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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.
Snow Road author Joelle Hubner-McLean was at the Snow Road Community Hall Saturday to sign copies of her novel Corvus & Me: The Indigenous Spirit, the third in her Corvus & Me series.“In this latest one, the protagonist, Janine, along with Corvus (the Crow) and Right Whisper, struggle to preserve the forest and save it from the evil Phantom Faeron,” she said.Hubner-McLean, a former teacher with a background in indigenous studies, said the series is “semi-autobiographical” and came from an incident one winter in her youth.“I was looking at a tree and saw a face in it,” she said. She said there is a lot of the spirit world, based on Native studies, and it’s “full of metaphors.”“There are a lot of messages in there that reflect on adult people that teachers have to go through,” she said.For example, she said many of the metaphors relate to the recent struggles the Dakota peoples have gone through trying to protect the watersheds from the “disastrous consequences” of a pipeline proposal.Some of the struggles Janine goes through are based on her own childhood, she said. “I came from France at a young age and growing up here, there were language barriers,” she said. “I was bullied because of them.”So, she wanted to write for young adults to perhaps help them along. But she also wanted to do it in a certain way.“There are no pictures in the book,” she said. “Children will have to come up with their own images through their imagination.“That may be generational because we didn’t have Google (growing up).” Corvus is Latin for crow or raven and when asked if she has a spirit animal connection to the birds, she said “yes and no”.“I seem to be close to them in real life. The crows seem to be on my right side in intellectual situations and on my left in emotional situations, such as a death in the family.” Hubner-McLean’s books can be ordered through her website corvusandme.com and ravenswoodpublishing.com.
MALLA (Malcolm and Ardoch Lakes Landowners Association) started up a Walleye spawning bed enhancement project on the two lakes back in 2008. Enhancements took place on Malcolm Lake between 2008 and 2010 but then the program was suspended. The Junior Rangers, who had helped with the physically demanding work of loading and unloading tons of washed river stone, were no longer available after the Junior Range program was cancelled, and project funding also became harder to find. Dan Weber, who chairs the fisheries committee at MALLA, wondered if plans to enhance two spawning beds on Ardoch Lake would ever come to fruition. Then, early this year things began to fall into place. The Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) had money available. While MALLA does not have the legal status to accept federal grants, Watersheds Canada, a Perth-based Not For Profit that is active on the Mississippi and Rideau River Watersheds, offered to administer the grant as it did for 8 other projects. They worked with the DFO and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to get the project underway. Also, and a new Junior Rangers group, based out of Minden, was available to help out, and with the help of local volunteers the project was ready to roll in mid August. Over two days (August 15 and 16) thirty five tons of River rock were loaded onto milk crates, brought over to specially selected shoals on Ardock Lake, and unloaded in place. 18 volunteers, including MALLA members, 4 Junior Rangers, Barbara King (Executive Director) and Melissa Dakers (Lake Stewardship Co-ordinator) from Watersheds Canada, and Pat Nobbs and Lauder Smith from Conservationists of Frontenac Addington, put their muscle power to work on the first day. 19 volunteers, including many from the first day and 9 Junior Rangers, worked on day 2 to get all the rock in place. Dan Weber said that MALLA has also been involved, since 2008, in monitoring the success of the shoal enhancement program. In the early spring, as soon as the ice goes out, they check the spawning beds to see if Walleye are spawning, and they do netting in the summer to evaluate the population as well. Now that two locations have been enhanced on Ardoch, Weber thinks Ardoch and Malcolm are done with bed enhancement. “There are a lot of other lakes that can benefit from this,” he said “we’ve had our turn.” MALLA will continue to study the lake over time to see if the fish are thriving, partly as a way of evaluating the overall health of the two lakes.” Ardoch Lake has been in the news recently as the result of a proposal to create 24 waterfront lots and 6 back lots in the vicinity of one of the enhanced Walleye spawning beds. The location of the beds is one of the factors that the Frontenac County Planning Department will take into account when evaluating the proposal.
For many summers now, Northern Frontenac Community Services (NFCS) has invited the community to a barbecue at Oso Beach. It’s generally been a low-key affair, designed to foster community spirit and spend an enjoyable afternoon featuring some local entertainment. It draws a crowd every year, and this year was no exception, as over 300 parents and senior’s lined up for a chicken and fresh corn dinner from Cota’s Mobile catering while kids played games and ate watermelon that was being offered up by NFCS staff. This year’s affair had a little twist — NFCS is now RFCS, Rural Frontenac Community Services. And they chose the barbecue to unveil a banner and introduce the new name to the public.“Northern Frontenac Community Services will continue to be our legal name but our new operating name will be Rural Frontenac Community Services,” said Louise Moody, executive director. “For the last 12 months, we have been considering how we could increase awareness of the range of services and programs we presently offer across Frontenac County.“We also wanted to establish stronger connections with the families who use our children and youth programs in South Frontenac and residents throughout the County who volunteer or use our Frontenac Transportation Services.”She said that during their consultation process about the name, three themes emerged. “These are: we are community — unified, welcoming and friendly; we are connected — offering a wide range of services and understanding what services are available in our community; and we are collaborative — partnering with other agencies to broaden and strengthen services offered and networking to create a web of support for all individuals.”She said consultations wrapped up in the spring and the new website, www.rfcs.ca and signage will be ready for September.
For the first time ever, and as a Canada 150 project, North Frontenac Little Theatre held a theatre camp this summer. All they really needed was a place to perform.“Louise (Moody) said ‘why not piggyback onto our barbecue’ and we said ‘sure,’” said artistic director Brian Robertson, who organized the camp with help from Andrea Dickenson.Thirteen students participated in two weeks of three-hour afternoons as part of the theatre camp, Robertson said.And of course, once you’ve done all that rehearsing, you want a place to perform. “So, I ‘borrowed’ a number of different stories floating around and localized them,” Robertson said.The result was Way Back in Oso Township (& Kennebec), which ostensibly tells a tale of pioneer life in the area. (The scenes featuring the Oso-Kennebec Township Committee for Proper Action and Civilization, while quite entertaining, had an eerily familiar ring to them.) And the kids performing certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves.“That’s what it’s all about,” said Robertson, who provided the musical accompaniment on guitar. “A lot of kids love hamming it up.”Robertson does too and he’s hoping they can continue on with future theatre camps.“I was completely delighted with the community support and the support of RFCs and this event,” he said. “I was proud that NFLT was able to participate and we have the Tichborne Hall which proved an excellent venue for the camp.“I would like to see the partnerships and the camp continue.” And of course Robertson is quite willing to be a big part of it. “I’ve dedicated my life to teaching children and the best part of that has been plays,” he said. “I love doing what I do and the best part is seeing the shy, nervous ones coming out of their shells.”
Sam Arraj was working as a senior manager at the accounting firm of G&G in Toronto, where he had built up a clientele over the years. Since he is a country music fan, he had been drafted onto the board of the Ontario County Music Association since “not-for-profit boards are always looking for people with financial experience” and in that role he continued to pick up more and more clients in the entertainment industry. In 2016 he saw a for sale listing for an accounting business based in Sharbot Lake, Seeds and Company, and he thought about leaving Toronto behind and maybe starting a family with his wife in a less hectic location.“I had seen the way many firms in Toronto were outsourcing their work to places like India and the Philippines and thought that it could be possible to outsource work to Sharbot Lake instead.”When he looked into Seeds and Company, he found it was a very solid second generation business, started by David Seeds and carried on by his son Ryan, with a good local and regional clientele. Since taking over the business in November of 2016, Arraj has been pleased not only with the reception in Sharbot Lake, but also with the opportunities to carry on with his existing clients and expand the reach of Seeds and Company in Kingston and Toronto.“We have been investing in staffing and technology to make Sharbot Lake a strong head office where the work gets done, with satellite offices elsewhere.” A new computer server is coming online to increase the capacity of the four member staff in the Sharbot Lake office, and Arraj is seeking to hire a fifth full time and two seasonal people in the near future, as well as a staff accountant at some point.Some of his plans mirror the trajectory of the Robinson Group, a Sharbot Lake based mortgage and financial business with clientele from around the world, whose dedicated long-term staff work out of the Simonett building on Road 38.“There are benefits to working with staff in Sharbot Lake because they are more likely to stay on once they are trained up. We want to have a well paid staff, with benefits and all that, and we are only starting on a growth path.” Since taking over the business, Arraj has been dedicated to maintaining the existing Seeds clientele, and upgrading the capacity of the office. He said that he has found the local clientele to be generally friendlier and more easy going than his Toronto clients, and conservative in terms of the way they manage their businesses, which he says makes sense given the local economy as compared to that of larger centres.In the coming months Seeds will begin to do more marketing to seek out new clients, both locally and on a regional and provincial level.The company offers a full range of accounting and auditing services, as well as book-keeping. This month, as part of a coming out of sorts for the new Seeds and Company, Sam Arraj has arranged for a free community concert on Saturday, September 23rd from 2pm to 4:30pm featuring the Good Brothers, Amanda Sadler, and Whiskey Saint.The Good Brothers are a country music institution in Ontario. They have been touring and recording since they released their first record, the Good Brothers in 1971. They received the Country Group of the year Juno award for 8 consecutive years at one point in their career. Among their best known songs is Fox on the Run. They just completed a European Tour late last month and will be performing at the Glenn Gould Studio at CBC headquarters in Toronto next month. The show, set for Sharbot Lake Beach, rain or shine, will be a fitting finale for a summer of events at the beach.The Sharbot Lake and District Lions will be running a BBQ during the afternoon as well. The company has donated the food and all profits will go to support local Lion’s programming.
Central Frontenac Director of Planning Services Shawn Merriman recommended that Council accept the proposal from McAdoo Construction of Perth for the construction of a building containing a canteen, accessible washrooms, a warming area, and storage areas at Oliver Scott Park in Sharbot Lake. Merriman said that McAdoo’s proposal was the best of four bids on the job when all factors, including price and experience in this kind of project, were accounted for. The estimated cost of the project, including a new well and an septic bed that is already in place, is between $100,000 and $125,000, according to a written report by Merriman. In his report, Merriman said that Council had requested on July 11 that he prepare the way for the project to proceed this fall so the canteen will be in place this winter, and he apologised for bringing a report directly to the meeting instead of giving Council time to look at it with the agenda package earlier in the week, but the matter was not finalised until the day of the meeting (Tuesday, September 12). While there were some questions posed to Merriman about his report and the parameters of the project from members of council, they were mostly information gathering type questions, and none of the councillors indicated they were planning to vote against the proposal. As the vote was about to be called, Councilllor Riddell pointed out something that seemed to indicate he liked the idea of moving ahead and completing a project quickly. He said “I feel I need to point out that the ball field in Mountain Grove, which should have been completed eight years ago, is still not done and we are still waiting for a fence to be installed by the contractor who was hired, so I think it is important to complete projects once they are started.” When the vote was then taken on the Oliver Scott Park build in Sharbot Lake, it was 5-4 against. “What do we do now?” asked Mayor Frances Smith, who had supported the motion. Councillor Tom Dewey suggested the matter be brought back to the 2018 budget discussion for a possible build next year. Grader comes in under expected cost Central Frontenac Council accepted the only bid they received on a new grader, which was about as close to $300,000 as possible without using the number 3 in the price ($299,944) plus tax. The township had allocated $325,000 for the purchase back in August, when they decided to heed the advice of Public Works Manager Brad Thake and rush the purchase through in 2017. At budget time last year, the decision was made to repair a 21 year old Champion Grader, but when he came on Thake said the old grader was not worth repairing. The money for the purchase is coming from reserve funds, which will need to be replenished in the 2018 budget. Changes to Municipal Act Peter Sisov from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs made a presentation regarding Bill 68, a pending new version of the Ontario Municipal Act. Among the changes he outlined were a new requirement for codes of conduct for members of municipal council, the requirement that municipal councils engage an integrity commissioner, expanded opportunities for local councils to invest excess funds, and more liberal spending limits for politicians seeking election. Once enacted, Bill 68 will permit candidates to spend up to $25,000 of their own family income on their campaigns, easily more than the combined expenditures of all nine members of Central Frontenac Council during the 2014 election. Intellivote to return – In a joint tender, all four Frontenac Townships will be engaging Intellivote to conduct a phone/internet based vote in 2018 for a total price of $75,000, to be split among them based on the number of electors in each jurisdiction. Intellivote conducted all four elections in 2014 as well. $2,000 for Hinchinbrooke school project – Council approved a grant of $2,000 to the committee looking into converting the former Hinchinbrooke school to community use. The money is intended to match a grant being sought from the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area, which will be used for feasibility and the development of a business plan for the project. Food truck bylaw folded into Official Plan development Township Planner Joe Gallivan proposed, and Council accepted, that instead of preparing a stand alone Official Plan and Zoning bylaw amendment for food trucks in the township, the issue be dealt with as part of the revamped Township Official Plan (OP) he is already working on. A draft of the OP will be presented to special meeting of Council in November. The final plan should be ready in the spring for adoption by next summer. Gallivan said the provisions for food trucks will be ready in time for the 2018 season. Bob Wilkinson on septic re-inspection Bob Wilkinson read a prepared text that worked through his objections to the mandatory septic inspection bylaw that will be coming to Council this fall. He said the assertion that septic systems pollute freshwater lakes has not been proven. “The science does not support this claim” he said. He said the majority of lakes in the township have low levels of phosphorous, and quoted local ecologist Gray Merriam, who said “you can’t stir the public too fix something that doesn’t need fixing”. Mayor Smith then said, I should read a note to Council from Gray Merriam at this point. Smith then read a document submitted by Merriam, which said Wilkinson has misinterpreted what he has said about lake quality, arguing that making sure septic systems are functioning properly is important to lake water quality, although it is not all that needs to be done. Wilkinson also quoted David Orser, a septic pumper/ hauler based in Verona, who opposes the new system, saying that Orser already checks systems when he pumps them out and advises customers when they need fixing, and reports failed systems to the Health Unit for follow up. “If we are only going on somebody’s version of imaginary pollutants emitting from our septics, then what we have here is simply a solution looking for a problem,” Wilkinson said.
Daryl Kennedy of Ball Road has repeatedly asked Frontenac County to fence a portion of the K&P trail that abuts his farm property, and for their contractor, Crain’s Construction, to repair a gate that he says they damaged while working on the trail as it runs through his property. When asked this past summer about the Counties’ level of responsibility as regards Mr. Kennedy, Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender said that the responsibility to fence a trail abutting farm property extended to the first purchaser of the former railroad, Bell Canada, but not to any subsequent owners. Thus the County has no obligation to fence Mr. Kelly’s property. As well, both the County and Crains deny that the gate was damaged as part of their work on the trail. On August 30, Pender send an email to Kennedy that expressed the Counties’ final position on the matters in stark terms. It reads in full: "Mr. Kennedy - as you have been advised on several occasions, the County denies responsibility for the gate damage as does Mr. Crain. I understand Mr. Crain may, as a good will gesture, repair the gate. In the interim, responsibility for your cattle remains with you. Please take the immediate actions you deem necessary. Kelly."
The action was fast and furious at the third annual Sharbot Lake Farmers Market Butter Tart Challenge but when the smoke cleared, former Parham and now Sydenham resident Shelley Brooks took home the top prize of $50 for her Almost Famous Tart. Kim Perry of Food Less Travelled won second (a big jug of Conboy maple syrup) for her Salt of the Earth and third place (a rolling pin) went to Pat Jamison for her Mom’s Tart.“I like trying new recipes,” said Brooks, a 40-veteran of baking contests including the Kingston Fair. “This year, I used a convection oven and had only two tasters.“It was lard over shortening for this recipe.” Brooks said she honed her baking skills by trying to beat her mother at the Parham Fair. The family baking rivalry continues with her sisters and daughter, Haley Rose.“I did not expect to win this year because there are so many good bakers here,” she said. Brooks said she’ll be back to defend her title and will probably have more time since she has just retired as a counsellor at Sydenham High School.“I was all prepared for a lovely bottle of wine on the deck for the first day of school this year,” she said. “But they called me back so it will have to wait.”This year’s judges were Erik Zierer, Martha Merrill, Thade Maklin, Sean Dineen and Marion Ratzinger.
Four members of the Sydenham Veterinary Services staff (Leslie Reade, Kim Doucet, Dawna Revell and Kate Earle) will be taking their bicycles to Milton, ON Sept. 23 as part of the Ride For Farley.Farley was the beloved family pet in Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse comic strip who died heroically saving family member April Patterson after she fell into a ravine. In 2002, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association created the Farley Foundation as a way to help pets and pet owners who otherwise may have difficulty paying for veterinary services.“We’ve used the Farley Foundation in the past and this is our way of giving back, said technician Kim Doucet. “This is my third ride and Leslie’s second (first for the other two). “There are three distances (50k, 100k and 160k) and we did 100k last year but the course is very hilly and so this year we’ll be scaling back (to the 50k).” They also held a bake sale and raffled off a cake. Doucet said the Foundation provides financial assistance for veterinary services (when recommended by the vet) to Ontario Works recipients, disabled individuals, seniors and seniors care facilities that own a pet who provides companionship to residents. Doucet et al will be taking sponsorships and donations at their Sydenham location until Sept. 20 but after that, anyone who would still like to donate can do so at www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/sydenham-veterinary-services-ride-for-farley/. The link is on the Sydenham Veterinary Services website.
South Frontenac Council report from September 5 (note – the following article was prepared on September 5, and would normally have been published on September 7, but as the result of Labour Day and staff holidays it was not published until today. South Frontenac Council met again as a Committee of the Whole on September 12. Our report on that meeting can be found on page 3) Council’s agenda indicated that Forbes Symon, Manager of Development Services, would be presenting a list of Township conditions of draft plan approval for the Shield Shores draft plan of condominium on Loughborough Lake. (One of the controversial issues has been the developer’s proposal to put right-of-ways across waterfront lots in order to provide water access to back-lots.) However, Symon said that he was recommending the report be deferred, because of late breaking news; “I apologize for the lateness of this, but it’s significant, serious information.” He explained that the proposed development’s proximity to a shallow waterbody had not been addressed by either the developer or the County’s planning department. On this date (Sept 5/17) Symon and Mills, the Township planner, had gone to the development waterfront by boat, and using GPS and sonar, had determined that even with the current high water on Dog Lake none of the water within 30 metres of shore was no deeper than 6’ to 10’. This means it would be defined as a shallow waterbody, and as such might require significant reconfiguration of the proposed lots to provide larger frontages. Symon said a deferral would give the developer time to address this issue. Mayor Vandewal agreed, saying it was preferable to hold off all discussion of the proposal until this current finding had been incorporated into it. He added, “Not too long ago, we were measuring water depth with an oar; sonar and GPS sounds very professional after that!” Shoreline Rehabilitation Completed Also on Loughborough Lake, a 2001 development agreement on a large property on Brittara Lane had required the property be managed so that the natural soil and vegetation would be maintained, replanted or enhanced within 30 metres of the lake. In 2011, the Planning Department was informed that vegetation had been removed, earth disturbed and a structure constructed, all within the 30 metre setback and without any permits. After consultation with the property owner and Conservation Authority, an environmentalist was contracted (at the owner’s expense) to prepare a report outlining a remediation plan. Two years later, when the work was still not carried out, a hiding ‘h’ was placed on the lot’s zoning to prevent any further development of the property. The shoreline rehabilitation has now been judged satisfactorily accomplished, so at Forbes’ recommendation, Council removed the ‘h’ restriction, so a residence can be built. Councillor Revill asked about the paving stones still stacked near the shore; Forbes noted that his department will continue to monitor the property. Heritage Committee Proposal Council welcomed Symon’s recommendation that the Township create a Heritage Committee with the emphasis on promoting and celebrating the area’s heritage and history. All respondents to Symon’s original surveys had been quite clear that they weren’t interested a heavy-handed committee that imposed restrictions on properties. Council will be seeking committee members who have one or more of the following skill sets: demonstrated interest in heritage conservation and an ability to work with Council; an understanding of heritage conservation approaches, knowledge of historical research, knowledge of heritage construction trades, expertise in architectural history; knowledge of land use planning, understanding of municipal procedures, and other related skills. Bedford Road Reconstruction Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth recommended accepting Bricaza Corporation’s tender bid for road reconstruction and storm drainage on Bedford Road just north of Sydenham. The bid of $1,490,941 (including HST) was lower than the other four bids by almost $200,000, Bricaza Corp. is known as a reputable contractor who has done good quality work for this and neighbouring townships over the past several years. Work on Bedford Road has been planned for this fall and next spring, to avoid the much heavier summer traffic on this strip of road, and to take advantage of the slower construction seasons. The total project budget of $1,800,000 is being spread over two budget years. Council supported Segsworth’s decision to apply for a top-up support grant from the Ontario Infrastructure Fund, in spite of the Township’s frustrating record of having been passed over for similar funding assistance. New Deputy Treasurer Council approved Treasurer Louise Fragnito’s request for a by-law to officially recognize the hiring of Stephanie Kuca as Deputy Treasurer, to replace Suzanne Quenneville who retired at the end of July. Kuca won the position over a number of other applicants in a thorough assessment process that included skills testing and interviews by three senior staff. Outdoor Furnace By-law On Side of Caution The new Outdoor Solid Fuel Burning Appliances (OSFBA) by-law does not permit any such appliances in hamlet areas, in spite of some arguments in favour of doing so. New grades of particulate matter emission standards (PM certified) appliances are considered much cleaner-burning than most of the current operating OSFBAs, but staff recommended takinjg a more cautious approach, and council agreed.
Emily Allan has two dogs, a six-year-old beagle and a new puppy. She also has a petition with about 350 signatures on it and a strong desire for South Frontenac Township to build a dog park. Allan was at South Frontenac’s Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night with a proposal. She’s done some homework and found a place — in Harrowsmith’s Centennial Park between the small ball diamond and the Cataraqui Trail. The Township would have to buy some land for the park but she’s even begun planning for fundraisers to pay for the fencing. About the only thing she hasn’t figured out is how big the park should be, but that can come later. “Centennial Park has the space and the parking,” she said. “Most of the activities at the park — ball, soccer, tennis — are summer activities. “A dog park can be used all year long and it could be accessed from the Cat Trail.” Council seemed quite supportive of the idea. “I’d be happy to have staff look into how we would go about this,” said Coun. Ross Sutherland. “There are lots of dog parks around the country so we’d have plenty of models to look at. “We do have leash laws but people often let their dogs loose on the trails so maybe that might stop some of that.” Coun. Mark Schjerning said he was against the idea at first but has since changed his mind. “Originally I thought it was a ridiculous idea but I’ve changed my mind,” he said. “People do go to Kingston just to take their dogs to a park so I would support this just to keep people in the Township.” “I’m thinking about costs but I know my son takes his dog to one in Red Deer,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “We’ll direct staff to bring back a report. “But there are no guarantees.” Symon moving on After less than half a year on the job, Manager of Development Services Forbes Symon is moving on to a similar position for the Town of Perth (Director of development and emergency services). When asked if the move represented a bigger job and raise, Symon said no, the move is more for personal reasons. “I’ve had a 45-minute to an hour commute to work ever since 1990 and this new job represents a five-minute drive,” he said. “It’s a quality of life thing.” He said he wasn’t looking for a new job and this opportunity came up as “a bit of a surprise” but seemed right for him. “I’ve been very happy here and with my short experience there are very good people here and plenty of opportunity but Perth is my community.” CAO Wayne Orr said Symon’s position has been advertised this week and the candidate search will close in October. “We’re hopeful we will have a strong selection,” Orr said. Caring for Carrying Place Coun. Ron Sleeth took exception to Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth’s proposed plan for roads and bridges saying vehemently that he would not support any five-year plan that didn’t have upgrades for Carrying Place Road on it. Mayor Ron Vandewal countered that the plan would obviously come up for discussion at budget time but went on at length about how Council had to consider the township as a whole and while he had no problem with individual councilors advocating for their district, each councilor only had one vote of nine. “This report is here to begin the discussion, not end it,” said Segsworth. “(But) the needs out there are significantly greater than the funds available.” COW endangered species? As South Frontenac has been looking at its procedural bylaw, the future of Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings has become quite the topic for debate. One proposal has COW meetings to be abolished entirely but if the vote had been held at Tuesday night’s meeting, it likely wouldn’t have passed. Coun. Mark Schjerning has been the strongest advocate of doing away with COW meetings, arguing that it would save about $10,000 in councilors’ remuneration and that often there is very little on the agenda. He said issues previously discussed at COW meetings could be addressed at one of the three standing committees of Council (Public Services, Corporate Services and Development Services). “It would also allow staff more time to prepare reports for Council meetings,” Schjerning said. Coun. John McDougall had several objections though, ranging from less compensation for council members making it harder to find good candidates, to reduced delays for public concerns to be discussed. “I’m looking at the status quo,” McDougall said. “In other words, you don’t like anything about the proposal,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “I like lunch,” said McDougall. For his part, Vandewal said he mistakenly thought the proposal was to reduce the number of COW meetings to one a month from the current two. “We could still schedule two meetings a month but be stricter about canceling meetings with small agendas,” he said. Coun. Ross Sutherland said he saw “two fatal flaws” with the proposal — reduced public input and it would give councilors on the standing committees more power over what actually comes to Council. Coun. Brad Barbeau said the proposal “might slow the wheels of government.” Coun. Pat Barr and Ron Sleeth didn’t seem keen on the idea but were willing to give it a try for a couple of months. Frontenac Park A proposal by Frontenac Provincial Park staff to acquire a number of Townshipowned, unopened road allowances that abut the park boundaries met with lukewarm reception. Planner Lindsay Mills said that the Township should only sell road allowances that aren’t in the Township’s future plans and that if the Park still wants the land, they would have to expropriate those lands. In either event, Mills said the Township should receive fair market value for the land. However, Mills said that if the Park wants lands that aren’t within the Park’s boundaries, then they may not be able to expropriate them. “What do they want the lands for?” said Coun. Ross Sutherland. “Maybe it’s been a burr under their saddle for some time,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “This came up before in 2013 but went nowhere.”
We need to change the way we’re living — we need to sustain,” said St. Lawrence College’s Steve Lapp at the Power in the Climate Era workshop last Saturday at Wintergreen Studios on Canoe Lake Road. “Mother Nature will only sustain us to a certain extent.” After 20 years experience in fuel cells, renewable energy systems and supporting renewable energy options for rural communities in Lesotho and India, Lapp began teaching in 2005 with the newly created Energy Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) program at St. Lawrence’s Kingston campus. Lapp said the ESET program is essentially about better building efficiency. “It’s one thing to say you want low-carbon buildings, but how do you do that?” he said. “The College saw the need for grads who understand green technology.” To that end, his program supplies graduates to places like Utilities Kingston, school boards and companies to manage retrofits of all kinds, even to the point of new thermostats and light bulbs. “Some of our grads go to solar farms as technicians,” he said. “It’s a great field to get into.” He said the professional life goal of his graduates is essentially to reduce carbon footprints, be that by solar power, more efficient heat pumps, heat exchangers, any and all methods available. “The province has a (carbon) reduction goal of 80 per cent by 2050,” he said. “The only way to achieve that right now is to be more efficient.” And, he said, there is a new job market for those who become proficient in such things. “Our guys aren’t installers, they’re analysts and designers,” he said. “They’re not licensed plumbers and electricians.” But he’s aware that large corporations are taking notice of what they do. “Almost every big company can reduce its energy costs by 1 per cent,” he said. “And they only have to reduce it by 1 per cent to justify the salary they pay to our grads.” He said right now the cost of putting in a solar system is about the same as buying energy from the grid, but improvements are being made all the time and they’re keeping up with all innovations. But there’s another aspect of the program Lapp is very aware of and keen to promote. “About a third of our students come right out of high school but there’s another third, in their 20s and 30s that are coming back to school,” he said. “Maybe they’ve gone through an apprentice program or the military and experienced an injury. “But one thing many of our students have in common is that they’re generally very social conscious,” he said. “That’s part of why they’re attracted to a program like this in the first place.
Several years ago, the CBC Nature of Things documentary ran a program on Coywolves and just recently they have been spotted around Toronto. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to run this article from 2013 again. Coywolves are a hybrid breed of wolf and coyote. The term Coywolf is the unofficial name for a breed of Eastern coyote that has bred with wolves. The hybrid coyote/wolf has longer legs, bigger paws, larger jaws and brains, and a more wolf-like tail, with wolf-like traits like pack-hunting and shows more aggression than the original coyotes. It’s thought that the hybrid animals first appeared around 1919 in Algonquin Park. It was probably happening earlier than that but it was about this time that sightings were reported. Some scientists still doubt that the Coywolf is a new species but evidence compiled for the past 100 years suggests the much smaller western coyote migrated from the Midwestern United States to eastern forests and farms where the wolf population was being killed off by humans. The coyote followed a path that took it through the Windsor area and the southwestern Ontario corridor, then north to Algonquin Park.According to the documentary, Algonquin’s vast expanse of protected forest offered the animal a safe haven and a bountiful food source. It was there that wolves began to breed with coyotes, probably because available mates within the wolf population were in decline. Perhaps one third of the animals in Algonquin Park are now hybrids. Coywolves have rapidly evolved and appear to have adapted to city life in a similar way that racoons have taken to big cities like Toronto. It used to be that only campers could hear the eerie howling and yipping of coyotes. Now, since the numbers of Coywolves have increased, you’re just as apt to hear them in and around cities. Their high intelligence has enabled them to survive, whether in natural surroundings or urban centres. They are so elusive that they seem to blend into parks, ravines and other green spaces in cities unnoticed for the most part. They can roam for miles at night routing through garbage and catching small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks and cats or anything else that would make a quick meal. There have been many sightings of coyotes in Toronto recently and people have been warned to keep their pets inside, especially at night. Last month, Toronto Police did shoot what is believed to be a Coywolf. The police had no way of knowing that the Coywolf they’d shot was a new father protecting his young. The animal and his mate had recently become parents which is likely why they appeared to be more aggressive. While it may be unnerving to encounter a coyote in a park at night, there have actually been only two reports of fatal coyote attacks in North America in the past 500 years. The CBC documentary was filmed partly in the Cape Breton highlands where a fatal attack on a young Toronto woman took place a few years ago. A hundred years ago, the odds were stacked against eastern wolves with deforestation and control programs, not to mention increasing urban development. Coyotes, however, were able to increase their numbers. This is when the two animals began to interbreed. Depending on their habitat and the availability of food, coyotes can adjust the number of young born. Young Coywolves strike out on their own much sooner than wolves or coyotes, leaving the den by the time they are two. For more information on wolves and coyotes, in general, you can check out Steve Blight’s in-depth two-part article in the December 2008 online version of the Frontenac News.
Over one hundred participants and volunteers walked in the first-ever Lanark North Leeds Parkinson SuperWalk last Saturday (September 9) raising awareness, funds for research and bringing the community one step closer to accessing services for those living with Parkinson’s Disease.“I want to thank my co-chair Gayle Truman and our organizing committee, the Town of Perth, our sponsors, volunteers and those who supported our efforts to bring the SuperWalk to Lanark North Leeds,” said event organizer Pat Evans, a resident of Portland who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006. “I’ve met so many people in this area who have this disease, and I’m excited that in addition to the money raised, we have also raised awareness and a sense of hope. And hope is essential for improved health.” The Lanark North Leeds SuperWalk raised over $30,000 in support of Parkinson Canada, a national organization that supports education and funds research to help find the cure for Parkinson’s, a neurological disease that affects over 100,000 Canadians. In addition to supporting research, organizers are hopeful that there will be increased funding for services in Lanark North Leeds including exercise programs, support groups and easier access to specialists. “We are fortunate to have world-class specialists and quality care in nearby centres like Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto,” said Evans. “But the reality is that travel can be difficult for those with mobility issues. As well, many people are reluctant to even talk about their symptoms as they feel that people will judge them. Access to medical and other supports closer to home can make a real difference in the lives of those living with Parkinson’s and their families. Lanark North Leeds SuperWalk is one of over 90 walks that took place across Canada this past weekend. Although the walk has taken place, donations are still being accepted at donate.parkinson.ca/lanarknorthleeds.
The rains threatened but held off just long enough for the Land O’Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame to induct six new members at a ceremony/performance Saturday during the Flinton Jamboree. First on stage was Ross Clow. Born and raised near Verona, Clow spent more than a decade as the lead singer for Don Johnson and the Serenaders, a long-running dance orchestra with weekly radio shows on two Kingston radio stations during the ’50s and ’60s. In his senior years, Clow gravitated towards gospel music with the Gospel Jewels and later with the Old Hims. Clow was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sheila Calthorpe was inducted in the Songwriters Category. Calthorpe grew up on Simcoe Island in the St. Lawrence River and developed a tradition of home worship during winters because there was no church on the island. Eventually, she met and married musician Barry Calthorpe, who taught her to play. This led to writing such songs as The Church by the Side of the Bed, Mother’s Still On The Home Place and Heaven Said Goodbye, which was recorded by Bill White and White Pines. Lionel Grimard was born and raised in South Frontenac where he was a member of a number of country bands as well as a guitar teacher. During his later years, he has arranged and hosted numerous open mics and jamborees. He now lives in Harlowe. Bob Goodberry was elected posthumously. Born and raised in Verona, he came from a musical family and was the consummate country troubadour. In his later years, he was a resident of Northbrook. After his death, his songbook was discovered. In it, there were no lyrics or chords, merely the names of thousands of songs. He never used music sheets but remembered all the words. He is affectionately known as “the man of a thousand songs.” His induction was accepted by his wife Norma and son Rob. Bill White was born and raised in Plevna and has received numerous awards including five Canadian Music Association awards for bluegrass, male vocalist of the year, Canadian bluegrass group of the year (Echo Mountain) and bluegrass gospel group of the year (Bill White and White Pines). He started his career with the Neil Perry Orchestra and spent many years as a member of Buddy Clarke and Grass Creek. Neville Wells grew up in Ompah, moved to Ottawa and now lives in Perth. He is known for being the producer of the Ompah Stomp, being founder/editor of the Capitol City Music News (now the Ottawa Valley Country Music News) as well as being inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. His band credits include The Children (which also featured Bruce Cockburn, David Whiffen and Peter (Sneezy Waters) Hodgson) and Neville Wells & Sweetwater. Of late, he has been appearing at more and more events and shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s clear talking with Neville Wells that he’s uncomfortable with the term legend being applied to him.“I’m just a kid from Ompah,” he says.He was born in Newfoundland and moved to Mosque Lake Lodge in Ompah as a child. His musical career began at the Ompah Dance Hall where, for $2 a night, he backed up Neil and Flora Perry.But when he moved to Ottawa, he hooked up with some guys you may have heard of before in a band called The Children. His bandmates included Bruce Cockburn, David Whiffen, Peter Hodgson (aka Sneezy Waters), Sandy Crawley and Richard Patterson. “We were terrible,” he says, laughing. “But we were having fun and we did have a following.“Ricky was extremely talented and Dave should have been a big star (but) we were all prima donnas.From there he moved on, playing with Crawley a lot. “Coffee houses were the thing,” he says. “Performing was different then.“You didn’t have to be a star and the audiences were always respectful.”Oh, did we mention there was a mid-’60s gig in Ottawa where he opened for the Rolling Stones and one in Toronto opening for The Lovin’ Spoonful?“We were just there for the sound man to get the levels right,” he said. OK, how about the Sweetwater years and songs charting and getting airplay? If You Will See Me Through and Please Don’t Mention Her Name come to mind.“Ah, the Sweetwater years,” he said. “We had a ’77 Chevy van and it was the road — the Pump in Regina, Moose Jaw, Edmonton, Calgary, and a lot of booze.”Still, being a working musician is something most people will never get to do.“OK, my career, I consider it a procession of lost opportunities,” he said. “I really don’t have any regrets other than not learning that ‘music business’ is two words.“I didn’t learn the ‘business’ part of it soon enough.”But, then there is some reflection. “I’m a bit of a hack,” he said. “But look around you — most people will never get to do that.“People who aren’t musicians will never know what it feels like to be on stage, with the band getting in a groove, the audience getting into it . . . they’ll never know.”At 77, Wells has retired to Perth in a small bungalow on a modest pension with his wife Anne-Lis.He’s playing more these days than he had been, but he’s not one to live in the past.“Music is more of a hobby, now,” he said. “The rest, well, I can’t fathom it.“Life goes on with you or without you.”