Two artists, both photographers, presently have their work on display at the Southern Frontenac Comm...
submitted by the Pioneer Museum The museum will only be open a few more weeks and many folks have n...
by Helen Parfitt Sydenham Lake Canoe Club’s Coach’s Junior Sprint Canoeist, Cia Myles-Gonzalez, who...
North Frontenac tax levy to go up by 3% Most of increase devoted to long-term needs While the levy to ratepayers in North Frontenac is going up by 3% this year, the operating budgets of township departments have been trimmed. As part of the asset management strategy that Council took on late last year, North Frontenac has set aside 2% of the money they raise from taxation to put in a fund to cover replacement costs for all roads, bridges and buildings that the township owns. That left a tax increase for township operations of $53,214 (1.06%), even as a number of fixed costs went up. “There was some new spending, including $15,000 as part of our doctor recruitment commitment for the Lakelands Health Team and $54,000 for playground equipment, which will only be spent if we get a grant that we have applied for,” said township Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson. “In order to keep from a larger increase in the levy each department was asked to find cuts, which they did. There were no cuts to service, but it will be a lean year this year.” The township's draft budget, which will include a total levy of $5.2 million to North Frontenac ratepayers, was approved in principle at a meeting of council on Monday (April 7) and will be presented for public comment at the beginning of the next council meeting on April 28. It is anticipated that the budget document will be approved by bylaw at that time. The two other components of the tax bill that goes to North Frontenac ratepayers, county and education taxes, are each up by about $35,000 this year, for a total increase of $125,000 to be split among all the township's ratepayers. Pine Lake It's been almost eight years since members of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation occupied a piece of public land adjacent to a boat launch at Pine Lake, off Ardoch Road. The small property, which is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, (MNR) has continued to be used as a boat launch and there is a small road running over it between Ardoch Road and the lake. Back in 2006, the Ardoch Algonquins asserted an Aboriginal claim to the property by cutting trees and putting up a portable metal building. Their stated intention was to establish a band office on the property. But nothing has happened on the property for a number of years, except that brush has grown where the trees had been cleared. The portable building has remained but has not been used at all. In February, the township authorized CAO Cheryl Robson to write the MNR asking that the portable be removed. “Council requests that MNR remove this derelict portable from this property, at your earliest possible convenience,” said Cheryl Robson in a letter to Michael Gatt of the Bancroft ministry office. Last week a letter of response came from Suzy Shalla, Resources Management Supervisor in Bancroft. “I did want to respond to thank you and the Council for bringing forward your concerns regarding the structure located near the boat launch at Pine Lake. MNR is aware of the structure that is located there, however we will not be pursuing removal of the building at this time.” Township office remediation update - Township staff remain housed in portable offices as well as a temporary office in the Clar-Mill fire hall as Service Master and Concord Engineering continue to work on the heating oil spill that took place in early February. Council received a report from Concord Engineering which says that there is no evidence that the ground under the building has been contaminated, but a number of walls and some flooring has been removed as part of ongoing clean-up efforts. There is no time frame for the completion of repairs, which are all covered by the township's insurance policy. Ompah fire hall and community hall back to square one Council soundly rejected two proposals for upgrades to the Ompah fire hall/community hall property. The first proposal, which came in response to a tender for repairs and upgrades, would have cost $360,000. It was supported by Councilor John Inglis and rejected by the rest of Council. The second proposal, which was put forward by Councillor Wayne Good, would have capped spending on upgrades at $50,000, inclusive of a $10,000 accessibility expenditures that is mandated by the Province of Ontario. Although Council has put aside over $200,000 for the project, Good wanted to redirect that money to build a new township office. Good pointed out that there is only one trained firefighter living within a 5 km radius of the hall, and a limited capacity hall would serve the community needs. His proposal was supported by himself, and no one else. Councilor Betty Hunter then proposed that $180,000 be spent on the hall, and that the Ompah fire hall task force, which came up with the proposal that led to the $360,000 tender, be brought back together to figure out how to spend only $180,000 on the building, and do so this year. Her motion was accepted. An additional $50,000 has been pledged by the Ompah volunteers, and there remains an additional $10,000 available for accessibility features.
Septic re-inspection program Ed Gardiner, from Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health, made a proposal to council for a mandatory septic re-inspection program. Until now the township has been contracting with the Mississippi-Rideau Septic System office for a voluntary program. But each of the last two years the number of systems inspected has lagged below the target because a number of landowners have been unresponsive to repeated attempts to engage them in a re-inspection. Changes to Ontario legislation have permitted municipalities to engage in mandatory programs if they choose to do so. One of the stipulations is that the re-inspections be done by the same agency that is responsible for approvals to new septic systems. In the case of North Frontenac that agency is KFL&A Public Health. Gardiner said that it would cost the township $12,000 per year for the health unit to complete 160 inspections, with a focus on inspecting high risk systems, properties with no record of approved sewage systems, or properties with systems that are over 20 years old. He said that the program would be run out of the KFL&A office in Cloyne and that inspection reports would be sent to the landowner and the township. As far as enforcement is concerned Ed Gardiner said that if a report says remedial action is required, “a reasonable amount of time, determined by the township chief building official,” should be given. “If no action is taken the chief building official or the inspector will issue an order to comply,” he said. The township has now received two proposals, one from Mississippi-Rideau and one from KFL&A Public Health. In order to proceed they will have to choose one or the other to do all of their inspection work, on new and old systems. Planner ready to go to the OMB if necessary Joe Gallivan, the planner for Frontenac County, presented the second draft of the Frontenac County Official Plan to Council. Gallivan said the plan, which sets out a policy framework and leaves most of the detailed information to the township plan, has been submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for comment. Based on the response of the ministry to the Renfrew County Official Plan, and the North Frontenac Official Plan, Gallivan said he is concerned about how the ministry will likely respond to the approach the county is taking. “Frankly I'm not that optimistic at this point. It might be that we end up with an OMB challenge on this.” Two issues are of major concern to Gallivan, and to North Frontenac, who are at an impasse with the ministry with their own plan. One is the ministry position that no new development shall be permitted on private roads, even if there are strong rules in place about the quality and width of those roads. The other deals with the ministry's insistence that development be oriented to hamlets and villages, “which is totally contrary to the demand for development on the ground in places like Frontenac County,” Gallivan said. Construction up in 2013 Building permits were issued for over $7.3 million worth of construction in 2013, including six new inland and 20 new waterfront residences. The total for 2012 was $6.3 million. Mayor talks about County Mayor Clayton, who is also the Warden of Frontenac County, said he remains frustrated about the county budget process. “I still feel there is some push back from some of the managers at the county. When we ask them to make cuts they come back with reasons why it is impossible to make any. All we are asking of the two major programs, Fairmount Home and land ambulance, is that they bring costs to the average of costs among services of comparative size, instead of above the average. I think the administration of both programs could be a bit top-heavy,” he said. In summing up a strategic planning session, Clayton said, “There is an expression that goes 'if the people won't change, change the people'. There may be something that needs to happen like that.” War memorial funding frustration Councilor Gerry Martin has been chairing a task force that has been developing a proposal for a war memorial in the township for the past year. The task force was planning to submit an application for funding to the Community War Memorial Program, a five-year granting program administered by Veterans' Affairs Canada that was set to run until 2015. However, when the task force contacted Veterans' Affairs in January, seeking an application form for the program, they received the response that “unfortunately the Community War Memorial Program is no longer accepting funding applications due to higher than anticipated demand.” Martin prepared a letter to MP Scott Reid asking for his assistance in dealing with Veterans' Affairs on the matter. Council approved the letter.
“I don't know yet,” said Bud Clayton when asked if he was planning to seek re-election as mayor of North Frontenac after one four-year term. “If things remain the way they are now, I would say it would be no, but things can change.” Clayton added that he had not planed to run during the last election in 2010, but decided at the last minute to give former Deputy Mayor Jim Beam a run for his money since there were no other candidates coming forward. He ended up winning. “I don't want to hang on past my best-before date,” Clayton said this week, “but I have not made a final decision by any means.” Gutowski leaning towards running in Central Frontenac “In all likelihood I will be running,” two-time incumbent Janet Gutowski said when asked if she was going to run for a third term as mayor of Central Frontenac. “I'm very committed to this township and I think there is still a lot to be accomplished,” she said. Among the issues that Gutowski will be addressing during the election year are seniors’ housing and the future of service delivery in Central Frontenac. “I can see us seeking partnerships with other townships and a continued role for Frontenac County as well,” she said. “Provincial policies are always impacting us as a township, and the City of Kingston has an impact on our residents on a daily basis because they run our social services. It is only through the county that we can even talk to them; there is no other venue.”
North Frontenac pulls back from hall redundancy. After meeting with user groups from the Snow Road, Harlowe, and Clarendon and Miller halls, North Frontenac Council decided to rescind part of a bylaw they passed last July, which stipulated that the halls were to be declared as surplus property in the future. Mayor Clayton had maintained that declaring the halls surplus did not necessarily mean they would be closing, only that they would no longer be in line for re-building at the end of their useful life. However, he has also talked about a township preference for building a single, central hall and township office. Councilors have been hearing from hall users ever since the bylaw was passed in July, and at their meeting the clause about declaring the halls surplus was removed. Asset management plan finalized Vicki Leakey, from KPMG, presented the final version of the North Frontenac Asset Management Plan to council. Municipalities in Ontario are required to have these plans in place if they are to be eligible for provincial infrastructure grants next year. Some municipalities have produced basic documents that were created by sending data to a consulting firm and receiving a template-based document back. In North Frontenac's case, KPMG has met extensively with staff and council and the plan has been under development all year. The North Frontenac plan encompasses paved roads, bridges, equipment, and all township-owned buildings. Next year information about gravel roads will be added. Leakey's report concludes, as she told council last month when presenting a draft, that the township has done a good job of investing in infrastructure needs over the last 10 years, and by parceling off an added 2% in taxation towards infrastructure spending into the future, they will come closer to keeping up with the requirement for rebuilding roads, bridges, equipment, and buildings as they age and need to be replaced. Leakey costed out the rebuilding at $7.5 million. “There is not a municipality in Ontario that is not falling behind, at least to some extent, and North Frontenac is probably doing better than most,” Leakey said. One factor that is not in North Frontenac's favour is its negative growth rate, which among other things, means less money is available from property taxes. The report presented it in stark terms. “While the province's population increased by 19.5% between 1996 and 2011, North Frontenac's population dropped by 3.9%.” And those who remain in North Frontenac are ageing. Thirty-nine percent of the total personal income among township residents is derived from pensions, while the provincial average is 14%. “The greater reliance on fixed income pension reduces the ability of the municipality to raise funds through taxation,” said Leakey's report. OPP billing questions The township supported efforts by other municipalities to scuttle a proposed new billing system for OPP services that would see the township charged on a per household basis, including seasonal as well as permanent residents. Township staff calculate this would bring the North Frontenac bill from $205,000 to $1.15 million - a 458% increase. “It's funny how they bill us for the seasonal residents but when it comes to grants they look only at our permanent residents,” said Mayor Clayton. “They like to play both sides of the coin.”
One of the misconceptions about kids' hockey that the volunteer board of the Frontenac Minor Hockey Association (FMHA) is trying to overcome is that getting kids into hockey is an expensive proposition. It costs $100 to sign up children in the Learn to Skate program; $300 for the Tyke league; and even for teenaged youth the $500 annual cost is not that high considering that the season runs for six months and includes practices and games each week. Cheryl Hallam, a hockey parent and communications co-ordinator for Frontenac Minor Hockey, moved to South Frontenac with her husband and two children three years ago. “We were paying $875 for our six-year-old son in Calgary,” she said. “It is more affordable here.” The Flyers hold a used equipment sale in September, which helps defray the cost of new equipment for young players just starting out in the game. “It is very important for the future of our league to bring young children to the game. We emphasize learning the game and having fun for boys and girls,” she said. “It's kind of a neat little gem of a house league that we have over here. The kids get to play in rinks around the region and at the Frontenac Arena, and there is a lot of camaraderie among the parents.” Al Pixley is the current FMHA President, having taken on the role last year. He has been involved in hockey in Piccadilly at the Frontenac Arena, as a player and a coach, pretty much all of his life. He says the current executive has the goal of “trying to create as many fun experiences for the kids as possible.” He said that the Learn to Skate program provides a good opportunity for children who are not ready or not sure about playing in a league to get out and learn to skate with their parents. It runs for 10 weeks starting in October. "The more we can get kids skating the better it is for us, and for them.” Children of any age, even those with no hockey experience, can play Frontenac hockey. The players attend clinics in September and then are evaluated. The teams are then made up, with an emphasis on making teams that will be competitive with each other. The Flyers play with other rural teams that rim Kingston, including Gananoque, Deseronto, Tamworth and Amhersview, and the Flyers are fortunate to have had multiple teams in each division in recent years, a tradition that the team's executive is keen to keep going. They are working hard to register children from North, South, and Central Frontenac. Online registration is available at Frontenachockey.ca along with details about the team and multiple ways to contact team officials, who are happy to answer any questions about how the league works. They can also help parents navigate through a new initiative from Hockey Canada this year, Respect in Sport, a mandatory online session that at least one parent must take before their children can register this year. “Respect in Sport fits with the goal of making sure hockey is fun and healthy for the players, coaches and parents. It is an imposition on families to take the course, but it is not long or difficult to take. It is just Hockey Canada's way of reinforcing the values that make hockey a Canadian tradition that endures,” said Cheryl Hallam. For further information, email
by Gary Giller Beginning Thurs., Sept., 11 at the Sharbot Lake Legion, the Center Stage Cafe will once again be providing an evening of live music on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Hosted by the Feral Five (Terry Reynolds, Jim MacPherson, Dennis Laroque, Dave Limber and Gary Giller) the Center Stage Cafe is designed to provide a venue for good quality, amateur, musical entertainment. The evening runs from 7-9:30 pm, and admission is $5 at the door. Running for its 3rd consecutive year, the Cafe has enjoyed a wide variety of local musicians, and has received great audience support from the community. Thurs., Sept. 11 will feature well known musician, Adrian O'Connell, who is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser with his resonant voice, wonderful musicianship and varied, folk-based repertoire. O'Connell is a former member of the Irish-Scottish group, The Clansmen, and the Irish Rovers group. Thurs., Oct. 9 will see Rob and Nancy Moore return again to the Cafe stage backed by their recently formed band made up of Gabby White (fiddle and vocals), Dan Keeler (lead guitar), Mike Dellios (bass) and Nathan Paul (drums). The audience is sure to be delighted by the combination of this accomplished group of musicians as they add a wonderful fullness to Nancy's angelic vocals. To close off the fall series, Thurs., Nov. 13 will feature the cover band, One Busted Ego. Consisting of Adam Lake (guitar & vocals), Joe Normalie (drums & vocals), Steve Curtis (lead guitar & vocals), Marc Giroux (guitar & vocals) and Tom Baird (bass & vocals), this newly formed band is really impressing its audiences with its easily recognized country and rock tunes. Opening and closing each evening, the Feral Five usually starts off with a set of eclectic songs for the audience's listening pleasure, but makes sure to end off the night with a set list designed to get folks burning up energy on the dance floor. If you enjoy live music, be sure to set aside the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Sharbot Lake Legion. It's well worth the modest price of admission.
Last week, Central Frontenac Council decided to stay an order to remove two miniature horses from a property on Clarke Rd. Margaret Mallory and Brian Skillen have been keeping the horses on their one-acre property and petitioned the township to allow them to keep them. Council asked township staff to report back on whether this constitutes an “agricultural use”, which would require a minimum lot size of four hectares (9.9 acres). Council is considering changing the bylaw or fine tuning the definition of agricultural use to exclude animals that are being kept as pets, as the horses are. Two people read the account of this debate with interest, for different reasons. One of those people is Peter Lister, who was one of the very few in the audience at the meeting who was not there to support Mallory and Skillen. In fact it was Peter Lister who made the complaint that activated the bylaw officer to order the miniature horses removed in the first place. “I have nothing against the horses,” he said later when interviewed at his home, which is next to the home of Mallory and Skillen, “nor do I have anything against the people living there. My problem is with the potential effect of those horses on my water and on the water in Big Clear Lake.” As was reported last week, the Ministry of the Environment will be investigating the matter, not because of the bylaw but because the wellhead on the property in question is located in the same converted garage where the miniature horses, Teddy and Tommy, are stabled. Lister's concern is based on the fact that his own well is the same depth as the well on the neighbouring property and he is concerned it might be the same vein that feeds both wells, making his well subject to potential contamination. “I am trying to sell my house and if anything happens to the water that would be the end of my sale,” he said, “and I would be left with contaminated drinking water.” Lister said that he has been testing his well water every week since the spring, when he became concerned, and thus far the tests have come back clean. “The garage also backs onto a flood plain that drains directly into Big Clear Lake,” Lister said, pointing to the back of the properties, “and the animal waste can feed into the lake.” We attempted to contact Mr. Skillen to comment on the concerns raised by Peter Lister, but were unsuccessful thus far. If two horses are ok, what about six goats? Shawn Blackburn also read the article last week, and called us to talk about his brush with the bylaw officer. Blackburn lives with his wife Julie and daughter Christina on Brock Road close to Mountain Grove. Last month he was served with an order from the Central Frontenac bylaw officer to remove the pet goats that he has had on his three-acre property for the past 18 months. “I have permission from my neighbour to use 10 acres of his property, which backs onto mine, in order to get the township off my back,” he said, taking a break from doing some excavator work in preparation for putting up a fence around his neighbour's field. The order from the township requires that the animals are removed by August 23, and Blackburn does not know what will happen then. He has been working on a combine in Saskatchewan and will be flying back there to work until the season ends in mid-November. He is hoping the township will give him enough time to find a way to comply with the bylaw. Blackburn does not know who complained about the goats, which he keeps in a penned-in yard next to his house. The six goats started off as two goats, Billy and Daisy, who were purchased as pets for Christina, but now there are six, two of which, twins Bob and Burt, are set to be given away. “We're going to fix the males so we'll have four left,” said Blackburn, adding that the animals are kept entirely as pets, not for milk or meat or any other agricultural use. “I'll do what I have to to keep them; my daughter is very attached to them. She pampers them; she feeds them by hand. We all do.”
Visitors to the special Heritage Day at the Sharbot Lake Farmers Market on August 16 got a chance to see why throwing razor-sharp wooden-handled instruments around is fast becoming a trendy activity. Mike Procter gave tomahawk-throwing demonstrations where guests were taught how to properly and safely throw a tomahawk at a wooden target, and it is easy to see why the activity is catching on. Mike Procter has been throwing tomahawks at targets for close to 15 years and this year he took home the Bob Gregory Provincial Tomahawk Trophy after placing first at the Ontario Muzzle Loading Association’s tomahawk throwing competition, which took place in Chatham on the August long weekend. Mike competed against 16 other throwers from across the province and scored nine points after his fourth effort, which clinched his first place win. Procter has won the trophy for the last three consecutive years, every year he has attended. Procter, who is well known for his love of everything heritage, said he loves the simplicity of the activity. “It doesn't take a whole lot of equipment but requires skill that comes from a lot of practice.” He has a target set up in his backyard and tosses tomahawks all summer long. He said he enjoys the exercise, the concentration involved and the fact that the activity has put him in touch with other like-minded folk who enjoy traditional heritage activities. “Back in the 1700 and 1800's, tomahawk throwing was a pastime. You'd never throw them during a battle because you would lose your weapon but being a good thrower was a form of intimidation for sure.” Last year when Procter was fundraising for his three daughters' annual Swim of Hope, he set up a tomahawk-throwing fundraising event that attracted several people who have since come together to form a Sharbot Lake group of knife throwers. The group has yet to be named but likely will be called the United Sharbot Lake Knife Throwers. They meet regularly and toss knives at a target, honing their skills and having a bit of social fun. “The guys love throwing knives and now we throw both knives and tomahawks. When the guys first joined they couldn't hit a thing but since we've been meeting they have really improved,” Procter said. The group presently has five members and is open to anyone. Interested parties are invited to contact Mike Procter at 613-279-2572. Currently the members are in the process of making their own traditional throwing knives from tempered steel. They will be longer and heavier than modern throwing knives. The targets used are playing cards mounted on wooden stumps and points are awarded for hitting the target and/or hitting or cutting the card. Safety when tossing lethal metal-bladed tools around is key and the throwing booth at the market included a back screen as well as a roped-off throwing section. When he is not tossing tomahawks around Procter also makes bows and atladdles, which are long flexible spears that are thrown with a stick. Procter also tans hides and makes all of his own heritage equipment. Also present for Heritage Day at the market was heritage enthusiast Bob Miller, who was showing off rifles, muskets and other historical items, all hand-made by himself. His display included common heritage trade items like copper kettles, woolen blankets, hatchets, axes, bone powder horns and other horn containers, which Miller said were the “plastic of the day and used for things needed to be kept dry like gun powder, salt and pepper and more.” Miller gave heritage fire-making demonstrations with flint and steel and shredded hemp, and visitors to his booth had a chance to try it themselves. Miller is a member of the Pioneer Gathering group and he said he became involved with heritage activities when he fell in love with the history that got us here. “What particularly interested me was how people came here with practically nothing and still managed to survive and thrive.” Miller's display along with Procter's tomahawk tossing booth attracted numerous curious visitors to the special Heritage Day market.
Keeping the steam engine heritage alive There is a small, rough dirt road next to the pristine Battersea baseball field that leads to an overflow parking lot for the Battersea Pumpkin Festival. Last Sunday about 15 cars were parked in that field, which opens up to reveal the raised and ground level tracks that have been built by members of the Frontenac Society of Model Engineers (FSME) Members of the society, along with some of their compatriots from the Ottawa Association, were enjoying their monthly session running their miniature steam trains along the two tracks. The FSME owns a train that runs on the ground tracks and is becoming familiar to Frontenac County residents. It has been brought out to Canada Day in Sydenham and the Verona Festival to run on portable tracks and take children (and their parents) on rides. On this Sunday the train was running on the track that the FSME has constructed on the site. The track lacks one section to become a complete loop so the train was running to the end of the line and then backwards to the start, taking some visitors on rides in the afternoon, as the sun peeked through the clouds after a long stretch of rainy weather last week. FSME members are hoping to get the track finished by the time the Pumpkin Festival rolls around this fall. In the centre of the field, three men were working on their smaller trains on side tracks, making sure all the elements were operating as planned before setting off on the loop. When the coal was burning hot, and the steam was ready to push the pistons, the men climbed onto the seats behind the locomotives, let the throttle out and off they went around the track, slowly at first but eventually at a brisk clip around and around the track. The FSME began building their tracks and using the Battersea location about four years ago. Before that they were affiliated with the Steam Pump museum in Kingston but found they had to move. They approached the Township of South Frontenac and came to an agreement. They have the run of the Battersea site, and in exchange they are an attraction in at least two township events each year. They have followed all township guidelines, even undertaking an assessment for the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority before building their rail bed and track at the site. The hobby incorporates a love of making things mechanical along with a fascination with steam engines, which were a fundamental technology not that long ago in Frontenac County, and in Canada and the rest of the world - a technology that is gone but not forgotten by model engineers. One of the priorities of the FSME is to bring new people into the hobby. Members are keen to share what they have learned, and the club owns its own train so it is not necessary to spend money buying a train or building one from a kit before joining the club. Graham Copley, one of the engineers who came out to Battersea on Sunday from Ottawa, where he is on the executive of his own club, described the appeal of the hobby in an article he wrote for the Ottawa Citizen earlier this year. “Members have an enormous range of skills and so here’s your chance to build something, for example an engine or an item of rolling stock. The hobby of model engineering can be delightful and fulfilling. There is a very wide scope of opportunity for you to join like-minded souls and maybe it’s time to revive your long unused wood-working or metal-working skills. Or you can take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the diverse membership. If that’s not your bag there are still lots of other non-technical things for you to get involved in. Model engineers are a social bunch both at the track in the summer and at winter meetings in members’ homes, all of which fosters a great sense of camaraderie. For further information about the FCME contact the club president, Phil Ibbitson at
Two artists, both photographers, presently have their work on display at the Southern Frontenac Community Services Grace Centre in Sydenham. One half of the main hall showcases the works of Ryan Wilkinson, who unfortunately due to a family emergency, was unable to attend the artists' talk there on August 16. In his absence Wilma Kenny, a member of the Grace Centre Arts Committee, read an artist's statement by him in which he spoke about the importance of art and why he makes it. In the statement he said,” Art is something of beauty and it is something needed more and more in this world. It is a way to celebrate our successes; it's a way to showcase who we are individually though our eyes, our stories and our emotions. Art for me is a way to bring peace into the world. It is an opportunity to collectively see into the souls and hearts of our friends, loved ones and strangers.” Wilkinson's pictures include portraits, landscapes and urban scenes that are as wonder-inducing as they are carefully composed and their varied subject matter inspires viewers to look more carefully at the world and the people that inhabit it. One piece titled “Surf”, a black and white image of a couple in full stride heading to the water's edge, one carrying a surf board, captures a determination and eerie intensity perhaps not understood by those who do not surf. Similarly a portrait titled “Pondering”, of a smoker gazing upwards in what looks like a foreign land, speaks to the beauty, mystery and inspiration that can be found on a stranger's face, in a strange land. In closing his statement Wilkinson said, “Continue to make art in any form and, do it for you.” Photographer Louise Day was present for the talk and spoke about what inspires her work. Taught by renowned artist Kim Ondaatje, Day's best works tend to be more abstract and many of her best pieces take as their subject matter the beauty and intricacies of the marks of mother nature. Frost patterns are front and centre in Louise's half of the hall. Her large photographs of these intricate and colorful designs often captured on window panes are a sight to behold. Their lacy, sometimes symmetrical, but more often asymmetrical patterns look like abstract paintings, the colors subtle and dewy as though applied with an airbrush, the patterns wild and wonderful and encouraging the viewer to examine the work ever closer in the hopes of better understanding the mystery of these amazing natural formations. One newer work of melted frost bubbles is especially sharp and the bubbles seem to cling as if by magic to the background surface, looking as if they might just bounce right out of the frame at any moment. The Grace Centre continues to bring a wide variety of local artists' work to the general public and there is no better space for art lovers to behold fine art than at the main hall. The photography show will be on display until September 22. The Grace Centre is located at 4295 Stagecoach Road in Sydenham and since the hall is often used for regular daily programming it is best to call 613-376-6477 to find out the best times to visit.
The Drew Cumpson Indiegogo fundraising campaign is set to end in 5 days, and the goal of $35,000 is within reach. As of Tuesday evening, August 19, the total raised was $28,370, only $6,830 short of the goal. That's quite a jump from the $7,500 that had been raised back in July when the first story about the campaign ran in the Frontenac News. Since then the campaign has been embraced in Kingston, where Drew lives, in Guelph, where he is enrolled in university, as well as in Frontenac County, where he is from. The original plan was to spend the money raised on the operation to implant a diaphragmatic pacemaker into Drew so that he would not need to be on a respirator. This would enable him to leave St. Mary's Hospital, move in with his family and continue his education at Guelph University. While the campaign has been going, he has heard that the cost of the operation may be covered by OHIP so some of the money raised may be diverted to other needs he has, which are many. He is still working on the fundraising campaign, but is also working to find a location and make further arrangements for his operation. The campaign is receiving a boost in its final days through the efforts of the Leaders in Training at the Sydenham Canoe Club summer camp. They ran barbeques at the camp and each camper paid $5 for the lunch. The $300 proceeds will be given to Drew. “Some parents even sent along some extra money when they heard that the proceeds were going to a good cause”, said one of the fund-raising team members Ian Ramzy. “It isn’t much, but every little bit counts” Some of the older campers, LIT and coaches remember Drew from when he used to work at the Township of South Frontenac Day Camp held at Sydenham Point. “He was very athletic. and he was always smiling and singing”, said Kayleen Lambert of the Canoe Cub. “He was really good to the kids. The younger campers had never met him, but were intrigued by the description of the lung pacemaker, and were saddened to hear that he would be unable to go home until he has this device.”
by Maddie Field-Green On August 15 at the Sydenham Library, a spectacular Puppet Show Extravaganza hit the stage! The show was fox-themed and featured KFPL puppeteers Brenda Macdonald and Margi Mckay. There were over 30 kids and over 20 parents in the audience. It was a rainy day but that didn’t deter the crowd as they sang, “If all of the rain drops were lemon drops and gum drops, oh! What a rain it would be.” The first performance was one of Aesop’s Fables, "Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes", retold and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. The story follows a fox as he attempts to retrieve a bunch of grapes while dismissing his friend’s suggestions. Eventually, he gives up and leaves. Meanwhile, his friends discuss each other’s plans and decide that the mouse’s idea was the best. They retrieve the grapes while working together and attempt to cheer up their old friend, the fox. During the intermission, Margi read "Hattie and the Fox" by Mem Fox. Clearly, they were intent on sticking to the “Fox” theme. The final show of the day was an adaptation of the pop hit, "What does the Fox Say?" by Norwegian comedy duo, Ylves. The show was completely hilarious. The audience was enthralled and credit must go to the puppeteers, as the song goes very quickly!
Close to 50 trail users and numerous members of staff from the County of Frontenac and Township of South Frontenac, along with other dignitaries attended the festive official opening of Phase ll of the Frontenac K&P Trail, which took place at the bridge at Hardwood Creek in Verona on August 9. The K& P trail is part of the Trans-Canada Trail in Ontario, which extends over 2000 kilometres and connects numerous communities across the province from Windsor to Ottawa. This phase completes one of the last gaps of the trail in Ontario. South Frontenac Councilor Allan McPhail, who has chaired the County of Frontenac Advisory Committee for Trails, has seen the trail expand from Orser Road in Kingston up to Verona in his four years as chair. Phase ll of the project extended the trail from Harrowsmith in an 11 kilometre stretch to Verona and included the rebuilding of the Hardwood Creek bridge, which had been removed by the trail's former owner, Bell Telephone. According to McPhail, the replacement of bridges has been one of the major obstacles along the way as they are by far the most expensive part of the rebuilding project. Phase ll was funded significantly through Trans-Canada Trails and the Government of Ontario through the Pan Am/Parapan Am Trails initiative. MPP for Kingston and the Islands, Sophie Kiwala, congratulated all the parties involved and said that the Frontenac County section of the trail is a great investment. It will not only link up sections of the Trans-Canada Trail but will also connect the trail to four major game venues and will incorporate trail markers at points of historical and cultural significance. "This trails investment is part of the broader $42 million Pan Am/Parapan Am Games promotion celebrations and legacy strategy, which will ensure a lasting legacy and will benefit Ontarians all across the province,” Kiwala said. Al MacPherson is president of the Kawartha Trans-Canada Trail Association and chair of the board of the Trans-Canada Trail Association. He is a professor and author and is passionate about Ontario trails. He spoke of the inception of the idea to build a Trans-Canada Trail, which came about in the year 1992 at a meeting he was at in Banff, Alberta. “Everyone in the room said yes, but everyone outside that room didn't agree. But now here we are, over 20 years later with the trail 75% complete.” He also spoke of the beauty of this particular section of the trail. He is committed to developing trails because, “They are gateways to nature, to active living and they also help preserve and showcase the natural beauty of this beautiful country of ours.” He credited the communities of Frontenac county that have enabled the Phase ll project to happen. The next phase of the extension, Phase III, will take place this fall and will include reconditioning the trail up to Cole Hill church located at White Lake Road north of Godfrey. After that the trail will be extended through Tichborne where it passes across private property before finally reaching Sharbot Lake. Regarding negotiations with the private property owners in that section, McPhail said that the county has been in contact with them through letters and other communications yearly in the hopes of beginning official negotiations in the near future. McPhail hopes that the county will be able to reach an agreement with those property owners so that the trail can proceed with as few obstacles as possible. His message to those property owners, "If the trail is not right beside your home, and you have a large property, please consider allowing the trail to pass through.” Following the ribbon cutting ceremony guests enjoyed cake and free wagon rides courtesy of Wayne Garrison and his able horse team of Prince and Skittles.
To commemorate the County’s 150th Anniversary in 2015, the County is holding a Quilt Design Contest to solicit designs for, and commission the creation of a commemorative wall hanging quilt. Entries must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 26, after which judging will take place and the winner(s) will be announced at the October 15th County Council meeting. The artist who submits the winning design will be commissioned to create the quilt for unveiling at the Frontenac County 150th Showcase next year: August 28, 29, 30, 2015. The contract with the winning artist will include compensation of $2,000. Submissions will be evaluated based on originality and creativity, ability of the artist, and the quilt’s visual appeal reflecting themes of “past, present, future” in the context of the County of Frontenac’s unique pristine natural environment, lifestyle choices and strong, resilient, diverse, rural communities. The contest is open to all full- and part-time residents of Frontenac County. See attachment for complete contest rules, which are also posted on www.frontenaccounty.ca. The County of Frontenac’s 150th Anniversary Save the date for The Frontenac 150th Showcase: August 28-30, 2015. You will want to visit Centennial Park in Harrowsmith for this three day celebration, with a preliminary schedule of events including: an opening ceremony, parade, fundraiser barbeque, heritage exhibitions, vendor kiosks, food & refreshments, family activities, live music, plowing match, heritage ball, Sunday brunch, headlining concert and closing ceremony. Hundreds of community events happen every year throughout the Frontenacs. If you’re planning an event for next year in the County of Frontenac, turn it into the “150th Edition” and become part of history! If you want to make your 2015 community event part of Frontenac history or you’d like to volunteer for The Frontenac 150th Showcase, please contact Alison Vandervelde, Communications Officer at 613-548-9400 ext 305 or
The August long weekend is one of the best for music lovers in the area. Two of the music festivals we have been loyally covering for a number years celebrated their 10-year anniversaries last weekend. The first was the Flinton Jamboree. Founded a decade ago by Duane and Donna Thibault, the Jamboree has been growing exponentially since its birth. This year fans of bluegrass got more than their fill during three days of music at the Flinton Recreation Centre grounds. The line up included Saturday night headliner David Church with Steve Piticco & South Mountain plus numerous award-winning players including Bill White and White Pine, Dallas Daisy, The Tebworth Brothers and the Ducharme and Black Family bands.One bluegrass foursome that I was fortunate enough to see on Sunday afternoon just before the festival wrapped up was Randy Morrison & the Flatt River Band, who played a stellar and varied set. Early on they offered up classic old faves like “Faded Love” and The Stanley Brothers' "I Saw A Choo Choo" and later in the set Morrison did an instrumental version of "Listen to the Mocking Bird". A few lesser-known tunes by well-known giants were added to the mix - a Hank Williams' gospel tune called "When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels” and Merle Haggard's “Goodbye Comes Hard For Me”. Randy Morrison is an award-winning fiddler, and he opened and closed the set with two instrumental medleys that demonstrated his prowess. Guitarist and lead vocalist Richard (Dickie) Dugal was equally impressive. He was front and centre on tunes like “Roll on Muddy River” and he admirably blue-grassed up Webb Pierce's 1953 hit, “There Stands the Glass”. He played his original “Blue Grass for Fun” which was just that. Morrison and his band are a great example of what the best, tightest and most polished bluegrass foursomes have to offer: stellar fiddle and banjo talents, a solid and lively bass, good vocals and a friendly camaraderie that makes their playing together appear as easy as breathing. Meanwhile south of Sydenham at the Loughborough Lake campground, Del Vezeau was manning the lakeside venue for the 10th annual Canadian Guitar Festival. Many fans traveled countless miles by plane, train, bus and car to get to the eclectic three-day festival, which showcases the best finger picking and internationally renowned guitarists from all over the world. The event, as always, included an amateur finger picking competition that this year attracted 25 competitors, some from as far away as New Zealand and Japan. Contestants included Pino Forastiere from Rome, Italy, Jon Gomm from the UK, Michael Manring from the US and others. Opening this year was last year's competition winner Justin St. Pierre from Abitibi via Montreal.I caught Ray Montford and his trio on Friday night. Hailing from Ottawa, Montford plays in an atmospheric style and his powerful forays were equaled by drummer Ben Riley and bassist Russ Boswell, who together formed a tight knit trio. Montford's all-original repertoire covered every emotion and then some and he is especially good at building up his tunes from introspective starts to full throttle, over the top, climactic heights. Highlights on the heavier side of the set included “Shine On”, and “Big as the Moon”, both from his 2012 CD titled "Vintage is Now". Montford reined it in and played one acoustic tune from the CD titled "Summer Ride”.Del Vezeau, who founded the festival and continues on as its artistic director, said he will continue to man the helm “as long as people continue to show up.” One fan arrived at 9 pm on Friday night after flying to New York from Houston and driving directly to the festival from La Guardia airport. The Canadian Guitar Festival is a yearly must for its loyal fans.
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! All garlic growers in the region. The 2014 Eastern Ontario Garlic Awards will be holding its 18th annual competition on Saturday August 30 at the Verona Lions Garlic Festival. Garlic is a relatively new vegetable crop in Canada. It is in high demand by consumers and not enough is grown to meet domestic needs. As a result, over 90 % of the garlic sold in stores is imported. Many growers and gardeners struggle with the problem of how to grow it successfully.The garlic competition was designed to teach growers about the many garlic varieties and encourage them to strive for excellence in growing and marketing this fascinating vegetable. The Garlic Awards separate the best garlic from the ordinary or mediocre. When you see the high quality of the garlic on display, you soon realize that there is a vast difference. Garlic continues at the leading edge of the ‘Buy Local’ trend. A visit to any farmers’ market will show that garlic is in high demand at the peak of the harvest. There’s mystery and a mystique in this most health-giving of vegetables.Started in 1997 at the 1st garlic festival held in Perth, the Eastern Ontario Garlic Awards is the official competition for the best garlic produced in the region. The competition is open to all exhibitors, both home gardeners and commercial growers from Eastern Ontario. Exhibitors do not have to be vendors at the host festival in order to compete.The awards have moved around to various garlic festivals over the years. The Verona Lions Garlic Festival currently hosts the competition. Excellence in growing garlic is recognized by awards, cash prizes and certificates of recognition, and often, as a side benefit, by enhanced sales for the market gardeners that win the ribbons.The competition is conducted in the same impartial manner as exhibits at country fairs. Judges follow the Garlic Judging Standard, and growers compete in four classes: Best single garlic bulb; Best display of 12 bulbs of the same cultivar; Best educational collection of 5 different cultivars selected from 5 of the 11 Horticultural Groups; Best garlic braid. A certificate of award and a ribbon recognize the top three winners in each class. The Champion Garlic Grower receives a major cash prize and has a plaque on the Woodman Trophy. The runner-up also receives a major cash prize and is recognized on the Woodman II trophy. The Woodman Trophy and the smaller Woodman II Trophy were designed and donated by local artisans Crawford & Diane Woodman for use in this competition. Cash prizes are donated by local organizations. The competition is organized and administered by Paul Pospisil, editor of the Garlic News.On completion of the judging, the exhibitor is provided with the judge’s scorecard to enable growers to find out where they lost points. Exhibitors learn the meaning of quality from the scores assigned by the judge on their garlic entries.As well, festival vendors can display their achievement awards at their vendor stall, a guarantee of sales to discerning buyers looking for top quality garlic. The visual awards are an endorsement of their well-earned reputation for quality.In this way, the Garlic Awards have contributed to raising the bar on the quality of garlic grown in the Eastern Ontario region, giving it the excellent reputation that it deserves.For information on taking part in the competition, contact Paul Pospisil at 613-273-5683. Get information on the Verona Lions Garlic Festival by calling the Lions at 613-372-2092.
submitted by the Pioneer Museum The museum will only be open a few more weeks and many folks have not yet seen the special display about the First World War. In the words of curator Marg Axford: "Like many other museums, libraries and other cultural institutions across the country this year, the Cloyne Pioneer Museum and Archives is paying tribute to those young men who went from this area to fight in "the Great War". Their contributions are no less important than those in large centres; indeed, in many ways. the impact of their sacrifices seems greater, because they represent such small numbers of people. These were boys, really, who were out working the fields of their family farms when recruiters came along. Township and church halls, and perhaps the local hotel, were also canvassed. The lads were told by their recruiters that if they came to Kingston, or to Belleville, to join up, they would spend the winter in those cities doing training and would be home in the spring for next year's planting. So many signed up. So many did not return." You will see some of their photos in the museum, which is open daily from 10 am to 4pm in July & August.
If the number of cars parked on the lawn in front of the Land O' Lakes Petting Farm on Road 506, near Cloyne was any indication, the farm's Family Day fundraiser on August 10, was a resounding success. The event attracted residents and tourists from all over the area, who enjoyed a leisurely day exploring the outdoor pens, the barn and ponds that are home to the farm's over 50 rescued animals. Animal lovers of all ages petted and fed the horses, donkeys, mules, llamas, sheep, lambs and pigs, all of whom seemed as pleased to receive the attention as the visitors were to give it. Owner Barry Smith gave tours of the large barn, which is home to numerous ducks, geese, peacocks, rabbits and a gosling with a broken wing named Skeeter, the newest member of the bunch. One of the day's special draws was Zanzar the Magical Genie, who put on a show that included numerous tricky escapes, fire breathing and his showstopper - turning a dove into a rabbit. Another draw was the five piece band, the Original Slam Grass Orchestra, formerly known as the Tweed Twangers, who played a fabulous line up of what they call “poly-ethnic Cajun country slam grass”. The music was very danceable. The band also provided instruments for fellow twangers. The Smiths were some of the busiest people there, with Barry on tour duty while Donna had her hands full manning the main gate and the main kitchen area, where guests could enjoy a BBQ lunch, fresh corn on the cob and other sweet treats. Donna was thrilled with the turnout, which she estimated at over 400 visitors. Funds raised from the fun day will help the Smiths keep the animals well fed and looked after throughout the year, which is especially hard to do in the winters months, when they do not get many visitors. Donna said guests not only help the animals to heal by allowing them the chance to trust humans again, but also are therapeutic for people, especially those with developmental disabilities and other medical issues. Animals are known to bring a sense of joy and calm and well being to all who are fortunate enough to visit them. Donna said that the farm is constantly being inundated with sick, injured or unwanted animals and that she and Barry strongly believe that “These animals deserve to live a humane life and to be free from suffering.” The educational farm is run solely by volunteers, with many local students doing their community hours there. The farm is also visited regularly by school children at the North Addington Education Centre and is part of their grade 2 curriculum. Special needs students at NAEC are also regular visitors. The fun day was the farm's second fundraiser in its five-year history and Donna Smith is hoping to make the event an annual one. For those who would like to donate, call 613-336-0330 or visit the farm at 1200 Road 506 near Cloyne.
Once a year the North Addington Education Centre in Cloyne is transformed into a vast and varied art and craft venue for artists and artisans from all over the province. The show, which is free to visitors, has been running for decades and once again this year it offered up a mind-boggling selection of work from over 70 exhibitors. The artists' booths cover the entire ground floor of the school. Visitors spend many hours leisurely viewing the work and are hard pressed to depart without some unique hand made treasures. Pottery, glass work, wooden crafts, jewelry, fine art and photography, quilts, knit goods and body products were just a few of the items up for grabs, not to mention a number of other unique treasures that caught my eye. Lisa Driscoll of Stirling, ON, owner of Hetty Jean Handmade Designs makes unique hand sewn creatures from felt, fleece and fur. Her creatures are cute and colorful and she aims to make each with its own unique character. Her bats boast clever teeth made from zippers and their wired wings can be manipulated to open and close. Her “Hugglies” are small, bright uni-blob-bodied monsters that Lisa calls “huggable uglies”. They make cozy and cuddly friends for youngsters of all ages. Lisa's other creatures include giraffes, cats, dinosaurs, owls, and many more. Her businesses name derives from Lisa's two grandmothers - Hetty, her father's mother and Jean, her mother's mother, who both taught her how to sew and inspired her to create the imaginative sewn animals that suit the young at heart of all ages. Photo: Painter Carol Jones of the All Creatures Great and Small Studio and her feather paintings at the 2014 Cloyne Showcase Another artisan working in one of the more unusual mediums at the show was Carol Jones, who hails from Dunsford, Ont. near Bobcaygeon, where she has a studio called All Creatures Great and Small. Jones is a painter, who instead of painting on canvas or board, opts to ply her brush to feathers - specifically, the tail feathers of wild turkeys. Her motivation came after seeing a similar way of painting when she visited western Canada years ago. “I wanted to create my own little niche, so I chose to make feather paintings instead of regular ones.” Her subject matter includes wildlife, landscapes, fantastical and aboriginal scenes, butterflies and animals that include foxes, bears herons and more. Prior to painting, Jones uses a small Dremel tool to smooth down the central quill on each feather in order to avoid having to paint on its ridges. Jones said that it took a lot of experimenting before she finally got her technique down. Once the painting is complete she covers the quill tip at the bottom end of the feather by attaching additional decorative feathers and finishes them off with a piece of circular leather adorned with a semi precious stone. The feather paintings are then mounted on matte board and framed in a shadow box. New to her work is the recent addition of crushed glass, which she applies to certain painted sections on the feather. She describes these new works as her “newest fantasy line of paintings” and the glass gives them a sparkling, shimmering surface that adds to their more mystical feel. Anyone who missed the show can view the work of these two artists by visiting www.carolsfeatherart.com and Hetty Jean on facebook.
There is nothing better than witnessing a talented artist selling their works at an art show. That was the case of Lisa Johnson, one of many artists who set up shop at the Art Exhibition and Sale that took place at Bon Echo Provincial Park last weekend. Johnson was busy attending to a customer when I visited her booth on Saturday afternoon. Mazinaw Lake cottage owner Christine Post was looking at a number of paintings and ended up purchasing one of Johnson's paintings titled "Rekr's Rock", which Post she said she can see from her cottage. Johnson is no stranger to the magic of the landscape at Bon Echo. Her paintings are proof that the landscape is somehow in her blood and that might just be because she has been cottaging on Mazinaw Lake since was a wee one. An honours graduate from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1996, Johnson has been painting for 25 years. She returned to the Bon Echo show after a decade of absence, offering up an impressive selection of large and small oil landscapes that caught the eyes of both browsers and buyers at the show. Johnson, who sells her work at a variety of galleries and shows in Toronto, London and Windsor, painted her Bon Echo inspired pieces en plein air (in the open air). She paints in the tradition of the Group of Seven artists who also painted this landscape decades ago. Included in her display was the paint-smeared box that accompanies her on hikes and on rides in her small motor boat where many of her creations are made. “The en plein air process enables me to observe and capture what I see. It's a very observational way of working. Later, back in the studio I use these paintings or sketches to create larger, more abstract works that come more out of my head and have more to do with how I feel about the landscape, but that are also a direct result of that initial en plein air study process.” Her works capture both the majesty and the ever changing beauty of the landscape, which she describes as “powerful, spiritual and magical places that have been attracting artists here for centuries.” Some of the works appear soft and flowing with layers of colour that are blended together seamlessly, like one large work of the famed Mazinaw rock painted in soft, subtly changing oranges and brown. Others of the same landscape are more hard edged and bold, painted with fat, textural and generous applications of paint that together make up the shapes that define the unique landscape. In many works Johnson is able to create a sense of movement, as in the clouds and sky in the painting "Rekr's Rock", which seem to swirl and move overhead. She said her former experience as a dancer is what informs the movement in her pieces, and which also underlies the fact she has experienced first hand for years how the landscape that surrounds her is always changing. “It's amazing how everything, the elements, the light and colour can change in an instant.” Johnson feels very much “connected to the history of painters who came here to paint, from A.Y Jackson to Charles Comfort and Arthur Lismer.” Last year she hiked to the location where A.J. Casson painted one of his works. “ I like the idea of connecting with artists of the past but finding new ways to do it.” Johnson's aim, she said, is always to “capture the feeling of a place. Not so much the photographic image but the space, the light, the movement and the atmosphere.” Her work demonstrates the fact that it takes a talented and experienced painter to do justice to the landscape of Bon Echo and Johnson is one artist in a long line who have managed to do just that. A selection of Johnson's work will be at the Colin Edwards Gallery located at Bon Echo Park in the latter half of August. Her work is also available at Quinn's of Tweed Fine Art Gallery. For more information visit www.lisajohnsonart.ca
The published photo of Kathleen Wynne greeting Dalton McGuinty at the Ontario legislature with open arms on the day of the swearing in of her new government, coupled with McGuinty being quoted as saying the recent election was a vindication of his time in office, was a bit hard to take. After saying “I am not McGuinty; we are a new party, we will rule differently” from the day of her ascendance to party leadership until the day of the election 14 months later, Kathleen Wynne's smile in that photo had a Cheshire cat quality to it. Politicians are a cynical lot. They play a hard game of front page image control and backroom deals and counter deals, and Kathleen Wynne has turned out to be a master at that game. All of us, the electorate, participated in the ruse, to be sure. We knew what had gone on under McGuinty and we knew Wynne was a loyal member of the cabinet that moved two gas plants, setting off a chain of events that resulted in a $1 billion loss to taxpayers. She sat at the cabinet table as the ORNGE air ambulance debacle unfolded. She was there all along and we know she was there all along. As his replacement, she profited from McGuinty's most cynical act, a prorogation of the legislature for a full six months after his resignation, for no other reason than to create distance for his party as they selected a new leader. By all rights we should have chucked the Liberals out of power, but since the other parties, for different reasons, did not provide a safe haven for many voters, enough of us decided to swallow Kathleen Wynne's claim that the new Liberals would give us good government, keep up our social programs and somehow balance the books over the next four years. Even so the decision to rehabilitate McGuinty right after the election came off as a slap in the face. I recall another Liberal politician, one who in his heyday demonstrated toughness and a common touch in a bit of the way the Kathleen Wynne does, Jean Chretien. At one point he was asked about the Liberal party's past and all the miscues it made when governing in the 1970s and 80s, while he was a cabinet minister “I will not apologize for the past; I was part of it and I am proud of it,” he said. Kathleen Wynne made a point of apologizing for the past during the recent election campaign. Now, if we ever had a doubt before, we know that it was the thinnest of apologies. In fact she was simply saying whatever she had to in order to give her party the best chance at re-election. No wonder then, that voices as disparate as Susan Delacourt from the left-leaning Toronto Star and libertarian MPP Randy Hillier are now questioning the political party system. Hillier wants parties to respect the electorate by granting MPs and MPPs a greater role in all aspects of political decision-making, while Delacourt wrote about the idea of eliminating political parties altogether and running provincial and federal governments the way municipalities run, with independent representatives voting their conscience on every proposal that comes forward. In the short run at least, neither of those things are likely to happen. We live in an era of power politics. To the victor goes the spoils and Kathleen Wynne now holds all the power in Ontario in her own hands.
Far be it from me to praise the City of Toronto, under any circumstances. But I have to make an exception. Last week the City hosted the World Pride conference, which culminated in a parade that was attended by 2 million people. Compared with all of the difficulties that result from hosing just 8 world leaders a couple of years ago, by all accounts World Pride was a roaring success. We live in a time where nations as diverse as Russia, Uganda, and others, have ramped up institutional and legal persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in recent months. LGBT people have faced persecution to the point of death in the most extreme cases for no other reason than their sexuality for centuries and still do. For Canada to be at the vanguard of those nations whose legal systems have closed the door on institutional persecution of individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as race and religion, is a point of pride for me as a citizen. For the City of Toronto to host such an event as World Pride and to demonstrate a willingness to celebrate diversity is even more gratifying, and I daresay Toronto is ahead of many other communities in Ontario and Canada in this regard. Watching coverage of the parade also jogged a personal memory for me. As it happens, I found myself in the middle of one of the first Pride parades in Toronto in the early 90’s, and the contrast between the this most recent parade and that one could not be more stark. I was with my wife Martina and our young daughter at a small art show in a courtyard behind a church near the corner of Bay and Bloor on a cold Sunday in June. It was 22 or 23 years ago. Someone said that a parade was coming by and the show opening would be delayed, so we went to the corner to see. What we saw was more of a low-key march than a parade. A hundred people or, some of them with placards, walked by. They waved, called out a few slogans, and kept on walking. Many of them were thin, even gaunt, and were walking with the help from friends. 20 years ago AIDS was in full swing in Canada. What I saw on that day was a community fighting for its life against a deadly disease that at that time had no effective treatment. No none lined the street to watch the parade. The busy City carried on its business as usual. What has since been dubbed the LGBT community has developed and thrived in unexpected ways over the past 20 years, to the point where, in Toronto at least, Pride is a celebration and a premiere tourist event in the City Canada Day in our communities is about pancake breakfasts and the parades and games and food and music at ball-fields and beaches. It is about wearing red and white and the maple leaf and family and friends and enjoying the official start of all too short Canadian summer. And it about fireworks at the end of the day. It is also a time to reflect on all the benefits we enjoy as Canadians. Of the things we can be proud of in Canada on Canada Day, chief among them are the personal liberty we enjoy, our commitment to live together in peace, and the celebration of diversity has become the hallmark of this country. As the world threatens to slip into intolerance, this is something we all need to protect in our words and deeds throughout the year.
... if something has a lot of resiliency it is more likely to be sustainable, but even things that are very resilient are not always sustainable over time. Then again, how sustainable can something be if it is not resilient? When push comes to shove, is it better to push than it is to shove, or not ...? All of these questions, as fascinating as they are, point to a debate that is raging in sustainability circles and even at the Frontenac County Advisory Committee on Sustainability. You would think that the one thing that the committee would agree about is sustainability, but you would be wrong. Members of the committee have been taken aback, as have others, with the ubiquity of the word sustainability. In fact, many of the job titles at Frontenac County have had the name Sustainability stuck on to them in the recent past. Instead of a planning department, there is a sustainability planning department, and instead of economic development it is sustainable economic development, for example. The suggestion at the committee was that "sustainability" should be phased out or at least limited, and a new word would be used to describe all those activities that the county would like to be involved in but which are not, strictly speaking, in their mandate. Anything to do with social well being, environmental concerns, culture, community improvement, tourism - they are all covered under the umbrella heading Sustainability. The logic is that these diverse enterprises that are carried out by individuals and groups in their own communities and across the county are what build a sustainable place to live and work. There are those, and I can sympathize, who are sick of the word, and there is now, finally, an alternative on the horizon. For a couple of years, slowly but surely, the concept of resilient communities has been gaining momentum. It has more grit than sustainable communities, suggesting the strength to withstand the inevitable pressures of modern life. These include attacks on personal and community well-being that will come with rising oil and gas prices, climate change, continual migration of jobs to the city, the ageing tsunami (people are ageing in a huge tsunami-like wave that could swallow us all up if we aren't careful) and much, much, more. Sustainability is just too nice a word, too much of a soft concept. Resiliency on the other hand, is tough; it is strong; it is what we need. When I think of resiliency I think of my mother. My mother says she no longer hopes for things to go well, instead she hopes for the strength to handle the situations that will inevitably arise in her life. Sure enough, those challenges are coming fast and furious as she and her family and friends age. So, if Frontenac County wants to be more like my mother it had better stop talking and start getting its act together. The woman hardly sleeps. Until she broke her wrist she played tennis every day. Six weeks and two metal pins later she was back on the court; that is, when she's not taking care of everyone in her world. If the sustainability committee want to talk resiliency they had best get off their duff, establish a plan of action and make things happen. Resiliency never sleeps.
While local election campaigns have been slow to ramp up, Kathleen Wynne and Tim Hudak have already set up a polarizing debate that each hopes will lead to their own success. Wynne went first. She put out a left-leaning budget, fully expecting to campaign on it, and then began the campaign by scuffling with the federal government over her proposed pension plan. Her plan is to establish herself as the one politician standing in the way of Conservative governments in both Toronto and Ottawa, an attempt not only to tie Tim Hudak to Stephen Harper, but also to wrestle votes from the NDP. It is only a matter of time before she begins saying that Ontarians who vote NDP will only be helping Tim Hudak win the election. What did Hudak do? He decided to play Wynne's game, in spades. In what will likely be the one key manoeuvre in the campaign, he aligned himself not only with the Federal Tories but with the much maligned Michael Harris record in Ontario, by announcing he plans to cut 100,000 civil servants, mostly from the education sector, in his first two years of office. The move is risky; he might have won the campaign by continuing to attack the Liberal record and offering small c platitudes about fiscal responsibility. If this job cuts promise works for him, however, he will have won the campaign on his own terms and will be leading a new Hudak revolution in Queen's Park. If it fails, and anything short of a majority for the Conservatives will be a failure, it will be seen as a colossal blunder, not on the scale of the Pierre Karl Peladeau disaster for the PQ in Quebec last month, but devastating nonetheless Notes on the local campaign – There was some fallout from the editorial in last week's Frontenac News, “Is there a Conservative candidate in LFL&A?” Some readers wondered whether MPP Hillier was running as an independent this time around. He is not. Randy Hillier remains in the Conservative Party Caucus and was present at the Conservative Party campaign launch two weeks ago As to my claim that by being on the outs with party leader Hudak he would have no chance of serving in cabinet should the Conservatives form a government, Randy Hillier said, “That is not a given, by any means. A lot of factors go into making up a cabinet. There are geographic and other factors, the size of the caucus, whether the government is a minority or a majority - a lot can happen.” Hillier also said that the assertion that his standing in his party makes him vulnerable to the charge that he can only oppose and not propose is off the mark because he put forward more motions and private member's bills than any other MPP over the last two and a half years of Liberal minority rule. The Frontenac News will be holding all-candidates meetings for the Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington riding. The first is set for the Kennebec Hall in Arden at 7:00 pm on Monday, May 26. It is co-sponsored by the Friends of Arden. The second is on Monday, June 2, 7pm at the Lions Hall on Sand Road in Verona. It is co-sponsored by the Verona Lions Club. All registered candidates are invited. We have invited Conservative Party candidate Randy Hillier, Green Party candidate Cam Mather, Liberal Party candidate Bill MacDonald, and NDP candidate Dave Parkhill. According to the Elections Ontario website, as of Tuesday, May 13 only Dave Parkhill and Bill McDonald are officially registered. Cam Mather and Randy Hillier have been named by their parties and appear on their respective party websites as candidates in this riding. They can register as late as next Thursday, May 22, 21 days before voting day. We know of no other candidates who are intending to run.