“I think Deloraine’s new logo should be “Don’t Stop Believin’” said Noreen Johnston at the grand opening of the Deloraine-Winchester Community Complex on Saturday, January 26, 2019. The celebration happened in two parts — curling activities and opening ceremonies of the curling rink at 4:30 with the opening ceremonies of the community hall at 8:30 p.m.
The curling rink article appeared in last week’s issue, so now it’s all about the hall.
There was an excellent turnout for the opening ceremonies and social which followed. Jennifer McMechan, committee member was the emcee. “I would like to welcome each and everyone of you’re here today as we celebrate this amazing facility we are standing in; the Deloraine Winchester Community Complex.” She continued with a timeline/history of the original hall up to the current day.
• 1946 (73 years ago) – Rod and Eve Fraser built the Palais Royal Dance Hall at 111 Cavers Street North. On many Saturday nights you could find the music turned up and the hall full of many young people dancing the night away. Mr. Fraser also used the building to house his hairdressing business.
• 1967 – the Deloraine Elks Lodge purchased the hall from Mr. Fraser, the new home to their lodge and meeting space
• 1974 – the Elks purchased the Pool elevator Annex, tore and salvaged the lumber for the soon to be addition on the existing hall
• 1976 – construction of the two-storey addition started
• 1977 – in January the dedication of the addition took place
• 1979 – in February, a mortgage-burning ceremony was held to celebrate the final payment on the building – the Elks call it ”an asset to the community of Deloraine”
• 1980 – talk began on the idea of a new Elks Hall and fundraising began
• 1983 – vote was taken and passed to rebuild the interior of the hall, demolition of interior started Aug. 8 and construction crews started Aug. 9. Eight weeks later on September 30, a social was held to open the hall, this project cost $160,000.
• 1990s – fundraising was still needed from the hall and talks began of a new heating system
• 1993 – decision was made, and geothermal heating was installed
As the years went on and Elks membership declined the financial burden was too much for the remaining Elks
• 2008 – ownership of the Elks Hall was turned over to the Town of Deloraine
The hall continued to be an asset to the community and the venue for many events, including weddings, socials, graduations ,anniversaries, teas, fall suppers, Santa breakfasts, elections, fundraisers and many more events.
• 2014 – in February during a routine tour of the facility there was a discovery of structural failures at the hall and the council faced the potential decision of rendering this facility condemned
• 2015 – Spring, the Deloraine Curling Club approached council to consider partnering to build a joint facility as much like the former Community Hall the Deloraine Curling Club were also dealing with problems in their facility (going on 20 years)
• Also during this time, the Town of Deloraine and Municipality of Winchester amalgamated and so the community hall was renamed the Deloraine Winchester Community hall
• 2015 – October, the Deloraine Winchester Community Hall was demolished
• 2016 – September, saw the end of the Deloraine Curling Rink, making way for the new home of the Deloraine Winchester Community Complex building
• 2017 – June, the remaining section of the Deloraine Curling Rink building was moved to a new location
• 2017 – August, pilings began to be driven into the ground at the new home of the Complex
• 2017 -November, cement pouring took place and the building was taking shape
From this point on the reset is construction. . .walls, went up, wiring and cabinets installed, flooring laid, etc.
• 2018 – November, doors opened to welcome the first events in the community hall and the kick-off to the 2018-2019 curling season began
• 2019 – January 26 – the Grand Opening Ceremony marking the newest chapter in history and newest asset of the Municipality of Deloraine Winchester
McMechan invited Dean Laval, Building Committee Member to say a few words. He thanked council for their part in making this project possible. The Building Committee consisted of Blair Goethals, Brian Franklin, Jerry Redden, the late Jeff Johnston, Dean and Pam Hainsworth as Secretary-Treasurer. “I’d like to recognize Mike McGinn our engineering advisor. “It’s been a long journey and we’re here to celebrate this wonderful complex. I’d like to acknowledge the work of Jeff Johnston – I am sure he was the right person to lead this project, at each meeting he had all the answers, solutions to go forward. We’d also like to thank Gord for taking Jeff’s position when he became too sick to continue. Also thanks to all community members, curling club members, tradespersons, EXL7 (contractors) who were great to work with and helped us stay on budget. Thank you for everyone’s patience and support – we have a place that looks good, is functional and a place we can be very proud of,” he concluded.
McMechan called Gord Weidenhamer to the stage. “It’s been a long process, and we’ve needed some broad shoulders at times. We had a great committee and council of the day that supported the project. We had the right person at the head of the table, he was the backbone, a great mentor – we all loved him. We did the right thing by having Jeff lead the way. We’ve raised about $325,000 to date and there is one more year for the crop fundraiser. We have a functional building that will outlive all of us and maybe the next generation too. The hall is booked for the summer with weddings and such. Let’s enjoy it!” he concluded.
Doyle Piwnuik, MLA for Arthur-Virden was invited by McMechan to speak. “I am honoured to greetings from the Premier and myself. This is a close-knit community that sees a crisis as an opportunity. I commend the council, committee and volunteers for reducing costs and staying on budget. You should all take pride in this accomplishment. I just have one question – why isn’t Doug Morningstar doing an auction,” he joked. Note: The fundraising committee consists of Doug Morningstar, Noreen Johnston, Duane Edwards, Liza Park, Jenn McMechan and Gord Weidenhamer. Piwniuk offered all the best for the future. “This is the future of Deloraine,” he concluded.
A letter was read from Larry Maguire, MP Brandon-Souris. In part it read, “this has been a long process, started talking about it in 2014. Big things happened in the meantime – floods, amalgamation. You should be proud for your determination and forethought.
Jordan Morningstar, head of council brought greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Municipality of Brenda-Waskada.
“I’d like to call upon Gord Weidenhamer (Municipality of Deloraine Winchester), Noreen Johnston (representing the late Jeff Johnston, Building Committee) and Lorne Sambrook (Curling Club) for the official ribbon cutting,” said McMechan.
Following the ribbon cutting, a social evening was enjoyed, with music provided by “Sentinel”. As well, “The Out Turns” (Janice Moffat, Dean Laval, Lexie Billeck and Kelly McMechan) made their musical debut and will no doubt be called upon in the future for their entertaining abilities.