Wednesday, 19 August 2015 19:49

Frontenac 150th Anniversary Celebration

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.

Published in 150 Years Anniversary
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 07:59

Gilmour’s on 38 Charity BBQ July 24

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.

Volunteers and vendors are needed in order to ensure this weekend is a success. Interested volunteers and vendors should email Pam Morey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info and to register. Download the Vendor Application Form at

“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

For more information, please contact Alison Vandervelde, Communications Officer, at 613-548-9400 ext 305 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Friday, 03 July 2015 11:12

Canada Day

Canada Day photo essay


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Sharbot Lake

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15 26 canada day sydenham


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.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 22:09

Solar Power meeting in Harrowsmith

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.

Thursday, 04 June 2015 01:09

Grandmothers-by-the-Lake plant/bake sale

Advertising is what attracted John and Alison Turcotte of Bath, first time buyers to the 7th annual Grandmothers-by-the-Lake annual plant and bake sale that took place for the first time at St. Paul's United Church in Harrowsmith on May 31. The couple noticed the ad placed in a Napanee newspaper and said they “love the charity and would definitely return to the sale again next year”. This year's sale by the local Grandmothers group raised over $3,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign that funds grass roots community-based projects in Africa that support the thousands of African grandmothers and the millions of African children they care for who have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic there. The sale is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Grandmothers-by-the-Lake and it has been catching on since its inception seven years ago. Its new venue offers more space to buyers who continue to flock to the sale looking for bargains on a wide variety of plants all donated by members of the group who also offer up a wide assortment of fresh baked goods. Adele Colby who chairs the group said people continue to come year after year because “they love the bargains and the cause”.

New and upcoming for the group this year will be their participation in the annual Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign's Walk called “Stride To Turn the Tide” that will take place on June 6. Members of the group will be obtaining pledges and sponsors for the 5km walk that will take place on a local trail in the area (yet to be determined) in their hopes of another raising $4-$5,000 for the cause. For more information about the walk and to sponsor the walkers, contact Adele Colby at 613-375-8845 or visit the campigns official website at


There was standing room only on April 26 at St. Paul's United Church in Harrowsmith for a special event that transformed the church’s main sanctuary into a runway for close to 40 models.

The event, which was organized by the Harrowsmith Women’s Institute (HWI), brought to light over 60 vintage outfits after members scoured their basements, attics and cupboards for vintage clothing, much of it treasured family heirlooms. The outfits were enthusiastically donned by models of all ages who sported clothing and accessories from the Roaring '20s, Depression era '30s, war time '40s, the bopping '50s, psychedelic '60s and the groovy '70s to a delighted crowd that numbered over 150. The models included members of the HWI, the local community as well as participants and staff from New Leaf Link (NeLL).

NeLL was founded by its executive director, Dr. Karen Steiner, and the organization’s aim is to provide education, life skills, arts and healthy living programming to adults with developmental disabilities living in rural South Frontenac and the surrounding area.

The fashion show was spearheaded by Karen Nickel, president of the HWI and came about when HWI member Joan Worsfold, who has been volunteering at NeLL for the last four years, suggested that the proceeds from the event go towards supporting NeLL.

Jo Lyon, who is a program director at New Leaf Link and teaches the healthy living program there (and who also modeled in the show) said that the event helped to bring community awareness to NeLL, which that has grown from four participants in its first year to 13 currently.

Lyon said that NeLL offers its participants opportunities that otherwise would not exist. “After these individuals leave the school system and after they reach 21 years of age there is no programming in this area available to them. They either have to travel to Kingston or Sharbot Lake and we feel it’s important for these individuals to be able to stay in their own community where they are able to be with their friends and families while participating in worthwhile programming opportunities.”

She said she was thrilled that participants from NeLL also modeled in the fashion show. “It's important for the community at large to see who we are at NeLL and to understand the important programming that we are offering through the organization.” For more information visit

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 23:11

Tiffany Gift Shop to close in Harrowsmith

As she approaches her 70th birthday, Ann Elvins, who has been the owner of the Tiffany Gift Shop in Harrowsmith for 16 years, says “It's time to dance”.

There never has been a problem with the store, she said. It has been well supported by the community since she took it over.

“I enlarged the store quite a bit. It was a two room store when I bought it and I added another room and a garage and brought in new products, but it kept the same feel as it had when I bought it, which was what I wanted to do,” she said.

She has also been able to support a number of charities with the store, including the African Grandmothers, for whom she has hosted an annual plant sale on the front lawn; the Women for Afghanistan; the Cattail Festival; Harrowsmith Public School and others.

But now it is time to wrap things up and retire, and all this month she's been selling off her stock in advance of a final sale on Saturday, where everything that is left will go for 50% off.

“It's bittersweet because the shop has been a great joy to me, but some of those one-day buying trips to Toronto and other parts of running an ongoing business are no longer things I want to deal with,” she said.

Ann Elvins is not planning to move from her house, which is attached to the store. She will be approaching the township for a permit to convert the store into a senior's apartment and will be able to enjoy more of the activities in the local community now that she will have more free time.

“I'm not going anywhere. If you see me on the lawn or in the garden, honk and I'll wave,” she said.

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