We remember these people for their passion, generosity of spirit and support for heritage, the arts, social justice and environmental protection. Each shared their talents and inspiration to enrich our community. They touched many lives. They also contributed to the development of the Yorklands in many ways. Their inspiration is lasting.
These citizens shared our goals for repurposing part of the former Ontario Reformatory as a community amenity and a sustainable environments centre. Through nature stewardship and education at this beautiful landmark heritage site of meadows, ponds, streams and wetlands, they contributed to the building of urban resilience to severe climate stress.
If you want to donate in memory of these people or others who inspired you to awareness and protection of ecology or heritage, please contact us at [email protected] Your donation will be used to strengthen our goals.
Your name will be proudly listed on our annual donors roll. You will receive a card of gratitude from us and our unique book bag. ( We are a non-profit organization and do not yet have charitable status . (2021)
Cynthia Folzer (1936-2020)
Cynthia Folzer born in Evanston, Illinois came to Ontario in 1972 with husband George Renninger after obtaining her PhD in inorganic chemistry from Rutgers University. She continued her university studies and teaching at U of Waterloo in inorganic chemistry until retirement in 1990. Cynthia devoted her retirement to strong advocacy for environmental protection, stewardship and social justice with many groups including: Raging Grannies, Wellington Water Watchers, Council of Canadians and the Yorklands Green Hub. Her quiet but active support whenever needed was always appreciated.
Henry Wiseman (1923-2016)
Henry Wiseman completed his BA at Queen’s University in 1949 before joining his father’s fur business in old Montreal. He undertook the first academic study of United Nations Peace Keeping while earning his PhD (’67, Queen’s University). He taught undergraduates as a Professor of Political Studies at the University of Guelph while monitoring the first elections as Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and teaching military and non-military personnel the principles and practice of peacekeeping under the auspices of the United Nations, the International Peace Academy (New York) and the Lester B Pearson International Peacekeeping Training Centre (Cornwallis, Nova Scotia). In retirement Henry made documentary films (for example, “Life and the Machines”) while supporting the arts community and local causes. He was an early supportive member of the Guelph Men’s – Club Environmental Committee and connected Jack Milne to local enthusiasts for a re-purposing of the former Ontario Reformatory as an ecology centre to research and educate re urban sustainability and resilience in the face of future climate stress.
Ida Mary Chaloner (1921-2019)
Ida Mary Chaloner, was born in Gilbert Plains, Manitoba and moved to Burlington in 1929. Ida served in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service during WWII and she was one of the last Canadian Wrens. After graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1950 , she worked at J. Walter Thompson for several years, before joining the family’s operation of Pow Wow Point Lodge, Huntsville, Ontario from 1955-1969. She enjoyed working at the University of Guelph until she retired and returned to her love of plein-air and portrait painting. Her great appreciation of the natural world and being a non-driver inspired her strong support for the Yorklands. She saw it as “our bit of country in the city”. She believed cultural and natural heritage at this landmark heritage site was important for all ages and our future.
John (Jack) Milne (1916-2015)
If any one person can be credited with conceiving the Yorklands Green Hub Vision, it is surely Jack. Milne. Jack thought that the lands of the former Ontario Reformatory, sitting idle since 2001, should be repurposed as an environmental centre. In 2006, he took his vision to fellow member and President of the Guelph Wellington Men’s Club (GWMC), Freeman McEwan, who challenged the Club to engage the community in discussions relating to the environment. The Environmental Committee of the GWMC, which consisted of Freeman McEwan (Chair), Jack Milne, Ken Hammill, Doug Hoffman, Stephen Rodd, Bill Taylor, Ted Wiffin, and Bill Winegard, proposed the establishment of The Ontario Environmental Exhibition on the former Reformatory grounds, in the hope that Guelph would become Canada’s Environmental Capital. Jack Milne was educated in Ireland and the United States, made a significant contribution to the WW2 effort, before becoming a prominent member of Canada’s advertising industry and an international businessman. He retired to Guelph with his wife Margaret in the 1990s and spent the last decades of his life in Guelph, working with the Guelph Men’s Club environment committee, Guelph University and City Hall to push his vision of repurposing the Reformatory lands as a regional sustainability education centre. The task of realizing that vision has been passed to Yorkland Green Hub.
Karl Grottenthaler (1930-2014)
After losing his parents during WW11 at 11 years, Karl became a cheesemaker and immigrated to Canada in 1953 to become a first class Stationary Engineer at University of Waterloo. In a few years, he joined the Guelph Correctional Centre and was employed there for 22 years as Asst. Superintendent for Industries and Work Programs. He took pride in the many and varied programs developed to meet the varied needs of the inmates to aid their re-entry into civil society. His retirement in 1993 coincided with the scaling back of reform until the institution closed in 2002. Proud of its long history of innovation, he wrote a book called “The House on the Hill. He gave the Yorklands Green Hub his book and enthusiastically encouraged us to continue the culture of reform and public enjoyment of the beautiful landscape with its unique, heritage features. (see History on the website for chapters of Karl’s book).
Morris Twist (2942-2020)
Born in Ireland, Morris immigrated to Canada in 1960 at the age of 18 and soon became a buyer for the T. Eaton Company. After earning a Master of Social Work at Wilfred Laurier University, Morris became the Executive Director of the Guelph United Way, a position he held for 35 years. He was a prolific volunteer in the Guelph community, holding various positions with a range of organizations, including Wyndham House, Legal Aid Appeal Committee, Guelph Community Foundation, community volunteer on the City of Guelph’s allocations committee, Sister Christine’s Drop-In-Centre and Hospice, Guelph among many other activities. Over the years, he gave much appreciated and inspiring advice to the Yorklands Green Hub.
The Honourable Dr. William Charles Winegard (1924-2019)
The Honourable Dr. William Charles Winegard grew up in Caledonia, Ontario. He joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve at the age of 17 and served in WWII. Following the war, Bill achieved a BSc and a PhD in Metallurgy at the University of Toronto. As a U of T professor, Dr. Winegard was a gifted and enthusiastic teacher and researcher; his 1962 book on the crystallization of metals was translated into many languages. Bill served as the second President of the University of Guelph from 1967 to 1975. He ran successfully as a Progressive Conservative in the 1984 Federal and won re-election in 1988, becoming Canada’s first Minister for Science. Bill was devoted to the City of Guelph and spent his later years fundraising and supporting local causes. Bill’s tireless work for his country and community was recognized when he was awarded the Order of Canada in 1998 and the William C. Winegard Public School was named in his honour. As a member of the Guelph Mens’ Club he supported the repurposing part of the former Ontario Reformatory as a community heritage site dedicated to education and research into urban sustainability and renewable energy.