A Bit of Background...

John Colwell served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War 2 and was a prisoner of war in a German prison camp. While a POW he used his creative talents to make utensils from tin cans for the use of his fellow prisoners.

He was one of he prisoners involved in the “Great Escape”. He sewed shorts and sandbags out of parachute cloth so the POWs could quietly dispose of the sand they dug from their escape tunnel into the earth of the exercise yard.

He returned to Extension after the war and operated a dairy farm on White Rapids Road. He became a “rockhounder”.

In 1973, John and his fellow rock-hounders decided to build a clubhouse on land he and his wife Fern donated.

Using materials they gathered or scrounged, they built this clubhouse. The word Jonanco comes from “John and Company”.

The clubhouse originally had a cedar shake roof. The shakes were hand split by some of wives of the club members during the week and then put on the roof on the weekend by the men.

Since 1974, JONANCO has grown into a hobby haven for crafters and hobbyists alike and has held true to its humble beginnings.

John Colwell

1916 - 2007

Fern Colwell

building jonanco hobby workshop

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