• James Armstrong

Hudson Country Homes Tour marks National Volunteer Week


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The volunteers organizing the Hudson Country Homes Tour met in spite of inclement weather at Saint James’ Church. (Left to right) Marilyn Pound, Elizabeth Kennell, Michele Murray, Linda Cobbett, Gay Campbell, Cody Gilmore. Jean Sasso, Laurie Tomita, and Audrey Driver are looking forward to this year’s event.

The Hudson Country Homes Tour celebrates its 62nd anniversary on Thursday, June 7, 2018 and this major fundraising event that supports local charitable organizations is organized each year with the energy, skill and talents of over 300 volunteers.

Team effort

“It’s an amazing event for the town,” said volunteer Linda Cobbett as she described the efforts that volunteers devote to making the one-day event a success. “There are five homes on the tour this year,” she said, “and we have three shifts of volunteers taking care of each house.” In addition, volunteers provide baked goods, prepare and serve lunches and supervise parking sites at each home. Cobbett described how volunteers, particularly women, from across the Hudson community come out each year to offer their time and skills in support of the event.

Cobbett co-convenes the organizing committee with Marilyn Pound. As one volunteer put it, Cobbett and Pound do a lot of work following the details in the months, weeks, and days before the event.

Gathering flowers

As the date of the tour approaches, captains are appointed for each home and they take on the task of organizing their volunteers to take care of a specific residence. “The flower gathering and arranging is coordinated by Laurie Tomita,” said Cobbett. The flowers are donated from gardens across the community. Lilacs, mock orange, iris, tulips, peonies, hydrangea and many more are harvested by a flock of volunteers. They are arranged in decorative bouquets used in the final staging of the home.

Sunny skies

The weather plays an important role in the planning and the day of the event. Gathering blooms donated from local gardens and cut along roadsides depends upon how well the growing season develops according to Tomita. “Last year was difficult because of excessive rain,” she said. “We’re hoping that doesn’t happen this year.” Volunteers head out on the Tuesday before the event with garden shears and containers in hand in search of the flowers and any greenery suitable for creating a bouquet.

Volunteering

“Volunteers are always welcome,” said Pound during a committee meeting held Tuesday, April 17. Anyone wanting to help out is asked to contact the organizing committee by email at hudsoncountryhomestour@gmail.com. “We’re not a very formal group,” she added with a smile.

Background

The Hudson Country Homes Tour began with three volunteers and three homes and a vision in 1956. It has grown into an event that draws people from Montreal’s West Island, Ottawa, and Cornwall. Beneficiaries of the event include Le Pont/Bridging Food Bank, NOVA Hudson, Auberge Madeleine, La Passerelle Women’s Shelter, Mile End Mission, West Island Palliative Care Residence, Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence and many more. “Both Saint James’ and Saint Mary’s Churches provide lunch for a small price,” said Cobbett. She noted that visitors for the event tend to spend time shopping and sightseeing in the town.

Spoiler alert

Cobbett wasn’t ready to reveal the list of homes on the tour – that will be happening soon as each of them will be profiled in The Journal. However, she did drop a hint that one of them has a certain cachet with film directors. “Some of the homes are historic and that ties in with Saint James’ Church celebrating its 175th Anniversary,” added Cobbett. Tickets go on sale as of the beginning of May and are usually limited in number. Contact hudsoncountryhomestour@gmail.com for ticket info.

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