By Sheila Phibbs
The Haldimand Press
CALEDONIA—What do the Caledonia Legion Ladies Auxiliary, the Caledonia Agricultural Society, the Haldimand Choralairs, and the Haldimand Horticultural Society have in common? Mary Hubert – a lifelong volunteer whose passion for these organizations is only surpassed by her love for her hometown.
Hubert’s volunteer life began as a girl when she and her twin sister, Margaret, accompanied their mother to help the Legion Ladies Auxiliary in the Caledonia Fair Dining Hall. From the age of 10, they were eager to wash dishes as Mary explains, “We always looked forward to the fair because the Ladies were the main caterers. That’s how we earned our fair money.”
The legion was also a connection to their father, a veteran with the Argyle & Sutherland, who passed away in 1964. They joined the Auxiliary in 1971 and, through the years, Mary has been President, Secretary, and Sgt. At Arms. She laughs as she recalls catering a particular Robbie Burns Night and they worked with one oven that was hotter than the other: “The haggis exploded!”
Hubert’s childhood love of the Caledonia Fair in part led to her involvement with the Caledonia Agricultural Society. In her 30 years with the fair, she has been the baked products convenor and is at present on the photography committee. She acknowledges that she never knew how much work was involved in the fair when she was young but has learned how much goes on behind the scenes. She appreciates that, “The fair is still the fair; it still has the same message. You have to teach children how they get their food.”
Hubert also describes the fair as a place to reconnect with people, including former classmates from Oneida where she and her sister went to school.