Heaven family celebrates 100 years in Haliburton
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | October 15, 2015
It's the kind of celebration that happens once every century.
On Oct. 11, three of the five surviving generations of the Heaven family marked 100 years in the Highlands at a special reunion where it all began. Family travelled from as far as Vancouver, Alberta, Winnipeg and New York City to gather by the shores of Horseshoe Lake.
"Ranking high among the many things we have to be thankful for is the gift of Haliburton, and all that it has meant to us as a community of family and friends," said third generation family member Ted Heaven.
Ted's grandfather, Cecil Heaven, first discovered Minden and Horseshoe Lake in 1897. He came to the area as a student minister and served at St. Paul's church and other outlying churches.
Eighteen years later, in 1915, he and his wife Millicent purchased a 72-acre farm on the north side of the bridge on Horseshoe Lake Road.
Ever since then, their offspring and the generations that followed have been coming up to their cottage properties, which include Mirror and Mountain Lakes. Some have made Haliburton their permanent home.
Family members formed a committee to organize the recent centennial. Gwynneth Cornfield, committee chairwoman and the youngest third generation family member, has enjoyed the area for the past 70 years.
"I remember my first jump off the bridge as if it were yesterday," she said. "The fourth generation has been coming here for half a century. Some of the members of the fifth have been coming here for a mere quarter century.”
Fifth generation member Joe Gilpin also shared some words about what Haliburton and being a part of the Heaven family means to him.
"This gift, which we were given 100 years ago, is our version of heaven," said Gilpin. "A heaven we are able to experience together while we're all still here."
The event included live entertainment from a few family members and the unveiling of a plaque which pays tribute to the historical moment. Neighbour Jane Palmer surprised the family by presenting them a bench as a gift.
"For the last 67 years, you have always included us in your good times," said Palmer, holding back tears.
"Your friendship has enriched our lives and for that we are very grateful.”
In addition to the memories they created, friends and family were able to take home a 100-year pamphlet as a keepsake.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.