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Historic Sites Committee

The Farmer's Advocate



122 Carling Street, London, Ontario (present site of the Marienbad Restaurant) London, ON
42° 59' 2.6304" N, 81° 15' 6.1452" W
24 June 2011

This is the Historic Sites Committee’s second plaque on this site. The first, erected in 1990, commemorated the building at 122 Carling Street, once home to the London Free Press.

Another notable journal published here was the Farmer’s Advocate, founded by William Weld in 1866. Weld was born in England in 1824, the son of an Anglican clergyman. Although privately educated and a privileged young man, his unconventional persona and habit of expressing his views in a fearless and out-spoken manner were an embarrassment to his family. With financial assistance from them he immigrated to North America at the age of nineteen.

Weld bought a 100-acre farm in Delaware Township, situated in one of Canada’s richest agricultural belts. He married a local girl, Agnes Johnstone in 1845, and they raised a family of eleven children.

Weld read farm journals containing scientific agricultural information, and applied that data to his own operation, becoming a progressive and well-known farmer. He established a stock, seed and implement emporium, which grew into one of the most important seed houses in Canada under the ownership of his son Henry Weld, and J.S. Pearce.

Weld believed a practical farm journal was much needed and founded the Farmer’s Advocate in 1866. He first published the journal at his farm, but as the business grew, he relinquished the farm operations to two of his sons. Moving the Advocate to London, he devoted himself full time to it as both editor and proprietor.

William Weld was known to express himself in no uncertain terms on subjects both agricultural and political.

The Farmer’s Advocate continued to grow. By 1876, the office was located at 360 Richmond Street, between King and York. Beside the windows on the second story, one can see two carved keystones; one representing a sheaf of wheat and the other a corn stalk. The paper’s circulation reached 6,000 in 1879.

William Weld died on January 3, 1891. He had been investigating a water leak in the attic of his home, fell head first into the household water tank and drowned. He had made important contributions to the development of agriculture in Canada and the United States. His fifth son, John Weld, succeeded him as publisher and editor.

In 1911, the company purchased land on the Wharncliffe Highway. Many new agricultural methods and crop varieties were tested on this Weldwood Farm.

Around 1920, the offices of the Farmer’s Advocate moved to 122 Carling Street under the direction of John Weld. He died in 1931, and was succeeded by his son, Earnest John Weld. The journal’s circulation reached 200,000 in 1944.

In 1949, the Farmer’s Advocate was published on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month and an annual subscription cost 50 cents.

The Cities Heating Company, behind 122 Carling Street on Queens Avenue, supplied heat from its enormous coal-burning furnaces for the Farmer’s Advocate building along with many other businesses. Tall stacks spread smoke and soot over much of downtown London. Heating and cooling today is done by London District Energy, a much more environmentally friendly process.

The Farmer’s Advocate folded in 1965 after 99 years in business. A decline in advertising revenue was a major reason for its demise. When the building on Carling Street and Weldwood Farm were sold, a complete set of annual bound volumes of the Advocate dating back to 1867 were found in the office safe. The issues from 1866 had not survived. These volumes were sent to the University of Guelph and are now in its archives. The Canadian Library Association microfilmed the issues from 1867 to 1920, and these are available at the London Room of the Central Library. Drop by and have a look at them some time. They are full of interesting information.

The Dawn of Tomorrow



95/97 Glenwood Avenue, London, Ontario (former home of the Jenkins/Howson families) London, ON
42° 58' 55.8624" N, 81° 12' 10.8792" W
21 October 2009

The Dawn of Tomorrow was founded by James F. Jenkins and the first issue was published on July 14, 1923 from the Jenkins family home at 95/97 Glenwood Avenue in London, Ontario.  Jenkins, one of Canada’s most notable Black leaders, was born in Forsyth, Georgia in 1884.  He experienced firsthand the ingrained discrimination and segregation of the American South.  Educated in the liberal arts, James had worked with the influential black intellectual and activist W.E.B. Du Bois.  Jenkins arrived in London in 1907 and was aware that Canadian Blacks faced many obstacles.  During World War One, some Blacks who had tried to enlist in the Canadian army were rejected because of their colour.  After the war, racial tension grew and the Ku Klux Klan made headway. At the same time, Black communities were scattered, making communication between them difficult.  In launching The Dawn of Tomorrow, Jenkins wrote, “It is to be remembered first, our people in Canada do not possess a newspaper, second that the circulation of the American colored newspapers in Canada is very small, and third, very little news of our people in Canada is in American publications.”  He knew it was important for Blacks to stay connected for mutual support.  The name he gave his paper highlighted the positive message he intended.

In his newspaper, Jenkins explored how Black Canadians and Americans could work together.  In the United States, racial boundaries were clearly marked and segregation was legal.  In Canada, race relations were unequal but this issue was not discussed.  The Dawn of Tomorrow wrote about the accomplishments of Black Canadians, stimulated racial pride and helped forge a Black Canadian identity.

Jenkins knew London historian, Fred Landon, Chief Librarian at the London Public Library and later at The University of Western Ontario.  Landon wrote extensively about the history of Blacks in Ontario and, in what was a fruitful partnership, The Dawn of Tomorrow reprinted many of his articles.

Out of Jenkins’ work for inter-community co-operation and Black advocacy came the formation, in 1924, of the Canadian League for the Advancement of Colored People (CLACP).  Jenkins was named Executive and Organizing Secretary and The Dawn of Tomorrow, its official publication.  The League and The Dawn of Tomorrow sought to coordinate the efforts of Black organizations, fight discrimination in hiring practices, improve the conditions of Blacks in Canada, promote education for young Blacks and serve as a watchdog for racist incidents.

Jenkins died suddenly on May 6, 1931 of complications following surgery, leaving behind his wife, Christina E. and their eight children.  She carried on with The Dawnof Tomorrow and when she remarried her whole family helped with the paper.  A strong community leader in her own right, Christina managed the enterprise until her death on May 8, 1967, whereupon her children continued her work.

There are microfilm copes of The Dawn of Tomorrow at the London Public Library and at Weldon Library, Western University.

Waverley Mansion



10 Grand Avenue, London, Ontario London, ON
42° 58' 19.2144" N, 81° 14' 48.9336" W
6 December 2001

Waverley is a gorgeous Queen Anne mansion built in the 1880s for Charles F. Goodhue on land owned by Goodhue's father, George Jervis Goodhue, London's first millionaire. Named after George Goodhue's home on Bathurst Street, Waverley was planned by British architect Captain Hamilton Tovey. 

London architect George F. Durand extensively modified Tovey's plans and built the mansion. Durand is considered by some to be Southwestern Ontario's most important architect. He trained under William B. Robinson and worked in New York before returning to London with his bride Sarah Parker of Albany. In London he joined the firm of William Robinson and Thomas Henry Tracy.

Waverley, a beautiful London white brick mansion, is an excellent example of Durand's exuberant Queen Anne style. In particular the irregular silhouette, the many different roof types, and the heavy supporting woodwork with intricate and delicate trim are classic features of the style.

On Goodhue's death in 1893, Goodhue's daughter sold Waverley to Thomas Henry Smallman, who made several additions to Waverley, including a ballroom and a number of turrets. A native of Ireland, he was the eldest son of James Knight Smallman, and  the brother of John Bamlet Smallman of London's Smallman and Ingram department store.

Thomas Smallman was a founding member of Imperial Oil, one of the first directors of London Life Insurance in 1874, and a board member of his brother's department store.  Thomas was also appointed by the province of Ontario to the first Board of Governors of Western University, now The University of Western Ontario. He had two children, John Elton and Eleanor Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Smallman occupied the property until her death in 1948, when it was sold to the Shute Institute for Medical Research, a research institute credited with pioneering the medical application of vitamin E.

In 1987 Diversicare Canada Management Services took over the mansion and, with the addition of the state-of-the-art south-west wing, transformed it into a retirement home.

The mansion is still occasionally available for viewing by the public. It has in the past participated in Doors Open London and in December 2009 hosted a Victorian Christmas Open House.

C. Ross "Sandy" Somerville



1431 Oxford Street West, London, Ontario (present site of London Hunt and Country Club House) London, ON
42° 58' 32.4588" N, 81° 20' 31.0704" W
8 June 2001

London is proud to have been home to one of Canada’s most loved and respected golfers. Charles Ross (“Sandy”) Somerville was born on May 4, 1903 in London and started playing sports at a young age.  A great all-around athlete, Sandy was half-back for the University of Toronto varsity team, captain of its junior hockey team, and competed internationally in cricket.  He turned down offers to play with the Toronto Argonauts and Toronto Maple Leafs  and instead opted to pursue golf at an amateur level, while building a successful career as a life insurance executive.

Somerville started golfing at the young age of seven and studied with Kernie Marsh at the London Hunt and Country Club.  He won his first Canadian Amateur Championship in 1926 and added five more titles to his resumé before the Second World War (in 1928, 1930, 1931, 1935, and 1937). Somerville gained much attention when he became the first Canadian and only the second non-American to win the United States Amateur Champion in 1932.  Organizers were unprepared for a non-American win and did not even have a Union Jack to use in the award ceremony.

When the Second World War broke out, Somerville put golf on hold and responded to the call of duty.  He was commissioned as an officer in the Canadian Army and served until the end of the war.  Somerville was made a Member of the British Empire in recognition for his service. 

After the war, Somerville continued to be active in golf and served as President of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, President of the Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association, and as President of the London Hunt and Country Club for three terms. He was also a four-time champion of the Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association and two-time winner of U.S.-Canada Seniors’ trophy.

Somerville has received many honours in recognition of his great accomplishments in golf, including the Lionel Conacher Trophy for Canada’s most outstanding male athlete (1932) and a place in both Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (1955) and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame (1971).  He was also named top golfer of the half century by the Canadian Press in 1950.

Perhaps more important than his long list of titles and awards, Somerville achieved international respect and admiration.  Nicknamed “Silent Sandy,” Somerville approached the game with quiet determination, focus and modesty.  A key player at a time when golf was experiencing unprecedented growth and popularity, Canadians were proud of all that Somerville accomplished and represented.

Smallman & Ingram



151 Dundas Street, London, Ontario (present site of Market Tower) London, ON
42° 59' 0.4236" N, 81° 14' 59.8128" W
4 October 2002

In 1877, John Bamlet Smallman and Lemuel Hill Ingram formed a partnership to establish a retail dry goods store. They rented a store at 147 Dundas Street and called it Smallman and Ingram.  their first day of business was September 8, 1877.  The original location had sixteen feet of retail frontage and specialized in mantles and millinery with an onsite workroom for making clothing.

The store's sales grew quickly, more than quadrupling by 1891. These sales were driven by John Smallman and Lemuel Ingram's commitment to carrying good quality, low-cost goods. Both founders had extensive experience working in dry goods stores.

John Smallman had apprenticed as a clerk at a dry goods store from the age of fourteen and Lemuel Ingram was a clerk at a wholesale store at the time of their partnership. They used their experience well, building a more productive store by encouraging employee engagement and loyalty. One initiative was the implementation of early closing on Saturdays and on days preceding holidays. Normal store hours were 10am to 11pm, but the new closing hour was set at 7pm. Eventually Smallman and Ingram closed at 5:30pm on Saturdays and before Holidays.

The store expanded in 1891, 1892, 1897, and finally in 1904. John Smallman, the sole owner after the death of Lemuel Ingram in 1901, purchased land on Richmond and Dundas Streets and began construction of an L-shaped building with 149 feet of retail frontage and 96,000 square feet of floor space, on five floors and a basement. Smallman and Ingram opened as a department store in a neo-classical red brick building on the corner of Richmond and Dundas streets in 1905.

In 1908, J.B. created a limited liability company, Smallman and Ingram Limited, and gave employees the chance to invest and become shareholders; forty-four employees took advantage of the opportunity. The same year he introduced the Smallman and Ingram Limited Benefit Association, which provided all of his 200 employees with adversity and sickness benefits.

J.B. had no children of his own but he was a family man. After Ingram's death he brought in two of Ingram's children and his own nephew.  Gordon John Ingram was the most promising. He was made office manager in 1908 when the company was incorporated and eventually became President when J.B. died in 1916. Gordon Ingram operated the store until 1944. Over that period of time, Smallman and Ingram Limited grew to be the largest department store in Western Ontario. The store was also the first in London to receive goods shipped by air.

The store was sold to Simpson's of Toronto in 1944. Gordon Ingram remained on as chairman of the new Board of Governors and all of the employees were retained. Now known as Market Tower, the store building still stands at the corner of Richmond and Dundas Streets.

London Rowing Club



199 Wonderland Road South, London, Ontario London, ON
42° 58' 1.56" N, 0° 0' 0" E
6 July 2002

London has a long history in producing some of Canada’s finest rowers. The first documented regatta took place in 1849 between local citizens and British soldiers from the 20th Regiment stationed at today’s Victoria Park. Subsequently, crews from the Arms, the Abbey, and the Tecumseh Hotels clashed oars on the south branch of the Thames River. By 1870, these groups had merged into the London Rowing Club, a development stimulated by the industrial revolution, more leisure time, advancements in technology, and city rivalries.

Two additional factors heightened the interest in rowing. First, when authorities constructed a dam and a waterworks at Springbank Park in 1878 to solve the city’s sanitation problems, they also created a superior rowing course on the main branch of the Thames. Three new rowing clubs sprang into existence. The second influence was the Grand Regatta of July 8, 1880.  Over 3,000 spectators watched Canadian Ned Hanlan, the champion sculler of the world, display his prowess. These circumstances surely prepared London oarsmen for their success at the first Canadian Henley regatta held in Toronto later that year. The future looked bright.

Then tragedy struck on the holiday weekend of May 24, 1881, when the paddle wheeler Victoria sank on its return trip from Springbank Park to London.  Almost 200 lives were lost.  Legend has it that a large number of people rushed to one side of the boat to watch as two scullers powered by, causing the steamer to list and sink.  Enthusiasm for boating was restrained for years.

Although few details have survived for the period between 1890 and 1950, we know that the London Rowing Club later became the London Bowling and Rowing Club; that club members staged an annual regatta each Dominion Day; that LBRC oarsmen won the workboat four race at Henley in 1905; that the clubhouse was heavily damaged by floodwaters; that membership was dormant during the Second World War; and that Londoners re-established the London Rowing Club in 1954, operating it for the next two decades in an old barn at Fanshawe Lake and in a Pump House at Springbank Park.

The pace of change quickened again after 1968 when members founded the Western Rowing Club; replaced the barn at Fanshawe Lake with a modern shellhouse; and moved the London Rowing Club from the Pump House in Springbank Park a mile east to the Joe McManus Canoeing and Rowing Facility.  These improvements helped town-and-gown crews and individuals attain impressive, even Olympic, achievements.  As the twenty-first century dawned, moreover, officials upgraded centre facilities to host Commonwealth Championships, the Canada Summer Games, the World Transplant Games, the Police and Fire Games, and the National Rowing Championships.

Another significant development occurred in the mid-1980s when Rowing Canada awarded High Performance Rowing Centres to London and to Victoria, British Columbia. That decision quickly elevated Canadian rowers to a stature not seen since the time of Hanlan; and London, Ontario, with its once forgotten rowing tradition, is again a proud contributor to these results.

London YMCA



437 Wellington Street, London, Ontario (present site of One London Place), just south of Queens Avenue London, ON
42° 59' 7.8" N, 81° 14' 46.68" W
23 November 2006

The London YMCA was founded by William Bowman on November 28, 1856, just two years after London became a city and just twelve years after the original YMCA was founded in 1844 in England by Sir George Williams. London's YMCA was the third to be established in Canada, preceded only by organizations in Montreal and Halifax, making it the first of its kind in Ontario.

It is believed that the first meeting location of the organization was at the northwest corner of the third floor of the Carling Block. Although the oldest official records only date back to 1876 and the first quarters of the London YMCA cannot be confirmed, it is certain that the organization began leasing rooms on Richmond Street in 1873 and occupied a more permanent property at 394-6 Clarence Street in 1879. This was also around the time that the organization became widely referred to as the YMCA - until this point, it was known as the Church of England Young Men's Christian Association.

When the Salvation Army took over the Clarence Street property, the organization was forced to relocate to its first purpose-built structure, which was on the south-west corner of Wellington Street and Queens Avenue and was officially opened to the public on New Year's Day, 1897. Building the new facility, though extremely costly, brought a wider range of members in the community together, including members of the newly established YWCA. By 1903, the organization was completely debt-free and held a celebration at which mortgages were burned and letters from Sir George Williams were read aloud.

Since the YMCA was founded on the principle that it would complete Christian work in communities that the church was not equipped to do, early objectives of the organization focused on growing a clean mind in a healthy body. It famously featured a "four-fold program" to develop the mental, physical, social and spiritual character of Christian citizens.

In more recent years, services have expanded to focus more on education, health, recreation and volunteerism. Starting in 1951, the organization was officially referred to as the "Y" to signify its changing nature, such as the merging of the men's and women's associations and the reduced focus on Christianity. The Centenary of the London Y in 1956 was celebrated on Sir George Williams' birthday and members of the community mainly celebrated the notable achievements of the organization during wartime. The YMCA has always had a reputation for providing unyielding support and services for all those persons involved in international conflict.

The Y building that stood at Wellington and Queens was demolished after a devastating fire in 1981 and the property sold to Sifton Properties, which constructed One London Place in 1992. A commemorative plaque was unveiled at the YMCA's former site in 2006 by the London Public Library Board's Historic Sites Committee. The London Y currently serves the city from several locations.

The Industrial Banner



420 Richmond Street, London, Ontario (south facade of Scotiabank Building) London, ON
42° 59' 3.1272" N, 81° 14' 58.6068" W
17 November 2009

Currently, 420 Richmond Street  is a Scotiabank branch, but at one time the land adjoining it belonged to the London Advertiser Printing and Publishing Company.  The London Advertiser is significant to the city because a newspaper of the same name was printed at that location and, perhaps even more importantly, because Canada’s first and longest-running labour newspaper was also printed there, The Industrial Banner.

For its first issue in 1891, the Industrial Banner was printed at the United Labour Hall.  Original editor Joseph T. Marks, along with his colleagues Rudolph Hessel, Henry Ashplant and Frank Plant, thought it was time for London to have a paper that was devoted to championing the rights of the Canadian working class, and so this monthly newspaper was born. 

Through the Industrial Banner, the editors provided a voice for unionists in the city and even went on to create their own political party, distinct from the existing Liberals and Conservatives.  From this, the “Independent Labour Party of Ontario” was created.  It met with some success over the years, including the election of Frank Plant to council in 1899.

Aside from the part the paper played in politics, the editors had another aim – to promote education for workers and literacy in the entire community.  Most important to them were the creation of a public library and the provision of free textbooks to schoolchildren.  Both of these eventually did occur in the city in later years, but the first referendum on creating a public library did not pass.   After this the editors of the newspaper, along with their sponsors, decided that they should take upon themselves the responsibility of improving literacy. 

To do so, they founded a reading room at the United Labour Hall.  This proved that there was enough interest in literacy and that people in London were serious about the issue.  In 1895 – two years after the opening of the reading room – a second referendum was held on whether to open a library and this one, fortunately, passed.  Joseph Marks, as one of the strongest proponents of the idea, became a founding member of the London Public Library Board. 

For approximately twenty years The Industrial Banner was printed in London at the Advertiser location.   Around 1913, production moved to Toronto, where editor Marks and the Independent Labour Party of Ontario hoped to make their own mark on the political stage.  After ten years in this location, the paper folded.

Though The Industrial Banner saw its end in Toronto, it clearly had its greatest impact in London.  Through the ideas of Joseph Marks and his colleagues, it provided a voice for the working class when they needed it most.  Their influence is still felt through the introduction of a proper public library system – one that still serves London to this day.




361 Windermere Road, London, Ontario (former site of Westminster College, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario) London, ON
43° 0' 52.9092" N, 81° 16' 13.3572" W
4 May 2002

Glenmore served as the club house for the London Hunt Club, which was officially established on 30 March, 1885.

London Hunt activities have been traced back as far as 1843, when British soldiers were stationed in the city. During this time, many hunts were held at Carling Heights, which overlooks Adelaide and Oxford Streets.

The famed Grand Military Steeplechase of 1843 was held at this location; the event was depicted in a distinguished local painting. "Glenmore" was the name given to the charter property on the eastern side of Western Road which was formerly known as the Red Feather Farm. The London Hunt Club's first permanent residence was established here in 1889. 

The London Hunt Club's first President and Master of Foxhounds was Harry Becher, who also happened to be the Mayor of London at the time he took office. The official colours assigned to the Club's huntsmen were French grey and scarlet, which were very similar, if not identical, to the uniform colors of London's Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Hussars.

Early membership to the Club was limited to one hundred men who paid annual dues of ten dollars. While several other competitive activities such as golfing and snowshoeing were introduced to the Club in later years, early club activities consisted mainly of foxhunting, trapshooting, and tennis.

The London Hunt Club eventually began leasing land from Jane Houseman near the Proof Line Road, opposite Platt's Lane, which is currently the location of University Hospital. In the year 1900, the Club finally settled in a more permanent site on land near Richmond Street North and Windermere Road.

By 1903, the Club had established itself well enough to maintain official records for posterity, including meeting minutes, and a year later, the official name of the organization was changed to "The London Hunt and Country Club". An old farmhouse on the premises was converted into a clubhouse which became known as Glenmore.

Additional land was purchased in 1915 in order for the Club to build an eighteen-hole golf course, which extended through UWO property and was rumoured to be kept cropped by pasturing sheep. The Prince of Wales even played a round of golf on this course in 1919.

Several members of the Club have been honoured for contributions in competitive activities. Jack Nash won the Club Championship fifteen times and Sandy Somerville won the Canadian Amateur Championship in 1926 and Ontario's Championship in 1929. In addition, the Club's course hosted several national tournaments, including the Canadian Amateur Championship in 1938.

The expansion of The University of Western Ontario called for the relocation of the club's quarters. In 1957, the Club purchased 274.5 acres of land near the Byron area, which remains the current location of the clubhouse.

In commemoration of the London Hunt and Country Club, a centenary book was assembled in 1985 by Brandon Conron to celebrate the organization's history.

In 2002 a plaque was unveiled by the London Public Library Board's the Historic Sites Committee at Westminster College, the former location of the Glenmore clubhouse, at 361 Windermere Road.  This building has since been demolished. 

First Episcopal Election



472 Richmond Street, London, Ontario (present site of St. Paul's Cathedral) London, ON
42° 59' 8.6532" N, 81° 15' 1.9548" W
27 May 2007

The construction of St. Paul’s Anglican Church began in 1829. The Rev. Edward Jukes Boswell chose two half-acre lots in the centre of the growing settlement of London, Ontario, and began to build the wooden structure that would eventually become the church. However, that was not to be the church’s final location.

In the early 1830s, the Rev. Benjamin Cronyn sold the original lots of land and bought a larger plot of less expensive land northeast of the initial location. The still unfinished wooden frame of the church was placed on sleighs and pulled by oxen to its new home. In September of 1834, St. Paul’s Church was complete and was ready to receive its congregation.

On Ash Wednesday in 1844 (February 21), St. Paul’s Church was destroyed by a fire. The church’s spire toppled down and the new church bell dropped from the steeple with a tremendous sound that was heard for a considerable distance. The recently made church organ - the very first in London – was also lost in the blaze. 

The church was soon rebuilt. The new church had ornate windows, elegant arches and a tower reaching 114 feet into the air. The pinnacles and doorways of the church were accented by stone gargoyles. The church’s foundations were made of concrete, and the structure itself was built of bricks made from clay dug from a designated area of the churchyard. The new St. Paul’s Church was formally dedicated on Ash Wednesday, 1846       (February 25).

In 1851, St. Paul’s Church took up a subscription and was able to purchase a peal of six church bells. These bells were made by the English company of C. and G. Mears of London. The first of their kind in Ontario, the bells arrived in Port Stanley in 1852 and were transported to London by oxcart. In 1901 the bells would be replaced by a chime of ten bells, which in turn would be recast into a chime of eleven bells in 1935.

In 1857, the synod of the young Anglican Diocese of Huron met at St. Paul’s Church to elect a bishop. While bishops had previously been government officers, the English Crown was now removing itself from involvement in ecclesiastical matters. As result, the clergy and followers of the Anglican Church were left to find alternative methods of selecting bishops. The election that took place in London in 1857 was a solution to this new state of affairs. With the naming of the Rev. Benjamin Cronyn as the Bishop of Huron, St. Paul’s Church became St. Paul’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Huron.