Couple makes history with wedding in historic building

They were friends since they were kids but Mabel Newman and Walter Grasley went their sep­arate ways after growing up near Parry Sound.
Now, they plan to spend the rest of their lives together after getting married at the Mount Royal Tavern and Restaurant here on Feb. 23.
Grasley, 82, and Newman, turning 80 later this year, will be making history as the first couple to ever say their vows in the historic hotel.
“I never dreamed I would get married again,” said the bride in an interview the day before the service.
Newman was widowed in 1984, having been married for 38 years and raised two child­ren, Jim and Joanne. She said her career consisted mainly of being “mostly a housewife” but she also was “a hairdresser by trade,” and worked for Ontario Provincial Laboratories, in Toronto, and General Electric. She raised her family near her home town.
Walter married and moved to Wellington North, and New­man said, “He was happily mar­ried.”
His wife died last spring.
Since they had known each other so long (“I’ve known Wal­ter since I was a teenager”), they started a ritual of meeting for dinner on Sunday nights, and talking. Grasley said they dined all over; Clifford, Elmira, “any­where at all.”
Just before Christmas, he pro­posed.
Newman said when they picked up their marriage lic­ence, they asked about places where they could have the service and was given a list of four.
She said she was familiar with one of them, but when she walked into the Mount Royal, she immediately made up her mind.
“I said, ‘This is where I want to get married.’ They’re knocking themselves out.”
Tavern owner Ron Forrest said he is certain this is the first marriage ever performed in the 1889 building.
“I’ve been in town for over 40 years,” Forrest said, and add­ed that he know the tavern’s owner prior to taking it over. Further, he said he has talked with a number of oldtimers in the area, and none of them can recall a wedding service in the building.
“It’s something back in their era,” Forrest said of the building and the happy couple. “They’re getting married right on the stage.”
There will be a full house, too. Newman said that 90 rela­tives and friends are invited be­cause that is the capacity of the venue.
When asked what her children think of her getting married, she laughed and said, “My daughter’s right here, fixing me up so I look nice. It’s a big job.”
As well, her son will do the honours and give her away, and she said dozens of Walter’s rela­tives will be on hand. Her great-grandchildren, Caitlin and Curtis Erb, will be the ring bearers, her sister, Ada Green­slade will be the matron of honour, and Grant Dinsmore is the best man.
Walter summed up one reason why they got together. “I was alone, and she was alone.”
The couple will spend their honeymoon in Florida from Feb 25 to March 10, but, then, Newman said, they will return to Ar­thur, where Grasley lives.
“Walter drives for the VON [Victorian Order of Nurses] and he wants to be back,” she said. “He’s very dedicated to his volunteer work.”