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A unique gift awaits Guelph’s first “Canada Day” baby

On July 1, families across the country will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. For one family in particular, their celebration will not only include the birth of their child but a treasured keepsake.

Canada 150th quilt web
Cheryl (right) holds the quilt with the Foundation of Guelph’s Deb deBoer (left) and Linda Craig

Guelph’s Cheryl MacDonald has stitched together a truly remarkable quilt to be given to the first baby born at Guelph General Hospital on Canada Day. The two-sided work of art was a labour of love and includes many iconic Canadian symbols. On one side is a map with many animals that Canadians connect to various areas of this vast land. On the quilt border are the names living, past and present, Prime Ministers. Each patch of fabric includes their dates in office along with their autographs!

“I sent a presentation package to each of the First Ministers along with the fabric for them to sign,” Cheryl explains. “To my delight they all got involved with the exception of Mr. Mulroney.”

The idea of the quilt sprang from an event 50 years ago.

“My youngest brother was born in 1967 and has always been known by my parents as their ‘Centennial project.’ I thought that it would be great to do something for Canada's 150th and thought doing a quilt for the "first baby" born in Guelph would be great fun.”

Along with the quilt is a letter from Cheryl to the newborn. It begins, “Dear Little One. You have been born in a remarkable country and hopefully you will have many adventures exploring Canada as you grow up.” It also includes an offer to his or her parents to have the baby’s name and time of birth embroidered by her onto the start of the “Welcome to the World” fabric strip provided on the quilt.

It is a remarkable gift for a fortunate family. Cheryl says she hopes the quilt will be a special keepsake which could be passed along to future generations.