Craig Finlay, chair of Thorold Heritage's Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, appeared at city council Tuesday night to hand out hardware to this year’s biggest boosters of local heritage.
“During Heritage Week,” he stated, “it has been our practice to recognize individuals” by presenting them with Heritage Thorold awards.
Tony Vandermaas was the first recipient, described by Finlay as “an active volunteer on many projects."
Since moving to Thorold in 1984, he has had strong interest in history and in addition to researching and sharing local history through writing a series of novels for “young readers,” Vandermaas has “served on every history committee,” said Finlay.
Some of these committees include Thorold Heritage LACAC, the Thorold and Beaverdams Historical Society, the War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, and the Friends of Beaverdams Church.
As the city’s official town crier since 1997, he has participated in countless events through the years, and more than 30 Heritage Thorold site designations, dressed in authentic period costume sewn by his wife, Penny.
“And his presence has added great colour and pageantry to the occasion,” said Finlay, adding that Vandermaas also “writes his own cries” for each appearance.
Rounding out this year’s heritage award recipients were Brenda Stokes Verworn and Charles Verworn, who purchased—and preserved—the historic Beatty homestead, located at the corner of Pine St. and Townline Road.
Finlay said that, in Thorold, “The Beatty family was rivalled only by the Keefers,” the town’s main founders. The Beatty family name was well-known in the world of lumber and shipping, among other pursuits.
“We recognize the time, planning, care, work, and money which they have given to this building.”
Finlay added that the home’s “two furnaces and six fireplaces and exterior have been refurbished, all to a very high heritage standard. It continues to be a landmark property in our city, and LACAC salutes your stewardship.”