Re-birth of Historic Downtown Brussels…

Change is in the Air……

“Brussels Four Winds Barn – Wedding, Market and Events Centre”

Over the years, the Village of Brussels has made strides to revitalize its historic downtown. With support from the Municipality of Huron East, local community and business groups and numerous student-lead programs lead by the Universities of Guelph and Waterloo, this quaint rural Ontario village is finally starting to show signs of a come-back.

This can be seen in the attractive streetscape and wall murals lining its downtown, the re-birth of the Brussels Public School, the renovation of its cherished Carnegie Library, and the development of walking trails that wind along its tree-lined streets and scenic waterfront.

The latest undertaking is the construction of the Brussels Four Winds Wedding and Event Barn: a visionary, re-purposing project that will incorporate a vintage barn within a multi-functional site hosting community events, weddings, celebrations, bakery and year-round farmers’ market, while providing a venue for the collection of unique shops.

The talk of ‘barn re-purposing’ may beg the question: Does a barn cease to be a barn when it no longer shelters livestock, when haylofts are empty, or when its threshing floor is silent? Perhaps. 
Nevertheless, this structure’s massive, hand-hewn, rock-elm timbers have made the journey to their new home, and will receive a renewed lease on life.Its arrival to downtown Brussels begins another chapter in this local heritage barn’s history.

Built by Alexander Stewart in 1862, the 57’ by 80’ “Wheeler Barn,” as it is known locally, has withstood severe weather, and many years of heavy use, while faithfully serving generations of Stewart and Wheeler homestead families for over 150 years. Once a vital structure, it was now standing unused; it was deteriorating, a testament to the agricultural history of the region, and to an industry much changed.
Enter…..Bryan Morton. While chatting with local property owner and businesswoman Barbara Terpstra, the retired farmer contemplated the notion of moving an old barn to downtown Brussels—and the rest is soon to be history.

Herman Terpstra donated the barn, and skilled Mennonite work crews led by Cleeson and Abram Martin were marshalled. Locals pitched in to arrange food for workers, and Bryan Morton and Project Coordinator Herb Jacobs numbered, catalogued and tagged each piece of timber. The barn was disassembled, new foundations poured, and the former Wheeler Barn was transported piece by piece to its new location, adjacent to the historic Brussels Carnegie Library. 
Its reconstruction has been exciting to watch, and the merging of past and future has indeed been heartwarming to all.This “old-new bank barn” will integrate modern insulation, lighting, and renovations with original barn board, granite stonework, foundation rubble stone, and items such as a vintage curry comb box and a working windmill. The structure will even feature a piece of concrete reading “S.W. 1922” recognizing Stanley Wheeler, who took over the farm from his father in 1919, a tradition handed down by many homesteaders over the years.
Weather vanes will adorn the top of four cupolas perched on the British Columbia red cedar shingled roof of the Four Winds centre, aptly named given that it is sure to draw visitors and shoppers from all directions. This new structure’s design complements the existing Carnegie Library in material and architectural detail, and will not interfere with sight lines to the building’s impressive façade and roofline.

The Four Winds development is a perfect fit for the soon-to-be-implemented Brussels Community Improvement Plan, which will facilitate restoration of historic storefronts along its main street.

Refurbishment of 19th century structures has proven to be an important aspect of archi-tourism, together with renewed economic development. As respected heritage restoration specialist, Dr. Christopher Cooper maintains, “Quaint never goes out of style!” 

 “I have a great fondness for timber-frame barns, and they are rapidly disappearing, being torn down or falling down,” says Bryan Morton. “When I was farming, I was too busy to participate in the community, but it is now time to give back. Providing Brussels with one of my favourite pieces of function and form, just seemed in order.”

 The “Wheeler Barn” therefore remains a barn, but a barn with a new purpose.

To be continued……

For more information contact: Jan Hawley, Economic Development Officer – Municipality of Huron East 519.527.0160

Written for the Municipality of Huron East in collaboration with: Carolyn Parks Mintz, Kylie Hendriks, & Jan Hawley

Photography & Conceptual Drawings prepared by: Lynne Moreland – Westcoast Photography, Dr. Christopher Cooper, Edifice Guild & Atelier and Herb Jacobs, Brussels Four Winds Project Coordinator

Retirement by Design…..

“Inspired Living Seaforth”

From their birth, Baby Boomers have ‘driven’ everything since they arrived—housing, furniture, cars, education, marketing, national economies—you name it. They influenced it and now they’re reaching a time when decelerating, downsizing, and taking time to smell the roses are attractive alternatives to the busy lives they’ve led. And the Town of Seaforth is about to welcome a new development designed especially for those, who value specific function as much as form.

“Inspired Living Seaforth” will encompass the amenities and necessities important to those of a certain age: Baby Boomers, Zoomers, and their contemporaries will be in close proximity to the bustling Town of Seaforth, nearby arts and cultural centres, the Seaforth Golf Course, country woodlands and hiking trails, as well as the beaches of a beautiful lakeshore.

To be located in the countryside, not far from Seaforth’s health centres and hospital, the multi-phase, multi-million dollar development will include 40 condos as part of ten fourplexes, and a three-storey 80 rental unit building with many main floor conveniences, such as a fitness studio, physio/rehab, greenhouse, lounge, dining room, hair salon, activity/crafts room, and a nursing office. Completing the all-inclusive community will be a centre for more dependent residents, providing comprehensive medical and personal care.

Inspired Living Seaforth will be designed to offer the features and distinct lifestyle of rural living to those who have long resided in the country. Remaining in a familiar environment makes transition and change far more palatable to retirees, and for those eventually requiring assistance with day-to-day living. This leading-edge residential complex will also incorporate research and educational opportunities for those in the professional care field.

JL Retirement Living, the parent company of Inspired Living Seaforth, is under the direction of President and CEO Jessica Lunshof, a former emergency and long-term care nurse, and her brother Joshua Lunshof, Vice President of Operations. Inspired Living–Seaforth will provide both residential comfort and specialized services.

A place of relaxed and enriched living planned for your future. 

Join us for our Open House of the Model Home

Friday, May 26th, 2017 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Corner of Alexander & Centennial Drive across from the entrance to the Seaforth Community Hospital, Seaforth ON

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Contact: Jan Hawley, Economic Development Officer  jhawley@huroneast.com

Municipality of Huron East Seaforth, Ontario   519.527.0160                     

Written by: Carolyn Parks Mintz for the Municipality of Huron East

Come Home for the Holidays…..

Pemberley House Bed & Breakfast

145 Main Street North ● Seaforth, Ontario N0K 1W0 ● 226.699.0003

_mg_0097_8_9_tonemappedPemberley House Bed and Breakfast is aptly named—for the Pemberley estate of Author Jane Austen’s famous novel Pride and Prejudice, and best described as a “large, handsome stone building” situated within a charming countryside.

_mg_0052_3_4_tonemappedSeaforth’s vintage, yet newly refurbished, B&B establishment was built in 1874 during the Victorian era. And its welcoming façade echoes a time of slower paced living, garden soirees, and social “at homes”.

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_mg_0058_59_60_tonemappedProprietors John and Nancy Welter are keen to replicate an atmosphere of leisure and recreation. With considerable experience hosting international university students in the past, they definitely know how to extend a welcome and to provide creature comforts for their guests.

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_mg_0064_5_6_tonemappedExtensive renovations have restored the look and the feel of Pemberley House. New bedsteads, mattress sets, bed linens, fluffy towels, and accoutrements will set the tone for those staying at Pemberley House—along with its beautiful and functional French Provincial furnishings throughout. The Welter’s keen eye for quality antiques is evident—this grand old home has received a face-lift and a makeover.

_mg_0055_6_7_tonemappedProviding beautiful rooms, delicious food, efficient amenities, and a friendly atmosphere are the goals of the Welters. They are people who enjoy people. Positive guest experience is the raison d’etre for all they do, for all they offer those who come through the elegant entrance of their home—designed to be their guests’ home while there.

_mg_0034_5_6_tonemappedVisitors have the option of touring local attractions or enjoying indoor activities as well as badminton, volley ball, bocce, or croquet on Pemberley’s expansive lawns. It’s all about a relaxed, countryside experience and the pleasures of a small but progressive community.

_mg_0004_5_6_tonemappedFrom its gracious and beautiful foyer to the embedded Swarovski crystals of its bedroom duvets, Pemberley House is a place to be experienced as much as lived in. Treat yourself to its ambiance.

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_mg_0001_2_3-1As Jane Austen once said, “To sit in the shade of a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”

_mg_0109_10_11_tonemappedUpcoming Special Event:

Pemberley House B & B’s first Potluck Christmas Dinner. Bring a dish and BYOB. Donations to the Seaforth & District Community Hospital greatly appreciated.

DATE:   Saturday, December 17th, 2016
TIME:    7:00 PM
Please  RSVP to Nancy at 226-699-0003 or E-mail nancy.craig@telus.net

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Contact Jan Hawley, Economic Development Officer, Municipality of Huron East, Seaforth, Ontario jhawley@huroneast.com or 519.527.0160

Written by Carolyn Parks Mintz for the Municipality of Huron East

Photography by Lynne Moreland, Westcoast Photograph