Grand River Branch
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada
Selected Reprints from the
Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches
"Port Ryerse Bicentennial - July 9 & 10, 1994"
Doris Lemon, February 1995, Vol.7 No.1, Pages 7-8
Grand River Branch, U.E.L. participated in the two-day, bicentennial celebrations commemorating the arrival of Colonel Samuel Ryerse at Port Ryerse. The Branch genealogy committee consisting of Eleanor Chapin and Doris Lemon arrived at noon and set up our booth in the entry of the church. It was an excellent location as all guests passing into the church to see local and family artifacts, also had an opportunity to view our book display and become acquainted with our organizations. A great deal of interest was shown in our Branch and the United Empire Loyalists' Association.
We closed at 6:00 p.m. when the fish supper was served to 500 people. The main street had been closed off and a stage erected. Children of the town performed a skit on the diary of Amelia Harris, Colonel Ryerse's daughter. A musical concert followed and at 8:00 p.m. there was a street dance.
On Sunday morning we joined the Ryerse family and townsfolk again for the reenactment of the landing of Colonel Samuel Ryerse on the beach at the mouth of the creek. A descendant representing Col. Ryerse was rowed ashore, amid some laughter when his hat blew off and the oarsman had a difficult time "fishing for it". he was received by the welcoming committee consisting of actors portraying Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe and Lady Elizabeth Simcoe dressed in a deep green velvet gown with matching hat and floating ostrich plumes. Native people were also represented. After the speech, the central characters had some light-hearted comments on the Loyalists' landing in comparison with today's interpretation of this historic occasion!
A parade then followed to the plaque commemorating Col. Samuel Ryerse and then the parade continued to Vern Ryerse's farm for the reunion's picnic lunch. Our Branch booth was in the picnic tent and members of the family were very interested in our display. Eleanor Chapin and Doris Lemon were joined by Glen Bell, Angela Files, Doris Marcellus and Ronald Fink. We closed the display at 4:30 p.m. after a most successful two days.
Among the highlights of the festivities were:
The two-day bicentennial festival was a wonderful, celebratory event honouring family, roots and history.