DTMag Fall 2018

W I N T E R 2 018

Buy the Book How Tillsonburg’s love of reading is changing lives around the world

A holiday transformation The volunteers who deck Annandale’s halls


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Buy the Book How Tillsonburg’s love of reading is changing the world

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The Knighting of an Old Sailor Harry Sanders’ story of survival at sea

The Legend at Lux Salon Tillsonburg’s premier stylist Michael Papaioannou


Deck the Halls Transforming Annandale House for the holidays


By the Numbers Digits that will make you do a double take

Do you have story ides for this magazine? E-mail us at cpepper@tillsonburg.ca

Editorial & Design Colleen Pepper Advertising Shelley Imbeault

Discover Tillsonburg Magazine is published twice a year by the Town of Tillsonburg, in partnership with local builders and other community partners.

Call 519.688.3009


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How Tillsonburg’s love of reading is changing the world BUY THE BOOK

I t’s late afternoon and a crisp autumn wind is swirling behind the Tillsonburg Town Centre mall. On the sidewalk, a half a dozen high school students are milling around expectantly. With a low rumble, a U-Haul truck pulls up to the curb. The student volunteers leap into action, pulling oddly-shaped boxes from the back of the truck and ferrying them into the mall’s centre court. For book lovers, the sight is as welcome as the arrival of Santa’s overstuffed sleigh at Christmas. “We’ve been doing the Rotary Used Book Sale for about 30 years now,” says Tillsonburg Rotary Club member Ken Patterson. “Although we don’t officially open until tomorrow morning, as soon as we open the boxes, people start buying.” Sure enough, a crowd of curious shoppers is already perusing the first few tables. “We have about 500 boxes


Retired elementary school teacher Susan Barker-James volunteers every Wednesday at Fernlea IVIX Books. Sales at the shop help support two schools in Fort Liberte, Haiti.


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of books this year,” explains fellow Rotarian and book sale organizer Bob Aykroyd. “Anything that’s left over after the sale will go back into storage for our next sale, or be donated to other organizations.” Historically a three-day event held each fall, the book sale is one of two major fundraisers organized by Rotary. “Profits from the book sale support Rotary International projects including an e-learning program in India, microloans in Honduras and the Polio Plus vaccine program,” explains club (Top) Shoppers peruse the offerings at the annual October book sale (Right) Rotarians Bob Aykroyd and Keith Hodkinson work the checkout line


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president Dave Rushton. “Our other major fundraiser is our Trip-of-the-Month draw. We sell tickets for that in partnership with the local historical society and use the proceeds for local projects, including youth scholarships and improvements to Memorial Park.” The selection of books available at the book sale is impressive, spanning practically every category and interest. In fact, sales have gone so well in recent years, that the club is planning to add a second sale in the spring. “We have novels, cook books, history books, biographies, children’s books, gardening books, bibles — just about everything you can think of,” says Ken. “Some customers will come back two and three times before it’s over.” “We’re constantly putting out

more books, and the prices are really reasonable,” adds Bob. “Then on the last day, we give people a chance to fill a whole bag for $5.” One of the Rotary Club’s regular book sale customers is Bernie Crawshaw, the visionary octogenarian behind Fernlea IVIX Non-Profit Books just east

of Courtland. “It’s great,” says Bernie, loading a stack of near-new novels into a shopping cart. “I’m able to pick up stock for the store at a reasonable cost, as well as donate some of our older stock back. It’s a win for everyone.” Established in 1990 by Bernie and his wife Pat, Fernlea IVIX Books stocks approximately 25,000 used books in 46 categories at its motel- turned-bookstore. Blessed to have low overhead and a prime location on Highway 3, the store has been remarkably successful. “We send about $30,000 each year to support two schools in Fort Liberte, Haiti,” Bernie explains. “We’ve been so fortunate. People are really generous with both their time and their books. When customers visit the store, they can see pictures of what their purchases are accomplishing in Haiti, and read updates on the various projects.” Over the years, profits from the store have been used to purchase doors, windows and toilets for the schools, not to mention books, computers and even a soccer field. “We sell newer books in all categories, but what we’re really known for is our fiction,” says Bernie. “We only stock popular fiction that’s less than six years old. There’s a real market for that.” Rotary book sale customer Susan Barker-James not only shops at Fernlea IVIX throughout the year, she also volunteers to (Top) Bernie Crawshaw, founder of Fernlea IVIX Books east of Courtland (Left) Some of the students in Fort Liberte, Haiti, supported by Fernlea IVIX


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staff the store each Wednesday. “I love books. Every time I go to work, I come home with a book,” she laughs. “And, of course, I’m finding lots of good stuff here today, too.” A retired teacher, Susan began volunteering at Fernlea about two years ago after her husband Robin unexpectedly passed away. “It gets me out of the house and I really enjoy the people,” she says. “They’re so interesting and I’m able to recommend authors to them. People come from London, Hamilton…all over really.” Although e-readers and tablets have definitely changed the way Canadians read in recent years, Bernie, Susan and the book sale volunteers believe there’s still a market for traditional books— especially if the price is right. “A lot of people still like holding a book in their hands, and they like the idea that their spending is supporting something good,” says Dave. “Buying and reading a book online is convenient, but there’s something to be said for the thrill of the hunt and those serendipitous finds.” “We see families come in and the kids carrying books around like they’re gold. We get collectors coming through, seasonal farm workers, people who are looking for one or two particular authors—we see it all,” Bob says. The Rotary Club’s efforts to promote literacy aren’t limited to the annual book fair, however. Fernlea IVIX Books is located in a former motel on Highway 3, just east of Courtland. The store is renowned for its selection of recent popular fiction.


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“We handed out free books to kids at the Turtlefest Block Party this summer and support a free online reading program as well,” says Dave. In addition, the Rotary Club of Tillsonburg provides free dictionaries to grade 3 students at area schools. As for the teenagers who help unload the books each year, they’re all members of the Rotary Interact Club at Glendale High School. “There are about 30 kids who are involved with that and they do a lot of their own projects,” says Dave. “Some of the students may go on to other Rotary programs, like our international youth exchanges, but ultimately, they’re learning to live out the Rotary motto: service above self.” Jason Weiler, one of Tillsonburg’s newest Rotarians, says he chose to get involved in Rotary specifically because of its outward focus. “Some service clubs seem more social than socially-conscious,” he says. “Rotary gives me an opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way.” Dave admits getting people to join Rotary isn’t as easy as it once was, but after several years of declining membership, the club is growing again. “We’re always looking for members—and if they’re young enough to carry boxes of books, that’s even better,” he laughs. The next Rotary Book Fair will take place April 25-29, 2019 at the Tillsonburg Town Centre (200 Broadway).

The Tillsonburg Rotary Club gave out free books at the Turtlefest Downtown Block Party. Pictured are Bob Aykroyd, Jason Weiler, Jim Donaldson, John Gilvsey, Dave Rushton, Sandra Gilvesy and John Lohuis.

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T H E K N I G H T I N G O F Harry Sanders’ incredible story of survival at sea in World War II AN OLD SAILOR

N o doubt anyone who reaches the advanced age of 95 has some stories worth telling—and Tillsonburg senior Harry Sanders is no exception. Like others in his generation, he remembers well what it was like to scrimp and save during the Great Depression, and function in a world before television. Some of his memories are funny, some poignant, and some, like his reminiscences of World War II, nothing short of incredible. “I am not a writer, only an old sailor,” Harry writes in the preface to his memoir, World War II at Sea—A Personal Narrative . Covering the years 1942 to 1946, the 40-page manuscript provides a moving account of Harry’s experiences in the British Merchant Navy. “The events are factual, the date at times a bit iffy,” he writes. “Seventy-three years is a long time to remember every detail. I kept no war diary.”

The son of a British army officer, Harry was just a teenager when the war be- gan. Like so many other youngmen in Europe, he didn’t know what the war would mean for his future. “I knew I didn’t want to be conscripted to fly a plane or sit in a tank,” he says.


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“What I really wanted was to be out on the sea. But I knew I wouldn’t get the opportunity unless I orchestrated something.” When Harry stumbled upon an ad for the Maritime School of Wireless in nearby South Shields, he knew he’d found his answer. “In peace time, every ship was required to have a radio officer,” he explains. “Once the war started, three operators were needed. I figured I’d be called up soon anyway, so I asked my father for permission to enroll.” Seventeen year old Harry found the six-month training course challenging. “You had to be able to reliably send and receive 125 characters a minute on a Morse key in order to get your certificate,” Harry recalls. By the spring of ‘42, Harry was anxiously awaiting his first set of orders. He didn’t have to wait long. Within five days of graduating, he reported to the S.S. Bargrove where he was given the overnight watch (midnight to 4:00 a.m.). “We were sailing as part of a 42-ship convoy, bound for Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar,” he recalls. “The second night, we lost a ship by sea mine.” The scene was horrific: boilers bursting, ammunition exploding, men in the water. “We weren’t permitted to stop so we had to plow right through them,” he continues. By the end of that first voyage, Harry’s convoy had lost seven ships. The experience

left him shaken to say the least. Unfortunately, his next assignment was worse. Much worse, in fact. “The S.S. Domine was an old tramp ship far past her shelf life,” he writes. “However in wartime, any ship that could float, had an engine and could steer was considered fit for duty.” Destined for the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, the ship was

on, waiting for a message. The only thing to arrive, however, was a German torpedo. “There was a gigantic explosion and a deafening sound. I woke up outside the cabin with an intense pain in my shoulder. When I got back to the radio room, I discovered everything had been blown apart. There was nothing I could do. Sending an S.O.S. message was impossible.” Even worse, the ship was now taking on water. Not knowing what else to do, Harry secured the codebooks in a metal box and stepped into the Atlantic. “I had to swim on my back because of my shoulder,” he recalls. “But I made it out to a raft and somehow managed to hang on.” Joining him on the raft were six others from the original crew of 30 men. “We were a sorry bunch,” he writes. “A broken arm, a man blinded, one bleeding from mouth and chest. One too bloody to recognize.” Then about 100 feet away, a GermanU-boat surfaced.The captain, using a megaphone, called out toward them: “What ship?Where bound? What cargo? Officer present?” Terrified, Harry and company said nothing. “I thought we were going to be machine gunned,” he recalls. After a few moments, the black behemoth sank back below the water, leaving Harry and friends to fend for themselves. The next six days were a blur of scorching sun, salty surf and sheer misery. Harry watched as

sluggish from the outset. “We were part of a 52-ship convoy with orders to proceed at five knots,” Harry explains. “But the engine could barely handle four knots. We kept falling behind until finally, we were on our own. Three days after that, the engine died. We drifted all day.” While engineers tried in vain to resolve the problem, Harry sat in the wireless room, headphones


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one by one, the men around him succumbed to their injuries. “Never before had I realized what the human body could endure,” he reflects. “Nor had I understood the toughness and indomitable strength of the human spirit.” Mentally and physically spent, Harry closedhis eyes.He awoke in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. “Evidently I washed ashore during high tide and a local fisherman took me to the naval station,” he says. In the hospital, Harry was diagnosed with dehydration, malnutrition, burns and a dislocated shoulder. “It was an absolute miracle that I survived,” he says. “God was with me that day and I made it.” Fifteen days later, Harry was transferred back to England; he walked up the gangway wearing only a hospital gown. Harry’s next assignments saw him travel to South Africa, Egypt and India. On the return to Durban, however, a telegram arrived: “Father dead.” “My father was in the Home Guard,” Harry explains. “He was killed while manning an anti- aircraft battery on the England’s northeast coast. By the time I got home on compassionate leave, he’d had already been buried.” More voyages followed for Harry, including a stint aboard a merchant aircraft carrier. Finally, in June of 1944, he was assigned to the 18,000 ton M.V. Monowai—a former New Zealand luxury liner turned troopship. The mission? Help deliver 1500 soldiers to Omaha

Beach, D-Day. It was Harry’s service on this vessel that ultimately resulted in his being named a knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour last December. “I saw so many people killed. I can’t really describe hell, but I think I saw it that day,” he told the Toronto Star after receiving the award from the Consul General of France. In his acceptance speech, Harry dedicated his medal to the 4850 servicemen who never returned from Omaha Beach. During his four years at sea, Harry served on 10 different ships and sailed in 18 convoys. When he disembarked at Liverpool on

November 18, 1946, he did so as a First Class Radio Officer, and a war-weary, seasoned sailor. “I left home as a boy and came back a man,” he concludes. However, in a cruel twist of fate, Harry soon discovered he had no home to return to—at least not in England. “I found my mother and sister had moved to Canada while I was at sea,” he says sadly. In 1957, Harry decided to join them. He accepted a job with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and went on to pursue a long career in the Canadian fashion industry before retiring to Tillsonburg with wife, Carolyn.

(Left) Seventeen-year-old Harry Morgan Sanders in uniform after graduating from the Maritime School of Wireless in South Shields, England. (Below) Mayor Stephen Molnar welcomed French Consul General Marc Trouyet (right) to Tillsonburg on December 14, 2017, to present Harry with the prestigious rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.


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T H E L E G E N D A T Michael Papaioannou has been Tillsonburg’s premier hairstylist for 49 years and counting LUX SALON

A t last count there were 25 hair salons in Tillsonburg. In the early 80s, however, there was just one—or rather, one that people talked about: Michael’s Coiffures on McKenzie Street. With elegant foil wallpaper, delicate porcelain chandeliers, and sumptuous shag carpet, Michael’s Coiffures was a small- town salonwith big-city style. But the real attractionwas the talent of the salon’s owner and namesake, Michael Papaioannou. Born in Tripoli, Greece, Michael was just 15 years old when he got his start in cosmetology. After working at his brother Niko’s salon during high school, Michael pursued his formal training at Marvel Beauty School in London. There he not only found his calling, he also found his future bride and business partner, Darlene. “My strength was precision cuts and Darlene’s was styling,” says Michael. “So together, we made a good team.”

In 1970, Niko retired from his Tillsonburg salon, creating the opportunity for Michael to take over. A year later, Michael’s Coiffures was born.

for facials and skin care.” Those first few years were incredibly busy ones as Michael and Darlene worked tirelessly to build their business and earn their clients’ trust. Their vision? “Excellence,” says Michael. “We competed in a lot of national and international hair competitions in those early years,” says Michael. “We won 42 awards in our first five years, and 90 in total. Darlene even represented Canada at the 1973 European Championships. I was invited to go, but I felt someone needed to run the shop so I stayed home.” From pixie cuts and perms, to chignons and chin-length bobs, there wasn’t any style the Papaiaonnous didn’t master. The Dorothy Hamill, the Farrah Fawcett, the Rachel...you name it, they did it. “In 1985, we styled 95 ladies on New Year’s Eve,” says Michael. “I started work at 4:00 a.m. and didn’t stop until 6:00 p.m. I didn’t even get to have lunch. I’ll never forget that.”

“In 1975, we moved the shop to a larger location,” says Michael. “With the extra space we were able to create amen’s styling area with a separate entrance. We had rooms for hair removal, manicures and pedicures. We even had a room


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Michael and Darlene were also popular on the convention circuit, participating in hairdressing events in Toronto, New York and Chicago. The couple taught advanced styling classes, presided over hairdressing exams, judged hair competitions across North America and trained dozens of apprentices. Michael alone trained 65 stylists. “The vast majority of those individuals went on to be very successful,” says Michael proudly. By 2010, however, Michael was ready to slow down and let someone else take over. “Every dog has its day,” he says. “Isn’t that how the saying goes?” With new owners came new ideas, a new look and eventually, a new name: Lux Salon and Spa. As for Michael, he’s happy to be doing what he loves: hair. “I rent a chair and work about three and a half days a week,” he says. “I love it.” Meanwhile, current Lux owner Sarah Balega is thrilled for the chance to work alongside the legendary stylist. “I feel so privileged to watch Michael work,” says Sarah, who bought Lux this past June. “I catch myself sneaking glances over there while he’s working and marveling at what he can make hair do.” “It’s incredible,” she says. “With the 70s styles coming back into fashion, there’s no doubt in my mind that Michael could still do runway work if he wanted to.” Remarkably, after nearly 49 years in business, Michael still takes courses annually.

(Above) Lux Salon and Spa offers a full range of hairstyling and esthetics services, including sugaring and waxing. The salon also carries the Eminence Organics line.

“I like to stay current and bring new ideas back,” he says. “Continuing education is so important in our industry, and Michael sets a great example for the younger staff here,” says Sarah. “He knows so much, and yet he still has that drive to learn and improve.” Equally impressive is Michael’s heartwarming devotion to his customers—many of whom have

been with him for decades. “He takes such good care of his clients,” she explains. “He brings them chocolate or a coffee when they’re under the dryer, and even picks them up for appointments when they aren’t able to drive anymore.” “They’re like my family,” says Michael with a twinkle in his eye. “It’s what I’d want someone to do for me.”


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For Sarah, who graduated from Glendale High School in 1996, owning her own salon is definitely a dream come true. “I always wanted to have my own salon, but I didn’t want to rush into it,” she says. “There’s just something really neat about investing in a business that has so much history behind it.” “Everyone seems to have a story about this place and I love that,” she adds. Interestingly enough, Sarah

had a chance to buy the salon on two prior occasions before saying yes to the opportunity this spring. “This time the timing was right,” she says. “I really liked my previous salon, but after you’ve been approached three times with an opportunity, you kind of think, ‘Hmm…maybe I am really meant to do this,’” she says. Originally trained as an esthetician, Sarah now does a bit of everything—including hair styling. “Footcare is my passion,” she says. “But with the busy lives people lead today, it’s nice to be able to offer the full range of services in one place.” A few years ago, Sarah became certified to work on clients with diabetes and circulation issues. “Proper foot care is important at any age, but it’s especially important for my senior clients,” says Sarah. As for her future plans for Lux, Sarah is determined to honour the salon’s history, and Michael’s legacy in particular. “I’d love for us to be as well known as Michael’s Coiffures was in its heyday,” she says. “When people come here, I want them to be able to relax knowing that everything is being done to the highest standard.”

(Middle) In June, Sarah Balega became the new owner of Lux Salon and Spa. Born and raised in the Tillsonburg area, she has 20 years experience in esthetics and hairstyling.


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Transforming Annandale House for the Christmas holidays DECK THE HALLS

W hen E.D. and Mary Ann Tillson were building their retirement home back in 1882, they likely didn’t think much about how they would decorate their new home for Christmas. After all, their home was inspired by the Aesthetic movement. It was intended to be beautiful in all seasons, from the inlaid floors to the hand-painted ceilings. In any case, it seems improbable that either one could have foreseen a day when yards of plastic wrap would be used to make their main hallway and staircase properly festive. “We’ve seen some really interesting things here over the last 25 years,” says Annandale National Historic Curator Patricia Phelps. “Every year we invite volunteers from the community to help us decorate Annandale House for the Christmas season and the creativity that comes through is amazing.” “I’ve decorated every room in


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Annandale House twice,” says veteran volunteer Deb Beard. “My mother-in-law, Mary, got me involved in the project, and it became a family tradition.” The challenging aspect, of course, is that Annandale is a Victorian home. The scale takes some getting used to, especially for first-time decorators. “We have a limited supply of lights, garland and Christmas trees that people can use in their designs,” she says. “But the decorators are responsible for everything else. They can use items from their own personal collections, or buy new items, but we don’t give them a budget.” Further complicating things, decorators can’t decorate the same room in back-to-back years. “It’s first come first-served,” explains Patricia. “So if someone

chooses the parlour this year, they have to tackle a different area next year.” Patricia says the system helps ensure the house always has a fresh look, and decorators love the ongoing challenge. “The main hallway is massive,” says Deb. “It’s probably the toughest ‘room’ to do. You have a set of stairs leading to all three floors. What do you do with a space like that?” The answer, apparently, is to ask your mother-in-law to start spray painting Saran Wrap in her garage. “At first we planned to use real ribbon, but when we calculated what it would cost, we started looking for an alternative,” recalls Deb. Their unorthodox DIY solution was pure genius.

“We created rosettes and reams of ‘ribbon’ and it really did look great when we were done,” she says. “People still come up and ask me about it.” “There’s no overall theme and we don’t restrict the style of decorations,” says Patricia. “The decorators can’t put holes in the walls obviously, or use any kind of adhesive, but the only other limit is their imagination.” “Every year the house is different,” says museum staffer Marie Blake. “Visitors love that. They like the unique approach to each room. It’s part of the fun.” One year visitors were quite taken aback to find a Halloween- themed holiday display, complete with a black Christmas tree and black garland. Other years decorators have found inspiration in popular movies or classic books. One of Patricia’s personal favourites was the time a 12- foot tall tree was decorated with white beaded evening purses and feather hats. Then there’s Abigail. A creation of long-time decorator Diane Mackeigan, this near life-sized stuffed figure has appeared in literally every room of the house. “It’s kind of like our own version of ‘Where’s Waldo,’” says Patricia. Decorators typically have three weeks to decorate their rooms, with visitors welcomed to tour the home from late November until the Mayor’s Levee in early January. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the group comes up with this year,” says Patricia. “I’m sure there will be some surprises. There always are.”


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Discover the Magic

Nationally designated for its magnificent interior, Annandale House serves as a monument to the Aesthetic style of design popularized by Oscar Wilde.

Hours of Operation Monday to Friday 9 AM - 4 PM Sunday 1 PM - 4 PM


30 Tillson Ave - Tillsonburg, ON - 519.842.2294 - www.tillsonburg.ca/annandale

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Industrial-sized digits that will make you do a double-take

Did you you know Shaw’s Ice Cream has been making ice cream for 70 years? By the end of 2018, this family-owned company will make 45 yummy flavours of ice cream here in Tillsonburg!

of the 27 properties owned by E&E McLaughlin Warehousing Ltd. are located in Tillsonburg 11

The new Titan Trailers facility in Tillsonburg is 270,000 Sq.feet

Marwood International has made an investment of more than $35,200,000 in new equipment and employee training over the last five years

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Believe In Your Downtown. Shop Local.

No hassles. No crushing crowds. Just great stores and restaurants decked out for the holiday season and ready to serve you. So grab your shopping list and make one trip. Downtown Tillsonburg .

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