Members of the congregation of St. Paul's United Church in Harrowsmith held their annual Country Crafts sale on November 14, with many of the proceeds going to the Verona Community Association's Christmas For Kids program. The program, with the help of parents and students at Harrowsmith Public School, provides Christmas gift baskets for children and families in need in the local community. The funds raised at the event are also used to support the church's own Christmas hamper program. A total of 22 vendors took part in the sale and the event also included a basket draw for a number of gift baskets and other items donated by individuals and businesses from the local community. Many young participants in the Sunday school program at St. Paul's also took part in the event and were selling a number of holiday gift items to raise funds for Christmas For Kids. Volunteers from the congregation served up a delicious chili lunch to hungry shoppers. Marni Pedersen, who helps to organize the fundraiser, said she was pleased with the turn out for the annual event, which has been taking place for over 15 years.
On November 6, Rick Walters, president of Lennox and Addington Mutual Insurance, was beaming at the official ribbon cutting celebration for the opening of the company's first ever satellite office, which is located in the Harrowsmith Plaza.
L& A Mutual board members, along with staff from the new branch and the company's head office in Napanee, were joined by dignitaries and members of the local business community to celebrate this milestone for a business that has been serving rural property owners for close to 14 decades. L&A Mutual first opened its doors in 1876.
The company’s six-member board of directors all have an agricultural background.
Rick Walters said the company chose Harrowsmith as the location for their first branch office not only to help serve their existing customers in Frontenac County but also to generate some new business in the area. Walters said that when looking for a new location, it was the Harrowsmith Plaza, the new hub of business activity in the local community that made the perfect fit. “We chose Harrowsmith because we wanted to commit to our customers in Frontenac County and are moving forward by continuing to take care of future rural customers, who are our niche. We do business online but still find that a lot of our customers like to be able to shake hands and talk one on one with staff, and with this new office we can accommodate that.”
After giving a brief history of the company, Walters updated guests on the 140-year-old business, which now offers its clients farm, homeowner's and small commercial, as well as auto insurance. He said he is hoping that by this spring the company will be able to offer a recreational dwelling package as well. Currently staff at L& A Mutual are looking into offering aviation insurance with the hopes of insuring the commercial use of drones. Walters then thanked a number of individuals and companies, including the board of directors who committed the necessary dollars to open the new branch; Ann Prichard of the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation; and Walters' wife Susi, who supplied the artwork that decorates the new branch.
Mayor of South Frontenac, Ron Vandewal, who was in attendance along with Deputy Mayor John McDougall, also spoke at the event and welcomed the new business, congratulating staff on their expansion with the words, “ A business that has lasted 140 years is obviously doing something right.” Ann Prichard, executive director of the FCFDC, who helped organize and promote the event, said she was thrilled to be able to welcome a new business to the community. Following the ribbon cutting, guests enjoyed a light lunch and other refreshments courtesy of Desert Lake Gardens of Sydenham. The new branch office is located at 5062 Road 38 in Harrowsmith and is open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 am-4:30 pm; Fridays from 8am- 4pm. For more information call the office at 613-372-2980 or visit
Twelve members from the Sydenham and Verona Lions clubs and three volunteers recently completed vision and hearing screening of approximately 200 senior kindergarten and Grade 1 students at Harrowsmith, Loughborough, and Prince Charles Public Schools, and St. Patrick’s Catholic School.
For the past eight years, the local Lions clubs have conducted this screening of the youngest students at the start of the school year in order to detect any vision or hearing issues early. It is estimated that one in six children has a vision problem. For young students, to optimize their learning and school experience, it is critical that vision and hearing issues are detected early.
The vision screening consists of three fun visual stations that check both eyes for distance, depth perception and alignment. Hearing is screened with a sound test of both ears. The child wears headphones and is asked at increasingly lower audio levels to point to various pictures.
The results from both screening tests are sent home to the child’s parents/caregivers the same day. If the child’s results fall below the prescribed level, a recommendation is made that the child have a complete examination by a vision or hearing specialist. Parents are reminded that annual eye examinations for school-aged children by a vision specialist are covered by OHIP.
The Lions screening program is free. The expensive vision and hearing equipment was purchased by the Lions with community fund raising and is circulated to various Lions clubs to conduct screening at more than 50 local schools.
While most of the Lions screening volunteers are retired, the younger volunteers juggle their work schedules to be available for the school day screenings. Many of the Lions are grandparents who themselves have vision and hearing issues and have personal stories of struggling in school due to those problems. They understand first hand the importance of correcting vision and hearing issues early.
Lennox and Addington Mutual Insurance was established in 1876 after a meeting of farmers that was held in the Village of Newburgh. The farmers were unable to obtain fire insurance from companies based in urban centres so they set up their own mutual insurance corporation.
One hundred and forty years later, the need for an insurer specializing in the needs of rural property owners has not abated, and while a number of similar sized companies in Eastern Ontario have merged, L&A Mutual continues to thrive on its own, so much so that they have opened a new Frontenac County office in the Harrowsmith Plaza.
Rick Walters is the current president of the company. He succeeded his father with the company, so, as he says, he is pretty familiar with the community of Napanee where L&A Mutual is based and with the company as well. He is also one of the directors of the Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
While it was fire and livestock insurance that was the basis of L&A Mutual Insurance's original business, the company has since expanded its insurance offerings for rural property owners whether they farm their properties or not.
Products include farm owner packages, homeowner packages, condominium unit owner packages, small commercial packages, yacht packages and automobile insurance.
Rick Walters said that L&A Mutual has developed a strong client base in Frontenac County over the years, and by establishing an office in the township it will be more convenient for the three agents who work with the company in Frontenac County to meet with existing clients. The agents are Sally Blasko - Inverary, Brian Powley - Hartington, and Nikole Walters - Harrowsmith. The new office will help attract new clients as well
L&A Mutual Insurance Company will be officially opening the branch office in the Harrowsmith Plaza on Friday, November 6. The official opening will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony taking place at 11:00 a.m. Refreshments will be served after the ribbon cutting.
On October 15, students at Harrowsmith Public School had a chance to experience first hand what it means to engage in the democratic process as they participated in the school's first ever Student Vote program. Students in Ms. Thayer's and Ms. Ranson's grade 4/5 classes took the lead in implementing the program and over 175 students in grade four and higher had a chance to cast their ballots for their party of choice in the riding of Lanark Frontenac Kingston.
Through the process the students gained an understanding of the country's three levels of government, its four major political parties, and how each party's platform differed in the 2015 federal election campaign.
Ms. Thayer said that the program ties in nicely with the social studies curriculum for the lead students, who are studying government and the democratic process. The aim of the lead students was to convince their fellow students that their chosen party had the strategies and policies that would best serve and benefit Canadians. Ms. Thayer said the focus was on the four major political parties and their platforms rather than the individual candidates running in the riding.
Lead students were invited first to research the platforms and to chose the party they most wanted to represent. They learned about numerous issues including the Syrian refugee crisis, the state of the economy, the environment, health care and more. Students were also instructed how to use various forms of media in order to get their information across to their fellow voters as well as to think critically about the media they were researching. The students gained a whole new vocabulary and awareness of the political process and you can bet that there were some very interesting conversations taking place throughout the school on voting day. After choosing their party, the students made numerous presentations to their fellow students and were also in charge of running and officiating at the ballot stations.
I spoke to two students, Emma Aitken and Noah McDougall, who were respectively campaigning for the Conservative and NDP parties. Emma said that she chose to campaign for the Conservative party because she “felt that Stephen Harper over the years did a good job in keeping Canadians safe”. She added that prior to this program she “did not know very much about politics”, but said that now she feels that she has become much more interested in the topic.
Noah said he chose the NDP because he felt “it was time to take a break from Stephen Harper and see what it would be like without him”. He also liked the NDP's stance on hand guns and their goals to create more affordable health care and housing.
Asked what qualities they feel a prime minister needs to run the country, Noah replied, “being enthusiastic about what they will do for the country, not being grumpy and caring about what things might be going wrong for people”.
Emma said that “being bilingual, not backing out of promises and helping other people in the world” are all important.
The results from the Student Vote Program are in and the Liberals won in a landslide with 67%, (225.8 seats), Conservatives, 20% (67.4seats), the NDP, 12% (40.44 seats) and the Green party 1% or 3.37 seats. As in the past the results reflect the decision of Canadian voters. By the end of the day students at HPS were not only well informed but were also thrilled to be able to have their say in the 2015 federal election.
B.J. Calver, who heads up the local and international missions program at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church, was thrilled with the turn out at the church's annual Fall Fair on October 17. The event attracted hundreds of shoppers and included close to 50 local vendors, who were offering up everything from hand made crafts, comestibles and a wide range of gift ware. Organizers also offered visitors a huge bake sale table, fresh funnel cakes, and a Chili Plus Cafe, with all the food proceeds funding the HFMC's Community Assistance Program (CAP).
The CAP program offers financial assistance to members of the local community in need of food, heat, and emergency relief due to fire. CAP also funds the church's Christmas Hamper Program and through its partnership with Southern Frontenac Community Services also provides emergency food vouchers and other financial relief to local families in need. Calver and her husband Ray, who have been doing voluntary mission work in the Dominican Republic for close to 20 years, have through their partnership with the HFMC been able to build a church and school in Barrio Tona, a town just outside of Porta Plata in the Dominican Republic.
Shoppers who attended this year's sale were intrigued with the plethora of unique items for sale and new and notable this year were Miche purses and Birkenstock foot ware. Other first time vendors included Orna-Metal metal art, and Boutique Originals, who sell a wide array of primitive recycled Christmas crafts. Calver said that she was hoping to exceed the $2600 in donations raised at last year's event and judging by the turn out, it looked as though that hope could easily become a reality.
This article is prepared by X.B. Shen of Long Road Ecological Farm and is a part of its “Farm Sum” series. www.facebook.com/farmsum.
We invite friends over to our farm from time to time and usually we make a Chinese peasant-style meal with abundant vegetables from our garden. Impressed by how delicious the food is, our friends may still not dare to make their own, even though I tell them stir-frying is really simple. I hope this article will uncover the myths of Chinese peasant-style stir-fry; it turns out there is no mystery at all – no complex sauces or hard-to-master technique.
Chinese peasant-style stir-fry requires very little preparation and few ingredients. Besides what's available in the garden, you only need a bit of oil, salt, and water (yes, water). Garlic, green onion, soy sauce are a plus, but not necessary. Each vegetable has its own pleasant flavour, and Chinese peasants like to preserve this flavour by not using too much or too strong spices and seasonings.
Here is a recipe for a delicious stir-fry potato dish:
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or any vegetable oil)
- 2 large chieftain potatoes (red skin, crunchy), sliced to sticks, like french fries, thickness varies, the thinner the better and less cooking time. Keep skin if organically-grown
- 1 bell pepper, or two hot peppers, seeds removed, cut to sticks
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1/3 teaspoon of salt or less
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon of soya sauce
1. Heat the frying pan, add oil and garlic, stir a few seconds, and then add peppers, stir the pepper and cook for about half a minute
2. Add potatoes. Stir and add salt, and a few tablespoons of water to avoid burning at the bottom.
3. Cover with lid and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often. Add a bit more water if it drys up.
4. Add green onion and soya sauce, and give it a good mixing before putting it in a plate or large bowl.
Eat with rice or as a replacement for salad/mashed potato in a steak meal. The key to this dish is that you want to keep the crunchiness of the potato by not overcooking it.
A variation of this dish is to add a bit of chopped pork. You will need to prepare the pork first. Chop the pork into small pieces, fry it with cooking oil and thinly-sliced ginger. Once the colour of the pork changes, add salt, continue to stir for a minute or two, and then remove from pan and put in a lidded container.
We usually prepare one pound of pork every time. When we make a vegetable dish, we add some of the pre-cooked pork when the vegetable is about half done. One pound of pork can last for a few days. You
will appreciate the pork from a good source. When pork is good, it is juicy and flavourful even if you don't add any sauce. Bad pork is dry and flavourless, and loses water when being stir-fried.
You can apply the same method to cooking fresh beans, zucchini, summer squash, celery, daikon radish, the stems of greens (such as bok choy, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, etc). The cooking time varies with different vegetables.
Attendance reaches target of 10,000
It took the efforts of a committee of volunteers, the Township of South Frontenac, Frontenac County staffers Alison Vandervelde and Anne Marie Young, co-ordinators Pam Morey and Dan Bell, and hundreds of volunteers on the grounds to produce a relaxed, happy, and engaged crowd at the Frontenac County weekend-long 150th Anniversary Celebration.
The long range planning that helped make that happen started with the upgrades that were done to Centennial Park to turn it into a mixed-use facility that is as suitable for a soccer tournament or a high school football game as it is for a fair or large exhibition. This involved clearing a swath of land for parking, paving walkways, upgrading the stage/picnic area, etc. All of this work was taken on by the township over the last 18 months, and was done with accessibility needs in mind thanks to the efforts of Neil Allan, who consults with the township and sits on the county accessibility committee as well.
The planning for the event itself has been underway for a couple of years, but it was over the last six or seven months that all of the detailed work was done, the musicians booked, the vendors sought and secured, etc.
By the time Friday (August 28) rolled around, tents were going up around the grounds; cordoned-off areas had been set up for kids who would be playing on the bouncy castles and for adults at the “saloon”; the re-enactors had set up their camp; and the dignitaries were gathered for the opening ceremonies.
Any illusion that the proceedings would be dry and formal were dispelled when Central Frontenac Town Crier Paddy O'Connor enlisted the audience’s participation in calling out “O-yeah”.
This was followed by the raising of the Canadian flag and Heather Bell singing O Canada.
The MC for the ceremony was Phil Leonard, former mayor of Portland and South Frontenac Townships and County Warden on several occasions as well. Leonard also sat on the 150th anniversary committee. He introduced a number of speakers, including: South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson, MPs Scott Reid and Ted Hsu, MPPs Randy Hillier and Sophie Kiwala, North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, culminating in remarks by Dennis Doyle, the Mayor of Frontenac Islands and Warden of the County.
The speeches were, for the most part, brief, and in keeping with the tone that had been set early for the event, relatively irreverent. Among the other dignitaries at the event were a number of former wardens of Frontenac County, including 95-year-old Don Lee, Jack Moreland, Bill MacDonald, Bill Lake, Barbara Sproule, Phil Leonard, Ron Sleeth, Janet Gutowski, and Jim Vanden Hoek.
The ceremonies having been dispensed with, it was time to let loose, and the saloon was a destination for politicians - a fitting location considering that the county and townships used to hold their meetings in pubs in the 1800s.
Following the showing of a family movie, a fireworks spectacle ended the opening night of the festival.
Saturday was a busy, busy day. A parade started it off, and with the Frontenac Plowing Match underway across the road, thousands enjoyed the sunshine and a full schedule of events. Over 5,000 people streamed into the park throughout the day, enjoying free admission and entertainment from a host of musicians, a strongman competition, and a short skirmish by the Brockville Infantry Company of 1862.
On Saturday night, the Golden Links Hall hosted a Heritage Ball, where about half the audience was dressed in 1860s vintage clothing. This was a challenge because not only did the band Soul Survivors keep the R&B hits coming all night to keep the dance floor full, but the evening was more than a bit warm for wool suits and layered dresses.
Sunday, the final day of the event was a bit more low key than Saturday, although the park remained busy.
The Brockville Infantry, who had been camping on site throughout the weekend, finally had their chance to put on a full re-enactment. The Fenians, Irish descended former Americans who raided Canada in order to pressure England to pull out of Ireland, lost the battle to a squadron of Red Coats and the Brockville Infantry amid gun and cannon fire. The Fenian raids took place around the time that Frontenac County was founded, and they were the last time any attacks on Canada were launched from US soil.
About an hour after the re-enactment, the closing ceremonies got underway. As the public left, the vendors, food trucks, and volunteers began to clean up, leaving Harrowsmith Centennial Park in pristine condition, a fitting legacy project for the 150th anniversary.
The sport of Eisstock has steadily been gaining in popularity, especially in the Township of South Frontenac. This is likely due to the fact that a number of enthusiastic and gung-ho players from the area have recently taken up the sport.
Karl Hammer Jr. is one such player. Just a few years back he discovered the sport through his family's German heritage and after taking it up he has been encouraging friends and family members to do the same. “My father and grandfather both played the sport, which was popular in the area up until the early 1990s but for some reason almost disappeared. It was when I moved to Gould Lake in the winter years back and saw the dust collecting on my dad's old stocks that I became interested in the game, and encouraged my dad to get out his stocks and play with me”.
Now just a few years later the Kingston and Area Ice Stock club is slowly coming back to life.
The gaining popularity of the sport was evident in a recent Canadian Ice Stock Federation tournament that took place at Harrowsmith Centennial Park on August 16. Hosted by the Kingston and Area Ice Stock Club, whose membership has gone from 20 to 40 members, five teams participated in the Harrowsmith tournament, including three out-of-town teams from Barrie, Cambridge and Kitchener.
The sport, which combines elements of bocce ball and Canadian-style curling, originated in Europe, specifically in Bavaria, Germany. Both Karl’s father, Karl Sr. and his sister Tasha Hammer played at the Sunday event. In fact Tasha Hammer, who herself has only been playing the sport for a year and a half, and long time player Kata Zaric, were teammates on the women's Canadian national team and won gold when they competed against Brazil at the 2015 America's Cup, which took place in Barrie, Ont. earlier this year. Kara also participated in Sunday's tournament and Tasha said the team is hoping to compete in Ritten, Italy at the World's Cup in February 2106.
Tasha and Kara were not the only well-known players throwing stocks in Harrowsmith on Sunday. Ronny Horvath, president of the Canadian Ice Stock Federation, competed at the world championships in 2012 in Bavaria, Germany as part of the Canadian national team, who placed tenth out of 42 countries and he was also participating at Sunday's tournament. He described the game as involving two four-member teams who compete against each other by tossing stocks with the aim of getting them closest to the target. The game differs from curling in that the target is not a fixed point. “The game is unique because unlike curling, the target moves throughout and the players have to be able to shoot left and right, long and short. Certain tactics come into play that give competitors more chances to outwit their opponents.”
Horvath said that he is aiming to make the game better known to all Canadians. “Canadians are well known players of games in all seasons so why not make ice stock an all-seasons sport? We play hockey and go ice fishing on the lakes so why not play ice stock out on the lakes in the winter months as well?” Horvath also said that the game is perfect for the whole family. “If you join a club, you can make up a team solely of family members of different ages so it is a great game if you want to spend time with the whole family and socialize with players of all ages.”
Karl Hammer Jr. said that another nice thing about the game is that you can play at any level you want. “Serous players can chose to compete at as high a level as they like or alternately, can choose to play just for fun.”
As the 150th anniversary of Frontenac County was approaching, a committee was formed to organize events to mark the occasion. They realized that the best way to mark a year-long event such as as this was to have an event of some kind to provide a focus.
So the planning began for a three-day celebration from Friday to Sunday, August 28 to 30. The location at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith was an obvious choice. Not only is it located on Road 38, the artery that links three of the four Frontenac townships, it is also the largest community park in the county, easily hosting over 1,500 people on Canada Day each year.
However, the decision to locate the celebration at Centennial Park brought more into play than just a location; it also brought the Harrowsmith, Sydenham and Verona-based service clubs, the Portland District Recreation Committee and the public works department of South Frontenac township into the mix.
Pam Morey and Dan Bell came forward to co-ordinate the event, and the first people they met with were the public works department of South Frontenac.
“The park needed some work done to be able to handle the crowds, and to host all the events,” said Dan Bell, who, in addition to his role with the anniversary celebration is the chair of the Portland District Recreation Committee. “We had plans for upgrades to the park through our local Rec Committee and we were also fortunate enough to receive extra help for other improvements to Centennial Park from South Frontenac Township. The public works department, led by Jamie Brash and Mark Segsworth, did a wonderful job, and Harrowsmith will enjoy the benefits of the upgrades to the park for years to come. It will be one of the legacies of the anniversary.”
This is only fitting because the park itself was a Centennial project from 1967, and thanks to the 150th anniversary of Fronenac County, it will be in fine fettle to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canada in two years' time.
The upgrades to the park include a brand new parking lot, a brand new playground, better integration with the K&P trail, and improved facilities throughout. In order to put together a varied program of events, Bell and Morey looked to the community, and found that everything they needed was just around the corner. They wanted to have a vendors' market, so they went to the Verona Community Association and the Verona Lions Club, who collaborate on events all the time, and have expertise with vendors from the Verona Garlic Festival and other events.
“They know what to do and to make it work and when they agreed to take it on it was a real load off our shoulders,” said Pam Morey, who is also the president of the Harrowsmith Social and Athletic Club
Similarly the Sydenham Lions are handling parking; the Harrowsmith S&A (Social and Athletic) Club the canteen and beer tent; the Oddfellows the Heritage Ball, and the list goes on.
“It is really an old-time community gathering, sort of like a fair or a picnic. Really a chance for us all to look at what we have built and enjoy each other's company,” said Dan Bell.
“One of the rewards of working on this event has been the co-operation with Frontenac County staff members Anne Marie Young and Alison Vandervelde,” said Morey. “Between them, South Frontenac and the local community, we are sure this event will be a huge success.”
The local flavour of the event extends to the performers who will take the stage throughout the three days. A few of the bands come from Kingston, but most of them are Frontenac County acts.
And, there is no charge to enter the festival grounds all weekend. Apart from the Heritage Ball on Saturday Night at the Golden Links Hall, a nominal fee for the VCA train, which will run though the site, and food vendor purchases, the celebration events are free to the public.
Among the highlights of the three-day celebration will be a large-scale historical re-enactment on the Sunday afternoon, featuring the Brockville Infantry. The group, which has been active for 25 years, takes its inspiration from the original Brockville Infantry, which was founded in 1862, when the pre-confederation communities sought to protect themselves from potential incursions by the Fenians from south of the border. The Fenians conducted raids on British-held lands in Canada in order to pressure the British government to withdraw from Ireland. The re-enactors dress in identical British bright red tunics, carry and fire fully functional replicas of the original Enfield rifles with bayonets, and perform the same precision drill manoeuvres that their counterparts did over 150 years ago. In order to present this polished image of precision, the re-enactors practice these drills on a regular basis throughout the year.
They will not only be presenting a full re-enactment from 1:00 until 2:30 on Sunday (August 30), they will be camping in the park all weekend and will also present a “short skirmish” in Dan Bell's words, on Sat. Aug. 29 from 1 - 1:30pm at the south soccer field.