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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex celebrates the “Maedel Community Centre”

by Sylene Argent

In April of 2020, Essex Council voted to rename the Essex Community Centre, located on Gosfield Townline, the “Maedel Community Centre, in honour of Edward Charles Maedel, who was an entrepreneur and personified community spirit.

  A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the name change and unveil the displays honouring Maedel’s local legacy. 

In 1908, Maedel purchased a struggling soft drink company on Talbot Street in Essex. He renamed it “Maedel Beverages,” where he made soft drinks and sold the product throughout the county.

  In 1935, he received the first Pepsi Cola franchise in all of Ontario, and the second franchise in all of Canada. He later built a new shop at the corner of Talbot Street and Brien Avenue. In 1989, the Maedel family sold the business to a company from Toronto.

  In addition to being a local business leader, Maedel helped to establish Boy Scouts in Essex, volunteered with youth sports and activities, provided leadership within the Essex Rotary Club, served as a firefighter, and helped support the construction of a bandshell.

The reason for the name change for the facility was to clarify where recreation programs were being held. The Town of Essex has three recreational facilities in Essex Centre, each with similar names, which created confusion.

  CAO Doug Sweet, who was the Director of Community Services at the time, suggested the name change two-years ago. A survey was issued to the community to gather public feedback on the idea, with 88 percent of the survey’s respondents supporting the name change to the “Maedel Community Centre.”

In January of 2021, Maedel’s family put out a call to the community, in search for items relating to “Maedel Beverages,” so that they could be displayed in the facility named in his honour.

  Among the many artifacts now on display in the Maedel Community Centre, is the original bandshell plaque.

  Maedel’s great-grandson, Doug Maedel, was thrilled to see the Essex Community Centre renamed in honour of his family member, who was very much involved in the community.

  He noted when his great-grandfather passed in 1974, around 200 vehicles participated in the funeral procession.

  “I am thrilled to be joined here today with my fellow members of Council to celebrate the official renaming of the Maedel Community Centre here in Essex Centre,” Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said. “This facility is an important asset for the Town and is home to many of the phenomenal programs and activities offered by the Recreation and Culture team.”


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