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Reconstruction of Elm Tree Road has been delayed until Jan. 8-12, Public Works Manager Brad Thake to...
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.
On the evening of Thursday December 14th Joey Wright and Al Tuck will be performing an intimate concert of song and story telling. The concert will be held at the Snow Road community hall at 7:00pm. In June 2013, Tuck's studio album Stranger at the Wake was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. "Fair Country" is a mix of original songs and co-writes with poet Alex Rettie; and covers, was released in 2016. December 2016 saw the release of a tribute album, featuring 15 of Tuck's songs, performed by 15 of his musical friends, and produced by Adam Gallant of Charlottetown, PEI. Joey Wright is a Juno-nominated songwriter, composer and performer from Toronto/Elphin. Joey is well known for his lyrical and inspired guitar and mandolin playing. As the eagerly anticipated follow up to Hatch, 2017’s Country, Music takes us further down the road on Joey Wright’s musical journey. Al and Joey will be having a good time keeping the event fun and informal and Al will surely be playing some songs by the great Gene Maclellan.
Council voted to amend resolution 518-17 passed at the previous special Council meeting. The resolution extended Council’s support for the One Small Town project as presented by Mayor Ron Higgins. Councillor Wayne Good and Dep. Mayor Fred Perry moved the resolution to exclude support for the electrical generation aspect until details of that particular project are made public. Good said he and Perry had received an email from a constituent expressing concerns about the project that gave him pause. Several other councilors appeared to be having second thoughts as well. “I’d like to modify 518-17,” said Councillor John Inglis. “We weren’t given any technical details or information about financing. “My concern is when a business comes with a plan, we don’t normally support it by resolution - our support should be identical to the support we’d give to any business venture.” “How will this corporation be structured?” said Councillor Denis Bedard. “I’m scared to death a project of this nature can mushroom. We spent considerable time on researching wind turbines. We’ve spent no time at all on this.” Councillor Vernon Hermer was even more concerned, especially when it comes to the involvement of Ubuntu Canada and its international leader/founder Michael Tellinger. “I think we’ve been misinformed and misled,” Hermer said. “Contributionism is based on a political party in South Africa. I’ve watched hours of videos on this man’s (Tellinger’s) ‘visions’ (and) I find his opinions and themes disturbing and almost offensive. Higgins said that Tellinger’s thoughts on some matters shouldn’t be used to discredit the One Small Town plan. In one of his Youtube videos, Tellinger discusses his support for the argument that the earth is flat, which was addressed briefly by Higgins “He (Tellinger) does have some off-the-wall theories and plans,” Higgins said. “(But) we do have a meeting scheduled to discuss the parameters of C & T (Contribute & Thrive) North Frontenac. “And it (the electrical generation plan) was not the only way to generate electricity . . . it was the information I had at the time.” Council voted to continue to contribute $5,400 to Rural Frontenac Community Services to provide youth programs and services to North Frontenac. RFCS director Louise Moody said it actually costs more than $7,000 to provide the services but was only asking for $5,400 and “we’ll get the rest.” Funding in place for Ompah Hall kitchen reno In his own words, Rick Morey “asked for $10,000 and came out with $11,500.” The Ompah Community Association may not need all of it to complete their kitchen renovation plans for the Ompah Hall. Morey was at North Frontenac Council’s regular meeting last Friday in Ompah to update council on the “1970s-something” kitchen and to ask for funding. Morey was asking Council for $5,000 to match the Community Association’s contribution to the project. He said the $10,000 budget contains a $1,500 contingency fund. “We’re probably going to run into safety concerns,” he said. Corey Klatt, manager of community development, suggested that figure might be low and recommended Council double it. “Our plan is to not spend $10,000 but to fix up the kitchen,” Morey said. “And if we have to replace something, it could get expensive,” said Coun. Denis Bedard. Morey said that one of the reasons he was at Council now was because there was a limited time to take advantage of a discount offer from Ikea. He said he’d taken their plan to local suppliers who couldn’t match Ikea’s deal. He said that if they bought the cabinets from Ikea, they would get as much as $300 in gift cards. “We can use the $300 gift cards to pay for knobs and hinges,” said Coun. Wayne Good.
The North Frontenac Little Theatre showed presented an adorable collection of skits, songs and musical numbers last weekend. The heart of the show was seeing familiar faces, in memorable situations, all coming together. The News sat down with one of the most important people in the whole production, stage Manager and long time NFLT participant Margo McCullough. This was Margo’s 9th production with NFLT, her first as stage manager. Her only performing role, was that of a dancing tree in the Wizard of Oz. “From the beginning, I thought, hey I can do this. I am so thankful that (Director) Brian Robertson asked me. He’s such an amazing, talented and well spoken person. I couldn’t say no. I feel more comfortable behind the scenes.” The show started with an Indigenous story, grounding the show in the history of Frances and Mary Sharbot with drumming by Sisters of the Drum in front of a dreamy treeline set. The Sunshine Sketches takes a seasonal look at this area and those changes of season are represented by a 4 part quest for the perfect butter tart with Zeke from Zealand and Martha Stewpot, with a great cameo from David Yerxa selling Lion’s 50/50 draw tickets. The First Act of the show was anchored by Autumn with the Wedding, a one act play written in North Frontenac that was put on 26 years ago in 1991. It is the story of a different kind of shotgun wedding, held during duck season, and it is still entertaining today even if some of the fashions of the times have changed. Also in the first half, the cast showed off all of their singing, dancing, and musical talents with a rendition of the Log Driver’s Waltz, The Kick and Push and the Oklahoma inspired “Our Township Song” which includes the classic line “Where the granite’s steep, the soil’s not deep but something makes us call it home.” The Second Act of the play took the audience through the winter months with the full cast singing The Snowmobile song, Two bearded blues brothers from Oso, a trip to the Treasure Trunk, a good old hot tub soak and a classic wish for summer at the Cottage, a number from last year’s Turtle Crossings. The sketch about the inner working of meetings, The Ladies Committee was a hilarious piece which had four people playing committee members and four people dressed in black voicing the committee member’s thoughts. The cast finished off the night with The Frontenac County Anniversary Song written last year to commemorate 150 years of Frontenac County. All in all it was a sweet event of community theatre, by the community, for the community and filled with maple sugar. The full interview with stage manager extraordinaire Margo McCullough will be posted shortly.
The knitting continues. We have donated over 11,800 articles in the last ten years. This past year we sent knitting up north with the Anglican Church Bales in the spring and recently Marge Taylor from Ompah took a hundred and thirty more toques, afghans, sweaters, mitts, socks, dolls and teddy bears to go north of Igualuit. Many thanks to knitters Yvonne Leblanc and Liz Bruce from Sydenham and Val Kennett from Perth for their continued support. Also thanks to Bev Murdock and Jackie Saville for their generous donations of yarn. Best wishes to all during this Christmas season and keep knitting. For info call Peggy Beckett at 268-2443.
Canada 150 Finale Canada’s Sesquicentennial is drawing to a close and the people of Central Frontenac should congratulate themselves for having staged a great year. We have marked the occasion with some truly memorable projects. Each of our community institutions has come through with something special - a heritage video at Parham Fair, special demonstrations by the Arden Fire Department, a Trail day at the Railway Heritage Park in Sharbot Lake and commemorative public benches where we can enjoy our beautiful surroundings. The area’s churches held special services (indoors and out) and supported community events such as the Giving Thanks Dinner. The lake associations got into the act with flotillas on Kennebec, Horseshoe and Long Lakes and tree planting projects on Eagle Lake and Sharbot. And the Frontenac Heritage Festival had a distinctly 150 flavour this year. The Recreation committees made a special contribution to the year with a host of programs in Arden, a fantastic Canada Day in Sharbot Lake and a great Canada 150 float in the Parham Santa Claus parade. Credit for some of the best projects has to go to the individuals who inspired them – Diane Lake’s 150 stories of 150 women, Virgil Garrett’s goal of 150 (now over 200) visitors to his grandfather clocks, Janet Gutowski’s display of 150 quilts and Jim MacPherson and friends with 150 Canadian songs on quiet evenings in the Oso Park. This one grew into a great evening of Canadian music at GREC – Covering Canada – with profits going to the school music program. Rural Frontenac Community Services, The Child Centre, supported a focus on youth by partnering with Shabot Obaadjiwan and North Frontenac Little Theatre, in the first case for the Strawberry Moon Festival and the second for a picnic and workshop in the park. The Little Theatre also provided a great next-to-last Canada 150 event with this year’s fall production of Sunshine Sketches of Our Little Town - a delightful retrospective of our community and the wonderful things that happen in it especially those in celebration of our nation’s 150th Birthday. The Legions started the year with a New Years Day levee in the Arden branch and will end it with a New Years Eve ball to be held in the Sharbot Lake branch. This final event of the year will be a traditional New Year’s Eve party with food, dancing, decorations and door prizes. It is jointly sponsored by the Legion branch and by the District #3 Rec committee. Profits will be divided between the two groups – the Legion share going to meals for shut-ins and the Rec Committee share to the rink project. One special activity will be a draw for the Canada 150 quilt shown in the picture. A few tickets are still available for the dance. They can be purchased at Gray’s Grocery or either Legion Branch. Quilt tickets can be purchased by calling Rosemarie Bowick at 613 279-3341.
Reconstruction of Elm Tree Road has been delayed until Jan. 8-12, Public Works Manager Brad Thake told Central Frontenac Council at its regular meeting Tuesday in Sharbot Lake. The job was to have begun Monday, Dec. 11. “It’s very disappointing,” Thake said. “The delay was due to a contractor not getting a permit. “And a little bit of high water.” Thake said he’s confident the work (along with the temporary road closure) will continue in January but cautioned that it is winter and if delayed again, it will likely have to wait until spring. The funds slated for the project will be moved into next year’s budget. Still with roads, Thake said with “the little burst of winter,” they had a couple of breakdowns and have some maintenance to do but road crews are “pretty much back on schedule.” Council agreed to make up the $403 difference or at least put it into next Monday’s budget discussion meeting for a business plan for the former Hinchinbrooke Public School to be turned into a recreation/community centre. Janet Anderson, representing the committee looking into the project told Council that they had been the recipients of a $2,597 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Kingston and Area. Along with the $2,000 Council had already earmarked for the project, that still left a $403 shortfall from the winning bid to create the business plan of $5,000 from Social Focus Consulting. Anderson said they’re hoping to have the business plan done in time to apply for a Trillium Foundation grant to begin renovations. The Trillium deadline is in February. Starting in February, building materials and shingles will no longer be accepted at the Oso Landfill Site, rather they will be directed to the Olden site. This is in order to maximize the life of the Oso site and the fact that grinding/shredding will take place at the Olden site. Originally, the change was to have taken place January 1 but at the request of Mayor Frances Smith, that was changed to Feb. 1 to allow for advertising the change. In a separate report, Public Works Manager Brad Thake reported that the capacity of the the Oso site is somewhere around 4-6 years while the Olden site should be good for 30-35 years, factoring in the closure of Oso. Council appointed Kennebec Coun. Tom Dewey as Deputy Mayor for the final year of this Council’s mandate. Mayor Frances Smith reported that the Land O’Lakes Tourist Council has ceased operations. The kiosk on Hwy. 7 at Road 38 belongs to the Township and Smith suggested the Township might have to consider printing up a tourist brochure on its own. Central Frontenac may have to go it alone with planning, following a suggestion that it move its committee of adjustment meetings to 4 p.m. from 6 p.m. because County planners were putting in too much overtime. As it is, said CAO/Clerk Cathy MacMunn, the County is looking at hiring another planner and revising its billing to Central and North Frontenac with a model based on what it charges for IT services. She said that Central’s cost of a shared planner with North Frontenac could be in the region of $60,000 per year. “If we’re going to be paying the County $60,000 should we be looking at hiring a consultant to look after just us?” said Mayor Frances Smith. Don’t everybody volunteer at once.When Mayor Frances Smith asked for Council volunteers to be on the new (and yet to be formally named) septic inspection committee, a lot of councilors suddenly became very interested in looking at the floor. Eventually, Coun. Phillip Smith and Tom Dewey reluctantly ‘volunteered.’
On November 25, the University of Waterloo held the first Ontario Winter Camping Conference with over 400 people in attendance. People of all ages are realizing that camping in the winter need not be a hardship but can be very enjoyable. The woods are much quieter in the winter and the smell of snow is very relaxing and comforting. Again this winter Bob Miller and Mike Procter will lead a Saturday overnight camping adventure near Sharbot Lake as part of the Frontenac Heritage Festival activities. The date of the camp will not be on the Heritage Festival weekend but will be chosen by the participants keeping in mind the weather forecast and the schedules of the participants, likely in late January or early February. This winter we have 3 returning campers confirmed and we can accommodate another 4 people so anyone wishing to inquire about joining us for the free one night camp is required to contact Mike at 613-279-2572. All meals will be supplied and we have some blankets and other gear you can borrow. If you have never tried winter camping please consider it as a way to actually enjoy our great Canadian winter. While you are enjoying this Christmas season think about making 2018 a year to remember.
Construction is now underway for a third gas station located near the junction of Road 38 and Hwy. 7. The project is being undertaken by Gama Engineering of Woodbridge, and company President Wajid Mansuri said that work on the site is progressing quickly after late fall start, but much of the outdoor work will soon come to a halt and will have to wait until March or April to get underway. The building on the site, which used to house The Junction in recent years, is being renovated to accommodate a convenience store and a take-out fast food operation. “It will have Pizza Pizza or subs or something like that,” Mansuri said, but the details of that end of the business are still to be finalised. “The gas station will not run 24 hours a day.” Mansuri also said. The property was sold two years ago, but it has taken time for the new owner to obtain the planning approvals necessary for opening the new use on the site. Before getting underway, they needed a minor variance for a diminished number of parking spots, 14 instead of 18, approval from the Health Unit for a septic system, a building permit, and tentative approval from the Ministry of Transportation for the construction of an exit ramp off Hwy. 7. Mansuri said that the exit ramp, which will be built by the ministry and financed by the applicant, will likely be in place well before the business is ready to open. “Construction needs to be completed, a manager for the operation needs to be hired, the owner has a lot to do before opening and the ramp should be in by then. If not we will have to work something out with the ministry,” he said. The owner of the new business is Darmesh Shah, according to information provided by the township of Central Frontenac. He is from the Toronto area.
(TOWNSHIP OF SOUTH FRONTENAC, ON) - On December 4, 2017 at approximately 5:00 p.m., the Frontenac detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to break and enter in progress at a cottage residence on a secluded laneway that runs off of Charlie Green Road in South Frontenac Township. The cottage owner arrived at his property and confronted the suspect in the residence. The suspect exited through the front door and the owner gave chase and observed the lone male suspect drive away in a light blue Chevy vehicle possibly a Malibu or Impala. On December 3, 2017, OPP responded to a previous Break and Enter at a cottage residence off Opinicon Road in South Frontenac Township in which the cottage was ransacked with several various electronic items stolen with an estimated value of $1,500. A trail camera near the Opinicon Road Break and Enter was able to capture an image of the suspect who the police believe is the same individual involved in the Break and Enter off Charlie Green Road. The male suspect is described as a white male approximately 30 years old, wearing blue jeans, dark boots and wearing a baseball cap with the letters "TRD" on the front. Police are continuing to investigate into these recent break-ins in our community and are seeking assistance from the public. If anyone has any information they are being asked to contact the Fronte nac OPP Detachment at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward. For more information on how to protect your home and business, visit the OPP website and type SafeGuard in the search field at: https://www.opp.ca/index.php. Photo of suspect:
Christine Lavallee opened Lavallee’s Inverary store last January 1. The store is located in the centre of Inverary in the location of the former Inverary store. It carries what you would expect to find in a convenience store, but over the last year it has also brought in dozens of local products, and has become an enthusiastic supporter of the Infrontenac branding initiative. “We have found that there is a market for excellent local products, such as the salsa that T&A Condiments make, Hanna meat pies, and other products both from Frontenac County and nearby,” Christine Lavallee said, when interviewed the store last week. While running the store, she has also noticed there is a market for fresh baking as well as quality take home food. And that is where the idea for a new, complementary business came in. “We can’t keep up with the demand for baked goods, and I thought if we could have a kitchen to work out of it would be good for us and the community.” Not one to wait too long for the dust to settle, Lavallee, who ran a restaurant in Kingston between 2003 and 2008, jumped at the opportunity to be an anchor tenant in a new commercial building that has been completed just south of the hamlet, on the Campbell property, which is located next door to the Northway Home Hardware/LCBO store and includes the 24 hour gas pumps. The building is also set to house a pharmacy in the new year. The Cookery includes a retail space of about 1,000 square feet as well as two commercial kitchens, one for the cookery and a second for other commercial food businesses in the area who need to use shared, approved facilities to make their products. “This new building is a tremendous space. There is lots of parking, lots of light,” she said, showing off the still to be renovated space (a building permit from SF township is pending) on a sunny day last week. The Cookery will be open early in the morning with coffee, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and take out lunch items for large commuter traffic on Perth Road/Division street as they head into Kingston for work. It will also be open when those same commuters head home. “These are busy people that work full time. Everybody that I talk to, seems to be in the same boat. The are driving home, wanting to cook a good meal for their family. We will be offering good quality, well prepared meals for people to bring home and serve,” she said. “and we won’t stand still. The Cookery will change what it offers to keep things fresh, and to bring new products on the market.” Look for the Cookery to open early in 2018.
Gord Rodgers of French Planning Services and Bill Peairs, Chair of Sydenham Lake Association, presented Council with the final version of the Sydenham Lake Plan, which was developed over the past two years. An attractive readable 31 page document, its overall goal is to “identify and protect the significant social, natural and physical features that make the lake and its surrounding area a healthy natural environment and a desirable place for people to live and visit.” Of the 52 recommended actions in the plan, Rodgers focussed on the 11 that were relevant to the Township. (At least one of these, the protection of the dark sky, is already under implementation, with the upgrading of Sydenham streetlights.) The final recommendation was that a working group be established, with representatives from the Lake Association, the Township and the Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority (CRCA). This group would meet annually to “guide the plan and its actions into the future.” Rodgers thanked the Township and the CRCA for their support and encouragement, and said that money from the Ministry of the Environment’s Source Water Protection Fund had made the plan possible. (The complete plan is currently available in draft form on the SLA website). In answer to Councillor McDougall’s query about possible sources of funding for other Township Lake Associations to do similar Lake Plans, Rodgers said it was very difficult. However, he did suggest that a more modest plan could probably be achieved without the help of a consultant, if there were volunteers willing and able to do the necessary work. Proposed Shooting Range in Portland DistrictCouncil was asked to consider approval of a private shooting range proposed by Scanlon Road resident Stephen Saunders. Private shooting ranges fall under the jurisdiction of the Chief Firearms Officer of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and are strictly controlled and monitored bi-annually. One of the conditions for establishing a range is a letter from the local municipality sating ; a) that the Municipality has no objection to the range, and b) the range would not contravene any municipal by-laws relating to the use of the range and discharging of firearms. Planner Lindsay Mills notes that there is nothing in the Township’s zoning by-law, or the provincial Planning Act that would prevent the use. Council was unanimous in its agreement that it was important to notify neighbours of the proposal, so they would have the opportunity to speak to Council if they had concerns. CAO Orr said that there was no established process for this, and Council again agreed that he should follow the same timeline and notification protocol used for severance applications. Recruitment Woes South Frontenac Township is currently without a Manager of Development Services (MDS), or a Chief Building Official. The position of MDS was recently created, in response to increasing development pressures and the stated goal of seeking delegated authority to approve subdivisions and plans of condominium by 2018. The first round of recruitment was unsuccessful, and in the second round, Forbes Symon was hired. However, after six months, Mr Symon left this September for a similar position in Perth, where he lived. To date, no suitable replacement has been found. Before re-advertising in the new year, Mayor Vandewal suggested Council might wish to discuss whether they even wanted to continue with the recently-created position. The answer was clear. “It was a great advantage, having a Development Services Manager for six months. It would be a mistake to lose sight of that” (Sutherland); “That position offered comfort and confidence”, (McDougall); “The Development Services Manager brought strength and breadth of experience - it’s hard to have lost that,” (Schjerning). The rest of Council were equally supportive of continuing to recruit for the position. The Building Department has had what Orr calls “a chronic problem” keeping anyone in the position of Chief Building Official since Councillor Alan Revill retired from the job in early 2012. Since then there have been three full-time hires and four Acting CBO’s appointed in between: most recently, Ryan Arcand left in November after eleven months as CBO to return to the City of Kingston. Staff are currently interviewing applicants. In spite of a seasonal drop in demand, the remaining building official is not able to keep up with the workload. Orr summarizes: “staff are also exploring other creative options on how to deliver service, however, it is premature to comment on their feasibility or possibility.”
On Saturday afternoon, Mary Murphy and her crew were busy as bees setting up nativities in the St. Patrick’s Church hall in Railton for Sunday’s Nativities Display. “This is our 10th year and it’s grown every year,” she said. “We have about 250 so far. “Many of them are little ones so there’s a lot of rearranging to do.” Murphy said they started out “very small” 10 years ago and it’s grown every year. “We wanted to have some different from Santa, whom everyone loves,” she said. It’s “so neat” to see all the different interpretations of the Nativity story that depicts the birth of Christ, she said. “We have some very old ones like the one that came from my husband’s aunt that we became the caretakers of,” she said. “And Father Bill has this one from 1947. “And we have this one from around 1830 but we can’t tell if it’s bone or ivory.” But that’s not all. “We have a Lego one, a puzzle one, one of all teddy bears,” she said. “We have scenes from Mexico, Chile, Austria, Kwanda and Quebec and the ladies from the Cole Lake Nativities display sent down several from their ‘permanent collection.’ “Also, the students at St. Patrick’s in Harrowsmith sent in some of their Nativity projects. “We have some with lights, one with Charlie Brown characters and even two made from Popsicle sticks.” Also, they always set up a kids activity table with books and “things that kids can touch and play with.” Over the years, she’s picked up on some of the finer point of Nativity display. “Well, the biggest crowd comes right after mass on Sunday,” she said. “But maybe the most important thing we’ve learned is to keep some of the more tempting ones at the back — out of the reach of little hands.”
These bucket drummers were representing Rural Frontenac Community Services, youth division at the Santa Claus Parade in Sharbot Lake on Saturday afternoon,. The mild weather meant there was not snow, but no frozen fingers either. There were parades in Northrbook, Harrowsmith on Saturday morning, the Sharbot Lake Parade at 1pm and the Denbigh Parade in the evening (6pm). On Sunday, the Tichborne to Parham parade is set for 1pm as well.
The Frontenac Gazette (and its sister publication, the Kingston Heritage) ceased publication Monday as corporate media giants Postmedia and Torstar completed a deal to swap newspapers and subsequently close the vast majority of them down.Staff at The Gazette/Heritage were called to a meeting Monday morning and told they had until noon to clean out their desks. Torstar, through its Metroland Media wing, traded both papers along with eight community papers in the Ottawa area, the St. Lawrence News, three in the Belleville area and 10 other publications to Postmedia in exchange for eight community publications, seven dailies and two free dailies. Postmedia will continue to publish one of its acquisitions. Torstar will continue to publish four of the dailies. The Kingston Heritage started publication in 1975. Joe Cembal, who has owned many papers in Central and Eastern Ontario, began the Heritage in response to requests from community leaders in Amherstview after the Whig-Standard had turned them down. Cembal was the publisher but his wife Gail actually ran the paper, serving as general manager until their son Darryl took over in 1988. In 1991, the Cembals saw a way to produce a rural paper as an add-on market for its Kingston Heritage advertisers and The South Frontenac Gazette was born. In July of 2001, the Gazette expanded into Central and North Frontenac and changed its name to The Frontenac Gazette. It later pulled back from North Frontenac. In 2009, Performance Printing in Smiths Falls bought the two papers and Darryl Cembal continued as publisher for a short time before moving on. During Performance Printing’s ownership, the Gazette acquired the EMC (which stood for Expanded Market Coverage) title in its masthead. In 2011, Performance Printing was sold to Metroland and eventually the EMC disappeared from the masthead. Just last January, both the Gazette and Heritage underwent a redesign. Understandably, Darryl Cembal was saddened to hear of the demise of the publications his family built. “After 40 years, it’s disheartening that family owned newspapers have gone by the wayside,” Cembal said. “Not only were they owned by a conglomerate, they were closed by a conglomerate. “For a good news product that’s actually still needed in the community, it’s too bad. “But it was a corporate decision and it is what it is.” (Editors note 1 This week's Gazette had been completed and submitted to the printers before the Monday morning meeting, but it is unclear if it was printed and is being distributed. The articles were posted online before the shutdown.) (Editors note 2. Craig Bakay was a long time employee of the Frontenac Gazette. He worked there until the end of 2016, and subsequently came to work at the Frontenac News.)
Country Music by Joey Wright review by Martina Field It was a relatively warm early November evening (Nov. 12) when the Cardinal Cafe started to fill with people in anticipation of Elphin resident Joey Wright’s CD release concert. The ambiance was set by the lovely candle-lit room, which made the atmosphere of the renovated church/cafe even more warm and relaxed. Joey’s new album is called Country Music and on that night, except for a couple of tunes from his earlier albums, and two of Jenny Whiteley’s, he played mostly from it. Wright’s last solo album ‘Hatch’ was a break with tradition from his first two, which were mostly fast paced blue/new grass instrumental records. In Country Music, this departure continues. In fact, the only instrumental tracks on this album are two quite beautiful Interludes, that only last a few seconds. The rest have lyrics, written by Joey with the exception of a wonderfully slowed down version of Bob Wills’ Faded Love. The title track of the album, Country Music, has the familiarity of a rich old country song from an era gone by, so much so, that at first I mistook it for a cover version of an older country song. In fact, it was jointly penned by Wright and Jenny Whiteley, Joey’s partner in love and in life. Jenny joined him on stage, as did Dean Stone, Julian Brown and Mike Eckert. There are a couple of pop sounding tunes on the album, including Nostalgia, and Black Hole. The first song on the record, Black Hole, like many of Joey’s songs, is open to interpretation. For me, within the chorus, there lies a metaphor for life, ‘I’m losing control, I can’t escape the gravity of this black hole’. I see the black hole as being the inevitability of our mortality. It is a given, it comes with being born; death is inescapable. I love that the music is so upbeat in this song despite the grave message. I also love that this is what I get from the song, where someone else may get another meaning, perhaps neither of us the one that was intended by Wright. The second song on the album Eyes Looking Out, was the first Joey played at the concert, and he relayed how it was inspired by his grandfather who was a gunner in WWII. This song hearkens back to the dreamy tone of Hatch. The back up vocals on this song and many of the others are provided by Amy Millan and Jenny Whiteley. They are beautiful and ephemeral and sound sometimes like a whisper or an echo, and definitely add much in the way of texture to the music. They work perfectly with Joey’s rich, warm voice. The synthesizers add texture as well, as do the horns, lap-steel, guitar and drums. Mountain Grove’s Jonas Bonetta co-produced and played synthesizer on this album, to good effect. The songs have a cohesion to one another and this glue is in good part due to the consistency of the vocals, instrumentation, (including the shimmering light touch of Wright’s mandolin and guitar), spare drumming and slow tempo. It is not at all over-produced; it is just right. It is not only the sound and feel of this album which stand out, but also the tempo. Most of the tunes have a slowed pace or beat. They have rhythm alright, just everything seems slowed down. The over-all effect that this has on the listener, is that it seems to help calm the heart rate and remind one to breathe. This notion is punctuated by the second to last song on the record called, Time Stands Still, in which it almost seems that Wright slows time to a halt … at least for a second. The song Meteor also stands out, not only for it’s fine rhythms, but because of the way it tells a story of a love or friendship losing its lustre, ‘making a stone out of a gem’, while looking through a rear view mirror of sorts ... ‘the sky is getting clearer, I’m looking back in time and leaving a trail behind’. Our Love Moved Out to the Country is a love song that also plays like a story book. It’s simple and honest, saying that ‘love is the essence of the soul/pure as the tears of a child/you make me want grow old/you’re still going to drive me wild’. And, ‘when we talk I feel better/this mean old world turns into joy/my thoughts turn into love letters/I feel like a teenage boy’. We all might like to hear these emotions from our loved one. Looking back in time, and grappling with memories figure thematically in many of these songs. In Nostalgia the chorus begins ‘I’m going down/where memories can always be found’. And, in Jodi, the lyric, ‘How can I be set free from memories/I’m stuck in memories’ ends the song. This, the last track of the album, has become one of my favourites. On Jodi, the piano and vocal hold such emotion. It draws you in to its world, and when it ends, I am, like the crowd on that evening at the end of the concert, left longing for more. Joey Wright’s words paint pictures and tell stories. His music is original, and calms the soul. His own particular style is emerging, and I can’t wait to hear what he does next.
If 2018 Frontenac County budget were a head of hair, and county council a barber, no one would notice the haircut that was administered last week. The draft budget set the requisition to the Frontenac Townships at $9.775 million and after a snip of $12,400 dollars the final budget trims that figure to $9.763 million. Either way the number rounds off to $9.8 million. In percentage terms the requisition increase now sits at 4.4%, down from 4.5%. Each of the four townships will combine their share of county costs with the amount that they are charged by the Ministry of Education. The County levy in 2017 was $9.35 million. When they met last week, (November 5) some members of Council had greater ambitions for cuts, but only two cuts were made. The first was the elimination of a $6,000 commitment to an education bursary for foster kids to Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac Lennox and Addington (FACSFLA). The second was to curtail a planned parking lot restoration project at the county office/Fairmount Home by $20,000. Of that $20,000 in savings, only $6,400 came from Frontenac County ratepayers, the rest was to come from the City of Kingston. The gallery at the meeting was crowded, and the observers were on hand for one reason, to see if the proposed $55,106 annual commitment to the University Hospital Foundation of Kingston would remain in the budget. In a previous meeting, the proposed commitment, which is set to run for ten years, was supported by 6 of the 8 council members, but the Frontenac News took an editorial position opposing it, and North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins used social media to solidify opposition in North Frontenac. When the matter was raised again at the meeting last week, council members who had expressed lukewarm support or did not speak at all the first time around came out strongly in favour. Councillor Nossal from Frontenac Islands said that for her constituents the hospitals are an essential service and a cause they support. “This might seem like comparing apples and oranges,” she said, “but on Howe Island we get no benefit from the K&P Trail but our money went towards its construction. Now we are looking for the other townships to come through for the hospital foundation.” Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle and Central Frontenac Mayor Francis Smith both said they thought the commitment was important. Even South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, who opposed the payment in the first instance, had a change of heart. “I am not going to support the increase in this budget, let me make that clear,” he said, “but in canvassing my council last night and the community as well, not many people in South Frontenac seem to have a problem giving this money to the hospital foundation, so I will not vote against this item. We need to find savings elsewhere.” With that, when Ron Higgins moved an amendment to cut the $55,064 from the budget, there was no one to second his motion. After the hospital foundation supporters left, Ron Vandewal proposed the bursary cut, saying “is anyone here from Children’s Aid as he did so.” Other cuts that Vandewal floated included trimming a $35,000 expenditure on Economic Development, which did not proceed anywhere. Vandewal also want council to consider not following through with a 24 hour ambulance to Wolfe Island, which was a decision made two years ago but is still causing a budget increase in 2018 because it has been phased in. Chief of Paramedic Services Paul Charbonneau was asked if an alternate service model, the use of an Emergency First Response vehicle, staffed by one paramedic, could provide the same level of service on Wolfe Islands a full 24 hour ambulance. Charbonneau said that with contemporary knowledge about emergency calls and medical technology, the First Response Vehicle could provide a high level of service even if it meant transport would have to wait until an ambulance arrived from Kingston via ferry. Dennis Doyle argued that to shift away from the 24 hour ambulance just as it was about to come about would have negative impact on Wolfe Islanders. “I am asking Council to provide this service to Wolfe Islanders,” he said. “It is important and if it is abandoned it will bring down property values and that won’t help anyone in Frontenac County. That was the end of the debate. The motion to approve the budget and prepare an enacting bylaw for approval on December 20 passed without further changes. (Note – The final budget estimates for overall expenditures in 2018 are set at $41.3 million, which is unchanged from the draft version. The budget cuts approved last week fall within the rounding error)
Addington Highlands Council voted to move its meetings to Tuesdays from Mondays at its regular meeting Monday afternoon in Flinton. The move was made to avoid having to schedule around holiday Mondays and to make it easier for residents to attend, said Dep. Mayor Helen Yanch. The move will come into effect for the Jan. 2, 2018 meeting and continue for meetings in both Flinton and Denbigh. Meeting times remain 1 p.m. in Flinton. Denbigh meetings are at 1 p.m. for January, February, March, November and December and 7 p.m. for the remainder of the year. The only comment on the meeting change came from Frontenac News Publisher Jeff Green, who said in an email: “Tuesdays are difficult for us to cover Addington Highlands meetings as it is our production day. We do cover other councils on that day and adding Addington Highlands will make it more of a stress. With the change, we should still be able to cover the Flinton meetings, but the evening meetings and even the afternoon meetings in Denbigh will be an issue.” “The time of the meetings should be there to serve the community,” said Coun. Tony Fritsch. “I have no issue with Monday or Tuesday.” Speed device slows trafficRoads supervisor Brett Reavie told Council that the speed measuring device on the road into Flinton seems to be having the desired effect. “Comments from neighbours are that people seem to be slowing down,” he said. “Although after awhile, it could lose its effectiveness as people get used to it being there.” “I want to see how high I can get it,” joked Reeve Henry Hogg. Hospice servicesCarrie Salsbury, community coordinator for The Heart of Hastings Hospice, addressed Council on the plan for extending their services into Addington Highlands and North Frontenac Townships. “The Local Health Integration Network has asked the Heart of Hastings Hospice to work with agencies in Lennox & Addington and Frontenac Counties to coordinate end-of-life hospice services,” she said. “I have been meeting with health care agencies, community groups, social service agencies and individuals to better understand the needs of the community and to tap into systems, services and communications links that already exist.
It seems that every time Lennox and Addington County Council considers making changes or upgrades to its ambulance service, the question of whether to keep the Denbigh service up and running comes up. It happened again last week, at a meeting of Council on November 15. Council is intent on establishing a service in Stone Mills township, and one way to help finance it would be to cut the 12 hour a day service based out of Denbigh. “I am getting tired of continuing to have to argue that even though there are not a lot of calls to Denbigh, the service is essential because of the distances involved. There are also two provincial highways that meet at Denbigh, 41 and 28,” Hogg said when contacted over the phone after the meeting.” A motion was passed at an L&A Council meeting last year which instructed staff to look for a location in Denbigh where a permanent base can be constructed, but that has not led anywhere. And when the agenda came out for a discussion about the proposed Stone Mills base, one of the options on the table was cutting the Denbigh service and serving the north from the Northbrook base, which has a 24 hour a day service. At the meeting last week Council decided to proceed with a new based in Stone Mills, seek a permanent location for the Loyalist base. An in camera session followed, and after that the following motion was passed: that the current ambulance service level be maintained in Denbigh, and that council direct staff to proceed with the purchase of ambulance vehicles as required.” One of the concerns about the Denbigh service is that the current location for the ambulance is in a rental property. While the details of the in camera session were not revealed, the minutes from the meeting say that after the in camera, Warden Lowry “reported that Council considered a potential property acquisition in closed session.” Township float for Northbrook and Denbigh parades At the Santa Claus parades on December 2 in Northbrook (10 am) and Denbigh (6pm) there may be a new float. In response to a proposal by Teri Woods, the wife of township road crew member Rodney, council accepted her offer to decorate a trailer for use in both of the parades. Council will also spend $200 for candy, etc. To give out during the parades, and members of council will ride in the parades as they wish. Council meeting times set to change In response to a proposal from Councillor Helen Yanch, meetings will be held on Tuesdays starting in January. The first meeting of the month will take place on the first Tuesday of each month at the Flinton Recreation Centre at 1pm, and the second will take place in Denbigh on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. In the months of January to March, November and December, the meeting will take place at 1pm, and from April until October it will take place at 7pm.
North Addington Education Centre’s Remembrance Day Assembly was attended by Elementary and Secondary students, alumni, representatives from the Legion, members of the community, and a group of soldiers from 2 Service Battalion, Garrison Petawawa. The M.C.s were Alyssa Borger, Julia Cuddy and Ally Maschke, and they remained cool in the face of sudden changes in the proceedings. The NAEC choir led the assembly in the a capella singing of “O, Canada”, including some lovely harmony. “In Flanders Fields” was read in English by Eloura Johnson and Levi Meeks, and in French by Jazmin Marcotte and Yanik Drouin. Kaden Snider read “We Shall Keep the Faith”, a response to “In Flanders Fields”. Avery Cuddy and Rachel Cumming read two very different accounts of the experiences of women in World War II. Students were pleased to have a visit from 2 Service Battalion, Garrison Petawawa. Master Corporal Juneau placed a wreath on behalf of the visitors, and Master Warrant Officer Barrett spoke to the students about the need to remember the efforts of the past. The soldiers enjoyed a lunch prepared by the cafeteria, and also chatted with students who were having their own lunches. Various groups of soldiers visited a range of classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12, answering questions about their experiences, as well as playing volleyball with some of the students. Ms. Ohlke, one of the Kindergarten teachers, said of their classroom visit, 'The soldiers got a chance to see the students being good listeners in their own environment. These wonderful young men answered so many great questions and put the icing on the cake when they demonstrated a military retreat with perfect precision, complete with barked orders, stamped boots and salutes. They looked as happy doing it as the kids watching. I think they just got 20 new recruits'.
Harry and Fim Andringa have made their mark in the town of Flinton ever since they moved to the community 25 years ago. They have been good neighbours and keen volunteers, and have made many friends. Harry, who had recently retired from the Toronto Transit Commission when the Andringas moved to Flinton, drove for both Land O’Lakes Community Services (Meals of Wheels) and Friends of Bon Echo (captaining the Mugwump ferry) among other volunteer commitments. Harry has also been involved with local Legions and schools more recently by recounting his experiences in WW2 as a child in the Netherlands. “When we moved to Flinton we knew no one. We found the community by looking around for a small town where we could retire and enjoy life. And we found it,” he said, when interviewed at his home earlier this week.A few years after they had retired, Harry realized that he was not feeling well, and that he hadn’t been feeling well for many years. He went for tests and they did tests and found nothing. Eventually doctors realized that Harry was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had been for most of his life. He lived through WW2 in the Netherlands as a young child and those experiences had remained bottled up in him for over 60 years. After 11 months of therapy he felt better and was able to begin sharing his story, which he did through presentations at Legions and at local high schools and Senior’s homes for a number of years. “I think it is important for people to know what happened, especially now when there are holocaust deniers around. There are even some in Germany now, so I wanted to do my part,” he said. A couple of years ago Fim began having health problems and more recently Harry has also been struggling physically. The strain of visiting groups in person has become too great.When Ken Hook heard that Harry was getting older and frailer, he is now 85, he recalled how much of an impact that a presentation Harry had on the participants at a meeting of the Cloyne and District Historical Society a number of years ago. He thought it was important to get Harry’s story on video. A year ago, he conducted a series of interviews with Harry and then applied for a Canada 150 grant to fund the completion of the video. He did not get one, but decided to self fund the project. “I’ve done a lot of corporate and other videos and people are always a bit shy or wary, and we need to do two or three takes. But Harry wasn’t like that. He didn’t have any notes at all. He knew his story and could tell it off the top of his head.”Obtaining video clips to round out the story was a more difficult process for Hook, but he did have help from the National Film Board, which allowed him to use newsreel footage. Finding the write footage took many hours, however. When the video was done, edited down to 36 minutes, an opening was arranged at the Northbrook Lion’s Hall on October 25. To Harry and Ken’s surprise, the hall was filled to the brim, standing room only, for the viewing.The film itself is straight forward. Harry speaks, there are images and voice overs for context, and his story unfolds.And what a grim, cautionary tale it is. Harry was a young boy when the war started, living in a small town north of Amsterdam. It took only four days for the German army to over-run the Dutch in 1940. Harry was 9 at the time. In the film he recalled the night when the German army arrived in his town. He thought it was a thunderstorm but his father said it was a war. “I had never even heard the word war. I asked my father what it was, and he said ‘you’ll find out’. Did I ever.”In “Harry’s Story” which is available for free viewing on Youtube and can be easily accessed at Harrysstory.ca, Harry talks about the way life immediately changed under German occupation. The school in his village was taken over and classes were held outside. German was taught and soldiers would come in to the schools and make sure the students were learning the language. Prisoners of war, from as far away as Mongolia, were brought in as slave labour for the army. Harry talked about seeing the German soldiers eating lunch in their truck, “with thermoses of hot coffee and cheese sandwiches, with not a care in the world” while the slave labourers were out in the cold, wearing rags, with soaked burlap on their feet in place of shoes, sharing a frozen beetroot they found in a ditch by the side of the road “just to have something in their stomach.” The Nazi regime also targeted Dutch Jews for extermination, and because of the efficiency of Dutch birth and citizenship records they had great success in finding Dutch Jews. As the documentary points out, only 30,000 of the 140,000 Dutch Jews survived the war.Harry’s uncle Cor was involved in the effort to save as many Jews as possible from the fate they faced if captured by the Nazi’s. He coordinated efforts in the region, often using bicycle power by night to ferry individuals and families to safety. Harry talks in the film about a mother and daughter, Esther and Sonya, who were sheltered in his home. He talks in particular about one day when a soldier arrived in his house without any warning, so quickly that Sonya, who was sitting in the kitchen, was unable to scurry under the large tablecloth that covered the kitchen table, which she normally did when there was any warning they were coming.The soldier asked Harry’s mother about the children, and she said they were her children. “‘What about her’ he said pointing right at Sonya. He picked her right out, and my mother said she was her sisters child who was staying with us for the day. He laughed, and looked at us as if he was insulted by our attempts to fool him, and then he left” Harry recalled, his memory as clear 75 years later as if the event had just taken place. They thought they were done for, and waited for the truck to come and load them up “never to be seen or heard from again,” which was what had happened to the Mayor of the town earlier, but by late afternoon nothing had happened and Harry said to his mother “I think we are in the clear”.They never found out why the soldier never turned them in. Harry’s mother said maybe the soldier had a daughter who was about 2 or 3 years old back home in Germany.“That’s the only explanation we could come up with.” In the film there are some stories that are more harrowing than this one. Harry also remembers the bitter cold winter of 1944, which became known as the Hunger Winter or Dutch Famine, when the German’s cut off all food and fuel shipments to the western provinces, where 4.5 million Dutch lived.Harry talks about ripping door trims for wood, stealing trees, and eating tulip bulbs and nettles.Canadian troops liberated the Netherlands after the D-Day invasion, a fact that certainly played into Harry’s decision to emigrate to Canada in 1957. It pleases him to point out how Canadian WW2 veterans are received when they go back to Holland. By a strange coincidence, the last surviving D-Day veteran in our readership area (as far as we know) is Gordon Wood of Flinton, and over the years since Harry and Fim Andriga have been living in Flinton they have formed a bond from being on two sides of a dark chapter of Dutch and Canadian history. Harry met his wife, Fim, soon after he arrived in Canada in 1957. She is from the Netherlands as well and they were married on Thanksgiving Day in 1959 and raised a family in Toronto before moving to Flinton, where they live with their son. Fim is younger than Harry, and she was born during the war, and although she was very young she has her own vivid of the war. When I contacted Harry for a few details early this week, Fim came on the line afterwards. Her concern, after what both she and Harry had experienced when they were very young, is with the refugees that have been taken in by Canada over the last few years.“I was 5 when the war was over, and I have memories that no person should have,” she said. “Canada is bringing in a lot of refugees, and they are coming from war torn countries that are as bad or worse as what we came from. Some of these children are going to have the same kind of memories. These memories that are so intrusive, and Canada should know that these people need emotional and mental help when they come here. We don’t need to coddle the refugees, we weren’t coddled when we came here, but they have seen things and those things don’t disappear. I know that for myself, they come back instantly and without any warning.”When Harry’s Story was screened in Northbrook, the tears were flowing in the audience in response to the dignified account of horrendous events, as Harry still finds it hard to believe that people could act as the Nazis did in his village and his country.Afterwards, Harry was surprised and a bit overwhelmed by the response. “I expected about a dozen people would show up, not a full house like this,” he said. The website Harrysstory.ca includes information about the film, an embedded Youtube link to the full 36 minute video and a link to the trailer. It also includes out-takes, footage that was not included in the film for time reasons but add much to the story. More outtakes will be added over time as well.Harry’s story is also being screened in Napanee on Saturday, November 25th at 2pm at the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives.