Little Stone House

They call it the Little Stone House, situated on a 14-acre plot of land on Longwoods Road (Highway 2) just east of Thamesville.

This house was nothing more than a clapboard homestead built in 1870 when Sarah Gamble bought the property in 1926. She was a school teacher who came up from Detroit to find a summer retreat for her and husband Stanley Gamble.

Unfortunately Stan lost Sarah and their infant son at childbirth, so in honour of his beloved wife, he transformed the dwelling into a cobblestone cottage.

Eventually he formed a partnership with local artist Annie Aldred and together they established The Little Stone Tea House. Stan then created a beautiful courtyard with cobblestone archways, a popular place for couples to have their wedding photography done.

Stanley passed away in 1952, and Annie’s tea house closed. The property now belongs to Annie’s nephew Robert Aldred from London.

By John De Boer who lives in Kitchener and enjoys daytripping off the beaten path.   Posted June 1, 2016 in the Kitchener Post    

Source: De Boer’s treasures: Little Stone House


The Rising Sun Barn Quilt at Beattie Haven.

23328 Beattie Line, Wardsville ON. Hosted by Beattie Haven Retirement Community 519-693-4901Sponsored by Old River Farm

The sun is a symbol of growth, new life and prosperity. Settlers of the 19th century such as George Ward relied on the sun for their livelihood and subsistence. The sun ensured the growth of crops. The sun powered the cycle of life. It turned the seasons and governed the weather.

The rising sun reminds us of the promise of a new day after a time of turmoil and trouble. This was the case after the war of 1812 for the settlers of Wardsville area. Much of the Ward’s property and livelihood was destroyed and needed to be rebuilt. Instead of giving up, George and Margaret Ward rebuilt their home and business in hopes of establishing a thriving homestead once again.

Happy New Year!!
Mary and Ross Snider

Wardsville Golf Club planning an adult lifestyle community.

Wardsville Golf Club was established in 1958 as a nine hole course. The course was purchased by Harry Van Dyk about 20 years ago who oversaw the expansion to 18 holes in 1992. A further expansion in 2005 introduced the latest 9 hole course, Theodore.

Harry and Ria Van Dyk’s children and spouses now share ownership of the golf club. They include Laura Van Dyk and her husband Carl Kennes, sisters and brother-in-laws Sandra and Ron Horvat, and Tracy Van Dyk and Greg Burns.

Wardsville Golf Club consists of approxiamately 400 members.

Of great interest to the community is their project, the Wardsville Golf Estate Villas, The family has begun planning an adult lifestyle community that will target the healthy, early-retiring baby boomers who desire an active lifestyle.

Having purchased 100 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the golf course (Theodore), zoning for the property is underway. Residents will share a private cart path to the golf course and clubhouse. Other amenities are being considered.

Development details can be provided by the project manager Carl Kennes – Director of Golf for Wardsville Golf Club at the email address .

Ph: 519-693-4921
Fax: 519-693-4922

Official Plan SWM, Wardsville Bridge, and Sewage Effluent

Report from Mayor Doug Reycraft, Municipality of Southwest Middlesex

a. Plan for residential development on the Wardsville Golf Course been hold while SWM Official Plan is completed. On Friday, SWM received word that the Official Plan has been approved by the Province. Wardsville boundaries are approved and that project can start to move ahead again.

b. County Council last Tuesday approved contract for rehabilitation for the Wardsville Bridge. $1 million project to start this summer.

c. Ministry of Environment has expressed strenuous concern about the quality of effluent from the Wardsville effluent treatment plan. SWM is receiving a report tomrorow that will recommend a contract be awarded to a certain firm to upgrade the plant. Budget is $267,000. Good news is that federal gas tax transfers will pay for this capital improvement.

Wardsville residents installed a sewage effluent treatment system around the year 2000 that they are paying for over time.  On November 18th, the Mayor of Southwest Middlesex, Doug Reycraft, elected councillors and staff met with village residents to discuss the finances and the technology. The capital cost of installation has been paid for. Increased rates will  cover the on-going operating cost of the system. For further information, call 287-2015.

Excerpt from minutes of Your Wardsville members’ meeting, January 19, 2010.

Crystal Ball Gazing at Beattie Haven

There is a shortage of supportive housing for seniors in this area. Present choices are to downsize to an apartment or go into long-term care.  There are fewer choices in-between.  This was one of the findings recorded when seventy people gathered to talk about what types of housing and services seniors will need in the future.

Beattie Haven has retained SHS Consulting to help staff and directors complete a needs and demand analysis for the Four Counties region.  Offering up insights on June 3rd were service providers, children of residents, funders, housing developers, and younger seniors who are thinking about their own aging needs.  Perspectives vary depending on one’s age.

As the decades go by, the needs and wants of older people change.  An expansion to Beattie Haven must serve seniors for many decades.

Future options are:

  • Wing of supportive apartments, built to modern standards for active seniors who need little to no personal care services but want three meals a day and an active social life.
  • A wellness centre with programming and supports for seniors aging at home.
  • Appropriate programming and recreation for active seniors.

Participants listed the assets that could be maximized. Country atmosphere.  Four Counties hospital and services, West Elgin Community Health Centre, surrounding villages, McNaughtons, golf, Skunk’s Misery (potential passive recreation), Thames River, 35 attractive acres of serviced lands, easy access to 401 and more.

The wants and needs of those in their 60s and 70s need to be better understood.  What types of recreation and amenities will this cohort be looking for?  What percentage will spend six months in the south?  Will increasing energy costs change seniors’ lifestyles?   These questions about the next generation were harder to answer.

It’s said that after the age of 65, seniors move an average of 5 times.  These moves become more difficult as one ages.

Wardsville hosts not only Beattie Haven, but also Babcock Community Care Centre (long-term care) and the Wardsville Golf Club.  Carl Kennes described his housing research to date and the Golf Club’s target housing market of young active seniors.

It was suggested that through partnerships and marketing, the village could offer a continuum of housing and care for seniors.  As needs change, residents could shift with minimal disruption from suite to suite as their needs change.  Such senior communities are common in cities.

Those born in the 1920s should be thinking about downsizing from their large homes, but this age group often avoids the decision to move prior to a health crisis.  There was a strong consensus that older seniors need to be encouraged to move when they have good health.  Moving after a major health crisis is disruptive and hard on everyone involved.

Some who need supportive housing enter Long Term Care (LTC).   These moves fill up beds needed by people who really need the heavier care.  When LTC beds are full, hospital rooms are used by people who should be in LTC beds.  This, in turn, clogs emergency departments.

Beattie Haven wants to hear from everyone who has insights into our community’s needs. Send your ideas to or call 519 693-4901.

Wardsville wants to attract young people, families too

Beattie Haven together with the village of Wardsville, Babcock long-term care, (not to mention a 27-hole golf course) are geographically situated at the juncture of four counties.  Beattie Haven and its picturesque village are attractive to people who want to age in a country setting. Beattie Haven is currently engaged in a long-term planning and development process that is looking ahead 25 years.  Initial mapping of assets indicates that Beattie Haven has a unique array of resources to work with.   The Wardsville golf course is studying housing options for young seniors. 

The boomers are moving into their senior years in large numbers and this is changing the demands for services.  Boomers are starting to plan ahead for their own needs as they help their parents cope with late life decisions.  Because we all age at different rates, some baby boomers are already coping with the early on-set of dementia and other life-changing illnesses. A trickle of new retirees and families is already arriving in Wardsville.  They have an interest in the Carolinian forests, rich farm land, untapped cultural heritage, and river basin culture. In rural southwestern Ontario where out-migration is a severe threat to local infrastructure and the economy, the potential to actually attract newcomers is no small thing.

It’s obvious that Wardsville and area is a retirement community, but we don’t want to brand it that way.  We also want to attract young people and families and people in their mid life who want a safe, secure, green place to live away from the urban hustle and bustle.  Wardsville needs people from all walks of life who appreciate its unique identity.  We want good neighbours who will get involved in community projects.


Mary Simpson 

Beattie Haven looks ahead to future

Beattie Haven Board of Directors and the resident community is looking towards the future.  So far, we have this:

1)    Develop a vision and sell the dream. Capture people’s imaginations.

2)    Be strategic.

3)    Be innovative.

4)    Design flexibly for changing needs. Each wave of seniors varies.

5)    Take a community-based planning approach involving seniors. Get early buy-in and commitment.

6)    Multi-pronged capital raising approach.  Develop several strategies and work them all. 

What Beattie Haven is looking at:

  1. Revitalization of existing retirement facility: client-centred care, interior up-dating,
  2. New wing of supportive housing
  3. Commons area with a wellness centre and lots of relevant programming: Beattie Haven as Destination; supports for seniors aging at home.
  4. Life lease cottages for independent living: attractive units for younger seniors.

Two types of housing for seniors:

 (1) Wing of supportive apartments, built to modern standards for active seniors who need little to no personal care services or nursing but want three meals a day and an active social life, [1]   

(2) life lease cottages similar to those proposed  in 1997.


[1] Boydell, K.M. (2007). Best practice in housing design for seniors’ supportive housing. Waterloo, ON: Regional Municipality of Waterloo.



Excerpt from Annual General Report 2008

Mary Simpson, Board Secretary, Beattie Haven Inc.