Cql mag winter 2017

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INSIDE: Old Church Theatre, VON Celebrates 100 years, Trenton’s Film History Carries On, Justin Rutledge’s County Muse, and so much more. . . FREE - please take me home

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by Vic Schukov



by Lindi Pierce



by Cindy Duffy




Quinte Canadian Film Festival thrives in Trenton


by Kelly S. Thompson

by Debra Mathews


A century of service



Belleville’s windows to the world by Catherine Stutt 4

EACH ISSUE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: www.countyandquinteliving.ca



CQL @ HOME WITH ALAN GRATIAS – Jonathan and Corrine at the CAPE by Alan Gratias



by Lindi Pierce

by Alan Gratias



Cover photo: Justin Rutledge by Daniel Vaughan

Amy Kungoliver and one of her Old Mill Alpacas. Photo Catherine Stutt.

be kind


GENERAL MANAGER SEAWAY Gavin Beer gbeer@metroland.com EDITOR Catherine Stutt editor@xplornet.com PHOTO EDITOR Daniel Vaughan daniel@vaughangroup.ca ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES Melissa Hudgin, Sales Manager 613.966.2034 x 504 • melissa.hudgin@metroland.com Lorie Douglas 613.966.2034 x 505 lorie.douglas@metroland.com Jennet Honey 613.966.2034 x 509 jennet.honey@metroland.com Orlinda Johnston 613.966.2034 x 526 orlinda.johnston@metroland.com DESIGN DESIGN/GRAPHICS EDITOR: Kathern Bly DESIGN & PRODUCTION: Monica McTaggart Susan K. Bailey Marketing & Design info@skbailey.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cindy Duffy Alan Gratias Debra Mathews Lindi Pierce

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Vic Schukov Catherine Stutt Kelly S. Thompson

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Alan Gratias Catherine Stutt Lindi Pierce Daniel Vaughan Marc Polidoro ADMINISTRATION Sharon LaCroix slacroix@metroland.com DISTRIBUTION Paul Mitchell 613.966.2034 x 508

Mail Address: 250 Sidney Street, Belleville, ON K8P 3Z3 613.966.2034 www.countyandquinteliving.ca • Find us on Facebook ©2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd./ Printed in Ontario Canada


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County & Quinte Living is published quarterly and is available free of charge through strategic partners, wineries, golf courses, real estate, and chamber of commerce offices, retail outlets, and advertiser locations. County & Quinte Living may not be reproduced, in part or whole, in any form without prior written consent of the publisher. Views expressed by contributors are their own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of County & Quinte Living. County & Quinte Living is a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd.

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Lesley Bonisteel and

The Old Church Theatre Story by Vic Schukov Photography by Daniel Vaughan When Lesley Bonisteel was a little girl growing up on her father’s farm north of Trenton, in a rural patch formerly called Johnstown, she wanted to become a pioneer. “The simple way of life has always appealed to me. We did hobby farming here. As a child, I had a pig and a horse and a goat. When I moved back 10 years ago, I got a Jersey cow and named her Buttercup. We were great friends,” she laughed. “My Dad used to tell us stories about his early years on a farm with no electricity. I was always saying to him, ‘Dad, tell us the story about when you were a little boy. Tell us about the time the butter churn exploded.’ We would hear the same stories over and over again and never tire of them. My father was the kind of guy who would lean on a fence post and chat with neighbours. He took a real interest in people.” Lesley’s Dad, Roy Bonisteel, was an icon in the early days of television and the host of CBC’s longrunning Man Alive. Lesley Bonisteel was born in St. Catharines. “My parents met at a local radio station. My Dad worked at CKTB radio and my Mum wrote commercials.” 10


When Lesley was 10, the Bonisteels moved to Trenton, her father’s hometown. “I first attended a one room schoolhouse in Glen Miller, then on to Batawa and Frankford Public Schools, then Bayside High,” said Lesley. “Instead of college, I got married and had a bunch of kids. I home-schooled all my children.” Ten years ago, she and husband Brian Weston moved back to the place of her father’s birth and built a home on the 50-acre Bonisteel family property, across the street from the 140-year-old by then vacant Johnstown United Church. “The church closed in 1972 and sat empty for close to 20 years,” said Lesley. “It was in rough shape, and Dad was approached to see if he might want to keep it standing, and he did but he had no real purpose for it. We spent a while doing renovations, and always had our family Christmas and News Years parties here. When neighbours asked, he would give them the keys and let them use it for Christmas pot luck or for actors to practice there. Dad always loved the old church. He would talk to me and Brian about what to do with it. We decided we would like to buy it, and Dad was thrilled.



Roxanne de Bastion in a recent performance.

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We started with some spoken word events, and my father did some storytelling of his growing up here based on his book There Was a Time. Andy Thompson did the music to go along with the presentations, and we had full houses. The church has such a special energy that when we started showing movies here, people were so inspired to be friendly that they would share their chips. Brian Weston grew up as a teenager in the same area, and was an old friend of the family. He and Lesley share an almost devout love of music. After buying the sorely-inneed-of-repair church, the couple dove into the substantial project of resurrecting the church as a performance venue. What a visually incredible jewel of joyful intimacy it is, the likes of which you will rarely see, particularly in the middle of a pastoral setting – oak floor, soft cushioned seats, flowered vases on tables, chapel ceiling with crystal chandeliers, rising brick fireplace, and artwork along all the walls.

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Above: Lesley Bonisteel

There is something so magical about an old church. “One of the nicest things about this place is it is a legacy of my Dad who passed away four years ago,” said Lesley. “He loved what we started 14


doing here. He said it was now more community than it had ever been. He spent time in it in as a kid, and knew everyone who attended. The quilt hanging on the wall is from the Acme

branch of the Women’s Institute, over 100 years old. It is a name quilt, created for a fundraiser for the First World War effort, red and white for the Red Cross. People donated 10 cents to have their


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name stitched onto it. It has over 600 names, including many generations still in the area which one can recognize on road signs. It’s a heritage piece.” The Old Church Theatre, as it is now formally called, is a performer’s dream emporium. Whereas eight years ago, Lesley would have to look for artists to perform here, today she gets calls every day from high calibre musicians who want to play in its inspiring atmosphere. In fact, the church is booked well into next year. “Audience members and artists keep saying what a special place we have here, with great sound, so comfortable and intimate (it seats only 60) that people are naturally drawn to be outgoing with each other during shows. I love the variety of acts we stage and how we change the room around depending on the type of show. Every time we see a limitation, we create fun ways around it. We cobble things together like farmers do. Our advantage is we are small and therefore can turn the Old Church Theatre into a warm and intimate gathering place. So friendly. Our regulars love that its ambiance is like a green room with the audience being a part of the whole thing because you are not far away from the stage. I totally love the whole idea of booking people here.” In-house, Lesley is currently directing a play, part of three one-act plays being staged soon, the second such series to be presented at the Old Church Theatre. In addition, she hosts Open Mic Nite every first and third Wednesday of the month starting at 7:30 p.m. The church is used as a setting for a type of speakers’ corner You-Tube web show called The View from Here. Also, once a month, Cogeco films Live is Where it Lives on location with musical guests. The show is televised on Quinte Cogeco, soon to be expanded to video-on-demand. Even the high walls are an extension of the artist mecca to be found in the heart of the Old Church Theatre. Many beautiful paintings by local artists are regularly on display for admiration and purchase. Lesley’s hope is more and more people will know of the Old Church Theatre. “We were very busy last winter. On cold days, on some Sunday afternoons, we light the old fireplace. The most amazing musicians come here. I am blown away by the eclectic styles we offer. Our regulars trust we bring in high calibre performers. One time, we had a reading of a local play 16


Roxanne de Bastion and Lesley Bonisteel

about ghosts. We set up the long harvest table and during the reading the power went out. We lit candles. So fun, as usual. I would like people to know it is definitely worth coming here to see unique acts, all while making some new friends in a top notch, warm, and cozy entertainment environment.” After a long pause, the elegant and approachable lady who always wanted to be a pioneer looks around the room and then gazes at the noble ceiling, and adds, “My father’s spirit is here all the time. We feel it at every show.” The Old Church Theatre, Home of the Roy Bonisteel Studio, is located at 940 Bonisteel Road, Quinte West. For upcoming events, visit the website at www.oldchurch,ca.



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Article by Lindi Pierce Photography by Daniel Vaughan

Appreciating our built heritage is easy. 1975; its purpose is to enable provincial Preserving it is another matter. and municipal governments to preserve Ontario’s heritage. Its power is largely The subject of heritage listing and the power of influence. designation arises – often too late – when

a significant older building is demolished or renovated beyond recognition. The Ontario Heritage Act came into effect in

Designation makes owners twitchy, suspicious of external controls on their use of their property. Designation

When Bad Things Happen to Good Houses

under the Act doesn’t mean an owner cannot paint, modernize, or add onto a heritage home. It doesn’t raise insurance premiums or affect property values. The Ontario Heritage Act recognizes significant buildings through local bylaws, and notes their heritage attributes; its

role is to encourage owners to preserve those historic elements. Sadly, the Act is not really enforceable in this area of actfirst-litigate-later development. Manuel Perello and Raquel David, inn-keepers at Picton’s popular Brown’s Manor Bed and Breakfast, epitomize the

spirit of the Ontario Heritage Act. “It’s about honouring your word. When you purchase a heritage designated building, you are committing to preserving its heritage character,” explains Manuel. The circa 1900 Colonial Revival mansion on Johnson Street in Picton,

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designed by noted American architect Frank Lent, looks back to American Colonial forms of the 1700s. The dark shingle cladding is one characteristic. These shingles illustrate the owners’ deep commitment to preservation. The shingles were originally preserved with creosote, which produces the deep colour. Now creosote is no longer acceptable, but modern stains will not adhere to the old siding. When maintenance is needed, Manuel and Raquel will replace worn shingles with new, and match the stain to the originals. Financial incentives might help owners who are making an investment in their historic homes. In fairness, they are working on behalf of us all through the preservation of our past. Bill C-323, an Act to create tax incentives for the rehabilitation of historic property, passed second reading in March 2017. The bill aims to provide a tax credit for expenses incurred by homeowners. Heritage groups are lobbying hard. Time will tell. Nevertheless, the best ally in the struggle to save our built heritage is information. Letting us know what we’ve got before it’s gone, to paraphrase. When we tell the stories of our private and public buildings, we tell ourselves our own history. “It’s like that building’s eyes have been put out!” sputters Shannon Kyles. Another fine historic home with modern replacement windows is the target of her ire. The loss of character when an old




house is retrofitted with plate glass or fake sash windows is at issue. Shannon, owner of a rebuilt 1840s Regency cottage (CQL Summer 2012) regularly holds forth about the beauty and energy efficiency of rebuilt early wooden sash windows over too-expedient modern vinyl replacements. Shannon, instructor in the Architecture program at Mohawk College, recently conducted a demonstration comparing restored 1830s Georgian windows with new windows. The windows were installed in a 12 by 8 foot building purpose-built for the test, meeting Ontario Building Code requirements for insulation and vapour barrier. An Ontario government-approved energy efficiency test demonstrated there is no difference in air infiltration between new windows and restored pre-war windows. Factors beyond aesthetics argue convincingly for retention and repair of traditional wood windows. Comparison of the environmental costs of manufacturing – and then consigning to landfill – modern aluminum and vinyl windows with a short life-span versus reusing 200-year-old wood and glass 22


which will last indefinitely, is compelling. It takes a bit more work. A bit more imagination. A bit more time. But there are heritage restoration companies who can help. Shannon Kyles urges you to take them up on their offer. “When bad things happen to good homes,” observes Laura wryly, as she introduces her Edwardian home on King Street in Picton. Laura and Dale Smith are not easily intimidated by big restoration projects. Laura, a weaver and manager of Toronto architecture firm KSA, and Dale, a designer and fearless restoration carpenter, have a few projects on the go.

farm. An elegant curved veranda with iron cresting on the roof shaded the entrance to the physician’s office; two additional entrances served the family. A one and a half storey carriage house probably sheltered a team of steady horses or a Model T ready for those house calls.

By the 1940s, the home had been subdivided into four pleasant apartments. The 1980s saw a conversion of the once elegant home to institutional use. As a seniors’ home, the old place grew a wing clad in incongruous Arizona stone to link the two buildings (and a spa pool in the old coach house!) Things went rapidly down-market, and an alarming interior A few years ago, they bought a stone remuddling (to use another of Laura’s farmhouse and mill in Northumberland expressions) created a rabbit warren of County (see CQL Winter 2013) and 15 rooms for a juvenile centre, later a remodelled the 1830s house for guests. half-way house, ending up as a rooming With six or eight fixer-uppers already house. under their belts, they have brought their Dale and Laura are not people satisfied tools to Prince Edward County and are with stripping floors and repainting. tackling one of their biggest projects to Dale is returning the generous interior date. spaces at 62 King Street to their earlier The couple’s gracious red brick Picton elegance, exposing original beadboard home was built in 1890 for Dr. Edward and mouldings, uncovering buried Kidd, on a corner of the original Benson pocket doors, lifting carpets to reveal


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maple and oak parquetry flooring. Upstairs, in the maze of tiny rooms (each with a nest of phone and Internet cables, a reconstructing nightmare) Dale is peeling back layers of past bad decisions to release a light-filled private suite. Salvaged tub and tiles, maple squash court flooring, and a barnful of mouldings scored on an Ottawa trip are brought into play. Discoveries and theories abound. A pocket door, why hidden? Why are the stained-glass windows asymmetrical? Does the oak and tile fireplace work? Design touches like a modernist chandelier, freestanding limestone tub, and reclaimed pool table slate repurposed as kitchen counters promise a happy marriage between traditional and updated living on King Street. The exterior will be next. Photos taken in the 1970s during the Pierce family’s residency will aid with the restoration of the veranda. The coach house (Dale’s first love), where the couple and their pets are currently living amidst 1980s flashbacks of shag carpet, spa tub, rock wall fireplace, and lots of lots of mint green and brass will get a much-needed update, and a private courtyard in front. Those original wide brick doorways



generation owner, with sister Melanie, of Angeline’s Inn in Bloomfield, has a passion for old buildings. Where does it come from? From travel and study in Their vision for the house? A live- Europe, and from meeting PEC built work home with room for all their heritage head on as a child. (But can one creative passions. Light-filled studio and really learn to read from The Settler’s office for Dale’s graphic design, and a Dream?) weaving studio with plenty of space for Alex has revisioned Angeline’s, creating Laura’s curated collection of traditional unique guestrooms in the red brick Canadian-made looms. 1870s home built for Henry and Angeline ‘Dream Big’ encourages a banner Hubbs. He has reworked the 1953 posted in the couple’s home. Laura and Walters family motel next door (PEC’s Dale admit to a sense of a responsibility first) into The Walter, decorating it with to save neglected houses and create his trademark layering of vintage pieces, something beautiful. Laura urges, local art, and Kate Golding’s audacious “Get past the smells, visual noise, and wallpaper. To the hospitality complex shabbiness and ask, ‘what can this Alex brought (literally) a squared timber really be?’” They enjoy the hunting and house from an isolated road in South gathering of sourcing missing bits and Marysburgh. Christened The Babylon, the sense of accomplishment with each the little log house charms visitors as a restored home. Their inspiration: a guest cottage behind Angeline’s. Another lifelong commitment to the salvage and import, a tiny reconstructed frame house repair ethic. Their approach: utilizing accommodates the Tuck Shop. local architectural salvage companies, Alex’s biggest project (so far) is Grove replicating missing pieces, creative re- Place built around 1858 by Captain John use, and work, hard work. Pepper Downes. It’s probably no surprise Thirty-something Alex Fida is the that when Alex chose a worthy Picton creative force behind several house house to rescue, he selected the town’s rescues in Prince Edward County. The most exotic dwelling. And rescue it was. Swiss-born entrepreneur, and second- The house at 1 Walton Street bore a sign facing both Ross and King Street will be filled with an arched set of Douglas fir carriage doors custom-made by a Rhode Island master carpenter.

I will not worry

reading ‘For Sale, Lease or Development The house is Gothic in inspiration Opportunity.’ And we know what – Tudor chimneys, vestibule with ‘development opportunity’ could mean. buttresses and weatherworn wooden With its crumbling stucco, weatherworn label above doorway, steep gable with trims, and chimneys and sagging sheds, Elizabethan bargeboard and Jacobean bordered by a mall and a bank property, oriel window (Alex’s view from the spare the home was fast losing its dignity. elegant second floor suite, created by Historic photos provide a glimpse of the builder Dan Manlow). encircling treed lawns of this picturesque low-profile stone cottage on the edge of town – the Regency sensibility. Over the years the property was sacrificed to encroaching commercial development. Alex caught it just in time. Already the house is regaining its presence. It sits tranquil and aloof from the hubbub, thanks to landscaping by Ben O’Brien, and Stacey Hubbs’ gardens.

Alex chose the name House of Falconer to honour Thera Falconer, whose antique business operated from the house until her death in 2008. The buildings had sat empty since, waiting. Alex picked up the key during the winter of 2015. “Treading lightly,” he de-cluttered the interior, making discoveries – from a ‘three-hole’ privy hidden off the back kitchen to a gold-leaf sign advertising former tenant




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Dr. Walton, Dentist – among the detritus. Stripped of all but mouldings and mantels, the rooms regained their dignity. Alex’s goal is to preserve everything possible of the home’s original fabric. Photographer Johnny C. Lam is recording the journey for an eventual book about House of Falconer. The pop-up shops began organically, that first May. Alex explains. “It means a lot to offer creative space to others wanting to try something.” The idea was six winter months of work on the house, followed by six spring and summer months of shops, galleries, and creative activity. Although in 2017, the work just kept on.

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Exploration of the limestone kitchen Change is inevitable. Houses, like tail revealed the original layout, which people, need work. Ideally, craftsmanship is being reinstated: a main room with is the watchword. Too often, things cooking hearth (a recently acquired are added or removed which change a Georgian mantel will fit nicely), several heritage property forever. Those ‘seemed original sash windows, side pantries, like a good idea at the time’ Victorian and a sheltered porch. “We almost lost bay windows or boxy 1940s additions the kitchen.” Alex calmly recalls the day long ago compromised the character of when the stone kitchen wing, supported simple Georgian houses. on steel I-beams and lifted on hydraulic Wood deteriorates. Fact. But is jacks for foundation work, began to sag it inevitable that aging wood gets and crack. ‘vinylized?’ Chimneys are often the first The massive adjoining timber-frame to go. But removing the end chimneys drive-shed which had earlier been from a 19th century house destroys its numbered, dismantled, and stored was character and beauty. rebuilt in the summer and fall of 2017. And those additions. Our need for space Heritage master-builder Kip Brisley, has vastly increased since our ancestors with the project from the beginning, built in 1850. We have more stuff. Kudos assisted by Duane Allory, spliced old to owners who add appropriately scaled beams. Thirty-foot timbers past repair kitchen wings, or adapt carriage shed were replaced by beams from the Smith forms to accommodate family rooms or family’s donation of an1850s Milford open plan kitchens. house. There are plenty of success stories. Next steps will include restoration of the original sash windows and wood trims, recreating shutters, repointing stone, and repairing stucco. Resident artists like Caitlin O’Reilly of Cylinder Studio and painter Jonathan Kaiser, and future guest accommodation, will make the House of Falconer a creative hub in the town.

Tree lined town streets are graced with

restored or re-imagined porches and veranda. And landscaping; bless those who choose old-fashioned flower beds over paved parking patches, and add historic details like garden fencing, outdoor art, and trees. Development takes place, inevitably. But need it be at the cost of our built heritage? Fires and careless demolitions (and their cousin demolition by neglect) claim too many older structures. Happily, adaptive reuse is becoming a new standard. The loss of historic streetscapes is yielding to appreciation for those remaining. Historic sites like Macaulay House are prized community assets. Heritage heroes like the Gibbins (CQL Summer 2014), Sorbaras (CQL Summer 2017), Kyles, Smiths, and Fidas continue to inspire us. Change happens. When we are looking at our built heritage, shall we opt for change for the better?

“Preservation, adaptive re-use, and design are what make [Alex] tick,” confides the House of Falconer website. “I’ve always been up for a challenge; I like to show people what can be done,” he adds. The world needs more Alex Fida.


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Justin Rutledge Story by Cindy Duffy Photography by Daniel Vaughan The historic Corby’s Distillery warehouse on the banks of the Moira River in Corbyville, just north of Belleville, where the world-famous whisky was once stored, now houses Signal Brewery. The space was recently renovated to hold the craft brewery, a restaurant, and tucked in the corner is a small stage. Newly installed expansive windows offer a view of the Moira River and the impressive riverbank patio overlooking the Corbyville dam, built in 1857 by Henry Corby as part of the original gristmill. Even though it’s a beautiful, misty, unseasonably warm, mid-September evening, by nine o’clock no one is left on the patio. Everyone is inside to see Canadian alternative Country singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge. Many have made their way across the Bay Bridge from the County where Justin recently settled and now calls home. Seems he already has a following from his new home turf and on this September evening there is a buzz about this warehouse space, even amongst the staff. When he takes to the stage conversations stop and the attention is on him.

It feels special seeing Justin in such an intimate setting. After all, since his first album was released in 2004, he’s produced an impressive body of work earning him many accolades. He’s been nominated for numerous Juno Awards, winning 2013’s Best Roots Album of the Year. He’s also worked with the who’s 30


who of Canadian roots artists, including Oh Susanna, Hawksley Workman, Ron Sexsmith, and Jenn Grant. Tonight, it’s just him. He plays song after song with smooth, flawless vocals, acoustic guitar, and occasionally the harmonica. He includes several songs

from his latest album East, and some from his earlier work including the haunting Emily Returns from his Juno nominated album The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park. He doesn’t talk much tonight except to tell a couple of stories. One is about

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the letter he got on Monday, “the old-fashioned way, in the mail, and typewritten on letterhead.” It was from Canadian folk music legend, Gordon Lightfoot, complimenting him on his work. In his understated way Justin just smiles and said, “I guess I had a pretty good Monday.”

The historic backdrop makes an apt setting for the artist who draws inspiration from community and a strong sense of place. He and his sister were raised by their parents in an Irish Catholic household in the Junction, a working-class neighbourhood in Toronto’s west end. In his late 20s

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Justin bought his own house in Parkdale. He says, although his family is still there, he had lost the inspiration he used to get from his hometown and needed a change. A couple of years ago he sold his house in the only city he had ever lived and moved to Wellington.

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This past August over cups of tea, unceremoniously made with tea bag in cup, at the kitchen table of his Wellington home, Justin talked about his move to the County. “It’s extremely rejuvenating. I wasn’t receiving anything from my surroundings anymore. There was no real reciprocal relationship and as someone who is a creative person I need that reciprocity when I open my door in the morning or when I go for a walk in my neighbourhood, it’s sort of a requirement of the occupation. For instance, we are sitting here looking out at Lake Ontario, it returns something to me and it gets sort of processed and turned into something musical for me.” It’s a large Victorian house with a deep property that stretches to Lake Ontario, almost at the shoreline there is a cabin he renovated and rented out to supplement his income. Justin has connections to the County with several artist friends already living in the area, and he has fond memories of 17 childhood summers camping with his parents and sister at a campground near Adolphustown. “It’s not just the lake. It all goes back to the time I spent here as a child, and the people. The landscape gives back to me, the community gives back to me, and hopefully I give something back to the community in that regard as well. In a lot of ways, I wanted to return to somewhere I recognized.” The conversation turned to books and writing. His favourite poets are e. e. cummings, Alden Nowlan, Gwendolyn MacEwen, and Justin said he was introduced to another favourite – Leonard Cohen as a poet not a singer/ songwriter. He also likes to read the classics and had just finished reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, “It was more touching than I thought it was going to be. You actually side with the monster, at least I did,” he said. Among his favourite Canadian writers is the late Alistair MacLeod. At the time he was also reading some non-fiction, Guns of August, a book about the First World War.



Of his own writing, Justin said he tried his hand at poetry in his late teens and early 20s. Although there are similarities in the way he approaches song writing he said, with some exceptions, most of his lyrics need the music. “It’s really one of my favourite mediums because the words just have to jump off the page. Whereas, even though I approach writing lyrics in a similar fashion, I don’t think the bulk of them could exist without the assistance of some kind of melodic direction. I would be hesitant to say I am a poet first, even though there are a few lines I think could live alone outside of the music as poetry. I think it requires a different set of skin to call oneself a poet, because that’s where all the money is, right?” Justin could perhaps be described as a non-delusional Don Quixote with a sense of humour, albeit sardonic at times. Like Quixote, he loves poetry, and is on a journey to find some sort of truth about or good in humanity through his art. Perhaps the quixotic part of his journey began when he left his studies in English Literature with a major in modern poetry at the University of Toronto to put out an album. “After that one year I was going to go back to university, get my degree, and become a bartender, you know with my liberal arts degree. I’m still taking that year off. I made that one record – No Never Alone – and it got released in the UK and subsequently in Canada. I got on the train and I’m still on the train.”





The ride has been a busy one. Since the release of No Never Alone in 2004 to rave reviews in Europe and Canada, he has six more albums to his credit, several Juno nominations, including one for The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park (2006), and The Early Widows (2010). His album Man Descending (2008), was long listed for that year’s Polaris prize. His fifth album, Valley Heart (2013) won a Juno for Best Roots Album of the Year, followed by Daredevil (2014), his critically acclaimed homage to the Tragically Hip, which the late Gord Downie described as career suicide, and his latest album East by his own description with “slightly more pop elements to the song writing,” was released in 2016 to favourable reviews. Justin seems to be drawing inspiration 36


from his new surroundings. This past summer he spent some time exploring the County on his Indian motorcycle including south Cressy, Lake on the Mountain, and the South Bay area. “That whole area is really turning me on right now. I get on my motorcycle and go; it’s cool. I do a lot of writing in my head. I don’t necessarily have to be sitting down with a guitar to do it.”

a folk musician, but I’m not sure what that means anymore.” From time to time he has taken detours from his singer/songwriter role. “It was my 30th birthday, I was hung over, the phone rang, and I answered it. It was Michael Ondaatje.” The Sri Lankan born, Toronto-based, internationally acclaimed writer was calling to see if Justin wanted to collaborate on a theatrical production of his Governor General award-winning novel, Divisadero. Initially he was asked to help with the music but ended up acting in the production as well.

Even though his albums are polished, multi–instrumental, and include accompanying vocalists, Justin composes his songs with his acoustic guitar. “As long as I can sit with my guitar Other theatre credits include Morris and play them and be happy with them. Panych’s 2012 production of The Arsonist I think that’s the sign of a good song.” as an actor, composer, and musical Of his alt-country label he said, “I don’t director. mind. I’m a guy with a guitar. I guess I’m

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Currently, Justin plays a character In the meantime he’s working on a described as an obsessive, one-man new album to be released in January. mariachi band, in Marine Life. The After that, he’s not sure or isn’t saying romantic comedy, written and directed where his journey will take him. He by Canadian playwright Rosa Laborde, hasn’t ruled out going back to school previewed November 8 and runs either. “A couple of times I did go back through December 10 at Toronto’s and see my old course counselor at U of Tarragon theatre. Although he’ll be T and asked, ‘What do I need to finish busy, Justin said he likes working in this?’ I am interested, and I do think eventually I will get that degree whether the theatre. “It’s a welcome break from it will be next year or when I’m 70, I will music, to be honest. It requires a fuller get it.” focus, and it is quite rejuvenating.” Whatever he decides to do next, for Partly because of his hectic schedule, the man who has been described as a Justin has moved again. but not very modern-day troubadour, it appears to far this time – just into Picton with be an open road. the hope of simplifying his home life to give him more time for his artistic endeavours.






The Victorian Order of Nurses A Century of Service

Story by Debra Mathews Photos courtesy Victorian Order of Nurses In the 1930s, two tiny sisters, barely five feet tall, Dorothy and Grace Connor of Belleville, Ontario donned the distinctive uniform with its starched white collar and cuffs of the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). “I remember I used to see their cars going by and these girls in their uniforms. I didn’t like the look of those uniforms with the blue and white stripes.” said Dorothy, in a 1990 interview with Belleville’s Intelligencer. Still, the two were drawn to the profession. “It really made me feel as though you were doing something,” said Grace. For the next 30 years, they carried their black leather bags and knocked on doors to provide health care to hundreds of patients in their homes. COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING WINTER 2017


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The story of the Connor sisters is part of the remarkable legacy of the VON, the longest serving health care organization in Canada. It is celebrating 100 years of service locally and nationally 120 years.

To facilitate home visits, it was necessary to find modes of transportation for VON nurses. In the early 1900s, bicycles were the favoured and most cost-effective choice. By the 1930s, the VON were among the first female drivers to share roadways The VON was first founded in with men. Local service clubs such as Canada in 1897; a response to the the Lions and Kiwanis then, as they desperate need for community do today, generously donated cars. nursing for new mothers and children The Connor sisters recalled driving and in honour of British Queen a stylish Model T Ford, which made Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. it possible for them and just one Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, the wife of other nurse to cover the entire city of the Governor General of Canada, Belleville. and an early feminist in her native The VON’s slogan - Health Starts Scotland, championed the cause of the VON after she became aware at Home - describes their focus of the terrible infant mortality rates on community-based health care. in remote rural areas. Canada was From the early days of assisting new still a young country and there mothers in their own homes, one were few hospitals, physicians, or of the VON’s greatest strengths has nurses to service new settlers. Many always been its ability to grow and women died in childbirth while their adapt to community needs. husbands traveled miles in search of June Rickard, a former Executive a doctor. Director of the local VON and a At the turn of the 20th century, member of the organization for 17 nursing was still a relatively new years, said, “In the Quinte area, early profession. The Trenton VON activity in 1917 and onward saw the office now serving Hastings, focus on prenatal care, safe baby Northumberland, and Prince Edward deliveries, and postnatal care. It was counties first opened its doors in realized that a healthy child would 1917. VON provided care to the poor lead to a healthy family, which would and the isolated, charging only those then lead to a healthy community. It patients who could afford to pay a was broad thinking for those early small fee, often $2 or less per visit. days!”

During its 100-year history, the VON in their homes, without charging them. has faced many challenges. In the mid During both the First and Second 1900s, the VON endured one of the World Wars, many VON nurses greatest health crises - the crippling travelled overseas to assist in temporary effects of tuberculosis. More Canadians hospitals set up to treat the wounded. died of this lung disease in four years The few nurses left behind focused on than were killed in the First World War. childcare so new mothers were visited Local neighbourhoods were not spared, regularly and nurses also performed as the VON made daily visits to patients physical examinations in schools. COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING WINTER 2017


u o y k n a Th nurses! In 1918, the VON was on the front lines when Spanish Influenza swept across the country. Many VON nurses became ill themselves while treating entire families. Records show only two nurses took care of hundreds of patients in the tri-county area, while more than 20,000 Canadians died from Spanish flu. Thousands more were saved by the efforts of local hospitals, doctors, and community nurses. As a not-for-profit charity, the VON has always relied on the generosity of the communities they served. Until the mid 1960s, it was funded directly by patients and community donations. Only those families who could afford to pay were charged, but that model has changed. Lynne Heeney, a retired nurse, former Chair and member of the VON Board said now the board’s main purpose 42


is to raise money for programs. “The - 300 a day arriving at Canadian Forces government lends funds, about 80 per Base Trenton - were given food, clothing, cent for various programs so 20 per cent lodging, a medical assessment, and has to be raised locally. It’s challenging.” customs clearance. Funding challenges aside, what has always sustained the VON has been the support of an army of volunteers. June explained, “Regardless of how community needs have changed and with them the kinds of programs and services the VON provides, volunteers have remained a constant, essential part of the organization. “In the tri-county area today, more than 400 volunteers work alongside 400 VON staff.

Today’s VONs don’t look like their early sisters. Gone are the starched collars disapproved by the Connor sisters. VON services mirror the change in communities. “Growing populations and an aging demographic are escalating the need for elder care. The VON will continue to play a vital role in the future,” said June.

Today, VON nurses still knock on doors often providing follow-up health In 1999, local VON assisted the care once handled only by hospitals, but military to provide health care for Lynne suggested, “Most people are not hundreds of refugees from Kosovo - aware of the breadth of work done by families fleeing their war-torn country. the VON. It’s truly remarkable.” Here, Dubbed Operation Parasol, refugees in the tri-county area, the VON offers

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a staggering range of community support services including 25 health and social programs delivered by nurses, personal support workers, and therapists designed to help keep seniors independent. From transportation, to Meals on Wheels healthy, hot meals delivered daily - to overnight respite for caregivers weary of caring for an ill loved one to exercise programs and even home maintenance and repairs, the VON assist thousands of people every year. A snapshot of 2016 statistics tells the story. In the tri-counties, personal support workers delivered more than 145,000 hours of care. Visiting nurses delivered 89,000 hours. More than 52,000 meals were served to seniors in their homes. More than 2,232 clients

took advantage of the SMILE - Seniors Managing Independent Living Easily programs. More than 4,000 seniors joined in the exercise classes. The legacy of care provided by dedicated VON nurses like the Connor sisters continues. Collectively, the Connors served for 50 years. Both sisters lived to be 96 years old and in reflecting on her career with the VON, Grace said, “If I had to do it again, that’s the course I would choose.” The VON is part of Canada’s story: it’s also part of the story of women in Canada and it’s the story of the profound changes in health care that each decade has delivered. The Victorian Order of Nurses is a national treasure committed to a second century of service.

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Beclawat Manufacturing Belleville’s windows to the world Story by Catherine Stutt Photos courtesy Beclawat

With almost 100 trains running the three railroad tracks through the region daily, it might be a challenge to see the little black letters on the window labels, but chances are, a piece of Quinte is on every train. Riders of Vancouver’s famed Sky Train, Denver, Colorado’s Regional Transportation District, a TTC Rocket, and Kuala Lumpur’s Light Rail Transit can catch a glimpse of Quinte, too. It probably isn’t the first detail noticed – certainly someone seeing a Littoral Combat Ship bearing down on them won’t be looking for a window sticker – but it’s there, letting the world know a historic manufacturing company in Belleville is part of the global transportation and defense industry. Beclawat, on Hanna Court in Belleville, recently celebrated its 105th anniversary. Conceived in London, England in 1912, its unique name stems from the founding members - Beckett-Laycock-Watkinson. Then, as now, it had a strong focus on designing and manufacturing windows for the transportation industry.

The company quickly expanded its markets to Australia, India, South Africa, Sweden, and Italy, and in 1934 moved its headquarters to Montreal. In 1976, it moved to Belleville, and its global reach is impressive and its market inclusive. It’s possible that while the manufacturing staff was building windows for a Washington State ferry, designers were helping a local boat owner with windows and doors for his retirement project. “We do it all,” smiled Cindy Wilson, Beclawat’s manager of human resources. “We help with the type of glass required to meet exacting specifications supplied by our customers, or we’ll work with a custom order. We’ll support anyone needing our products.” After more than a century of fine-tuning their product offering, reacting to market demand and technological advances, Beclawat now services four key industries – rail, light rail, marine, and defense. Gone are the days when the company built windshields for passenger vehicles and bus shelters – although there are still some Beclawat shelters protecting waiting passengers on the Belleville transit line. Boasting 100 per cent Canadian ownership, Beclawat is making its mark around the world, all with the efforts of its 42 Belleville-based employees. Much of the glass comes from Beclawat’s parent company – Montreal-based Prelco, who bought the company back in 2005. While the glass is outsourced, the design and manufacturing are completely in-house. The more complex projects take upwards of 12 weeks, start to finish, including design. Everything is custom, there is no production line, and rarely are the pieces repeated. With the breadth of abilities and geographic reach, that’s understandable. The shipping dock, on any given day, can have windows and doors headed for India Rail, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Australia, the United States, and Kuala Lumpur. There are standing orders for universal bi-parting windows for locomotives, and other original equipment manufacturer parts and refurbishments. Although Cindy Wilson and her colleague Stephanie Lappan, Beclawat’s project coordinator may make the process sound simple, they know the work is much more complex and has serious applications. Stephanie comes from a marine background and is very 46



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comfortable promoting Beclawat’s ship windows, which currently boasts a growing market share.

Seawatcher II operating out of New Bedford, Massachusetts to Washington State ferries, there’s a Beclawat solution.

“We have one of the longest lasting marine window designs on the market. They will last 30 to 40 years, making the cost of ownership very low.”

When US and Canadian Coast Guard fleets needed new ships, Beclawat was part of the process, and of course, when the USS Coronado (LCS-4) launched its intimidating presence in 2012, Beclawat stickers were on the windows. The fast response cutter is designed for littoral – shoreline regions – protection and interception.

those have marine applications – have different expectations than rail and light rail. “Both sectors expect high quality and durability,” explained Stephanie. “With rail, their customers interact with our projects, so there’s an aesthetic expectation, too. Their customers sit next to the windows. With marine, there’s a greater focus on utility, functionality, and strength. The windows and doors must be must more robust to withstand the rigours of all conditions in remote waters.”

Marine product customers – Beclawat is known for its doors, too, and most of

Often there are crossover sectors. Military and Coast Guard marine

Beclawat marine windows can be found in unique places. From the San Francisco Fire Department’s fireboat fleet to the tugboat Cooper Moran, operating out of New Canaan, Connecticut and serving the eastern seaboard, there’s a Beclawat solution. From the offshore clammer

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applications are generally unseen by the public, and can include ballistic glass – known as transparent armour in the industry. Commercial marine – passenger ferries, workboats, tugs, recreational boats, and fishing vessels – can be a combination of utility and aesthetics. “Every day is a new opportunity to help a customer with a unique product,” smiled Stephanie. “We think we’ve seen everything and then a new project comes in. That’s part of what makes Beclawat such an interesting place to work. In one corner we’ll be starting a light rail project headed half way around the world and in another we’ll be bending aluminum frames for a Coast Guard scientific research vessel. In between, we’re helping a guy from Belleville with a boat he’s going to cruise on the Bay of Quinte.”

“QEDC is a huge supporter of our work,” said Stephanie. “We work very closely with Mike Hewitt and the Quinte Manufacturing Association. QEDC champions manufacturing and works so hard to keep manufacturers in the area. If we need a skill or resource we don’t have in-house, we’ll turn to them. They’ll use their network to find a solution.”

Cindy appreciates the connection from a human resources aspect. “There are many advantages to being here,” said the Pembroke native who came to the area to study at Loyalist College and never left. “The City of Belleville collects resumes within its economic development mandate. If I’m looking for a candidate, I can call Karen Poste (Manager, Economic & Strategic Initiatives) and she’ll send me applicable resumes. QEDC and the City of Belleville are very supportive and proactive. From an HR perspective – and Local roots run deep at Beclawat, and many others – it’s a great area.” Cindy and Stephanie are grateful for Loyalist College is significant the support the company receives from contributor to manufacturing success, Loyalist College, the Quinte Economic more so since it opened its Bay of Development Commission (QEDC), Quinte Skills Trades Centre. “QEDC the City of Belleville, the East Central and ECOTB, along with the Quinte and Ontario Training Board (ECOTB), and District chapter of the Human Resources their manufacturing colleagues. Professionals Association are all working 50


together to ensure candidates have the right skills,” continued Cindy. “They are very open to input and are dedicated to maintaining and expanding the manufacturing sector in the region, and part of this is providing the right training at the right time.” It’s working. More than 40 per cent of Beclawat employees have a diploma from Loyalist, and approximately 80 per cent have taken at least one course from the college. “It’s nice to be doing business in an area where the city, the college, and the economic development community are all so dedicated, supporting, and advocating on behalf of manufacturers,” noted Cindy. For example, “QEDC went so far as to have an energy group address the cost of hydro, and they lobbied Queen’s Park on behalf of the manufacturers. They listen to our voices.” With strong support from the municipal and manufacturing community, Beclawat has attracted an excellent workforce, and is dedicated to their wellbeing. “The work/life balance is important to us, and we do it well,” explained Cindy. “We work Monday to Friday, dayshifts only. There are no afternoon or midnight shifts, and the only person with a company-issued

cell phone is our general manager, Ben Eby. When we’re off, we’re off. We don’t call people at home or on vacation.” The ethos pays dividends. “We come to work, and we work hard; we believe in the company and its ethics. We live by our core values; they are not just words on a wall. We know we’re respected and valued. We earn a good wage; we work to live, and Beclawat encompasses that. The average length of service is over a decade. We have an employee who was one of the first hires when our Belleville location opened in 1976 and remains a dedicated

employee right to this day. That says a lot about our staff and the company.” The employees, in turn, support the community, with the help of the company. At the recent 105th anniversary celebrations, they asked for and received significant donations to Gleaner’s Food Bank. To support the local chapter of the humane society, the company auctioned surplus parts and tools and sent along a cheque for over $700. The Canadian-owned, Quinte-centric company is unique in its products, but not in its strategic placement. Highway

401 – generally acknowledged as the busiest highway in North America – is two streets away. The rail yard is a short drive, as is the Bay of Quinte, connecting County and Quinte to the world. Aircraft from 8 Wing Trenton – Canada’s Air Mobility Base – fly overhead constantly. Rail, light rail, marine, defense. Beclawat of Belleville connects them all, putting a little bit of Quinte throughout the world. Next time, instead of looking out the window, look at the window. Chances are, a neighbour made it.



Hollywood of the North

Quinte Canadian Film Festival thrives in Trenton Joel George, photo by Daniel Vaughan

Story by Kelly S. Thompson Photos by Daniel Vaughan and QCFF There’s something unifying about watching a film with strangers. Maybe it’s the smell of popcorn wafting from the lobby or cherry Twizzlers gripped in fists. It could be the darkness, the cozy chairs, or the music playing through the speakers. For Joel George, Festival Director for the Quinte Canadian FilmFest (QCFF), the answer is simple; it’s all about the movie on the screen. “Film is a great way to tell stories and what it is to be human,” he said. Joel, a filmmaker himself, isn’t just passionate about the work he creates, but rather, all film, with a particular love for Canadian cinema. That’s why he spearheaded the QCFF, a curated selection of work from some of the most respected artists in the business. The inaugural event was held in Trenton at the

end of September – fitting considering Trenton’s original Hollywood of the North title – making it the perfect place to host an homage to all things Canadian film. Lights. Camera. Quinte. When moving pictures were first gaining in popularity, Canada was a speck on the map, far from the glamour of Hollywood. With just 60 years under its belt since confederation, and the First World War a stark reminder of the painful realities of life, Canadians were eager for the escape from reality motion pictures provide. Much like today, most film work stemmed from Hollywood, but before tax laws were a draw for production companies in the U.S., Trenton became home to Canada’s very first studio in 1917, gaining the town the title of Hollywood of the North. Once the studio was built, Trenton was the birthplace of countless U.S. and Canadian films, including the famous war epic, Carry On, Sergeant! in 1928, a silent movie about the First World War that was censored heavily for its relationship between a soldier and a Frenchwoman, and had a whopping $500,000 budget. Shooting locations varied throughout the studio and local area, including Camp Picton and Canadian Forces Base Trenton, and 54


with the base still standing today, the relationship between art and war was solidified. Between 1917 and 1934, more than 1,500 silent movies sprang from the Hollywood of the North, putting Trenton on the cultural map, even 100 years later. Much like the town he calls home, Joel, is no stranger to film. When he felt nondocumentary genre local filmmakers had little opportunity to show their work, Joel created The Movie Years Today Film Festival to showcase local films, which ran to great success for both filmmakers and movie lovers in the area. “The Movie Years Today was really a chance to celebrate filmmaking as a whole in the area,” said Joel. Eventually, he saw the offering evolve into a way to incorporate all Canadian work, not just hyper local to the Quinte area. “There are only so many local filmmakers who are making stuff. It almost hit its roof in terms of what we could do,” Joel said of The Movie Years Today. “We reached the ceiling.” Eventually, Joel established Cinema Quinte, the not-for-profit that puts on the QCFF festival, alongside his Festival Chair, Penny Olorenshaw, and a host of dedicated staff and committee members who share the same passion for movies. “I’m excited to see the

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Joel George and Penny Olorenshaw

things I’ve been working at for years laying out in a bigger way,” said Joel. “I’m excited to see what this could turn into.” The legacy of Trenton isn’t lost on Joel and Penny, and with the current iteration of the festival in relative infancy, the duo has proven they have the chops, knowledge, and keen eye for talent to make the QCFF a hearty artistic venture well into the future. Joel’s love for film is rooted in his education at Humber College, where he studied Film and Television. Today, his company, Prime Focus Productions, does all types of corporate video and short film, but his passion lies in creating his own work and helping to share the work of countless talented filmmakers in Canada. His passion for storytelling is evident in the meticulous planning to bring the festival to light. “It’s the most powerful thing to inspire change, and stories are often about change,” said Joel of his chosen art form. “All you have to do is sit there and enjoy 56


it. You can get the deepest response from programming from people,” said Penny. people in the fastest way possible.” Penny, “They found the diversity of film was who owns a marketing company when surprising.” As the Crow Flies, by local she isn’t busy organizing the festival with award-winning filmmaker Tess Girard Joel, also acknowledges the powerful of Prince Edward Country, was one tool that is film. “It’s not just reading a of the most well-attended films at the description of something. It’s actually festival. Another memorable moment living it, and you’re actually living it was when Wounded Warriors Canada while you’re watching the film,” she representative, Dan Hrechka, came to said. They’re a busy pair, but the festival, speak to the audience before the showing which they both call a labour of love, of well-known actor Paul Gross’s film, Hyena Road, a fictional account of seems well worth the effort. Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Dan’s The committee and staff saw their hard appearance made for a touching tribute work pay off and the inaugural curated to Trenton’s military and film legacies. festival proved itself a hive of talent “He was a fellow who was able to come from Canada’s best filmmakers, with and speak to the audience beforehand more than 300 film lovers in attendance. and explain what Wounded Warriors Lasting three days and showcasing 30 does and who it serves,” said Penny. “I films in three locations throughout think having that connection to the film Trenton, QCFF offered local viewers in a different way, yeah, it was powerful.” a chance to see work by the likes of Rounding out the offerings was a Deepa Mehta, whose film on sexual documentary titled Remembering the violence in New Delhi caused waves in Sergeant, a documentary exploring the the Canadian art community. “We had war epic, Carry On, Sergeant! that made lots of positive comments about the Trenton famous.

The QCFF also helped to usher in the his birth family – a piece guaranteed to next generation of film. The QCFF held stir the emotions of anyone who has the a competition for youth to submit their chance to view the work. films, with the winner earning a slot Building on the success of the to show their work to live audience at QCFF, Joel and Penny hope with the festival. At the end of the day, the the opportunities to showcase work, festival and the work of Cinema Quinte combined with locations in which do is all about giving a voice and home to film them, the Hollywood of the to Canadian artists who help us gain North title can be reclaimed in Quinte. understanding of ourselves and the “When I moved back from Toronto, I world we live in. “I firmly believe story was disheartened to hear this had once is the most powerful tool we have to been the Hollywood of the North and inspire people, to make change, to help now there’s nothing (film-related),” said people,” said Joel. Joel. “I’d love to see a studio established The festival was a true reflection here. I’d like it to be a vibrant part of our of Canada’s inclusive values. Several community here again.” Penny echoed genres were covered, with everything the sentiment. “Part of our desire in all from shorts to animation, and the this is to help develop a film industry filmmakers themselves were equally again in this area.” diverse, representing people of colour, bilingualism, and Indigenous peoples. Joel, an Aboriginal filmmaker, is currently working on a documentary that follows an adopted Indigenous man who reconnects with his heritage and meets

The City of Quinte West clearly sees the benefit in encouraging and supporting the arts. This year, the QCFF saw a large sponsorship from the city, and as the festival grows, so does income for writers and directors, local tourism, and growth

to the economy. Citizens in the area notice the impact too, flocking to the festival to support local work. “You do what you can but you never know what kind of effect it can have,” said Joel. “The community support has been really…I’ve been kind of blown away by it.” It’s the 100th anniversary of film in Trenton, and while the area may no longer be regarded as the Hollywood of the North, it has potential to return to its filmmaker hub roots. Through Cinema Quinte, Joel offers collaboration sessions with other filmmakers, and as artists see Quinte as a home and space that cultivates their work, more support and excitement will follow. After all, that’s what film is all about; bringing people together in a shared dream, and idea, and a little bit of an escape. And let’s be honest... popcorn helps.



signposts Germans Landing Story and photography by Lindi Pierce

Germans Landing There was a time in not-too distant Dan also pointed out an intriguing detail history when the words German Landing on the 1878 map. Near the Trent riverbank did not convey anything good, much less appears a tiny black rectangle, usually something peaceful and pretty. But German indicating a building of some prominence. Landing (or Germans Landing as the town A mill? A diagonal road runs across the sign says, and German’s Landing as history concession, ending at the shore. Why? would suggest is most appropriate) is a Could the landing have been an important sweet spot indeed. Apostrophe anxiety lumbering centre? aside, the cottage community in Murray Some more recent residents may shed Township along the banks of the Trent light. Rod Nelson, who grew up at Germans River, at the end of a dead-end road named, Landing in the 1950s recalls hearing of area appropriately enough, Germans Landing farmers floating logs cut on their farms to Road is well worth a drive. (Or investment the paper mill in Trenton. He cannot recall in a cottage property with plans to spend any German family residents by that time. all the rest of your summers there.) Paul Rose met his wife at Germans Historically, due likely to the early Landing where her Belleville family prominence of the Carrying Place cottaged. The Rose farm lay partly in (Signposts Autumn 2015) and the Danforth the 10th Concession; cottagers leased Road, strong ties existed between Murray the marshy front of the farm for simple Township in Northumberland County cottages. Paul recalls a store run in the and Prince Edward County. It’s therefore 1950s by Rod Nelson’s uncle John, and a no surprise Brighton area historian and Texaco gas pump. Locals gathered at the genealogist Dan Buchanan has traced swimming hole nearby. These days the the resting place of New York state-born area is a mix of year-round and seasonal Jacob German (1768-1829) to the Chadsey dwellings. Pioneer Cemetery in Hillier township, Whatever its history, a wander around PEC. Germans Landing is a tiny holiday. Rafts One of Jacob’s sons, William Ruttan await the next swimmer, and comfy chairs German, ventured into Northumberland gather around fire-pits for an evening of County (a common enough occurrence gazing over the river, watching passing as a pioneer farm could only support so watercraft or the folks at the sprinkling many) appearing in the 1878 Atlas on 27 of cottages on the opposite shore (who acres of Lot 7, Concession 10 along the are doing the same thing.) Enjoy Nature’s Trent. Curiously, adjacent to German’s artwork of water lilies and reflections on small holding, on parts of Lots 6 and 7 the satiny smooth Trent gliding by, and appears the name Chadsey Estate. The feel the heavy humid summer air. settlement of Germans Landing is on Lot 6. 58




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Jonathan Richard and Corrine and Vida at the Cape Photo courtesy Marc Polidoro The cardinal rule of every wedding – never upstage the bride – was breached at first sight. The bride and groom, Corrine Spiegel and Jonathan Kearns, were thrilled at the transgression.

arrived in vintage German cars, one blue with Romeo on the plate, one pink with Juliet, both 1957 Goggomobil classics. She beautiful in a fitted white lace dress and he in breeches, knee boots and jerkin, emerged to howls of applause. He, accessorized with a belted sabre and enough leather to upholster a Lamborghini, and she in a flowing gossamer cape, walked hand-in-hand down the red carpet to the trumpets of a Renaissance flourish. Unrolling a medieval scroll, they called out a welcome to dozens of named guests.

Their building, the former Legion, rebranded as CAPE (Culinary Arts of Prince Edward), now resplendent in new robes, transfixed the throng of celebrants and stole the show. Some 250 guests gathered at noon on a perfect September Saturday at 245 Main Street in Picton, lawns festooned with white tents, two jazz bands, and rows of Philippe StarkThe wedding vows were taken clone chairs. The Georgian façade under a birch huppah wrapped in of the historic Ross-McMullen white rose garlands. The officiant residence glistened with clean bricks, seemed eager to identify objectors fresh paint, and a restored front when he asked, “Is there anyone entrance with replica walnut doors. who can show just cause why this After a fire last year, the signature couple cannot be joined together in building was badly in need of re- marriage?” I have a feeling the first invention. An oversized veranda two objectors were plants, but then skirt, a glass and wood proxy affair, spontaneity took over, and several wrapped the front like a southern unknown liaisons stood up to deny plantation belle. Guests were the union. Several thousand sheep invited to tour the ground floor, later - the only currency of the the revamped commercial kitchen, negotiations - settlements were in and the stunning brick-exposed place and the ceremony continued. washrooms labelled Antony and The bang of a stomped glass under Cleopatra in keeping with the his heel concluded the vows and the Shakespearean theme. Jazz notes union was sanctified. and an open bar kept everyone bubbling along. Malabar costumes with pointy shoes and plumed hats spiced the elegant fashions of blazers, Nantucket pants, and Toronto couturier dresses. For more than 70 years the mansion has served as the Picton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and seen some mighty celebrations, but probably nothing quite as glamorous, or as 16th century, as this affair. You knew things were going to be different, more theatrical, more adventuresome, when the couple

Champagne was passed, the bars, which had never closed, become numerous, and we all moved under the big tent for a royal feast. It was a blended family affair with ex partners, offspring, and extended family in abundance. Barry, the father of Corrine’s three sons, who catered the event, proposed a toast to the, “Mother who did all the work in raising the boys.” Jonathan, who will recite Yeats at the slightest provocation, encouraged guests to perform throughout the dinner. A stream of presentations came to the stage, from Scottish



Photo courtesy Marc Polidoro

ballads to Gaelic love poems, with sonnets, limericks, and rap in-between. It was Dublin and Edinburgh meet Toronto and Picton. Just when we thought things were winding down, Corrine comes by and locks me in an arm embrace. “Hope you weren’t planning on escaping. The after-party is at the Wexford House next door. See you there.” Corrine has been in the financial advice business for years, first at Bank of Montreal and now with Scotiabank. She looks after her large stable of clients with the nurturing instinct of her Mother Earth personality, the same winning instinct that made her the Backgammon champ on the beaches of the Cote d’Azur in her university days. A tall woman with an open-hearted approach 62


Photo by Alan Gratias

Photo courtesy Marc Polidoro

to life, Corrine is everywhere as a fixer, confidante, and counsellor.

and dreams bigger, and like all zealots, he has the wisdom of the visionary. But be warned, his Irish lilt and flow of charm can fix you in a trance.

Jonathan, a Dublin trained architect, comes across as quieter, but no less charming and approachable. He is the Jonathan and Corrine have been founding partner of Kearns, Mancini connected to the County for a long in Toronto, a boutique design-and- time. Jonathan first bought a farm in build firm that has executed high profile the Bloomfield area in the 1980s which commissions around the world. During his son has taken over. Over the years the last 30 years they have developed a they have purchased several interesting reputation for singular environments, properties, each reeking of potential and including the iconic Canadian Canoe ambition. Their residence these days is Museum, the Fort York Visitor a waterfront bungalow on the Morrison Center and the Deloitte Corporate Point Road which is scheduled for an Headquarters. On the enthusiasm overhaul as soon as they have stopped spectrum, Jonathan is closer to the accumulating new projects. Meantime giddy end which Corrine must throttle they have installed an inflatable clear back from time to time. He thinks big plastic yurt at the water’s edge and

planted a field of lavender at the entrance to their low slung about-to-be-rebuilt abode. Dazzling and iconoclastic, Jonathan and Corrine, married at their CAPE, journeying together, destination unknown. I ask them, in a quiet interlude, about their secret of a successful partnership. “Complete honesty,” Jonathan says. “Hide nothing and enhance life,” Corrine adds, kissing her new husband on the lips. COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING WINTER 2017


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S A I TA RG ’S John Beddington answers 17 Gravitas Questions with Alan Gratias Name one universal rule of friendship? Listen more and talk less.

Photo by Alan Gratias

Gravitas Quotient is a measure of o n e ’s r e s e r v e s o f i n n e r w i s d o m .

Photo by Val Carey


What are you going to do about growing old? Who said anything about growing old? What makes your heart stand still? The harvest moon over Prince Edward Bay. If you knew the truth, how would you reveal it? With extreme caution. We all hope there will be one more time. One more time for what? A hole in one at Picton Golf and Country Club (and a game of bridge, a sailing holiday, and a week in Naples, Florida…) Name one secret you do not want to discover before you die? The secret of eternal youth. How would you like to rewire your brain? So I can remember all the right names to go with all the right faces. If you were to ask for divine intervention, what would it be for? Peace in our time – really. What are you fatally attracted to? Wine, women, and song, as well as, good cheese and chocolate cake. How do you stay clear of the rocks and shoals? By keeping my eyes open. Why should we hang onto our illusions? Because reality is too awful to contemplate. What would your father make of you now? He was a lawyer and I don’t think he ever quite understood what I did for a living. In his era, sport was largely amateur and for fun. It has changed beyond recognition – and not all for the good. What is the best way to get licensed as an adult? By growing up. What do you wish you understood about the workings of the universe? I wish I understood the reason for violence, strife, and chaos. How do we get to the authentic self? It is always far more important to appreciate the value of others rather than oneself. When do you release your inner quirkiness? After midnight. If you had your own country, what is the first law you would enact? Nobody should be allowed to become a politician until they have had a minimum of 10 years’ experience in a proper job with responsibility.

About John John Beddington has been involved in tennis and squash for 50 years. He started as a volunteer in 1967 and is now semiretired, although his wife doesn’t entirely agree about the ‘semi’ bit. He has organised more than 150 tennis or squash tournaments on all continents and was Executive Vice President at Tennis Canada for 17 years where he was Tournament Director/Chairman of the two Canadian Open Tennis Championships in Toronto and Montreal (now known as the Rogers Cup). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Canadian Tennis in 2006. John also co-founded the ongoing Masters Tennis/ Champions Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997 and ran it for the first 10 years. At one point, he managed 15 of the top 20 squash players in the world and founded the World Series of Squash, the first international squash circuit. In spite of being a selfconfessed mediocre player, he wrote the bestselling Play Better Squash in 1974 which has been updated and

enjoyed its 11th edition in 2015. He is Chairman of Sportgate International Ltd., which owns and operates Chestertons Polo In The Park at Hurlingham every June and Mongoose Sports and Entertainment Ltd., a leading consultancy. He is President of The Tennis Ball which raises funds for disadvantaged children in less affluent areas and has been the only Canadian member of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon since 1973. I asked him how he came to be in the County. “We first came as guests of Gary Wilson and his wife Marlene who had built a house on South Bay. We were looking for our own place as I was commuting every week between Montreal and Toronto.” One last question, I pleaded. What secret for a successful marriage would John like to share. “Mutual respect and a sense of humour,” he volleyed back. By Alan Gratias

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