All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Saturday, December 5th, 2020

Happy memories at Christmas for the Common(s) Folk

Fifty former and current residents of the Commons (Hill Street and area) gathered at the Picton Legion for a delicious turkey buffet served by Bill and Marnie Grieve of Wheelhouse and Occasions Catering. New residents were welcomed to the block party Christmas dinner for the Common(s) Folk. They included Jack and Eleanor Hicks, Eleanor Johnston, Bryan Roby, Marilyn Jenkins, and Anthea Naylor.

A few of those attending gave short presentations relating to the Commons. Among those, local historian Herb Cooper stated the dictionary defines “Commons” as a piece of land for public use usually associated with low social status. Interestingly enough, today Hill St. is viewed as a destination of choice for many homeowners. He also made reference to the book Spencer’s Commons written by Margaret Haylock and Al Capon. It is a fascinating read chronicling stories about residents of the Commons.

Barb Neville spoke fondly of her beloved cat Henry, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Henry was a stray that Barb took in many years ago. He was well-known and loved by many of the neighbours. We will all miss him.
Margo Lighthall Cooper, who grew up on Fairfied St., spoke fondly of neighbourhood activities including skating, tobogganing and shopping at Johnny Loblaws (the corner grocery store).
Gord Fox spoke about Queen Elizabeth Park on Hill St. overlooking the bay. Hopefully there will be a cleanup (perhaps by the neighbours) and the sumacs trimmed to afford a better view of the water and an historical plaque erected by the County.
Peter Sly described the work that was done by the north Hill St. residents to clean up the mess around the Pump House. They also cleaned up the shoreline around the water treatment plant. Hopefully the municipality will someday place picnic tables and erect a sign.
County native Ford Rosborough spoke fondly of his early years growing up on the Commons. He remembers the cruise boats that left Picton Harbour in 1939 and travelled to Oswego. The beautiful flower garden of Margaret Haylock’s grandmother Grace Jamieson did not escape his eye as a young boy.
Interestingly enough, my husband Bill and I now live next to the Jamieson home. Ford emphasized that as there are many new residents on the street, it is perhaps time to relate new stories.
David Warrick ended the presentations with a fascinating story of Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A Macdonald. He told of Sir John A residing at the corner of Fairfield and Hill St. around 1830 when the population was 1000 residents. At the time he was 19 years old and worked as a law student with his cousin in an office at the top of the town hill.

Old or new, the message that evening was that we all are well aware of how fortunate we are to live or have lived on the Commons with such a fascinating history.

Ray Hobson with Garnet Ferguson, unofficial mayor of Hill Street.

I cannot complete this story without mentioning someone very special. His name is Garnet Ferguson but he is also known to some us as the Mayor of Hill Street. Garnie and his wife Madeline (now deceased) moved to Hill St. in 1947 when he was 19. He has a vast knowledge of the Commons having lived there for 64 years. My husband Bill and I feel very fortunate to have lived beside Garnie ane Maddie for 40 years and amazingly enough did not have one disagreement.

Christmas for the Common(s) Folk was most certainly a night to remember. This third block party for the “Hood” would not have been possible without the help of Commons native Margaret Haylock. Her memories conveyed to us through her columns, books and blog have been invaluable to many of us. -Fran Renoy

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About the Author: Fran Renoy has lived in the County for forty years so considers herself almost a native. Both she and her husband Bill consider themselves very fortunate to live in beautiful Prince Edward County. She worked at PECM hospital for thirty years as a x-ray technologist,retiring in 1998.She has a very strong passion for her local hospital and encourages others to speak up and not be afraid to do so if they feel that services are being eroded.

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  1. Linda Austin says:

    Fran, Gerry and I regret that we were unable to attend but your article made up for it, a little. We’ll definitely be at the next gathering!

  2. Anthea Naylor says:

    Thank you so much for organizing the Commons Christmas party. I enjoyed meeting my neighbors and hearing the wonderful stories about growing up on Hill Street.

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