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St. Francis Award 

Ed Pickersgill  - 2016 St. Francis Award Winner  


Edward Pickersgill, a resident of Guelph and Wellington County since 1970, was born in 1944 in Glasgow, Scotland. He has lived in Canada since 1957. He was educated in Quebec and taught in Montreal. Subsequently, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer and typesetter and for the last 30 years coordinator of a housing co-operative and in the development of non-profit corporate organizations in employment, and literacy.

40 Baker Street, a well-known centre for outreach, was established by Ed. It houses several programs that serve people in need. Fresh Start is one of those programs with the goal to help the homeless find shelter and sustainable housing. Our Place Youth Centre is another program that provides a safe, supervised space where young people can gather in a respectful and an accepting environment. Our Place offers snacks and meals from 1 pm until 7 pm Monday to Friday. Our Place is a refuge for all people, provides medical attention, and offers a wide range of other services. Baker Street Art Gallery is a place where the youth who frequent Our Place and Fresh Start can drop in on weekends to talk, create art and grab a snack. It's a place to meet new people. The people that come to the 40 Baker Street say, “it is a place where we are family; where we are about truth and respect and where we are safe and creative.”

Edward Pickersgill is the Gatekeeper at 40 Baker and the Environment and Social Justice Committee at St. James the Apostle are pleased to award him with the 2016 St. Francis Award. Ed told us that “as a young boy I wore a St. Francis medal round my neck given to me by a gentle monk who communed with birds and other animals. Later, I became more connected to St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless cases. As I became older all those saints faded in my mind as I became more and more secular” and more involved with the work like St. Jude.” Ed Pickersgill accepts and respects people for who they are NOW. He puts the needs of others ahead of himself. He is an inspiration to all who work with him.


What is the St. Francis Award?

Each year, St. James the Apostle gives out the St. Francis Award at the Earth Festival of St Francis.  The award is given to someone in the community who demonstrates exemplary leadership in environmental stewardship, animal protection or social justice.   

Guidelines for Nomination 

A call for nominations occurs in March of each year and the award winner is selected by May.  The nominees are reviewed by the Environment  and Social Justice Committee. The Festival usually takes place the last week of September. 

Previous Winners  

1993 Elizabeth Snell 

1997 Sandra Pady and the Guelph Donkey Sanctuary 

2002    City Of Guelph and Mayor Karen Farbridge 

2003    Guelph Humane Society 

2007    Joseph Profit, S.J. and the Jesuit Collaborative for Ecology, Agriculture and Forestry 

2011   Philip Gosling and the Gosling Foundation 

2012   Habitat for Humanity - Wellington, Dufferin, Guelph 

2013 Norah Chaloner - Council of Canadians 

2014 Arlene Slocombe - Wellington Water Watchers 

2015 - The Reverend John Buttars