A landmark in South Frontenac Township is in jeopardy of falling into disrepair if it doesn’t receiv...
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.
Frances Smith, Mayor of Central Frontenac was on hand at Pine Meadow Nursing Home in Northbrook on June 10 to present the home with a cheque for $12,500 towards the window project. Rev. Jean Brown and Brenda Martin, chair of Pine Meadow's Family Council, made a presentation to the Township of Central Frontenac earlier in the year and both were present on Friday to update the results of this campaign. Pine Meadow needs to replace 11 bay windows at a total cost of $136,000. With the donation from Central Frontenac, funds raised to date are over $60,000. We are grateful to the Township of North Frontenac, who earlier this year donated $25,000, as well as the Northbrook Lions who have donated $5,000 to this project. The balance has all come from private donations. Work begins soon to complete five of these windows this summer. Following the cheque presentation, the group enjoyed an educational session from Tricia Dominik, Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant. The event was sponsored by Pine Meadow Family Council in celebration of Family Council Week. Pictured here is Frances Smith, Margaret Palimaka, Administrator, Pine Meadow, and Bill Cox, Chairperson of Pine Meadow Management Committee. Pine Meadow is a program of Land O'Lakes Community Services.
Did you know that every 56 days you can donate blood? Every 56 days you can help save a life! Recently, someone my husband and I love needed to get a blood transfusion. Lonnie and I could do nothing to help this person with their ordeal, so we decided that the next best thing was to donate blood ourselves. Being no stranger to donating blood, as I used to do it occasionally in the past, I kind of remembered what was involved. It is such an easy and rewarding decision that can change someone's life forever! We phoned 1-888-2-donate and scheduled our appointment for the closest location to us that fit our schedule. We made sure to drink lots of water the day of the donation and eat iron-enriched foods. I chose an extra can of tuna for lunch. Lonnie had left-over spaghetti. But extra raisins or even a granola bar that day probably would have worked as well. We loaded our kids in the car the afternoon of the appointment and headed in to make a difference. After getting the kids comfortable at the refreshment table, loaded with lots of complimentary juices, cookies and granola bars, my hubby and I got down to business. We checked in with a piece of ID and the nurse then sent us to the station to have our finger pricked to test for anemia and make sure we would be able to donate. The next step is getting your blood pressure and temperature checked and assessing your health. We were then ready to get things done. Unfortunately, our donation chairs were not beside each other, so for the eight minutes of the actual donating of the blood, I had a TV in front of me to watch and Lonnie had to settle for trying to distract me with his funny faces and making me laugh. After we provided our 488 ml. of blood unit, we waited our four minutes of rest time and then were free to go to the refreshment table to reload on snacks, coffee and juice! Both kids were waiting for us with smiles and stickers that said future blood donors. I think they were both nervous for us at first, but once they saw for their own eyes what a difference we are making, they proudly said that they were going to donate too when they came of age. You are allowed to donate at 18, but can at 17 with parental consent. O negative is the only blood type that is compatible with all other blood types and so it is in the highest demand, but it represents the smallest percentage of the population. Only 7% of Canadians share this blood type. This small percentage of people are also the unluckiest because they can only receive this blood type. It is used in the most critical emergency situations: like for newborn babies and people with compromised immune systems or trauma victims. Lonnie and I are not O negative, but we still donated because all blood is welcomed and needed by Canadian Blood Services. The donations that are not used on treating patients may be stored for future testing or teaching and research; in short, it allows you to touch the lives of other fellow Canadians without opening your wallet. Your blood type can save a life! It's safe and easy and giving blood takes less than an hour out of your day! Please call 1-888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
The Strawberry Moon Festival celebrates the end of the school year and the culmination of the visits by Marcie Asselstine, the Aboriginal playgroup co-ordinator at Northern Frontenac Community Services, to area schools. Asselstine, a member of the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, delivers an program based on Algonquin teachings to students at Granite Ridge Education Centre in Sharbot Lake; Prince Charles Public School in Verona; Land O'Lakes Public School in Mountain Grove; Clarendon Central Public School in Plevna; and St. James Catholic School in Sharbot Lake. “It just so happens that the end of the school year, the strawberry moon, and the solstice, which is also National Aboriginal Day in Canada, all came together on the same day this year,” said Asselstine, on a brilliantly sunny, and comfortably cool Tuesday, as six classrooms of children clambered back onto their buses after a morning spent in the hall and on the grounds of St. James Major Catholic Church. After a ceremonial opening prayer by Shabot Obaadjiwan Chief Doreen Davis in the hall, the children took turns visiting four stations over the next 90 minutes. In the hall, they did crafts under the supervision of Marianne Wilson and Susan Ramsay, and ate cornbread and berries prepared by John Davis. Outside they squeezed into a teepee and listened to stories from Danka Brewer; then they climbed up the hill behind the church to listen and move to the drumming of the Women's Drum (Valerie Hermer, Lily Lagace-Zierer, Nancy McDermott, Sandy Hallam and Pam Giroux). Afterwards they all gathered for a massive round dance at the drumming circle. “We've done Strawberry Moon Festivals for a number of years now, and they just get better and better,” said Asselstine as she waved goodbye to the students for another year.
The 2016 North & Central Frontenac Relay for Life took place on June 18 at the Parham fairgrounds. Ten teams, with 64 participants in all, walked many laps around the dusty track under a blistering sun, and although the extremely hot weather undoubtedly kept some from attending, spirits stayed high as the walkers focused on their goal – raising money to fight cancer. The Relay organizing committee had six members this year. Vicki Babcock has been the chair of the Survivors’ committee for a few years, and this is her first year as Relay chair. She has a very personal reason for all her work with the Relay. Her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, battled cancer as a toddler and has been cancer-free for seven years now, so the family has experienced first-hand the benefits of the funds raised through Relay. Tragically, the family has also lost four members to cancer in the last two years. Doug Kane, unit manager at the Kingston Lennox and Addington Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), spoke at the opening ceremonies. He thanked the participants and especially the Survivors for attending, saying they are “walking, talking billboards” for what the funds raised through the Relay do. He said that the CCS is the only cancer charity that funds research into all the 200 plus types of cancer and that because of research, the survival rates for many cancers have improved dramatically. For example, the cure rate for breast cancer now hovers around 90% - a dramatic increase over the years. Relay dollars also help fund the CCS’s Wheels of Hope program, which provided 9,000 rides for cancer patients in the last 12 months. Doug Kane encouraged attendees to call the CCS office if they or anyone they know is battling cancer and has questions, saying, “If we can’t help you, we’ll find someone who has the answers for you.” He told the audience that the epicenter in Canada for clinical trials is actually based in Kingston, not in a larger city, and introduced its head, Dr. Chris O'Callaghan, who spoke about his group’s work. The core of funding for clinical trials comes from the CCS and they have resulted in many advances in treatments. O’Callaghan gave one local example: Gord Bowie of the rock band, the Tragically Hip, was recently diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Fifteen years ago, the only treatment for this type of cancer was radiation, but now a new drug, which clinical trials have proven to be beneficial, has been added to treatment options. Central Frontenac Councilor Brent Cameron told the story of how his father-in-law battled cancer for a year and a half. He emphasized to the audience that though his father-in-law “did not prevail, he did not lose the battle.” Cameron said, “You only lose when you give up, when you accept things as they are.” Tracy Vallier, who later led zumba for relay participants, also spoke at the opening ceremonies. She told the story of her eight-year-old daughter, Alison, who was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2015. Alison was severely ill and fought for her life for several months, but is doing really well now. The survival rate today for the type of leukemia she has is 90%, another dramatic improvement thanks to research. Because of one of the drugs Alison is taking, Tracy regretfully had to tell her daughter that she could not do gymnastics, to which Alison replied, “When I’m done cancer, I’ll do gymnastics again.” “She said ‘When’, not ‘If’,” Tracy emphasized in speaking of her daughter’s spirit. After the speeches the relay started in earnest, with music and many fun activities to encourage the walkers, including water balloon tosses at committee members. On average, participants did anywhere from 30 to 50 laps each. Among those walking was David Yerxa of Sharbot Lake. David has cerebral palsy and was an inspiration to his fellow participants as he completed 22 laps around the track. The sandy soil made one part of the track difficult for him to negotiate with his walker, but with his usual cheerful perseverance, he simply turned it around and went backwards on that stretch. When all was wrapped up, this year’s relay raised $20,955 and organizers are already planning for next year.
Over 100 people showed up at the Sharbot Lake Pharmasave last Friday (June 10) to feast on Roast Beef sandwiches from Cota's Mobile Catering and celebrate with Nick and Jocelyn Whalen as they marked 25 years since they opened a pharmacy in Sharbot Lake. From the start, the Whalens have operated the pharmacy as a community service, helping out countless people with attentive service, attention to detail, and a kind word when it was needed.They have also been generous contributors to any and every community cause that has been brought to them. The 25th anniversary was no exception, as they marked the occasion by donating $2,500 to the CentralFrontenac Railway Museum. Mayor Frances Smith brought appreciative greetings from the township, as those of us who remember when they opened the pharmacy wondered where the time has gone.
When Dorothy Quattrocchi, who is originally from Sharbot Lake, made a presentation in February to elementary students at Granite Ridge Education Centre about her son Mark's two-year bicycle odyssey around the world, she promised she would ask him to stop by the school on his way through at the end of the trip. Last Thursday, June 9, after peddling through the rain 150 kilometres from Peterborough the day before, Mark made good on the promise. It helped that his mother had booked a room for him at the Sharbot Lake Country Inn - certainly a step up from the daily ritual of finding a place to stay or to pitch a tent in parts of the world he was visiting for the first time in his life. In the past two years, Mark travelled north and east from the island of Hainan, in China, across China before turning south to go through India, and then north and east before crossing the Mediterranean from Italy. He then travelled due south through East Africa to Capetown, South Africa, after which he flew to Argentina and made his way northwards until he reached Rideau Ferry last Saturday, about 23 months and a shade under 35,000 kilometres after he set out on July 7, 2014. Why did he do it? He describes it on his website oneadventureplease.com in this way: “A journey of grand proportions. One of personal designation and infatuation with our spinning world. To share and experience the road less travelled. One of the glorious unknown.” It was not the first adventure for Mark, who had spent two years teaching English in Hainan but was looking for something different. The trip was partly about adventure and self-discovery and partly a fund-raising campaign. The element of self-discovery was exemplified in Mark's periodic blogs from the diverse countries and communities he visited. When asked by the students at GREC which was his favourite country he did not hesitate, naming Kyrgyzstan, the second country he travelled through after a long cycle through China. He met some of the last of the world's nomadic peoples there, and was taken with the level of hospitality he received there. “They welcome you in for ‘chai’ at any meeting and often ask you to spend the night in their home. The simple offerings mean more than just fresh bread, noodles, mutton and tea. Islamic teachings mixed with nomadic kindness is a vibrant combination. Pride and hospitality. It is the way of their world,” he wrote in his blog at the time. The insights he gained from the Kyrgyzstanis was also captured: “Life can take us in a spaghetti bowl of lines. It is up to us to figure out which strands of life we connect with the most. To follow the lines that make ourselves and those around us feel the happiest. Life has no one set purpose, but is made up of a multitude of layers. The freedom of this reality is ours for taking. It is never too late. As terrifying as it may seem. Follow those dreams.” The fund-raising element of the trip was based on Mark's determination to visit projects of Free the Children, a charity founded by Canadian's Craig and Marc Kielburger. He wanted to mark his visits to the projects by raising $50,000 to build schools for five different projects: in China, India, Kenya, Ecuador and Nicaragua. As his voyage was coming to an end, one of the schools was already built; three were under construction; and he was still working on raising the last few thousand dollars needed for the fifth school, in Nicaragua. At GREC, Mark talked about his trip, what it taught him about himself and about the world, and then he asked the students if they had any questions. Hands shot up. The questions were about the food he ate, the dangers he faced, the hardest day on his trip, the best day on his trip. There was not enough time to answer them all before he was scheduled to head over to St. James Catholic School to talk to students there. His mother Dorothy was with him, happy to have him home safe and sound, and visibly proud of her renegade son as well. What's next for Mark Quattrocchi? Another adventure of one kind or another, no doubt.
Friends, community members, and three generations of Revells gathered on June 17 at Revell Ford in Verona to celebrate the business’ 80 year anniversary. Like a miniature festival, the event featured food, live music, face-painting, and displays. Lineups for burgers, provided by the Verona Lions Club, twisted around a group of classic Fords that were parked out front. After everyone had eaten their fill, the music ended, and the microphone was handed off for speeches. Mayor Vandewal was up first to congratulate the business on 80 years of success, and to thank them for their contribution to the community, pointing out Revell Ford is “the largest private employer in South Frontenac.” Former Ottawa Senator Rick Smith was on hand signing autographs as part of the festivities. He and Councillor McDougall then presented a plaque to owner Larry Revell, the third generation from his family to work at Revell's. Larry sold cars in his younger years at the business, and now works as a general manager. Over the course of the festivities he was on the move, making sure everyone was where they needed to be, and shaking hands on the way. Perhaps it’s due to years of practice hosting anniversaries, but Larry’s speech was refreshingly brief. “I have enjoyed working alongside my father and brother, and am proud to have anoher generation of our family working here. Thanks Nate, Josh, and Brad. I thank God for my grandfather’s vision, my father’s integrity, and for his blessing upon this dealership. Special thanks to all employees. We have a great team here.” After a few more speeches, and the gift of a lovely Ford-themed quilt to Larry’s father, Harry, things settled down a bit and the crowd slowly dispersed. In this quieter setting, Larry gave some insight into how he’d like the business to continue, as his sons and nephew become part the family business, “My father’s been a man of integrity, honest with people, so we want to follow in his footsteps: carry on the tradition; treat people fair. We want to be fair with our employees too; without them we wouldn’t be here.”
The FAB (Food and Beverage) region was one of the focal points of the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation’s Annual General Meeting on June 14. One of the presenters at the event was Back Forty Cheese of Mississippi Station in North Frontenac. Jeff Fenwick of Back Forty, outlined the role that the marketing of the FAB region and the incentives and support provided by the FCFDC played in the decision he made with his wife Jenna to move each of their businesses to Frontenac County from Lanark County. Anne Prichard, executive director of the Frontenac CFDC, also talked about some of the new initiatives being undertaken by the Wolfe Island Grill and Seed to Sausage. The Food and Beverage Region was set up by Hastings, Lennox and Addington and Prince Edward Counties and the Frontenac CFDC, but even before that, Anne Prichard was working hard to promote craft brewing as a business opportunity in Frontenac County. The FCFDC was involved with the founding of MacKinnon Brothers Brewery, which is located in nearby Bath, but until now there has not been a craft brewer in Frontenac County. That is all changing, however, because Rene Ziegelmaier - a Brazilian of German descent – is poised to open the Wolfe Island Craft Brewery. Working in conjunction with Casey Fisher from the Wolfe Island Grill, Ziegelmaier is going to be renovating the former Kraft building on Wolfe Island, which has been used to house a ship-building operation, and turning it into a brewing and bottling plant. Zielgemaier said he is interested in brewing some of the traditional German beer styles such as lagers and Pilsners, but also some of the modern imperial stout and pale ale styles. These are taking off as Ontario beer drinkers expand their horizons because of all the new breweries that are being established. He is also looking at setting up a tap room somewhere in downtown Kingston as part of the roll-out of his business, which will all be happening in 2017. “Rene is passionate about making beer and that was a key element in all this,” said Anne Prichard. The FCFDC also announced that their loan portfolio has reached its highest levels since they were established some ten years ago.
“If the feeling in a work of art is strong enough, the work creates its own truth. This you have achieved Misha, in these paintings,” said Kim Ondaatje in her introduction to Misha Hunter’s exhibit. Ondaatje is hosting Hunter’s series of paintings about Attawapiskat at her gallery at Blue Roof Farm, just north of Bell Rock. The show will be open until Labour Day. The “People of the parting of the rocks" are an isolated First Nation located in Kenora District in northern Ontario, the most remote northerly link on the 310 km long road to Moosonee. When his mother taught art in the school there, Hunter visited twice to take part in art projects and work closely with the youth. Sometimes one understands a situation better when one is a bit removed. On his return, in his own studio, Hunter translated the photographs he had taken on his trip into large oil paintings on boards. He also brought back with him the sense of place and the sense of people’s hearts and souls. Misha Hunter’s paintings seek the connection of the land and its spirituality. They also speak of isolation and hopelessness. Misha paints with sure strokes. He chose to limit his palette to convey not only the rather harsh and barren landscape (trees grow no taller than 5 feet and seem to huddle from the wind) but also the loss of identity that many people struggle with. The size of his paintings allow the viewer to enter and feel the bitter wind for a small moment, or bring one forward with the wish to walk over to that old canoe with its sawed-off tip, and run a finger over the chipped paint. There is a wolf that greets us at the entrance to the town, “Rez Wolf”, a royal looking animal, at home in this winter. A tractor, a trailer, two canoes … items that must have been cherished some time ago but have since fallen from grace, forgotten in a field, left to crumble. A street light that seems to shine for nobody, a statue of Mary without face or hands, a church once proud, now seemingly ready to blow away into the cold skies. Attawapiskat has been in crisis for many years. The cost of living is extraordinarily high because everything has to be brought in via aircraft. Their drinking water situation has been dire since the 1970s. The elementary school had to be closed because of a diesel spill. Housing lacks good heating and insulation and there is leakage from pipes and toxic mould. Misha Hunter's paintings entice our inner dialogue about grace and human rights, about the standard of living and hope. He invites us to question the way things ought to be and our responsibilities towards each other. While we sit in comfortable chairs chatting and drinking coffee at the gallery, Kim relates a few vignettes of her life that show her connection with Indigenous people. One of her earliest teachers was Jack Hawk, an Ojibway elder from whom she learned the “way of the wild”. Blue Roof Farm is a little bit of heaven, created by this grand dame of Canadian art. The view from the window is spectacular – a great wild jumble of cultivated and wild flowers, grasses and trees. At the far end of the garden is a fountain that splashes off the side of a rock. “Everything that you see growing here, except for that maple tree over there, I planted,” Kim states.But speaking of the garden, it is time to get back to work! And off she goes, filling the bird feeders and trimming a bush. Kim’s parting words are, “Tell people to come and see this work; it is really important!” Blue Roof Farm is located at 6313 First Lake Road, north of Bellrock. For information call 613-374-2147.
A landmark in South Frontenac Township is in jeopardy of falling into disrepair if it doesn’t receive a life-saving injection of support. Located in Sunbury, the Storrington Lions Club needs to upgrade the washrooms, heating system and wheelchair ramp in its community hall. Considered the heart of the community, the Storrington Lions Club Hall is showing its age after hundreds of functions such as election polls, blood donor clinics, hunter safety training, youth dances, weddings and celebrations of life. The hall has been the centrepiece of the community for more than 45 years. It is owned and operated by the Storrington Lions Club, a popular organization that uses its resources to improve the quality-of-life for residents in Battersea, Sunbury and Inverary. Attached to a historic limestone building known as Limestone School, the hall was enlarged in the 1970s to include a kitchen, washrooms, bar and stage area. The expansion and a roadside sign were constructed with help from the community. Grateful for the community’s past financial assistance, the club finds itself in a situation where renovations exceed resources. The club hopes to inspire support for the hall again. “The Storrington Lions Club Hall has been deteriorating over the last few years and is in desperate need of revitalization,” says Bob Bertrand, President of Storrington Lions Club which has served the community since 1971. “If we don’t revitalize the hall, we could lose this vital part of our community. This would be a tragedy because we will not have an affordable or convenient place for local families to gather.” The club has set a fundraising goal of $75,000 to complete the first phase of improvements to accessibility, amenities and aesthetics. Members are holding a fundraiser at the hall (a classic country OPEN STAGE) on June 26 from 1 to 4 pm. General donations can be made to the club’s Go Fund Me page and in collection jars at Ormsbee’s Mercantile and Sunbury General Store. “We want to make the hall great again,” exclaims President Bertrand. “To do this, we need residents to remember the time they spent here and appreciate the value of this facility. It’s been an honour for the Lions Club to serve the community. We need the community to help us now.” “I think it’s important to save the hall because it’s the focal point of the community,” says Ron Sleeth, Storrington District Councillor with South Frontenac Township. “It’s the only facility around that is capable of holding a major event. We need to help revitalize the hall the way the Lions Club has helped our community through benefits for families touched by tragedy such as house fires and illness. It’s time for our community to give back,” he says. “We need to save our hall.”
VCA comes calling Wayne Conway of the Verona Community Association (VCA) appeared before the monthly meeting of Frontenac County Council last week (June 15). He was looking for support for a new electronic sign project in Verona. The sign, which will be used to promote community events and public service information from the Township of South Frontenac and the County, will be located at the same location as the existing VCA sign at the corner of Road 38 and Burnett Street. The VCA has raised $30,000 to purchase the sign; the Verona Lions Club has committed $2,500 for the installation; and the Township of South Frontenac has agreed to pay the ongoing power bill to keep the sign shining. Conway was looking to Frontenac County to cover the $1,000 (approximate) one-time cost of installing power to the sign. Conway pointed out that the location of the sign in Verona is central to residents of Frontenac County who travel to Central and North Frontenac, as well as residents of South Frontenac. “The county would be interested in using this sign to promote their events as well. Notices may include information relative to public awareness; warning messages such as severe weather recovery; unforeseen disaster circumstances; K&P Trail information; county events; plowing match; Open Doors; special celebrations, etc. ,” he said. Council received Conway's presentation and will consider the proposal. Comprehensive Private Lane Study One of the key elements in the development of Frontenac County's first ever Official Plan was a concession by the Province of Ontario over further development of residential properties on privately owned lanes. As a matter of policy, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing had been insisting that all new building lot development be restricted to roadways that either become township roads (through a plan of subdivision process) or form part of a vacant land 'plan of condominium', wherein a corporation made up of adjacent landowners is responsible for their maintenance. Both of those options are expensive and would hinder the ability of existing county residents to create small numbers of new lots, one or two at a time, and bring new construction and new people into the townships. Joe Gallivan, Director of Planning and Economic Development Services for Frontenac County, promised the Ministry of Municipal Affairs that if the ministry was willing to temper its demand that private lane development be banned, the county would undertake a study of the issue with a view towards creating a set of rules that satisfy the underlying concerns of the province. The main concern has to do with ensuring that the roads are up to a reasonable standard and that emergency personnel – ambulance, fire and police – can get through when necessary. A study was commissioned to look at the existing private roads in the county, and make recommendations for future development. Brian Whitehead, of Jp2g Consulting of Pembroke, prepared a comprehensive report on the matter, which included an inventory of all the private lanes in the county, and looked at which of them are candidates for further development. The study concluded that only 15% of existing private lanes have the potential for further development and recommends that only up to three new lots should be added to those lanes. It also recommends that lanes that are or are likely to be used for permanent year-round residential use should not be privately owned. Whitehead said that while the inventory shows that there should be only limited increase in development on existing private lanes, once the measures are adopted there will be potential for the development of new private lanes in remote areas of the county where there is still waterfront available for development. In receiving the report, members of council noted that it represents a major effort on the part of the consultant and Joe Gallivan. “I think we have persisted in our efforts, and by working with the ministry but not backing down to them, we have saved ourselves the expense of an OMB hearing on our Official Plan, which would have been expensive and might not have yielded a good result. This way we have served our residents' interests while satisfying the ministry. I think we have Joe, and Brian, to thank for this,” said Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle, who was serving as Warden when the County Official Plan was being finalised. Planning Advisory Committee formed Council dealt with the deferred matter of forming a planning advisory committee, the makeup of which was a contentious issue at their meeting in May. One of the changes made to the original proposal was to soften the requirement that each of the four mayors who sit on county council must sit on the advisory committee. In the new version, the mayor can designate the second member of council from their township as the committee member. As well, the scope of the committee's role will be subject to review in two years. On one potentially contentious matter, the version of the committee's mandate that was passed last week is the same as the proposal that was deferred in May. It is the Planning Advisory Committee's role to conduct public hearings on plans of subdivision and plans of condominium, as outlined in the following proposal in the document: “It is also recommended that the PAC also hold the formal public meetings as required by the Planning Act for subdivision and condominium applications. Currently these meetings are held by each township council at the request of the county. Having the PAC hold these meetings will result in a more transparent and accountable process, as the public will be aware that they are speaking to a committee of county council, and that four of the eight county council members will be present at the meeting.”
The Rural Mayors' Forum of Eastern Ontario (RMFEO) met with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), as well as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) at the end of last month to discuss concerns they have with the OPP's new costing formula for billing properties for policing. The RMFEO, in their analysis of the OPP billing model, found some discrepancies between the property counts given by MPAC to the OPP for billing and the population growth they're recognizing in their municipalities. During the meeting, MPAC explained that a property count is the total number of residential units identified on a property, plus the number of commercial and industrial properties identified on the tax roll. A “unit” is defined, by MPAC, as a self-contained residence intended for seasonal or year-round use. MPAC considers basement apartments, house trailers, and cabins, all as separate units under these provincial regulations, which means that one property can have multiple, “billable”, units on it as far as MPAC and the OPP are concerned. As well, each apartment in a condominium building counts as an individual unit, and a residence that doubles as a commercial space is considered two units by these standards. For commercial units, they are counted based on the tax roll so a building may have multiple units in it but is only taxed as one unit by MPAC. The OPP bill municipalities a base service fee, based on these property counts, and then also bill separately for individual calls of service. While the OPP is billing the municipalities based on property counts provided by MPAC, the municipalities aren't necessarily able to recoup this amount through taxation because there is a disparity between property counts and property assessments. Municipalities aren't, currently, taxing properties the same way the OPP looks at them and to do so would require changes to the Municipal Act, MPAC explained. All the parties involved have agreed to continue this discussion and work on some of these issues in hopes that they can reach a consensus on the OPP billing formula.
At a session for municipal staff, council and representatives from the not-for-profit sector that was held at the Frontenac County offices on June 13, Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender introduced the Big Data for Small Places initiative to Frontenac County. The initiative is based on a pilot project that took place in Lanark County, which was run by Bob Leitch and Nelson Rogers of Perth. It is designed to create focus groups of four or five people to be trained in using available statistical information to do two things: identify key factors that pertain to a specific public issue they are passionate about, and to use that data-based insight to deal with that issue or find a way to obtain funding to do so. “As small municipalities we don't have access to the same grants as larger municipalities because we often don't know how to present our case to funders, through data-based evidence,” said Pender. Leitch and Rogers have received a funding boost of $50,000 in seed money from the Rural Ontario Institute and have a commitment of $5,000 from at least three and as many as five eastern Ontario counties. Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville, and Lanark are about to jump on board and Hastings and Peterborough have expressed interest. They are planning to seek further funding to reach about $200,000, which will allow them to work with the local counties to identify four or five problems that need solving, and to train existing personnel how to use data to attack those problems. “Some of those problems will be local in scope, and can be addressed with teams from within one county. Others will be regional and it will be useful to put together teams from two, three or more of the counties,” said Brian Leitch. The process was started with a round table discussion among the 30 or so people at the event, who tried to narrow down a list of 20 or so issues of concern in Frontenac County to a list of five. The list of 20 included transportation, economic development, the impact to tourism, libraries and halls, health hubs, communal servicing and more. After a straw vote, the list was whittled down and small group discussions were set up. While the workshop came to no ultimate conclusions about projects, CAO Pender will follow up and create working groups for the highest profile of the issues that were raised. Participants in the project will receive 24 hours of training in the use of data and will work on specific issues in the fall and early winter, with a goal of identifying a path forward by the end of March of next year.
Wolfe Islanders have struggled over the years to develop and maintain medical services on the island. There are many stories about difficult trips by car, horse and buggy, sleigh, ferry boat or other inventive means of transportation as patients scrambled to get to Kingston when in medical distress. In the early years of the 20th Century there were doctors living on and servicing the island, at least on a part-time basis, but between the late 1930s and the early 1970s there was no consistent service. That all changed in 1972, when Dr. George Merry, who lived on the island and had a medical practice in Kingston, approached the local council and asked them to look into the cost of establishing a medical facility on the island. A public meeting was called and 200 people attended. Eventually $12,000 was raised, enough money to purchase a 12 ft. by 52 ft. trailer, which was initially located on Dr. Merry's property. The clinic was stocked with supplies over the years and was staffed by Dr. Merry and his wife Catherine, who was a nurse. When Dr. Merry took on more responsibilities in Kingston and was no longer able to offer services on the island, the trailer was moved to a location next to the fire hall and ambulance base at the edge of Marysville, on land that was donated by Mildred Hawkins-Walton and Keith Walton. A succession of doctors offered service in the trailer, until it burned down in 2008. Within two years a new facility was in place, and in 2013 the most modern version of the clinic re-opened at that same site. Currently, Dr. Deanna Russell holds clinic hours one day a week and has about 200 patients on roster at the clinic. There is also a nurse practitioner available for part of another day, funded by the clinic itself. One Friday a month, Frontenac Paramedic Services provides a checkup service for certain chronic conditions as part of its community para-medicine project, and every second Friday, a blood clinic run by Life Labs is held at the centre. Linda Thomas is the chair of the eight-member Wolfe Island Medical Services Board. She moved to Wolfe Island 17 years ago and has done a lot of volunteer work since then. She said, “One thing led to another and I ended up on this board and then chairing it. It is a very good, hard working board, and we have volunteers who help us provide service. We have receptionists, people who help with maintenance; everything we do requires a volunteer effort.” Since the board receives no outside funding, it uses fundraising to provide for the upkeep of the building and for the nurse practitioner service. Its major fund-raising event of the year, the Wolfe Island Classic, is a running race that will take place on July 3 this year. Thomas feels that Wolfe Island residents are under-served as opposed to other residents of Kingston and Frontenac County. Certainly, compared to residents of Frontenac County who are rostered into any of the Family Health Organiz (FHO) clinics - the Sydenham and Verona clinics and the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team - Wolfe Islanders do not have the benefit of everyday service by doctors, nurse practitioners, dieticians, registered nurses, and other services that are available. They must travel to Kingston. “I feel we can make an argument that we are remote, in terms of time if not distance,” said Thomas. One of the difficulties that Islanders face is their limited numbers, and the fact that many are used to travelling to Kingston for emergency and ongoing medical and social services. “We keep on working, however, and trying to bring more service to the island and trying to keep this building in use as much as we can,” she said. While the municipality of Frontenac Islands does not fund the clinic, they have in recent years decided to rebate the property taxes that the clinic pays, which has been a big help, according to Linda Thomas.
Bottle collection at waste sites A proposal from the Land O'Lakes Lions Club to collect beer, wine, and spirits bottles from the Kaladar waste site was well received by Council, but there are some complications. “The Lions brought a large three-sided box with a lid to the waste site,” said Roads and Waste site manager Royce Rosenblath, “but we need to know where to place it and how to encourage the public to use it. There is a cost to having staff separating recycling, however.” “Township staff should not be looking after it at all,” said Councilor Bill Cox. “I could see doing it on a trial basis as long as staff aren't impacted. I'd suggest they put a sign there, telling the public where to deposit the bottles,” said Councilor Tony Fritsch. Council decided to give the go-ahead to the Lions to collect the bottles on a trial basis at a location to be determined by staff, with appropriate signage. More bylaw exemption talk The township received a letter from the Mazinaw Lake Resort asking if the noise bylaw could be exempted for a second night this summer. The township has already approved an exemption for one event this summer, although as Clerk Christine Reed pointed out, the township has not yet been informed about the date of the event. “I think we would cause an upset if we approved this, after the response from some of the public that we heard at our last meeting,” said Reeve Henry Hogg. “They have the stage around, apparently, as we requested,” said Bill Cox. Council did not approve the request for a second noise bylaw exemption. More bylaw requests At the previous meeting, Council approved the use of the Denbigh Park for the Hermer wedding on September 3, and at this meeting Cheryl Hermer's request for an exemption from the noise bylaw to allow for amplified music at the wedding was considered. The request was for an exemption until midnight, but in the name of consistency, Council only approved the exemption until 11 pm. Ambulance safe for the time being Reeve Hogg reported that Lennox and Addington County Council approved an extension of the Loyalist Township Service to 24 hours, up from the 12 hours a day that has been in place. The hours are not, however, being taken from the 12 hour service that is offered out of Denbigh. “The Denbigh service is safe, for now,” said Hogg. Missing from the changes is a plan for the Township of Stone Mills, which has been identified as an under-served area. It is covered by bases in Napanee, Loyalist, Sydenham, Parham and Northbrook, but all of those bases are 15 minutes or more from the border with Stone Mills. The accepted provincial target for rural ambulance service is 30 minutes or less, 90% of the time. Chloride is coming to township roads, but not this week The dry spring has led to a higher than normal number of calls to the roads department for this time of year asking for chloride dust suppressant to be applied. Royce Rosenblath said that it will take another week to complete grading and then the suppressant will be applied. “I know people are concerned. It's the driest I've ever seen it at this time of year,” he said.
North Addington Education Centre has been certified as an Ontario EcoSchool for the eighth year in a row. NAEC has received Silver certification for 2015-2016. North Addington Education Centre recently applied for EcoSchool certification. EcoSchools is an environmental education program in Ontario that helps students and schools to become more environmentally friendly. To become a certified EcoSchool the school must show achievement in leadership, energy conservation, waste minimization, ecological literacy, curriculum and school ground greening. NAEC showed their commitment to the environment throughout the 2015-2016 school year through events such as National Sweater Day, Earth Hour and Earth Day. “I am so proud of our students. It takes a lot of hard work over a long period of time to earn certification. This type of commitment to the school, the community and the environment is fantastic. Thank you to Ms. Randle and her hard-working team,” said Angela Salmond, principal at NAEC. EcoSchools is a voluntary program led by teachers and volunteers at schools across Ontario.
Gardens are never made by sitting in the shade and our local Land O’Lakes Garden Club members are prime examples of busy folks. The months of April, May and June are chock-a-block full of jobs as we cleaned up from winter, prepared the soil for planting and finally got to the best occupation -planting new seeds and plants. An early morning line up was the order of the day on May 28 at our annual plant sale. Promptly at 9am the doors of Barrie Hall opened to a crowd of shoppers. Thank you to all our members and non-members who donated plants for this great cause. Our membership knows just what buyers want and spend enormous amounts of time separating and replanting vigorous specimens from their own gardens in pots. Remember these plants are acclimatized to our local conditions and will not be like fussy plants from further afield that take time to adjust to our acidic soil. This was my first year and I was astonished by the number and quality of the plants for sale. The Don Cuddy family of Harlowe did an amazing job of starting vegetable seedlings and we were privileged to be the recipients of many beautiful heirloom tomato plants, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants and herbs to sell. This is a generous donation from the Cuddys that is very much appreciated by our garden club. For those of you who missed the sale, don’t forget it next year, as you will find a wide variety of plant and vegetable seedlings at nominal expense. We hold the plant sale every year on the Saturday after the May long weekend, so mark your calendars for next year. By then you can pop those tomato plants into the garden, as frost danger is normally past. What a great way to build a garden and provide you and your family with delicious home grown produce. There are plenty of helpers at the sale to answer your garden questions and get you started producing food. The money we earn is turned back into the community in various ways and some of it goes toward a bursary for children interested in pursuing their post-secondary education in the Environmental and Horticulture fields. We hope you notice the community planters that dot our neighbourhoods. They are the rectangular black boxes, like the one in front of the Cloyne Post Office. Freshly touched up for the summer, with renewed soil and compost, they were well planted by our member teams on June 3 with beautiful annuals. Local businesses donate a small fee, which goes directly to our expenses in filling the planters, and we are grateful to every business and individual who makes that possible. When you see a planter in front of one of our local business locations, please make a comment to the owner as this beautifies our community and those folks are instrumental in making that happen. Business owners assume the responsibility of watering the planters throughout the summer while our member teams check on them periodically to ensure all’s well and blooming. Take a walk along Little Pond Road and wander through the lovely little Pioneer Cemetery that members have lovingly restored. From an overgrown bush it has been transformed and every year we make improvements. This year you would have found many volunteer members moving gravel to renew the pathways as well as enjoying a great lunch. Do have a look! Besides all the planting we have been up to, a big and exciting project is planned and underway for our Canadian 150th Birthday of Confederation. We are keeping the details under wraps for now but want to make a special thank you to Brad Douglas of Home Hardware in Northbrook for making a wonderful donation toward our objective. Thank you Brad! A couple of things we can tell you are: It will be a show-stopper and the community will be invited to the opening. Watch this newspaper for more details as the summer progresses. And one other thing: think about planting all your gardens with red and white next year, and get your order in at the local nursery early as the entire population of Canada is thinking the same thing. Growers are anticipating the demand but it never hurts to remind them you will want red and white. What a display it would be if we all made this happen. Pine Meadow Nursing Home is blooming too, thanks to our wonderful volunteer members. There is no one that is without a job helping out in these spring months in our garden club. You need to know that our levels of experience in gardening and our interests in what we grow are wide-ranging. Some have gardened a lifetime; some a few weeks. Some members love a vegetable patch; others care for growing cut flowers. Maybe there is an interest in shrubbery or herbs or just an interest in hearing our monthly speaker and having some social time. We gladly accept all visitors and hope you stay and decide to join our group. There is nothing better than sharing growing knowledge with someone who likes the dirt! We meet every 2nd Thursday of the month, April through November, at the Pineview Free Methodist Church at 7pm. Join us. Our welcome mat is out.
For the first time, 10 North Addington Education Centre photography students will be featuring their photography and graphic art in the Bon Echo Art Exhibition and Sale. Students have been collecting photos they’ve taken in and outside of their photography class to submit for this show. The photos range from beautiful perspectives of our Canadian landscape, to abstract light graffiti pieces. This is not the first time NAEC students have had their art displayed for the community to see. Thirteen students had 18 photographs of 50 entries from all participating schools selected for the Students’ Spring Art Exhibition 2016 at the Lennox and Addington County General Hospital, in Napanee. "It is an amazing opportunity for us to be able to show off our photography," said Terri-Lynn, "I am thrilled that I can show my photographs to the community!" Come visit their booth at the Bon Echo Art Exhibition and Sale on July 22, 23 and 24!