Chief Rick Cheseborough personifies the South Frontenac Fire department. Whenever and wherever the d...
On the recommendation of its new Chief Building Official, Shawn Merriman, Central Frontenac Council ...
The Community Foundation for Kingston & Area (CFKA) awarded 20 grants totaling $152,519 to local...
As numerous motorcyclists and off-road vehicle enthusiasts plan to hit roads and trails during the V...
In 1973, Winston Cosgrove published a 60-page book on the history of Wolfe Island. Wolfe Island Past and Present outlines how the island came to be settled, how it remained in use by indigenous peoples as fall and winter fishing and hunting grounds until the middle of the 19th Century, and how the population peaked in the late 19th Century before beginning a long decline that has only recently been reversed. The book is written in a kind of discreet manner that suggests its focus was more in the past than on what was then the present, and of course 40 years have passed since it was published. It contains, however, much information about how the island community developed from the late 17th until the 20th centuries. In 1685, Robert Cavallier, Sieur de Lasalle, having been granted the Signeury of Fort Frontenac by King Louis the 14th ten years earlier, conferred ownership of what would become known as Wolfe Island on James Cauchois. It was the “first conveyance of any part of Ontario from one subject to another”. The land remained in the Cauchois family for over 100 years, until it was sold in the early 1800s to David Alexander Grant and Patrick Langan for one shilling an acre. Grant had married the Baroness of Longeuil in 1785, and although the sale of the island to Grant and Langan severed all ties to the French monarchy it did establish the Baron of Longeuil as a major force on Wolfe Island. In 1823, David Alexander's son, C.W. Grant, the 4th Baron of Longeuil, owned about 11,000 acres on the island. A similar amount was split among the three daughters of Patrick Langan. Two-sevenths of the land had been turned over to England's King George when the British overturned French rule in the entire region. Grant sold off 100 acre lots starting in 1823, and settlement began in earnest. He also had a large house constructed near Marysville. The house, which was called Ardath Chateau, was known locally as the “The Old Castle”. It had 25 rooms, a dungeon, a carriage house and servants' quarters and was the “focal point for many years of life on the island”. In 1929 the house, which had been unoccupied for at least 15 years, was razed in a fire. “Being a native born Islander, this writer recognises the staunch loyalty among the Islanders for one another and out of respect for this tradition, would prefer 'to let sleeping dogs lie' rather than delve further into the matter.” This suggests that Winston Cosgrove knew more about the fire than he was willing to say, and in all likelihood further information about what happened that dark night in 1929 is still carried by any number of Wolfe “Islanders”. Although “The Old Castle” was certainly grand, the housing situation for Wolfe Island settlers in the early to mid 19th Century was more modest. Fifteen settler families lived on the island in 1823, and this increased to 261 persons by 1826. The population grew steadily, peaking at 3,600 by 1861. When the island was being settled in the 1820s and 30s “the typical house was a log cabin, 20 feet long by 16 feet wide, 6 logs high, with a shanty or sloping roof. Some had glass but most often the windows were only holes in the wall, which could be covered in the winter.” During the 1850s, demand for lumber for D. D. Calvin's shipbuilding operation on nearby Garden Island led to a lumbering boom on Wolfe Island, and the boom ended when the trees were gone. The population began to dwindle at that point, and by the time Cosgrove's book was published in 1973, it was down to 1,200. It had dropped to 1142 by 2001, and the 2011 population survey lists Frontenac Islands (including Wolfe and Howe Island) at 1864. The current permanent resident population of Wolfe Islands, according to Wikipedia, is 1,400, although it is twice that or more in the summer (perhaps excluding this past summer due to the Ferry Fiasco of 2015). Wolfe Island Past and Present contains a wealth of information about landmarks and renowned island residents. It explains how Marysville was named after Mary Hitchcock, who lived all of her 92 years on the island and was its first postmistress between 1845 and her death in 1877. The General Wolfe Hotel, originally known as the Wolfe Island Hotel, was built in 1860. It was renamed the General Wolfe by the Greenwood brothers in 1955, and benefited from the results of a liquor referendum in 1957, which was won by “the wets”. The hotel remains an island landmark and a major part of the hospitality industry. It's 130-seat restaurant has won a number of provincial awards. The final chapter of the book deals with a crucial subject, one that has been top of mind on the island this summer and was also the subject of a discussion and slide show on Wednesday, December 2, “Ice Travel” with Kaye Fawcett and Ken White, which was organised by the Wolfe Island Historical Society. Throughout Frontenac County the history of road and railway construction is full of colour, hardship and a fair taint of corruption and scandal. On Wolfe Island there is an added dimension - the water that separates the island from the mainland and the City of Kingston. It was 50 years ago, in 1965, that a year-round ferry service financed by the Province of Ontario was established on Wolfe Island. Until then the ferry service ran only until freeze up, and during the winter an ice road was the way across. In 1954 the winter was so warm that the ferry was only inactive for 2 days, but between 1955 and the onset of the year-round ferry in 1965, the range was 60 to 110 days, with an average of about 80 inactive days each winter. Over the years, tragedies and near tragedies occurred on the ice on many occasions. One of the more famous events was the near drowning of entire families on Christmas Day in 1955. The ferry was out of commission because of an early winter, but a tug boat, the Salvage Prince, waited at the edge of the ice at Barrett's Bay for families who had come to the island for Christmas Day and were returning to Kingston late in the afternoon. They were being drawn across the ice in a sleigh, but just before reaching the boat, the sleigh went through a wet spot in the ice, forcing a hurried and dangerous rescue, as children, adults and seniors, were luckily all pulled out of the freezing water back to the tug and a boat ride to Kingston. Some were taken to the hospital for observation. An account of the trip by Brian Johnson is available at thousandislandslife.com. In the concluding pages of his book, Winston Cosgrove makes the argument that the economy of Wolfe Island will be doomed unless a bridge is built. “In the past the economy of the island has been purely an agricultural one, with hunting and fishing and summer residents as minor items. Under this system the population has dwindled. The key to the problem is transportation. There is much beautiful undeveloped shoreline and land that is is well-suited for permanent homes but better ways are needed to get to and from the mainland if the community is to develop and grow. A ferry service is not efficient enough ... Meanwhile the Islanders who want a bridge must be content to await future developments while acting as guardians of a great land developed by pioneers, to whom all are indebted.” Although Cosgrove's views may have had a lot of currency this past summer while the Wolfe Islander ferry was in dry dock, Wolfe Island has reversed the population slide over the past 10 years and a number of tourism-related businesses are thriving.
Rightly so, Frontenac Park is considered the hidden jewel of Frontenac County. It is located in the midst of an array of communities and cottage lakes within a stone's throw of Sydenham and is a short drive from Kingston; and yet it is a backwoods park in a unique geological and climactic location. It features the best canoeing, camping and hiking this side of Bon Echo Park, which is also a jewel but one that is less hidden and is also shared between Frontenac and Lennox and Addington. In his definitive book on the back story about the land where Frontenac Park is located, “Their Enduring Spirit: the History of Frontenac Park 1783-1990”, Christian Barber extensively researched all of the development that took place in and around the park before the idea of a park was floated and eventually acted upon in the 1960s. Their Enduring Spirit is not only a valuable resource in terms of how the park was developed; it is also an account of the difficulties posed by the Frontenac Spur of the Canadian Shield on those who were unlucky enough to attempt homesteading in its rocky terrain. The park is located in what were then Loughborough and Bedford Townships, now both part of the Municipality of South Frontenac. Many of the settlers who attempted to make a life in that region did so in the mid-to-late 1800s. There were some Loyalists among them, but there were also a number of Irish immigrants who made their way first to St. Patrick's Church in Railton, and then headed into the wilderness north of Sydenham in search of a new life. What greeted them was brutal and difficult. The history of a number of homesteading families forms the core of Their Enduring Spirit. Based on historic records, interviews with descendants who lived on or visited those who lived on the farms, and by walking the land and examining the remnants that are being reclaimed as wilderness lands, a picture of life in the back townships during the first 100 years of Frontenac County emerges. (An account of the life and times of the Kemp family can be found at Frontenacnews.ca under the “50 Stories/150 Years” tab) The level of poverty among late 19th Century settlers is reflected in some of the minutes of meetings of both Hinchinbrooke and Loughbrough Townships. In the minutes there are accounts of grants for as little as $1 for families in need after the death of a partner or a debilitating illness. Families who had settled on the worst pieces of land, who suffered from any kind of ill health, or for some reason were not able to keep up with the demands of clearing land, building shelter, keeping warm in winter and raising enough food, ended up in desperate straits. That is why settlers would take over abandoned fields and houses and only settle the ownership later on, if they decided to stay. Far from disputing this practice, as long as the property taxes were paid the local townships did not question the ownership of the properties. Mining was one of the few means of getting money for labour, and was also a major impetus for the establishment of the K&P Railroad. The village of Godfrey, to the west of Frontenac Park, was originally called Deniston after the name of the post office but it was known as Iron Ore Junction by the local population. The Glendower company mined 12,000 tons of iron ore between 1873 and 1880, and later the Zanesville company took over and a spur line was constructed between the mine and the Bedford Station (renamed Godfrey in 1901) of the K&P. A large deposit of Feldspar was found between Desert and Thirteen Island Lakes, and it was mined, on and off, between 1901 and 1951, producing a total of 230,000 tons in that time. In and right around the park, it was mica that was the most commonly mined mineral, in small mines as a kind of cottage industry and on an industrial scale as well. There is an account of how a mica mine operated in one of the issues of “The Frontenac News” (not this newspaper but the newsletter of the Friends of Frontenac Park) Below is an excerpt: 1905 - early in the morning Tom Gorsline, the foreman at the Tett mine, is checking the steam piping as a worker starts a wood fire in the boiler that will provide the steam that runs the drill and the water pumps. The miners had been following a vein of amber mica (phlogopite) since 1899 - the main pit now plunged close to 80 feet into the rocks and water sometimes was a problem. Fortunately, the price for mica is on the rise again and the main vein is still good. The hand drillers are already at work. Their job is to make holes in the rock to receive the explosives. The drillers are working in teams of two using a method called "double-jacking". One person, the holder, manually holds a steel drill against the rock. The other, the striker, swings an eight-pound sledgehammer hitting the end of the drill. In between the blow, the holder twists the drill to loosen the rock chips so it does not get stuck in the rock. Then the next blow comes with a sharp clank when steel meets steel. They are drilling at a rate of 1.5 to 2 feet per hour. After a half-hour, the holder and striker exchange places so the striker can have a rest. As you can imagine, accuracy is crucial. If the striker misses, the holder could be maimed for life. This is dangerous enough when they are drilling on the floor of the mine, but often the veins are at the roof of a drift or on the wall of the pit. As soon as the steam from the boiler reaches the right pressure, a miner starts the steam drill. It is faster and easier than hand drilling but the steam drill is enormous, unreliable and unwieldy because of connections with the steam pipes that come down from the surface. As a result, the steam driller is assigned fairly open spaces while the hand drillers work in tight quarters. Drilling is hard and dangerous - there are no hard hats, goggles, or electrical lights - but the dollar a day they are earning helps to feed their families. Now that the holes are in place, Tom calls the blasters. They make sure the holes are dry, otherwise the charges may not go off. They put the black powder in waterproof covers, attach a proper length fuse, and place it down in the hole. They pack the rest of the hole with clay. The length of the fuse is important or they could meet their maker faster than expected. After a few minutes, all charges are ready. The head blaster gives a signal to Tom Gorsline who orders all miners and equipment out of from the mine. When all is clear, the blaster lights up the fuse and moves quickly out of the way. The explosion rumbles and the ground shakes. After the smoke and dust settle, Tom sends in the muckers. They have a hazardous job. Everyone knew of George Amey, a mucker at the Birch Lake mine, who lost an eye when his pick hit a charge that did not fully explode. Some muckers sort the ore from the waste while others, with picks and shovels, load the waste rock in a large bucket until it is full. Then one of them yells: "BUCKET." Upon hearing the signal, a man at the surface gets the horse moving on a circular track so that the winch can hoist the bucket up to the top. The bucket is dumped on the tailings pile. As soon as the muckers are finished clearing the debris from the last blast, the drillers begin to make new holes. Cleaning the mica is the job of cobblers who work on the surface. Some cobblers "thumb trim" the mica by the pit while others are working at the cleaning shop attached to the main mine building, "knife trimming" the mica to remove all traces of unwanted material. They store the clean mica in barrels. The mica is shipped down the Hardwood Bay Road to Perth Road then north to Bedford Mills. There, the mica will be shipped to a buyer in Ottawa via the Rideau Canal. The Tett mine operated from 1899 till 1924. It produced 99 tons of mica for a value of $27,279.00. For a few months, it was the largest mica producer in Ontario. By the 1940s the mica mining boom had passed and most of the homesteads in the area had been abandoned or were on their last legs. It was then that the idea of establishing a wilderness park on the lands in Loughborough and Bedford township that had resisted settlement, and whose lakes (Devil, Big Clear, Otter, and Buck) were not already cut up into cottage lots, was first floated. In 1954 a Parks Division was created within the Department of Lands and Forests of Ontario (the precursor to the Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1957, the Kingston Rod and Gun Club submitted a proposal for a new park to serve the growing numbers of people in Kingston and southern Frontenac County wanting to experience the great outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and the enjoyment of a sandy beach. The proposal included twenty-seven 200 acre lots in Bedford and twenty-five 200 acre lots in Lougborough, a total of 16.2 square miles, with an option to increase it to 23.7 square miles if the area below Otter Lake was added. That effort was not successful, and seemed to be dead when Murphy's Point Park on Big Rideau Lake near Perth was established instead. Five years later, in 1962, another group, the Kingston Nature Club, put forward a similar proposal. This time, even though the cost of purchasing private land for the park had ballooned to $200,000, the proposal was successful. It eventually cost over $1 million to create Frontenac Park, which opened in the late 1960s. The park's first superintendent, Bruce Page, was the great grandson of Jeremiah, one of the first settlers on the land in the vicinity of what became Frontenac Park. Among the features of the park, and on the nearby Gould Lake Conservation Area, are hiking trails that pass by and over mica mine sites. In the Park, the 10 km Tettsmine Loop passes by remnants of a log slide from the lumbering days, abandoned mica mines and the remains of McNally Homestead. At Gould Lake, the Mica Loop passes over several small mine sites and mica minerals can still be seen sparkling in the rock faces.
There were a number of distinguished Frontenac County wardens from the Township of Wolfe Island during the first 133 years of Frontenac County history, and since municipal amalgamation there have been two more from the Township of Frontenac Islands: Jim Vanden Hoek for two years, and the current warden, Denis Doyle. Although Tim O'Shea was only county warden for a single year, the centennial year in 1967, he was a member of the council for 33 consecutive years as the long-serving reeve of Wolfe Island. He retired from politics in 1991 and died in 1996 at the age of 78. His son, Terry, who served as the clerk of Wolfe Island and Frontenac Islands for over 20 years, starting in 1986, described his father as someone who enjoyed people and was able to remain calm in tense situations, which might explain why he was able to win election after election. He worked for most of his life as a hunting and a fishing guide on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and in the evenings he tended to township matters. As well as presiding over Council, he was the welfare officer for the islands as well as the manager of the ferry, all part of the functions of the reeve. Perhaps his most lasting accomplishment was convincing the provincial government to take over the ferry service from Wolfe Island and make it a free service. He also presided over the construction of the first library, medical clinic, ambulance base and fire department on the island. Because of all his accomplishments and longevity, he is still considered to have been the dean of Frontenac County councilors. One hundred and two years before Tim O'Shea served as county warden, another Wolfe Island politician held the post. The first ever Frontenac County warden was Dileno (Dexter) Calvin, the proverbial self-made man. He was orphaned at the age of eight in Rutland, Vermont. When he was 20 he moved to the State of New York where he worked as a labourer until he entered into the lumbering business when he was in his mid-20s. He started in 1825, squaring some timber with a neighbour and transporting it by raft to Quebec City. Slowly, he built up the business, and in 1835 he moved to Clayton, NY, and established a lumber transport business. Soon after, he became involved in a company based on Garden Islands, the Kingston Stave Forwarding Company, which was later renamed Calvin, Cook and Counter, and then Calvin and Cook after the men who owned it. In 1844, Dexter Calvin moved to rented land on Garden Island and took control of the company, taking advantage of the island's location, its sheltered port, and the fact that it was within the British rather than the American trading system. Out of its base on Garden Island, the company maintained agencies in Sault St. Marie, Quebec City, Liverpool and Glasgow, operated 12 -15 ships and employed as many as 700 people in its peak years. It became a generalized shipping company, and also operated a large tugboat service. The move to Garden Island took place soon after the death of Calvin's first wife, Harriet Webb, in Clayton, New York, in 1843. the couple had been married for 12 years and had six children. He remarried Marion Breck in 1844. They also had six children between 1844 and her death in 1861. His third wife, Catherine Wilkinson, whom he married in 1861 when he was 63, had two children, and lived until 1911. Of his 14 children, only six lived to adulthood. During the last 40 years of his long life (he died in 1884 at the age of 86) Calvin was a sort of patriarch to the inhabitants of Garden Island. He bought 15 acres of land on the island in 1848 with his partner Hiram Cook, and by 1862 they owned the entire island. Calvin bought Cook’s share in 1880. Garden Island became a model company town, with its own school, library, and post office. Although it was made up of people from different national origins and religions, it was reportedly remarkably peaceful and well managed. It was also a dry community, under the express orders of Calvin himself, who became a prohibitionist at the same time as his conversion to the Baptist Faith about a year before the death of his first wife. Since most of the inhabitants of Garden Island worked for Calvin, he was able to shield them from economic turbulence in two ways. For one thing, since he was more involved in lumber transport than buying and selling, the fluctuations in the price of lumber did not affect the business in a substantial way. He also chose to use the company's reserves to shield his employees during serious downturns, such as one that took place in 1873. At that time he cut wages but did not lay any one off, which was as unusual then as it is now. He was strongly opposed to organized labour, however, and when sailors on his ships started a union drive, he hired replacement workers from Glasgow and eventually sold some of his schooners and bought great lake barges to cut down on the need for labour. His political life, which began when he was in his early 60s, was quite distinguished. He had become a naturalized Canadian within a year of moving to Garden Island. By the time Frontenac County was established in 1865 after the amalgamated County of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington had been disbanded, Calvin was already ensconced as reeve of Wolfe Island and the surrounding islands. He became the first warden of the County, a position he also held the following year and in 1868 as well. He then took a turn at provincial politics, as a Conservative MPP for the riding of Frontenac. He served from 1868 until 1883, with the exception of the years between 1875 and 1877, when he lost favour with the party. In those days, becoming the Conservative candidate in Frontenac was more difficult than winning the election against opposing party candidates. He was also one of the first directors of the K&P Railroad. He was a man who was known for his eccentricities, such as a dislike for short men “for no other reason than that they were short” according to his grandson, as well as men who bit their fingernails (author's note – I'm sure we would have gotten on famously) as well as dogs and people who own them. “When a man's poor,” he said, “he gets a dog. If he's very poor, he gets two.” Dileno Dexter Calvin died in 1884, and despite his great success in Canada, he was buried next to his mother and his first wife in Clayton, NY.
Rightly so, Frontenac Park is considered the hidden jewel of Frontenac County. It is located in the midst of an array of communities and cottage lakes, within a stone's throw of Sydenham and is a short drive from Kingston; and yet it is a backwoods park in a unique geological and climactic location. It features the best canoeing, camping and hiking this side of Bon Echo Park, which is also a jewel but one that is less hidden and is also shared between Frontenac and Lennox and Addington. In his definitive book on the back story about the land where Frontenac Park is located, “Their Enduring Spirit: the History of Frontenac Park 1783-1990”, Christian Barber extensively researched all of the development that took place in and around the park before the idea of a park was floated and eventually acted upon in the 1960s. In doing so, Their Enduring Spirit is not only a valuable resource in terms of how the park was developed; it is also an account of the difficulties posed by the Frontenac Spur of the Canadian Shield on those who were unlucky enough to attempt homesteading in its rocky terrain. The park is located in what were then Loughborough and Bedford Townships, now both part of the Municipality of South Frontenac. Many of the settlers who attempted to make a life in that region did so in the mid-to-late 1800s. There were some Loyalists among them, but there were also a number of Irish immigrants who made their way first to St. Patrick's Church in Railton, and then headed into the wilderness north of Sydenham in search of a new life. What greeted them was brutal and difficult. The history of a number of homesteading families forms the core of Their Enduring Spirit. Based on historic records, interviews with descendants who lived on or visited those who lived on the farms, and by walking the land and examining the remnants that are being reclaimed as wilderness lands, a picture of life in the back townships during the first 100 years of Frontenac County emerges. The first family to be profiled in the book is the Kemp family, who arrived at their farm at Otter Lake, near the west gate of the park, sometime in the 1860s. By the time of the 1871 census, William and Jane Kemp, both 47, had six children living with them. The land they laid claim to, in addition to other properties taken on by their son George, was very good by local standards. Over two decades of work, making use of the efforts of the entire family, 30 acres of the 95 acre property had been cleared. “That might not sound like much to show for 20 years of labour, but in that district most farms worked 15 or 20 cleared acres. In fact the clearing was usually completed in relatively short order. But it was back-breaking work, without mechanical means. It involved cutting down the trees and clearing the brush, then burning the stumps that could not be wrenched from the ground by a team of horses or oxen and hauled away to form a first fence row. In the meantime the job of raising a crop to feed the family over the winter had to go on, and the first seeds were usually sown among the stumps ... it was no wonder that among the first settlers it was axiomatic to hate trees,” wrote Christian Barber in Their Enduring Spirit. The Kemp family prospered, and by 1900 the original log cabin that was built in the early 1870s had disappeared beneath white, painted clapboard, and numerous outbuildings had been constructed as well. There was a root cellar below, and fields that extended right to the front doorway. Still, cash was not easy to come by. A ledger from M.A. Hogan's General Store in Sydenham illustrates this. In late 1912, Mary Shales Kemp, George's wife, who managed the family finances among numerous other tasks, purchased dishes, a pair of overalls for a dollar, and the indulgences of walnuts and a vase, for a total cost of $7.32. Her custom was to pay for her purchases with butter and eggs from the farm. However on this occasion, after the eggs and butter were factored in there was a shortfall of $1.45. Back went the overalls and the extra 45 cents was paid in cash. During the mica mining year in the first decade of the 20th century, George Kemp found a number of small deposits on his farm, and even took on investors to pay the $70 that was needed for drills and blasting powder at one site. However, enough mica was never found to make a profit on the venture. To the extent that there were roads in the area, they were built and maintained by all of the farmers living in there, sometimes as part of their taxation responsibilities, which, in the late 19th century, included putting in some time improving the local roads. While the Kemp family were able to establish a successful farm in what is now Frontenac Park, it was ultimately unsustainable. Mary Kemp lived on the farm after George died, but moved away in 1928 and sold the property in 1941. The last people to occupy it were a family from Wyoming in the late 1940s. By the time Mary Kemp died in Sydenham in 1952 at the age of 93, the property where she had made her life had been abandoned and the house and barns had burned down. When Christian Barber went to the property in the late 1980s as he was preparing his book, it was mostly overgrown with vegetation, and it required effort on his part to find the remnants of what had been a going concern for 60 or 70 years. He notes this at the end of his chapter on the Kemp family of Kemp Road : “... the fields, so painstakingly cleared and planted and harvested by generations of settlers, are overgrown with sumac and birch, locust and juniper. Rusted barbed wire – embedded by years in the centre of the trees that it was originally stapled to the bark of – is stretched to the breaking point by fallen trees, and there is no one to cut them away; no farmer in overalls, with strong, knuckly, barked, and sun-tanned hands to walk the line on a summer day between haying and harvest and maintain a fence.” The Kemp family's story is similar in outcome to others told in the book - struggle and some success followed by a move to better farmland elsewhere in the region or to work off the farm in Sydenham or beyond. Mining and logging were also prevalent in the park. Logging started in the early 19th century and mining later on, with the logging having the greatest impact on the land, as it did elsewhere in the region generally. In the interesting chapter on mining, Barber touches on the story of Antoine Point on Devil Lake. Francis Edward Antoine and his wife, Letitia Whiteduck, built a log cabin on the Point in the mid 19th century and they are buried there. One of their sons, John Antoine, is listed, along with the government, as the owner of Antoine Point in the 1883 Meacham map, one of the best source materials for information about land ownership in those years. John, with his wife Elizabeth Hollywood, had 11 children. According to Antoine family lore, it was John who found mica deposits at Antoine Point, although there are competing accounts about who found the ore at that location, and it seems that the Point became of interest to mining interests in the early 1890s. There is an entry in the land registry indicating that John Antoine sold his interest in the land to William Jones for $50 in 1897, and the Antoines moved to Godfrey, and eventually back to Sharbot Lake, where another branch of the family was already located. The idea of establishing a wilderness park on the lands in Loughborough and Bedford township that had resisted settlement, and whose lakes (Devil, Big Clear, Otter, and Buck) were not already cut up into cottage lots, was first floated in the 1940s. In 1954 a Parks Division was created within the Department of Lands and Forests of Ontario (the precursor to the Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1957, the Kingston Rod and Gun Club submitted a proposal for a new park to serve the growing numbers of people in Kingston and southern Frontenac County wanting to experience the great outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and the enjoyment of a sandy beach. The proposal included twenty seven 200 acre lots in Bedford and twenty five 200 acre lots in Lougborough, a total of 16.2 square miles, with an option to increase it to 23.7 square miles if the area below Otter lake was added. That effort was not successful, and seemed to be dead when Murphy's Point Park on Big Rideau Lake near Perth was established instead. Five years later, in 1962, another group, the Kingston Nature Club, put forward a similar proposal. This time, even though the cost of purchasing private land for the park had ballooned to $200,000, the proposal was successful. It eventually cost over $1 million to create Frontenac Park, which opened in the late 1960s. The park's first superintendent, Bruce Page, was the great grandson of Jeremiah, one of the first settlers on the land in the vicinity of what became Frontenac Park.
Shawn Merriman, the new Chief Building Official (CBO), offered his opinion on how Council should proceed with penalizing North Frontenac residents who constructed a yurt in the Township without the proper permits in place. “This case should still proceed,” Merriman said. “Yurts depend on the usage as much as the actual thing.” “The previous CBO has agreed that it's a building, I have, from my previous experience at other townships, agreed too,” Merriman said. “If they can be used as a residence, and in this case it appears that it is being used as a residence, even if it's seasonal, it's a slippery slope to get into it.” Mayor Higgins was adamant about deferring the decision until they could sit down with the planning department, the building department, and Council to better define how they classify yurts in the Township. “I don't agree,” Deputy Mayor Fred Perry said. “We have a set of policies and we have a building inspector that adheres to those policies. .. we have to accept those decisions,” “We don't go around questioning when the Inspector says yes or no,” Perry continued. “That's his job.” “In most situations I would agree but this is a unique situation...” Mayor Higgins said. “No sir,” Merriman interrupted. “In all situations you hired your Building Inspector to do the job.” “I'm not trying to circumvent what the building department is doing ...” Higgins said. “We haven't defined yurts in our building code.” “The building official defines it for you once you hire them,” Merriman said. “I'm not necessarily looking to punish anyone who truly thought they were doing something that was reasonable,” Merriman said. “When something goes through that's not safe it's usually not those people that have a problem but the person 4-5 owners down that has the problem,” Merriman said. “… and then they ask the Township 'how could you have done this?' and you find yourself in court.” In a recorded vote, Council chose to defer the decision. Councillors Good and Deputy Mayor Perry voted against the motion, and Councillor Inglis recused himself from the vote because the resident who put up the yurt is his daughter. Mayor Higgins said he will sit down with the planning and building departments and try to come to a workign definition of a yurt and will report back to council Council Approves Official PlanMegan Rueckwald, the Community Planner for Frontenac County, came to Council on Friday in Ompah to present, and eventually get approved, the final version of the Official Plan (OP) for North Frontenac. The updated version of the plan featured some policy revisions as a result of the last public meeting and updates to map layers. The planning staff had recommended that Council consider changing the status of Harlowe and Snow Road Station from their current designation of “settlement” but Council voted against the idea and the two hamlets will retain their original classifications. During the public meeting in April of this year, local residents had concerns about Snow Road not being considered a hamlet with fears of missing out on future development planning from the Township. On Friday, Council made one final change to the OP, having Rueckwald adapt the map of Harlowe to show it as a settlement area, and then approved the plan. If this version gets a nod from the County it will be the first Official Plan approved for North Frontenac since 2003. Clar-Mill Archives Receives $10K GrantBrenda Martin, from the Clar-Mill Archives, received a grant from the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area for $10,672 to help offset expenses and to allow them to hire two summer students. North Frontenac Stands Behind Decision on Cambium“South Frontenac is ticked off at North Frontenac in the Frontenac News so I felt I had to address that,” Mayor Higgins said. Higgins read aloud a letter he presented during County council in defence of North Frontenac's decision to vote against applying for funding from the Continuous Improvement Fund that would allow them to hire Cambium to study waste diversion in the County. Mayor Higgins had hoped that the funding would be used to study more progressive solutions for waste diversion and instead the Cambium study, which would cost $106,000, was highly focused on blue box programs. “I can think of a few different options such as working with other municipalities, working with the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus, an incinerator, reuse facilities,” Higgins said. “That's what we were expecting was going to come back to the County.” “It just ticked me off that we're spending that money frivolously,” Higgins said. “There's lessons to be learned from each Township before we proceed.” “A lot of Townships aren't up to where we're at,” Higgins told Council. “We shouldn't proceed with any studies until all options are identified...” Higgins said “One of the realities at play is that South Frontenac is not nearly as advanced as we are at blue box recycling and they hold more votes and more power and more people and they're getting a blue box enhancement program that's good for them,” Councillor John Inglis said. “We don't need it.” “Why are we paying their consultant $100,000 to come in and interview our public works manager to get information that our public works managers already have?” Higgins asked. “It's a total waste of money!” “The County is good at that,” Councillor Wayne Good added.
A dedicated crowd defied some rainy weather on Saturday to celebrate concurrent events, the ribbon cutting of a newly constructed rest stop in Ompah and the unveiling of 5 murals painted by North Frontenac artists Fred Fowler, Marlene Leeson, Cathy Owen, Linda Rush and Katie Ohlke. North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, flanked by Council and resident members of the township economic development task force, welcomed everyone and presided over a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of a modern, aluminum enclosure that is one of the key elements to the rest stop, which also includes a porta-potty and a gravel parking lot. The lot where the rest stop is located steeped in recent North Frontenac history as it was purchased by the township several years ago as the preferred location for a new township fire hall/Frontenac County ambulance base. That project went to tender, but the projected price for the fire hall portion was higher than North Frontenac Council were prepared to go. The ambulance base was built at Robertsville, and a set of upgrades were done to the existing Ompah fire hall across the road. The towsnhip did have to invest more into what is now the rest stop lot because of soil contamination from a former gas station on the site. As part of the ceremony, committee member Darwyn Sproule recalled the history of site, which was originally the location of a primary grade school which burned down, then a store and service station, which also burned. “It’s a good thing the structure we put up here is made of metal,” Sproule said. The project was completed with support from a number of groups, organizations, and businesses, including; Hydro One, the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation, Francis Manion Construction, and West Palmerston Cottages, the Easter Ontario Trails Association, and the Ottawa Valley ATV club among others. “Providing a welcome place to stop while driving along one of our scenic roads is part pf our economic development strategy,” said Higgins. “You can see how much community involvement it takes to make things happen.” The second part of the ceremony was certainly more colourful, as the five murals, which were leaning against pickup turcks in the lot, were unveiled one by one by the artists who took up the challenge to crate them. Sgt. Sharron Brown, detachment commander of the Frontenac OPP supervised a lottery of sorts, as the location where each of the murals are being installed was determined by each artists pulling the name of a township hall out of a hat. The results were as follows. The Fred Fowler mural is going to Snow Road, Marlene Leeson’s is already installed at the Ompah hall, Cathy Owen’s will go down the road to the Clar-Mill hall in Plevna, the Linda Rush’s is bound for the Barrie Hall, and the Harlow hall will be the home of the Katie Ohlke mural. The murals will be installed on outside walls of the halls for maximum exposure to the viewing public. The project was inspired by Arlene Uens of Mountain Grove who initiated and completed her own mural project, putting hers up on private property throughout Mountain Grove. Uens was on hand at the unveiling and said is nice to see how North Frontenac Township has supported the local project. With the work all done, the crowd headed over the hall for a free BBQ courtesy of the fire department, and cake and coffee in the hall.
They had to break out the extra chairs as a capacity crowd filled Clar-Mill Hall in Plevna last Saturday to celebrate the rich history of lodges in North Frontenac. The afternoon began with guests invited to browse the various exhibits before CMCA coordinator Brenda Martin welcomed the crowd with her opening remarks. Martin pointed to the various exhibits spread around the hall showcasing all 63 lodges that have existed within the boundaries of the Township and a couple from without. “We’ve covered all 63 and even went slightly outside of the Township because of the connection with Plevna,” she said. “These lodges have provided economic benefits for years and many are over 100 years old. “Twenty-four of the lodges are historic but 39 are still active.” Martin said the project follows on the history of Lodges and the materials collected will be donated in binders to the Clarendon and Miller Community Archives and the plan is to also create a booklet from the material. “The displays will be available to active lodges,” she said. Martin acknowledged the hours of student help as well as a Township grant that got things up and running and the hope for a federal grant to buy computer equipment to digitize the project. “We’re all about community,” she said. “When we asked for help, boy did we get it.” “Preserving our heritage and history is paramount to remembering for future generations,” said Mayor Ron Higgins. “It is our building of pride of ownership in our community that will attract visitors.” Higgins also announced they’ve been approved for a Community Foundation of Kingston grant but couldn’t give any details until the ‘official’ announcement May 15. Jere and Marianne Motto presented donated the original land titles documents for Land O'Lakes Lodge and perhaps the most poignant moment of the afternoon came when Ed Giffin of Tumblehome Lodge read a poem read a poem by Skip Moyst, who couldn’t attend because of flooding. Then it was time for “special guest” and keynote speaker/entertainer Neville Wells, who “grew up in Ompah” at the Mosque Lake Lodge. Wells, who was the Country Music Person of the Year in 1984 for the Canadian Country Music Association told stories about “growing up in the lodge environment” when $6 a day bought accommodation, three meals and a boat as well as his 35 cents/hour wages “contributing heavily to the local economy.” Wells told of the Ompah dances on Saturday nights where “Neil (fiddle) and Flora Perry (slide guitar) were the orchestra. “I don’t care what people say, it was better in those days.” “The cute little stories are what we remember,” said Martin.
In the 10 years the Ompah Community Association’s ATV ride has been running, it has grown by exponential levels. From about 70 participants at the first one, it grew to just over 1,000 participants two years ago and featured a still-whopping 857 participants last Saturday. “We’re getting people from all over, including the States,” said organizer Lindy Hay, who helped organize the first ride with Denis Bedard and Rose Boivin of the Double S Marina in Ompah. “I was talking recently to some people from B.C. and they said ‘oh, I know of that event.’” Hay said they’ve seen the number of side-by-side ATVs increasing, primarily among seniors, who are using the ride to spend time with their grandchildren. Proceeds from the event go to a number of causes, including the community hall, firehall, firefighters and others in need in the community (they even made a contribution to the outdoor rink fund in Sharbot Lake recently). For the past five years, there’s also been another partner. National Ride Captain Byron Smith, who along with Garry Janz co-founded the Telus Ride For Dad program 17 years ago, said that since the Ride started adding ATV, snowmobile and watercraft runs from the original motorcycle ride, the partnership with the Ompah run has been an excellent relationship. “We’ve been doing this as a fundraising partnership for about five years now when Denis Bedard invited us,” Smith said. “For us, we have other ATV rides but a lot of bikes come through here.” Smith said the Ride For Dad program began when Janz was diagnosed with prostrate cancer and decided to do a little research. “Prostrate cancer is 80 per cent curable when detected early,” Smith said. “We’ve now raised more than $23 million for research, are in 40 cities and partnered with Telus. “This ride is the right demographics for us and helps get the word out.” Smith said there’s another reason he likes to come here. “It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, they still go,” he said. “These guys don’t care. “I can’t say enough about these guys.”
Mike Mckenzie of Seed to Sausage took a risk when he decided to move the popular Day of the Pig event to the Sharbot Lake beach. The event started back in 2012 as a party at the site of the Seed to Sausage factory and retail store on the May long weekend. Chefs from Ottawa and Kingston were invited, as were local and regional craft vendors and some musicians, and more people came than any one could have expected. “What just happened?” Mike McKenzie posted on the Seed to Sausage twitter feed on the day of the first Day of the Pig event after the crowds had left and all the meat that had been prepared for sale was long gone. Four years later, in 2016, it was more than clear that the Day of the Pig had outgrown the Seed to Sausage site. McKenzie started talking with members of the District 3 Recreation Committee of Central Frontenac about moving the event to the beach at Sharbot Lake, which hosts the Farmers Market and Canada Day each year. In early February, Central Frontenac Council came on board and the move was official. Then came the tricky part. In order to turn The Day of the Pig into a real festival, a carnival atmosphere was the concept that was developed. And to make that happen, magician Eric Leclerc, the Blue Mushroom Psyshow circus act and musicians Tom Savage, Marc Charron and the Foley Mountain Playboys were brought in to supplement the restaurants, brewers and find food producers at the event. All of this cost money and instead of being a free event the Day of the Pig cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. That, combined with a forecast calling for rain all afternoon made things a bit dicey. The weather held, and the people came. By noon the beach was full, the food was being eaten, the entertainment was getting underway and it was clear the move to the beach was a success. “The beach is a good venue for all sorts of events, and once this event happens the site setup will be available to anyone who wants it”, he said Tents were put up to block the sun or rain while still leaving some open space in front of the bandshell. A second stage was set up facing in from the lake for musical acts and vendors were set up around the perimeter of the park, creating a spacious, well defined space. Local food vendors reported their sales were up or at least on par with previous years, and several sold out. Ten pigs, prepared by Seed to Sausage cooks, were served up, along with gallons of beans, cole slaw and roasted corn. Members of the Rec Committee provided friendly security and the Day went off rather smoothly for a first time event at a new site. The Seed to Sausage store is set to open in early June, and other local events are getting ready to ramp up for the Summer of 150 in Frontenac County. On June 3rd, it’s Anchors Aweigh Fish Fry Day at the Verona Lion’s Centre. On June 14 the Strawberry Moon Festival will be on at the Frontenac Arena, and two days later the focus will be on the Village of Arden’s weekend festival. Up in Mississippi Station Back Forty Cheese is holding its second annual Open House and Food Festival on June 24th, and then its back to Sharbot Lake Beach for Canada Day. For a complete slate of events in Frontenac County, Addington Highlands and Western Lanark, read your Northern Happenings or look to the events guide on our new website www.frontenac-live.ca, which includes maps and details about everything there is to see and do this summer.
The Sharbot Lake Farmers Market returned to the beach in Sharbot Lake last Saturday and despite some at times threatening weather, enjoyed one of its better openings ever. “I think this was my best opening day and probably one of my best ever days,” said long-time market veteran Darlene Conboy of Conboy’s Maple Syrup. “It’s a good market, a lovely venue,” said Isaac Hale of Learning Curve Gardens. “Actually it was pretty good,” said Ken Howes. “I sold a number of chairs and some asparagus.” “We’ll be here for the summer,” said Cari Tryon of Tryon Farm. New market co-ordinator Dean Wedden said they have 15 full-time vendors this year, several of whom are new. “I have no idea how many people we’ve had through here today, I’ve been too busy with a number of things to count people,” he said. “But it’s a beautiful day with no flies and most people seem to be happy about things.” Conboy said she’d counted 167 visitors but “I probably missed quite a few when I was dealing with customers.” As has been the custom, the Market will feature theme and special guest days throughout the summer until the last market of the year on Oct. 7. Planned for this year are: • June 3: Blue Skies Fiddle Orchestra• June 10: Kingston-Frontenac Public Library puppet show• June 24: Frontenac Blades tomahawk/knife throwing• July 1: Canada Day Parade• July 15: Burger Day showcasing local vendors meats• August 3: Maple Day• August 19: Frontenac Blades• September 2: Butter Tart Challenge• September 9: Five Woodwind Quintet and KFPL story walk There’s also a craft day for kids in the works.
The new Railway Heritage Walkway in Sharbot Lake is a series of twelve informative signs at historic spots along the former trackbed through the village, from the site of the old Road 38 railway overpass, to the "Wye" south of the causeway (where trains could do a three-point turn.) On Saturday, June 3 at 11:00 AM, an Inaugural Walk will be held along the Walkway, starting at the caboose in Railway Park. The group tour will be led by Gene Kirkham, a former resident of Sharbot Lake, and will pass signs recalling former landmarks such as the water tower, the Union Hotel, and the spot where the Kingston & Pembroke tracks headed north to Renfrew. The project was undertaken by the Central Frontenac Railway Heritage Society, and the cost of printing the signs and fabricating and installing the steel signposts was funded by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Many hours of research went into searching for photos and verifying the information on each sign. One challenge was sorting village lore from historical fact, and some details may never be verified. Was the original railway station (across the street from the beach) turned into a store, or did it burn down before the new station was built in 1884? Other stories included on the signs are factual but not widely known, such as the story behind Benton's Cut, between the Medical Centre and the causeway. The rock cut is named for Chancy Benton, a young K & P foreman who was crushed to death at that spot in 1877 when he fell off a car loaded with rails. The Inaugural Walk will leave from the caboose, rain or shine, and take up to one hour to reach the causeway, where rides will be available back to Railway Park. The new Railway Heritage Walkway in Sharbot Lake is a series of twelveinformative signs at historic spots along the former trackbed through thevillage, from the site of the old Road 38 railway overpass, to the "Wye"south of the causeway (where trains could do a three-point turn.)On Saturday, June 3 at 11:00 AM, an Inaugural Walk will be held along theWalkway, starting at the caboose in Railway Park. The group tour will beled by Gene Kirkham, a former resident of Sharbot Lake, and will passsigns recalling former landmarks such as the water tower, the Union Hotel,and the spot where the Kingston & Pembroke tracks headed north to Renfrew.The project was undertaken by the Central Frontenac Railway HeritageSociety, and the cost of printing the signs and fabricating and installingthe steel signposts was funded by a grant from the Ontario TrilliumFoundation.Many hours of research went into searching for photos and verifying theinformation on each sign. One challenge was sorting village lore fromhistorical fact, and some details may never be verified. Was the originalrailway station (across the street from the beach) turned into a store, ordid it burn down before the new station was built in 1884?Other stories included on the signs are factual but not widely known, suchas the story behind Benton's Cut, between the Medical Centre and thecauseway. The rock cut is named for Chancy Benton, a young K & P foremanwho was crushed to death at that spot in 1877 when he fell off a carloaded with rails.The Inaugural Walk will leave from the caboose, rain or shine, and take upto one hour to reach the causeway, where rides will be available back toRailway Park.
On the recommendation of its new Chief Building Official, Shawn Merriman, Central Frontenac Council decided at its regular meeting Tuesday night in Mountain Grove not to endorse South Frontenac’s proposal to expand the public notification period for subdivisions and condominiums. Currently, municipalities are required to give 20 days notice before a public meeting is held in regards to a planned subdivision or condominium complex of more than three units. Under South Frontenac’s proposal, that notification process would expand to six weeks. The proposal has gone to Frontenac County (who is the approval authority on such projects) and is scheduled to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the County’s Planning Advisory Committee. Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith is on that committee. “I fail to see any benefits for or even need for it in Central Frontenac,” said Merriman in his presentation to Council. “And I’ve heard complaints about it that it will add an unnecessary time delay, give more opportunity for mis-steps by staff and create additional costs that will be passed on to the developer. “Any of these may very well be the final straw that prevents many developments.” Merriman did say however that the Township should be open to discussion on the topic. Coun Tom Dewey agreed. “I agree with Shawn’s recommendation but I also believe that the 20 days time limit was designed with urban municipalities in mind,” Dewey said. “We have a lot of seasonal residents and I think a time of 30-45 days might give them more time to be contacted and make plans to attend a public meeting.” Dewey and other councillors suggested making such a reduced time suggestion part of the resolution but Smith said no. “We have to deal with what’s before us today,” the Mayor said. “If there’s room for negotiations, then we’ll deal with that then.” Clerk Administrator Cathy MacMunn said that the County was only looking for feedback and this response would suffice. “The Planning Advisory Committee will make the decision,” MacMunn said. “I was speaking with (County Planner) Joe Gallivan and he doesn’t agree with it either.” Young name Deputy ChiefCouncil passed a bylaw naming former Fire Chief Bill Young as the new Deputy Fire Chief. Two Cruisers for the price of oneCoun. Victor Heese asked Fire Chief Greg Robinson if it was standard procedure to have two OPP cruisers respond to a house fire and Robinson replied that it was, in case traffic needed to be stopped at each end of the road. Robinson said there was no extra charge regardless of how many officers responded. That prompted Coun. Tom Dewey to recall another incident where a large moose was struck and killed in the middle of the road. “There were five cruisers, two fire trucks and an ambulance responding to that one,” Dewey said. “And they all had carving knives,” quipped Coun. Bill MacDonald. Solar profits under the weather, but the sun will shine somedayDewey also wondered why revenues from Township solar installations were “only” $203. “Did you put a blanket over it or something?” Dewey asked. Treasurer Michael McGovern responded that there was a “little problem that needed to be fixed but it hasn’t been the gold mine we thought it would be.” However, McGovern said that after the 10-year loan was paid off, the Township should start to see revenues increase. “It’s always that way with these kinds of things,” said MacDonald. “It’s always the back end where you make money.” “And in the last 10 years, there will be lots more sunshine,” said Smith.
Chief Rick Cheseborough personifies the South Frontenac Fire department. Whenever and wherever the department is called out on a major call in the vast expanse of the township, he is there to support the firefighters. Not many people in South Frontenac were aware, however, about the reputation Cheseborough has built within the firefighting community over the last 30 or more years, starting from his days as a volunteer with the former Pittsburgh Township fire department. They know now, however, since Cheseborough won the Bill Williams Humanitarian award at the annual gathering of chiefs from the 400 plus Ontario fire departments in Toronto in early May. Don King, currently a rep for Global Fire Safety, a major supplier of fire equipment, met a younger Rick Cheseborough in 1986. “I was the national sales manager for Hearst Sales Jaws of Life and I was conducting training on how to use the equipment. I trained him on auto extrication, cold water rescue, all while he was a volunteer. I don’t know if people realise that Rick was always a volunteer firefighter. He took training over the years on weekends and vacations for all of his qualifications and on the business side of it before becoming a full time Fire Chief in South Frontenac. He knows what his crews face as volunteers because he has lived it,” said King in a telephone interview. King said that he was very happy to hear that Cheseborough was this years recipient of the award, which given out jointly by his company and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. “The Association of Fire Chiefs handles the entire process of choosing a winner, we don’t see any of that. It is named for Bill Williams, who was a firefighter and later a salesman of fire equipment. Bill had a generous personality, he was always giving of his time, he was a very benevolent man, and that is what the award is all about,” he said. To cite an example, King talked about an elderly woman in South Frontenac who had sort of been adopted by the department after they had received a number of medical calls for service, some of them unnecessary because her health monitors kept going off when she was not in distress. She was embarrassed by these calls and found them stressful. Eventually Cheseborough gave her his own phone numbers so she could phone and let him know if the call was necessary or not.” “Not too many Fire Chiefs give out their phone number to residents,” said King. King said that Cheseborough was not sure he was going to attend this years conference because he was busy and did not necessarily want to spend the department’s money because he has other requests going before Council for equipment and new halls, so he ended up being encouraged to go by senior township staff who were told to make sure he went because he was going to win an award. Fire Chief Gary Bullock of the Gananoque Fire Department has also known Cheseborough from his Pittsburgh department days. A recipient of the Bill Williams award himself two years ago, Bullock sent a letter of nomination for the award. “I thought Rick should be recognised for his commitment to South Frontenac and to the people who live there, both as Fire Chief and as a leader and for his contributions to the community. When I won the award, it was the highlight of my 53 year career and it is an honour to have it hanging in my home. I know Rick doesn’t like to be singled out, but I’m glad he won the award this year because it is well deserved,” said Bullock.
On May 16, 2017 at approximately 4:50 pm, Frontenac Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a 911 call regarding a cyclist that was hit by a motor vehicle on Rutledge Road near Georgia Lane in the town of Sydenham, South Frontenac Township. A black pickup truck collided with the 13 year-old male cyclist. The youth was transported to hospital by ambulance with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The OPP Technical Collison Investigators (TCI) was called on scene to investigate. Rutledge Road near the scene was closed to traffic for several hours. The youth was wearing a helmet at the time. The investigation is continuing.
Nine-year-old Fynn Collins has a plan: grow seedlings, sell them at the Market and put away enough money to buy herself a car when she’s 16. “It will be my car, so mom and dad shouldn’t have to pay for it,” she said last Saturday as the Frontenac Farmers Market opened for its 13th season. “I may save up for my own TV before that.” About two years ago, Collins got interested in gardening. She particularly liked growing seedlings and this year when her mom Amanda told her the Farmers Market was opening soon, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. “I decided I wanted a stand,” she said. So, she got busy starting her seedlings, even to the point of growing some under artificial lights. For the opening day, she had a variety of pepper strains for sale, along with some mini-cheesecakes, but this is just the beginning. She plans on expanding her inventory as other seedlings reach the transplanting stage. She said she loves all sorts of plants but Kale seems to be her favourite. “I pick it out of the garden and eat it,” she said. For now, Collins is looking at this venture as “a good summer job” but the idea of making a living as a market gardener some day does appeal to her. “I love gardening,” she said. Collins is a welcome addition to the Market this year, said self-described “chief go-fer/manager Debbie Harris. “We have a full house this year with some new vendors like Fynn,” Harris said. “And it’s good that we have a variety of farm vendors.” For example, she said, besides Collins they have people selling vegetables, including hydroponically grown varieties, prepared foods like pirogues, a couple of vendors selling meats, baked goods and “old favourites like jams, jellies and herbs and of course having coffee available is very important.” The Market is open every Saturday in the parking lot of Prince Charles Public School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. right through until Halloween. They like to have ‘special’ days, like the annual Tomato Day, but those things tend to be dependent on things like weather, growing conditions and fate. “We seem to like to fly by the seat of our pants,” Harris said. “But people can check our Facebook page for special events.” The market goes every Saturday, regardless of weather. They’ve been rained on, snowed on, and lived through some pretty good windstorms. Even this year, a little rain didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. “We’re never very sure about the weather,” Harris said. “I’ve been doing my sun dance all week.” But as long as people keep coming, they’ll keep doing it, she said. “We appreciate the support the community has shown us,” she said. “If they’re not here, we’re not here.”
“If you had any illusions about us being a high-brow choir, that should have dispelled them,” smiled Doug Routledge of Melodia Monday, to a laughing, clapping crowd at the finish of the Arrogant Worms’ “Cow Song”. (You can look up the lyrics if you don’t remember them.) Rutledge is conductor of this 24-member choir which draws singers from a wide area between Napanee and Brockville. All are passionate about music and love to sing together; their repertoire is broad, running from sacred to profane, classical to folk. The name comes from their always practising on Monday evenings. Last Friday Grace Hall had a full house to hear Melodia Monday perform a concert of all-Canadian songs. They opened withBreathe on Us, a piece the group had commissioned Mark Sirett to compose for them, using the words of a poem by Archibald Lampman. They also sang Sirett’s arrangement ofUn Canadian Errant. Farewell Nancy, adapted from a traditional Newfoundland lament and set to music by Stephen Chatman, is full of exquisite, haunting harmonies, as is Frobisher Bay, which was sung by the men of the choir, and tells of a whaling crew whose ship has been caught by freeze-up and is doomed to spend a winter in the ice of Frobisher Bay. Overall, the evening had a distinctively Eastern Canadian flavour, with Song for the Mira, Wood River and Log Driver’s Waltz. The choir praised Grace Hall’s acoustics, and enjoyed using the new stage risers, recently designed and constructed by Frank York of Verona. The audience showed their appreciation of the evening with a standing ovation.
The Community Foundation for Kingston & Area (CFKA) awarded 20 grants totaling $152,519 to local charities which are expected to benefit 5,262 people, including 1,246 youth. Executive Director Tina Bailey says “At the Foundation we believe that we are all stronger together. Through our community grants program, we encourage collaboration, skills building and awareness-raising to act on this belief. Community Development has always been one of our fields of interest and is so important to what we do and what makes our community great. We are pleased to have funded a number of such projects in this area this granting round.” Four grants went to initiatives within Frontenac County this year. Clarendon & Miller Community Archives, Historic Tours of North Frontenac Township: $10,672The Guidebook produced by Clarendon & Miller Community Archives, Historic Tours of North Frontenac introduces travelers to the rich heritage of the historic and present hamlets of North Frontenac. Whether you are driving/cycling/walking OR making a virtual tour on the Archives website (www.clarmillararchives.ca), come visit Fernleigh, Ardoch, Plevna, Ompah, Snow Road, Mississippi Station, Coxvale and communities of the past such as Wensley, Playfair, Beech Corners and Donaldson. New Leak Link (NeLL), Seasonal Cookery from NeLL to Home: $6,500This project uses adapted technologies in conjunction with coaching at NeLL and at home to promote healthy food choices, tap local food sources like the Diversity Garden, and generate a repertoire of recipes and cooking strategies. A Midsummer Picnic event will bring interested agencies together to share fresh local food and knowledge about healthy living. Wolfe Island Community Medical Clinic, Community Garden: $6,362The Wolfe Island Community Garden Expansion project will create a large garden space located between the Medical Clinic and the proposed Seniors’ Housing Project and support hands-on learning opportunities for local students. It will engage local students, seniors, and community groups to promote healthy eating and food literacy in the village of Marysville on Wolfe Island. Wolfe Island Friends of Ferals, Continuation of Trap, Neuter, Release Programme: $4,000Wolfe Island Friends of Ferals began in March of 2015. Our immediate focus is on humane management of the large feral cat population on the Island through a programme of live trapping, spaying, neutering, rabies vaccinating and releasing ferals back to their colonies to live out their lives. The general welfare of ferals on the Island is the broader goal and, if human and financial resources permit, we hope that can also provide shelter, etc.
At the monthly meeting of Frontenac County Council on May 17th, the longest and most vigorous debate was over waste management, a service that is delivered by the individual townships with no input from county staff. The context for the debate was a proposal, which was developed with input from the township public works managers (pwm), to apply for a provincial grant which would cover half the cost of a comprehensive study of the blue box programs in each township with a view towards making them more successful in terms of cost and the amount of waste that is diverted. The potential for collaborative delivery of service is part of the proposal. Last year the county facilitated a joint tendering for engineering services at waste sites across the county, which resulted in North, Central, and South Frontenac all contracting with Cambium Engineering for those services, at a cost savings. The proposed study would also be completed by Cambium. Before coming to the county for consideration, the proposal went to North, Central, and South Frontenac Councils. It was accepted by South and Central Frontenac, and rejected by North Frontenac. The reason North Frontenac said no, according to John Inglis, one of two North Frontenac Council representatives to Frontenac County Council, was that when waste was initially brought forward to be considered by Frontenac County it was for an entirely different purpose. “Bud Clayton [former Mayor of North Frontenac] was the one who brought the idea of preparing for a post landfill future forward as one of the goals of the county strategic plan. He wanted us to be bold, to look at regional incineration, take some risks and try to promote this to our neighbours. To take the money that was set aside for that and use it for another study into blue box programs is not using the money for what it was intended for,” said Inglis. Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle agreed, but added that “the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus, who would have to get on board with this, have it as their 10th priority, and it never seems to move up from there.” This point was picked up by South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, who said “post landfill is something that is way out there in the future. In Europe they have been working on that for years and years but Canada is nowhere close to thinking about post-landfill. Meanwhile our diversion rate in South Frontenac is 25%, which is way way below the target, so anything to help us improve that is something we should consider.” North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, who was chairing the meeting in his role of Deputy Warden, waded into the debate as well, expressing a concern about the process. “I don’t see what we are debating here. The application for the grant has already been submitted before this is even being debated. That’s what concerns me. How can we debate something after the fact.” County CAO Kelly Pender said that the deadline for submitting an expression of interest for a grant to cover up to half of the cost was May 6th, so the county went ahead. “But there is a second phase, and if Council says no today the whole thing ends,” he said. “We went to the townships first because it was an initiative of the public works managers and it is a township service. It is the public works managers who are driving this, not the county.” Indeed the report which recommends that Cambium can go ahead and develop the proposal was prepared by Jim Phillips, the pwm from North Frontenac. Mark Segsworth, the manager from South Frontenac has also been involved. He sits on a provincial committee looking at the future of the Blue Box program in Ontario, which is slated to be funded by manufacturers. “We see our future working with the City of Kingston to try and make sure the new system that is developed isn’t entirely designed only for the GTA,” said Vandewal. In the end, Council decided it would be okay to let Cambium continue to develop a proposal and prepare a grant application, even if it might lead to spending some or all of the $100,000 that was originally intended for promoting a post landfill future. There were no dissenting votes. Since he was chairing the meeting Ron Higgins did not vote, only announcing that the motion was passed.
Unlike Lanark and Lennox and Addington, there is not countywide spraying plan to deal with Wild Parsnip along public roadways in Frontenac County. Since there is not county roads department in Frontenac, it is left entirely to the townships to determine what action they would like to take. In South Frontenac, some of the more highly infested areas have been dealt with through targeted use of Roundup, applied directly on the plant. Local beekeepers have been notified before the applications have occurred to enable them to keep their swarms out of harms way. This year, however, the public works department is going to tender for some more extensive herbicide use, which will cover larger sections or even entire roads if necessary.“I do think the problem is real and needs to be addressed,” said Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth. “We decided to go to tender and then bring a concrete proposal to council for debate. That way council will know exactly what they are being asked to approve and the public will as well.” Segwsorth said he has heard the arguments about the dangers of herbicides as they are being applied in neighboring municipalities and about wild parsnip being less of a threat to human health as some people claim, but feels it is a real danger to public health. “I’m concerned about what would happen if a dog or a young child ran through a thick patch of it,” he said. Segsworth said he approached the public works departments in North and Central Frontenac about a joint tender to deal with the problem but they both declined. North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins submitted an article on Clearview, the herbicide of choice in Lanark and L&A, by ecologist, activist and sometime Frontenac News environmental correspondent Gray Merriam to Frontenac County last week. A different, similar article by Merriam can be read by clicking here. Higgins cited Merriam’s work in a tweet on May 3rd in which he said he “opposes the use of herbicides to combat invasive plants.”
The Frontenac Stewardship Foundation held it annual retreat at the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) this year. The location, on Lake Opinicon, is emblematic of Frontenac County in that it sits at the edge of the Canadian Shield, having one foot in the fractured limestone and another in the hard granite of the shield. The station is not located in Frontenac, however, being just over the border in Leeds Grenville, 20 km from Perth Road on the scenic, winding Opinicon Road. The conference provided an opportunity for a dozen or so groups and organisations that are involved in stewardship activities on the four watersheds that intersect in Frontenac County to update each other on their activities and look for ways to work together in the future. Frontenac County was well represented at the event. Newly hired county community planner, Megan Rueckwald delivered a presentation on the relationship between stewardship and land use planning in the Frontenac Official Plan, Communications Officer Marco Smits sits on the Foundation Board as well and was at the retreat, as were Councillors John McDougall and Dennis Doyle. Professor Stephen Lougheed, who is the QUBS Director and a self described “simple country geneticist” spoke about the long term studies of pond frogs with a focus on the 200 km x 200 km region surrounding the centre have demonstrated changes in the local climate over an 80 year time frame, going back to 1930. During his own research career, song metres have been installed at locations throughout the region, which turn on 15 minutes after sunset and stay on for an hour. They have gathered invaluable data for the research done by him and his students and colleagues from around the world. He said that since 1970, the average temperature in the region in the month of March has risen by 2.8 degrees. In his own research this is seen as a causal factor in a change in the date when frogs are first seen each year. He also tracks the date when frog songs, one the harbingers of spring and the marking point of the end of syrup season in Frontenac County, are first heard. “The average first sighting of the American Toad has changed from day 115 after the start of the year [late April] to day 95 [early April]. Data of first calling has shifted from day 140 to day 120. The Leopard Frog has shifted even more, 37 days earlier,” he said. “Another change has been in the pattern of rain. We are seeing less rain in April and early May [this year being a notable exception] and more rain in early June. This has implications for amphibians.”The climate change information from the scientific community around the world is irrefutable, in his view, but the specific implications for individual species is hard to pinpoint because we don’t know all the factors at play. He uses his own studies of frogs as an example. “We know almost nothing about 95% of the life cycle of the frogs we study. Once they leave the pond we don’t know where they go or what they do or how they live. We don’t know how the climate change effects that part of their life cycle at all.”Professor John Smol is a paleo - limnologist. He studies the sediment at the bottom of lakes, which holds a wealth of information about the last 12,000 years in this region, the time when the ice retreated and the lakes were formed. In his talk, entitled History Matters, Smol said that it is important to know as much background as possible when trying to figure out what is going on. He said it is like dealing with a medical patient. “If you get a certain reading it can mean different things depending on the patients medical history. It can be a cause for alarm, if it is a sudden change, it can be the marker of a gradual change, or mean nothing because that is the patients normal level,” he said. One of Smol’s research initiatives has to do with developing better ways to gather data from lake sediment. While the sediment representing ancient times is easier to analyze because it is more solid, more recent sediment is looser and easier to disturb. Smol is one of the developers of a relatively simple tool for the job, and is able to segment out thin layers representing small increments of time. All of this enriches the library of data that can be analysed. That does not mean, however, that the implications of environmental changes are easy to predict, however, as factors that may be relevant or even crucial are not always apparent. The example he chose to illustrate this principle, is of interest to people who live on or near local lakes, particularly canadian shield lakes. Smol said the problem that “he cut his teeth on” as a scientist was that of acid rain. The ph levels on the Canadian Shield lakes that he studied was dropping and it was making the water unsuitable for the plants that were the base species of the aquatic food chain. In 1990, amendments to the Clean Air Act in the United States to address Sulfur Dioxide and other emissions were signed in to law by then US President George Bush, and as one of the researchers who contributed to the design of the regulations, Smol was on hand in Washington for the signing. Acid rain is considered to be a success story in terms of environmental regulation. The targets for decreases have been met, and the cost to industry, estimated at $1 billion per year, are 1/4 of what they were projected to be. And ph levels have recovered in most lakes that were affected. But, as Smol pointed out, the story does not end there. One of the effects of acid rain was a decrease in calcium levels in canadian shield lakes. Based on some of the limnological research, scientists have found that calcium levels in Shield lakes has been pretty steady for thousand of years. As Smol explained, it is not easy to bring up calcium levels once they drop. The one major source for lakes comes from trees dying and decomposing and leaching calcium into nearby lakes, which is hindered by development and logging. “Our lakes are basically suffering from Osteoperosis” he said. About 2/3 of Shield lakes have levels of Calcium under 2mg/litres and about 1/3 are below the threshold of 1.5mg/litre. The 1.5 mg threshold is important because that is the level that one of the larger and more common aquatic species Daphnia (water flea) requires in order to survive and multiply. There are two implications from this. One is direct. With the decline of Daphnia, another species has moved in to take its place. That species is called Holopedium, which are of similar size to Daphnia but have different characteristics. One is that they are covered in a jelly like substance, which makes them harder for other species to feed on and it also makes them a problem for water intake pipes because they can clog them. They have led to what some have called the “jellification” of local lakes. Holopedium are also much less effective at grazing on algae than Daphnia, and this might be associated with the Algae blooms that have become common in recent years in some lakes. “It’s pretty much counter intuitive to think that acid rain, which killed off algae, can be part of a chain of effects leading to the development of algae blooms, and while scientists are not saying that decreased calcium levels are the cause of algae blooms, it shows there are many implications from each change that takes place,” Smol said. As to the low calcium levels, he said there is no obvious solution to the problem, since adding calcium directly to lakes is an expensive proposition. The only case where levels went up appreciably in the lakes that Smol has studied was in a lake that is surrounded by a gravel road that is treated with calcium carbonate each summer as a dust suppressant. In summing up his talk, Smol talked about two of the lessons learned in his career. One is that ‘there is a recurring pattern of unintended consequences’, and the second is that “we tend to be overly optimistic. Things are generally worse and more complicated that we initially imagined.” Smol said that he does not exactly have a reputation as an optimistic in the scientific community but even he has been overly optimistic over the years. For more information about jellification, go to http://post.queensu.ca/~pearl/jellification/jellification.html
The third Monday of April just happened to coincide with Easter Monday this spring. Not being certain of how many members or guests might attend our monthly meeting, we planned a program of general interest. "Bring an Item and Tell a Tale" was a hit. Some of the more interesting items included the following: A tiny safety razor in its own leather case that would have been issued to military. It was made small to fit into a soldier's breast pocket. A Victory Bell said to be made from the metal of a downed WWII German fighter plane and embossed with the faces of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. A five year diary from the early 1940's with writing ever so small and written in real ink! Each page was full to the edges with births, deaths, events and activities. A wooden coffee grinder that was once used exclusively as a pepper mill. A radiator cap from an old Buick, complete with it's own built in thermometer, dating to a time before automobiles were built with a heat gauge. An original copy of "Mary Melville, Psychic" , a story about her sister, written by Flora MacDonald with a notation, in Flora's own hand. Pioneer hair curlers(strips of rags). Women once used these to create curls or ringlets in their hair for special occasions. A collector's issue of "Susannah, A Little Girl with the Mounties", written by Muriel Denison. We have a full collection of the Susannah books in the Pioneer Museum. Another interesting book about the road building in this area and the homesteading it created, called "Footpaths to Freeways." A fascinating pair of handmade snowshoe miniatures made exactly to scale from thread and preserved with layers of varnish, the only pair in existence. A geologist's rock hammer, used locally in early mining sites to chip out rock samples. In today's terms, its weight and pointed end make it quite the weapon! The most giggles of the presentations were generated by a complex unit of electrodes, from 1925, complete with instruction manual and professing to cure headaches, toothaches, intestinal issues, sore feet and every ailment you might imagine. Just change the attachment, plug it in and apply to affected area, with supposedly guaranteed results! Our next meeting will be on Monday May 15 at 1:00p.m. at the Cloyne Hall. More information on our website www.cloynepioneermuseum.ca. Be sure to come and learn details of our annual gigantic yard sale. The Museum and Archives will be open for business for another season on June 24. That's also the date for a Sesquicentennial celebration at the park in Cloyne, right beside the museum. This is a special day, designed to celebrate Canada's birthday but also the revitalization of the park, complete with entertainment and food! There will be more information on posters and ads coming to you very soon!
Shannon Delyea and Emma Fuller travelled to Toronto on May 1st to compete in the Provincial Skills Competition as members of Team Limestone. Delyea competed in the Photography contest, where she presented one printed photograph, a digital portfolio of twenty photographs, and photographed and edited twenty polished images of all of the competitions happening at the Toronto Congress Centre. “It was a great experience and I recommend the Skills Competition to everyone. It was an excellent challenge,” Delyea said. Emma Fuller competed in the Graphic Design Studio Production event, for a second year, where she designed a menu, a logo and a triangular shaped box using Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator the day of the competition. “The Ontario Skills Competition has been a great learning experience and it has taught me a lot of valuable skills. I recommend that students give this competition a try!” said Fuller. Congratulations to these talented students!
To the uninitiated, the words ‘fisher tooth boil’ may invoke thoughts of a group meal featuring an exotic soup made using a traditional Canadian recipe. But in actual fact, you really wouldn’t want a bowl of this. You see, boiling fisher heads is just a convenient way of loosening the canine teeth, which are then analyzed to determine the age of the animal they came from and ultimately, the health of the population in a given area. The fisher, a mid-size member of the weasel family is a valuable fur-bearer that fetched an average overall price of about $40 at the NAFA’s April 2016 sale. Compare that to the average price of about $10 for beaver and about $2.50 for muskrat and you can see why trappers might want to harvest them. In conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests, trappers associations have been collecting the canines and cataloguing them. The Frontenac-Addington Trappers Association has been participating in the program for some time now and has held a ‘fisher tooth boil’ at its annual spring workshop for the past four years. The workshops themselves have been going on in one form or another since the mid-’90s. “We tell the Ministry if the tooth came from a male or a female,” said president Wilf Deline at the annual Frontenac-Addington Trappers Association Workshop in Cloyne last Sunday. “The Ministry then X-rays the tooth and from the root canal, they can determine whether its an adult or a juvenile. “The ratio of juveniles to adult females tells you how healthy the population is. “For example, a ratio of three juveniles to one adult female indicates a healthy population.” From that ratio, the Ministry will set quotas on how many fishers can be trapped in a defined area. “Right now, it’s one fisher for every 400 acres,” Deline said. “If they feel the population is in trouble, that will be lowered (but) while the population is lower than it was in the ’80s, it’s been quite stable since then, with a gentle fluctuation.“It’s actually growing in areas south of Verona.” Deline said his association is “over 90 per cent compliant” with the tooth program and deciding to incorporate into the workshop has helped. Deline isn’t concerned about the fisher (or most other fur-bearing animal) populations though. Prices for fur don’t really encourage many to pursue it as a business. For most trappers, it’s about preserving an aspect of our Canadian heritage and perhaps more importantly, being stewards of the land.” “If the fisher prices got up to $200-$300, then it would be a concern,” he said. “But this hasn’t been about money since the late ’80s. “It’s about passing on a tradition and the wise use of a renewable resource. “We’ll tell anyone who’ll listen, and hopefully it helps.”
How well do you know your Canadian Trivia? Are you an armchair Jeopardy Champion? Come out to the Blackfly Derby to show off your skills. You might bring home some prizes or one of the coveted Blackfly Derby Trophies. Connections Adult Learning is holding the first ever Blackfly Derby Chili and Trivia Night, Friday May 5th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, at The Granite Ridge Education Centre. Trivia questions will focus on a variety of subjects for all ages, but will all have a Canadian connection in respect to Canada’s 150th Birthday celebrations this year. You can come on your own, or put together a team of up to four family, friends, or co-workers to compete in this fun and food filled night. Each team will be using a hand held device, either a smart phone or tablet. You can bring your own or one can be provided. The program being used for the challenge is called Kahoot. This program is used widely by more than 1.5 million educators and over 49 million students in just the three years since it was developed. The questions have been created by Granite Ridge students with the help of Teacher, Peggy Hurley. These are multiple choice questions, and hopefully, you will find them challenging and fun. Try to think up a creative name for your team as well as an individual “Handle” for yourself. The theme of the evening celebrates two iconic events in May – The Kentucky Derby and the unescapable Black Fly season. Teams are encouraged to wear either Derby or blackfly attire, prizes will be awarded for the best. The cost of this evening is a mere $5.00 in advance or $10.00 at the door. The price of your ticket entitles you to the trivia challenge as well as a delicious chili dinner. In addition, you will be able to purchase themed mocktails like, Kentucky Derby mint juleps, Shampagne, Deep Woods Off, and Run for the Roses. Connections Adult Learning will be holding another Blackfly Derby in Northbrook in co-operation with the Lions Club of Land-O-Lakes on Friday, May 12th. This Trivia Challenge will be held at the Lions Club Hall in Northbrook. Tickets can be purchased at Connections Adult Learning or, if your business or office has put together a team, a Connections staff member can come out to bring your tickets to you. Please check the Connections Adult Learning Facbook page and webpage for more details. Please call 613-279-2499 to purchase tickets or get more information. This event is to celebrate the ASITT program, created with funds from a Trillium Grant. ASITT stands for alleviating social isolation through technology. Connections Staff has been out in the community with the assistance of wonderful volunteers, helping people to feel better about using technology and solving problems they may have.