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Don Lee says that he is not as sharp as he used to be, his memory is not as good, he can't hear that well, can't see out of one eye, and he has been slowed down by a stroke several years ago. At 95 he still remembers a lot of stories from the past, “but I can't really tell you what happened yesterday,” he says. Since we were interested in the past, that wasn't much of a problem. We also found out after the interview, which took place in midwinter, that Don still operates a chainsaw, and can even use up two full tanks of gas before putting down the saw. Don was born in 1920, in the house where he still lives, on the Ball Road, on a farm that fronts St. Andrews Lake. His father bought the next property over in 1879 and lived in a house there, but this property had the advantage of road access, and after purchasing it and extending the farm to 200 acres, he built a house in 1912. Don was the youngest child in the family, and he attended school at Kennedy school near the family home until he graduated grade 8 at the age of 12. In the midst of the depression there was never a thought of him going on to high school, which would have involved boarding in Sydenham throughout the week. “There was too much to do on the farm and besides money was not easy then,” he recalls. The land in the vicinity of his farm is still covered in open fields, even though there are few operating farms left. “Every farm had cattle when I was young. You could look out the window and see cattle across the lake, the place was clean, there was no brush at all. If land could be worked at all, it was cleared and used. Our whole ambition was to get grass for cattle. Although all the land in the region had been covered in White Pine, which had been cleared for the most part 50 or so years before Don Lee was born, he does remember there were some of the majestic trees left when he was a boy. Mostly it was hard work on the farm in the 20s and 30s. “We had cattle, and sheep and we always had a few pigs,” but they rarely if ever ate beef or lamb. “My dad would slaughter a sow in the fall, and we would preserve the meat in brine. We ate salt pork all winter, which I was not really partial to, I can remember that.” They ate potatoes as well, which they grew in a large garden that was overseen by his mother. “We would put by 25 to 40 bags of potatoes each year, Green Mountains or cobblers, not the small bags but the 100 pound bags, and we grew turnips and carrots and everything else.” They also grew corn, and in the fall they removed the kernels from the heads onto old sheets or old bags and “mother would set them out near the stove for a day or two until they were good and dry and then we would hang them in bags off the rafters for the winter. We did the same with apples.” The day always began with milking and delivering the milk to the cheese factory a few miles away on White Lake Road in a horse drawn wagon. “The milk had to be there by 8, we had to get an early start. But we never got much money for it, just pennies really. My dad used to say that if, when the fall came and he had the money he needed for taxes, and we had four bags of flour for bread and a bag of sugar, he was happy because he knew we would be able to get through the winter all right.” One thing that Don remembers fondly, beyond all the hard work and hardship, was the way people looked after each other back then. “People are pretty good now, I can tell you, but back then we were together all the time. If someone was injured, the neighbours showed up with food, we went out to cut wood, we did whatever had to be done and never thought anything of it at all.” An example of the co-operative economy was the way wood splitting was done. “There was always someone who had some sort of machine to saw up wood. Everyone would bring in wood all fall and winter and pile it up in lengths. In the spring the guy with the machine would come by and say he could make it for a week at some time. Everyone would get together at one farm and work for 6 or 8 hours. They would haul the logs up on a platform where the saw was set up, and they would throw the pieces off it afterwards. Some of the women would gather in the house and put a meal on at noon for everyone. Then we would move to the next farm, and the next, until everyone had their wood cut up, ready for splitting.” In 1934, two things happened to Don Lee. He got his first job, and his first glimpse of a curly, dark haired girl. The job he got was plowing a field for a neighbour, although he had to convince his father that working for someone was a good idea. “When my father was young, his family went through hard times, and he was sent to work on a farm when he was 8. They fed him, but not too well. He told me he used to get ahold of a clean piece of straw and keep it in this pocket. When he milked the cows in the morning he would pull out the straw and sip some milk from the pail when the farmer wasn't looking. So he wasn't keen on me working, but when I told him I was going to be paid 50 cents a day, he said that was all right.” As far as that curly haired girl is concerned, families used to ask Don's father if they could come on to the farm to have picnics on St. Andrews Lake, and he always said yes. One day, as he was fishing with another girl from a nearby farm, he saw a family from Bellrock out on the lake having a picnic. “There was a girl there, she was only 12, but she was a pretty girl, with dark hair just as curly as you can believe.” It took another two years for Don Lee to get to know Gladys Reynolds, but it turned out that she remembered that summer picnic. “I saw you out there,” she told me, “you had another girl with you. What happened to her?” (to be continued)
Although congregants gathered last year to mark the 170th birthday of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Railton, the Catholic community in Southern Frontenac County has been anchored by St. Patrick's since 1832. At that time, Lawrence Raile sold 6 acres off of the 200 acre property he had purchased in 1824 to the Right Reverend Alexander MacDonnell, the Very Reverend William P. McDonald, and V.G and Walter Mcunniffe, all of Kingston, who acted as Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church of Loughborough, for the sum of 8 pounds. A stone church was built at that location, and became the place of worship for the Irish Catholic immigrants who were beginning to establish farms in the surrounding region. The church has always served the communities of Sydenham and Harrowsmith, and it was common for Catholic Churches to be located a few miles away from Village Centres, to avoid potential conflicts with other denominations, it is unclear why the location in Railton was chosen, although it's location on the 'Nine Mile Road' – the County Road between Kingston and Sydenham now known as Sydenham Road, would have been a factor. Although there are no existing descriptions of the first church at Railton, it's location was between the present church and the parish house that is located a few metres to the south. The original cemetery was located to the rear, and was eventually after the new Cathedral was built in the 1850's, partly because the soil was not deep enough. In 1845 Father Pendergast, who had begun his association with “Loborough, Camden, Mill Creek (Odessa), Portland, and Sheffield” in 1844, presided over the blessing and erection of the Stations of the Cross on Sunday March 23rd, and that is the date that was celebrated as the anniversary of the church. A number of Reverend's were appointed as pastor over the next 12 years. The Reverend Michael Clune came on in 1855, and it was during his tenure that the present church was built. “A receipt dated dated November 17, 1857, was issued for a consideration of 500 pounds, a stone church 40 feet wide and 60 feet long and 26 feet high, to be complete according to plans and specifications of the Catholic Church, the church to be completed by November 1st, 1858.” - Built on a Rock, The story of the Roman Catholic Church in Kingston, 1826 – 1976. It was in the late 1840's that the mass migration of Irish Catholics took place, during what is known as the potato famine. A number of families who survived the deadly passage to Canada, made their way somehow to South Frontenac, and began to build their lives in Loughborough.
Long before it officially became a provincial park in 1965, the flavor of Bon Echo Park had begun to take shape decades earlier, thanks to the influence of three distinct personalities. In a presentation titled "The Dentist, the Feminist and The Writer", local historian Margaret Axford spoke of the influence these three people had on the park, which continues to draw visitors from across the country and from all over the world. The first was the dentist, Dr. Weston A. Price, who was born in Newburgh, Ontario, but who lived and worked in Cleveland, Ohio. Price's wife was from Brampton, Ont. and she taught in Ardoch. In 1898 Price began renting land in what is now Bon Echo in the summer months from a farmer named David Weese. In 1899 the couple acquired land in the area and Price decided to build an inn modeled on the tourist hotels of the Adirondacks. Axford stated, “He [Price] knew that the setting of the Mazinaw Rock would be a natural draw and it was the Prices who gave the name 'Bon Echo' to the area, and who gave birth to tourism in the region.” Price, who was described by one observer at the time as a “wiry man, always rushing somewhere with a hammer in his hand” used local labor to build the inn, which consisted of the main building, five cottages, a separate staff house, a boat house, a laundry house, an ice house, numerous docks and a bridge across the Narrows. By the end of Price's second summer after purchasing the land, the Bon Echo Inn was complete. In 1901 a telephone line that originated at the Kaladar train station and ran along the old Addington Road became the first telephone line in the area. Price hoped to attract like-minded nature lovers to the area, and because he was a teetotaler and a religious man, the inn was dry until Merrill Denison took it over decades later. In 1901, Flora MacDonald Denison arrived on the scene at Bon Echo with her husband Howard and son Merrill, first as guests in the tower room suite of the inn. Axford said that “she would have bought the place at that time if Price had been selling it” but instead she bought a lot south of the Narrows, where she built a summer cottage. Flora and her family would spend the next nine summers there. Flora MacDonald Denison was born in 1867 in Actinolite, worked as a teacher near Actinolite, and as a dressmaker in Toronto. She later was a writer on women's rights and the suffrage movement. It was on her annual trip to Bob Echo in 1910 that Flora learned that Dr. Price wanted to sell the inn. Differing reasons are given for Price's reason for selling. One was that his 10-year-old son Donald was ill at the time; he later died either of spinal meningitis or from a diving accident. Flora paid Dr. Price $13,000 for the inn, Big Bear Island and numerous acres of land, and Flora's husband Howard ran the Inn from 1911-1913 until the two separated and their marriage ended. Flora then took it over and her intent was to create “a haven for artists and philosophers in an inspiring natural landscape with an incredible view of Mazinaw Rock, where visitors could renew their souls, their energies and their creative instincts.” Flora also celebrated the teachings and writings of Walt Whitman, the famed 19th century American poet. According to Axford, Flora “was caught up in his [Whitman's] democratic ideals and she saw Bon Echo as being a symbol of democratic freedom...that would always be enhanced by the spirit of Walt Whitman.” It was Flora who had a large rock face on the lake inscribed with a dedication to “Old Walt”. As a practicing spiritualist and part of a group whose members claimed they could communicate with the dead, Flora held numerous séances at Bon Echo. One observer at the time recalled that guests at Bon Echo “often preferred a séance at midnight to a Sunday morning church service.” Under Flora's command the inn housed many notable guests, including James Thurber, Morley Callahan, Frank Lloyd Wright and the painters from the Group of Seven; the latter would often be guests when Flora's son Merrill took over ownership. Financially the inn ran at a loss, with “Flora's dreams always outstretching her financial capabilities”. Flora died at 54 years of age on May 23, 1921 and a bronze urn holding her ashes was deposited in Mazinaw Lake just below the Whitman inscription. Her son, Merrill Denison, a writer and later a well-known radio personality, inherited the inn and its 10 square miles of property, and began some much-needed repairs. His contacts at Hart House and the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto put him in touch with many famous Canadians artists of the time, many of whom would become regular visitors to Bon Echo. Merrill's partner, Muriel Goggin, whom he would marry in 1926, ran the inn from 1923-1928 “like a general”, and it prospered during this time until the stock market crash of 1929. From then until 1934 it was closed to the public at large and became Camp Mazinaw, a boys' camp for Trinity College School in Port Hope. In 1936 the inn burned down after being struck by lightning. A Toronto woman who was working at the inn at that time, when she was 16 years old, sadly recalled watching it burn. Though the inn was never rebuilt, Merrill and Muriel continued to spend the summers at Bon Echo after selling off some of the land. They kept less than 100 acres for themselves. Merrill's aim still was to preserve the area as “a meeting place as it was for the Alonquins, a center to which people would come to learn and discuss ideas in an inspiring natural surrounding.” In 1959 he turned over the buildings and land to the provincial government to be used as a provincial park. The official ceremony did not take place until 1965. Merrill died in 1975 at the age of 81. Axford ended her presentation defining the legacy that these three personalities left behind for all who continue to visit and enjoy Bon Echo Park. “The legacy they left was that the democratic spirit should prevail and the ordinary person must continue to have access to this wonderful place.” For those wanting a more detailed account of the history of Bon Echo and the personalities who helped to create it, a number of books on the subject are available at the Cloyne Pioneer Museum. They include "The Oxen and The Axe" (Brown, Brumell and Snider), "The Mazinaw Experience: Bon Echo and Beyond" (John Campbell), "Sunset of Bon Echo" (Flora MacDonald Denison), and "Bon Echo: The Denison Years" (Mary Savigny).
In the copy of the "County of a Thousand Lakes" at the Sharbot Lake branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, there is a hand-written note underneath the dedication at the front of the book. The dedication says “This account of the history of Frontenac County is dedicated to the people of the county, to those of past generations who developed a new and empty land ...” and the note says “It wasn't empty – it was invaded by another people searching for wealth, your heritage is theft". The book, which was put together in the late 1970s as a massive community project the likes of which has not been seen in Frontenac County before or since, is certainly scant in its treatment of the Algonquin heritage of Frontenac County. There is a section at the beginning by Ron Vastokas of Trent University that talks about the Algonkians, but it includes a proviso that says, “Since very little archaeology has been done in Frontenac County, ... , a brief outline of the larger area will provide the background for a later consideration of a few specific sites within the county.” He then goes on to talk about the Algonkian speakers who inhabited the Canadian Shield, only considering the pictographs at Mazinaw Rock “as one of the most spectacular” examples of paintings that are attributed to Algonkian shamans. The conclusion that Vastokas draws at the end of his piece is that “at the time of the arrival of European settlers, therefore, the Algonkian hunters and gatherers lived in the harsh environment of the Shield.” Neither the section of the book that is dedicated to settlement nor the section dedicated to Bedford Township make any reference to Algonquins living in the region or reserve lands being set aside for the use of Algonquin families in the vicinity of Crow and Bobs Lake in 1844. The section of the book that concerns Oso district starts with a description of the photo that hangs in the Oso Hall to this day. “Tradition supports the words on the back of the picture which say 'Mr and Mrs Francis Sharbot came up from the Fall River and pitched their tepee on the shores in the year 1830 and gave the lake its name.' They were full blooded Indians of the Mohawk tribe and were considered the best family of Indians in the County of Frontenac, honest and reliable,” says the County of 1000 Lakes in the only direct reference to an Aboriginal family in its 572 pages. In retrospect, it is not a total surprise that a book written at that time would ignore the fact that there were people living in Frontenac County before it was formally 'settled'. Since the County of 1000 Lakes was published, the profile, certainly of the Algonquin people who have roots in the Rideau and Mississippi Valleys, which take up the northern two-thirds of the county, has risen. Events such as the wild rice dispute in the early 1980s, the establishment of community organisations and later First Nations structures such as the Ardoch and later the Sharbot Lake Algonquins, the Algonquin Land Claim process, as well as court rulings about inherent rights and the duty to consult, have changed the politics of Frontenac County. Much of Frontenac County, is now recognised as being part of the Algonquin Land claim, which has been slowly progressing since 1994. The personal history of Doreen Davis, who has been chief of the Shabot Obaadjiwan (formerly Sharbot Lake Algonquins) ever since 1999 and the regional Algonquin Nation Representative at the land claim table, has taken many twists and turns just as her community has. Chief Doreen (no one seems to call her Chief Davis) is a born and raised Frontenac County resident who attended Sydenham High School, lived on Desert Lake Road and raised a family. Hers is also the story of an Algonquin who was born on the shores of Sharbot Lake, a direct descendant of Francis and Mary Sharbot who talks about hunting and fishing all her life just as her ancestors have for centuries and centuries. “We have archaeological records from Bobs and Sharbot Lakes of a presence going back to 3000 to 1000 BC and 900 to 1500 AD, over 30 sites at Bob's Lake alone, that establish our presence. The only time we scattered was during the Iroquois wars prior to 1701". While there is little written history of Algonquin presence in the region prior to the settlement era of the mid 19th century, what little there is, including a map of the 3,700 acre Bedford tract, bears out her version of events. She has records from the Benjamin Tett trading post at Battersea in the 1840s and 1850s with entries about trades for furs with Algonquin trappers from Frontenac County. “Benjamin Tett had a trading post for the Algonquins. John Antoine, Joe Mitchell, all members of this community took in stuff and traded there. It shows that we were in Battersea; it shows you that we were there. I even have, in storage, some of the slips from the store." There is reference in records dated as early as 1817 to Peter Shawanapinessi, also known as Peter Stephens, who was identified as a chief who used land in the South Sherbrooke, Oso and Bedford area as winter hunting grounds, and petitioned for and was granted the Bedford tract. Other families included the Michels, Clemos (Clement) Antwins (Antoine), Buckshots and Whiteducks from Cross or Crotch Lake. A document from Joan Holmes, a genealogist who works with the Algonquins of Ontario – the umbrella group negotiating the Algonquin Land Claim, comes to the following conclusion: “In summary, correspondence, church and census records covering the period from 1842 to 1863 indicate that the ancestors of the Ardoch Algonquins were leading a semi-nomadic life in the townships of Bedford, Oso, South Sherbrooke and Palmerston ... they had license of occupation to a tract of land in Bedford Township where they attempted rudimentary agriculture. However their occupation of that land was made untenable by lumber cutting. Their main source of support was gained from the traditional pursuits of hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering, which they carried out in remote areas north of the Rideau River system.” According to Doreen Davis, while the records are stronger for the Bedford Algonquins, “there were other families throughout, in Oso, in Ardoch, in Lanark, in Renfrew, all over. We knew about it, but it was never written down. Even though Francis and Mary Sharbot were born at Oka, that is true, she was a Nicik, and there are records of the Niciks in Frontenac going back to the 1700s,” she said. Doreen Davis lives with her husband on a property that is close to where she was born, perched between Sharbot Lake and the Fall River. She presides over a large extended family of children and grandchildren. She spends a lot of her time in the Shabot Obaadjiwan office at the Snell Complex on Highway 7, when she is not in Pembroke at the Algonquin Nation Office or in meetings throughout the Ottawa Valley. Her grandmother Margaret, who was Mary and Francis Sharbot's grand-daughter, lived on the farm where Doreen lived when she was a child. “I grew up knowing that I was Algonquin. My grandmother said to say I was a Blackfoot or to say nothing. The reason was that we did not want to be known as Mohawks, because that was dangerous, and no one knew about the Algoquins, so it was best to keep quiet. We moved to Joyceville and then Harrowsmith, where I went to school. I used to come back each weekend, to spend the weekend back here, where we hunted and fished. We farmed and hunted and fished, just like everyone else in those days.” If she has a regret about those years it was that she did not pay as much attention as she would have liked to all the knowledge about the use of herbs that her grandmother showed. “I did what she told, gathered herbs and bottled things and all that but I never paid enough attention.” The Algonquin connections that have characterized her life were all extended family connections. “We have always been connected, through marriage and everything else, and when we gathered as family those were Algonquin gatherings. We may not have talked about it, and it was never something that made life easier for us, but that was the way it was,” she said. “The more people knew you were native, and this was true for the Badour's and all of us, the more shit-kicking you took. It wasn't smart to make a big deal about it; it still isn't today. That was the way it was.” In the 1980s when Algonquin politics started to ramp up she was involved, but not in a leadership role. That all changed in 1994. “I had a nervous breakdown, two breakdowns actually in 1992 and 1993, from a lot of things. In 1994 I went to one of the first land claim meetings, and I was very nervous to be there because I had not been out of my house for a very long time. There was a mask, it was of a face made out of leather and it was pulled back like the wind. It was made by a woman I never met before and never saw again, and it was raffled off. I couldn't take my eyes off the mask and I bought one ticket for 25 cents and I won it. She then sat with me and asked me if I had any idea what this mask represents and I said no. She said it's pulling you from your past and you can still see the future. I said okay, not really knowing what that meant either at the time, and she said, now you have a responsibility. She said you have to lead your people. I said I can't get up in the morning by myself; there is no way I can lead people. She said, 'Well you will, you will dear'”. That fall she was elected to the Sharbot Lake committee for the land claim. “It totally changed my life. I don't know how and I don't know why but I don't even question it anymore,” she said. In 1999 she went on to become Chief of the Shabot Obaadjiwan and has remained in that position ever since. She has been twice selected as Algonquin Nation Representative to the land claim. As the land claim progresses, and Algonquins gain back rights that have been long lost, there are two important issues about those rights that she talks about. “Rights come with responsibilities. That's the first thing, and there are no individual rights, they are collective rights. To say I have rights to take that deer or take that fish, I don't. I have the right to sustain my life, but I only have Aboriginal rights as part of a community, not for myself. This is what we have to tell ourselves and communicate to everyone else, and this is what the land claim settlement is all about.” There are a lot of politics connected to the land claim, including opposition from both Algonquins and other groups with an interest in the land. Internal to the claim itself, an appeal has removed a number of Shabot Obaadjiwan members from the land claim approval voting list, but Chief Doreen said that those people have never stopped being members of the Shabot Obaadjiwan. “That appeal changed nothing in our community, and it does not mean they will not be on the beneficiary list, that has not been determined yet. You can't change who someone is, their identity, because a piece of paper from 200 years ago is unclear. We know who we are, we always have,” she said. The Shabot Obaadjiwan are moving their office soon to a property they own on Hwy. 7 west of Arden, and are building a community centre on some property on White Lake near the MNR fish hatchery. Chief Doreen continues to work on the Algonquin Land Claim.
Local elected representatives Randy Hillier (MPP) and Scott Reid (MP) have voiced their support in principle for the North Frontenac and Addington Highlands Economic Development Group. The group, which is made up of investors, is preparing economic development proposals for the two communities in an effort to increase opportunities in the region while preserving the beautiful natural environment. The North Frontenac and Addington Highlands Economic Development Group define themselves as “a group of local investors and entrepreneurs who are dedicated to encouraging economic development that complements the Township’s mission and vision. Our investment goals are to enhance year round accommodations and associated activities for visitors and the residential community, provide employment and skill development opportunities and sustain our natural and pristine environment.” “There have been recent energy proposals made that would limit and negatively impact future development and further contribute to rising electricity costs for everyone if they were to proceed,” remarked Hillier. “The draft proposals I have seen from the North Frontenac and Addington Highlands Economic Development Group offer much longer term benefit, jobs, and tourism opportunities. “Wind turbine proposals should not go forward unless they have the support of the community, period,” added Reid. North Frontenac council has already voted their community an unwilling host for industrial wind turbines; Addington Highlands has yet to have a final vote on the matter.
Solar project proposals abundant in the Frontenacs Rob Hitchcock, a representative from Abundant Solar Energy Incorporated (ASEI), made a presentation to North Frontenac Council on June 29. Two sites were proposed for solar farms in North Frontenac that would be built under the FIT program being offered by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). ASEI is a 100% Canadian-owned company with its headquarters in York, Ontario. They finance and engineer solar farms, and contract out the construction stage. “Every site that we develop...we use as much local material and labour,” Hitchcock said, referring mostly to excavation, electricians, and general labour. Hitchcock explained how previous solar farms, such as the ones near Kingston and Westport, were installed when renewable energy building regulations in Ontario were much more lax. Times have changed, and the IESO now requires that companies awarded contracts under the FIT program follow strict guidelines as far as visibility from dwellings and points of interest, as well as incorporate green space setbacks into their plans. Unlike certain recently proposed wind turbine projects, electricity that is generated by these panels is fed back into the local grid, rather than being exported outside the province. ASEI is bankrolled by a solar flow-through fund (SFF) which offers investors a tax break on money invested into alternative energy, using a similar model to tax breaks passed on to investors in the oil and mineral sectors. In this North Frontenac proposal, ASEI is planning two separate panel arrays on neighbouring lots, both located along the Mississippi River, near Farm Lake, which are accessed via Gutheinz Road. Hitchcock explained that they typically overbuild their systems by 20% to make sure they are always generating the maximum electricity they are allowed to feed into the grid, within the regulations of the FIT program. “We're very involved in the communities we do business in,” Hitchcock explained. “The term of the contract is twenty years.” Mayor Ron Higgins confirmed with Hitchcock that the ASEI would be responsible for repairing potential damage to public roads as a result of their activities. The procurement process for solar projects, through this IESO program, works similarly to the wind turbine application process that North Frontenac has recently faced. ASEI are awarded points for having the municipality on board with the project. Their bid will become more competitive with a letter of support from the township. Dam leaks! Mayor Higgins and Councilor Gerry Martin recently took members of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) on a tour of some of the lakes and rivers in North Frontenac that are connected with the Mississippi River water system. Martin reported to council that the Kashawakamak Lake Dam is leaking and that the MVCA will be fixing the dam by pumping liquid cement “into the surrounding hillside” to hopefully stop the flow. “It was a pretty productive day,” Martin said. “North Frontenac Township was really highlighted...” He said that he has “got a lot of comments back...congratulating us on what we're doing up here and our countryside.” The Kashawakamak Lake Dam is at the east end of the lake and helps regulate the water flow of the Mississippi River. Linda's Loop Linda and Bruce Sterling recently sent a letter to North Frontenac Council asking for help organizing maintenance on Linda's Loop, a 20-km trail network built by the Sterlings many years ago, that winds along Crotch Lake. Historically, the trail has been maintained by the Sterlings and other local volunteers but they've found it difficult keeping the trail in good shape these last few years. They are requesting help in clearing brush, marking trails, and some chainsaw work and are hoping that the Township can help co-ordinate the maintenance. In October 2014 they built a 40 foot bridge on the trail with help from the Rideau Trails Association. “The township has much to gain by maintaining these trails and expanding them,” the Sterlings said, and suggested that North Frontenac could gain revenue as well as boost local business. “A lot of people use it...it's an advantage to the whole area,” a lady in the audience said. “She [Linda] has maps. They've done a lot of work on it and it would be a shame to let it go back. I hope they'll get some support from Council.” Mayor Higgins responded by saying that the idea will be given to the economic development task force to look into.
A sizable crowd gathered to celebrate at the official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on June 27 at the newly renovated fire hall and community centre in Ompah. North Frontenac councilor, Denis Bedard, emceed the event, which was attended by members of North Frontenac council and staff along with numerous volunteers and staff from the Ompah Fire Department, North Frontenac paramedics and emergency first responders, volunteers from the Ompah Community Volunteer Association and members of the community at large. Mayor Ron Higgins congratulated all involved in bringing the project to completion and he stressed that it would not have been possible without the commitment of the community volunteers, who together raised $50,000 to see the $290,000 project through to completion. “Our volunteers have assisted with the planning, presenting of options and justifications to council and have done a lot of the work here. What you see here today would not have been possible without them.” Higgins made a special presentation to Steve Sunderland, a long-time resident in the area who managed the project and whom some called the project's visionary and driver. He started off as a member of the initial task force, then later chaired the design task force and finally became project manager heading up the various smaller contracts. This plan came about after a series of painful attempts at replacing or repairing the fire hall, which included a plan to put in a new fire hall/ambulance base in partnership with Frontenac County (way too expensive for the township) and a plan to expand the size of the fire hall (too expensive for the township) Sunderland summed up the project that did get built as “renovating the two joined-at-the-hip, existing facilities as two separate entities unto themselves”. The renovations to the fire hall included two new overhead remote-controlled vehicle doors, a new covered and separate entrance way, a new heated concrete floor, new drywall, a brand new mechanical system and washroom facility, and new wash bays. The renovations to the community hall include a new 120 square foot foyer and wheelchair accessible entrance way to its west side, with a shelter for the outdoor mailboxes, newly renovated wheelchair accessible washroom facilities plus new lights and windows. The parking lot also was upgraded as well, with improvements to accessibility and drainage. Marily Seitz, president of the Ompah Community Centre, was thrilled with the new hall. “It's been a long and hard road getting here but it's been worth it. So many people from the community have put in their time, talents and energy and just look around you. It's just beautiful.” Following the speeches, the official ribbon and cake cutting ceremony took place and guests were treated to demonstrations courtesy of the volunteers from the fire department and a free lunch courtesy of the Clar-Mill Community volunteers from Plevna.
At their annual general meeting on July 18 at St. James Major Catholic Church, which over 60 members attended, the executive of the Sharbot Lake Property Owners Association updated members on lake news and held their regular elections. The current positions of president, vice president and secretary treasurer were all acclaimed respectively by Kevin Browne, and Ken and Joyce Waller. Rem Westland, environmental issues coordinator, announced that he will be stepping down after many years in the role, so the position remains vacant for now. Westland let interested members know that it does not require an expert to fill his shoes, just someone who has an interest in lake health. The meeting included an update of the many projects that have been completed to date, some of which included the association’s expanded newsletter; participation in the Shoreline Naturalization Project through Watersheds Canada and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority; participation in the Love Your Lake program; ongoing invasive species testing; and involvement with the mandatory septic inspection program at the county and township levels. Members are also continuing discussions with the township regarding access to the east basin. The association has also begun to implement the use of EDD MapS Ontario, a web-based mapping system where invasive species and other lake issues can be mapped by members for early detection and rapid response. A new smart phone app allows property owners to submit their observations directly from the field to EDD MapS Ontario, which are then verified by experts in the field. The association is currently looking into a number of new projects starting this year, one of which is a fish habitat project to enhance walleye spawning beds. Volunteers will be needed to identify areas for consideration; to accompany Watershed Canada staff to these areas for validation; and to work with staff to implement and complete the project. Saturday's meeting included three presentations. The first was by Emily Bacon, who outlined the Love Your Lake program, a free assessment and reporting program that encourages lake level action for healthier shore lines. The free program provides participants with shoreline assessments, individualized property reports and a lake level summary report as well as a list of voluntary actions and local resources that property owners can use to improve the health of their property. Kendra Button of Watersheds Canada gave a presentation on The Natural Edge program, which strives to achieve a “ribbon of life” for shoreline properties. The program works with landowners to restore and naturalize shorelines with erosion problems and/or little shoreline vegetation. Staff assist property owners in designing and implementing shoreline planting of native shrubs and trees, which help provide shoreline stabilization, run off infiltration and a natural habitat for wildlife. The programs funds up to 75% of the costs involved. The final agenda item of the day was a presentation titled “Introduction to Pollinators for Cottagers” by Susan Chan, a pollination expert and project manager with Farms at Work, who spoke about the importance of bees, not just honey bees, but the 400 other species that pollinate so many seeds for our flowers and food. Kevin Browne also announced winners of the SLPOA's annual photo contest who were 1st: Guy Mcleod; 2nd Gwen Dacosta, and 3rd Barb Wilson. Browne also thanked all of the volunteers members who help all year long measuring and tracking various types of lake information that help inform the association of the state of the lake. Mayor Frances Smith, who also attended the meeting, thanked the association for their efforts in maintaining the health of one of Central Frontenac’s jewels, just one of the many lakes that are an integral part of what generates economic development and tourism in the region. For more information about joining the association or how to get involved, visit www.SLPOA.ca nning photograph for the SLPOA's annual photo contest of 2015
Council and staff in Central Frontenac assisted Drain All Ltd. staff with local residents who came out in droves to keep their hazardous household waste out of the local land fills. Now in its seventh year, the drop off, which took place at the corner of Road 38 and Highway 7, enlisted the help of household hazardous waste coordinator, Steve Tebworth of Drain All Ltd. of Ottawa, who said that more vehicles attended the event than last year. Staff and volunteers collected and sorted everything from oils, anti-freeze, gases, aerosols, paint and paint thinners, propane cylinders, large car batteries and fertilizers, pesticides and more at the free event, which aims to keep toxins out of local landfill sites. Tebworth said that about 80% of the waste gets recycled while the rest is destroyed as per the Ministry of Environment guidelines. On behalf of the township, public works coordinator and waste management supervisor, Kyle Labbett, would like to thank Jas and Suki Kaillon of the Sharbot Lake Home Building Centre for donating the use of their property and a much needed fork lift for the event. By the end of the day, a total of 343 cars representing 485 households took advantage of the annual household hazardous waste drop off event. Tebworth wanted to remind residents who might have missed the event to save all of their hazardous waste materials for next year’s drop off.
On August 15 the Procter sisters will once again swim across Sharbot Lake to help in the fight against cancer. Over the past six years the girls have raised over $10,000 and they need your help to make this year’s swim another success. The girls will jump into the water at the Sharbot Lake Provincial Park at 10am and swim the 3kms to the Oso Township Beach, arriving at about 11:30am. Having grown up in Sharbot Lake, the sisters enjoy the challenge of swimming across the lake they know so well. In past years, loons have joined in as swimming companions and high waves have tested their perseverance. Donations can be made online at http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/hopeswim2015 or at Northern Frontenac Community Services. Mark August 15 on your calendar and plan to be at the Sharbot Lake beach at 11:30am to cheer on the girls.
It was a year ago when Brian Skillen came to Central Frontenac Council to fight for the right to keep his two miniature horses, Tommy and Teddy, on his Clarke Road property near Arden. The horses are well known in the Arden/Tamworth/Tweed corridor through their appearances at public events, and their visits to seniors' homes. However, they ran afoul of the township because Skillen's residential lot is under the 10 acre minimum for housing livestock, and a complaint, lodged by his neighbour, brought this to the attention of the township and its bylaw officer. Skillen was ordered to move Tommy and Teddy at that time, but council relented and an accommodation was found. The Ministry of the Environment determined there was no impact of the horses on wells or groundwater, which was the neighbour's concern, and the township held the bylaw enforcement at bay as it considered fine tuning the bylaw. Fine tuning the bylaw is not likely to take place soon, however, since the township is waiting for Frontenac County to finalize its Official Plan before starting to update its own, a process that will likely take another year or two. Earlier this spring, a complaint was lodged against a family in Mountain Grove who were raising pigs at a property within the hamlet, bringing the issue of the 10 acre minimum lot size for livestock back before Council. On June 9, then CAO Jim Zimmerman gave a report to council asking that the township either “adopt a consistent, fair and objective enforcement of the existing by-law, or instruct staff to not enforce the existing by-law under any circumstances ... “ Council chose to enforce the existing bylaw, which meant that not only did the Mountain Grove pigs need to be moved, but the Skillen horses, as well as four goats at a property outside of Mountain Grove, were also to be revisited. According to Central Frontenac Clerk Cathy MacMunn, the situation with the pigs has been resolved, and a solution for the goats “is being worked on”. As far as Timmy and Tommy are concerned however, the jig seems to be up. “Here it is,” said Brian Skillen, as he produced a document signed by Ken Gilpin, the township's bylaw officer, ordering the horses off the property by July 20. “I'm pretty fed up with the township,” he said. “Nothing has changed since last year when the Ministry of the Environment and the Health Unit and all the rest of them came here and said they weren't causing any problems, but now they want them gone.” Unlike last year, Skillen is not planning to go before Council to ask for a reprieve. “I'm not going back to them,” he said, pointing to a For Sale sign in front of his house. “I'm trying to sell the property anyway, not because of the township, but they don't help matters much, I can tell you that. All I want is for them to let me keep the horses here until I sell.” Skillen said that he is concerned that if Tommy and Teddy are taken away they will not survive the ordeal. “They need specific care because they are miniature horses,” he said. “If you put them on grass they wouldn't survive very long. One way or another I'll make sure they are cared for.”
Ninety-five golfers participated in this year’s Southern Frontenac Community Services’ annual Family & Friends Golf Tournament, where 24 teams took to the greens to enjoy 18 holes at Rivendell Golf Club in Verona. The event, now in its seventh year (the fourth consecutive at Rivendell), is the organization’s single biggest fundraiser of the year. This year’s tournament was organized by long-time SFCS driver volunteers, Dave Linton and Bill Hartwick, along with Jennifer Linton, a past board member and founder/current coordinator of the SFCS food bank. Although the weather on July 17 was a bit wet, that did not stop the participants from enjoying a fun and relaxing day on the greens, which concluded with a delicious ham 'n all the fixings supper, and prize presentations. No less than 26 local businesses sponsored the event, along with seven corporate sponsors, including RBC Sydenham and the Investors Group, both of whom offered hole-in-one prizes of $15,000 and $5,000 respectively, though neither was won at Friday's event. Dave Linton said that the tournament is truly a “team effort” and that “the SFCS staff and volunteers really stepped up to the plate and helped to get the word out there”. Linton said he was pleased with the turn out and with the generous support received from sponsors and participants. All tournament proceeds go toward supporting programs and services for seniors in South Frontenac and rural Kingston and Linton believes this is a big reason for the tournament being so successful. Services provided benefit not only seniors, but also their families and care givers. The Adult Day Program is a huge example of such a service. In fact, the Adult Day Seniors contributed to the golf tournament by placing items in gift bags - a meaningful task that saved the organizers hours of work. Each golfer received one of the gift bags. As a social event, the annual tournament provides a venue where family and friends can take time out to share laughs and stories, and simply enjoy each other's company, and the day. Linton said that organizers have always gauged the degree of enjoyment by participants according to the degree of noise generated, and at the end of the tournament, the noise generated in the banquet room was deafening... truly a bonus reward for the organizers.
Gilmour’s on 38 Meat Shop and Deli in Harrowsmith is having a charity barbeque tomorrow, Friday July 24 from 2 to 6pm to raise funds for the Clothes for Kids Foundation. This organization works with underprivileged families to make sure that the children have warm winter clothes and snowsuits. Owner Nick Gilmour says that this is Gilmour’s first charity barbeque and that every penny raised will be going to Clothes for Kids. TV and radio stations CKWS and FM 96 are also working with Gilmour’s to promote the event. Gilmour’s works closely with Friendly Fires of Kingston, a company that sells barbeques and fireplaces, and they will be coming to the event, donating the use of their barbeques and their time to the cause. Best of all, they’re going to do the cooking. Gilmour’s is located at 5062 Road 38 in Harrowsmith. They will be cooking up sausages, hamburgers and hot dogs for $3 per item and of course, any additional donations would be welcome. If you cannot attend the BBQ but would still like to donate, or for more information, please call Nick Gilmour at 613-372-1818.
Harrowsmith's Alice Aiken started her military career in the navy as a ship's navigator in 1984. While in the military she took a degree in Physiotherapy at Dalhousie and served as a physiotherapist until she left the military in 1998. She completed both a Master’s and PhD program at Queen's and then joined the university’s Faculty of Physical Therapy in 2006, a department that she now chairs. While that aspect of her career is impressive in its own right, it also serves as the basis for her research career. In 2010, she was approached by former Brigadier General Bill Richard, who was about to retire as board chair of Kingston General Hospital. “He thought we should do something for the country's veterans and that we should bring academics to the table to have a good look at the health needs of veterans. So, we built this institute and I became the science director,” she said. The institute is called the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), and in its first five years it has grown from an idea to being comprised of more than 35 universities (including all major Canadian research universities) and 550 researchers. What Dr. Aiken and her team were able to do, starting with just the support of Queen's, is put together a database containing health-related information from veterans across Ontario. This database is available to researchers who propose studies to the institute, and the CIMHVR has become a leader in health research among current and former military personnel and their families. One of the first problems that had to be overcome was to find the health records of veterans in order to study them. Veterans’ Affairs only has records for veterans who have health issues of one kind or another when they leave the military. Other veterans who are discharged are not tracked. However, when Canadian military personnel are discharged and then approach Service Canada for a health card, they are given one immediately; the three-month waiting period is waived in their case. This practice has created a record that was hidden in the database of the provincial health ministries. It took over a year of work to convince the Ontario Ministry of Health to release this information to the CIMVHR (void of all personal identification) but once that was accomplished, the institute gained valuable information to share with researchers and was able to sponsor an increasingly broad number of research projects. “Certainly, ever since the Afghanistan war there has been an increased public interest in the health of veterans, and we have been able to sponsor many research projects in a short time to look at these issues,” she said. CIMVHR has made this research accessible through publications, education opportunities, speaking engagements, media coverage, and an annual forum. Research projects that have been completed include flight-related neck pain; recovering mobility after brain injuries; resiliency and readiness in military personnel; the impact of adverse childhood experience on mood and anxiety in military personnel; and the list goes on. “Over the past four years I have been awed by the magnitude and rigor of research already being undertaken, and inspired by the capacity available to pursue new projects. We are eager to learn from the hundreds of CIMVHR researchers we work with across the country, and in turn we are honoured to be given the opportunity to support them as they focus on their work on military personnel, veterans and their families,” said Dr. Aiken in the CIMVHR’s four-year progress report in 2014. Recently, Dr. Aiken has been honoured twice. In May she was named the Honorary Commander of 33 Canadian Forces Health Services, Kingston, and on July 10, the Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, presented her with one of this year's ministry commendations for her contributions to the service of military veterans at a ceremony in Ottawa.
Wayne Conway, past president of the Verona Lions and the current director and chair of the Verona Lions Jamboree, said that not much has changed since the annual fundraiser began 64 years ago. Guests from near and far return year after year to attend the annual event, one of the Lions’ biggest fundraisers of the year, which ran from July 9-11 and included a midway, numerous games of chance, mini golf, bingo and food and beverages prepared on site at the Lions canteen. This year the organizers were promoting their new waste recycling management system, which was adopted by the Lions from the annual Cattail Festival and involves all of the garbage being brought to one central recycling station where it is processed and sorted. Conway said the system has dramatically decreased the amount of garbage being generated at the event. A number of student volunteers assisted at the waste management center. Great weather made this year’s event another successful one for the local Lions.
Taxes to remain stable, on an upward curve Frontenac County ratepayers will not see large increases in the county portion of their tax bill in coming years. However, as long as the Consumer Price Index goes up, so will taxes, but at a little higher rate. Frontenac County Council approved a budget policy that sets as a target the annualized Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Ontario from August of each year, and adds an extra 0.65% per year for the next 10 years to pay towards a capital sustainability reserve. That reserve fund is in place to cover for ageing infrastructure, such as the county office complex in Glenburnie. While the budget process will require that each department demonstrate that it requires the extra money to maintain the level of service they offered in the previous year, the over-riding assumption of the process is that the increase will be necessary. If the budget deviates from the target in one department, the needs of other departments will be looked at, followed by the replenishing of various reserve funds that may have been depleted over time. Only once all of those factors are considered would the possibility of setting a lower tax rate be put forward. Similarly, if the needs of the departments exceed the target, reserve funds will be used as much as possible to keep the county from levying an increase above the target. “In general it is preferable to plan for stable increases in county taxation, rather than a roller coaster ride where the levy can swing up and down,” said Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender. “That way the lower-tier councils and, ultimately, the ratepayers, can make their own financial plans without fear of surprises coming from the county.” The 0.65% added levy was adopted by County Council last year after completing an asset management plan, as called for by the provincial government, in an effort to avoid large costs over the long term. The county has less infrastructure than most, if not all other counties in Ontario, because with municipal amalgamation the county roads system was divested to the local municipalities. The only water treatment plant in Frontenac County is in Sydenham and it is owned and managed by South Frontenac Township. Frontenac County ratepayers pay the county rate in addition to the rates set by their own municipality and the rate set by the Ministry of Education for school taxes. The county rate is applied equally to each property owner based on the assessed value of their property as determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). County supports maintaining Land Information Ontario: People who visit Frontenac County maps at frontenacmaps.ca will notice that, when zooming in to near ground level, some of features from the past tend to linger on the mapping. That is because, until recently, the digital imagery that is the base layer of Frontenacmaps.ca was from 2008. That all changed earlier this year when new imagery, produced in 2014, replaced the 2008 imagery. That six-year cycle of new imagery is a produced by Land Information Ontario, a division of the Ministry of Natural Resources, and sold to municipalities. Because of the economy of scale offered by a service that is province-wide in scope, smaller, rural municipalities such as Frontenac County pay less for imagery than they would otherwise, according to a report to Frontenac County Council by David Millard, the county’s manager of Information Systems. “In 2014, the County acquired 5,727 sq. km. of imagery through DRAPE (Digital Raster Acquisition Project - East), at a cost of $17,473,” Millard wrote in his report. The report recommended that the County send a letter to the province to urge them to renew the mandate for Land Information Ontario beyond 2017. The imagery is of use to planning and building departments on a township level, and helps with bylaw enforcement as well. The County is going to send the letter urging the province to keep Land Information Ontario in place.
The boats in the inaugural Sail Mazinaw had to endure gray skies and light shifty breezes in the morning. But by afternoon, the skies had cleared and a consistent west wind had set in. It was a warm, sunny day with the perfect sailing breeze. A west wind does not have enough fetch on the narrow lake to build a significant swell or chop. The beaches at Bon Echo were loaded with swimmers and sunbathers. Alpine Club of Canada had several teams of climbers on Bon Echo rock. The day started with a crew breakfast at Mazinaw Lakeside Resort. The staff opened the doors early for the sailors so that they could maximize their time on the water. Then, the boats hit the lake for a day of sailing. At noon, the crews from the north lake and the crews from the south lake met at The Friends of Bon Echo barbecue pavilion in Bon Echo Provincial Park. The historic Mazinaw Cup was donated to the event by Linda Leistner. It will be presented to Steve Karniej and Andy Lennon for their activities both on and off the water. These sailors from Hamilton drove crews to and from the breakfast, delivered veteran windsurfing champion Glen Pearce from Shabomeka Lake to Bon Echo Park, and still found time to change a flat tire for a stranded motorist on Highway 41. Congratulations to Steve and Andy. The date for the 2016 Sail Mazinaw has not been determined. For more photos, visit the Sail Mazinaw Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SailMazinaw
The Flinton Community Jamboree, originally The Flinton Country Bluegrass Jamboree, is all set for another successful weekend with three days of non-stop entertainment from Friday, July 31 to Sunday, August 2 at the Township Rec Centre. This year will mark the 11th consecutive festival, which was originally started by Donna, Duane and Willard Thibault in order to raise the money to build a roof over the skating rink at the Flinton Township Hall. The Jamboree has fully established itself since then, growing more and more popular each year, with last year having over 225 trailers in attendance. The festival has changed hands from the Thibaults to new chairman, Andy Anderson. This change has allowed the Thibaults to sit back and enjoy the jamboree after years of working overtime for their community. Anderson, along with many of the same volunteers from previous years, will be taking on the organizing in order to keep the tradition alive. Carolyn Hasler has offered to continue with the canteen and food organization. Profits will be returned to the community, dispersed among several organizations. Charlie Patton will be emceeing this year, and MT System/Limestone Music will be engineering the audio for the duration of the weekend. The Land O’ Lakes Cruisers will be the “house band” this year. The original trio of Cathy Whalen, Doug Mumford and Ralph DeFoe had a good idea when they wanted to start a dance band. The band expanded and evolved into the Land O’ Lakes Cruisers. Today, Cathy Whalen remains the only original member of the band and performs with four gentlemen, forming a group that’s primarily a dance band featuring classic country music. The Land O’ Lakes Cruisers will be playing at the Flinton Community Jamboree Friday night at 8:45 pm and again on Saturday at 4 pm. Also featured this year will be the popular Eddy and the Stingrays and their 50s and 60s music. They'll take you on a nostalgic trip with doo-wop, tear-jerkers and rock and roll standards on Saturday, August 1 at 8:30pm. Cost is $35 for a weekend pass (with rough camping $55); 13-16yrs half price; 12 years and under free. Friday and Sunday the cost is $10, and Saturday cost is $25. Please note that after 6pm, admission for the Saturday evening shows, which feature three great groups - Sweet Grass, the White Family and Eddy & The Stingrays, lowers to $15. The Flinton Community Jamboree will be jam-packed with other country and bluegrass acts as well, including the Pickled Chicken band, Lionel Grimard and Eleven Roses, and many more. The full schedule will be published in next week’s edition of the Frontenac News (Thursday, July 23). The weekend will be enjoyable for all ages; dancing and music appreciators will especially welcome this year’s festival. For tickets and reservations call Karen, 613-743-4829; vendors please call Cathy 613-243-3112. For more information visit flintonjamboree.ca
On July 11, members of COFA (Conservationists of Frontenac Addington) attended a meeting at the Barrie hall in Cloyne, where Ron Pethick, one of the organization's founding members, announced that he would be stepping down this year after over two decades as the organization's president. He cited health issues and said he lacks the necessary energy required for the role. He also understands that the organization needs some fresh blood to foster new directions if it is to continue. Pethick said he does hope to see the organization continue and he is hoping that the members will hold elections this September. Pethick opened the meeting with a history of COFA, which was formed in 1994, because, he said, “A lot was going on politically at that time and we needed to have a local voice in this area to make sure that certain things like resources, land management and wild life habitats and populations were properly looked after.” In fact, it was a meeting held at that time at the Lions hall in Northbrook, which hundreds of people attended, that Pethick said resulted in the squashing of the Madawaska Highlands Regional Trust, a group whose aim he said was to “ban fishing, boating hunting, trapping, and logging in an area that stretched west to Bancroft, north to Madoc, east to Perth and south to Cobden.” COFA was formed after the Northbrook meeting and has been up and running ever since. In 1995 the organization established the Bishop Lake pickerel hatchery, where over 11 years, 18.5 million swim up pickerel fry were hatched and deposited in area lakes. The organization also stocked 28,000 speckled trout in local lakes, along with thousands of rainbow trout and pickerel fingerlings. In an effort to improve local pickerel spawning beds, members have helped spread 350 tons of rock in Mississagagon Lake and similarly spread another 70 tonnes of rock at Skootamatta causeway. As well, in conjunction with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, an additional 150 tons was spread in Mazinaw Lake to create a new lake trout spawning bed. Members have run hundreds of miles of trails to assist deer during especially harsh winters and have also provided herds with thousands of pounds of feed. Members have also helped to fund the rehabilitation of orphaned white tailed deer and for years have donated a $500 bursary annually to local North Addington Education Centre students. This August six lucky youngster, thanks to COFA, will be fishing at Deer Rock Lake. Now with the hatchery no longer functioning and with Pethick making public his intention of stepping down, many members are wondering how and if COFA will carry on. They stress the need to get new projects up and running in order to attract new members. Many suggestions were made at the Cloyne meeting. One member volunteered to assist Ron's wife Dot with administrative tasks and other new ideas were suggested, which included establishing a COFA website, getting students at NAEC involved with the group and also trying to make connections with the various local lake associations to find out what kinds of projects COFA members may be able to assist with. It is still a big unknown whether the hatchery, in which COFA has upwards of $15,000 invested, will ever be operational again, though many members expressed interest in getting it up and running. It looks as though there are members who want to COFA to continue into the future. Long-time member Dave Dacuk shot up his hand when asked if anyone would be interested in stepping in as president and it was decided that a second meeting will be held in September, at which time elections will likely be held. In the meantime, members were asked to continue brain storming about possible new projects for the future. Anyone interested in joining COFA or existing members who missed the meeting but have new ideas for COFA's future, please contact Lauder Smith at 613-336-2998.
It might surprising to see a 13-year-old running a successful business at the Saturday farmers’ market in Sharbot Lake. But what's even more surprising is that it is Ellie Larocque's third consecutive summer doing just that. Ellie started up Cassnelli's Cookies and Lemonade in 2013 with her friend and cousin Cassidy Donaldson (hence the business name) when she was just 11. It was Ellie's mother Donna, who suggested that the two set up shop at the Sharbot Lake Farmers Market, and for her first summer, Ellie used her birthday gift money to invest in the necessary supplies. While Cassidy, who lives in Lanark, is no longer involved in the business, Ellie has continued on and her friend Annika Putnam has joined her as a co-baker/seller. The two bake all-butter-based cookies, with Ellie offering up huge and reasonably priced cookies that come in chocolate chip, ginger and oatmeal, and Annika adding her own peanut butter and sugar cookies to the mix. I recently interviewed Ellie and her mother Donna at their home in Sharbot Lake and got a close up look at what makes this young entrepreneur tick. Coming from a family of self-motivated business people, (Donna is an artist and sign maker and father Dennis a mason), it is no wonder that Ellie is herself an enterprising young entrepreneur. Ellie let me in on a couple of trade secrets, like the fact that some of her recipes come from Evelyn Raab's cookbook, “The Clueless Baker”. She uses only butter, never lard, and the cookies that I was lucky enough to sample are light and chewy but with a definite crispness. It comes as no surprise that one is never enough. They are affordably priced at $1 each, $5 for a half dozen and $10 for a dozen. Ellie’s longest work days are the day before the market. She mixes up fresh batches of cookie batter throughout the week and always bakes the cookies the day before the market, ensuring their freshness. She bakes over 100 cookies on Friday and often sells out. While cookies are the girls’ main focus, they also sell ice-cold glasses of real, homemade lemonade as well. Asked what her motivations were for starting up a business, Ellie answered that making her own money to spend as she likes is one of the reasons, but added that she was also looking for experience in running a business, understanding that it will make her more knowledgeable and employable in the future. This summer she set a personal goal for the season - to sell enough cookies to afford a Macbook since she is also interested in graphic design. Of course the business could not exist without the help of Donna, who does the driving to local stores to purchase the ingredients. An understandably proud mom, Donna said the business venture has been a project they worked on together and she admitted that though the road was bumpy at the start, things are now running smoothly and efficiently. “I'm very proud of the initiative Ellie has shown and her hard work.” Ellie herself says that she has learned a lot since she first began three summers ago. “Baking is more difficult that I thought it would be and I am a much better baker now then I was back then. I am also a lot better at handling money and understanding the costs of doing business." She admitted that balancing school and the market in May and June can also be tough. That being said, Ellie said that she expects to be continuing at the market for another year or two. For those not in the know, Ellie and Annika's cookies are worth every penny and though the two are not able to attend every single market day, as the saying goes...Get ’em while you can.