Throughout the year, the SSSC submits articles to The Record, a local regional English-language daily published in the City of Sherbrooke. The articles report on the activities of the club, primarily with respect to the weekly meetings held during the regular season, but also in regards to events which occur throughout the year.
The club which predates the establishment of the paper in 1897 by nearly two decades, has enjoyed a close relationship with the publication ever since its inception. The paper was for many decades issued under the banner the "Sherbrooke Daily Record", then the "Sherbrooke Record" before devolving to simply "The Record". The very first issue of the paper contained two separate announcements regarding the activities of the club and similar, more detailed reports have appeared in the daily ever since.
Annual Garage Sale - 2016
On Saturday and Sunday, May 28th & 29th, the Sherbrooke Snow Shoe Club hosted its 11th annual garage sale at the clubhouse and grounds on Prospect Street in the city’s north end.
After weeks of preparation the sale was set to proceed. After months of collecting donations from members, their families, friends of the club and the general public, it was time to begin the sorting process. Boxes of items were brought out of storage and sorted into general categories before being placed in assigned areas on the tables and floor-space throughout the clubhouse. There were designated sections for dishware, electronics, books, cookware, sporting goods, lighting, appliances and furniture. When necessary, items were washed, repaired or simply made presentable. It was not long before the century old building was filled with the diverse array of items destined for sale. All the available space was occupied from the clubhouse’s stage right through to the rear-dining hall, including the long entrance hallway. Shelves were added to most of the tables to maximize the amount of display area.
While high-end items such as quality furniture and antiques were strategically placed within the confines of the clubhouse, lesser value items were placed under the protection of a large marquee tent that was erected outside in the club’s spacious parking lot.
In the weeks leading up to the sale, members and/or their companions gathered at the clubhouse to tackle the preparations. Sometimes it was only a handful of individuals, and other times, as many as 20 volunteers showed up to assist in the sorting, cleaning, placement and pricing of items. While always a daunting task, the work at hand was made less arduous by the community of spirit shared by the workers and the common goal of supporting the grand old club. Light refreshments and the casual conversations among volunteers enhanced the camaraderie of the work crews as they worked at their assigned jobs.
By early morning of the 28th, everything was set. The canteen had been erected, items destined for the tent had been relocated from the clubhouse and an energetic team of salesmen and support staff had assembled to manage the sale. Starting off the Saturday morning rituals was the preparation of a large urn of hot coffee and the fabrication of ‘Mary Muffins’, a tasty homemade variation of a popular commercial breakfast meal. Named for a dedicated canteen volunteer, the breakfast treat has become a noted addition to the canteen’s morning menu.
And so, the sale began, with early bargain hunters seeking out objects of interest. As the day progressed the volume of shoppers increased proportionately, with more and more items leaving the premises.
The attraction of the SSSC sale was its virtual size and variety of items available to purchase. As one of the largest garage sales in the city, the sale has become a popular destination at this time of year. The attraction was further enhanced by the proximity and number of private garage sales all up and down Prospect Street. As well, there many others in the general area, part of the borough of Jacques Cartier’s ‘grand tournée des ventes-débarras’ for 2016.
Luckily, the SSSC sale and all the other nearby sales were blessed with a Saturday that was dominated by bright sunshine, a sure recipe for success. Sunday, on the other hand, was less favourable, though the eventual rain at least held off till late afternoon. As a result, as the sale wound down, members were able to lower the large tent and dismantle the canteen setup in advance of the inclement weather.
In the end, all the work proved worthwhile. Sufficient funds were raised to help cover the significant overhead costs associated with operating the club. And, in so doing, to quote an age-old cliché, “a good time was had by all”!
As for the remaining stock of unsold items, most of it is destined as donations to local charities throughout the Sherbrooke area.
The SSSC would like to express its gratitude to the local community for its donations of items, for the purchases made during the sale and the general support extended to this 139 year-old institution! The club is truly grateful.
A Sweet Gathering - 2016
On a cold, otherwise beautiful Saturday in March, members of the Sherbrooke Snow Shoe Club, their family members and friends of the fraternity gathered at the clubhouse on Prospect Street for an annual sugar-on-snow party.
It was the 19th of the month, a time when one would expect warmer temperatures on the last day of winter. But the bright sunshine proved to be the right antidote for the cooler than normal air outside and consequently, no one seemed to mind. Indeed, everyone seemed in high spirits as they entered the inner sanctum of the 128-year old structure, where a welcoming fire beckoned from the original fireplace of 1888.
On a warmer day, the event might even have been convened outside in light of the sunny and bright conditions. But the light-hearted atmosphere of the clubhouse’s interior was more than appropriate for the occasion at hand.
With a number of competing events this Saturday late in March, party organizers were a little apprehensive about attendance and thus anticipated a smaller than usual crowd. However, their fears proved to be unfounded as members and guests continued to arrive right to the very end. The crowd was in fact, larger than 2015’s gathering, numbering close to 80, not including all the children who arrived free of charge.
Soon after the appointed hour of two o’clock, pitchers of freshly boiled maple syrup started appearing from the kitchen and were poured judiciously on waiting pans of freshly packed snow. Early arrivals were quick to gather around the nearby tables for a quick taste of the sweet offering before them. The concentration around the tables intensified as more and more attendees arrived throughout the afternoon. Besides the primary object of interest, there were the usual accoutrements associated with such events, like coffee & juice, donates and pickles, as well as bowls of peanuts on hand.
Supervising the preparation of the maple syrup was veteran boiler Don Parsons, ably assisted by fellow SSSC member Doug Beattie. Apart from their all-important contribution, were the efforts of other members of the club, notably Brian Heath and Steve Moore, who assisted in the preparation and management of the event. Such SSSC activities are always characterized as a ‘team effort’ and Saturday’s party was no exception.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the day was the diversity of attendees, made of all backgrounds and age groups: a great gathering of family and friends, not to mention the SSSC family itself.
This year’s gathering was marked by the light-hearted musical accompaniment provided by Janis Graham on the piano. She in turn, was complimented by the vocals of some club members as they sang along to the music emanating from the old piano in the back hall.
All in all, a very satisfying event for organizers and attendees alike!
Some Recent Articles:
An Invitation & Auld Lang Sine - 2016
On Saturday, February 27th, the Sherbrooke Snow Club hosted the Quebec Labrador Foundation from Montreal. The club welcomed representatives of the Foundation and their guests for a visual representation of the history of snowshoes and snowshoe clubs in Canada. The slide show reflected the early development and use of snowshoes, as well as the different types and variations that evolved over time. It also told the story of the Montreal Snow Shoe Club, the oldest club to have been formed and the standard by which all other similar clubs were organized and operated, not the least of which was our own SSSC. Following the presentation, the guests were given a tour of the clubhouse and shown all the different snowshoe club artifacts adorning the clubhouse walls.
On Wednesday, March 2nd, members of the club met for their final meeting of the regular season.
The weather had reverted to winter-like conditions on this first Wednesday of March, with cold temperatures and a biting wind out of the west. It was not all that enjoyable for snowshoeing or snow-walking.
President Hugh Bowen called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. and once again attempted to adhere to an itemized agenda. He welcomed everyone in attendance, especially long time member Jim Davidson who frequently is unable to attend regular meetings. The president also commented on the respectable showing of Red Party members all seated in their red chairs along the western wall of the dining hall.
President Hugh then called for the singing of the national anthem, following which he requested Past President Harry Brown to ask the blessing.
As the White Knights proceeded to deliver the evening meal, the president and a certain member from Ayer’s Cliff exchanged comments of the practicality of employing styling gels for their respective hair-dos. The Knights meanwhile, passed out the allotted servings.
After dining, the drawings for the evening’s door prizes were held, with a fortunate Jim Davidson declared a winner, as was fellow member Doug Beattie.
President Hugh proceeded to extend his gratitude for the season’s contribution by members of the White Knights, Chef Elaine and her crew, as well as Janis Graham for her musical accompaniment on the piano.
Past President Alan Cox delivered a couple of year end jokes, the latter dealing with an old lady carrying a bag of money down the street. The traditional sing-along was conducted by Honorary Chorister Bill Lyon on the occasion of his birthday, for which the membership honored him with the classic birthday song. The sing-along was made up of various personal favorites selected by the man of the hour.
President Hugh then conducted a business meeting, the most important aspect of which was the presentation of next season’s proposed slate of officers and committee members. The slate presented by Nominating Committee chairman Ron Smith was duly accepted by the membership and the individuals in question are destined to fulfill their responsibilities immediately following the club’s annual general meeting in October. Until then, the current club administration will continue in their assigned roles.
Following the usual final meeting announcements concerning activities in the off-season, the members rose and reassembled in the main hall. Here they initiated an age old SSSC tradition of ending the regular season by forming a circle and with arms crossed and holding hands sang the classic Scottish song “Auld Lang Sine”. It is a ritual that concludes every regular season session, one that reflects more than anything else the great camaraderie identified with club membership.
At this point the members dispersed, opting to leave, to linger and socialize, or to play cards or volleyball.