Shirley Curson-Prue

Belle Vue Conservancy brings community together with yard sale

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Over the weekend, the front lawn of Belle Vue was filled with old teacups, paintings, jewelry and other donated things by the community to assist the Belle Vue conservancy in raising more money for the restoration.

The Sept. 16-17 yard sale at Belle Vue raised $5,049.20.

“We put forward a notice to the community to ask them to please donate because we wanted to do this as a fundraiser for Belle Vue and we were absolutely thrilled at the number of people that brought things to us and the number of things that they brought,” explained conservancy member Shirley Curson-Prue. “We had really excellent response to that which made us very happy and then we set it up most of Thursday and Friday, and then started the sale this morning.”

Curson-Prue explained how some donations didn’t even make it to the sales floor, but instead will be going right into the house. One was a pump organ, which Curson-Prue said was in pristine condition and it more than 100 years old. Another item was a press machine, which was used in the 1930s by servants in big houses to press the tablecloths.

The Sept. 16-17 yard sale at Belle Vue raised $5,049.20.

The conservancy would like to thank everyone who not only donated items, but who came out to the yard sale and purchased items and made donations.

The Belle Vue Conservancy posted on its Facebook page Tuesday evening, after the Sept. 13 print issue of the River Town Times went to press, that the yard sale raised $5,049.20.

Their next event is the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” fashion gala at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery Sept. 24. For information, visit www.bellevueconservancy.com.

Two more fundraisers planned by Belle Vue Conservancy

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Belle Vue Conservancy has two more fundraisers planned for the month of September.

The first is a yard sale that is planned for the same weekend as the WE Harvest Festival – Sept. 9-10. The yard sale will be on the front yard of the 200-year-old Belle Vue house, located at 525 Dalhousie St. and it will run from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. both days.

Shirley Curson-Prue, president of the Belle Vue Conservancy, said they will be accepting donations Sept. 7 at Belle Vue from 12-8 p.m.

“What we’re looking for are things that are collectable, vintage and retro,” said Curson-Prue.

Curson-Prue emphasized that all items are donated, including some items donated by her and husband Michael, who is also a conservancy member. She added some items that will be part of the yard sale will include dinnerware, pots and pans, and vintage and antique items.

“They are not from the (Belle Vue) house,” she said. “They are individual, separate donations.”

There will be no fabrics or clothing, she added.

Curson-Prue added there are a number of volunteers helping out.

“It should be a good event,” said Curson-Prue. “We promised that every penny saved, every penny earned, is going into the house which is what we’ve been doing all along.”

For more information on the yard sale, please call 519-736-6947.

The Belle Vue Conservancy has a new logo, designed and donated by local artist Elio Del Col.

The Belle Vue Conservancy has a new logo, designed and donated by local artist Elio Del Col.

The Belle Vue Conservancy is also putting on a fashion gala entitled “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and that will be held Sept. 24 at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, located at 7258 County Road 50. Curson-Prue said tickets for that event are going well, as she estimated roughly 75 per cent of the tickets have been sold thus far.

The gala will feature both men’s and women’s fashion, with the clothing being from A La Mode and 67 Richmond. The evening will also include a five-course meal prepared by Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering.

There will be a cocktail hour, silent and live auctions and live entertainment from the jazz ensemble Michael Karloff, Ray Manzerolle and Mike Kabouk.

Tickets for the gala are $150 with a tax donation receipt of $50. They are available at A La Mode, 67 Richmond and the Gordon House.

For more information on the gala, contact Curson-Prue at 519-736-6947 or Linda Jackson at 226-345-0628. People can also visit www.bellevueconservancy.com and click on the “Events” tab.

Belle Vue wins $10,000 in “This Place Matters” contest

 

By RTT Staff

 

The restoration of the Belle Vue property is a step closer thanks to the National Trust for Canada.

The trust’s “This Place Matters” online competition has concluded and the Belle Vue project – entered into the contest as “Belle Vue House – A Clear View into the Future by the Belle Vue Conservancy” – won the Community Builder prize and the $10,000 that goes with it. Results were announced Monday.

“Dozens of people in Amherstburg and beyond demonstrated the importance of this building to our past and to our future by voting every day to support the project,” said Shirley Curson-Prue, president of the Belle Vue Conservancy. “We are humbled by their commitment and very appreciative of the outcome of winning $10,000 which I understand is to be used to support the windows project. Thanks to everyone who voted!”

A look at Belle Vue, as seen July 2017. (Photo by Paul Hertel)

A look at Belle Vue, as seen July 2017. (Photo by Paul Hertel)

“Your votes really mattered,” added Anne Rota, the town’s manager of tourism and culture. “People who voted each and every day should be extremely proud. The Community Builder Prize was for the most number of votes on a national level! We couldn’t have done this without everyone’s dedication to vote every single day!”

The National Trust announced eight winning projects that participated in its 2017 “This Place Matters” national crowdfunding competition.

The Big Projects National Prize ($60,000) was won by Windows into the Future by First United Church (Truro, NS)

The Big Projects Regional-West Prize ($30,000) was won by Spirit of the Lyric by Lyric Theatre (Swift Current, SK) while the Big Projects Regional-Central Prize ($30,000) went to Keep Our Light Shining by PPLPS (Brighton, ON).

The Big Projects Regional-East Prize ($30,000) was won by the Union Art Project by Sir William Ford Coaker Heritage Foundation (Port Union, NL).

The Small Projects National Prize ($30,000) was captured by Spencerville Riverside Park by Spencerville Mill Foundation (Spencerville, ON) while the Small Projects Regional-Central Prize ($15,000) was won by Top off the Petrie by Architectural Conservancy Ontario Guelph Wellington Branch (Guelph, ON)

The Small Projects Regional-East Prize ($15,000) went to  Glenaladale… One Brick at a Time, Our Diamond in the Rough by Glenaladale Heritage Trust (Tracadie, PE).

Twenty-five participating project groups from coast to coast competed from June 14 to July 20 for Canadians’ votes and donations.

“At the close of five weeks of intense competition, the National Trust is deeply grateful for Canadians’ enthusiasm and generosity. ‘This Place Matters 2017’ raised awareness and much needed dollars for Canada’s historic places,” said Natalie Bull, executive director. “Our sincere congratulations and thanks go out to the community groups championing all 25 projects. Along with the prizes awarded, each project is a winner as they’ve all raised funds to help regenerate beloved community places that matter.”

The goal of the National Trust’s “This Place Matters” competition is to bring together community partners and community members to breathe new life into historic places across Canada.

Doll museum makes $20,000 donation towards Belle Vue restoration

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Shaanti International Museum of Costumes and Dolls has stepped forward to help the Belle Vue Conservancy.

The doll museum, which is currently operating out of the Malden Community & Cultural Centre located at 7860 County Road 20, officially presented a cheque for $20,000 to the conservancy last Thursday morning on Belle Vue’s front porch.

The donation is the first under the conservancy’s sponsorship program and the $20,000 will result in a window being named for the Shaanti International Museum of Costumes and Dolls.

Michael Prue, treasurer of the Belle Vue Conservancy, said the donation from the doll museum has been the largest to date and hopes it inspires other individuals and companies to step forward.

“This property can be restored to the way it was,” said Prue. “It won’t take very long with donations like this.”

The Palladian-style architecture is rare in Canada, with Prue citing a Nova Scotia government building as the only other example.

The Shaantii International Museum of Costumes and Dolls made a $20,000 donation to the Belle Vue Conservancy last Thursday and will get naming rights to a window. From left: Conservancy treasurer Michael Prue, Conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue, museum secretary/treasurer Raj Varma, museum board member Nancy Morand, museum vice president Ivan Robich and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale.

The Shaantii International Museum of Costumes and Dolls made a $20,000 donation to the Belle Vue Conservancy last Thursday and will get naming rights to a window. From left: Conservancy treasurer Michael Prue, Conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue, museum secretary/treasurer Raj Varma, museum board member Nancy Morand, museum vice president Ivan Robich and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale.

“I am looking forward to the day (Belle Vue) is open to the public and we can say with extreme pride that we are from Amherstburg and we’ve been able to do this,” he said.

“We’re making strides. We’re just not making huge strides yet,” said Shirley Curson-Prue, the president of the conservancy.

Other fundraisers are in the works, Curson-Prue noted, and said artist Peter Rindlisbacher is working on the painting that will hang in the Belle Vue and be reproduced for public sale. Rindlisbacher’s involvement was announced last year.

More donations are in the works, she added, but can’t be announced just yet.

The doll museum raised its money largely through bingos and Raj Varma, secretary/treasurer with the museum, indicated they would like to see Belle Vue as a “destination point in Amherstburg.”

Their own museum contains rare dolls and costumes with Varma stating “the museum is very unique in North America.” The collection features dolls from all over the globe with board vice president Ivan Robich adding the collection is valued at $500,000.

“A lot of the dolls have come from private collections,” said Robich.

The Shaanti International Museum of Costumes and Dolls came to Amherstburg with the assistance of the town’s tourism department after several stops in Windsor. Robich believes it was a “Godsend” they were able to located at the Malden Community & Cultural Centre, which is also known as “the Little White Church.”

Nancy Morand, a director with the museum’s board, added her belief that the relationship has been “mutually beneficial” to the town and the museum. It is open Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. during the Amherstburg Farmers Market season, which starts this Saturday. The museum is also open for private tours by calling 519-839-4237.

The doll museum could have some sort of presence at Belle Vue, through an exhibit or a display, but the future use of the property still appears to be focused on a conference centre type facility. Public consultation is yet to come with future uses to be discussed during those talks.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale thanked the doll museum for its donation.

“It’s donations like these that bring us closer to opening Belle Vue,” said DiPasquale. “We hope this encourages others to make donations so we can open these doors as soon as possible.”

WSO entertains sold out crowd at Belle Vue fundraiser

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Belle Vue Conservancy’s fundraising attempts took a step forward last Thursday night with the aid of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO).

The WSO’s string orchestra was at Christ Church where 135 people enjoyed the nine selections performed by the musicians.

“We’re really fortunate that everyone has backed us,” said Belle Vue Conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue. “People are understanding what we want to do.”

The WSO string orchestra performs at Christ Church April 27. It was a fundraiser presented by the Belle Vue Conservancy.

The WSO string orchestra performs at Christ Church April 27. It was a fundraiser presented by the Belle Vue Conservancy.

As the concert approached, the ticket sales began to pick up as did the sponsorships. The concert raised over $5,350.

“The momentum is growing, which is good,” said Curson-Prue.

The Belle Vue Conservancy is attempting to raise $1 million during the first phase of its fundraising efforts as initial work has to be done to secure the 200-year-old home’s foundation, roof and eavestroughs. They are hopeful of landing matching federal grant money as well.

The Belle Vue Conservancy has raised approximately $84,500 including in-kind contributions. Their next fundraiser is the “Birdies and Bogies for Belle Vue” golf tournament, scheduled for May 13 at Sutton Creek Golf Club in McGregor. It is a 1 p.m. scramble start and the cost is $150 per person. Curson-Prue said they had about 90 golfers registered as of last Thursday night.

The WSO string orchestra performed an hour-long concert April 27 as a fundraiser for the Belle Vue Conservancy. The concert was at Christ Church on Ramsay St.

The WSO string orchestra performed an hour-long concert April 27 as a fundraiser for the Belle Vue Conservancy. The concert was at Christ Church on Ramsay St.

Those interested can call Meg Reiner at 519-890-4425, e-mail Megreiner9@gmail.com or download a registration form at www.bellevueconservancy.com.

Conservancy vice president Carolyn Davies told the audience at Christ Church that their attendance “sets us on a path for the goal of restoration” and also read greetings from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who was announced as being unable to attend due to a death in his family.

Rev. Bill Strang said there are similarities between Christ Church and Belle Vue. He said Robert Reynolds, who built Belle Vue between 1816-19, also donated bricks towards the construction of Christ Church, which opened in 1819.

The WSO string orchestra performed an hour-long concert last Thursday night as a fundraiser for the Belle Vue Conservancy. The concert was at Christ Church on Ramsay St.

The WSO string orchestra performed an hour-long concert last Thursday night as a fundraiser for the Belle Vue Conservancy. The concert was at Christ Church on Ramsay St.

“The ties between Belle Vue and Christ Church go back a long way,” said Rev. Strang.

The town of Amherstburg purchased the building last year for $1.1 million – $100,000 down and $200,000 paid annually interest-free over a five-year period – along with a $200,000 donation receipt. The Belle Vue Conservancy is the body attempting to raise the funds for the restoration and the public is asked to donate either through the conservancy’s website or at www.amherstburg.ca/donate.

The group also has a Facebook page found at www.facebook.com/bellevueconservancy and can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BelleVuematters.