Helping the past enrich the future
Valentina Mulkewich McLeod’s love of her community was expressed in her dedicated volunteerism, in her community leadership and in her garden parties.
But it also continues to be expressed in the Valentina McLeod Arts and Heritage Community Development Fund for the Old Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, created by Val to ensure that the things that enrich the life of a community will be protected.
Val, who died in November 2015, had lived and worked in a number of Canadian communities and had travelled the world. But her love of the heritage and culture that make Niagara-on-the-Lake vibrant and unique came to be especially meaningful to her.
The daughter of immigrant farmers who came to Canada from Belarus (Russia) following the First World War, Val grew up on a farm in Norfolk County and learned early the importance of hard work and of contributing to her community. After retiring following a long career as an educator and as a volunteer with organizations such as the University Women’s Club, Brock University and Shaw Festival, Val’s donation was inspired by the example of her family.
Val, who once joked that she would like to be remembered for throwing the best garden party of the summer, has left a legacy in the Niagara Community Foundation fund in her name, to help others preserve NOTL’s “Old Town” culture and heritage.
And she also practiced what she preached. Val and her partner lovingly restored their 1846 heritage home and she planned the gift in the hope it would inspire and encourage others. As Val said: “It takes effort and planning to preserve the past.”