October 2018 Newsletter

Ruthven Remembers

100th Anniversary of the end of the Great War – WW1 (1918-2018)

Irish Connection to Ruthven

Vintage Halloween Talk with Julia Wright

Image The origin of Halloween lies mainly with Celtic Ireland with the celebration of the festival of Samhain or Autumn Festival on October 31. Fire was an important part of the event and used to confuse the spirits, but the flames had to be extinguished and re-lit by Druids. Like New Years the notion of casting out the old and moving in the new was part of the celebration. To pagan ancestors, it marked the end of pastoral cycle when crops were gathered and put in storage for the long winter ahead. Also considered the last day of the year, souls departed and returned to their former homes. The late 1800’s was the golden age for postcards. They were cheap and a good way to keep in communication with friends especially before the advent of the telephone.





(Top Photo) Julia Wright guest speaker has been collecting Halloween post cards for many years. Samples from her collection include postcards using popular Halloween images and themes.

Repairs to Stone Walls


The stone garden walls within the Ruthven cultural landscape were recently repaired by Aberdeen Brick and Stone Contractors. The original stone wall running north from the Coach House and built sometime in the late 1840’s is covered under an easement agreement that The Lower Grand River Land Trust Inc. holds with the Ontario Heritage Trust. It was part of a fence system used to keep animals in the original farmyard. The remaining garden walls built sometime in the 1960’s when Andrew Ruthven Thompson was living on the site, are protected through designation with Haldimand County in Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The purpose of these walls was purely ornamental and designed in the fashion of an English garden.

(Left) The 1840 section of wall was in poor condition. There is evidence of extensive repair carried out on the wall several years ago using Portland cement and lime mortar. Over time it was shifted by a tree that was growing on the west side of the wall and caused it to bulge. For this reason, the tree was removed approximately 10 years ago; however, ivy continued to cover the wall (and disguised the crack in the wall.) The ivy held moisture causing the stone to remain damp and through freeze / thaw periods caused it to crack. Several stones on the east side of the wall were removed and reset in the wall face to restore strength to the structure. Approximately 100 ft. of new mortar joints were added to secure the structure and remediate further moisture infiltrating into the wall. The existing capstones were secured to the top of the wall. They should help to protect the wall from infiltration of water which would migrate down the walls.

The remaining 1960’s garden walls are clay dolomitic limestone which did not have enough compressive strength to resist frost damage. The basic structure of the walls above grade were in fair condition however cracked mortar joints and stones were repaired. Approximately 100 stones were replaced, and new capstones were made to cover all of these walls.

Highlights from Ruthven for the Birds 9th Annual Event

The weather cooperated for the popular Canadian Raptor Conservancy Birds of Prey Show held on Saturday, October 20th. After the show, everyone moved into the Coach House for a talk by Dr. David Brewer on “Everything you needed to know about Penguins”.

Pictured below are some of the birds that were showcased in the birds of prey show; Top row (l-rt) great horned owl, two photos of a red-tailed hawk. Bottom left is a bald eagle, and the right is a horned owl.

In the evening Peter Thoem spoke on “The Owl Foundation a Fly – by night organization?” This was a great segway into the evening owl banding program. Visitors were delighted to see 10 Northern Saw-Whet owls were banded throughout the course of the night. To finish the day off 12 adventurous individuals camped out in the Coach House so that they could be bright and early for morning banding.

The Lower Grand River Land Trust Inc. c/o Ruthven Park National Historic Site

243 Haldimand Hwy #54, Box 610, Cayuga, Ontario N0A 1E0 • 905.772.0560 email: info@ruthvenpark.ca

website: www.ruthvenpark.ca THE LOWER GRAND RIVER LAND TRUST INC.

The LGRLT is a non-government, not-for-profit, charitable, community-based organization. The LGRLT has the mandate to protect land for its natural, cultural and agricultural values, as well as for education and research in its jurisdiction.

Wedding Bells have Stopped Ringing for the 2018 Season!

If you spent any time at Ruthven Park throughout the weekends this summer, you likely saw blushing brides and handsome grooms sharing their first kiss by our gazebo, taking photographs of their families blending together on the steps of our magnificent mansion, or partying the night away with their loved ones within the walls of the historic Coach House. One of the great aspects of having a wedding ceremony and/or reception at Ruthven Park is the flexibility that our site offers to couples. Give us a call today for more information on date availability, cost and to set up a site visit with Ruthven’s Operations Coordinator – 905.772.0560 or info@ruthvenpark.ca. The Coach House can also be used for meetings, holiday parties, hallmark birthdays, showers, family gatherings etc.


Thank-you Voters!

Ruthven is excited to announce Diamond status for Wedding Facility and Platinum for Local Tourist Attractions from the Sachem Reader Choice Awards 2018.

Upcoming Events at Ruthven Park

For more information on upcoming events please check out our website www.ruthvenpark.ca , give us a call at 905.772.0560 or check us out on social media; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.