Photo Credit: Andrea Munn Photo L-R: Tobermory Primary Place Daycare (TPP) board members Ashleigh Stevenson, Leah Swanton and Megan Robins accepting bids for the Silent Auction held at the St Nicholas Bazaar on November 27th.
By Hazel Smith,
Bruce Peninsula Press

Sheila Peacock, convener of the St Nicholas bazaar for 8 years, humorously explains the origins of the bazaar. It was a negotiating point when the Tobermory United Church was recruiting Brad Inglis. Inglis believed it was a vital social and festive engagement between the church community and the broader community. Peacock laughs, “for him it was a ‘deal breaker’”. Happily the Church leadership agreed, hired Inglis, and church member Ferelith Hoffman Taylor rolled up her sleeves and helped Inglis make the St Nicholas bazaar a reality.

But it begs the question, why would a bazaar be a deal maker? Peacock answers, “It’s not about the fundraising, it was never meant for that, it’s a community event, a happy one. It presents local talent, that’s really the basis of the whole thing.” She adds that the money raised goes back into the community. 

Peacock describes a quintessential moment when, in the kitchen, she momentarily closed her eyes, “I just listened to the sound and felt so grateful. The hum of voices and laughter was so beautiful.”

For all the joy, the convener has a big job. Peacock is behind the scenes taking care of many organizational matters long before the doors open for a few short hours. She liaises with the MNBP around the hall, recruits and supports the large and dedicated volunteer team, plans craft days and pie making bees. She is enthusiastic about it all, a true labour of love, and is most especially enthusiastic in her thanks to the many people who volunteer. She singles out for special recognition pie maker extraordinaire, Vi Adams, long time church member, who makes ALL the pastry for all the pies and has it rolled out and ready for the dozens of pies that are then “assembled” at the bee.  

L-R: Holly Dunham and Ferelith Hoffman Taylor strike a deal at the Tobermory United Church St Nicholas Bazaar.

This year Karen Hodgson and Lori Johnson staffed the door and implemented the Covid 19 protocols, cheerfully checking all the QR codes, digital pictures, and wallet cards. Thankfully everyone was respectful, appreciative and patient – the quick flowing line-ups another chance for socialising. 

Eleven vendors set up wares, compared to up to 20 in past years, again due to Covid 19. 

Holly Dunham, in-house with blankets, basketry and rugs reported her “best sale yet” and a delightful afternoon visiting with table neighbour Smokey Golden (with wares fundraising for breast cancer research), and the many community members who stopped by to chat, admire and buy.  

An important departure for this year’s bazaar was offering the Silent Auction tables to Tobermory’s Primary Place Daycare for a fundraiser. Leah Swanton, Megan Robins and Ashleigh Stevenson, new board members at the Daycare, worked hard to make it a very successful event. All three are determined, as young parents, to have a flourishing daycare service. “Tobermory is growing,” says Swanton, “there are five new children in my daughter’s class since September! In the last year 7 to 10 babies were born in this community.” The infant-toddler room, which has previously been closed or experienced very low enrollment, now needs staff. 

Pie maker extraordinaire and long time church member Vi Adams at the St Nicholas Bazaar.

Swanton says they were overwhelmed by the response to their canvass of local businesses such as Scott’s Home Hardware, Wilson’s Home Hardware, Aunt Donkeys, the Sweet Shop, Bruce Anchor and local crafter “Sweater Weather”, to name but a few. The three board members canvassed far and wide via drop-ins, facebook, and phone calls. To their delight every item got at least one bid. One of the most competitively bid items was the septic pump out (thanks to Bruce Peninsula Septic Service).

Swanton echoes Peacock’s view of the importance of community engagement. The three board members repeatedly heard, “It’s so nice to see you out.” An important fundraiser, it was also a golden opportunity to inform the community about the issues and work of the Daycare.  

Peacock says while Inglis’s absence was deeply felt by the whole volunteer team, they were both proud and grateful to make it happen and record another success. Partnering with the Daycare a new and important win.