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Woolwich Heritage Fair puts the spotlight on township’s historical buildings

Woolwich Heritage Fair puts the spotlight on township’s historical buildings

Between hockey games at the Woolwich Memorial Centre next Saturday, feel free to take a stroll through the community room where the Woolwich Heritage Fair will be set up.

Woolwich Heritage Committee chair Bonnie Bryant says the idea for the fair came when some members of the committee visited Wilmot Township’s Heritage Day in February.

“We have a lot of heritage features in this community, such as the Covered Bridge, you go into Maryhill we’ve got the walled cemetery, we have a cultural heritage landscape in West Montrose and we have a number of heritage buildings that really need to be preserved. We just want to bring awareness to the public,” Bryant said.

They see the Oct. 15 event appealing to a range of people, from those interested in preserving their own homes, to those who are just interested in the community, as well as children.

Former University of Waterloo professor Robert Shipley will speak at 2 p.m. His speech is titled ‘Building Styles in Woolwich and the Historic Factors which Influence These Styles.’

“He was part of the cultural heritage landscape for the West Montrose area, so he’s very much into the history of the whole Region of Waterloo. He worked out of the Waterloo Heritage Resource Centre, so history’s always been a big factor in everything he’s done. He has a real interest in Woolwich,” Bryant said, noting he used to live in Conestogo.

The Woolwich Heritage Committee put together a Woolwich Heritage Fair for Oct. 18 at the WMC which highlights the township’s history and heritage buildings, like the Steiner House in St. Jacobs.[Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
The Woolwich Heritage Committee put together a Woolwich Heritage Fair for Oct. 18 at the WMC which highlights the township’s history and heritage buildings, like the Steiner House in St. Jacobs. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]

Groups who’ll have exhibits set up include, heritage conservationist Sasha Knight, the Maryhill Historical Society, the Region of Waterloo Heritage Foundation, the Waterloo Historical Society, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario North Waterloo branch, the Heritage Planning Advisory Committee, photographer Ron Hare, the Grace Schmidt Room of the Kitchener Public Library, the Region of Waterloo Archives, the BridgeKeepers and antique dealer, Victoria Antiques.

They’ve been planning the fair since early-2016. She says they focused on the educational aspects for the fair. In the future they may look into walking tours in the different communities.

She encourages hockey parents to drop in and take a peek between games.

“If we don’t start preserving our heritage we’re going to lose it. I think a person only needs to look at what Europe has done, the age of the buildings and the pride they take in their communities, that they’ve kept all these buildings,” Bryant said.

As a self-proclaimed history buff, she says it’s encouraging to see how many villages in Germany were bombed and managed to rebuild out of the damaged stones and bricks because of the importance they place on heritage.

“I think we need to take a real interest in what our heritage has to offer us,” Bryant said.

Admission is free for the Woolwich Heritage Fair on Oct. 15. It will be held at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in the community room. The fair will be open from 1-4 p.m., with Robert Shipley speaking at 2 p.m.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

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