The Vankleek Hill Christmas Home Tour takes place on Saturday, November 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and this year, six heritage homes are being professionally decorated for the event. Food vendors will be offering free samples at the homes during the afternoon and as usual, six vendors will be located outside each home for visitors as they wait to visit each home.
Author Keith Henderson at St. John’s Anglican Church at 1 p.m. and at 3 p.m. for a one-hour dramatic reading/presentation from his novel:
The Roof Walkers. The book commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Fenian Raids that sparked Confederation. The presentation will include Celtic harp music by ian hepburn.
Each of the three church luncheons (at Knox Presbyterian Church, St. John’s Anglican Church and Trinity United Church) will feature music during the busiest noon-hour period. Note that Trinity United Church will once again host a luncheon after taking a break last year.
Sandra Fraser of the Trillium Tea Room is once again hosting a high tea with three sittings. You must reserve to attend one of the sittings; call 613-678-6892 to find out more about this culinary event.
New this year, St-Grégoire Catholic Church will be open as it hosts a display of Nativity Scenes. You are invited to add your Nativity Scene to the day by contacting Louise (Ouimet) McCulloch at 613-678-5895. A bake sale also takes place inside the church on that day. Amaryllis Choir will be giving a 30-minute at 11 a.m. and later in the day at 1 p.m., Voix-La will perform another mini-concert.
The Knox Bell Choir will entertain in the Knox Presbyterian Church Hall at 2:30 p.m. Coffee, tea and desserts will be available there.
Because one of the six heritage homes is located a few minutes outside of Vankleek Hill, a fourth shuttle bus has been added this year, says organizer Louise Sproule. Bilingual step-on tour guides are on each bus to talk to visitors about our community, fill them in on the events of the day and answer questions. This year’s shuttle bus sponsors are Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Company, Re-Max Supreme (John Clouston), Total Telecom and Champlain Township.
“We really try to make this a feel-good kind of day and we are making special efforts to add music, because that’s part of the holidays, isn’t it?” says Sproule. Choirs, carols and holiday music will add to the festive mood, she says.
Vankleek Hill photographer Jan Amell will once again be taking photographs of visitors as they don Victorian-era costumes. “This was so popular last year,” said Amell, who has decided to once again add to the holiday spirit of the event.
Six local community organizations will benefit from this year’s event. The Vankleek Hill and District Horticultural Society, the Vankleek Hill and District Historical Society, 100% Actifs, the Vankleek Hill Collegiate Vimy Ridge trip, the Vankleek Hill Fiddle and Dance Association, the Vankleek Hill Sunshine Club and the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society were all chosen in a random draw held from all of the organizations which applied for funds, Sproule said.
“We could not host this event without the valuable support of community volunteers. The people who work and love our community are our best ambassadors. We hear over and over again from visitors how wonderful our volunteers are,” says Sproule, who gives full credit to Lisa Henderson of Hillcrest Funeral Home for her steadfast support in organizing the required volunteers at each home.
“This is no small feat given the busy schedules of most people,” Sproule said.
Because volunteers give some or all of their day to the tour (some people are volunteering at a church, special event and at a house), a pre-tour event for volunteers takes place the evening before tour day from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
This has taken place for the past few years and is open to those who are working or volunteering on tour day.
“We felt it was really important for volunteers to experience the homes so that they can talk to visitors on tour day. Even people who are working in shops all day during the tour never got to take the tour, so this way, we include everyone in the excitement,” says Henderson, who suggested the pre-tour to Sproule after it was requested by volunteers.
This year’s decorators are: Carole and Stephanie Aubin of Vankleek Hill Home Hardware; Cottage Blue Home of Cornwall, Donna Doucette, Vankleek Hill; Sasha McKeown, Vankleek Hill; Jill Crosby, L’Orignal, and Danielle Arbour (special events and marketing with Auberge des Gallants.
You can find out more about the event and buy advance tickets online at: www.vankleekhill.ca. Click on events, then select home tour.
Advance tickets are a must for this event.