Haldimand Branch News

Haldimand is a rural county on the Niagara penninsula in southern Ontario, located on the north shore of Lake Erie and on the Grand River. Our largest towns are Caledonia, Cayuga, Dunnville, Jarvis and Hagersville.

The Haldimand Branch of RWTO/OERO has over 85 members.  Our branch has met faithfully for many years at a Spring Luncheon (May), a Fall Luncheon (October) and a Christmas Luncheon (December).

Watch this space for news about other events throughout the year including a Friendship Tea (February) which we hope to make a yearly tradition too.

The Haldimand Branch President is Evelyn Martin (email at valentine_@rogers.com)  For more information about joining our group, upcoming events, arranging transportation to Haldimand Branch events or for other inquiries from any retired women teachers contact Roberta Bridge at (905) 765-3351 or Betsy McBurney at (905) 772-3296.


V.S.N. (Very Special News) from Haldimand RWTO/OERO

Our own Lois Lockhart, a Past President of Haldimand RWTO/OERO, will become President of RWTO/OERO at the 2017 RWTO/OERO convention!

(Photo Credit – Anne Wilde)

Upcoming Events

Spring Luncheon – Monday, May 1, 2017 at Fisherville Lutheran Church

Cost: Members (subsidized to celebrate Spring!) only $10!

Non-Members – $19  Please note – if you chose to become a member at this luncheon you will be considered “paid up” until October 2018.

There will be a Summer Book exchange.  Bring some gently used books and exchange them for a new to you book.

Fall Luncheon – Monday, October 2, 2017 at Wesley United Church, Jarvis ON

It’s the Invite a Friend Luncheon.  Bring a retired woman teacher friend to share fun and fellowship with the Haldimand Branch Entertainment.

Christmas Luncheon –  Monday, December 11, 2017 at Grace United Church, Caledonia

Carol Sing and a Pajama Campaign (Bring a new pair of pajamas – for babies, children, teens or women –  for donation to the Women’s Shelter


Grace McBride

Grace McBride, who is now 102, was an elementary teacher in Haldimand County. When she finished high school in Cayuga where she grew up, she was too young to attend Hamilton Normal School. With a friend’s help, she taught herself to type in order to work in a lawyer’s office for two years. She had been an outstanding student and would have liked to attend university, but as she was the oldest of four children, the family could not afford the expense.

After teacher’s training, she taught in one-room schoolhouses in Haldimand County for the next ten years, driving out from Cayuga in a very old car with no heater and ising-glass curtains for windows. Her father gave her a pair of old buffalo skin mittens to keep her hands from freezing, and hand-carved some beautiful wooden pointers to bring her luck. She enjoyed teaching and tried to give her students something special to look forward to including literary evenings (featuring recitations and a play) Christmas concerts, picnics and sports events. She taught the girls to knit and sew and the boys how to use a jig-saw to make wooden animals and birds. When the weather was not good, they all learned the basics of Scottish country dancing.

During the summers, she took courses at McMaster and Western to achieve a year of university. When the war came, she and the whole class made a quilt which was donated to the war effort. She had met her husband-to-be when they were both sixteen, but he worked for a bank which forbade their young employees to marry and as a teacher she would not be allowed to teach if she married. Finally they were able to marry and she stayed home to look after the children John, Robert and Mary Jean. They lived in several towns as the bank moved the family around in Southern Ontario. Occasionally she was asked to supply teach when people learned she was a teacher. Grace discovered that she was only one year away from a small pension, so when her children were in high school, she went back to teach long enough to achieve her goal.

At the age of 51, she took a course in watercolour painting and found that she was a natural artist. Many friends and acquaintances have requested her paintings. Another hobby over the years was Scottish country dancing which she enjoyed until she was 88! When her husband retired, they settled in Dunnville. He died several years ago. Now Grace lives with her daughter Mary Jean Folinsbee in a house on the shore of Lake Erie.

She is proud of her children (two became teachers) her six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. As well as her art, she enjoys reading, television, attending community events and watching the birds. What is the secret of her long life? She says she has always had a strong faith. Her daughter says Grace has the gift of enjoying the moment and looking forward to the future. Beware if you visit – with a twinkle she may try some mental arithmetic on you! Her parents named her “Grace”, a name that certainly suits Grace McBride.

Jackie Carson


April 2015

Recently Sandra Salerno from the Haldimand RWTO Executive had the pleasure of attending a celebration for the 103rd birthday of Grace McBride. Sandra presented flowers to Grace at a Haldimand-Norfolk Community Senior Support Services event. Rebecca Bailey, who runs the program in Caledonia and Sandra Salerno posed for a photo with Grace who is a very active centenarian!

Caring And Sharing

Throughout the year those attending Haldimand Branch of RWTO/OERO events make donations to charities and special projects including the following:

  • Haldimand- Norfolk Women’s Shelter
  • Grand Erie Regional Heritage Fair
  • School Breakfast Programs
  • Local Animal Shelters
  • Haldimand Food Banks
  • Grandview Lodge Christmas Stocking Progra