Recently, I had the privilege of attending the grand re-opening of the Terra Cotta Community Centre. What made this particular event especially rewarding was that the restoration of this unique community landmark was a result of the determined efforts of a dedicated group of residents in the Terra Cotta community.
Originally built on land donated by Simon Plewes, a local mill owner, with money raised through fundraising and labour provided by the congregation, the church building had $20 owing when the first service was held in January 1863. In 1950 The United Church of Canada passed a resolution to deed the hall and lands to a Board of Trustees of Terra Cotta to be used as a Community Centre. Between 1950 and 1992 – the community maintained the hall and, the “Thursday Thimbler’s” raised money for its maintenance and operation by quilting and a variety of other fundraising efforts.
Fast forward to today; the land and building were deeded, fundraising and donations financed construction and the majority of the labour for the renovated Community Centre was provided by dedicated Terra Cotta residents. Volunteers, who I might add, would be very happy if only $20 was all that was still outstanding!
An influx of new people into the community brought fresh energy and ideas all galvanized to support this decades long effort. An Ontario Trillium Grant was obtained and many fundraising events held and hours and hours of work completed all culminating renovation of this historic building.
I have often said that Caledon is a “community of communities” and the individual character, the unique history and the architectural and natural heritage of each of our villages and hamlets are the foundation of what makes Caledon the great Town it is. The hard work of Terra Cotta’s residents in restoring this beautiful centre not only reinforces the magnificence of their community, it enhances the overall attractiveness of our Town – all too often these important community landmarks are lost to development, disrepair or destruction.
The Terra Cotta Community Centre is much more than an historic building it’s the heart of the community, it is an important gathering place, as it always has been, and it is, once again, going to be available for many, many generations to come thanks to the hard work and commitment of an exceptional community.
The residents of Terra Cotta are to be congratulated and, more importantly in my opinion, thanked most sincerely, for preserving this important part of Terra Cotta’s history and for leading the way for others in our Town.