dunster winter market, kid, child, playing, playful, costume, dress-up
Photo: Chris Parker
By Chris Parker

After the frenetic 7 hockey games of last weekend, things in McBride were relatively quiet this weekend, so we looked around, and after consulting all the usual sources we decided to spend our Saturday morning attending and bringing you the story of the Dunster Winter Market. That is the official name…but is not quite what you get! Yet the Dunster Hall did hold some 75 locals, all of whom enjoyed a wonderful homemade soup and sandwich luncheon and perhaps more important, a good old chinwag. With many of the men at one long series of tables and the ladies at the other, the activities and yarns were exchanged, the children running around, having a bite to eat and soon running about some more… and as you will see in the accompanying pictures, borrowing ‘Pete the Heat’s’ policeman’s hat to pose for pictures. O yes, Pete was there. He called it ‘community visibility’ but truly somebody said the magic word – desserts – and yes he does have a sweet tooth. It was ‘community’ at its best.

We spoke to some people there who had been in the area since the mid ‘40s and others who had moved here from the Middle East and the United States in the last year. As one lady told me…everyone is from somewhere else. Yet all were there with smiles on and were content to spend from 11:30 – 1pm on a Saturday lunch time, sharing their locally grown produce in several varieties of soup, homemade buns with a variety of available fillings, and delectable desserts, along with coffee and tea. ‘Subway’ didn’t have a better spread and certainly didn’t have the atmosphere.

This slice of the past continues for three more Saturdays culminating with a pot luck event to wrap up this season on April 12. Then after a short break the hamburger luncheons will start along with the summer markets with their tailgate sales of plants, crafts and later in the season, a full assortment of produce.

The kitchen staff on this occasion included Julian Ambrose-Green, Deb Cockrane, Susan Umstot, and Tim Haus, names and individuals literally from around the world. For less than $8.00 a full package of soup, sandwich, dessert and beverage could be enjoyed. While some goods were transferred from one vehicle to another there were no tables ‘selling’ produce or crafts on this occasion. Instead it was the sound of ‘happy voices, enjoying some communal banter’ that were heard as they raised a few dollars which will keep the hall in operation.

A most enjoyable outing – it truly brought me back to similar events in my home in Yorkshire and of Readers Digest stories of events in schoolhouses and church halls throughout the Canadian and American West where settlers gathered for similar get-togethers. This is the foundation of locales that became ‘communities’ and later our towns and villages.

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