May 2013

The Waterloo Region Museum in collaboration with the Heritage Fairs Association and the local school boards hosted students from schools across Waterloo Region who exhibited their heritage fair projects. The Heritage Fairs Program is a multi-media learning initiative developed to increase interest in Canadian History and is built into and integrated across the education curriculum.

The Heritage Fair is a partnership of the Waterloo Region Museum, the Waterloo Region District School Board, Waterloo Catholic District School Board and all of our supporters and sponsors.  Students from Grades 6 to 10  qualified to participate in the Heritage Fair through school based heritage fairs. Waterloo Area Chapter PGFSO sponsored an award for a project on ‘agriculture’.


Two grade 10 girls from St Mary’s High School, Kitchener won  with their  “Elmira Maple Syrup Festival”  display.



They and their school received a copies of the Society’s Volume #10,    “THREE PENNSYLVANIA GERMAN PIONEER HOMESTEADS IN ONTARIO”      Co-authors Albert Hunsberger & Lorna Bergey.



“In 2006 – Ralph Shantz, past president of the Waterloo Area Chapter received the Province of Ontario Long-Standing Service Award…”

Ralph Shantz was first elected to Wilmot Township Council in 1967. For the next 39 years, 10 of them as mayor, he served his constituents with outstanding dedication and commitment. Ralph believes that if you want others to be involved, you lead the way. Ralph believes it is important to acknowledge everyone who has done something for you or your committee. Ralph was active in the Wilmot Agricultural Society, Heritage Wilmot, Baden Chamber of Commerce, the restoration of Castle Kilbride, the construction of the Wilmot Township offices in Baden, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Kitchener Wilmot Hydro, as a Commissioner and Chair of the Commission. Wilmot’s Millennium and the 150th Anniversary Celebrations in 2000, as well as the creation of the historic Oasis in the Centre. Much passion and energy were expended in Wilmot Township’s Recreation Complex which opened in 2008.

Ralph served on the Grand River Conservation Authority. A strong advocate for the environment and agriculture, Shantz worked relentlessly to protect Wilmot’s water quality and supply.

In 2005, the Provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing presented Ralph with a “Long Standing Service Recognition Award”. In 2006, Wilmot Township Council named its newly renovated archives “The Ralph Shantz Reading Room.” In 2007, Ralph was honoured with the “Community Builder Award”, for his impact in the Township of Wilmot and for his personal contribution to the community and the people who live in the Waterloo Region.

At Shantz Mennonite Church he served on the Church Council and as an Elder. He also chaired the 150th Anniversary Committee and chaired the committee that published a history book of the church.

He coordinated the 2006 Christian Shantz Family Reunion, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the family’s arrival in Waterloo County.

Ralph is a longstanding member of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario. In both the Waterloo Area Chapter and on the Provincial executive he continues to hold leadership positions.

In June 2008, Ralph Shantz was recognized for his community building and personal contributions in the Region of Waterloo by being inducted in the Waterloo County Hall of Fame.


“In 2007 – Lorna Bergey, The first recipient deserving of this special Dr. G. Elmore Reaman Award…”

Before Lorna’s name appears in the Society minutes, Lorna’s husband David Bergey was working on our behalf, no doubt with Lorna’s help in the background. She served as a Director of the Provincial Society from 1968 until 1987.

When she became the Secretary, she was the Newsletter Editor from 1989 – 2002, and again as Secretary in 1998 until her retirement in 2005.

For 37 years Lorna was dedicated to this organization. She is a person of vision and dedication. We give Lorna credit for keeping us on track, for keeping us always interested and in keeping us committed to our mandate “to carry on research and develop an appreciation for the early settlers in Ontario, some of whom were Pennsylvania German, and their contribution to our culture.

Lorna hasn’t just been confined to the Secretary’s job; she’s contributed to Society publications and she has researched and printed a number of heritage articles on her own. We also know that, with Lorna, it was a labour of love. So to Lorna Bergey goes the very first ever Dr. G. Elmore Reaman Award for her many years of meritorious dedication, with the gratitude of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario.

– Marlene Mattson, President, PGFSO, 2007.

For the obituary and a gracious tribute for Lorna, see the web address –


In 2011 – Marilyn Sararus receives Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation’s ‘Award of Excellence’







Lynn Sararus, Donna Hartzler, Marilyn Sararus, Judy Rivers, Gladys Cressman, Dorothy Shantz, Ralph Shantz.

Marilyn Sararus has made a remarkably wide-ranging series of contributions in support of heritage in Wilmot Township and more generally, Waterloo Region. Notable for her commitment to heritage education and for “getting things done”, she has been instrumental in:
– revitalizing the heritage walking tour of New Dundee
– encouragment of similar tours in New Hamburg and Baden
– was a member of the founding group for ‘Doors Open, Region of Waterloo
– coordinated the digitization of the ‘Wilmot Township Tweedsmuir History Collection’
– was chair of the founding committee of ‘Oasis in the Centre’, the heritage site at the    location of the 1850 Wilmot Township Hall.

Marilyn also serves, or has served, in an Executive role on a number of heritage organizations, including the:
– Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario
– Heritage Wilmot
– the Waterloo Historical Society
– a member of the Heritage Wilmot Advisory Committee
– the 150th Anniversary Committee for the Township of Wilmot
– the 100th Anniversary Committee of the Waterloo Historical Society
– the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation
In the words of one of her nominees, Marilyn Sararus  Is; “ intelligent, knowledgeable, involved, proud, amicable, in tune and in love with her community.”
In granting the ‘Award of Excellence’, the Foundation recognizes her outstanding commitment to the heritage of Waterloo Region.

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