For the past few years, Parkwood has recognised the work of our fantastic volunteers with an outing each December to other National Historic Sites in our part of Ontario. Yesterday we ventured to the Sharon Temple NHS and Leaskdale Manse NHS.

The intrepid volunteers negotiated the mud and drizzle to venture through the Sharon Temple site, awe struck by the architecture, investment and dedication of the folk who built the temple c.1825 in the middle of Upper Canada as their sign and commitment to a higher power.

At Leaskdale, the volunteers were engrossed in the story of Lucy Maud Montgomery and her successes as a Canadian author in the early part of the 20th century, having written 11 of her 15 books in the Leaskdale Manse, while also being the minister’s wife, and executing her societal duties, along with raising two children, and leading many community programs/projects.

The volunteers of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario provided us with a delightful lunch, prior to us venturing through the church and the manse to view the work that the society has accomplished in just a short while and learning about LMM’s endeavours, and life.

In reviewing some of the messages I received this morning from the volunteers on tour yesterday, you will see the impressions that Sharon Temple and the Manse received.

“Wow! What a day!! My head is swimming with facts!!! I’ve been googling both sites. There are lots of other dedicated volunteers who have made these venues so interesting.”

“Both Sharon Temple and Leaskdale were very interesting, and our hosts were great. “

In any volunteer management program, one will hear about the 3 r’s of volunteerism; recruitment, recognition and retention. It is the recognition that tends to be the hardest to achieve, and our little outing is one of the many things we try to do, to recognise our volunteers service, and the hours and talents they have committed to the museum, along with their enthusiasm and passion for Parkwood.

This outing provides an opportunity for us to see how other sites operate, get to know the staff and volunteers of our sister sites, but most importantly understand the marvellous historic gems we have within our province, often gems we don’t know about, or wouldn’t be on our radar to visit. Both the Sharon Temple and Leaskdale have been on the must visit lists of many of the volunteers, but until yesterday, had never made it to Uxbridge or Sharon (aka East Gwilliambury) to see the sites.

So when you are at Parkwood and receive the tour, see someone weeding, have tea, enjoy a program or event, shop in the giftshop or get asked to take a survey, marvel at the lovely polished silver, see the wet paint signs, these are likely our Parkwood Museum Volunteers. Volunteers who we cannot thank enough for their service in our daily operations.

In one of my messages this morning, in reflection of their recognition day yesterday, the following words struck me,

“When you visit other Historic sites, it certainly makes you appreciate what a treasure we have at Parkwood”