RACHEL DYCK, For the Independent
This past weekend, Wellesley and Woolwich townships participated in the 10th annual Doors Open Waterloo Region event, inviting the public to tour various sites of significance in the area.
Of the 37 region-wide churches, community centres, historical sites and parks open to visitors throughout the day, four were located in Wellesley and five were in Woolwich. Included in these were the St. Clement Roman Catholic Church, the Waterloo County Railway Locomotive Restoration Shop, the Wellesley Mill, the Region of Waterloo International Airport and more.
Free of charge, the event receives necessary funding from the Region of Waterloo and several other sponsors, and is made possible by volunteers such as Steven and Bonnie Gaudet, who opened the doors of St. Clements Roman Catholic Church for the day.
“We’re very proud (of our church),” said Steven. “We’re quite pleased to be members of the church…a lot of people give a lot of time and effort to keep it looking like it does.”
Mahlon and Edna Bauman of Elmira were pleasantly surprised by the pristine condition of the facility. Growing up, Mahlon recalls how Catholic children from his home community in Hawkesville would ride to the church in horse and buggy to spend three weeks in religious training every year. Last Saturday was his first time being inside the building himself.
While some organizations have been part of the event in the past, others, such as the WCR Locomotive Restoration Shop, participated in Doors Open for the first time this year.
“It’s been fantastic so far,” said community relations and retail sales manager Neal Moogk-Soulis on Saturday. “It’s always great to see all the hidden gems in the area.”
Moogk-Soulis explained that while the WCR Locomotive Restoration Shop building itself is only a few years old, some the equipment inside dates back nearly a hundred years, including one of the last operating steam engines in Ontario.
For residents of Wellesley and Woolwich and visitors from other areas, Doors Open Waterloo Region was a day of celebrating the past and looking forward to the future of the community.