Most of you know the story of Theodore Pringle Loblaw donating over $100,000 to build a hospital in Alliston in the 1920s to honour his grandparents William and Elizabeth Stevenson. The Stevensons settled on their farm in Essa in 1832 and a number of years later their successful grandson Theodore Loblaw repurchased it and built a 16-bedroom, 15-bathroom manor on the property that is now known as Stevenson Farms B&B and Harvest Spa. It even had its own golf course and tennis courts in the day.
My wife Janet’s parents Peter and Willemina Schep were early Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1949 and after a 7-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean with four children they arrived in Quebec City, then boarded a train to arrive many hours later in Alliston, Ontario. Their sponsor William (Bill) Wood owned the Stevenson Farm at the time. They arrived by train after lunchtime and by 3:00 pm Peter Schep was milking cows. The Schep family moved into living quarters attached to the main barn and were very comfortable there. They were accustomed to joint barn/house living quarters in their native Holland and so were very happy to be in their newly adopted country.
Peter and Willemina worked hard as did all immigrants in their new roles. Only a couple of years into living in their unfamiliar country, on January 18, 1952, their youngest 5-year-old daughter Adri told her father she didn’t feel well enough to feed the calves. She had a high temperature, so Peter and Willemina soon realized there was something seriously wrong with Adri and they rushed her to Stevenson Memorial Hospital at 10:00 that morning. It was later discovered she had contracted viral pneumonia and died by 1:00 pm the same day. There was an outpouring of community support and the crushed parents received the love and support of an entire town. Their boss and Stevenson Farm owner Bill Wood insisted that Peter and Willemina hold the wake and visitation in the Stevenson grand hall. The poignant finale of this story is that we were able to hold a surprise birthday party in that same hall for Willemina’s 90th birthday. Again, attended by many from the caring community.
The Stevenson Farms B&B and Harvest Spa are going strong today under the leadership of Stephen and Susanne Milne. Stephen is a Great-Great-Great grandson of William Stevenson the original settler of the farm. They have supported Stevenson Memorial Hospital and are a valued partner.
DONATE TODAY: https://transformingstevenson.ca/ways-to-give
Dr. Ted Vandevis – Board Director, Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation
For more information:
Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation