Pema Lama, a practicing Tibetan Buddhist and teacher from Nepal, visited students at local area schools last week. Students at Harrowsmith called the visit nothing short of “awesome”.

Pema Lama and his Canadian host, Leslie Myles, visited with grade four and five students at Harrowsmith Public School (HPS) on October 29. The day before they visited students at Loughborough Public School. Myles became acquainted with Pema during her numerous trips to Nepal and last year when she spoke to students at HPS about her trek to the Mount Everest base camp, she promised that she would return this year with a special visitor from Nepal. “The students knew that I would be returning with someone from Nepal and today they finally had a chance to meet him”, Myles said.

Pema Lama, who has been studying Buddhism with his great uncle since he was 7 years old as well as with other yoga and meditation masters, engaged and fascinated the students at HPS. His visit began with an introduction by Myles who spoke of Nepal, a country she became enamoured with years ago. She spoke of the capital city Kathmandu and its bustling population of 1 million people and of the smaller rural villages located high in the mountains, particularly the village of Mugu located near the Tibet border, which Pema Lama calls home. She spoke of the differences of village life compared to life here in Canada and of the many small mountain villages that have no roads, and where animals like yaks, donkeys and sheep share the many walking paths with the local villagers. She described the village farms and how the villagers live off of the produce they grow. There are very few schools, which are located many miles away and students spend often up to four hours a day walking to and from them.

Myles told the students, “It is very different there but also very beautiful too”. She then introduced Pema who told the students about his village, how he studied Buddhism in a cave with his great uncle. He explained the meaning of his name: “Pema means lotus flower and Lama translates to mean mother power or mother art.”

This was Pema's first ever visit to Canada and he spoke to the students of his respect for all people and all religions and explained to them how “even though people look different and speak different languages, we are all, in mind and heart, the same.” He took questions from the students, one of whom asked him about the shawl he was wearing. He explained that the shawl is an important part of his practice and it represents the wings that the freedom of his practice brings him. He also stressed the importance the practice places on positive rather than negative thoughts.

Following his talk he demonstrated some different yoga exercises, inviting the students to participate, and also later invited the students to join him on the floor to practice meditation.

Myles, who is the managing director of the Limestone Learning Foundation, together with Pema Lama has been involved in an international student dialogue called the Nepalese Global Connection, a pen pal program where students from the Limestone District School Board and the Shree Himalaya Primary School located in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal have been writing letters back and forth. Pema also brought with him letters from the Nepalese students.

It was a memorable visit for the Harrowsmith students and for the school principal Valerie Arsenault. Arsenault stressed the importance of bringing visitors like Pema Lama to the school. “Visits like this one from Pema Lama bring the outside world to the students in a way that no technology can. This visit brings the wisdom and experience of other cultures and countries to the students and makes for an especially authentic learning experience.”


A special service on October 19 at St. Paul's United Church in Harrowsmith marked the 165th year that the church has been a gathering place of worship for the local community in and around Harrowsmith. Rev. Patsy Henry was joined by guest preacher, retired United Church minister Rev. Ian MacKay, in the special service that included songs of praise by the joint St. Paul's/Trinity United Church choir under the direction of music director Annabelle Twiddy. Rev. Ian MacKay, in his sermon titled “How Big is Our Church”, spoke of the 8580 Sunday services and sermons that have taken place at the church in its 165-year history, which he called “an altogether remarkable achievement.” He continued by addressing the congregation: “Your presence in this church building here in the centre of Harrowsmith continues to enrich community life and spiritual life and naturally I applaud you for that.”

Rev. MacKay in his final prayer thanked “all of those who in years past helped to establish this community and who had the vision to step forward to establish this church.” The service included a children's portion in which Sunday school teacher Marni Pedersen gathered with youngsters on the steps of the main sanctuary, and following the service, members of the congregation were invited to share a special meal in the community hall.

Rev. Patsy Henry, who has been the minister at the Harrowsmith-Verona Pastoral Charge for the last three years, said she felt it was “important to celebrate the contributions of the people that we did not know but who paved the way for our welfare, as well as looking ahead to caring for a community that will come long after us.”

With that in mind it was noted that many youngsters attended the special service and Rev. Henry said that the youngsters always bring “a certain kind of energy and joy to the celebrations”.


Phase II of the Frontenac K&P Trail, from Harrowsmith to the north end of Verona, will officially open on Saturday, August 9.
The public is invited to join representatives from the Government of Ontario, Trans-Canada Trail and Frontenac County for an official opening ceremony at 1:30p.m., followed by light refreshments and free horse-drawn wagon rides along the trail.
“This stretch of the Frontenac K&P Trail cuts through a beautiful area of the Frontenacs,” says Bud Clayton, Warden of the County of Frontenac. “Heading north from Harrowsmith, users venture through agricultural land, wooded areas, rock cuts, and wetlands before coming to the Hardwood Creek Bridge and its beautiful views, then on through the village of Verona.”
This official opening will celebrate the redevelopment of Phase II, which was completed in 2013, in part due to funding received through the Trans-Canada Trail (TCT) and the Government of Ontario through the Pan Am/Parapan Am Trails initiative. “The Trans-Canada Trail is delighted to have been able to support the development of this section of greenway trail that means so much to people living in the Frontenac area, and that helps bring us closer to our goal of connecting our national Trail and Canadians by 2017,” says Al MacPherson, Chair of Trans-Canada Trail Ontario, who will speak on behalf of the TCT.
“Ontario is helping close the gaps along Ontario’s Trans Canada Trail as a major legacy investment of the 2015 Games,” said Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. “Once complete, the Pan Am/Parapan AmTrails will connect Frontenac County to communities across the province. An incredible Games legacy, the trails will promote healthy lifestyles while providing valuable recreational and active transportation opportunities for Ontarians of all ages and abilities.”
Work has begun on the redevelopment of Phase III, which will see the installation of another bridge at White Creek and the redevelopment of 9.8km of trail from the north end of Verona through to White Lake Road. The redevelopment of the Frontenac K&P through to Sharbot Lake is expected to be completed in 2017.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 20:32

Frontenac CFDC grants workshop

A wide variety of local business owners on the lookout for grant money to grow their businesses attended the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation's grants workshop at the Verona Lions hall on July 16. Numerous presentations were made, including two by the FCFDC's executive director, Anne Prichard, who spoke about the new Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP)and their collaborative projects grants.

Presentations were also made by several other organizations who give out grants. Stephanie Attwood of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) outlined the various Trillium grants available to groups and organizations, and Chris Gleeson, a senior business advisor with the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, spoke about their special programs. Amy McFadden from FEDDEV (Federal Economic Development Agency) Ontario spoke about the Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives that her organization runs. Karen McGregor of the St. Lawrence Employment Centre in Sharbot Lake outlined the employee subsidies and grants her organization offers.

The workshop attracted over 60 business owners from a diverse group. Among them was Tom Richardson, general manager of Lanark/Mazinaw Forest Inc., who has worked in the past with the FCFDC on various training projects. He said he is looking again to the FCFDC for training and capacity building grants for forest workers specifically from the Algonquin First Nations community in the area.

Rena Upitis, executive director of Wintergreen Studios, the eco lodge and education centre located on Canoe Lake Road, was in attendance to find out more about the changes to funding opportunities and possible new funding opportunities. As a not-for-profit business Wintergreen has received funding from the FCFDC in the past and most recently from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which enabled them over the last year to prepare and bring workshops on sustainability, renewable energy and sustainable building off site to over 400 individuals. With that funding now running out, Upitis said she is looking at other funding opportunities to expand their workshops and specifically to bring similar workshops to local youth and seniors in the area. Upitis was also looking for funding to develop a local festival for Geo-caching.

Sven Schlegel and Willa Murray of Mari Cla Ro, from Toronto, design and make bags and accessories from recycled materials. They moved their studio/workshop to Snow Road in January 2013 and are looking for funding so that they can further develop their product lines as well as bring their products to Europe and the US. Schlegel said that in the past the company has received funding from the FCFDC.

Michael Tkautz of Green City Initiatives is hoping to develop an urban farm either in rural or downtown Kingston. He is currently looking for partnerships and funding opportunities to build “an organic farm for inner city dwellers with zero emissions and transportation and with year round crop production that uses 70% less water, no chemicals and zero fossil fuels.”

Laura Carter, manager of branch operations for the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, was looking specifically at Trillium grants but also at other grant opportunities that could be accessed in partnership with other businesses. The KFPL has in the past received OTF grants, one of which helped to renovate the library in Hartington. Carter said she is also looking at other collaborative projects to help expand technology in the region.

Ian Brumell, treasurer of the Cloyne and District Historical Society, said the society is ”always looking for grant and employment opportunities” and that the organization has in the past successfully received OTF grants for their Pioneer Museum renovations. Laura Bradley, Jim Pine and Lisa Severson, all staff of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, the company that brought high speed internet to Eastern Ontario, were looking for “economic development opportunities to assist with digital strategies for their ten-year program” as it relates to economic development and specifically to “a study of cell gap analysis for eastern Ontario”. They hope to create a project similar to their broadband improvements. Farmers were also well represented at the meeting. Dianne Dowling was in attendance wearing numerous hats. As president of the National Farmers Union, Local 316 she was looking for EODP funding for possible new projects “helpful to the local food and farm system”' as well as exploring funding opportunities for “larger collaborative food hub/food cluster projects.” She was also on the lookout for funding to update the Local 316's local food directory, Food Down The Road. As a member of the board of the Kingston and Area Seed Initiative (KASSI), she was looking for funding for possible individual or co-op projects designed to “increase the amount of locally adapted and used seed in order to grow a more resilient, sustainable and self-reliant food system in the area.” Lastly, as a member of the recently formed Food Policy Council of Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington, Dowling was exploring funding opportunities for upcoming concrete food policy projects.

These were just some of the business people who attended the grant workshop and they represent a diverse group of local business owners and operators hoping to grow their business with the help of the FCFDC and other organizations offering up grant money.


There are two focus points for funding from the Eastern Ontario Development Plan, a federal granting program that is administered locally by the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC), which is based in Harrowsmith.

The first is job creation and the second is enhanced sales and profitability for businesses that receive funding support.

Anne Prichard, executive director of the FCFDC, has been waiting for several months for detailed information about how the program is going to work over the next four and a half years. Some of the changes were known to her but some have come as a surprise.

One thing that we knew was that from now on businesses and not-for-profit corporations will be on a level playing field. The program will only pay 50% of the costs of a project. Previously not-for-profits could receive 80% or even 100% funding but that is no longer happening,” she said.

It is acceptable for recipients to stack funds, that is to say, to use other grants as their share of the 50% they need for EODP-funded projects, but those other grants cannot come from a federal program.

For not-for-profits in Frontenac County, the 50% rule can be a barrier, because the funding they receive is generally tied directly to their core mission,” said Prichard.

Another aspect of the new program is that a single entity, be it a business, not-for-profit, municipal government or post-secondary institution, can only apply for $100,000 in funding over the life of the plan, when in the past they could apply for up to $100,000 per project.

This has affected at least two larger long-term projects we were working on,” said Prichard.

Also, whereas the EODP funded internships in the past, it will no longer do so.

We can fund skills training in specific cases, either a course or a specified training period, in some cases, but internships will now need to be funded from other sources, such as employment services agencies,” said Prichard.

EODP dollars were also used to fund basic websites for local businesses in the past, but now only website upgrades, such as bringing online payment on stream, for example, will be eligible.

Payments will also be results-based, more so than in the past.

We will be looking favourably at projects that can demonstrate they will either be creating new jobs, saving jobs that would be at risk of being lost if the project did not happen, or creating new sales or new profits for the business undertaking them.” she said.

All of the details about the new version of the program, as well as application forms, are now available at the Frontenac CFDC website.

The agency staff is also available to provide detailed answers to questions about the funding program, and other programs that are available.


Earlier this month, motivated by concern about the environment and a love of business, young entrepreneur Hayden Rasberry launched his own business called WeDrink. The 16-year-old KCVI student, who divides his time between Kingston and Yarker, was one of the vendors at this year’s Canada Day celebration in Harrowsmith.

WeDrink offers consumers a unique, reusable glass water bottle that Rasberry designed and has had manufactured. He said that the number one reason for starting up the business was his awareness of “the growing demand for glass water bottles in and around the Kingston area.” He noticed, for example, that the Limestone Organic Creamery's glass bottles were being used by people post consumption to store their drinks. He said, “I knew that I could create a better, lighter weight glass bottle that was actually meant to be used and carried around.” Environmental and social concerns were a second motivation and Hayden said that his bottles are great for the environment since they are 100% recyclable, and as they are not plastic, they lack the health concerns associated with plastic water bottles, many of which, prior to 2008, contained bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound associated with health problems. WeDrink bottles are made from high-density, thin, lightweight glass. They are long-lasting, can be used for hot and cold drinks, which Rasberry says “taste much better when drunk from glass”, are dishwasher safe and come with a neoprene cover and a washable stainless steel cap.

Rasberry says that the glass used in WeDrink bottles is less breakable than ordinary glass, and he is trying to help people overcome their fear of using a glass drink bottle. He has done numerous tests on his bottles and said they can withstand breakage from a one-metre drop onto concrete. The neoprene covers, which are available in five colors, are included in the cost of $15 per bottle and also help to protect them. “We use so much glass in our homes every day; it’s in our cups and plates and the very thin wine glasses and I am trying to encourage consumers to see that a glass drink bottle is a viable alternative to other metal and plastic alternatives.”
Rasberry's company is also partnered with a charity called Watercan, which helps to bring clean water to communities in need. Ten percent of the profits from each WeDrink bottle goes to WaterCan, hence the name of the business. “Every time a WeDrink bottle is sold, someone much less fortunate benefits as well.” Rasberry strongly feels that by offering an environmentally safe alternative to plastic water bottles and by supporting a local charitable organization, he is meeting the needs of his customers and he reported that the business, at this early stage, is doing well. Just one week after its launch he is close to having sold the first 200 bottles he had manufactured and will be ordering 400 more. This summer Rasberry will be able to focus on the business full-time after receiving a $3,000 grant from Summer Company. “My goal this summer is to establish a solid base as well as trying to gauge the consumer demand in Kingston and the surrounding area. After that, I am going to consider expanding to other cities and areas in the fall.” The business has caught the attention of some potential investors, who he said are hoping to help him grow the brand.

This fall Hayden Rasberry will be returning to KCVI for grade 11 and said that he will be putting academics as his primary focus. He plans to study commerce after graduating from high school and said he has a huge interest in business, especially those that focus on environmental and social issues. “I'm convinced that triple bottom line companies like WeDrink, which focus on people, the planet and profit are the businesses of the future. Because the people denying problems, like global warming, are becoming fewer and fewer, companies like this one offer consumers an opportunity to relieve some of the anxiety and stress they have about these issues while offering up a product with social and environmental benefits.”

Rasberry credits his parents, musician Gary Rasberry and Rena Upitis, founder of Wintergreen Studios, for helping him build the company. “Not only did I have a place to stay and food to eat while I was planning and setting up the business, but both my parents gave me a lot of good advice, since both have experience as entrepreneurs.”

WeDrink bottles are sold at Plover's and Living Rooms in downtown Kingston and will be available at a permanent summer retail location soon to be announced on the company’s website. Hayden will also be selling the bottles at a number of different events throughout the summer, which are also listed on the website. Customers can also order bottles by contacting the website. Visit

photo 2077-


Canada Day celebrations took place through out the Frontenacs both on the weekend leading up to and on the day of the July 1 holiday.

While the communities of Denigh, Arden, Long Lake and Kennebec Lake, Bedford, Ompah, Snow Road and Verona held their celebrations on the weekend before the holiday, the villages of Sydenham, Storrington, Sharbot Lake and Harrowsmith chose to hold their celebrations on the holiday Tuesday and despite a rather grim weather forecast, the celebrations (so far, as of mid afternoon Tuesday when this article was submitted) went off without a hitch though the day was a hot and humid one.

Some volunteers did plan changes of venue in case of inclement weather and in Sharbot Lake the festivities planned to move indoors to Oso Hall if need be with talk of delaying the fireworks until the following weekend if necessary.

In Harrowsmith the plethora of colourful classic vintage cars were a hit and in Sharbot Lake it was the parade fairies and the gathering of hundreds of holiday goers at Oso Beach following the parade that made for a fun and relaxing day. Thanks to the all of the service clubs, community groups, organizations and individual volunteers who continue to make the Canada Day Holiday in the Frontenacs one to remember each and every summer, rain or shine.

Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:45

Let The Sun Shine In

By Suzanne Hoag

Driving past St. Paul's United Church in Harrowsmith in recent weeks, you may have noticed ladders and scaffolding in the front of the near century-old heritage building. It has been five years since the church council decided the stained glass windows were in desperate need of repair and now this project is finally underway.

Delay occurred in 2010 when St. Paul's was in a dire financial situation. With an internal debt approaching $25,000, rumours circulated that the church would have to close and the stained glass window refurbishing project came to a halt. What happened next is nothing short of a miracle. Within two years, after intensive fund-raising, countless volunteer hours logged by dedicated church members, and overwhelming community support, St. Paul's was back in the black and able to continue its ministry and outreach to the Harrowsmith area.

In 2013, council decided to move cautiously ahead with the project that is estimated to cost around $45,000 and enlisted Mark Thompson of Traditional Glassworks out of Westport to do the restoration work. The work is labour intensive and highly specialized. It involves removing the stained glass and transporting off site so that the glass can be re-leaded and repaired. The frames are being rebuilt as much of the wood is rotting. The stained glass windows are then reinstalled with a tempered glass protective glazing on the outside. This process makes the refurbished windows stable, energy efficient and more visible and esthetically pleasing.

To date, five out of 14 windows have been refurbished. The two transom windows were refurbished using donations made in memory of Mr. Fergus Brown, a long time member of St. Paul's. A previous cookbook fundraiser and individual donations paid for the three east facing windows of the sanctuary.

This project will be on-going as funds become available. An Old-Fashioned Fish Fry and Corn Roast is our next scheduled window refurbishing fundraiser. Come out and join us on Friday, August 22 from 4:30 to 7 pm! Local pan fried fish is on the menu with fresh corn on the cob, salads and homemade pie. Advance tickets preferred. Adults $13, Children over 6: $6, family rate $30. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling John or Suzanne Hoag at 613-386-7751 or by visiting Willows Agriservices or Tiffany Gift Shoppe in Harrowsmith. Please note tickets at the door will be $15 for adults; $35 family rate. Child rate will be unchanged. Anyone wishing to make a donation toward the Stained Glass Window Fund may do so by contacting the church at 613-372-2525 or by mailing your donation to St. Paul's United Church Harrowsmith, Box 506, Verona, ON K0H 2W0.

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 23:59

Community fun in Harrowsmith

Pastor David Moran, who has been leading the congregation at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist church for the past two years, was busy on May 31 flipping burgers for those who came out to enjoy the church's annual Community Fun Day.

He said the event is a way for members of the church to “let the community know that they care”. Numerous games and activities were set up outside for kids, including a giant bouncy slide and castle while inside the community hall a huge community garage and bake sale was well underway. NHL goalie and Canadian Olympian Mike Smith also made an appearance, as did his Olympic gold medal.

All proceeds from the event will go towards the church's Community Assistance Program (CAP) which has been developed over the last 14 years specifically to help families in need in the community. It was through the CAP program that the church was able to present a $500 cheque to the local family whose Boundary Road home burned down in a fire earlier this year.

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 23:56

Planting seeds for a good cause

Now in its sixth year, the annual Grandmothers-by -the-Lake plant and bake sale attracts such a sizable crowd of shoppers that organizers have to guard the goods (especially the green ones) from over zealous shoppers prior to the 10am start time. Those in the know know that the sale is a great opportunity to purchase both delicious home-made baked goods and plants of all kinds. For gardeners, the sale is great opportunity to peruse and purchase a wide array of vegetables, herbs, perennials and annuals, special plants for pollinators like moths and butterflies, house plants and more - all for a fraction of the normal cost while supporting the local branch of the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Grandmother to Grandmothers Campaign.

The campaign, which operates across the country, invites concerned Canadians to raise money for the thousands of African grandmothers who are doing all they can to support the countless children left orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Susan Howlett, who organizes the plant portion of the sale, said that the sale has been gaining in popularity over the years so much that some members of the group now grow their own plants to sell. “This year we definitely have more plants for sale than in other years, knowing how popular the sale has become,” Howlett said. She grew all of her plants herself from seed. Howlett said she likes to see people especially purchasing vegetables and believes its important for people to grow their own food. Cardboard boxes were on hand for those making multiple purchases and large lines formed shortly after the sale began.

The sale takes place every year at the Tiffany Gift Shop in Harrowsmith. It is usually the group’s biggest fundraiser, but this year their fundraiser featuring popular gardening guru Ed Lawrence, which took place in April in Verona, surpassed the plant and bake sale.

The Grandmothers-by-the-Lake group was founded by Carol Southall in 2007 and today has upwards of 25 members. Anyone interested in finding out more about the group and the work they do can visit

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