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.
In keeping with the great tradition of music in Frontenac County, the performers who will be performing all weekend are made up primarily of artists who live or come from Frontenac County, supplemented by some from nearby Kingston.
On Friday night, Kingston/Nashville based Rob Carnegie will take the stage at 6pm, following the opening ceremonies, which start at 5pm. Rob is a singer songwriter in the country music tradition. He has been making a name for himself as a songwriter and performer in Canada and the United States, with his 2014 release “Unwind”.
Also on Friday night, a family movie, Big Hero 6, will be screened at 8pm, followed by fireworks.
On Saturday, the festival swings into high gear with a parade at 10am. Across the road from the festival site, the Frontenac County Plowing Match also starts at 10 am and runs until 3 pm. Meanwhile, on the site, mini-putt, midway rides, a strong man competition, heritage equipment and numerous other events are running all day.
On stage at 12:15pm, 14-year-old Abby Stewart will be performing. Abby, who first performed in Frontenac County at the Old Time Music Festivals in 2010 and 2011, played on the Upcoming Artists stage at the Boots and Hearts Festival in 2014, and a few weeks ago she played the main festival at the Front Porch Stage and was featured on the festival poster.
She will be followed at 1:30 by Sydenham-based Big 'Mo and the Blues Mission, whose up-tempo rock 'n blues sound is familiar throughout the region. They play local events and are mainstays at the Limestone City Blues Festival as well.
At 2:45, Rudy and Saddle Up will bring their high energy country sound to the stage.
Later, after the plowing match winners are announced, Bellfonix are playing at 5:15pm. Heather Bell got her start singing at Canada Day and other events in Harrowsmith and Sydenham as a teenager and with the Bellfonix, she performs her pop-rock repertoire often at popular bars in Kingston.
The final musical performer of the day at the festival stage, at 6:30, will be Chris Koster, a Kingston-based performer and songwriter. Chris' music has an emotional edge and a contemporary alternative rock feel.
Although Centennial Park closes down at 8 pm, there is one more event scheduled for Saturday, one that promises to be a highlight of the celebration. The Golden Links Hall, on Colebrooke street, will be the site of the Frontenac Heritage Ball. This is the only ticketed event of the weekend. Participants are invited to wear heritage dress for the ball, which costs $20 and features the eight-piece R&B sensations, Soul Survivors. Tickets also include a light buffet and the ball is a licensed event.
While people may be dressing like it's 1865, the dancing will be more like it's 1975. Tickets are available at Nicole's Gifts in Verona, at Nellie's Gas Bar in Harrowsmith and by calling Pam Morey at 613-372-1578. There will also be limited numbers of tickets available at the door, but buying them in advance is recommended.
On Sunday morning, Fiddlers and Friends from North Frontenac and neighbouring Lanark County will be on stage at 10:30. With fiddles, piano, and guitars they play tunes from the 1940s on, and always entertain.
The final band of the event is After the News from Verona, featuring Lee Casement and vocalist Lisa Menard, at 11:45.
The historical re-enactment, as mentioned earlier, will follow After the News. The closing ceremonies are set for 3 pm.
Gilmour’s on 38 Meat Shop and Deli in Harrowsmith is having a charity barbeque tomorrow, Friday July 24 from 2 to 6pm to raise funds for the Clothes for Kids Foundation. This organization works with underprivileged families to make sure that the children have warm winter clothes and snowsuits.
Owner Nick Gilmour says that this is Gilmour’s first charity barbeque and that every penny raised will be going to Clothes for Kids. TV and radio stations CKWS and FM 96 are also working with Gilmour’s to promote the event.
Gilmour’s works closely with Friendly Fires of Kingston, a company that sells barbeques and fireplaces, and they will be coming to the event, donating the use of their barbeques and their time to the cause. Best of all, they’re going to do the cooking.
Gilmour’s is located at 5062 Road 38 in Harrowsmith. They will be cooking up sausages, hamburgers and hot dogs for $3 per item and of course, any additional donations would be welcome. If you cannot attend the BBQ but would still like to donate, or for more information, please call Nick Gilmour at 613-372-1818.
Harrowsmith's Alice Aiken started her military career in the navy as a ship's navigator in 1984. While in the military she took a degree in Physiotherapy at Dalhousie and served as a physiotherapist until she left the military in 1998. She completed both a Master’s and PhD program at Queen's and then joined the university’s Faculty of Physical Therapy in 2006, a department that she now chairs.
While that aspect of her career is impressive in its own right, it also serves as the basis for her research career.
In 2010, she was approached by former Brigadier General Bill Richard, who was about to retire as board chair of Kingston General Hospital.
“He thought we should do something for the country's veterans and that we should bring academics to the table to have a good look at the health needs of veterans. So, we built this institute and I became the science director,” she said.
The institute is called the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), and in its first five years it has grown from an idea to being comprised of more than 35 universities (including all major Canadian research universities) and 550 researchers.
What Dr. Aiken and her team were able to do, starting with just the support of Queen's, is put together a database containing health-related information from veterans across Ontario. This database is available to researchers who propose studies to the institute, and the CIMHVR has become a leader in health research among current and former military personnel and their families.
One of the first problems that had to be overcome was to find the health records of veterans in order to study them. Veterans’ Affairs only has records for veterans who have health issues of one kind or another when they leave the military. Other veterans who are discharged are not tracked.
However, when Canadian military personnel are discharged and then approach Service Canada for a health card, they are given one immediately; the three-month waiting period is waived in their case. This practice has created a record that was hidden in the database of the provincial health ministries. It took over a year of work to convince the Ontario Ministry of Health to release this information to the CIMVHR (void of all personal identification) but once that was accomplished, the institute gained valuable information to share with researchers and was able to sponsor an increasingly broad number of research projects.
“Certainly, ever since the Afghanistan war there has been an increased public interest in the health of veterans, and we have been able to sponsor many research projects in a short time to look at these issues,” she said.
CIMVHR has made this research accessible through publications, education opportunities, speaking engagements, media coverage, and an annual forum.
Research projects that have been completed include flight-related neck pain; recovering mobility after brain injuries; resiliency and readiness in military personnel; the impact of adverse childhood experience on mood and anxiety in military personnel; and the list goes on.
“Over the past four years I have been awed by the magnitude and rigor of research already being undertaken, and inspired by the capacity available to pursue new projects. We are eager to learn from the hundreds of CIMVHR researchers we work with across the country, and in turn we are honoured to be given the opportunity to support them as they focus on their work on military personnel, veterans and their families,” said Dr. Aiken in the CIMVHR’s four-year progress report in 2014.
Recently, Dr. Aiken has been honoured twice. In May she was named the Honorary Commander of 33 Canadian Forces Health Services, Kingston, and on July 10, the Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, presented her with one of this year's ministry commendations for her contributions to the service of military veterans at a ceremony in Ottawa.
The County of Frontenac marks its 150th Anniversary this year, a milestone that will culminate in a three-day celebration at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith, August 28 – 30. Admission and all activities are free.
“I encourage all residents of the county, and our neighbouring municipalities, to bring their family and friends out for this once-in-a-lifetime event,” says Warden Denis Doyle. “This will be a wonderful time to celebrate our past, present, and bright future, and for visitors to discover our region. I hope you will join us, starting the week on Wolfe Island at the Canadian Plowing Championships, and capping off your summer at Frontenac County’s 150th Anniversary Celebration!
Friday night festivities include the opening ceremony, midway rides, family activities, live entertainment, beer tent, IceStock Curling, family movie, and a huge fireworks show.
Saturday starts off with a parade, and the Frontenac County Plowing Match, Strongman Competition, bingo, and family activities – midway rides, bouncy castles, petting zoo, train rides, magic show, and mini putt – will go all day. Food and drink will be available for purchase from the beer tent, canteen, a BBQ, a collection of local food trucks, and other vendors. The heritage and antique displays will offer insights to the county’s colourful history. The evening will end with the Heritage Costume Ball at the Golden Links Hall (tickets cost $20 per person); come dressed in period costume, get your photo taken with Sir. John A. Macdonald and dance the night away with a live band. Tickets are available for purchase through Pam Morey and at Nicole’s Gifts in Verona.
Sunday morning brunch will be followed by more family activities, heritage and community displays, a huge historical re-enactment, live entertainment, and closing ceremony. A full schedule of activities is available at www.FrontenacCounty.ca/150.
Canada Day photo essay
Two recent grants from the Limestone Learning Foundation (LLF) have resulted in some interesting projects that have been completed by students at Harrowsmith Public School.
Thanks to one of the grants, students in Ms. Vogelzang's grade six class recently held an exhibition of the wooden waterfowl they created for a special project. The students researched and studied various species of waterfowl using SMART Ideas and each produced a finished piece of text that they published in a format of their choice. The students also designed and made the wooden waterfowl using rasps. They painted them and also painted wetland scenes as backdrops to their creations.
Upon completion of the project, parents and families of the students were invited to a special exhibition of their work at the school on June 22.
The second project involved students from Ms. Thayer's and Jane Ranson's grade 4/5 classes, who recently completed a project using 22 new iPads the school acquired through a separate grant from the Limestone Learning Foundation.
The project, in which the students designed a virtual resort for the Harrowsmith area, also covered specific curriculum requirements including Social Studies, Science, Math, French, and English. The students, who worked in groups, first used Google Earth to find an actual location for their resort and explained why it was suitable.
Next they used Survey Monkey to develop surveys to collect data about what people wanted at a resort, and based on that information they further developed the resort's plans, creating maps, posters and pamphlets to explain its special features and services.
Thayer said that to meet the needs of the special learners in the two classes, the teachers applied for the grant to acquire the iPads in an effort to make the project more accessible to all of the students in the class. “The iPads are very visual and have different apps that allow the students to tailor the work to their own special talents and needs. For example the iPad has a voice-to-text app that allows students who may be less skilled at reading and writing to create a higher quality work, which they might otherwise not be able to produce. They also give the students appropriate choices when they are searching for resources on the web.”
Grade five students Andrew Johnston and Kate Livie each completed a project and showed me their finished work. Andrew made a presentation about a virtual resort called the MUG Hotel, in which he and his group created a video presentation using green screen technology. Kate likes to use the scratch app on the iPad to create her very own video games.
When not hovering over their new iPads, students and staff at HPS also know how to have a good time on a hot sunny June day. The held an annual Water Fun Day on June 19 that involved over 150 students at the school, with the older grade 4/5 students taking the lead and organizing and running a number of water-based activities for the younger students at the school.
Harrowsmith-area residents gathered in large numbers Wednesday evening, June 17, at Harrowsmith Public School for a presentation from a solar developer eyeing three properties in the region as potential project sites.
SunEdison, a US-based corporation with offices in Toronto, presented its plans for the Freeman Road project (Freeman Road spanning north to Colebrooke Road); the Groenewegen Project (Henderson and Florida Roads near Stars Corners; and the Wallace Project (Alton Road at Road 38). All the power generated by the three proposed solar fields, if they were built, was to be transmitted to the hydro installation near the proposed Wallace project.
The projects are still in the conceptual phase, and details would be rounded out before approvals are issued this November, the Harrowsmith-area projects are pitted against others throughout Ontario in a competitive bidding process.
Members of the public present at the June 17 meeting voiced concerns and sought clarifications on a range of issues.
One common concern was about the potential impact on Harrowsmith residents from necessary upgrades to power lines to bring electricity from the Groenewegen and Freeman projects through the village of Harrowsmith to the Hydro substation at Alton Road, where the Wallace project is located.
The projects are large, the Freeman Road one is 100 MW, and the other two are both 50 MW. To put the size in perspective, the entire allocation for solar power from the entire province in the procurement process that sparked SunEdison to put these projects forward is only 140 MW, less than the combined size of the three projects in South Frontenac
( Note - It seems that SunEdison was listening to the concerns over transmission lines. On Monday morning, June 22, they informed the township that they are pulling both the Groenewegen and Freeman Road projects, leaving only the Wallace project to be submitted for this year's procurement process - See South Frontenac report on page 1)
Although they pulled the projects for now, SunEdison told the township that they may look at them again for next year's procurement.
Transmission lines were not the only concern expressed by residents at the Harrowsmith meeting on the 17th.
One theme that came up repeatedly concerned the lack of influence landowners and township councils have in the planning and carrying-out of such projects.
Others raised concern over how land would be restored after the 20-year lease expired, if the project were approved. SunEdison says that it takes full responsibility for restoring lands to their original state. However, with leases spanning 20 years, residents expressed a concern about the potential for companies to fail over the project's lifespan, leaving construction unfinished or completed projects intact at lease's end that should be dismantled.
While the overall tone of the meeting was one of wariness, with a large number of attendees vocal in their opposition to the proposals, there was a small presence from more sympathetic residents.
One woman, who identified herself as a long-time resident whose property abuts a proposed project site, addressed the crowd with a reminder that other Ontario municipalities are currently saddled with nuclear power projects, positing that the disruptions of a solar project would be relatively minor, while the benefits of moving forward with green energy were essential to future sustainability.
Mayor Ron Vandewal was present at the meeting in Harrowsmith, along with the majority of Council. He said later in a telephone interview that although Council approved solar projects in general when SunEdison made a preliminary presentation to Council some months ago, a specific motion of support will be required for the company to get credit for municipal support when they submit their bid.
He also confirmed that, as is the case with proposed wind turbine projects under the same procurement process, SunEdison has made a financial offer to the township through a community fund, and the township is considering making a counter offer.