Dear Friends of the Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation:
The Board and Arboretum Committee has had an eventful and busy year throughout 2015. Open houses were held on weekends during the summer months, which peaked the interest of both locals as well as visitors from other communities and regions. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, we also hosted several special events listed below:
- Our year started off with a “May Day” spring celebration which included music, dancing, food, tours through the Arboretum, and more.
- The Pioneer Day program ran from June 15th to 19th, with plans to continue into its 28th year. Elementary school children, up to grade 6, participated in the week long program which allows them to gain an appreciation of what pioneer life in Perth County was like.
- A Fryfogel Ancestor Picnic was held in August, offering tours of the Tavern along with displays of the lineage of Sebastian Fryfogel. A silent auction was held and local Chef Ben Uniac was also on site preparing delicious food.
- We participated in Culture Days again this year with a Pollinator Day celebration in September that educated visitors about the various pollinator species throughout the Arboretum.
- With the help of the Shakespeare Men’s Club, a Halloween event took place in October with haunted tours of the Tavern and Arboretum. Food donations were accepted and donated to local food banks.
More events are being discussed and planned for 2016, including a very special event on Saturday August 6th, 2016, to celebrate the 225th year of Sebastian Fryfogel’s birth. Swiss Ambassador to Canada Dr. Beat Nobs has accepted our invitation and will be attending this event as our guest of honour. Details of this event and others will be announced soon, please be sure to check our website periodically for updates on all of our events for 2016.
The Arboretum Committee had a very active year once again maintaining and improving the property. The Heritage & Pollinator gardens have never looked better, it was a beautiful summer. Several trees have also been donated and planted, along with the addition of a beautiful Lutyens bench donated by the Lusk family of Stratford.
A Visioning Committee was formed early in the year and along with the help of Mark Hertzberger of Hertzberger HR Consulting, three visioning sessions were held in an attempt to assess the needs and desires of the communities surrounding the Fryfogel Tavern. One meeting was held in Shakespeare and two in Stratford which included members of the local community, volunteer groups, and other organizations. These meetings were very successful and provided a lot of information, which will surely lead to some exciting new possibilities for the near future.
The Tavern Renewal Committee has created a pioneer kitchen in the basement with the addition of antique furniture that has been loaned to the Foundation by the Stratford Perth Museum, along with other interesting historic artifacts.
An application for federal recognition as a National Historic Site has been created and will be submitted to Parks Canada for 2016. We have had numerous letters of support for this application and feel that there is a very good chance that federal recognition could be obtained for the Fryfogel Tavern.
A connection has been made with the Swiss Club of Toronto as well as the Swiss Club of Thames Valley. Both groups have expressed an interest in supporting the improvement of the property, and maintaining the historical significance of the Fryfogel Tavern.
The Foundation would also like to ask you again for your support by renewing your membership for 2016. The 2016 Membership Form allows you to choose whether your membership dollars will support the Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation or the Friends of the Arboretum. You may also direct gifts to one or more of our ongoing programs, as listed on the membership form. The Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation is a registered charity (BN 89075 0045 RR001). Gifts of $25 or more received before year end will qualify for a 2016 tax receipt.
On behalf of the Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation, I would like to thank you for your continuing support. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year.
Barry Nowack Jr.
Chair, Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation