Wednesday, 15 May 2019 10:08

Arden Batik returns to the Arden Hotel

It isn’t as if too many people will get lost if they go to the former Arden Batik location on Elm Tree Road in Arden. The new location will be in sight and only a few steps away in the converted hotel where Sarah Hale has lived for over 45 years. But for Sarah Hale, the change of location will bring her batik business back to where it started.

It will also allow her access to a full-size studio on a year-round basis, and more wall space to show the larger, framed batiks that she is most interested in creating.

Sarah dates her career as a professional batik artist to the first larger craft show that she attended in 1977. She remembers the day well, because after packing up for the day she drove to Perth hospital to give birth to her daughter Julia. For the next 20 years she travelled to craft shows, large and small, across the province, selling larger and smaller framed and unframed pieces, famous Arden Batik name cards, and more.

Gradually, first at a shop located next to the Arden post office, and since 2001 from the former café at the bottom of the hill, Arden Batik has been open throughout the summer and by chance or appointment in the shoulder seasons.

Now, the same basic selling hours will be maintained in the hotel, with half of the bottom floor setup as a shop and a studio. Sarah will not be attending any shows or studio tours this year “in order to focus on the store,” she said.

She said that at this point she is not really interested in “growing my business just maturing it, and having the freedom to explore some more challenging work.”

After over 40 years using the wax resist batik method to capture the feel of the Canadian shield landscape in her work, it will be interesting for her fans and admirers from near and far to see where her work goes in this new/old space.

Arden batik will be open on Saturday and Sunday afternoon this weekend, and by chance or appointment until mid-June when it will be open for regular summer hours.


On April 11, 2019 at 1914 hrs, Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue responded to a wildfire on Fisherman’s Lane near Arden. This is the first wildfire of 2019 for Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue.

On arrival, there was a small wild fire at a resident’s home. Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire. Cause of the fire is from a resident burning leaves.

Fire Chief Greg Robinson would like to remind residents to take proper precautions when having a camp fire and make sure someone is attending the campfire at all times. Fire permits are required for campfires, incinerators and small piles of yard brush burning.


Long a service centre for seasonal residents, Sharbot Lake is fast becoming a hub for business and tourism in Rural Frontenac

Given that reality, the Sharbot Lake Business Group (SLBG) was formed last year to foster more co-operation among local business owners. Recognising the importance of tourism, The SLBG quickly formed a taskforce on tourism, with a more regional focus.

The taskforce is holding a one-day conference for at Arden’s Camp Kennebec on May 4th

It will be sponsored by OHTO – the Ontario Highlands Tourist Organization with its ‘Come Wander’ brand; and will be supported by Frontenac County’s Ambassador Program with its ‘#InFrontenac’ brand. 

In consultations sponsored by the SLBG last fall, one of the major challenges identified was a silo mentality for both businesses and government, resulting in a sense of isolation. Conference Chair Greg Rodgers has identified a new aspect of this mentality. A small but growing number entrepreneurs are now doing business on the internet – but not so much locally. Our first-ever tourism conference aims to provide a collaborative experience, one that announces a new day for tourism in Rural Frontenac.

In the morning there will be a presentation from Haliburton’s Barrie Martin of ‘Yours Outdoors’, who will share the latest in experiential tourism. Eganville’s Chris Hinsperger of ‘Bonnechere Caves’ will share his enthusiasm for collaboration. A third character will be also be presenting. It will be the first showing of our ‘County Sampler’, a selection of tastes and art representing a diverse group of Rural Frontenac producers!

The afternoon will focus on the areas of accommodations, food, artists, experiences and support services. As an outcome, we look forward to the expansion of our tourism task force for announcing Rural Frontenac as a new destination for tourists across north eastern North America and the world.

Our conference is out to serve businesses from Frontenac County, Addington and Lanark Highlands.

Of the 50 spaces in the conference, 15 are still available. Interested in coming out to beautiful Camp Kennebec to help kickstart a new era in tourism?

Call Greg Rodgers at 613-279-3006.


“This eliminates Household Hazardous Waste Day as we know it,” Mayor Frances Smith said at the regular Central Frontenac Council meeting Tuesday afternoon in Sharbot Lake.

Central has been holding the annual day for several years and it was designed to clear out all sorts of ‘hazardous’ waste like old pain and oil from barns and garages around the Township.

It did quite well at that but the problem was that it was expensive.

In a report to Council, acting Public Works Manager David Armstrong pointed out that in 2018, 380 vehicles came in to dump hazardous waste. That ended up costing the Township $24,072.49 (invoiced cost of $37,000 minus $12,927.51 in rebates). And that doesn’t include staff overtime.

If everyone in the Township took a load of household hazardous waste to Kingston for disposal, the cost would have been $14,198.50. (For the previous three years, the day has averaged 389 vehicles per year).

If all residents took a load to South Frontenac, the cost would have been $19,450.

Armstrong said that as it stands now, residents can take hazardous waste to Kingston or South Frontenac. South Frontenac is a bit more expensive but he said they seem open to negotiation.

There is also a chance that North Frontenac facilities could be made available to Central residents.

So for this year at least, residents who want to dispose of such dangerous materials are to go to the Township office in Sharbot Lake, fill out a form and take their waste to Kingston or South Frontenac.

However, the Township will pick up the tab for it (gas excluded).

“It’s already in the budget (for worst case scenario),” said Armstrong.

“If we need to re-instate Household Hazardous Waste Day, I’m sure we’ll hear about it,” said Smith. “I just can’t save up enough waste every year though.

“Maybe we might look at doing it every two years.”

“I think this is great,” said Coun. Nicki Gowdy. “I think it will catch on when people realize they can go whenever they want rather than having to wait every year.”

Dep. Mayor Victor Heese suggested a drop off site at Wemp Road or Oso, trucking the waste to Kingston once a month might be an option.

“It wouldn’t be quite that simple,” said Armstrong. “We’d have to have the proper licence and designated areas for it at our waste sites.

“But it could be a possibility.”


Culvert promise
Who knew it could be that simple?

When Dorothy Gray came to Council asking for a culvert to alleviate flooding problems in her driveway on Long Lake Road, it sounded like she expected an arguement.

“I’ve told a couple of people but nothing’s been done,” she said. “It’s a big puddle and it freezes over.”

Mayor Frances Smith asked acting Public Works Manager David Armstrong if the Township installed culverts in these situations.

Armstrong replied that generally, they put them in for new construction but when something like this is brought to their attention, they usually take care of it.

“Especially if it’s beneficial to our infrastructure,” he said.

Council directed staff to have a look at the matter.


Grants for rinks
Council gave its blessing for staff to help the Kennebec Recreation Committee to apply for a Hydro 1 grant to be put towards rink renovations in Arden and to look at projects that might qualify for Ontario Trillium Fund grants such as the (proposed) rink in Sharbot Lake.

Monday, 01 April 2019 16:18

D&G Home Improvements

Darrel Gerus has been running his contracting business, D&G Total Home Improvements, out of Arden, for the past ten years, but he has been working in the area for about 20 years,

“D & G is a varied construction business. From general construction, yard landscaping and maintenance, to site preparation. We do everything,” said Darrell, in an interview from his home near Arden.

Aside from working on construction jobs throughout Central Frontenac and beyond, Darrel, and his company, have been participating with the Friends of Arden in promoting the services and community activities in Arden and the surrounding lakes.

And the Frontenac CFDC has been with him along the way, providing loans for equipment purchases when necessary, including a loan which enabled D&G to purchase a full-sized truck recently to add to the inventory of equipment that keeps D&G crews busy throughout the construction season.

“For a contractor, a reliable truck is a must.! Being able to get to a job site in all weather conditions, be it pulling a trailer with supplies or a backhoe certainly benefits my company.

“The CFDC has been really helpful. Sue Theriault at the office has been our contact and she’s been great to work with, as have the business officers in the office that we have dealt with over the years,” he said.

With D&G, Darrel is committed to maintaining quality workmanship for all the jobs that the company takes on, and he runs a four-member crew in the construction season each year, employing a mixture of experienced carpenters and younger workers.

“We are always looking for young workers who want to make a start in the construction business. There are lots of opportunities in the market in the skilled trades, including carpentry, and one of the great things about running a company like D&G is that we can provide training in a number of different work environments.

”With the contacts that D&G has developed over the years, Darrel has been moving more into the role of a General Contractor.

“It’s taken me ten years to assemble a group of excellent, very professional, sub-contractors to work with. For new home construction, for example, we can sub-out jobs like the electrical and the plumbing and roofing, and, with our own crew and equipment, it all adds up to a good way to build a house on schedule and with all the proper warranties and insurance in place for customers,” he said.

Having worked with a series of building inspectors over the years, Darrel says that what he appreciates is consistency and clarity from the department.

“They’ve generally been pretty good to work with over the years,” he said. “It’s all part of the process. For us it goes along with being fully licensed and fully insured. We like to keep everything above board.”

Transparency is key for Darrel, which is why he brings copies of all of his documentation with him the first time he meets with a client to look at or quote on a job.

“Anyone with a hammer and a pick-up truck can call themselves a contractor, but that does not mean that the customer will get what they expect at the end of the day. In our case, we take everything into account when we quote on a job, and that includes making a profit.

“What I like about the construction business is that it is a creative way to make a living, it is profitable, and the customer gets a good product that they can enjoy for a long time,” he said.

Beyond that, Darrel also has a favourite kind of job.

“I personally love doing fences and decking,” he said.

“Even though there isn’t that much call for fencing in our region, we have all the equipment to do any kind of fence, even chain link fencing for commercial applications. But we do a lot of decks, of all shapes and sizes.”

To contact D&G, phone 613-583-0146 or email


There was a time, not so very long ago, when horses and hand saws were the tools of the trade in the logging industry. Arden’s Matson family was very involved in all that.

So it probably comes as no surprise that they decided to do some demonstrations and displays as part of the Frontenac Heritage Festival this year.

“I worked in the bush and I’m the fourth or fifth generation,” said Glen Matson, current patriarch of the clan. “We’re all interested in the history and we’ve all worked with horses in the bush.”

And, it almost seems there’s more than nostalgia at work here. Matson makes a case for horse-power actually doing a better job than modern machinery.

“Dad did a lot of forestry work for the Ministry,” he said. “They gave you a lot of small plots to clear.

“The horses did it a lot quicker as it was easier to hitch a log to a chain and lift it up to make it easier on the horses.

“And, they didn’t make such a mess, tearing up the forest and all.”

Matson said this year’s new addition to the Heritage Festival was actually the brainchild of son Duane, said the elder Matson.

“We did wagon rides last year,” said Duane. “But being part of the historical society, we all like the old stuff and we wanted to show people how to attach chain to stuff.

“We wanted to show some of the logging history and even with the sleigh rides, the top parts where people sit are all new but the bottom parts (the skis and struts) are all old.”

And so they did, with all sorts of demonstrations of log cutting and hauling and axe throwing.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 10:54

Turtles and owls and bears — oh my!

Over the past 15 years, the custom animal carvings of Robin Deruchie have begun showing up at cottages and northern locations all across Ontario. He’s done demonstrations from Sarnia to Ottawa to Timmins.

One park near Sarnia has 32 of his works spread throughout the park.

Last Saturday, he was in Arden for the Frontenac Heritage Festival, a gig he’s done several times before.

Many of his creations come to life at Wolf Creek Carvings, his studio/home in the Cloyne area, but he always draws a crowd at events, perhaps because he seems to be enjoying himself when he’s taking a chainsaw to a log.

“Well, it is relaxing,” he said, taking a break from the owl he’s been working on. “I also do some fine-detailed carving, mostly on birds of prey like hawks and owls, which are my favourite subjects.”

The public seems to like his owls too, along with bears and strangely enough — turtles.

“I’m sold out of turtles today,” he said.

Deruchie has always had a passion for art and wildlife, having painted as a boy. But he sort of found his life’s calling somewhat by accident.

“I stumbled across it while building a house on Skootamata Lake,” he said. “I just started fooling around with it.”

He said he’s probably done more bears than anything but that’s probably because he can do them quickly and they sell well.

But while he estimates he’s done close to 5,000 (about 250 to 300 per year) carvings in his career, he maintains each one is different and that helps keep him going.

“I don’t work from drawings,” he said. “I let the wood dictate what the end result will be.

“I may say ‘I’m going to do a bear but the pose, and the variety the facial expressions, will all come from the individual piece of wood.

“If you draw them first, they tend to be all the same.”

Deruchie likes to work in walnut but that can be hard to come by, so the majority of his works are pine. That also works well with his personal philosophy.

“I tend to work with the community,” he said. “If somebody wants a tree taken down, I’ll do it in return for the wood and I’ll likely leave them a little carving as a token of appreciation.

“I’m not going out there cutting down trees just for carvings.”

Like many artists, when he first began he was a little reluctant to give up his creations, he said. But now that he’s making a living from it, not so much.

“My wife (Jackie) has scored maybe five over the years,” he said. “But when I retire is when I’ll do pieces for our own yard.”

Deruchie’s works start at as little as $45 with most in the $100-$125 range. They’re based on size however with a two-foot bear costing as much as $250.

His website is

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 10:54

Kennebec then and now

On the agenda of the July 5, 2017 council meeting held in Arden, a presentation was made by Glen Matson and Wanda Harrison requesting permission to remove a large pine tree in front of the Community Centre. With permission granted the tree was safely and efficiently removed September 18. It had been decided, at that time, to make a dedication to the past forefathers of Kennebec Township, at the opening of the new Heritage Garden, but unfortunately due to a multitude of reasons, that did not happen.

After some discussions, it was decided that the Heritage Festival Weekend would be the more, appropriate time to reschedule that dedication, so with the help of Paddy O’Connor, Town Crier, the unveiling of the plank, milled from the old tree, along with photos and a framed tribute took place Saturday February 17.

Glen briefly explained how in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the Township of Kennebec council showed appreciation to the seniors of the day, by hosting annually, a catered meal with entertainment. The tradition was started by Reeve Dorothy Gaylord and continued under the leadership of Reeve George Pringle. At the 1984 dinner Reeve Pringle arranged to have a Pine tree moved from the woods and planted at the Community Centre, in the Seniors honour. And so this tree stood, until it unfortunately had to be removed for safety reasons.

Glen, the Historical Society and the Recreation Committee, all felt that there had to be a lasting tribute to those who proceeded us, establishing our Hamlet. Looking at the photographs and those pictured you will see many familiar names; Knight, Woodcock, See, Monds, Scott, Barnett, Peterson and Matson to name just a few. It’s those folks who formed the backbone of the Community we know today.

It is now our turn to make memories, and so 2 new ornamental shrubs were planted last fall, starting the process. This vibrant community is involved in numerous events and are represented in various venues, any or all of which, will help to continue the traditions of the Hamlet and to establish new ones.

The tribute is a wonderful addition to the Community Centre and if you have the opportunity to visit our wonderful community, drop in and see our new addition.





The Frontenac Heritage Festival returns to Central Frontenac Township this weekend for its 12th year.

Things get underway Friday night with an opening gala at GREC and the annual local talent show — Frontenac’s Got Talent.

The Festival swings into high gear on Saturday with a variety of events and activities in Sharbot Lake, Tichborne, Arden and Kennebec Lake. You can skate for free at the Tichborne rink all day.

Sharbot Lake will be busy starting with the Lions All You Can Eat Breakfast, a bonfire at the CF Train Museum and a Bucket Drumming Workshop for kids at the Child Centre.

But the Arden area has historically been the busiest area on the Saturday and this year is no exception with the Empty Bowls lunch with proceeds going to the food bank, the annual fur-traders camp reenactment, indoor displays from the Historical Society and Trappers Council along with games for the kids outside and chainsaw wood carving demonstrations. There’s a chili cook-off at the Legion too.

And over at the Kennebec Lake public boat launch, the Kennebec Lake Association is holding its 7th annual Winter Fun Day with skating, hockey, ring-toss, snow shoeing, ice fishing, campfire and hot food and drinks.

On Sunday, the focus shifts back to Sharbot Lake for the annual Polar Bear Plunge followed by live music and chili at the Legion. At 6 p.m., the winners of the photo contest will be announced at Oso Hall followed by a family movie.

On Monday, there will be games and activities at the ball field in Sharbot Lake and demonstrations of logging skills at Glen Matson’s farm in Arden.

Although there’s no official ‘chair’ of the festival committee for this year (founder/showrunner Janet Gutowski has stepped down), Mike Procter, who’s busy with different events three of the four days, said they’re always looking for volunteers (they’re good for this year), especially when it comes to planning next year’s event.

“All it would take is a 10-15 hour commitment, all indoors if you want,” Procter said. “We will train you.”

You can call Procter at 613-279-2572.

(And you can look for Procter at his “jockularity and prestidigitation” at the talent show, the fur traders camp on Saturday and with the Frontenac Blades tomahawk/knife throwers at Matson’s Farm.)


Four years ago Joanne Pickett of Arden Pottery decided to start up an Empty Bowls project in her own community.

Empty Bowls is a fund raising project that has been embraced by potters throughout North America as a way of raising money and awareness about poverty. It was founded not by potters, but by two high school art teachers in Michigan, John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn. Students in Hartom’s class made bowls and then Hartom and Blackburn, who are a married couple, organised a lunch for students and teachers in the school. They filled the bowls with soup, and served them to everyone, then asked them all to think about those in their community whose soup bowls were empty. They then asked for donations and said, “keep the bowls”.

The concept of empty bowls was born. In 2002, Empty Bowls came to Eastern Ontario when Perth area potter, the late Jackie Seaton, started up the Perth Empty Bowls project. The project is now in its 16th year and has raised over $200,000 for local youth and food programs. The dozen potters who are involved have made over 9,000 bowls.

The experience of Empty Bowls for Joanne Pickett in Arden has been similar, although on a smaller scale. In the first year Joanne made most of the bowls herself and involved few people, raising $800 for the North Frontenac Food Bank, based in Sharbot Lake.

In the second year more people were involved and $1,400 was raised and last year $2,200 was raised.

This year local potters from Water's Edge Pottery, Aileen Merriam, Jonas Bonetta and Arden Pottery have donated over 100 bowls. For $20. diners choose from a menu of gourmet soups and chilies served in a one-of-a-kind handcrafted pottery bowl that they get to keep.

This year's offerings include smoked tomato and basil soup with shaved Parmesan cheese, chicken/veg and brown rice , creamy curried squash, and baked potato soup with cheddar and bacon - just to name a few. For the adventuresome among us there will be a wild chili - all ingredients (except for the salt) harvested in Kennebec township. Soups and chilies are served with a crispy ciabatta roll and butter.

Freshly brewed coffee and tea, and mulled cider will be available with a selection of delicious homemade cookies and cupcakes.

Also this year there will be a silent auction as part of the Empty Bowls campaign, with artwork donated by local artists.

The event begins at 10 am and goes until 4 pm on the 17th, when Arden will be chock full of Frontenac Heritage Festival events.

See the blue pamphlet in this week’s paper for a complete schedule.

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