Simcoe is moving forward on a number of fronts thanks to generous bequests from a well-known patron of the arts.
When she died in January, Virginia (Gypsy) Moore left much of her estate to a number of local non-profit organizations.
Proceeds from the sale of her home on Norfolk Street North have been earmarked for the Simcoe and District Humane Society.
Meanwhile, $52,570 was donated to Norfolk County for the care and upkeep of the Norfolk County Archives/Eva Brook Donly Museum in Simcoe.
Cathie Hosken, the humane society’s president and shelter keeper, said the $300,000 coming from Moore’s estate will allow her group to finally begin construction of the 3,200-square-foot shelter that has been planned on Grigg Drive for more than 10 years.
For years, the humane society’s primary base of operation has been a converted truck trailer.
“Nothing is carved in stone because we haven’t received the money yet,” Hosken said Thursday. “But Gypsy was very generous with the humane society for many years. Gypsy’s love for the animals until she took sick was a major benefit to the humane society.”
Melissa Collver, Norfolk’s director of heritage and culture, brought Moore’s bequest to the attention of Norfolk council in a memo on Oct. 9. The $52,570 has been put in a museum reserve account “until such time as it is required,” Collver said.
If everything goes according to plan, the humane society will pour the foundation for its $600,000 shelter this fall or next spring.
The humane society’s plans for a permanent shelter benefited several years ago from a $180,000 bequest from the estate of Velma Barber of Waterford.
The humane society recently spent $60,000 revising its building plans to reflect changes in the Ontario building code. The society expects to spend another $25,000 on permit fees and development charges.
Moore was nearly 100 when she died.
Artist Ellen McIntosh-Green, of Simcoe, and Moore were good friends. They spent many hours together promoting the interests of the former Lynnwood Arts Centre, since redubbed the Norfolk Arts Centre.
“She was the best cook in Norfolk County,” McIntosh-Green said. “Her dinner parties were amazing. I still have a couple of the recipes she made. I loved Gypsy. She was really active in the community.”
Moore graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston in 1945. She was a teacher by training. She was an athlete with an interest in golf, tennis and curling. Along with gourmet cooking, she excelled as an interior designer.