Now in its third year, the Land O'Lakes Tourist Association's (LOLTA) annual big and small mouth fis...
It has been a long, slow, dance of sorts, but it seems that the County of Frontenac and the Ontario ...
As the 150th anniversary of Frontenac County was approaching, a committee was formed to organize events to mark the occasion. They realized that the best way to mark a year-long event such as as this was to have an event of some kind to provide a focus. So the planning began for a three-day celebration from Friday to Sunday, August 28 to 30. The location at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith was an obvious choice. Not only is it located on Road 38, the artery that links three of the four Frontenac townships, it is also the largest community park in the county, easily hosting over 1,500 people on Canada Day each year. However, the decision to locate the celebration at Centennial Park brought more into play than just a location; it also brought the Harrowsmith, Sydenham and Verona-based service clubs, the Portland District Recreation Committee and the public works department of South Frontenac township into the mix. Pam Morey and Dan Bell came forward to co-ordinate the event, and the first people they met with were the public works department of South Frontenac. “The park needed some work done to be able to handle the crowds, and to host all the events,” said Dan Bell, who, in addition to his role with the anniversary celebration is the chair of the Portland District Recreation Committee. “We had plans for upgrades to the park through our local Rec Committee and we were also fortunate enough to receive extra help for other improvements to Centennial Park from South Frontenac Township. The public works department, led by Jamie Brash and Mark Segsworth, did a wonderful job, and Harrowsmith will enjoy the benefits of the upgrades to the park for years to come. It will be one of the legacies of the anniversary.” This is only fitting because the park itself was a Centennial project from 1967, and thanks to the 150th anniversary of Fronenac County, it will be in fine fettle to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canada in two years' time. The upgrades to the park include a brand new parking lot, a brand new playground, better integration with the K&P trail, and improved facilities throughout. In order to put together a varied program of events, Bell and Morey looked to the community, and found that everything they needed was just around the corner. They wanted to have a vendors' market, so they went to the Verona Community Association and the Verona Lions Club, who collaborate on events all the time, and have expertise with vendors from the Verona Garlic Festival and other events. “They know what to do and to make it work and when they agreed to take it on it was a real load off our shoulders,” said Pam Morey, who is also the president of the Harrowsmith Social and Athletic Club Similarly the Sydenham Lions are handling parking; the Harrowsmith S&A (Social and Athletic) Club the canteen and beer tent; the Oddfellows the Heritage Ball, and the list goes on. “It is really an old-time community gathering, sort of like a fair or a picnic. Really a chance for us all to look at what we have built and enjoy each other's company,” said Dan Bell. “One of the rewards of working on this event has been the co-operation with Frontenac County staff members Anne Marie Young and Alison Vandervelde,” said Morey. “Between them, South Frontenac and the local community, we are sure this event will be a huge success.” The local flavour of the event extends to the performers who will take the stage throughout the three days. A few of the bands come from Kingston, but most of them are Frontenac County acts. And, there is no charge to enter the festival grounds all weekend. Apart from the Heritage Ball on Saturday Night at the Golden Links Hall, a nominal fee for the VCA train, which will run though the site, and food vendor purchases, the celebration events are free to the public. Among the highlights of the three-day celebration will be a large-scale historical re-enactment on the Sunday afternoon, featuring the Brockville Infantry. The group, which has been active for 25 years, takes its inspiration from the original Brockville Infantry, which was founded in 1862, when the pre-confederation communities sought to protect themselves from potential incursions by the Fenians from south of the border. The Fenians conducted raids on British-held lands in Canada in order to pressure the British government to withdraw from Ireland. The re-enactors dress in identical British bright red tunics, carry and fire fully functional replicas of the original Enfield rifles with bayonets, and perform the same precision drill manoeuvres that their counterparts did over 150 years ago. In order to present this polished image of precision, the re-enactors practice these drills on a regular basis throughout the year. They will not only be presenting a full re-enactment from 1:00 until 2:30 on Sunday (August 30), they will be camping in the park all weekend and will also present a “short skirmish” in Dan Bell's words, on Sat. Aug. 29 from 1 - 1:30pm at the south soccer field.
In keeping with the great tradition of music in Frontenac County, the performers who will be performing all weekend are made up primarily of artists who live or come from Frontenac County, supplemented by some from nearby Kingston. On Friday night, Kingston/Nashville based Rob Carnegie will take the stage at 6pm, following the opening ceremonies, which start at 5pm. Rob is a singer songwriter in the country music tradition. He has been making a name for himself as a songwriter and performer in Canada and the United States, with his 2014 release “Unwind”. Also on Friday night, a family movie, Big Hero 6, will be screened at 8pm, followed by fireworks. On Saturday, the festival swings into high gear with a parade at 10am. Across the road from the festival site, the Frontenac County Plowing Match also starts at 10 am and runs until 3 pm. Meanwhile, on the site, mini-putt, midway rides, a strong man competition, heritage equipment and numerous other events are running all day. On stage at 12:15pm, 14-year-old Abby Stewart will be performing. Abby, who first performed in Frontenac County at the Old Time Music Festivals in 2010 and 2011, played on the Upcoming Artists stage at the Boots and Hearts Festival in 2014, and a few weeks ago she played the main festival at the Front Porch Stage and was featured on the festival poster. She will be followed at 1:30 by Sydenham-based Big 'Mo and the Blues Mission, whose up-tempo rock 'n blues sound is familiar throughout the region. They play local events and are mainstays at the Limestone City Blues Festival as well. At 2:45, Rudy and Saddle Up will bring their high energy country sound to the stage. Later, after the plowing match winners are announced, Bellfonix are playing at 5:15pm. Heather Bell got her start singing at Canada Day and other events in Harrowsmith and Sydenham as a teenager and with the Bellfonix, she performs her pop-rock repertoire often at popular bars in Kingston. The final musical performer of the day at the festival stage, at 6:30, will be Chris Koster, a Kingston-based performer and songwriter. Chris' music has an emotional edge and a contemporary alternative rock feel. Although Centennial Park closes down at 8 pm, there is one more event scheduled for Saturday, one that promises to be a highlight of the celebration. The Golden Links Hall, on Colebrooke street, will be the site of the Frontenac Heritage Ball. This is the only ticketed event of the weekend. Participants are invited to wear heritage dress for the ball, which costs $20 and features the eight-piece R&B sensations, Soul Survivors. Tickets also include a light buffet and the ball is a licensed event. While people may be dressing like it's 1865, the dancing will be more like it's 1975. Tickets are available at Nicole's Gifts in Verona, at Nellie's Gas Bar in Harrowsmith and by calling Pam Morey at 613-372-1578. There will also be limited numbers of tickets available at the door, but buying them in advance is recommended. On Sunday morning, Fiddlers and Friends from North Frontenac and neighbouring Lanark County will be on stage at 10:30. With fiddles, piano, and guitars they play tunes from the 1940s on, and always entertain. The final band of the event is After the News from Verona, featuring Lee Casement and vocalist Lisa Menard, at 11:45. The historical re-enactment, as mentioned earlier, will follow After the News. The closing ceremonies are set for 3 pm.
It's a curious title for a book, “In search of the K&P”, as if the one time 112 mile rail line from Kingston to Renfrew (it never made it to Pembroke as originally intended) was some kind of mythic entity. The title is explained in the preface to the book, which was published in 1981. The writer, D.W. McCuaig, recalls that when he first moved to the Ottawa Valley in the 1950s he was taken for a drive on a back road in Lanark County and came upon a train pushing though the bush. “I vowed I would travel on that train,” he recalls, but never got the chance because the line closed down shortly thereafter. The book was written as an attempt to recapture the reality of a train that had attained a kind of ghostly status for him. In the almost 25 years since “In Search if the K&P” was written, those who remember the line, which has now been gone for over 50 years and was in its heyday long decades before that, are also becoming a vanishing breed. Building a rail line to link Kingston to Pembroke was just an idea in the minds of some businessmen in Kingston in the late 1860s. It was only mentioned publicly in newspaper accounts in 1870 and by April of 1871 it was chartered. Unfortunately the enthusiasm over the line did not translate into instant success when it came to building it. It took 12 years to complete 112 miles to Renfrew. But in the beginning there was wild enthusiasm in the business press of the day over a rail line that would be able to deliver goods from Kingston to far-flung markets, and bring ore and lumber to Kingston for processing. An editorial in the Kingston Daily News, published on January 7, 1871, saw opportunity: “The prospect of a railway to Pembroke is so promising to the interests of Kingston that it deserves to be well agitated and considered ... If we can by means of railways communicating with the interior, feed the commerce of the harbour, Kingston would grow and prosper, and might not only become a great commercial but also a manufacturing centre.” Then first step was to secure the support of the community of Pembroke for the K&P over a line that was coming that way from Brockville, which was accomplished, and the second was to convince the communities along the line that a train would be of benefit. Public meetings were held in many of the communities along the Frontenac route, including: Harrowsmith, Hartington, Verona, Godfrey, Parham and Sharbot Lake. Business leaders from each town talked about the potential benefits for trade and the communities; all supported the K&P. Frontenac County even put $150,000 towards the line. However, there were a number of setbacks as the line was being built, mostly because of finances and geography. The first contractor that was hired was GB Phelps and Co. who were also investors in the company. Work proceeded slowly, and a worldwide economic depression that started in 1873 did not help matters at all. Phelps defaulted and disappeared and four years after that rosy editorial, there were tracks in place but no train had ridden them. In 1875, GW Flower from New York entered the picture, and by June of that year the first train had travelled from Kingston to the Glendower mine near Godfrey. By the following spring, the line had reached Sharbot Lake, and by 1878 it had made it to the Mississippi River. A series of setbacks, including labour disputes, vandalism, accidents causing serious injuries and death to workers, steel rails sinking in the St. Lawrence, and other problems caused problems for the construction of the line as it progressed through more and more difficult terrain towards Calabogie and beyond. Somehow, however, by 1884, the K&P had reached Renfrew, which was destined to be its farthest reach. Over the next 30 years, while it was still an independent railroad, the K&P fulfilled, in some measure its promise as an economic driver for the communities along its route, bringing goods and services from the south and delivering iron and other minerals as well as lumber to Kingston and beyond. And in 1891, on June 11, the K&P delivered its most famous cargo, the remains of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, from Sharbot Lake Junction to his home in Kingston. Macdonald had been involved in the building of the K&P, in a discreet way, and his law partner in Kingston, Sir Alexander Campbell, was very public in his promotion of the line in the early 1870s. “In Search of the K&P” describes that ride in the following manner: “The train travelled very slowly, as it passed through Parham, Verona, and all the rest of the locations along the K&P. Farmers working in the fields stood 'at in hands with bowed heads' as the train passed them, and the Kingston Whig of the day tells us that 'crowds at all the stations begged vainly for flowers from the funeral car as a memento. They had to rest content with breaking off scraps of similax from the outside of the car.'” (End of part 1. In part 2 we look at the CPR years)
The Trousdale family is known for the iconic Trousdale General Store, which is still operating as a gift store, as well as for the Home Hardware and Foodland stores in Sydenham. However, it turns out that although the family has been in the retail business for a pretty long time - longer than either Frontenac County or Canada have been around - they actually started out in farming. The family arrived in Canada from England sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century. They farmed near Holleford at first, and there are Trousdales who are still farming in that area to this day. “One brother went to Tennessee and another moved to Holleford,” said John Trousdale when he and his wife Ginny were interviewed at their home in Sydenham. The changeover from farming to running stores came as a result of a number of family members who were interested in getting into the baking business. “There were six boys, and they all seemed to get into baking as a core business,” John Trousdale said, “and that involved buying eggs and cream from farmers. If you are buying flour from Lake of the Wood milling, you could also bring in middlings, bran, shorts, other grains. They got into selling grains to the farmer, and the store grew out of serving the farming community.” The first Trousdale store, which was also a bake shop, was established around 1836, and for many years there were three Trousdale stores as the brothers competed with each other for customers. Eventually, John's grandfather Percy outlasted his brothers and only his store survived into the 20th Century. “They brought in everything that the farming families needed. There were 100 acre farms everywhere on the back roads around here, one after another, and the farmers wanted to get everything in one store so we brought it in - boots, bolts of cloth, hardware, dry goods; it all came in by train when the train came.” In 1927, Percy Trousdale decided to do a major renovation on the family store. “Once he got into it he realized that the store was pretty shaky. The renovation turned into a demolition and he built a brand new store. When you look at that building today you see that it was quite a lot of store for 1927.” The store was built out of concrete, and that is maybe why it survived a fire that burned down a number of buildings across the street, where the Sydenham One Stop, the hair salon and bank are now located. Percy Trousdale was also the last baker in the family. He used to take his son Nobel on the bread runs in a wagon. There is even a box under the seat of the wagon, where, according to family lore, Nobel used climb in to get out of the rain while his father drove the wagon. Percy also kept up a grain grinding business across the retail store until the 1950s. After returning from World War 2, Nobel came into the family business and he ran the store until he died in 2004 at the age of 90. A passionate supporter of the Conservative Party, and the Trousdale family connections to the party go back to its very beginnings when John A. Macdonald did business in Frontenac County, Nobel once credited Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien with helping him to recover from an illness. Chretien called an election and Nobel got himself out of bed to get to work trying to get Chretien out of office. John, who was born in the early 50s, grew up working in the store. “I remember when I was six or seven, with my older sister and brother, we used to work in the store all the time. It wasn't a hardship or anything, it was fun, I never wanted to go to school. Everything came in bulk. We used to bag the tea, split 50 pound bags of potatoes into 5 or 10 pound bags - all that kind of stuff. And when people came to shop they stood at the counter with their list and called out the items. We would run and get the items from the wooden shelves behind the counter and put them out for them, and after they paid or marked down what they owed to pay at the end of the month, we would carry their groceries and whatever else they bought out to their car. It was that kind of store.” At some point, in the early or mid-60s, “farmers were no longer able to sell milk in cans, they had to sell it in bulk. That was a huge change and a lot of farmers went out of dairy. Farms were consolidated and got larger and they began to order grain in bulk, which changed our business and we eventually got out of grain.” John recalls. In the 1970s and 80s when John came into the business with his father, he realized that Sydenham and the area around it had changed completely. It was no longer a farming community; the train was long gone, and more and more of its residents travelled to Kingston every day for work. “I realized there was not enough business in the store to support two families, and I also realized that Sydenham was now a bedroom community and the shopping was different.” In 1985, the property where the Foodland and Home Hardware stores are now located was up for sale. At one time it had been the location of a very large dairy and milk condensing factory where powdered milk was produced, but the factory had been torn down and a dance hall been put up. The dance hall was a free-standing structure, 60 by 100 feet, and John thought it would make an ideal store. So he bought it and opened an IGA store. Three additions later, the store is still selling groceries, under the Foodland banner. In 1989, the Home Hardware building had been completed and had its grand opening, with a blue ribbon being cut instead of a red one, at Nobel Trousdale's insistence. As the two stores were running at one end of town, Nobel Trousdale's store was still open, so the Trousdales were competing against each other again, but this time John was really competing against himself as he was still spending most of his time working for his father, and having managers run his own stores. When his parents died, just three weeks apart, John's business focus shifted to the newer stores, and at that time Ginny became involved. Although she had been married to John for 25 years at that point and the couple had raised a family, Ginny had never been involved in the family business. She had pursued a career in social work until then. She decided that, instead of letting the General Store go, she would reinvent it as a gift store. A lot of creative work has gone into bringing in new products and displaying them in the confines of what still looks much like the store did 80 years ago. There are still products from bygone days around, now as display items, and in many of the back and side rooms the old bolts of cloth and crates of soap are still tucked away. “I don't think they threw anything out,” said Ginny, “and now how can you, since much of what is there is so unusual today?” John and Ginny's son, Will, has come into the Home Hardware business now, and as Sydenham continues to change, look for Trousdale's to follow suit. Family businesses do not survive almost 200 years and five generations without seeing around a few corners to always end up in the right place at the right time. In the Trousdales' case, however, the past is carried along as a reminder. “One thing that has never changed - from delivering bread to delivering and fixing appliances, it's a service business,” said John Trousdale.
Now in its third year, the Land O'Lakes Tourist Association's (LOLTA) annual big and small mouth fishing tournament on August 15 continues to attract anglers looking to hook big bass for big bucks. It was one fish per fisher at this live release event that took place this year at three lakes in the Land O'Lakes tourist region, including Hay Bay near Napanee, Beaver Lake in Erinsville and Big Gull Lake in North Frontenac. Fishers at all three locations had a chance to win for the biggest three fish. Kirk Kove Cottages was the location of the weigh-in station on Big Gull Lake where over 20 boats and over 40 fishers took part on a hot and sunny day of fishing. Jason Lemke, facilities/recreation supervisor with the Township of North Frontenac, was one of four North Frontenac volunteers helping out at Kirk Kove and he said it was a busy day on the lake. The big winners at Big Gull lake were Mark Kropf, who won with a 3.95 pound large mouth; Kevin Romanick took second place with a 3.9 pound large mouth; and Clarence won third with a 3.8 pound small mouth bass. Also up for grabs was a $500 gift certificate from Canadian Tire that was won by Donald Swartz of Napanee and Bonnie McCaughtery won the fishing kayak that was donated by the Canadian Tire in Napanee. Other prizes included three $50 hidden weights that were also won at all three locations. Joanne Cuddy, tourism coordinator of LOLTA, organized the event with the help of Deanne Allen, and said she was pleased to announce that although the number of lakes this year was reduced to three instead of five due to a lack of volunteers, 160 participants took part. The goal of the event she said is to attract people to the region that spreads north to Denbigh, south to the Frontenac Islands, west to Tweed and east past Sharbot Lake. “Not only do anglers get a chance to fish a lake they may have never fished and have a chance to get familiar with it, but by picking new lakes every year, we are also bringing tourism dollars to different areas in the region.” This year's event attracted anglers from as far away as Waterloo, Renfrew, Ottawa, Toronto, New Jersey and from Belleville, Kingston, Napanee and the local area as well. For those who missed this year's tournament, have no fear. Next year it will happen at the same time but on three different area lakes. For more information visit www.travellandolakes.com
NF Council looking to update offices and public works building At Monday's meeting, Council reviewed and discussed Councillor Denis Bedard's recent report regarding the options available to update their ageing municipal buildings. A building assessment report from Greer Galloway in 2014 noted that the North Frontenac municipal office and public works buildings were in rough shape. The report showed that the current buildings lack potable water, accessible bathrooms, accessible council chambers, and that the building requires better insulation and ventilation. “In terms of health and safety, the interior of the building has experienced moisture infiltration which has created frost, moisture, and mould in sections of the building,” the report stated. Councillor Bedard, in his report, presented some of the different options North Frontenac has moving forward. These include renovations to insulate and combat the moisture issue as well as elaborate plans to demolish the current buildings and construct new offices and a new public works garage. Of the six plans that Bedard presented Council whittled them down to three ideas that they want to start discussing more thoroughly. The three options they are looking at are: To renovate the existing building. This would entail removal and replacement of the insulation and vapour barrier in the ceiling and walls as well as the replacement of doors and windows, at an estimated cost of $511,250. To renovate the existing building, same as above, and also add another 1,500 square feet of office space at an estimated cost of $900,000. To renovate the current office building to better suit the public works department and to construct a new building for the municipal offices at an estimated cost of $1,627,500. The former Ministry of Natural Resources building on Buckshot Lake Road was mentioned in the report as a possible location to build the new facility. Council will be holding a public meeting on August 29 at 10am in the Clar-Mill Fire Hall in Plevna to present and discuss these ideas and to create a dialogue with the community to incorporate into their building plans. Low-interest loans available to North Frontenac Robert Keene, a representative from Infrastructure Ontario (IO), made a presentation to Council on Monday morning regarding the different type of loans that could be available to North Frontenac through their loan program. Infrastructure Ontario is an agency of the provincial government and provides short-term and long-term financing solutions to municipalities at low-interest rates. These loans can be used for most capital expenditures, including new construction or renovations, emergency vehicle purchasing, waste management, and road improvement. The funding the IO is offering is available to a variety of groups such as municipalities, Aboriginal health centres, long-term care facilities, and housing providers. IO is offering two different types of loans. One is a “serial” loan where interest is paid out more at the beginning of the loan and then decreases as the term goes on. The other is an “amortizer” loan, which functions much like a mortgage payment. Keene explained that the “amortizer” loan is the one most municipalities use in their programs. The current interest rate for a five-year loan is 1.43% and 3.12% on a 25-year term. These loans are available through the IO for terms up to 30 years.
Hook 'em, hook 'em BIG! Attention, anglers! The annual Land O’ Lakes Large & Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tournament returns to three lakes in the region on Saturday, August 15. The water bodies featured in this year’s live release event are Hay Bay in Greater Napanee, Beaver Lake in Stone Mills, and Big Gull Lake in North Frontenac. There is a weigh station found on each lake, with locations at Pickerel Park CAREFREE Resort (665 South Shore Road), Lions Beaver Lake Park (Erinsville), and Kirk Cove Cottages, (1539 Kirk Kove Road near Harlow). Prizes for the tournament total more than $3,500. The largest fish caught on each lake will receive a cash prize $500; 2nd place gets $250, and 3rd place gets $100. Anglers who catch the “hidden weight” will receive $50. Everyone who purchases a ticket for the tournament is entered into a draw to win a $500 Gift Card and a Fish Kayak, courtesy of Canadian Tire in Napanee, even if they don’t fish in the tournament. Tickets are on sale now for $35 each. They are available online at www.TravelLandOLakes.com as well as at the Canadian Tire Gas Bar in Napanee, Lakeview Tavern in Erinsville, or at the Land O’ Lakes Tourist Office in Kaladar. The deadline for purchasing tickets is Friday, August 14. More information, including boat launch information and tournament rules & regulations, is available at www.TravelLandOLakes.com or by calling 1-800-840-4445.
The Blue Skies Music Festival is known for its variety of music, tie-dyed everything, and workshops about subjects such as Appalachian music, Yoga Nidra (sleeping yoga), Thai head massage, and making ice cream. But this year, in addition to stand-out performances by Swing (fresh from the closing ceremonies at the Pan Am games), folkie Karen Savoca, East Coaster fiddler and guitarist Tim Chaisson, funksters with message Digging Roots, folk/bluegrass veteran Shari Ulrich, and the inimitable Washboard Hank, the festival was all about garbage. Zero garbage that is. After years of efforts to encourage composting and recycling, working with the Central Frontenac Waste Management Department and Bill Everett from Bee Sanitation, the festival decided this year that it would offer only comprehensive recycling and composting collection. Campers and day visitors to the festival were called upon to minimize their waste and bring whatever could not be recycled home with them. The garbage-free policy extended beyond visitors to the festival, which prepares food for festival goers and performers, and operates a main stage and workshop areas for up to 2,000 people. “This year I picked up two bags of garbage from Blue Skies,” said Bill Everett. “When I first started working with them they already had recycling in place, but there were 350 bags of garbage as well. They've really done well.” Everett will be back later this week to pick up recycling, and all liquor and beer containers were collected and returned for refund to benefit the Guatemala Stove Project. There will be a lot of compost as well, but the garbage is down to the amount a family could produce in a week in pre-recycling days. “The Township of Central Frontenac, like most municipalities, has a waste disposal problem. For as long as I've done recycling and garbage at Blue Skies the township has been worried about landfill space, looking for ways to divert waste from landfills and pricing landfill usage appropriately,” said Matt ???, who convinced the rest of the festival organizers that the zero garbage policy should be put in place. He explained the Central Frontenac recycling rules to the festival organizers and visitors and offered some tips as well, and waited to see what would happen. “It helps us all to become more aware of the simple things we can do to reduce our impact in our day-to-day lives,” he said. By going from 350 bags “over the hill” to just two, the Blue Skies Festival is now part of the solution to Central Frontenac Township's waste issue.
As part of its commitment to preserve and promote the railway history of our area, the Central Frontenac Railway Heritage Society has been working diligently on the development of the Railway Heritage Park in Sharbot Lake. Visitors to the park will have noticed that a patio has recently been constructed behind the caboose to showcase artifacts with a fence that will eventually support informative signage. In hosting visitors to the caboose, one of the things that has become evident is the excitement that the railroad creates in the minds of young children. Adult visitors, whether they be parents or grandparents, are often accompanied by children anxious to climb aboard. As a result, the CFRHS decided to build a train-based play structure as an additional attraction for our young visitors. The play structure will also allow their adult supervisors more time to further investigate the exhibits. With due diligence to the safety regulations that need to be followed in constructing a public play structure, the project became a more daunting task both financially and physically than we first imagined. But, just like The Little Train That Could, the Board of Directors forged ahead. Gratefully, with substantial funding support ($12,220) from The Community Foundation for Kingston and Area, we have been able to purchase the actual structure. As a result, we are well on our way to completing our goal; however, we need help. We are now in the construction stage, and are soliciting additional funds and donations “in kind” to move the project forward. We are in need of financial donations, materials (i.e. 3/4” washed stone for the base, concrete for the footings), backhoe time, and construction expertise. If you as an individual or business see merit in this train-based play structure and wish to help, please call Gary Giller at 613-279-2723. Also consider joining us for our annual fundraiser this fall, to be advertised soon. We look forward to seeing visiting children further enjoying the captivation of our railway heritage.
Fred Johnson has lived on Sharbot Lake since the early 1990s, on a property he purchased with his late wife many years earlier. He retired from a career with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and turned a cottage into a waterfront home, as a number of people have done over the years. One of the things that Fred has done over his retirement years has been to put even more of his energy into a pursuit that has always been more than a hobby for him, Rudimental Drumming. Rudimental Drumming was founded in 1933, when a group of military drummers decided to focus on 13 essential rudiments of drumming. This focus on precision and technique formed the basis for the rudimental drumming tradition, which continues to this day. Fred Johnson's career as a drummer started in 1946, when he joined the 180th air cadets in Toronto. In the 1950s he branched out as he began to do some writing and drumming instruction while a member of the 2nd Signals Regiment. Since then he has instructed and composed drumming arrangements and individual solos for 17 drum and bugle corps all over southern and western Ontario. One of the drum sections he led was the Canada's Marching Ambassador drum section. That section produced two Canadian Individual Champions and five international judges. He has an extensive resume as a judge in Canada and the United States. In 1976, he founded the Canadian Association of Drumming Rudimental Excellence (CADRE). The CADRE competition group has been performing in events and competitions ever since. The competition group placed first in The World Drum Corps Associates ensemble championship for five consecutive years, from 2006 to 2010. Fred was inducted to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1998, the first Canadian to receive that honour. The CADRE competition group continues to be active and is preparing for this year's championship in Rochester, New York in about a week. But before they travel to Rochester they are gathering in Sharbot Lake to prepare, and while they are in the area they will be taking over the Sharbot Lake Country Inn. Not only are a number of them staying at the inn, they will be presenting a free concert there as well on Saturday, August 29, from 3 to 5pm. Weather permitting they will be playing outside near the patio; otherwise in the Crossings Pub. For Fred Johnson it is an opportunity to share his passion with his friends and neighbours. “The sound of these drums, when played with precision, is something else. It has a power that is hard to describe. You have to hear it,” he said.
There has not been a lot of rain in recent weeks, but last Thursday afternoon was an exception. At 5 in the afternoon Sharbot Lake was not visible from the bandshell that faces it. Five o'clock also happened to be the start time for the annual Northern Frontenac Community Services (NFCS) Community BBQ, this one marking the 40th anniversary of the agency. Although they hung on to the idea of holding the event at the beach for as long as possible, about an hour earlier NFCS staff had decided it was time to move indoors. The balloon castle was not going to fit into the Oso Hall, so it had to go, as well as some other outdoor events, but the band set up on stage, the food was prepared and as the storm was raging outside, over 200 people crammed into the hall to eat and laugh together. “It was the last thing we wanted to happen,” said NFCS Executive Director Louise Moody, “but in the end we pulled it off and people showed up anyway. Everybody still had fun, although it has been a bit hectic for us.” To mark the 40th anniversary, the first executive director of NFCS, Wayne Robinson, was on hand, as were a number of staff and board members from over the years. “It's wonderful to see that something we put together so many years ago has continued to find its way and flourish like this,” said Robinson. NFCS had its roots in a series of meetings between community members in the early 1970s to talk about community needs. In 1973, St. Lawrence College, which was itself only seven years old at the time, gave the group a grant to hire a “community animator”. Forty-two years later NFCS provides services to children and youth from its Child Centre location on Road 38, and to adults and seniors from its Adult Services building in the middle of Sharbot Lake. With funding from a number of provincial ministries, the United Way and the community itself, it provides services for youth throughout Frontenac County, and for adults and seniors in the area from Verona north to Plevna and Ompah and beyond. “When a young family needs information, a teenager needs training to become a babysitter, an adult is in crisis, or a senior needs help to stay happy and active in their own home, we are there for them,” said Moody. The NFCS BBQ survived the rain, but that does not mean it will be scheduled as an indoor event next year. “It is pretty hot in here,” said one mother, “and humid, too.”
Signs are up for the 2015 Inroads Studio Tour, a familiar event for over 20 years here in Central Frontenac Township. This year, there are nine open studios and a dozen fine artisans displaying their work; hours are from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 5-7 of Labour Day Weekend. Now is the time of year when friends and visitors to my shop are likely to say something like: “You must be really busy getting ready for the Inroads Tour.” These comments got me thinking about what it is we do to prepare for Inroads – and realizing how long the process really takes. Tour preparation began in January or February when former participants decided whether they wanted to do the tour again this year. With snow still on the ground, the interested parties got together, in person or via e-mail, and volunteered for various roles (chair, treasurer, secretary, sign manager, etc.) Previous tour members and possible new participants were contacted, commitments were made and cheques mailed to the treasurer so that the brochure co-ordinator could assemble the information and brochures could be printed to be given out during the summer. For all tour members, preparation throughout the summer involves distributing brochures and generally promoting the tour whenever the opportunity arises. Closer to the event, we put up small signs and dust off the larger signs that we have stored, making sure we have enough and that they are in good repair. I think we all look around our studios and do whatever re-arranging and cleaning seems necessary. For those of us on the tour who have a shop that is open throughout the summer, much of the pre-tour activity is what we would be doing anyway – filling current orders, replacing stock that has sold through the summer, and trying to keep ahead of the general mess generated in an active artist’s studio. Joanne Pickett (Arden Pottery) says that her usual long days just get longer. At this time of year, Joanne can often be found in her studio at 2 am, throwing pots or waiting for firings to be finished – fortunately, she finds these night vigils peaceful and rather pleasant. Judith Versavel, who runs Gallery on the Bay in Arden, summarized her preparations for Labour Day thus: “Sprucing up the garden, mowing the lawn, washing gallery windows - again, rearranging items for maximum show, helping my guest artist and trying to figure out what to wear! Oh yeah … and trying to get new paintings and jewellery finished at the last minute!!!” Here at the Arden Batik shop, I have completed some new pictures, and plan to get them matted and/or framed before the tour. However, I am also going to start some batiks that I know I will not finish, so there will be a selection of interesting pieces in process for tour visitors to see – and for me to demonstrate with during the weekend. Nancy, at Hilderbrook Studio, tells me that she has some new necklaces, and is “madly busy” making more. Jo Crivellaro has been working on a new product -- collaged mirrors with hunting and fishing themes. She has yet to do the weed cutting and tidying up around her owner-built house in the woods, but will certainly be busy until the tour date. Laurel Minutillo, (Laurel Leaf Studio) has also been busy creating new work; she will be showing painted ceramic jewellery as well as new roller printed metal earrings and forged pendants for necklaces. The worst part about getting ready for the show, she says, is that you never think you are ready enough. Alas, how true! Nick Hally, our sign man, puts up the large highway signs, and makes sure that all studios are supplied with the signage they need. He and Annette, at Maple Hollow Studio, write that they “ensure that we have enough of our various stock on hand for the full weekend, make sure our signage is all up and visible the night before the first day, cut the grass, weed the garden and make sure our whole place wherever customers will be going is neat, tidy and welcoming, and provide adequate seating and iced bottled water for tired feet and legs.” Doreen Morey doesn’t show at her home studio, but at her cottage location, so her preparation includes setting up a tent for display and arranging a temporary work space on the cottage deck. She sews in preparation for the tour, and continues sewing throughout the weekend. For those who are guests at another artisan’s studio, the process involves less house cleaning and more carrying of boxes. Jill Ferguson, guest at Gallery on the Bay, writes: “Worst part is packing and carting all the stuff and the best part is looking forward to meeting new people and seeing regular visitors. I have my must do cards and coasters ready to go and all made with prints of original artwork. I still hope to prepare some mini-prints so I guess that's on my wish list. I have several new landscapes of Ontario country scenes ... roads, fields, waterfalls, trees.” Janet and Steve MacIntyre are guests at Ken Waller’s studio, and enjoy both the tour and a good visit with the Wallers. This year, Steve and Janet have been trying an unusual jewelry making technique called broom casting. Yes, it involves brooms – they hope you will come and see their new work and find out how it is made. In fact, all of us look forward to our tour visitors, and hope that the preparations we have made will mean a pleasant tour for all who come and share, for a day, our work, our studios, and a bit of our lives.
For members of the Portland District and Area Heritage Society, August 15, 2015 is a day that will go down in history and one that marks a new era for history buffs interested in the history of the Township of South Frontenac. The day marked the official grand opening of the brand new South Frontenac Museum in Hartington, an idea that was birthed by the Portland District & Area Heritage Society and which has been in the works for over a decade now. Members of the society, dressed in historical garb, along with numerous dignitaries and history buffs, gathered on the lawn beside the new museum for its official ribbon cutting ceremony. The museum is located in Hartington's former one-room limestone school house, which for years had been the home of the clothing depot Community Caring – Hartington. The building is newly restored and is now home to a diverse collection of historical artifacts and archives from the four former districts of the township. The wide collection is meticulously organized and displayed and will be enjoyed by visitors into perpetuity. South Frontenac mayor, Ron Vandewal, opened up the celebrations by congratulating South Frontenac staff, past and present members of council who supported the idea, the County of Frontenac whose accessibility grant allowed for the building to be made wheelchair accessible, and members of all of the local historical societies in the township whose efforts have “preserved the township's history”. Barb Stewart, president of the Portland District and Area Heritage Society, also spoke, thanking former mayors of the township, Phil Leonard, Bill Lake, and Gary Davison as well as the current mayor and members of council, most of whom were in attendance, and the many members of the local heritage groups who also contributed to setting up the displays and preparing the building for its opening day. Public works manager for the township, Mark Segsworth, also spoke recognizing the work of architect David Jefferies of Norr Architects, lead contractor Wemp and Smith and the two sub-contractors NCDD Wood Working of Inverary and Christmas Steel, the latter of whom did the steel railings, David White of D. J. White Restoration of Hartington, who built the new large vintage windows for the building, and the township's public works staff who worked on the project. Following the ribbon cutting, Barb Stewart recognized the original charter members of the society, Bill Asselstine, Inie Platenius, Enid Bailey and Jim Reynolds, who first met at a cottage in the area in 2001 to discuss a possible museum and who formed the Portland District and Area Heritage Society later in 2002. In June 2008 the society became a committee of the council of the township and in September 2012 was contracted to manage the soon to be restored museum. Since forming, the society has fundraised for the project and also approached the township for financial support. Stewart said members of the group feel “just great about all that we have accomplished.” The displays included a chesterfield and chair from the former McMullen house in Verona, a typewriter and books by Verona writer, Mrs. Dorothy Sliter, including a first edition of her book about Verona titled “The Friendly Village”. Other displays included one titled “Frontenac County at War”, a detailed display from the collection of Doug Lovegrove, which was also arranged by him. Other displays included a historic school display, a historic post office display, historic furniture, various name quilts, adult and children's clothing, a wide variety of kitchen utensils, old clocks and radios, an old clothes wringer, as well as old books, signs and photographs, toys, a gorgeous wooden spinning wheel and much more. The event was attended by long-time members of the community, many of whom came from as far away as Sarnia, including three sisters of the Genge family who made the trip to Hartington especially to attend the event. The museum will officially open again on August 28 as part of the County's 150 anniversary celebrations, which will take place on August 28, 29 and 30.
Heather Woodyard, who has resided in Verona for just three years, never expected that she would enter the retail business. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. It was a lack of jobs in her specific field of study that led Heather to open Verona's newest yarn store, called Ewe Can Knit. Heather returned to school at Loyalist College in Belleville to become a community and justice services worker, but after graduating with a diploma in 2012, she and her 90 other fellow graduates got the news that the Kingston penitentiary would be closing, which meant that hundreds of students would be vying for fewer jobs. After having no luck at landing a job in her field, Heather decided to create work for herself and was determined to “do something that I love and am really passionate about”. She looked to the past and the years she spent in Toronto working at Lewiscraft, where she had learned to knit and crochet, pastimes that she continues to be very passionate about. “After coming to Verona I realized that there is nowhere between Kingston and Perth to buy knitting and crochet supplies so I decided to open up my own shop.” The store is located at 6667 Highway 38 in Verona just next to Verona Convenience and it fronts onto Walker Street. The 650 square foot store is bright and airy and has ample parking. Inside, Heather is busy unpacking supplies that have just arrived, and a long stretch of shelving across one large wall displays a veritable rainbow of coloured yarns. She stocks a wide variety of yarns and wools including two major classic lines, Paton's and Bernat and also offers everything from sock and baby yarn to bulkier yarns as well. She sells merino wool and alpaca blends, and will also be carrying fine hand-dyed yarns from Fleece Artist and Hand Maiden of Nova Scotia. Along another wall hang a wide assortment of knitting and crochet needles as well as a variety of patterns designed for hobbyists at various levels of ability. While Heather said that she has received “a lot of positive response” on her current inventory, she added that she is happy to order other items that customers might want. “I know that people like different things so I am happy to stock different items that customers might request.” Heather has future plans to also offer a variety of all-ages knitting and crochet classes in the near future. Though the store officially opened on Tuesday, August 4 and is currently open for business, Heather is planning a special official grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10am - 6pm. Guests will be able to enter a draw for a gift basket and cake and refreshments will be served free of charge. The store is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am - 6pm and on Sundays from 11am - 3pm. For those who have never knit or crocheted, Heather encourages them to give it a try. “It's a lot of fun and an excellent hobby to start. If I can do it, having taught myself, I am sure that anyone can learn.” For more information call 613-374-3000.
People lined the main street of Verona for the Saturday morning parade marking the 20th installment of the Verona Cattail Festival on August 8 and 9. South Frontenac mayor Ron Vanderwal opened the festival and congratulated all of the volunteers and sponsors who continue to make the event one of the community's biggest of the summer. The festival is a much-loved community event that continues to attract locals and tourists year after year to the cattail-filled wetlands of Verona. This year’s theme was “Themes of festivals past” and fairies, birthday party goers, and bog-dwelling creatures of all shapes and sizes, plus many more made for a colorful start to two densely packed, fun-filled days. Veteran festival emcees Debbie Lingen and Dick Miller awarded prizes and kept guests informed of all the events and activities taking place in and around the Verona Lions grounds. Highlights included the landing on site of five parachutists from Skydive Gananoque, who thrilled the crowd by jumping from a small Cessna plane high above the festival grounds following the opening ceremonies. Each parachutist expertly hit their mark in a nearby field. The 20-year anniversary was highlighted on Sunday with Georgette Fry and her soulful choir singing a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday and with guests enjoying a birthday cake generously donated by the Goodwin family in remembrance of long-time festival committee member Joan Goodwin. Guests of all ages enjoyed educational games, activities and demonstrations indoors at Cameron’s Cattail Centre and this year the children’s activities were expanded to include a 60 foot bouncy obstacle course, a new climbing wall and old-fashioned fun like the new three-legged, stilt and sack race events for kids. Also new this year were horse-drawn wagon rides along the K&P trail with a shuttle bus taking riders back and forth from the trail to the festival site. The live entertainment is always a huge draw for weekenders and this year’s line up was hugely diverse, with offerings of rockabilly, blues, Celtic, jazz, easy listening and of course, good old-fashioned rock 'n roll. Performers included a number of local entertainers of all ages like fiddle wiz Jessica Wedden, local old soul country crooner Henry Norwood, and other notable groups like Turpin's Trail, Bauder Road, and Still Standin’ Over 20 vendors were on site selling a wide array of crafts, comestibles and more and the festival volunteers had their canteen running all festival long. The most popular attractions that keep festival goers coming back year after year like the duct tape boat races at McMullen beach and the antique car show were also well attended. Congratulations to this year’s parade winners who included Asselstine Hardware, The Casement family, The Youth Centre, Beau Mcilroy, and Lance Duerst.
It has been a long, slow, dance of sorts, but it seems that the County of Frontenac and the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) are about to come to terms over the County's first Official Plan. Joe Gallivan, the Manager of Planning Services for Frontenac County, said on Tuesday that after a lot of meetings, emails and phone conversations, staff at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs “basically get where we are coming from as far as the kind of Official Plan that fits for Frontenac County”. On several key issues, such as development on private lanes and setbacks for waterfront development, Gallivan said the ministry has allowed for the kind of softer language that will allow Frontenac County to both encourage the kind of development that county residents are looking for and remain within the parameters of the latest Provincial Policy Statement, which is the basis of all planning activities in Ontario. “There are some issues of wording where I think they are off base or unclear, but most of them are not important enough for our purposes to fight over,” said Gallivan. For that reason he recommended that Council accept most of the revisions requested by the ministry in their draft response to the Official Plan that was submitted by the County several months ago. On 18 specific wording changes in the plan, however, Gallivan recommended that Council not make the changes suggested by the MMAH. These include a number of measures that, in Gallivan's view, do not belong in a regional plan because they refer to specific locations, such as the Village of Sydenham in regards to water systems. These he said would be best left to the discretion of the Township of South Frontenac's own Official Plan. Other changes are either unclear, or based on false assumptions. In one case, for example, the MMAH would like the County to make use of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) database as regards endangered species. “But we do not have a data sharing agreement with the MNR over that information, so we can't make use of it,” said Gallivan. While there remain areas of disagreement, Gallivan expressed optimism for the first time in months, that the province will accept a version of the County Official Plan that is acceptable to Frontenac County Council, avoiding a costly and time-consuming appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. Once the Official Plan is accepted, it will be County Council, and not the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, that will be the approval body for local township Official Plans.
There is good news and bad news these days for Frontenac Transportation Services (FTS), which provides rides to medical and other appointments for residents of North, Central and South Frontenac from its base in Sharbot Lake. The good news is that the agency, which is managed by Northern Frontenac Community Services (NFCS) and provides rides for clients of Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS) as well, has improved its reach all over the County (with the exception of Frontenac Islands) and has seen ridership increase throughout. “Our ridership has increased everywhere, and one of the biggest increases has been in the area of medical rides for seniors in the former Storrington District of South Frontenac,” said Gail Young, the co-ordinator of FTS. The bad news is that this has put a burden on its corps of volunteer drivers. “We need more drivers throughout the county, but the need is more pronounced in South Frontenac and it is acute in the Inverary area,” she said. Young added that volunteer drivers all receive training when they sign on to FTS and they also receive compensation in the form of mileage to cover fuel costs. “We are looking for people who are willing to donate the gift of time, and we don't want them to have to go out of pocket in order to volunteer,” said Young. “Anyone who is interested can give us a call and we can go over all the details. It can be a very rewarding way to volunteer because transportation is one of the most important factors for people who really want to remain living in their own communities as they age or face medical or other challenges. Many of our drivers have been with us for years and have developed strong bonds with our clients.” The precursor to FTS, Rural Routes Transportation Services, was set up by Northern Frontenac Community Services to help residents from Verona north to access medical and social services. In 2009, with the promise of stable funding of $80,000 annually from Frontenac County to cover administrative costs, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Northern and Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS) in order to establish FTS. FTS now serves clients from both agencies and also provides rides for the Limestone District School Board, Ontario Disability Support Program, Ontario Works, Northern Connections, and Community Living (North Frontenac). For further information or to volunteer, call 877-279-2044
Family and Children's Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington is looking to recruit new members for the Board of Directors. We are a Children's Aid Society - a not-for-profit agency that protects children from abuse and neglect. We receive funding and our mandate from the Government of Ontario. We've been serving this community since 1894, making us one of the oldest continuing charities in Southeastern Ontario. Many CASs, like ours, are known as Family and Children's Services. Every family needs help. We're there when families can't cope. We support them, and help them stay together. Sometimes, children come into our care. When that happens, we try to reunite them with their birth family or with their extended family. In some cases, children can't go back. We take care of them through foster care and try to find them a new permanent family through adoption. The role of a board member is critical to the work we do. The Board of Directors provides high-level leadership and governance for the agency by providing oversight of the agency's operations, performance and outcomes. Board Members are expected to attend regular meetings and serve on committees. They are also encouraged to attend agency events and participate in the life the organization. What we are looking for: The agency strives to have a broad mix of skills, experience and demographic characteristics on the board. At this time we have identified the need for board members who fit one or more of the following criteria (in order of priority): - Residents of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington outside of Kingston - Visible minorities - Experience in one of the following sectors: Justice, Education, Social services, business management, general public sector, experience in Board of Director governance practices, fluency in French. All applications are welcome - you may still apply even if you do not meet these criteria. Requirements - To be a member of the Board you must be 18 or older and live or work in Frontenac or Lennox and Addington counties, Ontario. You must also undergo a Criminal Reference Check (Vulnerable Sector Screening). Members of the Board cannot have an undischarged bankruptcy. No employee or spouse or immediate family, nor those under direction of the Agency, are eligible. Deadline - Applications must be received by Friday, September 11, 2015. How to apply - Go online to www.JoinOurBoard.ca Learn more about the Agency - Go online to www.FamilyandChildren.ca.
Last week, it was reported that Federal grants under the Canada 150 program were going to Frontenac townships. Below is the complete breakdown of grants in Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington, including a grant that was just received by Frontenac County. Carleton Place -$67,000 of funding is being provided to the Carleton Place Town Hall Perth – The Table Community Food Centre will receive $45,600 Township of Central Frontenac - will receive $110,000 towards a new Community Centre & Library in Mountain Grove Smiths Falls - $22,500 of funding for the Smiths Falls Public Library and an additional $60,920 in funding for the Smiths Falls Town Hall Tourism and Economic Development Centre Township of North Frontenac - $23,000. The funding will be used to renovate the Snow Road Community Centre County of Frontenac - $247,000. The funding is going towards the completion of the K&P trail project, which will link the Cataraqui and Trans Canada Trails when the section between Tichborne and Sharbot Lake is completed.
The Bon Echo art program will feature two outstanding artists as the final exhibitors in its 2015 season. The works of Lisa Johnson and Melissa Randle will be on display and offered for sale at the Colin Edwards Memorial Art Gallery in the park from August 27 to October 13. The featured artists are just one of many events organized each summer by the Friends of Bon Echo. Lisa Johnson - Lisa graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Art and Design, where she won the prestigious Mrs. W.O. Forsythe Award for 4th year women painters in 1996. While Johnson was born in Toronto, her family’s roots are in the Mazinaw Lake area; her grandfather, Wallace Johnston managed the Sawyer Stoll Lumber mills from the 30s to the 50s and her family has had a cottage on the lake ever since. Most of the work that Johnson plans to show at the Colin Edwards Gallery will be “en plein air” paintings - typically small oils on wood panels or canvas, done on location, either floating in her boat by Bon Echo, or hiking to different locations around the lake. Website: www.lisajohnsonart.ca. Melissa Randle - Originally from Kingston, Melissa spent a lot of her childhood at Bon Echo. She has been living in this area for nine years. Her love of nature and the outdoors provides the inspiration for her work. She strives to share this love, not only through her photography, but also by using other artistic mediums (including glass, pastels and paint). Her cameras are her constant companions as there is always a butterfly to follow, a loon rising from the lake, or the sun casting a glow through the trees or on the water. For samples of her stunning, varied work, please visit her website: http://www.freewebs.com/randleartstudio/.
Close to 50 guests gathered at the Northbrook's Jimmie Clarke Legion Branch # 328 to celebrate the 90-year anniversary of the Canadian Legion. Padre Harry Adringa opened up the ceremony with a prayer that was followed by a welcome by Legion president, Mike Powley Jr. Past president Cecil Hawley then introduced vice president and poppy chairman, Steve Michaud, and vice president, Bill March. Comrade and veteran Doug Wood spoke about veterans, who he said represent all kinds of family relations, all ethnic groups, and that are made up of rich and poor. Some veterans may be “strong, broken, sick, remembered, and some forgotten”. He called veterans “peace keepers, peace makers and warriors', and “simple, ordinary people who were honoured to wear Canada on their shoulders”. Past zone commander Dan Bush made two certificate presentations, the first to past president Cecil Hawley, who served for 18 years as president at Branch 328, and the second to Cecily Matacheskie, who sold tickets at the branch for years before moving to Belleville. The band Big Clear Sound performed for guests, after which lunch was served. I have included below a history of the Canadian Legion that was part of the anniversary celebrations at the special celebrations in Northbrook. The Royal Canadian Legion was formed in 1926 following the unity of various World War 1 veteran organizations and is Canada's largest veteran support and community service organization with over 300,00 members in more than 1400 branches across the country. The Legion advocates on behalf of veterans, including serving military and RCMP members and their families and provides essential supports to communities across Canada. Prior to WW1, the Armed Forces in Canada were represented by regimental associations, scattered units of various types with one dominion organization that was called the Army and Navy Veterans Association of Canada. Membership in these groups was limited to former military members and the majority of these groups only existed in urban areas where military armories were located. Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ill and injured veterans following WW1, in which 61,000 Canadians were killed, 172,000 were wounded and another 130,000 were medically discharged as result of their military service, governments needed advice on how best to deal with the overwhelming number of veterans issues and needs. From 1917 to 1925 several veterans' organizations sprang up in Canada but had no unified voice. In November 1925, 12 veterans' organizations met in Winnipeg for a special “Unity Conference” and it was from this conference that the Canadian Legion was born. By July 1926 the Canadian Legion became self supporting.
Marilyn Bolender is happier these days. After suffering for five years from a condition that can only be described as a maddening, she has found an experimental treatment that is working. The disorder she suffers from is not well known, and that is one of the reasons that she has come forward to talk about it after only letting family and close friends know about it for five years. The condition is called Chronic Ideopathic Urticaria (CIU). It is described by the website e-medicine as “not a single disease but a reaction pattern” that persists for longer than six months. In lay terms, it is hives or welts that can be as large as three to four inches across. They do not last longer than two hours before receding, but new ones occur regularly. Like many other skin lesions they are skin irritations and they tend to be itchy. “It is hard to describe the sensation,” said Bolender, who has now been hive-free since March. She said that she had hives or welts all over her body, except on her face, on an ongoing basis for five years. “Nothing worked at all. I went to allergists and skin doctors, and tried all kinds of antihistamines and other medications, but nothing touched it,” she said. Finally last year, she began to see a skin specialist in Peterborough, Dr. Melinda Gooderham, who concluded that in Marilyn's case there was no allergy involved. A trial for a drug called Xolair, originally developed as an asthma drug but later approved for use on skin disorders in the United States, was undergoing a trial in Ontario and Dr. Gooderham enrolled Bolender in the trial. “They started me on 150 units, which did not work, then upped me to 300, and that did not work either. When I was told that I was going to be dropped from the trial at that point, I just lost it. I didn't know what to do. Dr. Gooderham said to give her a bit of time, and eventually she convinced the company to put me on a larger dose, 450 units, and after a couple of injections it started to work.” The drug is expensive, but fortunately Bolender is covered under a drug plan that covers 80% of the cost, and the company that produces Xolair is covering 92% of the extra cost, leaving Bolender with a cost of $42 per month. “I'm very grateful to have found relief” she said, “and that is why I am coming forward now, since many people who suffer from CIU are unwilling to talk about it because they are embarrassed. But whether they receive the treatment that works for me or another form of treatment, it is important to be diagnosed and to start finding a way forward,” she said. The company that produces Xolair, Novalis, have put up a website about CIU, called “Itchingforanswers.ca” The website provides information about CIU and does not talk about Xolair. Instead it promotes the use of a new generation of oral antihistamines (Ni-AH) as a first treatment option. Xolair, which is expensive and carries a degree of risk, is prescribed only for those for whom anti-histamines are ineffective. “Our main message is that people who suffer from CIU identify the disorder and seek effective treatment,” said Nick Williams, a communications consultant with Argyle Public Relations in Toronto, a company that has a healthcare and pharmaceuticals division. It was Williams who contacted the News about Marilyn Bolender's story.