2nd Annual Writer’s Festival- Crystal Palace

 

The crisp fall air and bright warm sunshine set the tone for the popular Book Fair at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. The Book Fair was part of the 2nd annual Perth Chapter of the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival, and showcased the work of local authors Gene Bassett, Arlene Stafford-Wilson, Dan Roy, William Byers, Steffany Sinclaire and Randy Ferrier.

perth chapter international writers festival

Set along the peaceful shores of the Tay Basin, the Crystal Palace in Perth features a weekly Farmer’s Market, Saturday mornings from spring through to Thanksgiving weekend. Local vendors offer produce, maple products, honey, mustards, and preserves, along with fresh beef, lamb and beautiful one-of-a-kind arts and crafts and flowers.

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Book Fair farmer's Crystal palace #3 water front0001Book Fair farmer's market sign0001

Across the busy parking lot, aromas of farm-fresh bacon and ham beckoned us over to the vendors known as ‘Piggin Out’. Their famous breakfast sandwiches are piled high with farm fresh eggs, savory ham, crisp bacon and thick slices of local cheese on country buns. Piggin Out is operated by James Haven Farms – familyjames@storm.ca   Call 613 267-6495. Their farm is on the 5th concession of Tay Valley Township.

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Outside the Crystal Palace, a full-scale tribute to the famous ‘Mammoth Cheese’ adds interest to the landscape. Most Lanark County kids will know the story of the world’s largest cheese, made with pride for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Countless local dairy farmers contributed milk toward the monumental project, and the completed cheese weighed 22,000 lbs, standing six feet tall.

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Popular outdoor vendors line the route to the entrance of the Crystal Palace. Joynt Family Farms of Lombardy offers organically-raised beef, lamb and chicken. You can order ahead by calling 613-283-8698 or email –joyntfarm@sympatico.ca

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Waratah Downs Organic farms offers a variety of fresh, ripe vegetables. They operate an 80 acre farm, 8 km west of Perth toward Westport. http://waratahdowns.com/

Sarah of Hollyhock Grange sells vegetables and lamb grown on their 100 acre farm near Smiths Falls.  Sarah also makes baked goods as well as preserves from their produce.  Phone: 613-284-0578 sarah@hollyhockgrange.ca http://www.hollyhockgrange.ca

These are just a few of the outdoor vendors at the Farmer’s Market offering farm-fresh goods outside the Crystal Palace on Saturdays.   The variety continues inside the building, where more than a dozen indoor vendors display delightful products – the edible variety, as well as beautiful handmade arts, crafts, and floral creations.

Trina Conboy is a regular vendor, and showcases her handcrafted, unique ceramic gifts and tableware under the name of Taylea Pottery – https://www.facebook.com/Taylea-Pottery-211176805560315/timeline/   Trina hosts an open house each November where customers can shop for Christmas gifts and enjoy some tea and festive cookies.

Taylea Pottery

A farmer’s market in Lanark County would not be complete without some maple products and Oliver’s Mapleworks fits the bill. http://www.oliversmapleworks.com/ Members of the Lanark and District Maple Syrup Producers Association, maple syrup has been produced on this property since the 1820’s. The original sugar camp was built by Bob Hendry in 1973.

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Tucked at the far end of the Crystal Palace was a lovely exhibit of plants and flowers, artfully arranged and beautifully displayed by Sylvia’s Plant Place. Located on the upper 4th concession of Bathurst Township, Sylvia’s is a full-service florist specializing in weddings, and has been featured in the Ottawa Wedding Magazine. http://www.sylviasplantplace.ca/

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A trip to the Farmer’s Market should always include a stop at Joyce’s Mustards. Joyce’s mustards are all homemade, delicious on ham or pork chops, and popular with locals and tourists alike. https://www.facebook.com/JoycesMmmmMmmmMustard

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Something special for both the ladies and gentlemen are the lovely offerings from Jan Made Soaps. Located just outside of Smiths Falls, their pure, natural soaps attract repeat customers to the Perth Farmer’s Market each week. Their line of gentle Shea soaps are particularly popular. https://www.facebook.com/JanmadeSoapsetc

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Fifi Fu Designs features handmade felt items and paintings as well. Many of their felt creations are charming and whimsical, and make lovely gifts for the little ones in the house. https://sscribailo.wordpress.com/

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Beyond the colourful displays of the talented vendors, were six tables set up to accommodate the local authors invited to participate in the 2nd annual Book Fair, part of the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival.   Book fairs are a wonderful way for authors to meet and interact with readers, to answer questions, and also to gain feedback and new ideas for upcoming books.

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Thanks to the Perth Farmer’s Market for providing the venue so that all of the authors had the opportunity to showcase their work. Many thanks also to both new friends and familiar faces that stopped by to purchase books, chat, share ideas, and show their support for local writers.

Special thanks to friends Carol-Ann and Shannon McDougall for travelling from their home on the Big Rideau. Thanks also to friends from my ‘home and native land’ along the 3rd line of Bathurst – Dave and Elaine Morrow, and Trina and Sawyer Conboy. The historic Conboy homestead has been in their family for many generations. Also, noteworthy, this November, the Morrow family will be celebrating 40 years of farming their land in DeWitt’s Corners.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to the many local farmers in Lanark County who supply our markets:

“In winter’s chill, or summer’s heat,

A Farmer works, so the world can eat”

www.staffordwilson.com

Perth Farmer’s Market:    http://www.perthfarmersmarket.ca/

Paranormal Perth: Garden Ghosts on Gore Street

Have you experienced any of the 10 signs of paranormal activity?

1. Disappearance and re-emergence of objects in the house

2. Finding unidentified objects in the house

3. Appearance of unexplained marks around the house, e.g. scratch marks on the walls, odd marks on cupboards or walls

4. Hearing sounds of doors closing or opening, banging, laughter, walking, speaking, etc. in the absence of any source

5. Sudden changes in temperature

6. Lights or electronic equipment going on or off repeatedly or not working without any reason

7. Mobile phones not working

8. Cats or dogs whining or barking unnecessarily

9. Feeling a presence in the house

10. Feeling of being watched

 

Ghost in the garden

A chill that travels down your spine, the unexplained feeling of dread, or a sudden drop in temperature, are physical signs that many have experienced in a haunted locale. How do places become this way? Why do spirits linger in certain buildings, or even in certain rooms?

ghost 1

Some say that the history of a building is almost always a primary factor. When a building is very old, and has a long history of human habitation, it’s far more likely that someone over the years has experienced strong negative feelings in that space.

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Senator Matheson of Perth, and his Beautiful Daughters…

It’s been more than 200 years since the first settlers established the town of Perth, Ontario,and many of the beautiful limestone buildings date back into the early 1800s. Some of these historic, old, buildings, have changed hands many times over the years, like the present Perth Museum on Gore Street.

Roderick Matheson’s home was one of the largest and finest in Perth.  Being a Senator, he often held lavish parties in the beautiful gardens to the side and rear of the stately home.

The magnificent garden was lush and green, with apple and plum trees, gooseberries and currants,  peonies, bachelor buttons, and row upon row of breathtaking, richly-scented rose-bushes.

The garden was an impressive backdrop, where he entertained the area politicians, the wealthy, and prominent business owners.

His seven daughters – Mary, Rose, Flora, Isabella, Joan, Anna, and Eliza – each one strikingly beautiful in her own way, milled about the garden at the Senator’s parties, greeting guests, and giving them personal tours of the impressive grounds.

Some local say that the daughters were so attached to these gardens, and this impressive limestone home, that their spirits lingered, long after they departed this earth, and may still be seen at dusk, tending the roses, strolling in the moonlight…..

Matheson house for blog

Some may not realize that the Matheson family occupied the impressive stone manor as their family home for almost a century.

When the last family member, Eliza Matheson died in the house in 1929, the building was sold, and became the elegant Birkacre Tea Room from 1930-38, operated by William and Jessie Kinloch.  Soups, sandwiches and afternoon tea were their specialties, served in the beautiful garden, during the fine weather months.

 

AFternoon tea Birkacre July 21 1933 p 1

 

Birkacre Inn Aug 3 1934 p 28

 

From 1938-46 the building was called The Vanity Fair, a posh restaurant owned by Clifford and Alice Carr.

 

Vanity Fair Christmas Dec 23 1938 p 2

 

Strong Vibrations from the Spirit World

It was said that during the late 1930s and early 1940s members of the spirit world became particularly active in both the main building, as well as the gardens, as the owners played hosts to several prominent clairvoyants, at the Vanity Fair.  Psychic Medium Madame Cornel was a regular guest during 1938.  Madame Cornel was said to be a gifted medium, and people from the area flocked to the Vanity Fair to hear her psychic predictions.

 

Vanity Fair Nov 11 1938 p 10 Mme Cornel

“The Perth Courier”, Nov. 11, 1938

clairvoyant 1930s

In 1939, the Vanity Fair played host to another well-known Clairvoyant from Ireland – Madame Kildare.   It has been said that when Diana Kildare sat at the table and laid out her 40-year old tarot cards that you could hear a pin drop in the room.

Unexplained Noises and Lights Along Gore Street

There were many mysterious noises and lights seen both in the home, and in the garden, thought to be spirits brought back by the visiting psychics and mediums.

 

Vanity Fair Madame Kildare Apr 21 1939 p 5

“The Perth Courier” April 21, 1939

seance

1930s seance

 

The Matheson family, particularly the beautiful daughters, didn’t seem to want to leave their home…..

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Of the seven daughters in the family, only one married; and the other six girls remained at home, lavishing much time and energy tending the lush garden at the back of the property.

Garden ghost 2

Although some paranormal researchers say that violence or sorrow may cause a spirit to feel bound to the world, until justice is rendered, this is not always the case.

Some say it can be the strong attachment to a particular location, and that spirits may return to a place where they spent their happiest times. It’s been said that these feelings of contentment, of the person never wanting to leave, can seep into a place, either in the walls of a building, or the soil of the ground itself, and leave a certain ghostly energy or impression.

Researchers claim that ghosts tend to stay in places that they considered to be their own during their former lives, and areas that were once very closely linked to themselves as a living human being.

 

 

Matheson House garden 2

 

photo:  Matheson House and rear garden  (now the Perth Museum)

Matheson House garden 1

The Matheson House family garden

– For many decades, where many have reported seeing shadowy figures at dusk, tending the plants and flowers.

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The Perth-Upon-Tay Legion bought the building in 1947, and it was their meeting place until 1967, when it became the Perth Museum.

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Today, Matheson House is home to the Perth Museum, located at 11 Gore Street East in Perth.

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A view of the formal Dining Room of Matheson House, restored to its former glory as a stately family home.

Perth Museum Dining Room

Matheson House Drawing Room – beautifully restored, one of the many opulent rooms at the Perth Museum

Matheson House drawing room

On your next visit to Perth, Ontario, step back in time at the Perth Museum, where you will see lovingly-restored rooms, as they were during the years when the prominent Matheson family occupied the home.

Matheson House garden

Remember to stop by the garden, where the lovely young Matheson daughters carefully tended their plants and flowers, and entertained prominent guests.

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Don’t be surprised if you sense something unusual as you tour the old building.  You may feel a draft, or see a flash of light, or movement.

 

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You may even feel as though someone is watching you!

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For more information on the Perth Museum (former home of the Matheson Family) 

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Tel: 613-267-1947

11 Gore Street East, Perth, ON, K7H 1H9

 

 

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Read about an eerie encounter with the spirit world that took place in the 1960s.  What happened on October 24th, 1967 when a young girl wandered into the garden at Matheson House?  Who did she encounter? What happened next?

Discover who or what was lurking, in the haunted garden at Matheson House in:

 ‘Lanark County Connections – Memories Among the Maples’. ISBN 978-0-9877026-47

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Lanark County Connections small book cover

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

(some photos courtesy of the Perth Museum)

The Written Word Comes to Life

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The written word came to life at the International Writer’s Festival in Perth on Saturday. Under sunny skies, perched along the historic Tay Basin, the Crystal Palace was home to nearly a dozen authors showcasing their work and chatting with locals and visitors alike. The event was part of a weekend of activities which included a writing contest and some notable guest speakers from the writing community.

Many thanks to the Chamber of Commerce along with the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the Farmer’s Market, the Town of Perth, the Perth & District Union Public Library, the BIA , Heritage Perth, The Book Nook and many local businesses who organized and sponsored this first-time event in the newly formed Perth Chapter of the well-known International Writers Festival.

We were pleased to be situated with author Gene Bassett to our right and with Irene Spence and Ron Shaw to our left. Irene was the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award for her many years of service in promoting history and heritage and is active at Archives Lanark as well as the Lanark County Genealogical Society.

It was a pleasure meeting author and instructor Lee Ann Eckhardt Smith, member of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Lee Ann, along with Leslie Wallack of The Book Nook presented each author with a smart black carry-all featuring the Writer’s Festival logo, a writing journal, pen and decorative ceramic keepsake.

One of the highlights of the day were visits from Carol-Ann McDougall and husband Ken who are building their dream home along the picturesque shores of Rideau Ferry. Another delightful visitor was an old friend and neighbour from the third line – Dr. Steve Scott. It was a wonderful surprise to connect once again and have a quick chat.

The day was a great success and we look forward to future events with the International Writer’s Festival!

International Writer’s Festival August 23rd, 2014 – Participating Authors:

Gene Bassett, author of: ‘Tall Tales’, and ‘Stolen Moments’

Allison Graham & Cathy Rivoire, author/illustrator of ‘Caterpillar Soup’

Joelle Hubner-Mclean, author of ‘Corvus and Me’

Shirley Mackenzie, ‘Orphan Sage’

John McKenty, ‘Square Deal Garage’, ‘Follow the Crowd’ and ‘Arden Blackburn’s Mail Route’

Anne Raina, author of: ‘Clara’s Rib’

Ron Shaw author of: ‘Tales of the Hare’, ‘Black Light’ and ‘Forgotten Hero’ (Co-authored with M.E. Irene Spence)

Claudia Smith, author of ‘By Word of Mouth’

M.E. Irene Spence, co-author of ‘Forgotten Hero, the biography of Alexander Fraser’

Arlene Stafford-Wilson, author of: ‘Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen’ and ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels up and down the Third Line’ and ‘Lanark County Chronicle: Double Back to the Third Line’ and ‘Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line’

Mick Wicklum ‘Grand Popo and Kanaga’ and ‘Wicklum’s Law and Other Tips on How to Survive in Africa’

http://www.staffordwilson.com

International Writer’s Festival Comes to Perth!

Writer's Festival Aug 2014

Perth Crystal Palace

Join us Saturday, August 23rd from 9 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Crystal Palace in Perth, Ontario.

In its first year ever, the Perth Chapter of the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival will be showcasing local authors at a Book Fair at the Perth Farmer’s Market set against the backdrop of the picturesque Tay River.

Whether you come by car and park along the historic streets of Perth, or sail up by boat and take in the breathtaking views along the Tay Basin, there will be something for all ages to enjoy.

The event features a number of local writers including Arlene Stafford-Wilson, author of:

• Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen
• Lanark County Kid: My Travels up and down the Third Line
• Lanark County Chronicle: Double Back to the Third Line
• Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third

Pick up a copy and have it signed by the author.
Mark this special event on your calendar.
For more information contact:

The Perth and District Chamber of Commerce (613) 267-3200 / 1-888-319-3204
or Leslie Wallack at The Book Nook thebooknook@bellnet.ca

http://www.staffordwilson.com