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April 5, 2017

 

EVENTS

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Signs on the windows of Swan’s Variety Store Closes announce the sad news that the iconic store is closing.

Photo: Sally Smid

 

Villagers saddened by closing of Swan's Variety

 

By Sally Smid

 “It’s with great sadness that we are closing after 47 years. Thanks to all of our customers,” reads the sign in the Swan’s Variety Store window. 

And so it seems to be the end of an era as this iconic store on Athens’ Main Street closed its doors last month.  Swan’s was housed in what remained of the famous Gamble House which was built in 1882, part of what was called the “Pierce Block”. Most of the building was destroyed by fire in 1976. 

Bill Swan established the business in 1970 and his wife Shirley and daughter Karen operated the business for many years. Before the fire, Swans owned the entire three story building which included a restaurant and apartments. The third floor of the Swan’s building was removed during restorations. With the passing of her parents, Karen Swan has maintained the family business, but finds it now longer to continue due to financial challenges.

The store’s closing is like “losing a family friend” as area residents have so many memories of what the store has meant to them over the years.

It was the place to go when things like bread or milk were needed after hours and was well named as a “variety store” offering a myriad of needed items. It also once included pinball machines, a Laundromat, coffee shop and a pool hall and offered local newspapers, video rentals, and Lotto tickets as well.

The Swans were a valued part of the community and are remembered as friendly and welcoming and were always ready to “lend a listening ear”. 

For many youngsters it was the place to find a large variety “penny candies”.   Beth Hart recalls going in with her four boys so that they could spend their money.  “One would always wait until all the boys had picked to see who got the best deal. The Swans were always very patient with him,” she recalls. 

“We are thankful for all of the support that the family gave to the  Athens Food Bank,” commented President Elaine Farley. 

“The closing of our store is heartbreaking,” commented owner Karen Swan who has no future plans at this time.  She explained how financially hard it is to operate a small “Mom and Pop” store in this day in age. While the Swan’s Variety Store comes to an end, the warm memories of this neighbourhood store will go on and on.

 

                                                                                                                

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Teacher Jim Wilson flips pancakes as Jacob Kerr helps with breakfast preparations at the ADHS Canada 150 Maple Celebration.

Photos: Sally Smid

 

Maple celebration at ADHS

 

By Sally Smid

What could be more Canadian than maple syrup? 

That was the topic of Athens District High School’s recent recognition of Canada’s 150th birthday on March 8.  Just in time for maple syrup season, the Celebration of the Maple event was hosted by the school’s Natural Resource & Outdoor Studies Class.  The March wind was very cool for the outside activities, but the sun shone down on the event located on the back lawn of the school.  The day featured a free pancake breakfast for all students and staff, maple syrup and maple taffy making activities, and other educational displays including a milking machine demonstration.  Student Houston Henry explained how a cow is milked with the use of an operating machine powered by a farm tractor.  “Milking is included today as it is one of Canada’s main industries,” he explained.  ADHS students attending school in Athens, formerly Farmersville, really needed no further explanation than that.

 

Students and staff were also invited to take the “Maple Challenge” and see if they could tell the difference between real Canadian Maple Syrup and fake table syrup. Maple prizes were awarded. It seems that most all contestants easily recognized the difference.

Board Trustee John McAllister was also present for the event.  He enjoyed a pancake breakfast with principal Marsha McNair.  Holding up a maple cookie included in the meal he asked with a smile, “What could be more Canadian than this?”  It was a special time for him to also interact with students and staff.  The Celebration was a great way to bring together what Mr. Wilson’s class has been learning as they shared with classmates while celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial in a meaningful way.

 

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School Board Trustee John McAllister holds up a Maple Leaf cookie in celebration of maple syrup as Principal Marsha McNair joins him for a pancake breakfast at the recent ADHS Canada 150 event.

 

 

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Next Issue : Wednesday May 3

 

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Publication Dates 2017

 

The Mural updated

 

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April 5, 2017

 

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March 1, 2017

 

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LOCAL NEWS

FORUM

Renovation & Home Building feature

PAGE 10

PAGE 11

Fishing & BOating

Delta MAple Syrup Festival

PG 14 & 15

Business Directory

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The Mural

P.O. Box 398, Athens, Ontario, Canada, K0E 1B0

Tel. 613-493-0074

Email: editor@themural.on.ca

All contents copyright 2017 The Mural. 

All articles, photographs and advertisement layouts created by The Mural cannot be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.

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