Friends of the Mindemoya Old School holding auction

Silent art auction will take place August 13

To the Expositor:

Some five years ago, the beautiful old stone and brick Mindemoya school, built in 1921, was to be destroyed and replaced by a parking lot. A group of dismayed community members banded together to dispute the council decision, making presentations of protest to council that demonstrated majority public opinion. About a year ago, the group named itself ‘FOMOS’ (Friends Of Mindemoya Old School) and, through the guidance of Ontario Historical Society, became a corporate entity, now over 300 strong.

The group engaged in many fundraising activities and public awareness events. They held community picnics, bake sales, television interviews and wrote letters to the local newspapers. FOMOS commissioned the production of commemorative mugs, tote bags and fridge magnets to be sold at scheduled events. A book was written, compiled and published by Joanne Smith of Mindemoya. ‘Tales From The Mindemoya Old School’ is a heart-warming collection of anecdotes and fond memories from former students and teachers. A commemorative medallion of the school’s 100th birthday was minted and sold as a successful fundraiser.

FOMOS has recently been successful with its efforts in negotiating a reprieve from destruction of the venerable old building that means so much to Central Manitoulin Township. A 21-year lease has now been approved and signed that will allow the group to repurpose the school. Its new life is anticipated to include arts and crafts instruction and sales, a seniors’ centre and a museum.

FOMOS is hosting a silent art auction at the Mindemoya Community Picnic and Craft Show to be held in the Mindemoya Arena on August 13. Twelve pieces of art have been donated for auction and can be seen by following a link found on several Manitoulin Facebook sites, such as: “Friends of the Mindemoya Old School.” These pieces will be awarded to winning bidders at that event.

The Old School now again has a promising future and a new lease on life. It is thanks to the determined efforts of FOMOS, to their wonderful community support, and to the willingness of Central Manitoulin Council to reconsider their plans of demolition that this great building will now survive. We all owe a great debt of thanks to The Manitoulin Expositor for its most valuable assistance in promoting public awareness. Kudos to all who contributed to this ‘Save the School’ resolution!

Friends of Mindemoya Old School