The United Empire Loyalists of Canada - Bicentennial Branch (Southwestern Ontario)
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Annual Luncheon Meeting
September 08, 2007
Church of the Epiphany
Kingsville, Ontario

Once again the Church of the Epiphany provided a lovely setting for the Bicentennial Branch UELAC Annual Luncheon on September 08, 2007. A delicious lunch for forty members and guests was catered by the Anglican Church Women. Special guests this year included guest speaker Janet Cobban, curator of the John R. Park Homestead and Jean Rae Baxter U.E., author of The Way Lies North. Our luncheon this year was hosted by new associate member Albert Schepers. Everyone present was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and any guests before Albert offered grace and proposed the 'Toast to the Queen'.

Following the meal, Branch President Margie Luffman U.E. called on Albert Schepers to receive an Associate Member Certificate. Margie expressed thanks to Albert for his invaluable involvement in the planning and completion of the UELAC 2007 Annual Conference hosted by Bicentennial Branch this year in Windsor, Ontario.

Guest Speaker Janet Cobban
Bonnie Schepers U.E. introduced our guest speaker Janet Cobban. Janet grew up in Middlesex County and holds a degree in history from the University of Western Ontario and a certificate in museum studies from the Ontario Museum Association. Janet has been the curator of the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area, a living historical farm museum, for 19 years.

For eight years she also managed Windsor's Community Museum where she developed the exhibit 'Royal Windsor' a look at Essex County's connections with the Royal Family. H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent opened that exhibition in 2001. Janet is the Vice President and newsletter editor of the Kingsville-Gosfield Heritage Society and a former president of the Ontario Historical Society.

Bonnie extended thanks to Janet for her assistance during the photo shoot for our branch website. The pictures you see on the Bicentennial Branch website were taken at John R. Park Homestead and Janet helped in choosing and providing appropriate costumes for our Loyalist family.

Janet spoke about 'Preserving Your Family Treasures at Home'. She explained that small museums like the Homestead use common sense techniques that one can use at home to maintain one's personal treasures. She highlighted the five villains of preservation: 1. Ignorance, 2. Light, 3. Fluctuations and Extremes in Temperature and Humidity, 4. Acids and 5. Improper Handling. Janet left us with a whole new way of looking at our belongings and how we should be storing, cleaning and documenting them for future generations.

Mission Statement
Bonnie Schepers U.E., Central West Region Vice President, brought greetings on behalf of Dominion Council. Each place setting received a copy of the United Empire Loyalists' Association Mission Statement as a reminder of the purpose of our organization and also to inform those visiting as guests. Bonnie emphasized that membership in Bicentennial Branch and the UELAC supports projects such as the restoration of Loyalist cemeteries, the placement of historic plaques, publishing of Loyalist histories, resource books and maps recording Loyalist land grants, and participation in outreach events. Members of the seven branches in our region alone attend memorial services, flag raising ceremonies and many heritage events every year.

On September 5, 2007 in Toronto, our Dominion President Peter Johnson U.E. represented our Association at the installation ceremony of the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Honourable David C. Onley in his installation speech made mention of his maternal grandmother's family who settled in the Niagara region as United Empire Loyalists.

Author Jean Rae Baxter
Jean Rae Baxter U.E. lives in Hamilton. Following careers in radio and education, she committed herself to full-time writing six years ago. Her short fiction has been published in Canadian literary journals and anthologies. She received the Canadian Writer’s Journal 2001 Award and has been short-listed for awards by the Canadian Authors Association and Crime Writers of Canada. In both 2003 and 2004, she received the Arts Hamilton Short Fiction Award for the best short story by a Hamilton area writer.

Jean introduced her newest book, The Way Lies North, a young adult mystery set during the American Revolution. Jean is a member of Bicentennial Branch with Loyalist ancestors who settled in Essex County.

Dianne Noble U.E. will be available to accept membership renewals for the year 2008 at our next regular meeting. The next Branch meeting will be held Saturday, November 03, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. in Kingsville at the Church of the Epiphany.

The meeting ended with the singing of God Save the Queen.

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