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In addition to our regular Branch meetings with informative speakers, the members of Toronto Branch have been out and about in the GTA. Our regular meetings featured: Ron Dale--Loyalists and the War of 1812; Gavin Watt--Stories of Yorkers; Bill Lamb--Charles Wesley and the Loyalist Cause. In November it was our pleasure to staff a display table at the Heintzman House in Thornhill. The Heintzman family, of piano fame, occupied this luxurious mansion. The property originally belonged to Anthony Hollingshead UE and afterward was owned by George Crookshank SUE. The mansion's early character can be revealed by the removal of a wall panel. A peek inside will show, quite surprisingly, a mud and straw wall. The house proudly flies the Loyalist flag in honour of its early history.

Earlier in the year, three of our members received pins and certificates to mark their years of continuous service with our Branch. Ontario's Volunteer Service Award is given annually to deserving volunteers who better the life of their communities. Our education and outreach to the Toronto area would not be possible without the dedicated service of folks like Karen Windover UE and Diane Reid UE, who both received their five-year pins. Ed Cass UE was rewarded for ten years of service to the Branch. In 2007 we will recognize six people. This Province of Ontario programme is a great way to say "Thank You" to your members for all their hours of work. I would strongly recommend it to all of our Ontario Branches that are not already using it. I understand that other provinces have similar recognition programmes. Again, congratulations and thank you to our recipients.

The fall saw us taking the Loyalist story to the Ontario Genealogical Society's Colloquium. The one-day event was very busy for us in the morning. It is always a pleasure visiting with OGS folk because they are frequently aware of the Loyalists and the fact that they may have one as an ancestor. We had been out to the OGS Seminar From Buggy Whips to Microchips in Oshawa in the spring, so this event was a nice bookend to close out the year.

We are still peeling back layers of time and revealing new information about those Loyalists who settled in what is now the GTA. If you had a Loyalist in the Home District (as defined in 1836) we would love to compare notes about the Loyalist and their family.

'Twas the night before Christmas. Well, no it wasn't ... but it was a couple of weeks before Christmas when twenty-five Branch members visited the Christmas bedecked Black Creek Pioneer Village. During a delicious turkey dinner at the Halfway House, the group was surprised by a visit from Father Christmas (an 1860s version of Santa). He was, in turn, surprised when they all joined in the recitation of Clement Moore's classic 'Twas The Night Before Christmas. The meal started with a unique heritage grace. Some guests toured the village before and after dinner. Interestingly, the Daveys of Kingston Branch were spotted the following day leaving Christmas dinner at Black Creek's Halfway House. It seems to me that Christmas in the Village is a great way to spend a day with family and friends.

John Warburton UE
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Title Annotation:Branch News HIGHLIGHTS
Author:Warburton, John
Publication:The Loyalist Gazette
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2007
Previous Article:Sir John Johnson Centennial.
Next Article:Vancouver.

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