Unveiling of Elizabeth Gwillim Statue in Bradford West Gwillimbury On the sunny day of June 8, 2008, history was made and remembered in the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury as Lieutenant-Governor Onley and wife Ruth Ann helped the Gwillim Group unveil a statue of Elizabeth Gwillim Simcoe on the corner of Barrie and John Streets. This unveiling marked the end of over a year‚Äôs hard work by the committee members. The statue commemorates the woman whom our area was named after and who‚Äôs some 575 sketches and extensive diaries serve as documentation of our country and region in the earliest stages of its development. Elizabeth Gwillim was the wife of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, the first Governor of Upper Canada. She travelled with him all across the Canadian countryside from 1791-1796 and her writing and artistry give us a glimpse of our history that otherwise would have been lost. The plan for the erection of the statue was put in motion by the Gwillim Group, a sub-committee of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Local History Association. The Group heard of Brenda Wainman Goulet‚Äôs talent and recruited her to join the project. Goulet has been sculpting for over twenty years and has done other such public works as famous Canadians Tom Thomson and Dr. Norman Bethune. These statues stand in Huntsville and Gravenhurst, respectively. The design for the Elizabeth Gwillim statue was meant to capture the essence of Elizabeth, portraying her independence, intelligence, sociability and love for art. She stands as though at the front of a ship with sketchbook in hand and with two significant scenes, one on either side. To her left shows the meeting between the Simcoes and the Objigway Chief, Great Sail, with him holding their son Francis. To her right is a landscape scene including the St. George Anglican Church which is located at Sibbald Point on the edge of Lake Simcoe. This church was built in memory of Elizabeth‚Äôs school friend Susan Sibbald. Elizabeth‚Äôs daughters painted the windows for the church and they were sent over from England. Goulet first sculpted the statue out of wax and then it was taken to the Artcast Foundry in Georgetown where it was cast in bronze. All of the rocks for the parkette were chosen by the Gwillim Group necessitating many trips to the quarry. The location of the statue is also particularly significant; Barrie St. is the site of a lot of foot traffic and Elizabeth spent much of her time here in Canada traveling the landscape, often on foot. Also, Gov. John Graves Simcoe helped to build Yonge St. and the way the statue faces she is looking onto the street her husband built. The Gwillim Group did extensive fundraising to collect the money needed for the project and they offered the sponsors who donated $500, $2500 and $5000 recognition on a Bronze, Silver and Gold plaque displayed at the monument‚Äôs site. The Group raised $90,848, slightly surpassing their goal of $90,000 and most of this came from local donors. Much preparation also went into the unveiling ceremony. The ceremony began with an announcement by the town crier, Art Meeke, followed by a Vice-Regal salute and a gun-salute announcing the presence of Lieutenant-Governor Onley. The master of ceremonies for the event was Mikki Nanowski, the chairwoman of the Gwillim Group. Addresses were given by multiple members of government including Bradford‚Äôs Mayor Doug White. Elizabeth Gwillim was officially unveiled by Lieutenant-Governor Onley‚Äôs wife Ruth Ann and sculptor Brenda Wainman Goulet. The statue was blessed by Elder Nina Burnham of the Six Nations and entertainment was provided by the Celtic harpist Dianne Parke-Jones accompanied by the St. David‚Äôs Women‚Äôs Welsh Choir. This is just one of the endeavors that have been undertaken in the last couple of years to beautify the town of Bradford and to display its unique and interesting history. Sources Beacock Fryer,Mary. Elizabeth Postuma Simcoe (1762-1850); A Biography. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1989. Mikki Nanowski, interview by Nicki Gooyers, July, 2008, Elizabeth Gwillim Simcoe, Bradford Print Shoppe, Bradford West Gwillimbury, ON.