town. Do you think that you are an anomaly or are there other serious art collec- tors in the area? A. The Canadian art world is not a large place and I have run into other Tillsonburg collectors over the years. One Tillsonburg gentleman collected Group of Seven paintings. Another Tillsonburg woman col- lects paintings by Arthur Shilling. Tillsonburg tends to be very much a sports-oriented town, but there are art lovers out there as well. Q. People don’t tend to think of medical doctors as art collectors. Is there a sense in which art has helped balance out the stresses or clinical nature of your profession? A. To be honest, it was the other way around. My profession helped me to form my collection. I was very lucky that my profession gave me a bit of financial freedom to purchase art. Unfortunately, it is the super- rich who define great art and they set the prices for the rest of us.
Q. You could have exhibited this collection in many other places. Why choose Tillsonburg and Annandale National Historic Site? A. My father was very involved in making this community great. He devoted a lot of time and money to his community and I wanted to give something back just like he did. People who live in Toronto, or Mon- treal or other city centres, have art at their fingertips all the time. I think Tillsonburg citizens should get the same opportunity to see a show like this one. Besides, I can’t think of a better way to generate some money for a site like Annandale House.
used to wait until the gallery closed so that he could sit in the middle of the gallery and just stare at the art. I can’t say why he did that, but I do understand the inclination. I guess there is also a bit of a selfish reason- ing behind it. I like to say, “Look what I just got!” Q. You have dedicated the show to your parents, Donald and Marion. Why? Did you grow up appreciat- ing art? A. My late father was not an artistic person at all. But he was incredible supportive of any dreams or wants that we children had. If there was something that we really wanted, he would find a way to get it for us. My mother (Marion) is incredibly artis- tic. She was an amateur painter and I would sit and watch in awe. Q. Have you ever been interested in painting or trying your hand at art? A. Yes, I used to. In my 20’s, I was very interested in the human form. But I stopped doing that…I just wasn’t very good at it.
Plein Air to Abstraction The Hevenor Collection of Canadian Art May 26 - July 16, 2017 The Pratt Gallery Annandale National Historic Site www.tillsonburg.ca/annandale
(Top) St. Joseph de la Rive by Louis Tremblay, IAF.
(Left) Mandolin 1983 by Jean-Paul Jerome, RCA, AAFNFM, Plasticien.
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“What is beautiful is a joy for all seasons...” Oscar Wilde
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T H E L E G A C Y O F Celebrating the man who inspired Annandale House OSCAR WILDE B reak out the sunflowers and silk, Annandale National His- of building their retirement dream home at Annandale farm at the time and were open to new interior de- sign ideas. Board as the best surviving example of the Aesthetic Arts movement in Canada.”
toric Site is having a party. No, we’re not talking about Turtlefest, or Canada’s 150th birthday, or even the much-anticipated NHL Centen- nial Fan Arena festivities. Rather, this party will celebrate beauty, art, nature, and the endlessly fascinating man who dared to profess that such things mattered. Welcome to Wilde Week , a unique week-long celebration of Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde—or as he’s better known in Tillsonburg, the man who inspired the decora- tion of Annandale House. “In 1882, Irish author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde criss-crossed Canada and the U.S. by train, giv- ing lectures on the Aesthetic Arts Movement,” says Patricia Phelps, curator of Annandale National His- toric Site. “On May 29, he arrived in Woodstock wearing royal blue vel- vet knickers, lacy cuffs, and carrying a sunflower.” Among the many people who came out to hear Wilde’s renowned “House Beautiful” lecture was Mary Ann Tillson, wife of Tillsonburg mayor and industrialist E.D. Till- son. The couple were in the midst
From the elaborately hand-paint- ed ceilings to the intricate inlaid floors, Annandale House is an aes- thete’s dream. “The aesthetic arts movement was about transforming and glo- rifying the ordinary things of life,” says Beechey. “The idea was that ‘art
“Why two people in their ‘50s would follow the teachings of the unusual Mr. Wilde will always re- main a mystery,” writes local histo- rian Laurel Beechey. “But follow it they did and proud of it they were.” Although Wilde’s imprisonment for homosexuality didn’t occur un- til a decade later, he was nonethe- less flamboyant. Not only did his outlandish dress challenge Victorian ideals, but he was unabashedly criti- cal of much of the art and architec- ture of his day. Echoing the ideas of Aestheticism’s founder, William Morris, Wilde taught that beauty should be found in everyday life, in “your own men and women, your own flowers and fields, your own hills and mountains. These are what your art should represent to you.” “Annandale House is a magnifi- cent structure for many reasons, but certainly the elaborate decor choices made by E.D. and Mary Ann have generated incredible interest over the years,” says Phelps. “In fact, An- nandale’s interior is recognized by the Historic Sites and Monuments
Mary Ann Tillson hired an interior designer, schooled in the Aesthetic philosophy, after hearing Oscar Wilde speak in Woodstock, Ontario.
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should hallow the vessels of every- day use.’ So at Annandale, you find beautiful door hinges, and artistic stained glass that depicts local flora and fauna. Everywhere you look, you see the work of talented crafts- people inspired by nature.” “Interestingly, it wasn’t just An- nandale House that paid homage to to Wilde,” says Phelps. “The Tillsons also named their steam boat The Oscar Wilde just four months after hearing him speak in Woodstock.” The ceilings at Annandale are un- doubtedly the most spectacular fea- ture of the home, but other impres- sive features include hand-carved plaster medallions and faux finishes.
Enjoy works by OCCI member art- ists displayed throughout the rooms of Annandale House. Regular museum hours and admission rates apply. “Sunflowers for Oscar” Art Show May 29 to June 2 “There’s something different hap- pening every day,” says Mary Anne Murphy, Cultural Coordinator for Oxford Creative Connections. “You won’t want to miss it.” Create an aesthetically pleasing work of art during this OCCI Play with Paint Night. Materials and instruction in- cluded. Call 519.842.2294 for details. A Wildely Inspired Paint Night Monday, May 29 - 7:00 p.m. “If Oscar Wilde hadn’t visited Ox- ford County 135 years ago, Annan- dale likely would have been just an- other Victorian home,” says Phelps. “Instead, it’s become the showpiece of our community, and our major tourism attraction.” To celebrate Wilde’s historic visit, Phelps and her team at Annandale NHS have teamed up with Oxford Creative Connections (OCCI) to offer a full week’s worth of Wilde- inspired activities.
Oscar Returns Monday, May 29 - 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy a talk on the Aesthetic Art Move- ment given by Oscar himself (a.k.a. Mayor Stephen Molnar). $10 per ticket
A Wilde Tea Tuesday, May 30 - 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy Irish tea and delicious baked treats in honour of Oscar’s Irish roots. $12 per person
Bring your lawn chair or a blanket for this 2002 Wilde-inspired movie starring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth. Goodwill offering The Importance of Being Earnest Tuesday, May 30 - 8:30 p.m.
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Learn techniques used on Annandale NHS ceilings and fireplace mantles. Materials and instruction provided. Call 519.842.2294 to learn more. Stenciling and Faux Finishing Wednesday, May 31 - 1:00 p.m.
Bring your lawn chair or a blanket for this classic 1945 MGM movie under the stars on the lawn at Annandale NHS. Goodwill offering Movie: Portrait of Dorian Gray Wednesday, May 31 - 8:30 p.m. Enjoy a lecture by Olwyn Couglin on the life and times of this fascinating individual. $10 per ticket Oscar: Author, Playwright, Poet Thursday, June 1- 2:00 p.m.
Discover the freedom of flying www.tillsonburgflyingschool.ca 519.688.3968
Movie: An Ideal Husband Thursday, June 1 - 8:30 p.m.
Bring your lawn chair or a blanket for this 1999 Wilde-inspired romantic com- edy starring Rupert Everett. Goodwill offering
REPRESENTING THE REGION
Stained Glass Workshop Friday, June 2 - 1:00 p.m.
Come learn the techniques found in the amazing stained glass at Annandale NHS. Materials and instruction included. Call 519.842.2294 for details.
Closing Reception June 2 - 7:00 p.m.
Meet the artists of OCCI and enjoy wine and cheese during this closing reception for the “Flowers for Oscar” Art Show. Goodwill offering
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CHEESE TRAIL E X P L O R I N G T H E Oxford County’s mammoth culinary tourism attraction
S ummer will be here soon and that means trips to the beach and baseball games are sure to fol- low. But if you’re ready for a differ- ent kind of adventure, why not give Oxford County’s Cheese Trail a try. With more than 20 stops from Woodstock to Tillsonburg, the Cheese Trail is a nibbling daytrip- per’s delight. “Culinary tourism is all the rage right now,” explains Tourism Ox- ford’s Meredith Maywood. “The Cheese Trail is a fun, tasty way to explore Oxford County’s back roads and hidden gems.”
As you might expect, there are several award-winning artisan chee- semakers on the trail—including Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Bright Cheese and Butter, and Mountai- noak Cheese. However, you’ll also discover a number of unique res- taurants, shops and historical attrac- tions as well. “The trail has been designed so that each stop is no more than 20 minutes away from the next,” says Maywood. “Visitors can choose the stops they want to visit depending on how much time is available and what they would like to see.”
In the Tillsonburg area, the Cheese Trail will lead you to an in- spired lunch at The Cup and Cake, followed by visits to Coyles Country Store, Sundown Farm Market and Annandale NHS. “Oxford County is known for dairy,” explains Maywood. “Believe it or not, 286,000,000 litres of milk are produced here annually. That’s 1.4 billion glasses of milk!” In the 1800s, there were 98 cheese factories in Oxford County alone, not to mention those in neighbour- ing Elgin and Norfolk. “As early as 1867 therewere cheese factories operating in Springford and Brownsville,” says Scott Gillies, curator of the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum. “The one in Springford operated until 1950 mak- ing it the longest running factory in South Norwich Township. The Brownsville Cheese Factory started in May 1867 and claimed to be the first ‘joint stock’ cheese company in Canada. There were also two differ- ent cheese factories in the Delmer area.” Dig deeper and you’ll soon find that nearly every four-corner hamlet in the greater Tillsonburg area had a cheese factory at one time, including Eden, Corinth, and Culloden.
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“The Tillsonburg Creamery and Cheese Factory was started in 1921 on Concession Street East,” says Gillies. “It was owned by the same family that operated the Springford factory. This operation specialized in making butter, cream, powdered milk, buttermilk and cheese.” In 1939, local cheesemaker Al- bert ‘Benny’ Bennington won the coveted British Empire Trophy and Gold Medal for cheese that he made at the Tillsonburg factory. “Bennington went on to win other awards at the CNE, the Royal Win- ter Fair and London’s Western Fair before starting his own operations at Zenda,” adds Gillies. Of course, it’s practically impos- sible to talk about Oxford’s cheesy past without mentioning Ingersoll’s James Harris. In 1866, Harris was the mastermind behind a massive 7300 lb wheel of cheese that toured the New York State Fair and England. It was a clever marketing ploy that ultimately led to Oxford County ex- porting more than 300,000 boxes of cheese a year to Great Britain. Intriguingly, however, it was actu- ally Harris’ mother-in-law—Lydia Chase Ranney who was the original “big cheese” in Oxford. Settling on a 50-acre uncleared woodlot with her husband Hiram in 1834, Lydia is thought to be the first person to make cheddar in Canada. She is also credited with being Oxford’s first cheesemaker. In the beginning, Ranney’s chee- semaking was for the sole benefit of her family. But once the pioneer schoolteacher’s herd of five cows became 10, she gave up her post and began making butter and cheese for sale to neighbouring towns. By 1853, Lydia and Hiram had grown their operation to 700 acres and 100 cows. As an alternative to hiring farm hands, Lydia offered cheese and buttermaking lessons to anyone would help with the chores. One of Lydia’s pupils was—you guessed it—James Harris, future cheese baron. “Once a year we run ‘Big Cheese
Where to go... Want to learn more about the Cheese Trail? Be sure to check out the Tourism Oxford website. OxfordCountyCheeseTrail.ca
Days’ where partners on the Cheese Trail offer mammoth meals, deals and experiences,” says Maywood. “In 2017, Big Cheese Days will take place every Saturday in May. In Till- sonburg, you’ll find a new cheesy quiche at The Cup and Cake, a dis- count on Cheese Trail mix at Coyles and free Dutch Frikadellen samples at Sundown.”
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