Cql summer2017 fulllr

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Celia sage

by Catherine Stutt


County Arborists: Adding Value to Trees



The Old East Hill: A Social History

by Lindi Pierce



by Vic Schukov

by Jennifer Shea

Each issue available online at: www.countyandquinteliving.ca



by Catherine Stutt


CQL at home Richard Johnston and Vida Zalnieriunas of By Chadsey’s Cairns


by Alan Gratias

by Lindi Pierce

Gravitas RH Thomson

Experimental Farm Road


by Alan Gratias




Cover photo: Arborists Justin and Brittany Dart at work in the tree tops. Photo by Daniel Vaughan

To the editor inte Living County and Qu

t back house, brough and and light Isl et nn Bo t Scotch edition, abou winter 2016 article, in the ur yo g in isl ad Re on the and. s of her life other’s storie m y m of . ies memor 1903 to 1912 et Island from nn Bo ch ot Sc Ben eper at lighthouse ke s followed by cer, was the 03. Cyrus wa r, Cyrus Spen m 1898 to19 he fro at er df ep an ke gr e My lighthous had been the vid Spencer, His brother, Da partner. d and fishing use. The his good frien in the lightho Cunningham, s, growing up ar ye r ge un r yo Huyck’s g stories of he nneth lived at any interestin ger brother Ke m e un m yo r ld to he r d , an the My mothe mother. Nina ree miles to r Emma, my isions, the th Cyrus, mothe ded with prov loa , at hool. bo sc a of family: father w ro use of June beca dfather would until the first ring, my gran d Sp lan rly ain ea m In e th d return Point. ren stayed on early June an ve school in r and the child he lea ot to dm ion an iss gr rm island. My able to get pe dents, so were were good stu Both children ens. and kept chick ber. d a big garden ha in late Septem ey Th r. we ht to mily. ched to the lig ons for the fa the house atta ht and provisi they lived in oil for the lig t d, gh an ou isl br e th at On e supply bo early cited when th ircase in the they were ex the spiral sta Each month, their dad up th wi g in go turns ren could take treat, the child As a special s of the lamp. s and took lot an and light all avid reader evening to cle se. They were clo ry ve s e family wa rd games. her people, th minoes and ca e were no ot also played do ey Because ther Th e. us s to the lightho ought she wa ial with them , she often th reading mater came confused be e sh en wh ars later, use life and ye s. ed the lightho ing the wave My mother lov cks and watch ying on the ro er, married pla e, us ho ht few years lat back at the lig nsecon and a Co to ed ov m orld War ather in 1915 in W 27. My grandf lled in France ki ma, died in 19 s Em wa r, he eth ot Kenn They My grandm other Helen. station agent. me my Grandm came a CNR usin who beca , who later be co on gt nt in ta ell dis W s hi erator in in 1937. a telegraph op . Cyrus died d Alec Watt, of their lives st I. Nina marrie re e th ed ere they liv ber stories ns, Ontario wh o would remem moved to Athe any person wh be uld wo e en...but ther my grandchildr I don’t believe memories for y 90th year, m tle in lit e w es no th Since I am I have written Bonnet Island. life on Scotch of lighthouse u. esting for yo might be inter archives. thought they es ter t to your would be of in is th of e m Perhaps so

Writing the editor’s message for this issue was a challenge. It’s been a busy spring, with all the normal life events pulling us in far too many directions. Add to that the rain, the incessant rain, the constant news stories of flooding, the latest indicating even the mighty Saint Lawrence Seaway may be shut down at Cornwall to release more water. Officials say water churning through the system is at its highest – 10,200 cubic metres per second – in 117 years. I really don’t know what 10,200 cubic metres per second of water looks like, but it sounds like a lot. Closer to home, I had the numbers ready – Lake Ontario is up 70 centimetres from normal, Presqu’ile Provincial Park is closed, a visitor to North Beach Provincial Park sunk chest-level after crossing what she thought was solid sand. The historic community of Gosport on the south shore of Brighton is in jeopardy, with volunteers manning shovels, building sandbag walls, and monitoring pumps 24/7. Parts of Trenton and Belleville are closed due to floods. Parts of the County are faring no better. In our neighbourhood, thankfully 152 metres above Lake Ontario, my neighbour Paul Chatten’s weather station recorded 642 mm of rain since March, with 282 mm coming in May. Old school, that 11 inches of rain in 30 days, and it isn’t over yet. We’re under a severe thunderstorm watch and there’s a day and a half of this soggy month to go. On a good note, the wells are full. All of this talk of 100-year records broken over the last month seemed kind of scary, as do many things these days, until my colleague Chris Malette passed along a letter we’d received. A month or a season of weather is real, but reading Dorothy Sykes’ letter reminded me there were so many amazing things happening while weather records were accumulating. Here’s what Dorothy shared, in response to reading another water story – Sharon Harrison’s Winter 2016 article about Scotch Bonnet Island. Mr. Underwood is staying inside where it’s dry. Instead, Dorothy Sykes paints the picture for Summer 2016. Our thanks to her for taking the time to turn the page, and share one of her own.

Sincerely, es Dorothy Wyk

Catherine Stutt, Editor, County and Quinte Living editor@xplornet.com




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 Alan Gratias Jennifer Shea Lindi Pierce Catherine Stutt Vic Schukov

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CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Alan Gratias Lindi Pierce Laurie Matheson Daniel Vaughan ADMINISTRATION Sharon LaCroix slacroix@metroland.com Distribution Paul Mitchell 613.966.2034 x 508 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.

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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Celia Sage Story by Catherine Stutt Photography by Daniel Vaughan

The room is small, and at first glance appears somewhat cluttered, a smock hanging, brushes of all sizes jarred here and there, and paint smudges and splatters. A closer look finds order among the chaos; a deliberate placement, the brushes cleaned and sorted, paints in a precise order, inspiring quotes and photographs strategically pinned, and colour everywhere. From this compact second storey studio comes the art of Celia Sage, one of Prince Edward County’s most popular painters. Celia’s work is well-known and highly sought. Anne House, who with her husband Brian Clark owns Mad Dog Gallery, encountered Celia’s work before meeting the artist. “I have two requirements for including work in my gallery,” Anne explained. “It has to be original, and I have to like it. When I was looking for

Someone told me I was going to be an artist, and I believed them . . . I knew if I worked hard, I could do it.

” artists for the gallery, I saw Celia’s work and was drawn to it. I realized I had to get in touch with her.” Celia has been part of Mad Dog in the County since it opened in 1990, and from June 10 to July 2, she’ll have her 16th solo show at the gallery. “Maybe it’s the 17th,” laughed Anne. “She’s been with us forever. Several clients have already told us they’ll be here on opening day because they want to be sure to have first choice of her work. Her paintings are extremely popular and people enjoy looking at her work. There is a huge demand for it.”

was always classical music in my father’s life; we’d visit botanical gardens and art galleries, and there were always art and architecture books, Life magazine, and lots of paintings. I spent a lot of time with images.”

She began art lessons at 10, focusing then, as now, on oil painting. “That was it; oil was the pinnacle, and by starting early, it gave me a lot of confidence. Somewhere along the way, I had the idea I was an artist. Maybe it was the time I drew a black cat when I was four. Someone told me I was going to be an Celia has been part of the Prince artist, and I believed them,” she smiled. Edward County art scene since moving “I knew if I worked hard, I could do it.” her in 1981 as a newlywed. She was born The art lessons continued throughout in Caldwell, Idaho, on the outskirts of high school, finding a canvas at every Boise, and her childhood home was filled opportunity. “I was scolded for doodling with music and art and architecture. on math tests and text books,” she Her father was a cartographer, her admitted with a smile, showing little grandfather a self-taught and very regret. She majored in fine art at Boise accomplished oil painter with a focus on State University, augmenting art courses strong western themes. “He’d work all with French, history, and music. “At 19 day at the post office, and come home and 20, my rational was I didn’t need and paint,” Celia remembered. “There math and physics, and who needed a

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degree anyway? I figured I’d just keep taking art courses and paint more. That was a bit of a shock when I looked for a job. Apparently a degree would have been handy.” Plans to continue her art studies at Boise State took a bit of a turn, thanks to a trip to Virginia one New Years. “Peter and I were both raised as Christadelphians, which is a very small religious group. We were visiting mutual friends in Virginia, and that’s were we met. I went back west, and Peter went back north. A few years later, I went to a conference in Guelph. Someone there asked Peter to pick me up from the airport. We hadn’t kept in touch, I didn’t know who was picking me up, he didn’t know it was me. I saw him and birds sang and flowers bloomed,” she laughed with delight. “That was it. That was one week in August. I returned in October and he brought me to the County. I fell in love with it. He came to Boise in January and we were married in June. That was 37 years ago. We’d spent all of 13 days in each others’ company.”


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The studious artist who contemplates every detail didn’t hesitate. “I tend to dither, but not with Peter. He’s my vacation from myself. The fact his mother was an artist only strengthens the connection.” The whirlwind romance aside, Celia is a very disciplined artist. “I insulate myself from pressure. It’s probably why I didn’t choose to go into performing as a musician. I took piano lessons for 12 years and worked as a professional musician. As a piano player, I’m a very good artist,” she laughed, continuing on a more serious note. “I’m very regimented about scheduling my day, allowing myself enough time, and by having everything ready, I can relax and do better work.” The public response confirms her theory. “Celia’s paintings are in demand,” shared Anne. “She has a unique style, and is very disciplined in her attachment to her art. She’s a dream to work with and people enjoy looking at her paintings. Her very distinct style captures local landscapes and people can relate to her work.”


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For any artist, that’s important. For Celia, it’s an affirmation of her lifetime as an artist. “I’m always taken aback when people ask me for my CV,” she said. “I don’t really have one. I’ve just been painting for years. Shouldn’t art stand on its own? The painting is the statement. Some year I’m going to send in a photo of one of my paintings as my artist statement. There it is. There’s my statement.” She probably won’t though, because she has such respect for the process, and admiration for her fellow artists. “When I moved to the County in 1981, watercolours were all the rage. Barbara Whelan was doing oils, and was a mentor to me. At the time, there were very few 16


young artists here. Back then, it was a cheap place to live so artists of the day could live cheaply and follow their dreams. Now, that’s completely changed.”

“I paint what grabs and delights and attracts me. I love a technical challenge. I fall in love and have to talk about it and I do that through paintings. It happens Peter’s mother Laurine was an anywhere, and I just grab a camera, accomplished watercolour artist, and capture it, and paint. Cameras make a Celia treasures memories of time spent painter’s life so much easier.” with her. “She introduced me to the most Although Celia has taken commissions, down-to-earth amazing artists – low key and as an artist with expenses, doesn’t wonderful people.” Five years ago, Peter turn down paying work easily, she works and Celia sold their home and moved best when she is moved. “I don’t think I along the street into Peter’s parents could paint something just to sell it,” she home. “Going through Laurine’s studio mused. “I have to find the inspiration. I gave me a totally new perspective of her don’t do art merely for self-expression; as an artist.” I do it to communicate something. I’ve Despite the strict self-discipline, or tried to paint to specification, but I perhaps because of it, Celia’s work is couldn’t make myself do it. I can’t be serious and joyful, and deeply personal. generic,” she explained, simplifying

the notion with a characteristic laugh. “When I paint to satisfy a market, I hate it and it sucks.”

Millennium Trail, and wonders if the draw doesn’t harken to her childhood in Boise.

Redemption is around every corner, however. “On the other hand, so much inspires me, there’s almost an endless supply. Each day is a toss up of which path I’ll follow, and there are so many paintings I want to do.”

“I grew up in mountains and pines and a desert. Maybe I loved the County from first glance because of the contrast. As a child, I’d seek out places with more green; I loved the Oregon coast. Here I love the wall to wall trees in the woods. How does that happen? It’s like one big park. The foothills started three blocks from my home and I’d climb them and look over the town and the other way to the next range. Maybe looking into the depths of the thickets has replaced my long views; it’s seeing a long way differently.”

This year, Celia finds herself painting a lot of plants and admits she has no idea what’s coming next, but knows it will involve a lot of colour. While painting is a carefully planned process for Celia, the inspiration and the contemplation are often random. She has completed a few paintings this year of the tangle of vegetation along the

All of this thought over a tangle of bushes, yet the contemplation flows

from the paintings, each detail precise, something for which Celia is known. “I fuss. It gets down to the point where I don’t even know where to sign my name in case it throws off the composition. A lot of sweat goes into making my paintings inevitable; everything has to be in the exact right perfect place so it looks casual,” she laughed, but her fierce commitment to her paintings shone through the light moment. Even the title, or maybe especially the title is a matter of great thought. “I name all my paintings; the name is part of the piece. Sometimes I’ll start with a working title and it will help me focus as the painting progresses, and often it’s the final title. I’ve been known to sit with a COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING SUMMER 2017


thesaurus and take forever to choose a title, because it has to be the right word to give a hint where I’m going. The title is like a tiny haiku and the painting is the illustration.” Although Celia takes her art very seriously, and she has a serious mind, she finds joy easily, and is proud to have made her art accessible and share her talent over the years. “I taught art to children, instructed at Loyalist College, did house portraits, and for a few years I did pastel portraits at fairs and craft shows for $2.50. Every once in a while, someone will show me one they kept.” It’s all part of the portfolio. After a lifetime of painting, Celia feels she is just getting started. “Maybe because I’m just now doing this on a full-time basis.” She is planning a few shows, and a lot of painting. She is a featured artist at Canterbury Hill Studio in Rockport, Massachusetts. There’s a show with Milé Murtanovski of Small Pond Arts, Art in the County of course, and an exhibition at the John M. Parrott Gallery

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in January 2018. In addition to her solo show at Mad Dog Gallery in June, her work is there year-round. That’s a lot of fussing, a lot of inspiration, but she’ll find it everywhere, from the thickets to the greys of November where she pulls so much colour from the landscape. Celia’s County roots run deep, and for years she was part of the family business. Peter owns Sage Design and

Construction. Celia jokes she was “We’ve been here long enough to see the recently fired as a bookkeeper, perhaps County in four dimensions – the normal the result of too few math courses, but three plus the passage of time.” it was time to follow her dream. “Peter Celia shares the dream of most artists is very encouraging, very supportive. He in this enclave of talent, and around the understands, because his mother was world. “We all just want to sell enough an artist, the rhythm of studio time and to be able to afford to keep doing it,” she exhibition prep.” simplified. They are enjoying the good times and blessings, and watching the changes.


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County Arborists:

Adding Value to Trees Story by Jennifer Shea Photography by Daniel Vaughan and County Arborists Justin and Brittany Dart are a happily married couple in their twenties living in an old Prince Edward County farmhouse with their dog, two cats, three pigs, four beehives, 40-plus chickens, and some turkeys. They’re an unassuming couple who totally complement one another. Judging by the number of times they complete one another’s sentences in conversation, they have a lot in common. What makes Justin and Brittany unique is their career – they are certified arborists and owners of County Arborists. Their company specializes in adding value to trees through proper planning and maintenance, along with professional removal or preservation as needs dictate.

As certified arborists, Justin and Brittany have both undergone formal training and carry International Society of Arboriculture certification. To be certified, they were required to have at least four years of on-the-job experience, after which they had to pass a written test. To maintain their certification status, they must undergo continuing education on a regular basis. This includes attending conferences to learn about the latest techniques and advances in their field. “The ones we pay attention to and try to go to the most are biomechanics in trees,” said Justin. “We learn how long you can leave a tree before it has to come down and what you can do to lengthen that life; how trees react to storms and wind and ice load, and what you can do to minimize those loads. A lot of it comes down to pruning, cabling, and bracing.” A large part of their work involves tree pruning and removal, but as certified arborists, Justin and Brittany are keenly interested in plant health care. “We do remove a lot of trees – we’re very efficient


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at it – but we try and leave as many as we can,” said Justin. “We always approach it with the idea of presenting options that a tree can stay standing and prolong its life instead of just cutting it down. If the option is installing steel cable and do a little bit of reduction pruning versus removing the tree, usually people are pretty on board. It takes a long time for a tree to grow.” To see Justin and Brittany at work, look up – way up. In fact, working 50 to 80 feet off the ground is not uncommon in this area given the number of mature trees. There’s a rhythm to their work. Similar to rock climbing, they use ropes, harnesses, and lanyards to reach the tree’s canopy, along with good, oldfashioned tree-climbing skills honed in their childhood. Chain saws and pole saws are hauled up by rope as well, with the assistance of a capable crew on the ground. With saws and other equipment hanging off their tool belts, it’s amazing how nimble they are, moving among the branches to find the best angles.



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gear on a regular basis and keeping equipment maintained contribute to the safe work environment. They don’t have too many surprises on the job. “Maybe a bee hive or a wasp nest,” said Brittany. “Or you get into a tree and we find it’s hollow,” added Justin. “That’s not

really unexpected – you learn to expect it. Trees aren’t engineered; they’re all different. They can decay differently and still look healthy. It makes it a little more challenging, but that’s why we’re very careful with our tie-ins and our rigging points.”

Justin and Brittany first met while working together at a company in Uxbridge. They had taken the same course at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Lindsay, but Justin graduated a few years ahead of Brittany. Asked if it was love at first tree, they say they were friends



for about 18 months before Justin bought the Prince Edward County business. Brittany’s parents are from Carrying Place, so she accepted Justin’s invitation to work with him. “That’s where everything began,” smiled Brittany. Asked why they chose this profession, they both say they grew up loving the outdoors and knew they wouldn’t enjoy a desk job. “There’s a lot of problemsolving and it’s interesting,” said Justin. “All the sites are different; all the trees are different. It’s really enjoyable when you’re up climbing on a nice day. There are some terrible days when you don’t want to be an arborist. Like today, for example, it was pouring rain and we were cutting down a sticky pine tree.” Added Brittany, “The work we did was still enjoyable; just not the weather.” The day-to-day variety in their work is an appealing aspect to both Justin and Brittany. The job is very physical and they try to balance the workload throughout the week. There will be a good-sized tree removal at least once a week, including cleaning up the wood and grinding the stump. Other days will involve pruning or planting.

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Brittany specializes in extermination and an extermination day means a very early start for her. “The trees draw all their water in the morning because it’s going to be so hot in the afternoon,” she explained. “They just kind of shut down around noon, so I have to go out pretty early. Usually by the time I get there, the sun’s just starting to come up.” The Emerald Ash borer is present in eastern Ontario after doing a significant amount of damage in the Greater Toronto Area. Brittany is treating local ash trees preventatively. To beat the bug, Brittany injects an organic insecticide into the bottom of the tree. The tree draws it up through the roots. It’s a systemic, nontoxic product and environmentally friendly. Justin and Brittany are happy with the growth of their business. When they first started, it was just the pair of them doing all the work with an occasional helper. Now they have a crew of three, and they are busy every week from late winter to late fall (the business operates all but six weeks of the year). They’re currently booking jobs more than a month in advance. They’ve been strategically reinvesting in the business along the way, including equipment upgrades. “It’s pretty specialized, so the equipment’s more expensive,” noted Justin. “And there’s upkeep. The boom truck has to be certified every year – the actual boom, not just the truck. The only thing original to the business is the aluminum box on the Freightliner. Everything else we purchased.” The investment has certainly added value. Jobs that used to take three to four days now take six hours. An important aspect of their work is educating landowners and homeowners about the trees they have on their property or the best trees to plant. “I see all the time trees planted in the wrong place, whether it’s beneath hydro lines or the eaves of a house,” said Justin. “There’s nothing wrong with big trees being around your house, providing they receive regular maintenance.” “We always suggest people call us to take a look – there’s no cost for a consultation or site visit – just to try to ease the worry. A lot of big, healthy, beautiful trees get cut down just because somebody gets a little nervous. Maybe install some cables, prune, and remove the dead limbs and it could be fine for the next five years.” Apart from the common challenge of finding work/ home life balance with their chosen profession, Justin and Brittany are very happy running their business and neither can imagine doing anything else. “We get to work in some pretty neat places on some pretty cool trees,” said Justin. Added Brittany, “And then to make a tree just look so good. It can be kind of a messy tree with broken limbs and a whole bunch of dead wood, and then when we’re done, it can have a nice shape again, it can be safe and all the dead wood is clear and it just looks so good. It’s pretty satisfying.”

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The Old East Hill: A Social History

Story by Lindi Pierce Photography by Daniel Vaughan There’s something about an old neighbourhood on a hill, dignified houses along leafy streets, that sense of being above the hoi polloi. There’s beauty and serenity, that sense of a better class of folk occupying a height of land. It’s a Victorian conceit that may remain with us. Belleville, settling as it did along a river, is blessed with riverbanks forming hills to either side; both the West Hill and East Hill boast some fine 19th century homes, but it is the Old East Hill (OEH) that draws most of the attention.

The OEH is loosely defined – its trunk is Bridge Street East, its branches the streets running north and south. Queen and Victoria Streets are OEH. The neighbourhood ends at Bleecker, or MacDonald. Maybe it’s more about age than area.

for settler United Empire Loyalist John Taylor, who purchased 100 hilly acres shortly after 1789. John and his early descendants rest in the now inaccessible Taylor Burying Ground just off Dundas Street at Foster Street.

The OEH is sandy; that fact was The OEH is, to be sure, a hill. Pinnacle confirmed by the archeology teams who Street running along the base was named conducted the internationally known St. for it. These days only pedestrians notice Thomas Cemetery study at Church and the climb as they trudge up Bridge Street Bridge streets in 1989. Local historian East from the market or library. The Gerry Boyce recalls the work was OEH was originally called Taylor’s Hill, like digging at the beach. The OEH’s



underground streams have created subsidence issues over time. There’s the story of Dr. William Sprague, who built a fine Bridge Street house with a tower in 1890. He later had to lower the tilting tower, a problem modern engineering would readily handle. Old reports even mention quicksand along George Street. A neighbourhood of quiet streets, stately homes, majestic trees, and welltended gardens – if you listen they will tell you Belleville’s story. Here dwelt the early city’s social and business elite.

(Smith), property owners and business partners have their streets. Victoria and Queen would have been logical choices in Victorian society. Bleecker Street was named for George and Tobias Bleecker who farmed 200 acres from the bay shore to today’s Station Street. The dynastic tale of the four Clement sisters of Brockville highlights the closeknit society of early OEH. The women were doubtless leaders of Belleville society in the mid-1800s, making good marriages to important men whose names tell the city’s story. Phoebe married lumber baron Billa Flint, son of a Brockville merchant, who made his mark on Belleville, Flinton, and Actinolite. Phoebe’s sisters Elizabeth, Jane, and Lucy may have been prevailed upon to join her, as they in turn married eligible bachelors Rufus Holden, Nathan Jones (whose 1862 commercial building survives on Front Street), and Ezra Holton. Their elegant brick houses still stand at 144, 100, and 99 Bridge Street East. Married children and other relatives settled nearby. The families were a who’s who of the era’s business and professional class.

a fire risk, the building was demolished. Today, two apartment blocks and a parking lot occupy the block from William to Ann Street; the only signs of its glory days are a few sections of an old stone wall. The 1970s, an era of upheaval in society, heralded change and protest in OEH. Opposition to demolitions and high-rise development crystallized heritage awareness. In a case of knowing what they had before it was gone, OEH residents’ groups and the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee resisted development pressure, and preserved the heritage character of the area. Without the old homes – some dating from the 1850s – much local history would have been lost.

Historian Gerry Boyce and his wife Beverly, an OEH lifer, have resided here throughout their 60-year marriage. They experienced the evolution of the neighbourhood. Bev recalls pushing one of their children in a stroller to a protest against the St. Agnes School demolition. The story of the Boyces’ current address typifies the time when some of the neighbourhood’s grand houses began The Heritage Belleville publication to succumb to age and development. Heritage Buildings East of the Moira Today, the couple lives in a high-rise recounts hundreds such Victorian house on the site of the large Victorian home stories. of Judge Carroll Anderson, honorary Billa Flint’s OEH home is emblematic uncle to Gerry. Gerry recalls taking tea of the changes which began to take in the fine home, which was sold under place in the 1970s. His first house, an community protest, and razed in 1971 1835 parapet-walled brick structure, still for the development of an apartment stands by the river on Coleman Street. block. “The Judge lost some friends, Imagine the domestic discussions which made some money, and moved to Albert led to the construction of a palatial new Street,” quipped Gerry. Tuscan Villa on Bridge Street in 1861 in For some of the OEH’s venerable homes, close proximity, and a good bit fancier, the choice was to adapt or perish. The than those of his wife’s sisters. St. Agnes many-gabled 1881 mansion of Joseph Manor sat in five park-like acres. Here in Campion and his wife Mary Elizabeth 1903 Mrs. F.R. Lingham established the stands at 225 Bridge Street East. Mary prestigious St. Agnes School where girls Elizabeth’s father was Tobias Bleecker, What’s in a name? is the title of a received, “Careful training along lines who subdivided his farm for building 1978 book by Judie (Carty) Preese, who of broad intellectual culture.” History lots in 1874. A century and a half later researched the origins of street names was made here. Around 1914, future the house is home to First Adventure in Belleville. Since streets are commonly vaudeville entertainer Beatrice Lily was Child Development Centre. named for notables, many OEH street a not-always-model student. In 1924, Fortunately, there are many survival signs chronicle the development of the Lingham daughter Gwen Lazier travelled stories like that of Dr. Rufus Holden’s city. A stroll along Bridge Street, past to Washington, D.C. on horseback to 1859 brick house which is moving John, George, William, Ann, Charles, invite President Coolidge to United gracefully into the 21st century. As the and Albert Streets introduces some early Empire Loyalist anniversary celebrations elegant Inn on the Rose Garden it hosted community builders. John Street was in Belleville. B&B guests for many years. Currently, named for pioneer John Taylor; Ann, After 1920, the greatly-expanded new owners are returning it to a singleGeorge, and William in memory of his structure was carved into 21 apartments, family home, part of a wave of young children. Charles (Levisconte) and Albert and by 1972, deteriorating and deemed professionals attracted to the OEH. COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING SUMMER 2017




Some of OEH’s history is officially recognized. On William Street, an Ontario Heritage Foundation plaque commemorates the home of Canada’s fifth Prime Minister. Although the home is a private residence, the story lives on at Glanmore. Descendants donated the prime ministerial china service, a gift of Queen Victoria, and commemorative Loyal Orange Lodge silver. They form the Sir Mackenzie Bowell collection at the museum.

A plaque at the Corby Rose Garden commemorates Henry Corby, distiller, philanthropist, and senator who donated the parkland in 1905. The park – an oasis of benches, old trees, and rose beds – was renovated and reopened in 1967.

OSD housed the Royal Air Force’s No.5 Initial Training School, part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Hundreds of OSD students, teaching, and support staff were accommodated in homes and public buildings in OEH throughout the war.

A significant wartime chapter is commemorated, not in OEH, but by What visitors notice first are the trees. a plaque at Sir James Whitney School, The writer of the 1909 tourist booklet formerly Ontario School for the Deaf The City of the Bay, Belleville and her (OSD.) During the Second World War, Industries rhapsodized about handsome COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING SUMMER 2017




residences, beautiful lawns, and wellmade streets, “Lined with rows of maple and other shade trees...in summer when dressed in all its variegated foliage, it is without doubt the most charming spot in Canada.” Along Bridge Street and neighbouring avenues, towering 150-year-old maples add green dignity to homes built in the 1800s. Imagine them as tiny saplings, planted outside the fences of proud new homes with their fresh paint and bright brick. These heritage trees are a mixed blessing. They complement the older homes and properties, and form an important part of the OEH’s character, but their very age is becoming an issue. Recently a driver was injured when a massive branch blew down onto her car; within days the tree had been punished for its mistake. Soon only a stump remained. Turns out, many area residents have been concerned about the aging trees. There’s a tension here; the old trees possess a dangerous beauty. Wade and Lisa Terpstra of The County Carriage Company offer horse-drawn carriage tours of the OEH. The stately pace and the quiet clip-clop of hooves is an invitation to time travel to the neighbourhood’s Victorian past. A good spot to continue the journey is Second Empire-style Glanmore National Historic site. Here time stops at the year 1883. Glanmore is a meticulous recreation of the opulent lifestyle of a well-to-do banker, J.P.C. Phillips, and his wife, heiress Harriet Bleecker Phillips. When Glanmore was built, the property stretched from Dundas to Macdonald, Bridge to Dundas Street, in the country at the very edge of Belleville. Glanmore visitors enter the world of parlour maids and visiting cards, bustles and ballrooms. The neighbourhood has always been eclectic, a socio-economic mix of tidy working class homes, corner stores, and apartments amidst the mansions. Several older homes have made the transition to medical offices or condominiums. Throughout the years, infill or replacement buildings have changed the character of the area. Styles range from 1930s Deco to midcentury modern, revivals of English



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cottages and formal Georgians, Arts and Crafts, and prairie. Flat-roofed international style professional offices, themselves now modern classics, hobnob with the Victorians. It’s the perfect neighbourhood for a stroll with an obedient basset hound. “My English teacher said I’d never go far and she was right,” chuckled Sam Brady, OEH resident. Sam grew up in an held fund-raising movie nights in the 1875 Loyalist style home Bridge Street park and solicited donations; City Hall in the 1970s, when house rules were matched funds. “If there’s no life in a simple. “Come home when the lights go park, bad things happen.” Three years on, and don’t wander out of range of the later, in 2011, the playground opened; dinner bell.” He and his chums, many of all generations now enjoy the revitalized whom, like himself, have returned to the Robin Jeffrey park. neighbourhood to raise their families, Porchfest is another homegrown used to range free on their bikes, owning initiative that enlivens the OEH. Every the parks and playgrounds. Of course, September, the eclectic music festival they had to steer clear of the grumpy old takes place on neighbourhood verandas. gardener, who was fiercely protective A moving street party of residents and of the magnificent Corby Park roses. visitors, kids and dogs, Porchfest was School was Queen Elizabeth Elementary, the brain-child of new OEH residents then on to Belleville Collegiate Institute. Ken Hudson and Lucinda Pritchard Neighbourhood residents still miss the back in 2009. In 2014, the community iconic school at the top of Queen Street, event with the block party ambience an OEH community hub which was was adopted by the Rotary Club of demolished under emotional protest in Belleville. Sam was Porchfest chairman 2004. Sam recalls boisterous groups of adolescents parading to school down for the inaugural year. the centre of Queen Street, a BCI And so, the 19th century neighbourhood enters the 21st century. Saplings are student tradition. Involvement is the key to the OEH’s inter-planted with ancient maples, community spirit. On the family’s young owners are restoring historic return to the neighbourhood, Sam houses, fresh energy is creating new chaired a volunteer group working to traditions. The Old East Hill is growing revitalize the local playground. The older, gracefully. East Hill Park Association committee

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The Fade Kings 25 years of respect, appreciation, and great live music Story by Vic Schukov Photography by Daniel Vaughan One fateful summer afternoon, 25 years ago, three magnificent mus(ic) keteers seeking their natural fourth, were having one of their usual rehearsals in a garage north of Wellington. The musical wizards present on this birthday-to-be were drummer David Impey of Colborne, guitarist Eric Fry of Roslin, and bassist John (“Jake”) de Vries of Hillier. In popped keyboardist Leigh Moore (of Hillier), introduced through a mutual friend, already having performed on stage with the likes of Meatloaf and Rick Derringer. It wasn’t long into the session before the original three were sold on having found the missing piece to what was to become the iconic Fade Kings, one of the best and most enduring bands in the surrounding counties.

Left to right: Eric Fry, Leigh Moore, Jake de Vries and Dave Impey

“Leigh was a killer player” said Dave. day I like the camaraderie of the band. At Prince Edward. The group was selected “He brought a lot to the plate, even no point did anyone say, ‘Guess what? in 2008 and 2009 to represent the Loyal challenging us. We couldn’t pass him up, You’re in the band now.’ It was just, ‘We Blues Fellowship at the International so we worked him into the band quickly. have a gig coming up.’” Blues Challenge in Memphis. That was the beginning.” According to Jake, it may even have By the time they merged in their early Jake positioned the collective of the been Leigh who came up with the band’s 40s, each had matured beyond their years group’s character in perspective, “Leigh signature, from the seamless way in of playing in young bands that splintered was imaginative, and the funny guy. Dave, which they fade at the end of a song. due to incompatibility. Keeping any Eric, and I were in a band before this one, The Fade Kings’ repertoire is an number of musicians together for a long but it was just evolving. Leigh completed time is no small gig, foreshadowed by the us with his great musicianship and stellar artfully delivered fusion of rhythm and dark clouds of differing personalities and blues, soul, rock and roll, and Latin, voice.” with smatterings of cool jazz. The clashing egos; not by coincidence, the Eric, like still water that runs deep, was four seasoned and versatile musicians Fade Kings never had that problem. Still, succinct: “Leigh is gifted musically.” have built a solid following throughout four guys sticking it out for 25 years? “What made us stay together is being None of this praise was lost on Leigh southeastern Ontario. They are a fixture who reciprocated. “Music is such a great on Canada Day throughout the counties all in the same life phase,” Dave said. release in expressing oneself, and to this of Northumberland, Hastings, and “When you are younger, your energy is 44


drawn towards looking for work, building relationships, and raising a family. Life pulls you in different directions, and you follow your heart. We mellowed as we got older. We became more flexible early on, and accepting of each other’s ideas, and realistic about where we are and what this band is about.” Loyal to the project, everyone is on the same wave length. “It’s not about the personalities,” said Jake. “It’s about the musical conglomerate. The guys all contribute, and the sum is greater than the parts. We operate by consensus. No one is dominant. No one gets their knickers in a knot. We have maintained that even keel over the years because we felt we had a good product.” COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING SUMMER 2017


“It’s the art of compromise,” added Leigh. “Each of us approaches things from different vantage points with the goal of creating the sound.” Appreciation, that most underrated of virtues, constantly bubbles up in their assessments of each other. They are in some neat respects a mutual admiration society of skilled performing artists, complimenting their bandmates from uniquely personal perspectives.

Describing Jake: Dave: “Laid back. One of the most solid bass players in the area.” Eric: “Kind and considerate.” Leigh: “Flexible, personable and

diverse in styles.

Describing Eric: Leigh: “Love his playing, very tasty and evolved. Knows what he likes in arrangements.” Jake: “Eric was the first guitar player I ever heard who sounded like the guy on the radio. That was important. I thought, OMG, this is the guy.” Dave: “Great talent.”

Describing Dave: Jake: “Always dependable. The father of the group” Eric: “Twisted, and he knows it.” Leigh “His mind is always working, a great foundation on which to build the music. He is the biggest realist on the business end. Grounded, or he should be.”


off after a show reminds us why we are still together. People appreciate us. I get a glow of satisfaction after an evening of performing well. We do it for the music. We have all played for a long time at a solid level, and we feel good about it. It has given us something we all need. It is making us all younger still.”

What the four seasoned musicians desire at this golden stage in their lives reads philosophically.

Eric pipes in. “Performing is a state of Nirvana. You can almost see yourself, like you are in a movie. Making people happy, making some good music, that’s all that matters.”

Dave, the soft-spoken one, said, “I want no more than the vibe we get on a good night when the band is in the pocket. Walking

Jake’s measured demeanor is almost professorial. “The band is tight. We all know where the changes happen.


We are fortunate to be still playing together.” Leigh is the one member most likely to turn Zen at any moment: “Music is the universal language. There is music for every mood. For me, it has been a great balance in my life. Always calming, music is ethereal and in the moment. It is auditory art. You carry those memories with you, the crystalline moments when the musicians become the instruments tapping into that unseen energy force. Life is too short to play bad music. What I want is to play challenging music that I love. Music is about learning new things you never played before.”

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For a skilled group to pass the test of time, it takes loads of mental and emotional chops. It can’t be explained without delving into each member’s background. Jake is 67 and a semi-retired custodian. He was born in Prince Edward County and started playing guitar in high school. “Music was my escape. I didn’t even know what a bass was. I was a notes guy. At 17, before my first bar gig, I had to swear I would not take a drink. We would sure miss each other if we stopped playing.”

15, he joined a high school band with Brighton’s Danny Thompson, lead singer for The Bentwood Rockers. Leigh is 66 and hails from Brandon, Manitoba. He started playing music at age 15 after coming to Toronto in the early ’70s. He worked in children’s mental health for 35 years as a social worker with at-risk youth in Scarborough. “Music is a great respite from that stress. We have all paid our dues. We are musical friends. Our music has mellowed me. Between the four of us, we have over 200 years of musical experience on stage.”

Eric is 61 and was born in Belleville. Retired after 32 years as a social services What’s in the future for the Fade worker in a high stress job, he started Kings? playing high schools at 18. “For me, “I hope that we can continue to music was the real deal. I am the baby challenge ourselves because for me of the group. I have learned so much that is the essence of music,” said Leigh. from playing with these guys – textures, “You might think you can see there moods, what works. It has made me from here but you are never there. You more thoughtful.” never get there. It is a lifelong learning Dave at 66 is an environmentalist process. What I cherish about the at heart. He worked for a local band is our versatility because we can conservation authority for 36 years. At play everything from private events to


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“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, For the want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider was lost, For the want of a rider the battle was lost, For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.” Benjamin Franklin



The Machining Centre - For the want of a nail Story by Catherine Stutt Photography by Daniel Vaughan When the World’s Finest Chocolate in Campbellford needed to wrap 75 chocolate bars a minute, who did they call? Well, the same people Airborne Systems in Belleville called to machine a cargo parachute disconnect, who not coincidentally called the same company Kellogg’s asked to machine extremely high pressure extrusion plates to make cereal in Belleville and Africa. The Machining Centre (TMC) is the go-to solution for regional manufacturers because it offers rapid response smallbatch solutions to potentially big problems. A humble man, founder Dick Wolters acknowledged his company, launched in 1988, is the who’s who for intricate and reliable machining solutions. “We’re often handed a part and asked to replicate it. This area has a long history of manufacturing, and many of the machines COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING SUMMER 2017


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With 2 convenient locations to serve you on these massive lines were brought in from Europe years ago. There are no parts and no drawings available, so we have to reverse engineer them. One little component can mean the entire production is in jeopardy. Things used to be built to last, but we’re in a disposable society now. A small part can be a huge problem.” Born and raised in Wooler, Dick started TMC in 1988 after completing his machinist training, apprenticing locally, and working in the trade for 10 years. It was a small one-man shop dedicated to machining and tool and die applications.

mass production – he was intent on providing swift solutions to unique challenges, helping manufacturers keep lines productive and people employed. One of the first jobs, and still one of his favourites – although he laughed when asked to pick just one – was when he helped CJC Bottling in Grafton design and build an assembly line for washing, filling, and capping water bottles. That was around the same time he machined pole climbing buckles for Miller-Dalloz Safety in Trenton.

TMC’s skilled technicians have their touch on parts and pieces The business quickly grew, throughout the region and well beyond gaining a reputation for quality and – they machined cane handles for a reliability. Dick wasn’t looking for motorcycle shop in British Columbia,

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but undeniably one of their favourite projects of late is helping with the Ontario Skills Competition.

“Jeremy wanted to find examples of good parts for the students to work with during the competition, and brought us in early. We had the perfect piece; it was more meaningful because it has a real-life application.”

Over the last 28 years, Skills Ontario has partnered with school boards, colleges, small business, Used by militaries around the world, large companies, labour groups, and governments to provide opportunities Airborne Systems’ cargo parachute for youth to explore and develop skills disconnect device is a point of pride in for successful careers in the skilled the boardroom and on the production trades and technologies. This year, floor at TMC. It provided competitors TMC, through its association with with a vital, global, real-world example Loyalist College, Quinte Economic of where their talents could lead. Development (QEDC), and the Quinte “About a dozen years ago, one of Manufacturing Association played their engineers came in with a handa significant role in the machining drawn sketches for the cargo parachute competition. disconnect, looking for a prototype,” As Paul Vreugdenhil, Director explained Paul. “Airborne Systems of Operations tells the story, the supplies militaries around the globe participation was very welcome. Paul, with various parachutes, and this one who has been with the company for 18 in particular was for very large cargo years, and Jeremy Braithwaite, a skilled ’chutes. There were three versions of trades professor and Project Lead of the disconnect, operating with about the W. Garfield Weston Fellowship 80 per cent efficiency.” The device Program at Loyalist College work attaches between the parachute and together on an advisory board, liaising the cargo, and disconnects moments between the college and manufacturers. after landing, preventing the cargo 54


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was a key involvement for us and now our Canadian Forces and their allies use At the time, the Canadian Forces them, reporting higher than 99 per cent and many other nations were heavily efficiency.” To date, TMC has delivered involved in deployments in Afghanistan. more than 1,000 disconnects to Miltex Precision and reliability were mission Solutions, the newest incarnation of critical. The new device promised to Airborne Systems in Belleville. It seemed a perfect piece for Skills improve on the troublesome system. Ontario, since every step in the process, TMC jumped at the chance to which included design, programming, work with Airborne Systems on this casting, and machining of the 22 project. The previous year, Dick had separate parts comprising the fourinvested heavily in new software. pound disconnect is completed in With help secured through Quinte Ontario. Economic Development, Solidworks from being dragged and damaged by the wind.

and GibbsCam were integrated into the company. “This is game-changing software; it’s very important,” said Paul. “QEDC helped us find funding for our initial purchase and training.”

When Ned from Airborne Systems came in with his sketches a year later, machinists, now comfortable with their new software, were able to expedite the process. “The first four prototypes passed with flying colours,” smiled Dick with pride. “They were tested all over the world by several militaries. That

Paul was impressed with the participants and Skills Ontario Competition May 1 to 3, 2017. “There were 40,000 competitors there, everyone from graphic designers to florists to welders,” said Paul. “The technical skills were amazing. It was huge. On our piece alone, 11 high school students and 22 college students were involved.”


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future careers in skilled trades and parts for the Snowbirds are no longer technologies, and pleased with the available, so we had a chance to make the support and teamwork, and the positive ejection arms for the drogue parachutes,” spotlight on the region. “We couldn’t explained Dick. “The parachutes are have gotten here without a little help attached to the seat, and if the pilot has ourselves. Jeremy has done so much for to eject, the arm severs the seat from the Skills Ontario – opting for a real-life part pilot.” is certainly easier for kids to draw in the Shortly after the Airborne brought in competition and more inspiring. Miltex the parachute disconnect, Autosystems Solutions was key in making the product – now Magna – brought in an Aston available for students. QEDC played an Martin headlight assembly they were early hand in helping us get to this point manufacturing. TMC was the only local where we could solve industry problems company using Solidworks. like this. Castings were purchased from “We use it across the board,” said Dick. Niagara Castings in Ontario and all assembly was done in the Bay of Quinte.” “We can’t believe we’re working this way now. We purchased Solidworks as This humble company is familiar with a communications tool and now it has supporting high visibility projects. When taken the business to a whole new level. the Canadian Forces 431 Demonstration It’s revolutionary. It used to be so labour Squadron – known and loved as the intensive. Now we can draw and run a Snowbirds – needed replacement complicated part in hours. It seems not ejection arms for their iconic Canadair too long ago I was working with graph CT-114 Tutors, TMC was able to help. paper on a drafting board. This is beyond The Canadian Forces is recognized our expectations. I’m living beyond my throughout the global military dreams.” community for safely and successfully Serious though the work is, Dick extending normal life expectancies of its aircraft, which is both a point of pride and Paul make sure the crew works on and at times a challenge. “Some of the fun projects. They had a request from

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“ I love going into plants where we’ve built something. I had a tour of Kellogg’s. Not everyone has that chance. ”

a custom motorcycle shop in British Columbia for funky cane tops. They asked Hozelton’s in Colborne to help with the sand castings, because any time there’s a chance to keep work local, they’ll take it.

and sidecar were badly worn and we were able to help with the restoration.”

The team is always looking for ways to help clients and involve Loyalist students. “We had a request for a badge for an 1890s bicycle. It was in gorgeous They work with Global Med, Kellogg’s, condition, but missing that part. We Proctor & Gamble, paper, food, and asked the Loyalist computer aided cable industries, and what works here design students to replicate it, and we often goes global. “Once it’s proven in machined it. It gets them involved in Belleville, often they’ll implement it real-world applications and it saves the throughout their networks worldwide,” customer money.” shared Paul. “We have a job on the floor When a fire tore through Black River right now destined for Nigeria, thanks Cheese – the only Prince Edward to Kellogg’s in Belleville. Locally, Proctor County cheese factory remaining and Gamble linked us to jobs in Japan from the original 26, the struggle to and Germany. There are no boundaries rebuild was real. The fire occurred just anymore. We source specialty brass after 100th birthday celebrations, and and stainless from Texas for local the desire to rebuild the traditional applications.” process was thwarted by an expected No job is too small, especially those but disheartening lack of antique personal to the client. Recently, they built equipment. “We did a lot of work with a journal for a 1964 Mercedes. Two years them after the fire,” recalled Dick. “They ago, a client came in with a motorcycle wanted to restore everything to original, and sidecar. It had been in the family for but couldn’t find the equipment. We four generations. “This was his great- reproduced it so they could stay true to grandfather’s only transportation and he their heritage.”

drove it summer and winter,” said Dick. “The connection joints between the bike

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from the Netherlands, settling in Wooler in the 1950s with 10 children, adding two more in Canada. Dick is the youngest of 12, and a lifelong member of Trenton’s Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church. Dick’s wife Arlene is integral to the business, looking after the accounting, and although Dick has stepped back a bit as succession plans are in the works for their son Kevin and daughter-in-law Sarah to assume the business, he’s still in the office and on the floor several days a week. Kevin’s sister Nadine, a self-employed graphic artist, recently married Nathan van Egmond, whose parents live near Arlene’s parents Bernard and Nellie Kloosterman.

16-2498 (5/16) 16-2498 (5/16)

“Mom and Dad were very helpful getting us started,” said Arlene. “They really encouraged us.” Dick and Arlene’s daughter Nicole and her husband Will Green own W. Green Technologies, a local company manufacturing heavy equipment attachments. Design and manufacturing run in the family. Kevin is a fabricator with a mecha nical technician diploma. Sarah’s family owns Huffmandale Holsteins on Harmony Road, and together under the banner of S&K Agro Solutions, they invented the Calf Canopy which won the Premier’s Award for Agro-Food Innovation Excellence in 2015. It helps transition calves from preweaned to their own hutches, provides more room, 58


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They made an English wheel for local aviation-inspired artist Jonathan Cook of Avro Fabrication in Consecon, who connected with them on Instagram, which is the same way Synaptive Medical found them, and asked them to make components for its all-Canadian MRI prototype. “At the inventor level, you can’t afford huge numbers of something that might not work, so we do small-batch orders. Typically, we’ll run from one to 200 pieces,” explained Dick. “Usually, it’s carry-in carry-out. We rarely have a piece requiring a forklift,” added Arlene. In a given month, they’ll complete 100 work orders, with probably five on the floor at any one time. It’s serious business, it’s a global business, with very strong Quinte roots, and no end of appreciation from the owners. “I love going into plants where we’ve built something. I had a tour of Kellogg’s. Not everyone has that chance.”

faster weight gain, and less stress on the Keeping the team of 19 engaged is easy. calves due to socialization, which in turn When the company purchased a five-axis helps integrate them into the herd much machine, he challenged the machinists easier. It was conceptualized, designed, to make an aluminum chess set. They’ve and built at TMC. made putter heads for a client in Truro, Dick agreed. “Every day is different; we It’s another successful example of the Nova Scotia whose client is on the PGA never know who is going to walk through creativity and scope of their abilities. tour, and recently machined a stainlessthe door or what we’ll get to build.” “We can pretty much take any idea from steel railing for a house in Port Hope for concept to completion,” assured Dick. an interior designer.



signposts Experimental Farm Rd.

Story and photography by Lindi Pierce

Experimental Farm Road In our daily rush from A to B, lab to try out french fries or other we use road and street names as products. This was all in the interest reference points, giving little or no of science of course, part of the farm’s thought to the stories they tell. Road research into vegetable and fruit names honour influential citizens, processing. Art is proud of his father, significant events, or natural features; “One of the smartest people I have ever their origins risk being lost in time. known.” A rural route in Quinte West commemorates an agricultural research facility once vital to the vegetable and fruit producers of this breadbasket region. Experimental Farm Road joins Highway 2 between Trenton and Brighton; these days it’s just the way home for many rural residential folk. From 1944 to 1996, the road led to the Smithfield Experimental Farm, one of a network of federally-run operations headed by the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. Their purpose was to work with farmers and orchardists in an area, solving problems of production at the farm gate. The Smithfield station had been planned since the 1930s, but plans were delayed by the Second World War. Smithfield began on 40 hectares as a horticultural substation in 1944, and became an experimental farm in 1960 under Superintendent Harold Blair Heeney, who served until his retirement in 1979. Area resident Art Heeney was a 10-year-old when his family moved into the superintendent’s house at the farm. He remembers the freedom of acres of field and woodlot, and those after-school stops at the processing

At its height, the Smithfield Experimental Farm spread over 300 acres of orchards and crops, greenhouses, refrigerated apple storage, a processing lab, dormitories and houses, offices and laboratories. Six scientists, eight technicians, an operational staff of six with up to 10 seasonal workers, an office manager, and receptionist kept the operation running. The work of the farm included plant breeding programs, irrigation studies, and soil analysis, pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer studies, entomology, and research into growth regulators, crop rotation, and food processing. Published technical reports, and public field days shared the farm’s findings with growers. Today we forget how central orchards and canning crops once were to the economy of the Quinte Region. A drive along Experimental Farm Road’s open fields of soy and corn yields few reminders. Only some signage, a few tumble-down white frame buildings, and some gnarled old relics of the experimental farm’s orchards reflect on our much-changed rural economy. COUNTY & QUINTE LIVING SUMMER 2017


at h


me with


’s Alan Gratias

Richard and Vida

Story and photography by Alan Gratias

They are busting a move on the dance floor. Richard Johnston and Vida Zalnieriunas, owners of By Chadsey’s Cairns, are jiving to the beat of the Ferraro’s. It is one of the iconic experiences of the new County, the island terroir that Conde Nast has called a cross between the Napa Valley and Montauk, Long Island. A party in the open midsection of the heritage cattle barn with hundreds of guests on bales of hay, drinking wine, and chilling. By Chadsey’s Cairns, the vineyard and winery they founded 15 years ago, is that sort of place. Embracing, rocking, and people oriented. Its situation alone earns rave reviews. Snug to Loyalist Highway 33 overlooking Lake Ontario five kilometres west of Wellington, By Chadsey’s Cairns is an awesome composition of fields, brick buildings, and outsized barns. Ontario rural classic. Postcard stuff.

Joanie and I have been invited to taste some of the new wines Vida is working on. We make the journey from Waupoos on a late midweek afternoon with the sun sopping the deluge of rain of the last weeks. It seems the whole County is flooded. We navigate the bucolic entrance of the 140-acre-estate, past the Lithuanian-inspired fence line, past hedgerows and the pioneer cemetery to the courtyard between the vintage barns. Richard and Vida meet us in front of the elegant façade of the tasting room, itself a reconfigured apple house, reeking of the grit and charm that imbues the property.

I observe on the firmness of the vineyard in contrast to the muddy fields and swamped pastures we saw on the drive over. “Well drained Brighton gravelly sand soils,” Richard explains in his working jeans and black t-shirt. “With 23 acres under cultivation, it’s a lot of Even the name is singular. Ira Chadsey, an work because we grow all the wines we make early settler, is said to have built stone cairns but we were able to unbury all the vines.” at the back of the property to guide him The reinvention of a marginal mixed crop home in the afterlife when he returned on a farm to a thriving winery leading the charge of white horse. Ira has become something of a the County vibrant wine industry is the genius family enterprise. One of Richard and Vida’s of Richard and Vida. They are also known as two daughters, Daiva, an actress, (the other, the hardest working couple in the business. Zara, is a med student and Richard has a son Perseverance is their middle name. They Gabriel), workshopped a play about Ira and his have gone through several career changes themselves. womenfolk in the cattle barn last fall.



Richard and Vida continued...

From social worker to long serving Member of Parliament for Scarborough West, to NDP Cabinet member to Centennial college president to viticulturist, Richard is no stranger to reincarnations. That adaptability was their well spring when they bought the farm in 1995. In some ways, Richard is a marketing machine. It’s that part of his DNA that made him such a good community builder and retail politician. He thrives on human contact and outreach. He is tireless in his initiatives – food and winepairing dinners, personal deliveries, and farmers’ markets. He loves the connection to real people in real time. 64


Vida too has transformed from journalist to psychotherapist to vintner. She brings an analytic bent of mind to everything she does. In her wine making role she sees herself as a midwife, relying on natural processes to get clean honest finishes. Over the years, she has become more confident in her approach to making subtle, understated wines. “As a social scientist by training, I bring a patient rigor to the process,” she says in her dark velvet jacket over slim denims. She has poured the first round of our tasting, a 2015 off-dry rose Rosessence designed for their daughter Daiva’s wedding last year.

We were sitting in the late afternoon sun on the portico off the tasting room, probably the first moment of calm in their hands-on working day. Relaxing here so close to the exposed roots, there is an immediacy and intimacy with the vineyard surrounding us. They have an easy interaction with each other, highly respectful of their leadership roles in the fields and at the barrels. Vida pours the second wine of our flight, in a carafe right from the stainless-steel tank, a 2016 Chenin Blanc that will be available in the store soon. “What would happen if you switched roles?” I ask mischievously, savouring the minerality of the first sip.



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“Wouldn’t work,” Richard jumps in. “I am too erratic and romantic. Vida has grown into her job more than I have.”

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We finish our third wine, a 2015 Pinot Noir, Vida’s best Pinot so far (but she hasn’t bottled the 2016 yet). I have one last question before bidding adieu. What message would they have for someone starting a winery? “Just leap,” Vida answers. “You’ll figure it out.” “Be clear about what you want,” Richard joins in. “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.” Ever the activist battling from the left, Richard takes Vida’s hand. “We are temporary stewards. We need to leave everything better for the next in line.”



G r av i ta s Q u o t i e n T 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 .

RH Thomson answers 21 Gravitas questions with Alan Gratias Name one universal rule of friendship? Compassion. What are you going to do about growing old? Play the game, and hope I don’t get body-checked into the corners.

Photo by Laurie Matheson

S a i ta rg ’s

What makes your heart stand still? The generosity of others.

How do you stay clear of the rocks and shoals? You can’t really - or if you do, you risk boring yourself to death by staying in the middle passage.

If you knew the truth, how would you reveal it? With a joke. Charles Ludlam of The Ridiculous Theatre Company said, “If you are going to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh at the same time, otherwise they’ll kill you.”

Why should we hang onto our illusions? Sometimes they are our only refuge for sanity.

We all hope there will be one more time. One more time for what? To sail at sunset, standing on the rear deck, tiller between my feet, main sheet in my hands, and breathing in the last of the burning ball of light as it slips below the horizon before the darkness begins.

What is the best way to get licensed as an adult? Be prepared to never grow up. What do you wish you understood about the workings of the universe? Why we are so stupid that we won’t take climate change seriously until its either too late or too expensive to fix it.

Name one secret you do not want to discover before you die? The workings of the quantum world.

How do we get to the authentic self? Now that’s an illusion.

If you were going to launch a new prohibition, what would you outlaw? Greed.

If you were in charge of the world for one day, what would you change? The fossil fuel industry into the clean energy industry.

How would you like to rewire your brain? So the music would play all the time.

How can we escape the trap line of our own obsessions? Think about how you can help others.

If you were to ask for divine intervention, what would it be for? To bestow wisdom on bigots.

If we come into this world with sealed orders, what are your orders? To leave it better than I found it.

Give one example of life’s absurdities? That we think we can understand anything.

How are you different from the way others perceive you? I am a serious introvert.

Why do we sometimes crave chaos? Chaos can be a refreshing change up of order, a rebooting of the computer, and a hint of how it really is out there.

If you had your own country, what is the first law you would enact? Free maple syrup daily for all.

About Robert

Acclaimed Canadian stage and screen actor Robert Holmes (RH) Thomson, CM was awarded in 2015 the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, and was the recipient of the 2014 ACTRA Award of Excellence. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2010 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Toronto, Trinity College. Recently, RH directed The Crucible at Theatre Calgary and performed in You Will Remember Me at the Tarragon Theatre Toronto. He is currently playing Matthew Cuthbert in the CBC/NETFLIX series Anne and producing the Canadian and international First World War Commemoration project The World Remembers - Le Monde se souvient. In 2017, the names of those killed in 1917 will appear and each name will be programmed to appear at an exact minute, circling the world through participating nations. RH is looking

for schools and communities to host the names and display images this fall in the Quinte. RH and his wife Laurie Matheson and their two adult sons live in Toronto. Their family dog Jackson occupies most of the family home. RH performed the famous Laurier eulogy on the death of John A. Macdonald at the unveiling of the bronze statue Holding Court in front of the Picton Armoury in July 2015. I had one final question, the one about what secret about a successful home life he would like to share. “Do the vacuuming!” he replied in that famous voice. By Alan Gratias

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