An Alma Christmas story

Aileen Carroll,
I recently drove the 2 hours from my hometown of Brampton,Ontario,to the beautiful City of St.Thomas,it was a windy & snow-swept day,and as I pulled up to 96 Moore Street,the place in which beautiful and historic Alma College stood for 130 years,tears came to my eyes,as I was looking over to the quaint little chapel,because one of the roof tiles blew completely off,and tumbled across the rubble filled property.If you were to read the history of Alma College,you would know that the christmas season at 96 Moore Street,when the college was filled with students,was a special place to be.Students that didn’t travel home,spent the christmas season at the college,some of them seeing snow,for the very first time.96 Moore Street was the place many of these students called home,and it was always filled with joy and laughter.Fast forward to 2008,and the chapel sits abandoned and neglected,as does the music building,slowly giving in to the elements,as the ministry of culture does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to protect the legacy.I know it may seem strange,that people still have passion for this property,but if you had the same passion,you would realize that 96 Moore Street is historic,and the land alone deserves the protection,under the heritage act,but seeing that 2 buildings still remain standing,this makes the legacy,all the more important.I challenge you to go stand at the gates of 96 Moore Street,on a snowy day,and just imagine the college as it once was,decorated for the christmas season,and students having a snow ball fight,out front of the college,and just having fun.We have an obligation to all of those who built the college,and to all those who once walked the halls of that grand old building.We lost the main structure,on May 28th,2008,but we could save the 2 remaining buildings,if you would designate the property,and force the owner to STOP his “demolition by neglect”,from toppling the chapel and the music building.The fact that your ministry has failed to designate 96 Moore Street,makes me wonder what exactly the culture ministry is doing to protect our built heritage.I thought by now,you would have seen the importance of this property,but I’m not sure if our heritage,is even on the radar screen of the ministry of culture.So as I leave 96 Moore Street,I glance back at the chapel and the music building,darkened and abandoned,I wonder if they will be ever decorated for christmas again,I say quietly to myself,maybe the christmas spirit will change Minister Carroll’s mind,but then I realize,those happy endings,only happen in the movies…

Bob Foster

2 thoughts on “An Alma Christmas story

  1. I wanted to write to say how beautiful and touching that story is.I too recently went to visit the alma property and its was very disheartening to see the chapel roof damaged and the music building sitting empty and dark.You really feel helpless because it feels like every level of government has turned its back on our heritage.I was lucky enough to see the inside of alma while it was still standing,and though the inside was completely bare you still could feel that it was a special place.The very long hallways and grand staircase were just amazing.To watch the college burn down,left a very empty feeling inside because I thought if they ignored alma college,they will ignore just about anything.I was glad to see Dawn Doty on the A channel news keeping up the fight to save what remains,and I support the efforts of all those people who continue the fight for ontarios heritage.

    Jamie Summers


  2. Made the snow Pink one day, at the entrance to MacMillon Hall before our students arrived at the Junior School.
    Told them that The Cat in the Hat had been there.
    What joyous memories!


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