St. Marys welcomes everyone 'home' this weekend as grads and tourists gather

The town of St. Marys is celebrating this long weekend with a party five years — and a pandemic delay — in the making.

It is Homecoming-Heritage Weekend, and that means plenty of activities and memories in Stonetown.

Already complete, a parade and fireworks show on Friday. But the main events are scheduled for this weekend.

Ongoing Saturday, a carnival atmosphere downtown, featuring bouncy castles, displays, food trucks and sales from local merchants.

But the key event is an all-years reunion at St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute, the local high school, where thousands of former students are visiting the school to reunite with old classmates.

Organizers have set up displays for each decade of graduates in different rooms of the school, stretching back to the 1940s.

1960s graduate, Nancy Bickel, said it is wonderful to see old friends, and added with a smile that she still knows her way to the principal’s office.

“Definitely! Yes, we had a lot of fun and we learned lots of things and made a lot of friends here,” she said.

It turns out, that Nancy was eyeing up a friend's brother throughout high school. But she did not "get serious” with Clare, her husband of 48 years, until after graduation. The pair attended the reunion together.

“I used to think he was pretty cute, but he was a year or two younger than me,” Nancy told CTV News London.

Meanwhile, St. Marys Mayor Al Strathdee is thrilled to see so many visitors in town.

“It’s so funny, because almost every time you see someone, you say, ‘Oh I haven’t seen you since, oh yeah, pre-COVID,’” he said.

The St. Marys Homecoming-Heritage weekend concludes Sunday with a church service and front porch reunion show.