Home Community News Elmvale


The Beer Store Closed – Information please!

The Beer Store in Elmvale Closed after some 65 years. Apparently – but not verified – the building once hosted a garage.

It then became a Bowling alley and the Campbell family that hosted it,lived upstairs.

There were two Campbell sisters. One married a Jim Archer (a relative of all the Elmvale Archers) who passed and she then remarried a Howard Rowley.

It is suspected that when Elmvale had a vote to go wet somewhere around the early 50s, which may sound foolish now but some communities now are having votes as to whether to allow Cannabis to be sold in their communities, the first alcoholic outlet built was the Liquor Store which was built on the outskirts of the town (early 1950s) and kind of out of sight. The vote was close and although just a smidgen back then, I kinda remember a vote of about 55% to 45%. My mom and other ladies from the United Church had formed a group to veto the availability of alcohol beverages like that.

So not long after that, the bowling alley was not too successful and it was re rented to the Brewers Retail Inc.

One of the earlier employees was Lloyd Ritchie who left there to become a butcher at the local IGA.

Harry Rowley, a well known Elmvale Resident was a manager in years gone by. Another manager was Joe McGinnis. There could be many stories about him but those that spent time with him, most of them have passed on to enjoy their time with him somewhere else.

We have contacted the Beer Store downtown Toronto, but maybe they have not had time.

We asked George Allen if he had written anything about the Brewers Retail in his history books but no.

We have asked Gary French and again, we should have approached him earlier.

We talked to Marguerite Stone, a lady who has spent around 80 years living in Elmvale. She qualifies her knowledge by claiming to not like the taste of that liquid so had little to do with it.

If you have any information, pictures, stories, rumours, whatever about the building, store, managers, employees, please contact me, Michael Jacobs 705 322 2249 or cell/text 705 321 2653 or springwaternews@rogers.com

Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Update: The World in Elmvale

I am writing as a member of the Simcoe County Honduran Rights Monitor which has been active since early in 2018. I became involved with the advocacy and education work of this group after I met Janet Spring at the home of local teacher, Cheryl McGinnis. There she told me about the urgent and dangerous situation which faced her daughter, human rights defender, Karen Spring.

I learned that after the fraudulent election of 2017 and the imposition of brutal martial law, Karen’s partner and Janet’s son-in-law Edwin Espinal had been forcefully detained under false charges by military police, transported to a maximum-security prison, put into solitary confinement, and then incarcerated under deplorable conditions along with hardened criminals and drug-lords. I learned that Edwin had previously endured repeated harassment and even physical beatings from the military due to his support for human rights issues and his friendship with Berta Caceres.

Berta was a beloved indigenous leader of the Lenca people who had worked with her communities in Honduras to resist the grabbing of their land and the building of a hydro-electric dam on the Gualcarque River, which was sacred to them. Soon after Berta received the Goldman Environmental Award in 2015, she was assassinated in her home at midnight on March 2nd, 2016.

Midnight assassinations. Solitary confinement. Fraudulent elections. Martial law in Honduras. What? I could hardly believe what I was hearing! Until five years ago, this little “village of Elmvale” (as some people like to call it) wasn’t even on my personal radar – or at least – I didn’t realize it was on my radar until I arrived here. Life is like that isn’t it? You don’t realize the significance of something until many years later.

When I arrived here in Elmvale – bright-eyed and looking forward to my new position as minister and spiritual leader of St. John’s United Church, I was not yet ordained. My first experience of leading a worship service in Elmvale was on May 1st, 2016, several weeks before my ordination which took place at St. Paul’s United Church in Midland on May 28, 2016. Members of St. John’s were part of the congregation; the choir participated in my service of ordination. Our minister of music, Bob Bruer, was part of the leadership team as was Jennifer Henry, the Executive director of Kairos as preacher. The message I heard loud and clear on the day of my ordination was that the ministries of pastoral care and prophetic witness were deeply interconnected. Little did I realize how interconnected they would prove to be.

It wasn’t long before I agreed to travel to Honduras with Karen and Janet to take part in a Canadian/US human rights delegation to accompany Karen safely back to her home in Tegucigalpa. I took some study leave time to learn more about the situation in Honduras. I received financial support from the women of St. John’s, Northern Waters Presbytery, and the General Council of the United Church of Canada. It was amazing how quickly things fell into place. I went as a witness to accompany Honduran human rights workers as they sought to make a case for Edwin’s immediate release, and the withdrawal of the false charges against him. In particular, I went to visit Edwin in La Tolva Maximum Security Prison—which I did. While I was there, I discovered that I was also there as a pilgrim to pay my respects to the home, family, and final resting place of Berta Caceres. We were able to spend a full day in La Esperanza where I had the privilege of meeting Berta’s mother and brother.

This is where I need to take you back to my personal radar. Ten years earlier I had entered into the process of discerning my call to ministry, and at a meeting of Living Waters Presbytery, I heard an announcement about Site 41 in North Simcoe. There was an uprising of citizens and an encampment of aboriginal women who are traditional Guardians of the Water, and who had become enraged about a plan that had been made for the creation of a municipal landfill on a site that threatened to pollute the Alliston Aquifer, the “purest water in the world.” I heard stories of little white-haired ladies being arrested and put in jail.

At this same meeting, on an entirely different subject, we were asked to take a petition back to our congregations for the collection of signatures, calling upon the federal government to hold Canadian mining companies accountable for their actions in the world beyond Canada. Through organizations such as Mining Watch we were beginning to hear terrible stories of human rights violations by Canadian companies—things they would never try to get away with in Canada. It was the beginning of my consciousness being raised about Canada within the global economy and the World of International Development. Sadly, it was not a pretty picture.

I learned about the work of Berta Caceres when she received the Goldman Environmental Award in Nov 2015. I was now a candidate for ministry doing an eight-month internship at Kincardine United Church on the shores of Lake Huron. I was seeking a call to serve a congregation closer to my home in Huntsville. I learned about the vacancy at St. John’s around the same time the information of Berta’s assassination hit the news. I was devastated because she had raised such hopes within me about care for the earth and the rights of indigenous peoples gaining the attention of the worldwide community. Little did I know that when I came to serve the people of Elmvale through St. John’s United Church, Berta’s concerns about Latin American politics, which were the cause of her death, would land right on my doorstep.

It is a small world and I have learned that world is right here, in Elmvale! I know there are many who believe that politics and Christian ministry do not mix, although when you read the gospels, it is pretty hard to see where they got that idea. If ever there was a story about the criminalization of a movement for liberation and the execution of a defender of human rights and dignity, Jesus’ story is it for me. What do you think?

Reverend Meg Jordan for the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Committee