Lanark County

Tay Valley prepares for 200th Anniversary

Written by  |  Wednesday, 26 November 2014 23:59  |  Published in Lanark County
At a special gathering held at the offices of Tay Valley Township near Perth on November 22, staff members outlined the upcoming events they are planning to usher in the township's 200-year anniversary in 2016. The anniversary will mark not only the arrival of the first European settlers to the region but will pay tribute to veterans of the War of 1812, and to the First Nations people who were instrumental in helping the early European settlers survive their first, harshest winter here. The anniversary will also celebrate the communities that were developed over the 200-year period that followed, beginning in 1815 when Perth was designated by the British government as one of three military settlements that encouraged settlers, comprised of unemployed tradesmen and discharged…

Draftsman/artist makes his mark at MERA

Written by  |  Wednesday, 12 November 2014 23:35  |  Published in Lanark County
Michael Neelin is no stranger to McDonalds Corners. Neelin's family has owned a cottage in the area for almost 50 years and his love of both heritage architecture and natural landscape was one of the reasons why in April 2014 he moved from Pontiac, Quebec, where he had lived and worked for over 20 years, to McDonalds Corners. He moved into a new home in McDonalds Corners, which he designed and had built. With a degree in architectural history and trained as an architectural technologist, Neelin makes his living designing timber-frame homes, and he operates his own business called Riversong Design. While he loves his work and the fact that it has paid the bills for years, he admits that there is also an artist…

Ball and Chain: Album release and dance, dance, dance

Written by  |  Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:00  |  Published in Lanark County
Ball and Chain is the cheeky band name for the irrepressible singer/songwriter/guitarist Jody Benjamin and her fiddle player and singer husband, Michael Ball. Ball and Chain mix two great musical loves in their music, country dance music and contemporary Cajun music. They have released four albums containing original tunes sprinkled in with songs by Hank Williams, Webb Pierce and contemporaries like Julie Miller and Steve Earl, as well as an album of Cajun tunes, "Louisiana Love Bug". The sixth release from Ball and Chain "Surrender" is their first to include all original songs. This is how the album is described on the website cdbaby: “Their love of hard core Honky Tonk is evident but here they feature songs with a wide range of styles. There…

MERA art exhibition

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 October 2014 21:28  |  Published in Lanark County
Submitted by MERA Every month a new local artist's work is featured in the main hall at MERA - a community arts organization in McDonalds's Corners in Lanark Highlands. You can catch the end of the October art exhibition at MERA before it comes down on October 31: Paintings & Portraits by local farmer, Rosemary Kralik. MERA receives 20% of all art sales for the exhibitions. Encouraging local artists and musicians is part of MERA's mandate. The November art exhibit features “Fenceline and Shoreline" - landscape and heritage drawings by Michael Neelin There will be an opening at MERA on Sunday November 2nd from 2 pm - 4 pm In his realist graphite pencil drawings, Michael seeks to capture and share moments out of time…

The Beaver: Pest or Eco-Hero?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 October 2014 18:55  |  Published in Lanark County
By Susan Sentesy, MMLT Beavers have always had a special relationship with humans in Canada. Almost extirpated at one time, today they are widely recognized as a symbol of our country. But how much do we really understand them and their role in our world? Who to better help us understand and appreciate beavers and life in their ponds than Michael Runtz, renowned naturalist and photographer? On Friday, November 7, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) will hold its Annual Dinner and Benefit Auction at the Almonte Civitan Club Community Hall. Michael Runtz is our honoured guest speaker. The event also features a Benefit Auction offering a wide range of useful and uniquely interesting items, with proceeds going to help support the important work of…

Stellar opener at MERA's classical concert series

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 October 2014 18:50  |  Published in Lanark County
If the first of the three classical music concerts in the MERA Schoolhouse's Blue Jean Classical Sunday Afternoon concert series is any indication of what is to come, I'd have to say, get your tickets now. On October 19 I caught the stellar second set played by flautist Gertrude Letourneau and guitarist Garry Elliot, who captured and enraptured listeners with their top-notch playing. I did not get a chance to hear Letourneau sing, which was unfortunate since if it was anything like her playing, it must have been a real treat. That being said what I did see was mesmerizing. The two covered a wide range of musical styles from Piazzolla's Argentinian cafe-style music to Bach, to Bartok's Six Romanian Dances. This duo are powerful…

Home Sweet Home

Written by  |  Wednesday, 08 October 2014 23:49  |  Published in Lanark County
A visit to the home-based shop/studio of local chocolatier, Ludwig Ratzinger, feels a bit like winning one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets. An experienced chocolatier, Ludwig recently set up his studio in the new straw bale home he designed and helped to build near Maberly. The studio is located in the basement of the home, where Ludwig works full time and on average produces from half to three-quaters of a tonne of chocolate per year. When I visited his studio early last week a brand new semi-automatic tempering machine, which Ludwig purchased thanks to a grant from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation, was in full operation. Its fly wheel was spinning up a fresh, warm, velvety batch of sweet-smelling chocolate and pouring it from…

Schoolchildren learn ancient art of basket making at MERA

Written by  |  Wednesday, 08 October 2014 23:29  |  Published in Lanark County
by Marilyn Barnett In this day and age of plastic and metal baskets most children have no idea that a basket can be made by hand using natural materials. Baskets are a very good craft to teach children as the only tools they need are their hands. The basketry project is being organized by MERA Schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners and spearheaded by Ankaret Dean. Funding is provided by The Basketry Network, a group in Toronto, now defunct, whose purpose was to encourage and teach basketry throughout Ontario. Members of MERA are volunteering to go into the local schools in Lanark Highlands, Perth and Tay Valley and teach children in grades 3, 4 and 5 how to make a small basket to take home. Each basket…

Classical music returns to MERA schoolhouse

Written by  |  Wednesday, 08 October 2014 23:34  |  Published in Lanark County
The MERA Schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners will once again be filled with audience-pleasing classical music as the third annual series of Blue Jeans Classical Sunday afternoons begins again. All performances start at 2 p.m. This series of classical performances is aimed at bringing professional musicians to play in the intimate space of the MERA Schoolhouse. As part of the relaxed atmosphere, the players will be introducing their repertoire, discussing their instruments and answering questions from the audience. On Sunday, October 19, Gertrude Létourneau and Garry Elliott will be offering an intimate concert of virtuosic and passionate pieces for the flute and guitar. Gertrude and Garry have performed together since 2007, presenting their brand of lyrical music to a wide range of audiences. Gertrude plays the…

A touch of the Netherlands in Maberly

Written by  |  Wednesday, 17 September 2014 23:55  |  Published in Lanark County
Changing careers mid-life is very rare but crossing an ocean to do so is even more rare. Tess Steenberghe and Jeroen Kerrebijn, who took over the helm at the Fall River Restaurant in Maberly in July, moved from the Netherlands to the area after deciding they wanted a change - a big change. She, a lawyer and he, a neck and head cancer surgeon, left Dordrecht, the Netherlands along with their three children to embark on a new life in Canada. The couple first became enamored with the beauty of this country after Jeroen completed a fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto in 1996. Ten years ago they purchased a cottage in the Haliburton area and they have known for decades that they wanted…

2014 Sundance Artisans' Festival

Written by  |  Wednesday, 03 September 2014 22:07  |  Published in Lanark County
Every year the Sundance walking tour offers up great scenery thanks to the Fall River, great grub courtesy of the Fall River Restaurant and great eye candy for those who like to keep their finger on the pulse of the local art and crafts scene. This year's 40 plus vendors covered a wide array of items in various mediums and styles and I visited with two artisans whose works could not be at more opposing ends of the art/craft spectrum. Choleena DiTullio of Perth creates paper mosaics from hand-made paper, which she makes from recycled sources. Her pieces have the look of ceramic tile mosiacs/stained glass work but without the fragility and weight. Each work is comprised of a number of colored paper tiles that…

New director for Tay Valley Choir

Written by  |  Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:54  |  Published in Lanark County
by Marily Seitz If you love to sing and make beautiful music with others, then the Tay Valley Community Choir may be for you. An eclectic repertoire, lovely four part harmonies, and cozy country concerts distinguish the Tay Valley Choir. No audition is required, only a love of music. The choir practices Mondays from 6 to 7:30pm, alternating between Glen Tay Public School and the Maberly Hall. The choir is delighted to welcome Rebecca Worden, local musician, music therapist and former co-director of The Oddities Choir, as the new choir director this year. Rebecca loves the sense of unity that comes when people sing together and she is looking forward to bringing to life some of her favourite arrangements. To join, register at the Tay…

20th annual Silver Lake Pow Wow

Written by  |  Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00  |  Published in Lanark County
Although organizers of the traditional Silver Lake Pow Wow did not mark this year’s event with any special 20-year anniversary tributes, they were pleased with the turnout. Organizer Trudy Knapp said the ongoing aim of the Pow Wow is to honour the native identity of off-reserve Aboriginals in the community and it is an opportunity for them to embrace their roots. The event continues to attract natives from all over Ontario and Quebec from as far away as Manawaki, Curve Lake near Peterborough, Toronto, North Bay, and Ottawa. Over 400 people arrived early on the first day of the Pow Wow and Knapp said organizers were expecting roughly 2500 over the entire weekend. One major attraction is the grand entry that occurs at noon on…

MERA presents the Celtic Rathskallions

Written by  |  Thursday, 14 August 2014 12:01  |  Published in Lanark County
If you're a lover of all types of Celtic music, a concert on Sunday August 24, 2pm at the MERA Schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners is the place to be. Performing will be the Celtic Rathskallions, an Ottawa-based duo who have entertained and impressed Celtic music lovers across Ontario and around the world during their more than 1,200 performances. Wendy Moore is the founder, manager and one of the lead performers of The Celtic Rathskallions, which she created in 1998. Before that, she performed as oboist and English horn player with the Kingston Symphony for 10 years and with numerous chamber music groups. During the concert, she will play oboe, English horn, tin whistle, Celtic harp, bodhran, shuttle bagpipes, and sing and stepdance. The other half…

Elphin Public School reunion

Written by  |  Thursday, 17 July 2014 14:01  |  Published in Lanark County
A reunion of the Elphin Public School will be held on Saturday July 26, 11:30am at the Elphin Presbyterian Church hall. Everyone is welcome and there will be a potluck lunch. The cost is $5 and music will be provided by former students. This circa 1910 photo of a class in front of the school is part of the Izatt photo collection, which was found in the landfill at the McDonalds Corners municipal dump. The photos are now in the Lanark County Archives. The two girls sitting in front of the teacher are Emma and Christina (Tina) Balfour; tallest girl in back row is possibly Laura McIntyre; fourth boy from left in the back row is George Gordon, who was born in 1899. The first…

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