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NOTL's McArthur Estate makes for a magical evening

Thorold resident Eddie Pizzo played the piano as curious visitors of the ornate estate got into the holiday spirit

Last weekend’s dreary weather couldn’t put a damper on the experience for visitors to the McArthur Estate’s annual holiday house tour. 

People came out in droves to walk the beautiful property, the spectacular home of Brenda and Blair McArthur decorated inside and out for the Rotary Holiday House Tour, one of the Niagara-on-the-Lake club’s biggest fundraising events of the year. 

Tour guides greeted visitors just beyond the bright entrance on John Street West, ready to walk them through the grounds with a stop first at the bridge in front of the well-known nativity scene. That was the first reminder to many of the home’s previous owner, Trisha Romance, who was known for displaying that same nativity scene in the exact spot every December. 

After enjoying carols sung outside by the Avanti Chamber Singers, visitors were greeted by Brenda McArthur herself as they filed into the piano room to meet the Grinch, who was sitting with pianist Eddie Pizzo at the couple’s white grand piano. 

The next nod to the home’s previous owner was standing right next to the brightly decorated Christmas tree, not far from where Santa was posing for photos with visitors of all ages. Tanya Peterson, the daughter of Trisha Romance and her husband Gary Peterson who grew up in the home, was there to share stories of her younger days there. 

“I swear I could see (her sister) Whitney coming running out of that room,” Peterson said. “This is bringing back so many fond memories.”

The tour wound its way through each ornately and tastefully decorated room, past some wonderful seasonal music played by the Soenen sisters on flute, harp and cello, before exiting the house and moving on the the stables. That’s where Santa’s reindeer were to be found relaxing in their stalls, resting up in anticipation for the big night on December 24. 

The sold-out event certainly capped a festive weekend in NOTL, with proceeds from the McArthur Estate tour helping to fund both local and international causes for the NOTL Rotary Club. 

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Mike Balsom

About the Author: Mike Balsom

With a background in radio and television, Mike Balsom has been covering news and events across the Niagara Region for more than 35 years
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