Vicki Gudgeon passed away on May 13th at age 96. Vicki was the last surviving founding member and was a past president of the Burlington Historical Society, which was established in 1961.
Vicki and her late husband Eric, who was also a past president of our society, shared the same philosophy revolving around what they could do for the community.
During the depression, Vicki moved to Aldershot, which was then part of Flamborough Township.
Her parents Vic and Marion Emery, whose ancestors were United Empire Loyalists, built the Seigneury designed in the style of a 17th – century seigneur’s manor on Burlington Bay, North Shore Blvd., beside LaSalle Park. This was the purported landing of Rene-Robert Cavalier de la Salle, the great explorer of New France.
Unfortunately, due to an administrative oversight by the City of Burlington, the home was demolished several years ago.
Vicki was a purposeful person. She worked tirelessly for the BHS to promote local history and preserve historical buildings.
A quote of Vicki’s, excerpted from Vol. 3, No 1, 1980 Brass Tacks, a publication of the students from Burlington Central High School is as follows: ‘’People don’t realize things are going to happen until after it happens. This is the problem, people are not aware of the plans of the city and they’re not interested until all of a sudden they’ve got high rise apartments beside them, and then they begin to wonder what’s going on. They soon find out, and that’s when they get interested.”
Vicki was part of a group of BHS members which included Jean and Walter Reeves, Mary Fraser, Helen Langford, Marie Ireland Bush, Gordon Gallagher, Frances Day, Doris Dafoe and others who never stopping promoting Burlington’s history. They appeared as delegates at City of Burlington Council meetings. They wrote briefs, letters, attended The Ontario Historical Society Meetings, supported the endeavours of The Joseph Brant Museum etc . The society repeatedly expressed concern at how quickly many of the older homes in Burlington had been torn down or renovated in such a manner as to destroy the character and the street scape of the neighbourhood. It was through the efforts of these members that the City of Burlington finally established LACAC, now renamed Heritage Burlington.
In 1978, Vicki obtained a copy of “Catherine Bell Van Norman, Her Diary 1850”, who was a distant relative of Vicki’s. This was a short account of the life and thoughts of a farm housewife in Nelson Township, Halton County. In 1981, through Vicki’s efforts and the support of BHS, the first ever grant awarded to our society from the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Recreation allowed for the diary to be published in book form.
Vicki and her husband Eric were part of a group which helped to raise funds to save the Ireland House, a treasure in our city.
Back in the 50’s,Vicki and Eric built and operated Lowville Golf Club. Vicki had a large garden surrounding their old farmhouse residence in Lowville. She canned and preserved all the condiments served in the restaurant at the course. For many years, the Gudgeon’s generously provided the clubhouse for the BHS annual potluck suppers. Vicki usually contributed her famous Hawksbury Pie.
Respectfully submitted by Anne Wingfield