Big cheque for CAB

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

RH Rediker CAB di­rec­tor My­lene LaBonté re­ceives a cheque from tour­na­ment or­ga­nizer Arthur Lapenna. Other or­ga­niz­ers seen in the photo were (l to r.) Josianne Cail­let, Lynn Wood and An­dré Gaulin.

The town of Stanstead, once the most im­por­tant busi­ness cen­tre in the Eastern Town­ships, has a fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory and is flush with his­toric build­ings and land­marks, such as the Haskell Li­brary and Opera House. In more re­cent years, the town has been trans­form­ing it­self into a more vi­tal cen­tre for lo­cal res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike, re­vi­tal­iz­ing the Rock Is­land sec­tor with invit­ing shops and restau­rants and adding places of in­ter­est such as the Stone Circle and Gran­ite Cen­tral.

Peo­ple can now dis­cover about the Stanstead of years ago and the new Stanstead with a walk­ing tour that is be­ing of­fered for free, in both English and French, from Wed­nes­day to Sun­day be­tween 9:30 am and 4:00 pm, un­til Au­gust 20th, then on week­ends and hol­i­days un­til Oc­to­ber 14th, in the Rock Is­land sec­tor of Stanstead.

El­iz­a­beth Mer­ineau, from Coat­i­cook, is the new tour guide and she will be sta­tioned at Gran­ite Cen­tral, the gran­ite and minia­ture train mu­seum on Notre Dame Street, wait­ing to take indi- vid­u­als or groups on tours. “The guide first takes peo­ple to Bant­ing Holmes Park be­hind the mu­seum to see some gran­ite sculp­tures and the beau­ti­ful Tomi­fo­bia River,” said Joanne La­je­unesse-McKay, the town of Stanstead’s de­vel­op­ment agent. Vis­i­tors aren’t obliged to visit the gran­ite mu­seum to take ad­van­tage of the free tour, how­ever, the small en­trance fee is worth the price to learn all about the lo­cal gran­ite in­dus­try and see one of the big­gest Lionel train col­lec­tions in Canada.

From the park vis­i­tors can head to Do­maine Les Boisees Lee Farm, the for­mer es­tate of Dr. Hen­ri­etta Bant­ing, the wife of in­sulin co-dis­cov­erer and No­bel Prize win­ner Dr. Fred­er­ick Bant­ing. Now a beau­ti­ful Bed and Break­fast, the tour will wan­der the ex­pan­sive grounds and gar­dens of the

202 year-old home. A high­light of this tour are the huge, sculpted trees cre­ated by Mau­rice Har­vey from St-Jean-Port-Joli. “The trees were dis­eased and had to come down but when we met Mau­rice Har­vey at the gran­ite sym­po­sium, he said he was a ‘tree re­cy­cler’,” ex­plained the B & B’s owner, Michelle Richard. The dis­eased wal­nut trees were then trimmed down and sculpted into huge peo­ple. “Lo­cal peo­ple come all the time, they bring their vis­i­tors, just to look at the trees,” added Michelle.

Next it’s off to the Stone Circle, which re­sem­bles Stone­henge and is made en­tirely of lo­cal gran­ite, and the Vil­lage de Saules, a liv­ing wil­low struc­ture that chil­dren are wel­come to play in, both at the same site. This is a nice spot to re­turn to af­ter the tour for a pic­nic, es­pe­cially if you have chil­dren with you who like to run.

While walk­ing, vis­i­tors will learn from Ms. Mer­ineau about the his­tory on both sides of the bor­der and about in­ter­est­ing events that hap­pened in the last two cen­turies. “We met with Mer­rick Belk­nap, David Lepitre, Robert Shel­don and read texts by Matthew Far­fan. We’ve got some very funny sto­ries about the bor­der - we have quite a few sto­ries to tell! The tour will be a mix of his­tory and fun,” said Ms. La­je­unesse-McKay.

Of course, what would a tour of the Rock Is­land sec­tor be with­out a visit to the Haskell Free Li­brary and Opera House, the fa­mous build­ing built di­rectly on top of the Cana­dian-Amer­i­can bor­der. There is a small fee to tour the inside of this beau­ti­ful land­mark, which opened in 1904, how­ever, the use of the li­brary is still free. “Peo­ple won’t need to have their pass­ports. The Bor­der Pa­trol has been in­formed of the tours and our tour guide knows the proper way to en­ter the Haskell,” ex­plained the de­vel­op­ment agent.

Vis­i­tors then cross the pedes­trian bridge over the Tomi­fo­bia River to get onto Duf­ferin Street (main street). The guided tour con­tin­ues with the ex­pla­na­tions of sev­eral his­toric build­ings such as the Eastern Town­ships Bank, the South­ern Canada Power build­ing and the Art gallery La Vieille Forge, a for­mer black­smith shop. The tour ends at Henry Seth Tay­lor Place, named af­ter the in­ven­tor of Canada’s first steam car.

“The en­tire tour takes be­tween thirty and forty-five min­utes. When our tour guide is not busy giv­ing tours she’ll be help­ing out at the gran­ite mu­seum and, on rainy days, she’ll help out at the Haskell and at the Colby-Cur­tis Mu­seum,” added Ms. La­je­unesse-McKay.

The free tours are made pos­si­ble with con­tri­bu­tions from the Cen­tre d’aide aux

of Mem­phrem­a­gog (CAE), and from the Mem­phrem­a­gog MRC through its Pro­gramme d’aide au pat­ri­moine.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Stanstead’s De­vel­op­ment Agent, Joanne La­je­unesse-McKay, hopes that peo­ple will bring their chil­dren on the new Stanstead tour so they can dis­cover, among many other things, the ‘Saul Vil­lage’: lit­tle forts and tun­nels made of liv­ing wil­lows which were cre­ated by renowned artist Kim Vergil. The Stanstead Stone Circle, also on the tour, can be seen in the back­ground.

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