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On a Roll

['Community Editorial Panel with Clare Christie']
['Community Editorial Panel with Clare Christie']

Community Editorial Panel with Clare Christie

How exciting to see an Amherst landmark on the cover of our provincial newspaper, The Chronicle Herald of Oct. 5. Our native son, Aaron Beswick, a star Herald reporter, wrote the article, later repeated in this paper. The landmark is 188 Victoria Street East, the imposing sandstone home built by the Hewson Woolen Mill family circa 1905, sold to the Purdys (Marg Macleod, Walter, Robert, Barbara Jane Jebson), owned by Garnet Angus in my time and most recently, Mayor Kogon.

The owners, Alison and David Marshall (with their ten-year old son Dylan and still-a-puppy, Bailey), are enthusiastically restoring their home to as close to the original as possible while bringing it up to present day requirements. They compare the building to “a model that has been in a car accident” who needs cosmetic surgery. They see the house as an investment for the future.

They are a wonderful advertisement for Amherst as they have appreciated the thoughtfulness and friendliness of so many Amherstonians who they have met since the beginning of the year. They are commending Amherst to friends in Ontario for the double speed of our internet, the decompressed pace of life here, the ability to walk downtown. The men working on Victoria Street have impressed them with their helpfulness and accommodation.

How wonderful for Dylan that he can move about independently without constant supervision. He wrote an essay to qualify as a peer mediator and has signed up at the Curling Club for Lite Rocks.

The Marshalls are sourcing labour and materials locally where possible.

They have joined Amherst Heritage Trust and are promoting other heritage properties that are up for sale to friends in Ontario.

The article also mentioned Jim Furlong returning to his home town with his wife Gloria - they have bought the Purdy/Donachie house at 9 Regent Street - and Peter Barrett and Trish Dejong who bought the house facing Lamy Street on Victoria Street East.

You may have noticed work being done on Rhodes Manor on Havelock Street. The owner, Dan Read, attended the October meeting of Amherst Heritage Trust (AHT) and will serve as one of our inaugural Directors. He is very enthused about the rich history of Amherst and this area and especially the role played by the original owner of his home, Mr. Rhodes of “Rhodes and Curry, which later became the Canadian Car Company & Foundry...largely responsible for the production of airplanes in Amherst.

Wonderful as it is to see the landmarks being fixed up, “the roll” of my title, a quote from Leslie Childs, a fellow columnist and Vice-President of AHT, refers also to all our new citizens, many who are buying homes, making their lives here and beginning to contribute to the vibrancy of our community.

Don and Wang Li MacLean have fixed up their home near the intersection of Church and Spring Streets as well as the Victoria Faire building. Wang Li has been operating Gourmet Dumplings there. She has also started a three-year term as a Director of the Multicultural Association of Cumberland (MAC).

My neighbours, Gloria Tutlaluk and her daughter Bonnie Curtis, arrived last year from British Columbia and Alberta after the Fort MacMurray fire, following their son and brother Jim Curtis. Jim and his wife Jenny had already chosen Amherst as his early retirement destination because of our central position in the Maritimes. Although Jim and Jenny were already packed to leave Fort Mac, they had to drive through the fire.

So yes, Leslie, the “ball is rolling” in your adopted town for which you are working so hard.

With regard to our history, Oct. 28 was the centenary of the death of Norman Christie, another native son. David Christie, who recently completed Christie Bros. & Co. Ltd. 1863 to 1969: A century of manufacturing in Amherst, is currently writing the story of Norman’s life which ended tragically as a result of the First World War.

To buy my publications, go to the Artisans’ Gallery, Amherst Centre Mall; Maritime Mosaic, Dayle’s, Victoria Street, Amherst; Flying Colours, Maccan; and Main and Station, Parrsboro.

Coles carries My dear Alice.

For my six self-published books and booklets, go to the Cumberland County Museum and Archives and to the YMCA Amherst.


Clare Christie is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel. She can be reached at

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