Stratford News

New app presents rare insider’s view of Festival




The Stratford Festival’s latest app, “Stratford Behind the Scenes,” presents an insiders view from concepts through creation and performance. It offers exclusive video and photos of performers, coaches, directors and artisans, captured in dressing rooms, rehearsal halls and workshops. The app offers the “theatre experience” to a wider audience that go further than physical tours allow. The iPad app is now available for $9.99 through the App store. A PlayBook version will be released soon.

It’s not too late for last minute holiday shopping!!




It’s not too late to find that perfect gift for the special people on your list. Downtown Stratford welcomes you to come explore the many shops and businesses that are brimming wonderful last minute gift ideas!







The Real Meaning Of Christmas



By Martha Noebel

It’s that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?

For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don’t have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.

Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time of God showing His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. You see, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.

Luke 2: 4-19 says:

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Why did He come? Why did God send His son to this sometimes cruel and hard world? He sent Jesus to us so that one day, He would grow up to become a very important part of history. His story (history) is one of truth, love, and hope. It brought salvation to all of us. Without Jesus, we would all die in our sins.

Jesus was born so one day the price could be paid for the things we have done that are wrong. The Bible says that all have sinned. We are all born with a sin nature. We do things that do not please God. Through the sins of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited that sin nature. We need to have that removed. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for ALL of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us. Then, we are clean and made whole. We can know that heaven is a place where we can go to when this life is over.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” I John 1:9

We can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what may be happening, we can know that we are His children. We then become sons and daughters of God. Heaven will be our home one day.

Look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a “Merry Christmas.” The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met.

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!

Hand Made CANDY CANES at Chocolate Barr’s in Stratford!


Chocolate Barr’s in Stratford is located right across the street from our book store. For the Christmas season, they will be making hand-made candy canes every Saturday! Enjoy viewing the video below if you are curious how this is done.

Chocolate Barr’s specializes in handmade candy and chocolate and was established in 2003. They are our first choice for candy when the craving for sweets hit… be sure to check them out!!

Justin Bieber thrills Toronto audience, surprise guest Drake a bonus

Justin Bieber performs at the Rogers Centre in Toronto December 1, 2012

BY STEVE TILLEY,  QMI AGENCY, Toronto Sun Newspaper
DECEMBER 01, 2012

TORONTO – In a world of ever-diminishing attention spans demanding ever-more immediate gratification, staying on top of the pop music heap for three months is impressive, never mind three whole years.

So whether you love him or hate him, it’s foolish not to give Canadian superstar Justin Bieber some respect. His brand of irresistibly catchy pop and white-boy R&B is aimed not at crusty, beer-emboldened Grey Cup attendees, nor at snarky grumps who make fun of the way he dresses in photo opps, but rather at the hearts and minds of his predominantly young, overwhelmingly female fans.

This boy knows his audience. This boy knows how to put on a show. And this boy can sing.

Though judging from his sold-out performance Saturday night at Toronto’s Rogers Centre in front of roughly 60,000 frenzied fans, maybe we can’t keep calling Biebs a boy. To a deafening roar that would have drowned out a 747 preparing for takeoff, the 18-year-old pride of Stratford, Ont., was transported onto the stage on a giant pair of metal wings, sporting a sleeveless white hoodie that showed off a pair of arms much less twig-like than one might imagine. Biebs has been hitting the gym. He’s looking like, well, a man.

“What’s up, Toronto?” Bieber asked after kicking off with All Around the World, the first track off his latest album, Believe. (Answer: the decibel level.) And later on, introducing Never Say Never, “I never thought I’d be on this stage, at the Skydome. I never thought I’d be wearing leather pants.” Really? That’s a recurring dream for some of us.

A concert of this magnitude and expense is a well-oiled machine that runs at very specific settings and does not respond well to unpredictability. Still, Bieber did have a couple surprises, including calling fellow hometown boy Drake on stage for tour-exclusive duets of Right Here and Drake’s own The Motto. He also took breaks from his pyrotechnic-laden song-and-dance to do an acoustic guitar rendition of Fall (from the basket of a cherry picker sweeping over the crowd, no less) and even jumped on the drums for Beauty and a Beat, although Neil Peart doesn’t have anything to worry about. (Kids, please don’t respond, “Who?” Please.)

Through a 100-minute set that ranged from a medley of his earlier songs (One Time, Eenie Meenie and Somebody to Love) to achier fare like As Long as You Love Me to come full circle in the encore with his monster hits Boyfriend and Baby, Bieber’s maturing voice only occasionally lost its battle with the walls of sound from the tens of thousands of fans around him.

Even a headset microphone mishap late in the show didn’t faze Biebs as he geared up to end his set with Believe; he just grabbed a handheld mic, skipped the piano accompaniment and kept going. The kid’s a pro.

So how does one critique a Bieber concert? Not enough costume changes? (There were plenty.) Not enough special effects? (He had lasers, fireworks, video projections and more.) Not enough hits? (He sang nearly all.) What more could a Belieber want?

Even opening acts The Wanted and Bieber’s friend and label-mate Cary Rae Jepsen could do little wrong as they warmed up an already very heated crowd. Jepsen finished her brief set with Call Me Maybe, the most inescapable song of the past year. At least until Gangnam Style came along.

For tens of thousands of young women, a whole lot of memories were made this night, and they’ll be talking, tweeting, Facebooking and Gchatting about this show for weeks. Years from now, will they feel the same way? Will Bieber make the tricky transition out of the realm of teen heartthrob into whatever lies beyond?

Hard to say. But based on the songs, the moves and the slightly terrifying level of fan devotion that he inspires, I wouldn’t bet against the Biebs.

Countdown to Christmas: please shop locally

Thursday, November, 22, 2012

Arthur Enterprise News editorial


Take a look at the date on the newspaper you are holding in your hand.

Yes, Christmas is a just little less than a month away.

Flipping through the pages of this week’s paper, there can be no doubt that it’s true. Take a look at the advertisements. Local stores have their Christmas sales in full swing and promotions urging people to “shop local” are underway. Christmas cantatas, Christmas plays, Santa Claus parades, outings with a Christmas theme… they’re all either happening or about to happen. Check out the ads and the coming events on the classified pages. And, if there is still any doubt in your mind that Christmas is nigh, check out the photographs and stories. Our reporters have been busy attending the first of the craft sales, bazaars and open houses that will be happening between now and Dec. 25.

The importance of shopping local – of supporting the stores, businesses and craftspeople in our community – cannot be stressed enough. Sales are the life-blood of their existence. Because we support our own, we continue to have the unique stores, goods and services that make this such a wonderful community in which to live. The money you spend in your community goes far beyond the retail cash register. Because we support our own stores, businesses and craftspeople support our community. They pay their taxes, heat and hydro bills. They employ local people and they donate to good causes, sponsor teams and events, give door prizes and silent auction items and help support community initiatives.

Shopping locally helps sustain and create jobs and better wages. As businesses grow, they hire more staff. Entrepreneurs will start more businesses, hiring more people and giving locals more shopping opportunities. Other local businesses such as hair salons and dentist offices – though they aren’t considered retail – are likely to be negatively affected if fewer people are doing business in their home community.
Shopping locally also strengthens community spirit. By doing business face-to-face with fellow citizens friendships are formed along with a sense of partnership and community. Merchants know the public is going to do what they can to support them and conversely shoppers know their local merchants will do what they can to provide the goods and services they require with a familiar face and top-notch customer service.

Let the countdown to Christmas continue – right here at home.

Editorial by Lynne Turner


Shopping Local: the gift that keeps on giving

Wednesday, October, 03, 2012

Support your community

Wingham Advance-Times editorial

Shopping locally is gaining momentum with such things as the 100 mile diet, and “from farm gate to kitchen” programs. Farm markets are popping up everywhere, to showcase local food producers and crafters. Craft shows are more popular than ever. It all adds up to supporting the community that supports you.

Besides keeping the local economy moving, shopping locally is convenient. People know the shops around here, what products they carry, the prices, and what can be put on special order. And they can buy what they need at odd times when stores are not crowded.

Those of us who have lived for extended periods in cities are not all that impressed by what giant discount-type stores have to offer. Seen one Wal-mart, seen ‘em all. Shop locally and the only thing you miss is city traffic and parking tickets.

And you see your  shopping dollars going to people you know.

In any community large or small, there is a blurring of roles, with those providing a service or product and those purchasing a service or product switching places on a regular basis. To put it simply, as long as the merchant buys produce from the farmers who buy merchandise from him, and the teachers who instruct their children buy what they need from both, the community in which they all live, thrives. You might not see it in a big city, province or nation, although it is there. But in a small, rural community, the ripple effect tends to look like a tsunami.

Things go askew when someone consistently expects to take money from a community while putting his money elsewhere. This is true of everything from the foreign-owned store that has no local (or even Canadian) suppliers, to the lovely folks who regularly hit all the local merchants for donations to this charity or that, but who take pride in doing most of their shopping in Buffalo, Toronto or Detroit.

People who expect the local community to keep giving, while doing their own giving in a different community, are keeping the local economic ball rolling in one direction – downhill.

School is back and winter sports are hitting high gear – the fundraising season has begun. And the Christmas shopping season is about to swing into high gear. If everyone makes a habit of shopping at the stores that donate to the hospital fundraiser, their children’s minor hockey team, the dance club, etc., the whole community will be better off.

It is something worth thinking about when “making that list and checking it twice.” When we stay in town to do our Christmas shopping, we all win.

The merchant gets to keep the store open, and will continue to employ the part-timer who heads an important local charity, the teenager saving up to go to medical school, the lady whose kids are best friends with your kids. The merchant will also continue to generously support the local hospital’s big fundraiser and a dozen other local charities including ones you and your loved ones depend on.

The shoppers find not only a good selection of this year’s “must have” toys and gadgets – the same ones carried in big city stores, often at comparable prices – but also those unique items city stores cannot afford to carry. And you get to finish your gift purchases with time to pop in at the library for a book, drop off the kids at hockey and meet friends for dinner at a great local restaurant.

With the NHL strike still going, why not treat yourself and local hockey to an early Christmas present by taking in some games? The team gets the thrill of playing in front of a crowd, and the spectators get to see some great hockey. The local kids have no big contracts – they play for the love of the sport, and it shows. There is something about sipping snack bar hot chocolate and chatting with friends between periods, cheering for kids you used to babysit, and watching some truly unusual plays (without instant replay or glowing blue pucks) that entertains in a way a televised game cannot. Even if the NHL goes back, you might decide local hockey is truly the gift that keeps giving, and buy a season’s pass.

For the past hundred years or so, there have been newspaper editorials bemoaning the mass exodus of shoppers to the city. They used to hop on the train, returning home the next day with their purchases while local merchants glowered. Later shoppers did the same thing by car. These days, shoppers can find whatever they want online – except a community that has a wide range of recreational activities, good employment opportunities, a selection of services, decent roads, education, health care and great neighbours. Shop locally.

Squeals And Loathing In Justin Bieber’s Hometown Of Stratford, Ontario


by Dave Seminara, November 27, 2012

I’m way too old to be a Belieber but there I was on a snowy Saturday afternoon driving slowly up towards Justin Bieber’s boyhood home in Stratford, Ontario. I’ve never bothered to investigate the legacy of musicians that I actually like, so why was I paying homage to a kid whose fan base wasn’t even born when I graduated from college? Call me crazy, or worse, but how can you not be curious about an 18-year-old who has earned well over $50 million and has 7 million more Twitter followers than the President of the United States?


Gallery: Justin Bieber’s Stratford

    City Hall
    Downtown Stratford
    Avon Theatre
    Stratford's Two Most Important Men
    Autographed Guitar at Long & McQuade

Stratford is a prim, artsy town in Western Ontario that, until Bieber burst into the popular culture, was known as the home of the Stratford Festival, one of North America’s premier venues to see live Shakespeare productions at five area theaters. But these days, legions of tween and teen girls from all over the world descend on the place to walk in the footsteps of their hero. Two years ago, tourism officials in the town teamed up with Bieber’s grandparents to create a “Bieber-iffic” map with 24 of the lad’s local haunts.

But the home that Bieber grew up in with his mom, who became pregnant with him at 17, and his grandparents, wasn’t on the map, so I Googled it and made plans to hit the Bieber Trail on the way home from a Thanksgiving visit to Buffalo. Stratfordis a lovely town with an impeccably preserved historic core, full of appealing shops and restaurants and nice old Victorian homes.

But the Bieber home people flock to is a couple miles outside the tourist friendly zone on a nondescript, working class street behind a strip with chain restaurants and some big box stores. As soon as I stepped out of the car and snapped a photo of the home, I felt like a stalker and furtively ducked back into the car. If I was a 12-year-old girl, my mission would have been perfectly understandable, but as a middle-aged guy, I felt ridiculous. Still, as we drove away, I wanted to know if Bieber’s family still lived in the house, so I pulled over and asked a pair of teens who were walking on the slushy street. “Oh no, they moved,” said the girl, who was probably about 14.

“Well are they still in Stratford or did they leave town?” I asked, as my wife swatted me in the stomach. The girl had no idea and as we drove off, my wife, who was blissfully unaware of what a large detour I had taken us on to follow in Bieber’s footsteps, lost what little interest she had in the crusade.

“This is so embarrassing,” she complained. “You’re a grown man asking teenagers on the street about where Justin Bieber’s grandparents live? People are going to wonder what’s wrong with you. ”

king's buffet where justin bieber had his first date

If only my sons, who are 3 and 5, were a bit older we could have plausibly claimed we were visiting the Bieber Trail on their behalf, but alas they were too young to serve the purpose. Around the corner from the Bieber house on a typically suburban stretch of strip malls and fast foot outlets, we pulled into the parking lot of King’s Buffet, a “Chinese & Canadian” buffet, where young Justin apparently spilled spaghetti and meatballs all over himself on his first ever date.

My wife refused to come in with me and as I approached the maître d’s podium, I couldn’t decide if I should simply ask about Bieber’s first date or explain that I was writing a story about the Bieber Trail.

“I read that Justin Bieber had his first date here,” I blurted out, sheepishly, thankful that the place was almost completely empty. “Do you know anything about that?”

“Sure, we get groups of young girls coming in here all the time for that,” said a young man with spiky hair who was dressed in black.

“Really? What do they say?” I asked.

“They just come in and start giggling and squealing,” he said. “Most of them want to know where he sat, who was the girl, what did they order. But unfortunately we don’t know any of the details.”

Hoping to find someone with a bit more information on Bieber’s connection to the town, I went to Stratford’s Visitor’s Information office and struck up a conversation with Aaron Wybrow. He told me that the two most popular stops on the trail were City Hall, where Justin performed his first ever recorded song and the Avon Theatre, where Justin supposedly used to make upwards of $200 per night as a busker. (A bronze star honoring Him is now emblazoned on the sidewalk in honor of this legacy.)

Justin Bieber Books

Wybrow is often the first person that Beliebers meet in Stratford, so I was curious to know what it was like to encounter these ferociously loyal, some would say psychotic, young women.

“They’re hard to control and hard to talk to,” he said, standing next to a display case with an autographed Justin Bieber guitar. “They want to see everything about Justin so they’re asking every question under the sun and before you can answer, it’s another question.”

As we were talking one of his colleagues, who was manning a visitor’s information desk the city had set up at a regional girls pee-wee hockey tournament, stopped in to restock his supply of Justin Bieber maps. The demand was so great that it was his third reload of the day. (The visitor’s center has distributed more than 20,000 Justin maps since they were produced in 2010.)

Wybrow explained that the Bieber Trail had been created in consultation with Justin’s grandparents, who had just one condition for their cooperation: that their home address wouldn’t be listed as one of the stops. They have since moved to a neighboring town, but the visitor’s information office still won’t tell people where Justin lived because they don’t want stalkers, like me, to trample the place.

Wybrow mentioned that when Bieber returned to Stratford last summer with girlfriend Selena Gomez there was a media feeding frenzy.

“And there’s a rumor going around now that Justin’s in town right now,” he said. “But I don’t know if it’s true.”

That nugget added another delicious little element to my quest. Perhaps we’d meet Justin. Who knows, maybe we’d run into Him at one of His old haunts or perhaps He’d play an impromptu gig somewhere in town or busk at the Avon Theatre for old time’s sake?


“Tell me, am I the only guy who has ever come in to ask about Justin Bieber sites?” I asked.

“We have had guys come in,” Wybow said. “But they always say they’re just asking for their girlfriends. I’d say that about 98 or 99% of the people who came in to ask about Justin are girls.”

Feeling very much like a member of the 1%, we repaired to the Café 10, where Ana Staffen, a 16-year-old girl, waitress and cashier served us some great food and even better Bieber gossip. The restaurant isn’t listed on that Bieber Trail but she still fields plenty of inquiries from Beliebers.

“When I tell them that I live right near Ryan, who’s like Justin’s best friend, they just start screaming and freaking out,” she said. “One time, I was telling one of them that I had once been to a party that Justin was at and she just started shaking and, like convulsing like she was going to collapse. Then she wanted to take my picture.”

justin bieber display stratford ontario

Ana was keen to tell us everything she knew or had heard about Bieber. She claimed that he’d transferred schools after just one semester in high school because he was being bullied. A few of his best friends still live in the town and some of them thought that being a member of the Bieber entourage made them like royalty.

During Bieber’s visit to Stratford last summer, Ana and a group of about 30 other teens gathered in front of his grandparent’s residence and sang and chanted for hours, hoping to coax Bieber out of the house.

“He came to the window and looked at us, but he never came outside,” said Ana, who said she saw Bieber’s movie three times even though she doesn’t really care for his music. “But eventually Kenny Hamilton, his bodyguard, who is also pretty famous, just because he’s Justin’s bodyguard, came out and everyone wanted his autograph and their photo with him.”

After a few hours, the vigil was broken up when a neighbor called the police, who came and dispersed the crowd.

One of Ana’s male colleagues said that “not many” people in Stratford were fond of Bieber, though few could deny that his popularity was a boon to the city’s tourism industry. “He went to meet the Prime Minister and he wore overalls,” he said, explaining his disdain for Bieber. “Who does that?”

justin bieber's favorite music shopOver at Long & McQuade, the music shop where Bieber used to rent guitars, Aimee Jesso didn’t seem surprised when I asked her about the store’s Bieber connection.

“We’re stop number six on the map,” she said. “We get all kinds of Beliebers in here.”

“Tell me about them,” I asked.

“They scream,” she said. “They scream. They cry. They ask questions.”

“They cry?” I asked.

“They cry!” she insisted. “I mean full out tears.”

Jesso said that the Beliebers want to know if HE touched anything in the store, if she had ever met Him, when was the last time He came to the store, and just about anything else you could imagine. The store has an autographed guitar that Justin once rented but it’s kept on a ledge about 15 feet off the ground for very good reason.


I asked Jesso if the rumors that Bieber was in town were true and she had no idea but gave us a clue of what to look for.

“You’ll definitely know his car when it’s parked out along the street,” she said. “It’s like a Batmobile.”

We spent a few hours wandering around Stratford’s atmospheric streets, taking in some of Justin’s old haunts, but saw no sign of Him or his Batmobile. But His smiling visage was in all the shops. A bookstore had an entire shelf full of books about him. A gift shop had a whole corner of the store devoted to Bieber-related products, and even the town hardware store had a whole section of Bieber items, including cups, plates, bags and pillows bearing His likeness.

We left town without ever having seen Him, but walking in His footsteps somehow didn’t seem that creepy or shameful by the time we reached the border crossing just outside Sarnia, Ontario.

“Where are you going?” asked the U.S. border patrol agent, who barely looked away from his computer screen to see who we were despite the fact that it was late in the evening and no one else was in line to cross into the U.S.

“We’re heading back home to Chicago after a visit to my parents in Buffalo,” I said.

“So you just transited through Canada then, you didn’t stop?” he asked.

“Well, we went to Stratford just to see Justin Bieber’s hometown,” I said, betraying no shame whatsoever.

“No you didn’t,” he countered, jerking his head away from his computer screen to get a better look at me.

“We were passing through anyways,” my wife interjected defensively, perhaps fearful that we were about to be denied entry back into the U.S. “We didn’t go to Canada just to see Justin Bieber’s hometown.”

I didn’t mention that the Bieber trail had actually been a major detour. No one in their right mind drives from Buffalo to Chicago via Stratford, Ontario.

“Are you sure you’re Americans?” the agent asked shaking his head, half kidding and half serious, before waving us back in.

justin bieber's bronze star in stratford ontario avon theatreBack home in Chicago, it occurred to me that I’d never actually heard a Justin Bieber song, or if I had, I didn’t know it was Him. I felt about 99.9% certain that I wouldn’t like the young man’s music, but I hadn’t even given Him a chance. After traveling in His footsteps, I owed him that.

And so, on Sunday afternoon as we put up our Christmas tree, I dialed up his latest album and some tracks from his Christmas album on Spotify, which spares one the indignity of having to actually pay to hear the kind of music you’d be ashamed to be caught with in a shop.

The verdict? Spending time in Bieber’s hometown hadn’t turned me into a Belieber despite my wife’s claims to the contrary. Listening to his work confirmed that it wasn’t my cup of tea. But when I listened to his rendition of “Silent Night,” I had to admit it was good. Not good enough that I’d be sent into a convulsive fit if in the presence of someone who once stood near Him, but pretty, pretty good.

[Photo credits: Dave Seminara]

Reminder: 101 + NATIVITIES – Parkview United Church – Nov. 30 & Dec. 1 – free admission

Photos by Ellen Kelly

Celebrate Christmas

Come View


Friday, November 30   –   6 pm to 8 pm (Bethlehem Café: cookie & beverage $1)

Saturday, December 1  -  10 am to 3 pm (Bethlehem Café: lunch $5 from 11 am to 2 pm)

Free Admission

Door Prizes

Parkview United Church, 470 Ontario Street, Stratford, ON


History of Parkview’s 101+ Nativities

Every year around the end of November, we stage our 101+ Nativities event as our Christmas gift to the people of Stratford.

101+ Nativities began in 2007 with an idea by Maureen Beecroft.  It started as a UCW sponsored event with much help from the whole church. UCW members still are on the organizing team, but the congregation as a whole has become more involved over the years.

In the first year we had 130 nativity scenes on display and we were open on Saturday only.   To accommodate people we decided to open Friday and Saturday in subsequent years.

Our last year’s event was held on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26, 2011, and was a resounding success.   The number of nativities on display in our sanctuary continues to grow every year – with 320 nativities on display in 2011.

Attendance continues to increase as well, both on Friday evening and Saturday, with many more families with children attending.

The event is always free so everyone can afford to come.  Even asking for a canned goods donation might mean someone would not come.  We encourage people who ask about an entrance fee to please donate to House of Blessing or Salvation Army Christmas kettle.

All nativities belong to members of Parkview or their friends and families.

Many of the people attending take advantage of the inexpensive lunch we offer in our Bethlehem Cafe.

To view more photos of the nativities from last year’s display Click Here.

The Local Community Food Centre – Grand Opening Nov. 22, 2012

post by Elizabeth, November 16, 2012

On Thursday, November 22nd The Local Community Food Centre will be hosting its official Grand Opening event!

The Local Community Food Centre is an innovative food security project that has been developed as a division of the United Way of Perth-Huron in partnership with Community Food Centres Canada. It is a pilot project that is helping to lead the way towards the creation of a national network of community food centres across the country.

The Local Community Food Centre includes: community gardens and a greenhouse; a community kitchen and dining room where drop-in meals will be served and where educational cooking experiences will be offered; a distribution centre supplying Perth County’s food banks, student nutrition programs, community meal providers and not-for-profits with healthy food; and activism and advocacy programs to empower community members to work together on issues such as poverty and hunger.

The launch event begins at 5:30pm with an official ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Dan Mathieson, which will be followed by some words from the Local Community Food Centre Director Steve Stacey, Community Food Centres Canada CEO Nick Saul, and Ryan Erb, Executive Director of The United Way of Perth-Huron.

Food will be served at 6:00pm in the community kitchen and dining room, accompanied by information about the project and its programs and opportunities to tour the newly-renovated centre.

At 7pm a Town Hall discussion will ensue at the culmination of the Do The Math Challenge, a provincial anti-hunger/anti-poverty initiative spearheaded here by The Local Community Food Centre.

Starting on November 19, challenge participants will experience conditions similar to those living on Social Assistance or accessing food banks. The challenge is to eat for $5/day for three days or to live off of a purchased food bank hamper from the House of Blessing. The purpose of the challenge and the subsequent discussion is to raise awareness about the inadequacy of social assistance rates, to give participants a new perspective on poverty and health, and to link food insecurity to larger structural issues.

All are welcome! For more information about The Local Community Food Centre or its programs please visit, e mail or call 519-508-FOOD (519-508-3663).