One hundred & fifty years young……

Britannia Lodge No. 170

celebrates a historic milestone with a drama presentation, “The history of Britannia Lodge and the Seaforth Community” at Northside United Church on May 2, 2015.

54 Goderich Street West (Hwy 8) in the Town of  Seaforth beginning at 1:00 pm.

We invite you & your family to share in the celebration of this historic event.

The History of Britannia Lodge

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Masonry in Seaforth began in December 1864 when eight Masons from Clinton Lodge #66 requested a new lodge.  Five local men (a physician, shoe maker, labourer, miller & merchant) joined in January 1865 and three more were initiated in February.  In July, 1865, the Grand Lodge of Canada issued a warrant for Britannia Lodge #170.  Alexander Slemmon, a 35-year old Scottish immigrant was installed as the first lodge master.

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The members met on the 2nd floor at the corner of Huron Road & Main Street; however,  in 1874, Britannia Lodge moved to its present location on Main Street.  It was consecrated on March 3, 1875 and the local newspaper described the lodge as ‘beautifully decorated with appropriate pictures and paintings’. 

Masonic Lodge 5 oil painting

On the 2nd floor are four original oil paintings depicting the four seasons.  (It is speculated they were painted by famed landscape artist William Nicholl Cresswell or one of his students).  Heritage Places Television plans to feature these treasures in one of its future episodes.  Here’s a sneak peek of the episode appropriately named, Art, Architecture, & Masons.

Click here for a preview…..

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The members regularly hosted public events.  January 1893 had ‘wives, sisters, friends, etc.’ welcomed for games and refreshments.  At an ‘At Home’ held in February 1903, euchre, crokinole and other such amusements followed an evening of musical recitals attended by ‘a bright and pretty assemblage of young ladies’.  Recently, in May 2014, Britannia’s historic meeting rooms were open to the public for the 45th London Free Press Shunpiker Mystery Tour.

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Several members served King and Canada during the world wars, some paying the ultimate sacrifice.  Bros. Andrew Archibald, Francis Cluff and Frank Welland were killed in the Great War and 21-year old Bro. Frank Casson, a prisoner of war, died in Ceylon in August 1945, one of the last Canadian fatalities of the war.

Masonic Lodge 5 pictures

Over the years, many mayors, reeves, councillors, business and community leaders have been members of Britannia Lodge, including two members of parliament – Thomas McMillan and William Golding.  Senator Golding was the sitting member for Huron East when the Clinton airbase opened in 1941.  His son, Bro. Frank Golding, was the base commander when it closed in March 1972.

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Britannia Masons have helped spearhead fundraising campaigns for the Seaforth arena, hospital and other community projects.

In 2015, the lodge room was relocated to the ground floor; accessible, brighter and compliant.  The re-dedication will take place on 2nd May 2015. Other major restoration projects include the lodge’s facade, which will be restored to its original design during the spring of 2015.

Concept drawing Britannia Lodge

Huron East Launches Business Recruitment Program

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When does a good idea become a “great” idea? When it’s a hit, and the Municipality of Huron East is undertaking a creative contest, the first of its kind in Huron County, to help budding entrepreneurs along the road to success.

“Win this Space”, an award winning initiative first launched by the Uxbridge BIA in 2013, will provide the multi-faceted leg-up that every new business owner needs: financial assistance, marketing, advertising, education, networking, and mentorship.

The grand prize is one year’s free rent for a selected storefront on the main street of either, Seaforth or Brussels, together with hundreds of dollars worth of in-kind professional services from “Win This Space” sponsors.

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Canadian citizens (19 years or older) from across Ontario are invited to submit their business ideas, in the hopes of being selected as a candidate.  If chosen, they along with a guest will attend the kick-off event at the Seaforth Golf Club in late April to learn more about the contest.

Chosen candidates will be required to attend free educational workshops sponsored by the Small Business Enterprise Centre:

        • How to Start a Business  & Develop a Business Plan
        • Developing a Marketing & Promotional Strategy
        • Taking care of business – Financial Statements 

Each workshop will involve assignments, research, and coaching on how to create a successful Business Model.  When complete, the entrants will submit their business plans to the Huron East Economic Development Department to be reviewed by the “Win This Space” judging panel.  Judges will chose the top five candidates.  These finalists will attend the Finale where they’ll have the chance to pitch their idea and business model for a chance to win rent for a year at one of several locations in downtown Seaforth or Brussels.

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Judges for “Win This Space” are:

  • Jan Hawley, Huron East Economic Development Officer/Project Coordinator
  • Alison Lobb, Small Business Enterprise Centre Consultant & Project Trainer
  • Maureen Agar, Community Leader & Seaforth BIA Director
  • Brenda Campbell, Coldwell Banker Realtor & Seaforth BIA Director
  • Chris Lee, Business Owner & Consultant
  • Carolyn Parks Mintz, Author, Journalist, Freelance Writer, Speaker
  • Paul Nichol, Huron East/Brussels Community Development Trust Director
  • Neil Tam, Huron East/Seaforth Community Development Trust Director

“We hope to inspire someone to become an entrepreneur,” says Jan Hawley.  “Win This Space will help give a new business owner a ‘leg-up’ eliminating some of the big start-up costs incurred in the first year. This initiative is evidence that the Municipality of Huron East is serious about recruiting new ventures,” she goes on.  “We are definitely open for business.”

Jan Hawley Profile Shot

Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan sees “Win this Space” as another step in the evolution of how to help out start-up endeavours.  “The Brussels Business & Cultural Centre was our first step forward,” says MacLellan, “offering affordable rental sites.  Win This Space is a similar concept, but with more advantages – less overhead, frontage right on a main street, exposure, and marketing help.”

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“What I like best about this programme,” says Paul Nichol, Economic Development Manager with the Huron Business Development Corporation, “is that it’s thinking outside the box, and it’s a more aggressive approach to recruitment of business.  Huron East is adopting a best practice in the form of an award-winning project to see how it will play out in our neighbourhood.”

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“I would love to see young entrepreneurs get involved, perhaps someone moving back to the area. This could spread like wildfire,” says Nichol.  “Other communities will be watching.  It’s all about buzz.  Buzz is good.”

Coldwell Banker Realtor Brenda Campbell particularly likes that, besides filling a vacant storefront and helping a business owner, local residents will benefit as well.  “And it’s difficult to start a business from scratch,” says Campbell.  “Win This Space eliminates a portion of the financial stress.”

Brenda Campbell

“This undertaking is going to bring attention and focus to innovation and to new enterprise,” states Business Consultant Chris Lee.  “And it will rally the community around the idea of originality and small business as economic drivers. In addition to the financial benefits,” Lee adds, “Win This Space will provide mentoring for the new business owner.  Having someone to call upon for advice around decisions is an essential asset.”

“It’s the right time and the right place for this type of project,” says Educator Alison Lobb.  ‘And Jan Hawley is the right person to pull it off.  Win This Space will encourage people from outside this municipality to consider Huron East as their new location,” she goes on.  “It will highlight the benefits of having a dedicated retail or business outlet.”

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“We at the Small Business Enterprise Centre are pleased to be providing the workshops that will educate contestants regarding their business plan and the various forms of paperwork inherent in a sole proprietorship,” adds Lobb.  “And, by the way, it will be fun! – for the judges, the contestants, and the public, who will be watching.”

Teacher helping some students

Journalist Carolyn Parks Mintz sees “Win This Space” as a win-win-win.  “All those entering the contest,” says Parks Mintz, “will come away with new business knowledge and skills as well as new contacts.  Secondly, a community, the municipality and the county will benefit, and thirdly, Huron East’s “space launch” will most certainly help the winner’s new business take off.”

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Of course, this wouldn’t have happened with out the support of its funders, namely the Municipality of Huron East, the County of Huron, the Huron East Seaforth & Brussels Community Development Trusts, the Seaforth Business Improvement Area Association, and the businesses that are donating cash and in-kind services to the winner.

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Project partners are the Small Business Enterprise Centre (training) and Huron Business Development Corporation  (mentoring).

“Win This Space” is now open to all budding entrepreneurs, who would like to bring their ideas forward.  The official kick-off event and candidate selection will be held in late April at the Seaforth Golf Club followed by three separate workshops (dates to be announced), with the Finale being held in June when the winner will be announced.

Anyone who has considered putting their new business idea to the test, who would like to expand and relocate a current business, or who has been running a home-based operation should get in on this amazing opportunity to take the next step in achieving their goal.  Huron East wants to hear all about it!

For more information, contact “Win This Space” Project Coordinator, Jan Hawley at 519.527.0160 or jhawley@huroneast.com.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a date night…….

“Message to all Parents”

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The Vanastra Recreation Centre invites you to drop off your children for a fun-filled evening, which includes swimming, a delicious spaghetti dinner & movie on Valentine’s Day ~ Saturday, February 14, 2015. 

All for the low cost of $10 per child or $25 per family of 3 or more.

Reservations not required.

See poster for details.

VRCUntitled-2 copy Newly renovated heated swimming pool (80 degrees) staffed with qualified lifeguards.

VRC Pool 2

 Followed by a delicious Spaghetti Dinner.

Little girl is eating spaghetti

The evening ends with the movie “BOXTROLLS” in the community hall.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the Vanastra Recreation Centre (519.482.3544) at 26 Toronto BLVD., Village of Vanastra in the Municipality of Huron East.

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