Silent Auction to Help Preserve Historic Uuestrie Building
It was built in 1895 upon pioneer land and features the distinctive New England architecture of early settlers to this area. Benjamin LeBaron donated the land, and members of the parish, dating back to 1870, contributed the labour to construct it.
Thus began the Unitarian Universalist Church in North Hatley (UUEstrie). At that time, Universalist churches flourished throughout the Eastern Townships. (In the 1960s, the Universalist and Unitarian denominations united to become Unitarian Universalists.) Today, the distinctive white clapboard building with a bell tower and art nouveau stained glass windows is the only Universalist church in year-round use in the Eastern Townships. It’s at 201 Main Street in North Hatley, at the corner of Gagnon Street, just two doors from the library.
Preserving this historic gem is still a labour of love. The current labour is a major fundraising effort, dubbed the Super Summer Silent Auction. Repairs to the historic building are constantly needed and expensive, said Carol McKinley. She chairs UUEstrie’s fundraising committee.
Donations will also go the North Hatley Recreation Centre’s summer program for youth, and to student Louba Gubbins-Fougère for her study trip to Peru.
The auction will feature varied objets d’art, antiques and a wide variety of gift certificates. “Canvassers have gathered a wonderful variety of quality items that have been donated by generous individuals, merchants and entrepreneurs,” said McKinley.
Items such as vintage photo equipment, artworks by Denis Palmer, Don McKinley and Kay Kinsman, African carvings and antiques. A wide variety of gift certificates from a nice Spa, golf courses, theatres, restaurants, and even a tattoo parlour.
The kick-off is on Saturday July 6, complete with free ice cream. From July 6 to 14, it is open for bidding on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays from 12 to 2 p.m.
The last day is on Thursday July 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. That’s also the day that UUEstrie will be the only church building featured in House & Garden Tour. Visitors will be invited to visit the unique wood-panelled sanctuary to learn about its architectural highlights, or to simply relax and enjoy quiet music. In the adjacent reception hall and down- stairs, the silent auction items will be set out waiting for bidders.
UUEstrie is a registered charitable organization with a special interest in social justice and environmental initiatives. Its building is home to the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers-to-Grandmothers, a sub-group of the local Canadian Federation of University Women, as well as other groups.
“Its fine acoustics make it a favourite venue for concerts and it is being used more and more often by various groups in the community,” said McKinley. “We are pleased to continue to share it more and more. With other churches having closed recently in the area, the UUEstrie group urges the wider community to help ensure that UUEstrie will enjoy many more productive years in the community. So please join us and support our upcoming Auction.”
Donations of cash are also welcome, she said. Cheques may be sent to the UUEstrie (or Unitarian Universalist Church of North Hatley), 201 Main St., North Hatley, QC J0B 2C0. Donations may also be made online by visiting www.uuestrie.ca, and clicking on the Canada Helps icon at the bottom of the home page.
Watercolour of the historic Universalist Unitarian Church of North Hatley, by Don McKinley.