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Unique park and hall owned by villagers in Harwood

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland TodayPatti Brenning (left) and Amanda Jex were among a group of Harwood Memorial Hall volunteers and board members serving breakfast this past Saturday. The 8-to-11 a.m. event is held once a month, one of the fundraisers that helps to keep the hall maintained and operating.

VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland TodayPatti Brenning (left) and Amanda Jex were among a group of Harwood Memorial Hall volunteers and board members serving breakfast this past Saturday. The 8-to-11 a.m. event is held once a month, one of the fundraisers that helps to keep the hall maintained and operating.

HARWOOD -- The Harwood Memorial Hall and Park is a unique property in Hamilton Township, because is actually owned by the villagers of Harwood and area, board chair Larry Williams said.

Another unique feature of this hall near the southern shore of Rice Lake is the artesian well out front that runs, whether it's raining or snowing, and which draws people from a wide area for the consistent quality of the water it provides.

Because the hall really is the community's (although it gets some township financial support), it organizes a host of different events to engage people in the community from children to seniors, raising funds to pay for the hall's upkeep.

The land on which the hall sits was bequeathed in 1924 and then, with locally harvested lumber, it was built and opened in 1948, Williams said during a fundraising breakfast this past Saturday.

The very social breakfast event which is enjoyed by families, singles and couples of all ages, he said -- and it's just one way to make money to maintain the hall and to bring the community together.

Fellow board member Patti Brenning organizes the breakfast with volunteers and board members, who include Ann Marie Finney, Amanda Jex, Judy Kellar and Marcia Williamson.

A Psychic Fair is coming up on Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the $5 admission (like the $10 breakfasts) going towards maintenance and operation of the hall and park. There will be door prizes and refreshments, Brenning says.

A series of fundraising events, with funds matched by the township, resulted in a small skateboard installation last year. And special events like youth dances are also a way to bring all ages into the facility. And in June, there was a fun fair held in conjunction with the Friends of the Harwood Waterfront as part of a three-day celebration of Canada's 150, and Hamilton Township contributed to that as well.

And for something really a little different, Harwood resident and former MP Pauline Browes, who lives at the historical Drope farm in Harwood, is working with George Parker, a member of the Cobourg museum. They hope to organize a workshop to build historical replica ore cars like the ones that moved iron ore from Marmora to Cobourg via Harwood in the late 1860s. The workshop would be run in conjunction with the monthly breakfast Saturdays, Browes said. Details are still being worked out.

If you have any questions about activities at the hall, Brenning can be reached at 905 269-2498.

vmacdonald@postmedia.com