MINDEMOYA – Volunteer Ted Taylor was born in the old Red Cross hospital in Mindemoya and lived on his family farm that was in the neighbourhood of Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS). Indeed, the family home was the building that now houses a hairdressing salon and was one of the first houses to be built in Mindemoya. Mr. Taylor’s father sold part of his acreage to the local school board so the public school could be built.
Mr. Taylor told The Expositor that one of the main reasons he volunteers for various causes is because of how he was raised.
“On the farm,” he explained, “we used to help one another. With the threshing of oats and barley, with filling silos with corn, and with buzzing wood for the winter. And we would kill turkeys in the fall. Manitoulin was known for turkeys in those days. I think I have been in almost every barn around here as we went around to help each other.”
Mr. Taylor attended the continuation school in Mindemoya as he grew up and worked for Waggs Creamery. The family moved to Elliot Lake in 1966 and Mr. Taylor undertook volunteer duties there as he looked after the refrigerator units at two arenas for about 20 years as he worked at the power plant at Rio Algom.
Mr. Taylor returned to Manitoulin when he retired. He commented that he volunteered for the fire department in Mindemoya when the equipment consisted of “a pumper with a lot of hoses” and has stayed with that for 20 years. “Ronnie Tann and I and a couple of other fellows did all the maintenance work on the machines.”
He was elected to Central Manitoulin for two terms and noted that it was hard during that time period to attend the volunteer fire department meetings as council meetings would be at the same time. He enjoyed being on council but noted that it could be challenging at times. “It keeps your brain active though,” he said, noting that the new fire hall was one of council’s very best undertakings. “The fire department is in good shape,” he said. “Good trucks and pretty well staffed.”
Mr. Taylor was baptized at St. Francis of Assisi Anglican church and has been active there for quite a while. “I have been volunteering there for years and years on different committees,” he said. “Property, church warden.” He explained that there is one church warden appointed by the minister and one by the congregation and that this position means the warden looks after the day to day things such as snow removal, but he was also involved with putting a new roof on the church as well as on a house that the church owns.
The Central Manitoulin Historical Society (CMHS) has had the benefit of Mr. Taylor’s commitment for 15 years and he was elected president of that organization after one year. As stated, CMHS is dedicated to the collection and preservation of materials, pictures and artifacts from the pioneer period. Members arranged for the moving of a log cabin that belonged to the Seabrook family to the Mindemoya welcome centre area and rebuilt part of it. The building was then fitted with furniture and implements from pioneer days. There is also a barn that houses farm equipment and machinery.
Residents of Mr. Taylor’s volunteerism is welcomed every year as he sells 100 10-pound bags of Vidalia onions, shipped all the way from Georgia. The sale of these delicious sweet onions is a project of Shriners hospitals, dedicated to helping children with health issues, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay. The organization has 22 such hospitals in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Mr. Taylor and his wife Dorothy, also noted for her volunteer work, are a well-known and well-respected couple who have made many contributions to Manitoulin. As Mr. Taylor said, “If it wasn’t for volunteers, small towns wouldn’t have the things they do. We would do without a lot of things we have, like arenas and playgrounds and so on.”