Page 1

Volume 1, No. 11 July 2011 FREE

Your business:

Financing a small business Your health:

Summer safety tips for kids Your home: Cathy Grondin with grandson Jack Alexander Rice Cover story: page 3

Hold onto summer memories

Incorporating St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce

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July, 2011

PUBLISHER’S LETTER Learning to swim in the deep end by Terry Carroll 4

BUSINESS/COMMUNITY Agriculture Thank a farmer – share the road by Janine Lunn 5

Your Business

Cover Story

FINANCING A SMALL BUSINESS Money Matters Getting a loan for your business by Glenn Thorel 18

Managing Money Tips for managing cash flow by Brian Dempsey 19


Self Development

Buy or rent your business premises? 20

Economics Collaboration unlocks community energy by Serge Lavoie 8

Paying Taxes How the HST changed small business 21


HOMESTYLE Decorating

Why the buzz about e-books by Peter Atkinson 17

Take a seat! by Renée Carpenter 22



Hold onto summer memories 23

New business directory released 9

Savour Elgin


Food to die for by Kate Burns 24

Blow our own horn! 10

Wine & Food

Chamber News Benefits bundle update 11

Wine and words in the Thank You Economy by Jamie Quai 25

Pro Text

The Play’s the Thing

Street racing: what insurance companies say about it by Dan Reith 12

Member News Business expansion 13

Legal Business New standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by Monty Fordham 14

Positive Exposure Ideas! (from around the world and close to home) by Allan Weatherall 15

Member News What’s it all about? 16

Cathy Grondin may be retiring but she’s still keeping her hand in by Dorothy Gebert

Management 101 by John Regan 6 Change your mindset about marketing by Sharon Lechner 7

Making a difference

The Merry Wives of Windsor and Heartbreak House by Ric Wellwood 26

HEALTHY LIVING Everyday Health Hot, hot, hot by Dr. Greg Johnston 27

Personal Health Summer safety tips for kids by Jennifer Wyscaver 28

LIFESTYLES That’s Life In the good old summertime by Elizabeth VanHooren 29

Time on my Hands The tail of a Canadian snake by Duncan Watterworth 30

Helping people has been a major part of Cathy Grondin’s life, ever since she went to university to study social work many years ago. But now that she’s retiring as executive director of Employment Services Elgin, she’s not about to stop being involved. “I’m not being put out to pasture,” she laughs. “I’m retiring to put more balance and flexibility into my life. But I will still be connected to what’s happening here.” Thirty-two years ago, when she moved to Elgin County with her husband Greg, she got involved with the employment program at Fanshawe College and eventually became the director of a partnership, called Employment Services Elgin (ECE), that combined the career programs of Fanshawe College, St. Thomas Youth Employment Counselling, YWCA and Community Living Association. “We had the ability to bring individual services together to offer seamless service to our clients,” she says. “It was a concept of everybody winning.” Cathy’s philosophy throughout her career has been to meet the needs of one person at a time, even when the ECE was inundated with job seekers when Sterling and other companies closed in 2008. “We enter people’s lives at a time when they’re in crisis,” she says. “We don’t just deliver a government program, we meet our clients where they’re at.” Over the years, Cathy has found time to volunteer with various community organizations, including the Central Community Health Centre, Oxford-Elgin Child and Youth Counseling Centre, the United Way, YWCA and was one of the founders of the Caring Cupboard. “I love to do grassroots work,” she says, “and creating opportunities to give back.” So along with taking time for travel, family and friends, her retirement will be anything but quiet.

Cover photo by Philip Bell, Shutter Studios

Carroll Publishing President Terry Carroll Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Kelly Carroll

Elgin This Month Publisher Terry Carroll Editor Dorothy Gebert Section Editor Business Beat – Bob Hammersley

Graphic Design / Production Jim McHarg Sales Representative Greg Minnema Office Services Laura Bart

Published monthly by Carroll Publishing, 15 St. Catharine Street, St. Thomas, ON N5P 2V7 July, 2011






Publisher’s Letter

The shock is an important wake-up call by Terry Carroll

I’m writing this during the Canada Post lockout of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). It’s a time of day-by-day uncertainty. We business owners don’t like uncertainty, or perhaps that should be restated – we only like uncertainty when we create it ourselves. When it’s created by others, it’s deemed to be bad for business. I’m not writing this to whine about Canada Post or CUPW. Rather, it ties in with a topic we’re exploring in this issue, the second in a series of three on small business. This month, it’s about financing a small business. When Canada Post imposed the lock-out, our incoming cheques immediately dried up. And nothing points to the importance of financing for a small business like the drying up of cheques. (For some reason, employees and key suppliers expect to still get paid. Go figure!) In a nutshell, money continues to flow out even as the dollars stop flowing in. Anyone starting a small business has some awareness of the importance of cash flow. The entrepreneur needs enough money or credit (usually more of the latter than the former) to see the business through to profitability, while weathering the ebbs and flows of a typical year. Something like the Canada Post lockout simply exaggerates what we already know. To me, dealing with the financial requirements of a business is a little like learning how to swim. You can read all you like about swimming, or watch instructional videos on the breast stroke, or listen to lectures on water safety, but until you’re in the water, you never know whether you can do it. So, too, with cash flow and


Learning to swim in the deep end

We business owners don’t like uncertainty

flailing about in the deep end, there are three main sources: personal savings, lines of credit or loans from financial institutions, and loans or investments from family and friends. The newbie entrepreneur should be planning for all three and should try to arrange for twice as much as she thinks she will need. There’s a fourth category: the angel investor who uses his or her own money to invest in the startup of another person’s business, or the venture capitalist who typically invests other people’s money in a professionally managed arrangement. Angels or venture capitalists offer the sort of financing popularized by the CBCTV show ‘The Dragon’s Den.’ Because the risks and rewards are greater, the business owner may have to give up some ownership in the company or meet the expectations of high returns. An angel investment or a venture capital arrangement can work out well, but neither is for the faint at heart.

finance. You can have a great mentor, go to school, read books, pick up the terminology and nod your head in the right direction while talking to your banker. But you only learn to swim in the deep end when you’re in the deep end. Or you don’t. Something like the


Canada Post lockout, if it lasted for any length of time, would kill some small businesses. They would simply run out of cash and exhaust all credit. The swings in cash flow can be that startling. In order to avoid such a worst-case scenario, or to deal with it without



Terry Carroll is the publisher of the St. Thomas /Elgin Weekly News and Elgin This Month.

July, 2011


Thank a farmer – share the road

Trying to get around a slow-moving vehicle without being careful isn’t worth it

With the beginning of summer, our thoughts turn to longer days, vacation plans and road trips. But despite the best-laid plans, progress can come to a halt with the ever-present sight of summer construction, and especially on the side roads – slowmoving farm equipment. In this time-crunched society it can be a stressful inconvenience to suddenly find the family van on the heels of a trundling tractor. The first impulse is always to try to slide over the middle line for a quick glimpse for oncoming traffic and make a break for it. This could be a tragic move, however, if the tractor doesn’t have a wide enough shoulder to make enough space for you, and especially if you don’t check first if the middle line allows for passing. It only takes one second for a crash to happen. You have places to go...they have a job to do While it is frustrating to be held up by a slow moving vehicle, remember at this time of year farmers have to move from field to field to maintain and harvest their crops and quite often must haul equipment or wagons behind them. Most tractor operators are very aware of the lineup of cars building behind them, but typically, they aren’t driving very far. When possible, they may use more

of the shoulder to make room for you to pass, but they also have to watch for mailboxes and intersections, and they’re aware of the soft edges to prevent slipping or rolling into the ditch. Hauling all that metal down the road can be a daunting task! What are the signs? You’re probably wondering how you ended up behind such a slowpoke, given the fact that the speed limit is clearly posted, and drivers are supposed to stay reasonably close to that limit, whether slower or faster. Rest assured: The Ontario Highway Traffic Act states that “Every farm tractor and self-propelled implement of husbandry, when operated on a highway, or any vehicle towed by either of them, must have a slow moving vehicle sign attached to the rear, except when directly crossing a highway.” That bright orange triangle, with its red reflective border should be on display, and drivers are meant to signal their intention to brake and turn, and tractors should be well-lit if traveling after dark. Why wait? Taking a moment to consider the options before passing a tractor may not seem worth the wait. But consider the risks – you and your passengers are worth a few extra seconds, and chances are the tractor is about to turn into the next field lane any-

by Janine Lunn

It only takes one second for a crash to happen

way. Farming can be risky business – don’t forget that the farmer in the driver’s seat wants to get home safely, too. And if nothing else you can take the extra time to sit back and enjoy the scenery; and focus on the journey, not the destination. When your turn finally comes to pass, and you and your fellow driver part ways, don’t forget a quick wave to thank the farmer for bringing food to your table. He (or she!) will certainly thank you for doing your part and sharing the road.

Janine Lunn hosts the Belmont Corn Maze, and lives on a sheep farm with her family.

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Management 101 Communicating expectations and vision to your staff is the first step by John Regan

management is all about expectations

is the fact that the employee may not have been trained properly in dealing with technical questions, counting change back, or even how to have patience with clients who want to give exact change. Perhaps staff does not know the employers’ expectations. Have you actually talked to them? As good as we managers are, and as well as we ‘manager types’ can read minds – our staff can’t! If they could read minds, they’d be managers too! So how do we manage expectations? First, plan a staff meeting to talk about the expectations you have. You need to share the vision you have for the workplace, plan the culture, then

I thought long and hard about my next series of business articles and thought it was time to tackle management. Here some concepts in Management 101. The first step is to take a look at what we want or expect from our staff. I believe management is all about expectations and then the communication of those expectations to staff. But first, let’s do some soul searching on this one. Whether you’re staff, a manager, or even an owner – what kind of employee are you? Are you dedicated, honest, client-focused? Are you a ‘nine to fiver’ and then “You’re outta here!?” Maybe you’re irreplaceable to the organization making you an essential employee? Or, are you a vampire who goes day to day sucking the life out of the business? Ok, maybe that sounds harsh, but let’s face it; there are folks out there who just don’t care about their jobs. So, do you love your job or do you hate it? Do us all a favour; if you hate it, quit! I’m tired of interacting with employees who are moody as I go through the drive thru; or, worse, as I stand in line and watch you roll your eyes disapprovingly at the person in front of me who’s counting their change, or asks you questions about the product or service you’re being paid to sell. If you were my employee, I would fire you on the spot! If we witness this type of behaviour in someone else’s place of business, is it not our duty to tell the manager? Is the negative behaviour we see acceptable? Of course not! But what’s worse

build that culture together. For me, I expect honesty, integrity, and transparency from my staff. I need to add here that I know I have the absolute best staff available. But I expect – and they’ve been asked – that if there is a problem, they come and not only tell me about it, but they come with a solution or at least an open mind about to how to fix it. And they do! All managers need to understand that the days of running their business in silos are gone. Departments and staff need to be informed of expectations and they need a shared vision to keep them involved. So get on it! This month, let’s work on communicating

our expectations to staff. And next month, we’ll chat about management types and styles – are you a lion, a lamb, or a vulture type manager? Stay tuned and find out.

John Regan Ec.D. (F) is the general manager of the Elgin Business Resource Centre.


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July, 2011


Change your mindset about marketing Author Michael Stelzner recommends you get customers to trust you first by Sharon Lechner

Being self-employed I recently decided that it would be a good idea to get some marketing training. In addition to taking a master life coaching course, with a strong emphasis on marketing, I have been exploring some webinars and other forms of marketing training. Today, I participated in a webinar sponsored by Social Media Examiner with host Michael A. Stelzner. I have to say, the content and message were not at all what I expected, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Michael’s message is that business owners need to change their mindset about marketing starting with the constant flooding of marketing messages they are sending out to their clients offering to give them a free gift in return for a product or service. He believes that people first need to trust your business and that “trusting companies trumps good products and services.” Everyone has been telling me to put Google ads on my blog, so I did, but I will be taking them off. In my opinion, it is distracting to the reader and let’s face it, very self-serving. The webinar gave me some additional great tips, including the fact that if you focus on content, marketing becomes less important. Social Media Examiner spends less than 50 percent of its time marketing. One of the things they do is offer six to nine free reports a week and one big report yearly based on a survey they undertake to find out what information people are really interested in getting. Obviously the time-consuming part here is collecting and collating the data but it boils down

to giving your clients what they want and being of service. Creating content becomes your marketing strategy. Another revelation in the webinar was the suggestion that you give away ‘the secret sauce.’ In other words, whatever the main secret is to your business, give it away. Why on earth would someone do such a thing? Michael says that even if you give the general public your secrets, they can’t do everything themselves. Only you understand the full intricacies of what you have to offer. Here’s a new term for you from Michael: co-opetition. This means to highlight your competition or an expert in a complementary field. For instance, if you were in the business of selling cookware, you might approach a few well-known chefs and write an article about their services. Who knows what strategic alliances could be formed from collaborations? By talking about other experts and what the competition is doing, it shows your clients that your first concern is them. When people realize that, it will naturally increase your business. Instead of focusing on “what can I sell you,” focus on “how can I help you?”

Sharon Lechner is a certified life coach and owner of Reach for the Stars Empowerment in St. Thomas.

If you want to read more about Michael A. Stelzner, check out his latest book

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Collaboration unlocks community energy Two Southwestern Ontario cities vie for most intelligent community in the world Throughout April and May of this year, a curious form of civic rivalry broke out in Southwestern Ontario. Two of our leading communities – Windsor-Essex and Stratford – vied for the distinction of being the most intelligent community in the world. Sponsored by the Intelligent Communities Forum in New York, the competition looks at communities around the world for their use of technology, knowledge and creativity in transforming their economies. The group announces a Top 21 list every year, whittles it down to a Top 7, and finally announces a winner during a conference in New York City. The process is far from a walk in the park. Communities that participate need to mount a massive application and organize a wide range of community groups to help make the case. An adjudicator visits each applicant and meets with groups to get an in-depth sense of how everyone is working together to build the intelligence quotient of the community. There’s plenty of communityboosting and lobbying in each campaign. This year even Justin Bieber got involved by Tweeting and cheering for his hometown of Stratford. Overnight, Stratford mayor, Dan Mathieson, went from 200 Twitter followers to over 2,300. You’ve got to love a process that brings tweens and community leaders together, even for a few days. But it didn’t stop there. Both communities sent large delegations to NYC for the announcement ceremony. Windsor’s mayor and Essex County’s warden stood side by side pushing the virtues of our “Canadian

a process that brings tweens and community leaders together

Windsor skyline [above] Stratford downtown [right]

motor city” and its unique blend of manufacturing and agricultural know-how. The Windsor Star and Stratford Beacon Herald each sent reporters to broadcast a constant flow of coverage home. Citizens of those communities couldn’t miss the fact that something important was happening and that their city or county was getting global attention for all the right reasons. With two of the Top 7 located in Southwestern Ontario, the competition was spirited but, more importantly, the sense of cooperative

achievement was even stronger. Call it “co-opetition.” The fact that both communities eventually lost to Eindhoven, Netherlands may have been disappointing but it didn’t dampen the strong sense that the region had accomplished something truly remarkable – two communities in the Top 7 in a single year. Waterloo had been the top winner in 2007. Already, communities in the region are preparing their bids for the 2012 competition. There is growing recognition that even the process of preparing the bid nets benefits in terms of building community engagement. Increasingly, the region is developing an appetite for cooperation, collaboration and civic engagement. You got a strong sense of that at the recent conference of the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA) in Guelph (full disclosure: that’s the group that I help lead). During that RESOURCES


by Serge Lavoie



conference, SWEA signed a strategic alliance with the South Central Ontario Region EDC (SCOR) and learned that the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus would negotiate a similar alliance in time for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference in August. Everyone – and I mean everyone— is saying the same thing. Regional collaboration gets results at the lowest possible cost. No county or municipality can ignore that fact any longer.

Serge Lavoie is president of the Southwest Economic Alliance. The views expressed are his own.

For more information about the Intelligent Communities Forum, visit


July, 2011

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Meet summer student Mallory Pearce on page 11

Business Beat Table of Contents Blow our own horn! 10 Benefits bundle update 11 Street racing: what insurance companies say about it 12 Business expansion 13 New standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 14 Ideas! 15 What’s it all about? 16

Business After 5 Wednesday July 13, 2011 ME & Suzies 295 Bridge Street Port Stanley Sponsored by ME & Suzies Doors open at 5pm. Sponsor remarks and prize draws start at 6:15pm. Free admission for anyone from a business organization that is a Member of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and your favourite beverages. July, 2011

New business directory released The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the June 15 release of our latest major information product, our annual Membership & Buyer’s Guide. Our newest edition was produced as a joint venture with the Fine Print Division of Aylmer Express Ltd., which handled all aspects of production and design using data provided by the Chamber. We recognize the new directory, and its online partner on the Chamber website, as the most complete authority on business and community service organizations in the area served by the St. Thomas & District Chamber. Chamber President & CEO Bob Hammersley calls the publication “the best information source available.” A useful reference tool to find and identify products, services and suppliers, the book has been produced annually by the Chamber since the mid 1980s. Previous editions have earned national and provincial recognition for style, quality and content. Distribution of over 2,000 copies to personnel within our 700+ Member businesses and organizations, key community partners, and regional education/information centres is ex-

The Chamber’s Member Services Coordinator, Mike Vecchio (left), is shown with Michelle Barrett of Aylmer Express’ Fine Print Division and Chamber Member Services Representative Wes Bailey on release of the first copies of the new Chamber Membership & Buyer’s Guide. The latest edition has grown to 264 pages and is the most comprehensive catalog of business and community information available in our area.

pected to be completed by July 8. If your business or organization is registered as a Member of the Chamber and you require additional copies, please call the Chamber office at 519-6311981 and speak with any staff member. Copies are free of charge to all Members.

August Edition Advertising Deadline is July 15 Take part in our August Feature on running a successful small business. To take advantage of this excellent advertising opportunity, give me a call at Greg Minnema, Advertising Sales

519-633-1640 (ext. 22) or email me at






VIEWPOINT Chamber Editorial Comment

Blow our own horn!

Summer time is tourism time, no question. And with the Canadian dollar valued ahead of the U.S. buck it will come as no surprise that many of us will opt for “staycations” this year and travel more within our own region, province and country. Staying at an Ontario destination could produce more of a bang for your buck than many of us realize. For example, would it surprise you to know that the average price of a hotel stay in Ontario is now less than 71 percent of what it was ten years ago? The Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture produces a statistical report called the Ontario Travel Price Index (OTPI). Much like the well-known Consumer Price Index, it tracks the pricing of various items and services and reports them in terms of a comparison to a base. The base for the OTPI is 10 years. Indexed prices reported this year are reflected against those that existed in 2002. The OTPI measures a basket of 18 groups of commodities and services commonly used by travellers such as auto rental, accommodation, food and beverage services, entertainment and inter-city transportation. The latest OPTI numbers released in May cover activity to February this year. The overall index is at 118.0, meaning a basket of items that cost $100 in 2002 would now cost $118. For comparison, a base of 100 indexed at 2 percent per year would now be 119.51, so it’s safe to start with an overall understanding that travel/tourism costs in Ontario are increasing at a general rate of less than 2 percent per year. Within the index there are many surprising declines that translate to advantages for consumers. Here’s a snapshot on those that are better deals than they were 10 years ago: Auto rentals 91.5 Accommodations 70.5 Clothing & footwear 89.0

1.59% 6.9¢ 1.64%

Recreation equipment 59.8 Home entertainment 69.2 Of items on the increase: Auto operation 159.0 Food in stores 125.6 Food in restaurants 124.5 Tobacco products 168.7 The Ontario government tracks several items that display current trends and stats on both inbound and outbound travel from the province. For a detailed look at the latest monthly report, check this web site:

Google Wallet?

Will your computer, your cell phone and companies like Google change the way you handle your wallet or purse, or even eliminate the need for having a stack of plastic cards and cash all together? And could coupons and other forms of rewards or incentives become obsolete? Google Wallet is actually a product that now exists. It was launched in field tests in New York and San Francisco in May and more U.S. releases are expected this summer. There are no known plans for use in Canada but credit card giant VISA has also announced plans for a competing digital wallet system to be rolled-out in Canada and the U.S. this fall. How does it work? It’s really just an app tied to your smartphone. Unlock the app on your phone, select a card to use for payment, then tap your phone on the scanning device in the store. For stores and services it means another countertop piece of equipment but for consumers it cuts the clutter of having a stack of plastic. Smartphone payment apps will offer another advantage touching those ohso-popular loyalty card programs. Nineteen of every 20 Canadians, a whopping 95 percent of us, belong to at least one loyalty card program, and Canada is second in the world when it comes to per capita popularity. The U.K. is #1. With smartphone payment apps there will be no need to carry that stack o’ plastic, either. One click on your phone does the job faster. In some ways, the future is here now. In Vancouver, for example, you can pay for municipal parking with your cell phone and top up the payment when you run low on time thanks to the message the meter sends you. That technology is being used in more than 150 cities in North America and Europe for payments on parking, taxis and bike rentals. Market stats say the time is right. By 2015, ABI Research says consumers will spend over $119 billion per year using mobile phones. Nearly half of Canadian mobile phone users aged 18 to 34 already own a smartphone and 58 percent of those are using apps on their devices. Is it possible that coupons, loyalty cards and credit cards could be collector items soon?

Published by Carroll Publishing Inc. and delivered to businesses in St. Thomas and Elgin County For complete information on the St.Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce, reach us at: 555 Talbot Street, St.Thomas, ON N5P 1C5 Telephone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 E-Mail: Website:

President & CEO

Bob Hammersley

Member Services Coordinator



Mike Vecchio

Accounting Coordinator

Susan Munday

Project Marketing

Sue McKittrick

Member Services

Wes Bailey



Acting Chair: Linda Sawyer Vice-Chair: Jason White Treasurer:  Paul Smith Director:  Pete Charlton Director:  Monty Fordham Director:  Frances Kennedy Director:  Jeff Kohler                      Director:  Mark Lassam

BMO Bank of Montreal Steelway Building Systems P.J. Smith & Associates Charlton’s Quality Meats Monty Fordham Law Office P3 Strategies Presstran Industries Kee, Perry & Lassam Chartered Accountants Director: Debra Mountenay         Workforce Planning & Development Board Director:  John Regan Elgin Business Resource Centre Director:  Darren Reith Reith and Associates Insurance & Financial Director:  Allan Weatherall            St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation Director:  Laura Woermke             St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre

July, 2011


CHAMBER NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

Benefits bundle update Gas is now cheaper!

Effective June 15, Chamber Members enrolled in our Esso fuel program earned another price break. Our fleet fuel discount has increased to 3.5 cents per litre. The price break took effect automatically for all enrolled Members. If your and your business or organization are not yet taking advantage of this benefit of membership, visit the Chamber’s website and click on the ‘About The Chamber’ box in the column on the left side of our main page. When the next page opens, click the ‘Member Benefits’ bar on the top, then on the Esso information. The discount is offered at all Esso and related gas stations across Canada and the U.S. and is free of charge to any business or organization that is a current Member of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce. Enrolled Members can have as many participants under their company account as they wish, or only one. Drivers purchase gas at any Esso station and use a fleet card or Speedpass to charge the purchase. Monthly invoices are sent to each registered company with the discount applied and separate tracking provided for each card or driver. No matter how much or how little you drive, the discount can add up. Why pay more?

The Chamber’s senior staff officer may delegate purchasing and ordering to other staff but remains the final authority controlling how and where we acquire the things we need. If you’re curious about doing business with us, President & CEO Bob Hammersley welcomes your call or visit. Reach him directly at 519-631-1981, ext. 24 during regular office hours.

Pre-election planning underway October’s Ontario election may seem far away but it’s an event our Public Sector Liaison Committee began working on more than three months ago. Exact details aren’t ready for release but we can confirm the Chamber will host an event with all Elgin-Middlesex-London candidates and that it will involve interaction with the local print and electronic media. Our PSL volunteers have also expressed interest in activities geared toward increasing voter turnout and participation.

Meet Mallory! Thanks to support from the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs program, the Chamber is again able to provide summer employment and ‘real world’ experience to a local student. Mallory Pearce is a 2nd year UWO student studying in the Media, Information and Technoculture program. Her work with us this summer involves research and updating on the Chamber’s databases and we’re confident her term with us will add value to her education, not to mention providing some welcome vacation relief for the Chamber staff. Look for Mallory at all of our summer events, too.

Can we do business? For dozens of area businesses and services, the Chamber isn’t only an organization they belong to. For many, the Chamber is a customer. We purchase a wide range of goods and services that range from food and catering services at events to supplies and equipment required to operate our office. Member support is a critical component in relationships for us and, for that reason, all Members need to understand that we purchase only from companies that are registered Chamber of Commerce Members. In the rare or unlikely circumstance that a local Member cannot meet our needs, we reach into the Chamber network through our neighbours such as the London Chamber or the Chambers in communities such as Sarnia, Strathroy, Woodstock and Chatham. In the case of major purchases valued at $1,000 or more, our staff are expected to shop for competitive bids and quotes from all eligible Members. And we also like to hear from Members looking for business. We try hard to know all eligible sources of things we use but, as with any consumer, information and communication to ensure we have the full picture can be beneficial.

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45 Metcalfe Metcal calfe Street,, St. Thom Thomas homass 5519.631.93933 Fax: x: 519.631.2563 5 July, 2011






PRO TEXT Business Management News & Issues

Street racing: what insurance companies say about it While the frequency of media reports surrounding street racing and other forms of senseless careless driving seems to have declined this year, by no means does this suggest or support an argument that the number of incidents have reduced. While it is not the intent of this column to belabour the obvious surrounding this societal dilemma, it would be remiss not to at least comment by saying that anyone senseless enough to engage in such reckless behavior really shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel of car now, or ever. Regardless of one’s view on the matter, with the fatalities and injuries sustained by innocent bystanders and passersby, street racing is a topic which is worthy of serious consideration. The federal government was to considering making it a Criminal Code offense, with stiffer sentences. That seems to have fallen off the order paper. Beyond that, it is a topic of concern for the insurance industry as well. After all, it is the insurers of the reckless drivers and the insurers of the innocent passersby, those who are unfortunately in the wrong place

at the wrong time, who pay directly; and for what purpose? Before you try to break the land speed record with your new toy, or before you hand a set of keys to your kids or take them to find their first car, may we recommend you read below and understand that the impact may be far more reaching than one may expect as a part of the joys of street racing. Under the Statutory Conditions of

the Ontario Automobile Insurance Policy (OAP 1) the use of automobiles in a race or speed test is prohibited. With the exception of absolute liability, there is NO coverage under the policy when this condition is

by Dan Reith

A street race could prove a very expensive experience

breached. Under the Absolute Liability provisions, if it is proven the insured, or assigned driver, was street racing, the protection provided by their third party liability coverage is seriously affected: • The amount of coverage available drops from the limit on the policy to the provincial minimum of $200,000. So, if your policy says $1,000,000, and it is proven you or your driver were street racing, your insurer only defends and pays out to a maximum of $200,000, so get

ready to pay out of pocket. • It is not available for damage to the property or any third party. • The insured’s own insurance company has the right to pursue him/her for recovery off all monies paid. So, your insurer pays today but they have the right to come back after you for reimbursement. With regards to the physical damage the vehicle may incur, you are totally on the hook! There is no coverage to repair or replace the insured damaged vehicle. Let’s hope whatever you and/or the kids decide to race in isn’t leased or fresh off the lot with a finance agreement in place. Now, what about those who may be injured as a result of the street race? Well, if you are an unfortunate pedestrian or passerby, uninvolved, your own auto insurance policy will respond to your needs. That being said, remember, Standard Accident Benefits were dramatically reduced by the McGuinty Government as of September 1, 2010. Before launching your land rocket, you may want to ensure there is enough coverage to tend to your broken bones and bruises, or worse. If you are convicted of a criminal offense related to street racing, then you are excluded from receiving any of the following benefits: • Income replacement • Non-earner • Housekeeping • Visitor expense • Lost educational expenses A street race could well prove a very expensive experience, especially if someone is disabled for life. So, before you decide to put your car through its paces on the highway or some quiet country road, or when you think it’s a good idea to challenge the other guy at the light, think twice, and don’t. A better idea would be to get an Xbox or enroll in a competitive driving course. Either way, you can get the thrill without costing you everything. One final note. Consult your own insurance advisor before racing on a track for competition or sport.

This column appears regularly in Business Beat and has been submitted by Dan Reith, BA(Hons) CAIB, Principal Broker, Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services Limited. Questions and comments on this column are welcomed by the writer at 519-631-3862 or via email: 12




July, 2011


MEMBER NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

Business A great golf success! expansion Congratulations are in order for Kathy Noble and the staff of Kathy’s Catering on acquiring a bakery operation and expanding their retail lines. The company has provided extensive catering services from kitchen premises on Ross Street and offered a retail line of salad and cold products through outlets such as Briwood Farm Market. Their latest acquisition is the bakery in the plaza at 24 First Avenue which now operates as Kathy’s Catering & Bakery. The new outlet will supply the catering business with baked goods and enable the company to expand the retail bakery by adding products prepared through the catering operations.

We have winners Each month’s Business After 5 event produces winners of some excellent door prizes. Trips, jewellery, electronics... the list is lengthy and often surprising. On June 15, our main prize winners, sponsored by Tim Hortons, were: Mountain Bike – Kaitlyn Koning, City of St. Thomas, Parks & Recreation Department Programs Coordinator Mountain Bike – Debbie Palmer, Royal Lepage Landco Real Estate Tim Hortons Coffee Maker Kit – Peter Leack, President of Elgin Theatre Guild $100 Tim Hortons Gift Card – Mark Wales, Chartered Accountant $100 Tim Hortons Gift Card – Jackie Brown of Tim Hortons The sponsor of our Business After 5 event each month always provides and main door prize for Members to win, and often several. We can accept up to 10 prizes for giveaways and invite all Members to consider the benefits that attention and promotion directly to our attending crowd can offer. If your business would like some free exposure through donation of a prize, contact Bob Hammersley at the Chamber offices at 519-631-1981, ext. 24.

The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce welcomed over 100 Members and their guests on June 9 to the St. Thomas Golf & Country Club for our 37th annual Members’ Golf Day. It’s one of the oldest continuously-run golf events in the region, and made possible through exceptional volunteer and sponsor support. Special thanks go to our Main Sponsor, Libro Financial Group and our Cart Sponsor, St. Thomas’ new MyFM 94.1 radio station. Oegema Turkey Farms generously supported our post-game dinner as we featured farm-fresh turkey. There was plenty of action around the course all day, including wine tasting from Joseph’s Estate Winery, two $10,000 hole-in-one opportunities from Reith & Associates, and St. Thomas Glass, as well as longest drive competitions, closest to the pin (and pizza boxes). Golfers had their swings analyzed by Talbot Trail Physiotherapy’s Titleist Professional Institute, and also had a chance to practice their swings with Backhand Brand’s Birdie Ball competition. Each player also went home with a great team photo, courtesy of IDS Integrated Digital Solutions. Big congratulations go to the Backhand Brand team of Ron Lampman, Mark Futcher, Sean Dyke and Walter Georgijev who blazed through the track scoring a blistering 56 (that’s 16 under par!). Our Most Honest Team consisted of Jim Hunter, Mike Streib, Susan Gardner and Delia Reiche from EBRC, who were a little less serious about their game, and walked off shooting an 80. Disbrowe Motors sponsored our closest-to-the-pin and Albert Schoeley went home with a 4 day Cadillac rental. Dwayne Apthorpe packed a frozen turkey in his golf bag courtesy of Oegema Turkey Farms, as he won one long drive competition, and

Nancy Stewardson a long drive competition, going home with $100 gift certificate from OLG Slots at Western Fair. Chad Cowan will be practicing his swing after taking the Birdie Ball trophy in a shoot-off

after the round. Jeff Wood of Boston Pizza gave away a plethora of pizzas on hole #4, some to good shots, some to not so great shots! A very special thank you goes to our Member Services Committee for all their hard work, as well as our on-course volunteers. A successful and enjoyable day was had by all.

50 is a great number! 2011 marks Jacks Schmidt’s fiftieth year with Canadian Tire. The Chamber is pleased and proud to recognize and congratulate Jack on this special milestone of 50 years with Canadian Tire and 40 years as an Associate/Dealer/Owner. In 1961, Jack started his career as Parts Manager of a small Canadian Tire outlet in Niagara Falls. He later accepted an offer to move to the corporate offices and work as a Field Manager. In 1971 he acted on an opportunity to operate his own store in Bancroft. From there he moved to operate an outlet in Parry Sound. In 1991 he chose to invest in St. Thomas, and has been part of our community ever since. Jack and his St. Thomas staff were also recognized by the Chamber in 2009 in our Free Enterprise Awards program.

Welcome Matthew Armstrong The Team at Disbrowe Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac is pleased to welcome MATTHEW ARMSTRONG, General Sales Manager. Matt brings 10 years Automotive Sales and Management Experience. Matt invites all his past customers, friends and family to contact him to experience the Disbrowe Difference.

116 Edward Edward St. St. St. St. Thomas Thomas 519-631-7960 519-631-7960 116

July, 2011




Ext. 254



LEGAL BUSINESS Legal News and Issues for Business

New standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (A.O.D.A.) was first passed by the Ontario legislature on June 13, 2005. The stated goal of the legislation was to make Ontario as fully accessible to all persons by the year 2025 as possible. Toward that goal, a number of standards have been introduced into the workplace and commercial and government facilities. Three more such standards are imminent and will have impact upon both small and large businesses in Ontario. The three new standards are: “The Accessibility Standard for Information and Communication,” “The Accessibility Standard for Employment” (both of which will become effective January 1, 2012), and “The Accessibility Standard for Transportation,” which has been partially implemented as of July 1, 2011, and will be further phased in over time. These three standards are part of the over-all Customer Serv-

ices Standard that will apply to nonprofit corporations and private business as of January 1, 2012. We as business owners and operators should embrace the initiatives, not just for the obvious compassionate reasons, but also for the practical business potential for increasing our customer base. In the words of the Minister of Consumer and Social Services, “with these next standards in place more people with disabilities will be able to do the things that many of us take for granted, like

by Monty Fordham

practical business potential for increasing our customer base

playing in a park, dining in a restaurant, catching a bus and applying for a job. They will level the playing field and make Ontario a model for accessibility, not only here in Canada but around the world.” The standard for Information and Communication will help people with vision loss access more websites

using their screen readers, expand large print and digital collections in public libraries, and provide students with course information and learning materials in accessible formats. The Accessibility standard for Employment will help organizations support and keep more skilled employees. It will make accessibility a normal part of finding, hiring and communicating with employees who have disabilities. There are different standards for businesses with 20 or more employees and fewer than 20. The transportation standards will address issues such as verbal announcements to notify route, direction, destination and major stops,

not charging people higher fares for storage of devices used by them and repairing accessibility equipment as soon as possible and accommodating people until such equipment is fixed. However, we in the business community must be aware that compliance with the legislation and its phased-in standards is mandatory, and that non-compliance will attract significant penalties. Accordingly, we business people should do two things immediately: Firstly, mark the date of January 1, 2012 on your calendar; secondly, access the Ontario Government website at The website contains a relatively easy-to-follow flow chart which sets out the various steps toward compliance with the standards. The site provides links to The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, guides and templates for employers and businesses. It would seem that compliance with the new standards is relatively painless; we must, however, be aware of the requirements. January is just around the corner.

Lawyer Monty Fordham prepares this monthly column for the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and our Members. Monty is also a volunteer serving on the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Questions, comments and suggestions for future columns are welcomed by Monty at his Law Office, 4 Elgin Street, St. Thomas. Telephone 519-633-4000, FAX 519-633-1371 or e-mail:

Business After 5 networking Doug Golding (left) and Greg Minnema of The St. Thomas Elgin Weekly News and Elgin This Month, take time to chat with Melanie Terry of Sanders, Cline Law Firm during the June 15 Business After 5 event at Pinafore Park.





July, 2011


POSITIVE EXPOSURE Doing Public Relations Right

Ideas! (from around the world and close to home) by Allan Weatherall

I was recently away on vacation in Northern Ireland and England. Marvellous sites, a terrific time, good friends and so forth. It is so interesting to be away, but when you are, you lose touch with what you normally have at hand. I survived the adventure without a computer, my cell phone and the NHL playoff scores, just to name a few. One of the most interesting places we visited was in downtown Belfast close to where the Titanic was built in 1910-1912. They are now redeveloping the site in anticipation of April 2012 when the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship will be recognized. They hope a brand new building, which is almost finished, will become an iconic symbol for Belfast around the world. I began thinking about how you sit down and design such a unique building and what inspires someone to do something of this magnitude? The Sydney Opera House, the CN Tower and the Burj Khalifa (now the world’s tallest building) are some that come to mind. It strikes me that, in a roughly similar way, the challenge of sitting down and figuring out a marketing or communications plan, or designing a new corporate look, can be a similar process. The result is something that will become a means

to help people remember or recognize your company. Just one aspect of this is how quickly people recognize what you do once they are exposed to your image, and a big part of that is your logo. Wikipedia says, “A logo is a graphic mark commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition.” Many accomplish that instant recognition goal quite well and are permanently etched in our minds. IBM, CocaCola, Nike and McDonalds come to mind and, of course, there’s our Canadian brand champion, Tim Hortons. Over the past year, I was a member of a Hospital committee assigned with creating a new corporate look for the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) and Foundation. This somewhat unique team was assigned the task of leading this challenge and worked on it for many months. Just a few weeks ago, our ‘new look’ was ready for the grand unveiling. The old look had been around for many years and it was time to move on to something that better reflected the way health care is delivered today. The new corporate look has roots in the Hospital’s vision to deliver an excellent patient care experience and was built from

shared values; the values expressed by our patients and our community. STEGH’s new Patient Values, balanced with patient responsibilities, were developed in consultation with our community, and reflect what they said is important to them when they are a patient at their hospital: Caring, Compassion and Community. Was it easy to bring these many ideas together? No, but it was accomplished. So we said farewell to our old look for both the Hospital and Foundation, and the new one is something very special. I believe it graphically reflects what health care is all about here in Elgin County delivered through STEGH’s team.

So, what should you consider? Get input from your customers and friends, test the marketplace and see what people think of what you are trying to project. It is indeed a process. I assume my recent travels across the ocean and down into the southern USA begin and end as yours do, at home – our ultimate destination. I hope your corporate journey stays on the main road and gets your product to its destination. Your corporate look and image are essential components in this process.

This article has been prepared for the Chamber and our Members by Allan Weatherall, B.A., CFRE, APR Director of Development at the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation. He received accreditation (APR) from the Canadian Public Relations Society in 1993 and a CFRE (certified fundraising executive) in 2000. He welcomes your comments via email to: or telephone 519-631-2030 extension 2247

Stand out from the crowd!

Brian Grebow Graphic Designerr519t207-2556 More than two decades experience July, 2011





MEMBER NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members


What’s it all about?

Diane Stewart, co-operator of the St. Thomas Tim Hortons locations, speaks to our crowd of over 350 attending Business After 5 at Pinafore Park June 15.

For anyone who might wonder what happens at the Chamber’s monthly Business After 5 events, here are some photo samples from our event at Pinafore Park June 15. You can also view a video showing our event and explaining the how and why of what we do on the Chamber’s website at Special thanks to Tony Bendel of Bendel Productions for creating the video. We REALLY appreciate Tony’s support!

Located at Tim Hortons First and Talbot Street, St.Thomas

Patrusia Hondar (left) and Shelley Harris, both from the YWCA’s Local Immigration Partnership, got tasty Cold Stone Creamery ice cream samples on arrival at our event.


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July, 2011

Business / Community TECHNOLOGY

Electronic books are becoming popular with more and more people by Peter Atkinson

Last Christmas, Amazon announced that, given a choice between an e-book or a physical book for their titles, more people were choosing the e-book option. They recently announced that they were now selling more e-books than physical books. So let’s answer a couple of questions this month: what are ebooks and why are they becoming so popular? Simply put, e-books are nothing more than digital files, like any document you’d produce on your computer. They are electronic versions of books that can be read on a cell phone, any computer or a dedicated device called an e-book reader. We’re a long way from the end of physical books but there are several groups that have an interest in making e-books popular. Readers: Many people enjoy the convenience of being able to carry 1,000 books around with them in something that weighs about the same as a small paperback. Being able to read whatever you feel like anytime, along with the ease of purchasing books or borrowing them from the library with just a couple of clicks make e-books extremely convenient. Manufacturers: This group includes big companies like Sony, ebook-only companies like Kobo and others who never had a physical product to sell like Amazon, and many more that make e-book reading devices. Although competition is driving down prices and driving up features – there are already devices that can play music or videos and connect to the Internet – these com-

Why the buzz about e-books?

the convenience of being able to carry 1,000 books around

panies all want a piece of what’s becoming a very big market. Book publishers: While it costs anywhere from $2 to $20 or more to produce copies of physical books, it costs just 9 cents to produce a copy of an e-book. Publishers can clearly see that, even with a lower price, they can be much more profitable selling e-books. And, just as movie studios have done with DVDs, book publishers can add features to sell more books and keep prices up. They can add video author interviews or alternate endings. You can watch videos of what the book’s characters are seeing, or touch a button to activate a soundtrack that matches the section you’re reading, such as sounds of battle, the beach, a restaurant or an office, depending on what’s happening in the chapter you’re reading. These extra features cost more to produce,

of course, but with that 9 cent starting point, costs can triple and still be a drop in the bucket compared to producing physical books. Authors: We’ve plenty of these in Elgin County. Are you one of them? Imagine no more struggling to find an agent or a publisher, or having to buy hundreds of copies of your book in advance. Those reduced production costs apply to you as well. Amazon and Kobo have free online tools to help you publish your book and sell it around the world through their stores. Companies like Smashwords, INGrooves and BiblioCore can help you access other online booksellers like Apple for a small fee, with Digital Rights Management (DRM) that prevents books being copied without permission. If your concern is more with obscurity than piracy, free software like Calibre can help you produce your work in the ePub format

that most e-readers use, albeit without DRM. Producing an e-book requires nothing more than Microsoft Word (which you can access for free at the library) and a reading of each site’s formatting guidelines. With a bit of care, the end result can be an e-book you can be proud of. Although physical books may never disappear completely, it would be foolish to ignore the many opportunities e-books bring.

Peter Atkinson is E-Services Consultant at the St. Thomas Public Library.

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Financing A Small Business MONEY MATTERS

Getting a loan for your business Although banks are the first place to ask for financing, they aren’t your only option by Glenn Thorel

New, small businesses seeking help financially often feel a little intimidated when dealing with the big banks. But they don’t need to be! Really, the only two things a lender is interested in when evaluating a loan are 1) what are you going to do with the money and 2) are we going to get our money back? Applicants need to be prepared to address these questions with the lender, including having proper documentation for their current business operations and their business plan, plus supporting information about their industry. Applicants generally undergo a financial performance review by providing their current personal financial status, business financial performance and business plan with cash flow projections. These documents assist the lender to determine that the applicant has the capacity or income to repay the loan. Applicants also need to be aware of their credit rating since this provides lenders with a record of loan repayment history and plays a part in establishing credibility. The Elgin Business Resource Centre (EBRC) helps a wide range of businesses in preparing to apply for loans with the big banks; however, should small businesses be turned down by two formal lending institutions, small businesses may apply to the EBRC for their loan. The EBRC’s loan fund has a primary purpose to create or maintain jobs in Elgin County; however, consideration is also given to the impact of fund leveraging, business develop-

ment, sector development and business skills development. Who may apply to the EBRC for a loan? Any business in Elgin County starting a new business or expanding an existing business. Businesses must be prepared to invest their own money into the venture, which is normally 10 percent of the loan amount. Business plans are essential and a loan application must be completed and reviewed by the EBRC

Loans Committee. Prospective loan applicants must also demonstrate the necessary skills to succeed in the business venture. Generally, the EBRC’s maximum loan term is five years; however amortization can be for a longer period. Interest rates are established based on a risk assessment, but will not be less than 2 percent above bank prime. Right now, the EBRC may loan a qualifying small business up to $150,000 for

bigger projects. Micro loans of $5,000 and youth loans are also available for smaller projects.

Glenn Thorel is a senior business counselor at the Elgin Business Resource Centre.

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July, 2011

Financing A Small Business MANAGING MONEY

Tips for managing cash flow Understanding how money moves in and out of your business can make a big difference to your bottom line by Brian Dempsey

The first step in managing your cash flow is understanding how your monthly expenses impact your profitability. If you’re not looking at this regularly you may be missing opportunities to reduce costs. There are financial tools to make managing and tracking expenses easier, such as using commercial credit or business credit cards for small dollar items. It’s an efficient way to manage purchasing and payments, and online reporting clearly shows you where your dollars are going. You’ll be more in tune with what you are actually paying your suppliers, which should inspire you to negotiate more favourable terms at every opportunity. Even reducing your operating costs by 1 percent a quarter can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Once you understand your cash flow, a few good habits can help keep it moving. First, make sure that the preparation and mailing of customer invoices is your highest priority. And if you are sending a bill to a customer, make sure you address it to the person who can authorize the payment. If you don’t know who that is, find out before you mail it. Make sure there is always a due date on your invoice, and never include invoices with other material as they may get lost. To help expedite payment, consider including a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your in-

cash flow can be a matter of life and death to smaller operations

voice. Or give customers the opportunity to make payments directly (either online or in a branch) to your business account. Cash flow is important to all busi-

nesses, but it can be a matter of life and death to smaller operations. And if you do need help managing it, a Small Business Advisor is only a phone call away.

Brian Dempsey is a Small Business Advisor at TD Canada Trust in St. Thomas.

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Running a small business is hard enough. We can help. We’d like to introduce Brian Dempsey as your Small Business Advisor.

Brian Dempsey Small Business Advisor 378 Talbot St. St. Thomas (519) 631-7070, ext. 231 Cell: (226) 268-1384

With over 10 years of banking experience and a local resident, Brian understands the pressures of owning and operating a business or farm in St. Thomas and is committed to helping you by providing services, products and advice tailored specifically to your needs. Drop by the branch to talk to your Small Business Advisor and discover how we can make your business banking easier. We look forward to seeing you soon. July, 2011





Financing A Small Business PURCHASING

Buy or rent your business premises?

Things to think about when considering a major purchase by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario

Owning a business and making daily decisions go hand-in-hand. But when it comes to purchasing your business premises, that is a financial decision that is not made lightly. Chartered Accountants Chris Joakim, Partner with Meyers Norris Penny LLP in Markham, and Paul Rhodes, Partner, Audit and Assurance at Soberman LLP in Toronto, both regularly advise a wide variety of business owners in their respective practices. Here are some of their tips to help you think it through. Clarify plans for the business – Rhodes says that businesses in big cities often have more location options than their counterparts in smaller communities. The biggest consideration, he says, should be your plans for the business, how much flexibility you need with respect to your space and funds, and how best to address both.

With ownership come options – What you own, you control. Joakim points out that if you own your company’s facility and the land it’s on, you have more options for how to use the space. Subject to by-laws and necessary permits, you can modify the premises as you see fit, make structural changes and even rent out parts of it, if you like. Property can be a good business investment – In a good real estate market, property you own and maintain well can build equity in your business. Both Joakim and Rhodes suggest you consider creating a separate legal entity or “holding company” to own the building apart from your main business. This can help protect it from creditors in tough times, and possibly even generate some tax savings if your main company leases the premises back from it. Property is a plus for prospective buyers – When it comes time to sell the business, owning the building is

Over 100 years of serving businesses, organizations and individuals throughout Elgin County. Let us discuss your corporate needs or your next commercial or property transaction.

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Buying almost always costs more than renting

usually a good thing. If the purchaser wants the business, they can lease the premises to go with it. This leaves the hard asset – the building – in the hands of the seller, who can either hold on to it or sell it at some future, more advantageous point. Sell, move and save taxes – If you own the building and decide to sell it and relocate the business, capital gains and recapture of capital cost allowance could be triggered. But replacement property rules can enable you to defer the taxes on the income of the sale of the building. If and when you replace the old building with a new one, it must be done within a specific time frame to qualify. Renting allows easy outs – Leasing allows much more flexibility, especially if your business may need to relocate quickly or you don’t want to risk being stuck with a property you can’t sell. Leases can usually be bro-

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Helping You Navigate Through Financial Issues

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The HBBA is open to all home based businesses. 20

ken for a fee and when their term is up, you’re out and on your way. Renting can free up cash and capital – Buying almost always costs more than renting. If borrowing is limited – as is often the case with new or higher-risk businesses – owning a building can limit cash flow or working capital. Many franchise businesses, where change and growth is anticipated, will only rent their premises. Consider your financial statements and your future – The balance sheet of a company that owns its building looks very different from one that rents it, the experts say. Land and buildings are assets that can be leveraged to secure additional debt. That can be salvation in bad times or a boon in good ones. But consider, too, the effect on your business’s credit if you default on a mortgage by taking on payments you can’t handle.



July, 2011

Financing A Small Business PAYING TAXES

How the HST changed small business The tax impact has been both good and not so good by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario

It’s been almost a year since the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) became the law of the land in Ontario. It was a hard sell for government, which gave taxpayers some relief with rebate cheques and promised us that when all was said and done, the cost of things wouldn’t really go up… much. However, anyone who buys almost anything knows that it’s individuals and families who really pay the tax on consumption. But businesses have been affected, too. Some more – and better – than others, says Chartered Accountant Adam Rubinoff, Partner, Taxation Group at Soberman LLP in Toronto, and Chartered Accountant Sonia Bajwa Dhaliwal, Manager at Grant Thornton LLP in Mississauga. Here are some ways that small businesses might be feeling the impact of the HST: some good; some, not so good. The tax burden has shifted – In the big picture, harmonization in Ontario has shifted the sales tax burden from businesses to individuals, Rubinoff explains. As a result, businesses generally find their costs have gone down.  But the impact varies widely, depending on the type of business, its products and customers.  More things get taxed – Basically, harmonization has meant scrapping Ontario’s PST and expanding the federal GST from 5 to 13 percent. But the GST has always applied to a wider range of goods and services, so more things are subject to the 13 percent tax under the HST system than under the old GST/PST combination. Most had to change processes – Rubinoff says in his experience, most small businesses adjusted to collecting and remitting HST on their own without major costs. They probably would have received advice from the CRA or another reliable resource, like a software company, bookkeeper or accountant. Of course, there were some administrative costs to make the change, typically borne by the businesses themselves. But Ontario did step up with a one-time payment of up to $1,000 (subject to income tax) to help compensate for the hassle. Everything to Ottawa, nothing to Toronto – The HST did simplify things for many businesses, large and small. Companies that previously July, 2011

had to file both GST and PST returns – sending the first portion to the CRA and the latter to the Ontario government – now make just one payment to the CRA for the full 13 percent. Most businesses save – For small businesses that used to charge both PST and GST on all their sales, harmonization had two significant effects, says Rubinoff. An example is a store that sells furniture, he explains. Before harmonization, it could recover only GST on its costs, no PST.

Now it can recover all the HST it pays. Administratively, Dhaliwal says, it’s also much easier and more cost-effective for businesses to file one return and remit one sales tax amount to the CRA, rather than deal with two tax authorities and have two audits. Some small businesses got more and less expensive – For a small business that once had to charge GST but not PST, harmonization may have both cut its costs and inflated the tax-included cost of its

services. Take, for example, a landscaper charging $100 for lawn care. Its invoice to customers would now total $113 instead of $105, Rubinoff says. Regular non-business customers who couldn’t recoup HST themselves might balk at the higher, taxincluded price, forcing the company to reduce its base prices and cut its profits in the process. But if its customer is another business that can recover HST too, the increased, tax-included price would be less significant. The landscaper could then hold its prices and also benefit from a decrease in operating costs, because in the accounting world, the effective price of its lawn mowers and grass seed has declined by $8. 

Jesse Terpstra Jesse Terpstra Branch Br anch Manager Jesse Jesse Brown Brown Account Ac count Manager E L G I N





Take a seat!

The styles are endless for dining and kitchen chairs

by Renée Carpenter

If your style is casual, the sheaf-back or wheat-back chair is an option

Dining and kitchen chairs come in wood, vinyl, upholstery, metal and a multitude of shapes and styles. Whatever the style of your kitchen, a complementary chair is available. Dining chairs typically come in two basic shapes. Armchairs, traditionally used at the heads of the table, have a resting place for the arms. Side chairs, used elsewhere around the table, include only legs, a seat and back, but no arms. If your kitchen or dining room has a traditional, formal look, there are many chairs from which to choose. Queen Anne-style chairs, for example, have an urn-shaped, high back, and are based on an 18th-century style. Chippendale chairs, another 18th-century design, have a high, elaborately carved back, curving legs and claw feet. Lyre- or shield-back chairs are also formal styles, featuring low backs in the shape of the musical lyre or shield. All these types of chairs may have an upholstered seat.

Country dining / kitchen chairs include the Windsor, which features a bowed back support of spindles driven into the seat, as well as turned-spindle legs. Ladder-back chairs, also called Shaker chairs, have horizontal slats along the length of a tall, straight back. These chairs often have woven rush or caned seats.


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Hitchcock chairs, also with a woven seat, feature turned-spindle legs and neck rests with a smooth horizontal splat in the center of the back, showcasing the grain of the wood. If your style is casual, the sheafback or wheat-back chair is an option. This chair’s back includes slats driven into the seat, but they are drawn inward at the middle by a horizontal bar or slat. This gives it the cinched appearance of a sheaf of wheat. Metal soda-shop chairs with vinyl-topped circular seats are a casual option, as are combination wrought iron and wood styles. Styles mass-produced in the 1950s for modern homes are widely available as ‘retro’ chairs. One such style features an open back topped by a rectangular or oval splat or back piece. Vinyl upholstered seats in cherry red, pine green or black often sport chrome legs. Clear, molded plastic chairs are another retro style, as is the schoolhouse chair, the plas-

tic and chrome seat students still use today. Many other styles of kitchen and dining chairs are available as well. Craftsman style chairs feature a vertical splat with a high back. Swedish style chairs are usually constructed of wood painted white or light blue. French country may feature rush seats and a curvy, ladder-back style decorated with stencils. Iron chairs can be styled to resemble outdoor furniture for a rustic feel. And this doesn’t even touch bar stools!

Renée Carpenter is the owner of Jennings Furniture and Design in St. Thomas.

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July, 2011


Hold onto summer memories

Capture them with creative scrapbooking techniques (NC) When spring melts away the cold air and gives birth to warm weather, Canadians are poised to take full advantage of the fantastic freedom that comes with summertime. Now's the time to get together with family and friends, and create sun-drenched memories. Across our beautiful country, you can almost hear the buzz and bustle. It's time to stuff cars with Frisbees, backpacks, coolers, and kids, and head for beaches, parks and cottages. It's also time to dig out the basting brush from the back of the kitchen drawer and to fire up the barbecue once again. Canadians are not only experts at making the most of extended daylight hours and warmer temperatures; they're also experts at creating great memories. So why not develop a new talent and capture these unique memories in a wonderfully creative way. As Shelli Gardner, cofounder of Stampin' Up, a crafting and décor company explains, “There are endless possibilities in the scrapbooking world that allow you to hold on to your unforgettable summer days, ever after.” Here are some fun ideas on how to become an expert at preserving memories as you are at making them. Get organized The irony of summer relaxation is that you crave your free time, but more often than not, you have some sort of get together every single weekend. What better way to fully enjoy what's coming up next than to create your own personalized summer calendar. A wide range of chalkboard décor elements will allow you

to plan your calendar ahead of time, to create a To Do list and even to share convenient reminders. Box it up Every summer, we tend to collect a variety of things. Whether it's a ticket stub from an amazing concert that you had been dying to go to or a jar of sand from the beach house you rented with your family, these special mementoes of your summer are usually left lying around the house, unattended. What better way to bring all of these cheery elements of your summer together, than in a beautifully decorated box. Pull together beautiful scrapbooking paper and ribbons, gather around as a family and turn scrapbooking into the ultimate rainy day activity. Get creative Is your camera chock full of photos but you don't know what do to with them? There are a wide range of scrapbooking kits that can help you create the ultimate scrapbook that will bring back a flood of fabulous summer memories and most importantly, help you recreate your summer days. So go ahead and make this summer your best summer yet. But most importantly, let's get creative – it will help you guard and cherish your beautiful summer days long into the future.





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Dining & Entertainment SAVOUR ELGIN

Killer Desserts and Café offers more than cakes and cookies

by Kate Burns

It all started with a dinner at a friend’s restaurant. Donelda Pocock asked for dessert and there was none. One week later she was baking desserts for her friend, which blossomed into what is now Killer Desserts & Café in Port Stanley. Donelda, owner and bakery chef at Killer Desserts & Café, started baking at the tender age of twelve. But after a successful career in corporate training, she came back to her true calling – baking. Killer Desserts & Café has plenty of seating room to accommodate the many locals and visitors who stop in for the “Best Coffee in Town,” brewed from a Colombian medium dark roast. There’s also espresso and specialty coffees, as well as a large selection of loose teas. After five years in business, Donelda expanded into serving lunches, which now include sandwiches, soups made from scratch and salads. Killer Desserts & Café sandwiches feature local meats and produce and most can be prepared gluten free. In addition to the to-diefor desserts offered daily, Donelda also creates beautiful custom wedding cakes. The cafe features a retail section with gourmet sauces, dips and spices as well as one of the largest selections of hot sauces in the area. If you are a fan of garlic, there is a wide selection of products from The Garlic Box in Hensall, Ontario. Killer Desserts & Café can accommodate all of your party or meeting needs, from casseroles to veggie, sandwich, fruit and dessert trays as well as gift baskets.

Best Coffee in Town

Killer Desserts and Café is located at 291 Bridge Street in Port Stanley.

Savour Elgin Update:

Elgin County Warden, Dave Mennill (right), stands with Wendy and Kim Flintoft of Rush Creek Wines who won the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation and Excellence June 6.

Donelda Pocock, owner and bakery chef at Killer Desserts & Café, can create custom cakes for any occasion.

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Killer Desserts is a member of Savour Elgin. Savour Elgin is a program with a goal to promote and enhance culinary tourism in Elgin County and St. Thomas. The Savour Elgin trail is a route through Elgin County that visits some of the best restaurants, farms, wineries, and other culinary attractions that focus on food and drink that’s local and unique to Elgin County and St. Thomas. For full trail information visit

Kate Burns is the business development coordinator at the County of Elgin.

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Food to die for

Savour Elgin award winner On June 6, Rush Creek Wines was honored with the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation for their Decadence Line of products. Decadence is a product innovation that has spun into wine jelly, body cream, body sugar scrub, and body spritzer. The combination of strawberries and chocolate has created jobs, increased tourism dollars and given business to local honey, fruit and chocolate producers. The winery produces 21 varieties of fruit wine growing 65 percent of its fruit supply and sourcing the rest locally. Sales have risen 15 percent since Kim & Wendy Flintoft developed and delivered the first bottle of Decadence, which is so much in demand that production has increased to 500 imperial gallons about 2,200 litres.

519-644-2188 E L G I N



July, 2011

Dining & Entertainment WINE & FOOD

Wine and words in the Thank You Economy Books that have had an impact on my wine and food consumption habits I love to read. The shelves in my home study are bursting with books from almost every genre. I will almost certainly read two books every month, as well as three magazines and at least a half dozen research journals. My interest has been nonfiction in the last decade, and invariably wine and food books frequently make an appearance. I want to devote this article to three books that have captured my interest lately and have had an impact on my wine and food consumption habits. In the last year, with an ever increasing share of local and fresh food around my home, I realized that the cookbooks I have relied on are failing, and there had to be something better out there. So I sought the advice of a fresh food expert Kim Saunders, proprietor and chef of the Windjammer Inn in Port Stanley. Her suggestion for a local and seasonally influenced cookbook was perfect. Good Food for All was crafted by the Toronto community garden group, The Stop. The recipes are delicious and simple. Bookstore shelves are bursting with local and seasonal cookbooks, but almost none of them are Canadian. I have lost count on the number of times I have opened a local/seasonal cookbook from California to find recipes using fresh lemons, almonds or mango! This is one of the best cookbooks for Canadians, period. Almost every recipe has been taste-tested with success in my home. Taste Buds and Molecules by Francois Chartier is my second recommendation. This book follows the author as he breaks down seemingly

simple flavours in our foods and seasonings into their basic chemical foundations and looks for harmony with wine by complementing the wine’s chemistry. The book is beautifully illustrated and deserves a thorough read through. I will not lie; if you have no experience with modern

chemistry, this book will be a difficult read. Another downside is that the recipes the Chartier gives to illustrate the comments he makes are rather exotic – think five star dining. So why do I recommend this book? Quite simply, I learned a lot of valuable food and wine pairing tips, and they work! On the best sellers’ list right now is a book called The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck. How does a book on economics relate to wine and food? Thing is, Vaynerchuck is the ‘it’ guy in the wine world now. All of his wisdom comes from man-

aging his family’s incredibly successful wine store in New Jersey. His message is simple – that with all of the modern social media tools at everyone’s disposal, word of mouth is the only way a business will be able to survive. For the first time in almost 60 years, a comment on a social

media platform (the new ‘word of mouth’) is more powerful than any billboard sign or 30 second TV advertisement. Companies cannot ‘spin’ a message anymore, and only their transparency will thrive. This book has reinforced my passion for all things local. Going to those merchants, who recognize your face, remember your name and will compliment you on that new haircut, has a ‘feel good factor’ that cannot be overstated. This book has actually influenced me (and I am a fairly private person) to set up a Twitter account for our winery. Con-

sumers want to know what’s going on, and being able to give meaningful answers is so very important. These books are all terrific resources for local food lovers, wine lovers and those just seeking to expand their horizons.

by Jamie Quai

every recipe has been taste-tested with success in my home

Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County.

PortStanley Festival Theatre Play by the Lake! 302 Bridge Street July, 2011


Port Stanley (519)782-4353 T H I S



Dining & Entertainment THE PLAY’S THE THING The Stratford Shakespeare Festival opened its 2011 season with the Bard’s comedy ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor.’ The show is dedicated to David William, a former artistic director who died recently and directed this play in 1967. It was my first comedy reviewed at Stratford and it keeps coming back every now and then. If you can picture an egotistical drunken lecher who wants to bed two respectable women in the town of Windsor, you will get some enjoyment at the twists in plot as the would-be seducer gets foiled at every turn by two women who are out to save their reputations and cause this man some grief. The man is Sir John Falstaff, played in previous years by some of Stratford’s great actors and now being rendered by a younger actor who has had greatness thrust upon him. The debonair Geraint Wyn-Davies is sufficiently padded to portray a debauched minor knight, but occasionally betrays his comparative youth in his stride. He creates a wonderful mood with Sir John, whose cronies seem to have less to perform than in the past. Frank Galati directs a good production around the two women, Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, played with good fun by Laura Condlin and Lucy Peacock. While the two are bent on revenge over Falstaff, Mistress Page is also trying to

Heartbreak House at the Shaw Festival Early Shaw comedy lampoons pre-war British society with mix of farce and tragedy by Ric Wellwood

The Shaw Festival has opened the 2011 season with George Bernard Shaw’s early comedy, ‘Heartbreak House.’ Under the lively direction of artistic director emeritus, Christopher Newton, the house is not really filled with heartbreak at all, but rather some assorted disappointments and little offerings of hope. The house belongs to retired sea captain Shotover (played frumpishly and wisely by Michael Ball) and is very reminiscent of a ship, since the hull was sculpted inside the house itself. It took some getting used to, but 26

The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Stratford Festival Lighthearted Shakespeare production is all good fun

by Ric Wellwood

enjoyment at the twists in plot

arrange a convenient marriage for her daughter Ann. The bevy of suitors for her hand includes Nigel Bennett, recently seen at the Grand in ‘Kingfisher Days.’ His rendering of Doctor Caius is bound to irritate the Quebeckers in the audience, but it is funny, nonetheless. Tom Rooney gives a great rendering of jealousy gone to extreme and the design of Leslie Frankish is very effective. The main plot concerns a young woman who is trying to stop her good friend from a marriage she believes will fail and will soon make the woman miserable. Instead, she works up a few diversions to get her mind away from marriage. Perhaps an alternative or two will do. The young woman, Ellie Dunn is well-rendered by Robin Evan Willis, and Deborah Hay is quite effective as her friend. There’s not enough space on this page to deal with the twists of plot, but they do keep the play humming along at a good pace, and the performances are what you might expect from one of the great repertory companies in North America. I was particularly pleased with the dowager portrayal of Laurie Paton as the sister who returns to the house after years of world travel. Shaw gave her some great material. Patrick McManus, Blair Williams and William Vickers do interesting things with smaller roles. If you catch this one, you will likely want to see another this summer. The season is off to a good start. E L G I N

makes Mister Ford even funnier than the portrayal done by Colm Feore in the last production of ‘Wives.’ The show is lifted by the good design of Robert Perdziola and the lighting of Alan Brodie. If you have never seen a production of Shakespeare, this might be a good place to start.

Deborah Hay as Hesione Hushabye and Blair Williams as Hector Hushabye in ‘Heartbreak House’ at the Shaw Festival. (Photo by David Cooper)



Laura Condlin as Mistress Page and Lucy Peacock as Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Stratford Festival. (Photo by David Hou)

Ric Wellwood is communications advisor for the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority.

July, 2011



Hot, hot, hot How to protect yourself from heat-related injuries this summer by Dr. Greg Johnston, B.H.K., B.Ed., D.C.

The arrival of July usually brings with it the hot summer weather that most of us look forward to during the winter months. Now that the sun is out and the temperature is up everyone is anxious to be involved in outdoor pursuits. That’s great, get out be active, but be intelligent about it. Protect yourself from the sun, listen to your body when it is telling you that you have done enough. Some of the most serious difficulties during this time are heat-related injuries. No, I’m not talking about burning dinner on the barbeque. What I am talking about are the serious conditions of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps The early stages of heat injury may begin with something called heat cramps. This is when the body loses too much salt (electrolytes) during profuse sweating. The best treatment for this condition is rest and re-hydration. Again, listen to your body. Heat exhaustion Another term for exhaustion is prostration, a term used to describe extreme exhaustion or powerlessness. Basically, the body is beginning to overheat and cannot dissipate the heat quickly enough. The normal responses such as dilation of blood vessels and sweating can’t keep up to the heat being generated. Certain factors may increase your susceptibility to heat exhaustion including alcohol intake, limited intake of water, excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea or other cause of dehydration including some medications. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, profuse sweating, decreased appetite, weak rapid pulse, shallow rapid respirations and pale, cool sweaty skin. If these signs are present the victim should be moved to a cool room or area. The application of cold wet compresses to the skin or the use of a fan is advised. Re-hydration is essential both with water in the immediate term then with electrolytes such as from a sports replacement beverage. After a person has suffered an episode of heat exhaustion they should rest for the next two to three days and be protected from any further heat exposure. It is important to July, 2011

note that if the person vomits they should be transported for medical attention as they may be in the early stages of heat stroke. Heat stroke Heat stroke is a very serious condition. There is a profound disturbance of the heat regulation system of the body, which may lead to a high fever, collapse, convulsions, coma and even death. It may result from prolonged exposure to increased temperature, strenuous exercise, intense sun and areas with poor ventilation. The possibility increases after more than two days of exposure during a heat wave. Factors which may predispose people to heat stroke include older age, lack of acclimatization, poor housing, dehydration, cardiovascular or pulmonary disease and decreased sweating mechanism. The signs and symptoms of heat stroke include a high temperature, hot, dry and red skin, initially, a rapid and strong pulse of greater than 160 beats per minute becoming rapid and weak as the condition progresses, deep rapid respirations, mental confusion, headache, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood pressure, and finally convulsions, muscular twitching, collapse and unconsciousness. Treatment includes rapid and immediate cooling, however, this should be administered by a qualified practitioner. These people need to be transported for emergency care immediately. Remove them from the area of heat exposure, allow them to consume fluids if they are able, but, in small amounts and slowly. If the extremities are cooled too quickly, vasoconstriction (narrowing) of blood vessels will occur and the core body temperature will actually increase. These people need immediate medical attention. Summer time is a great time to be active and involved in outdoor activities. The heat claims many victims every summer. Be smart and you will avoid being one of them. Drink lots of water, wear a hat and sunscreen, avoid prolonged exposure and above all listen to your body. It tells you when you are overdoing it, LISTEN TO IT! Dr. Greg Johnston is a chiropractor and partner in Family Health Options Treatment and Resources Centre in St. Thomas. E L G I N


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Summer safety tips for kids Did you know that the greatest number of injuries in St. Thomas and Elgin County happen during the summer? complete enclosure on all four sides, with self latching gates. The minimum height for fencing and gates around pools should be 1.2 metres. General summer safety tips • Make sure there is a cover on your sandbox. This helps eliminate contamination from animals. • When barbequing, children are constantly supervised. All barbeque equipment, such as charcoal and starter fluid should be kept out of reach of children. • Dangerous items such as lawnmowers, tools and gasoline should be stored out of reach of children. • The outdoor play area should be free of poisonous plants. Following these simple safety tips and using common sense will help your family have a safe and healthy summer.

by Jennifer Wyscaver, RN

Summertime is here! We can finally get outdoors and enjoy some activities that the whole family loves. While playing outside is lots of fun, it’s important to remember a few tips to keep your kids safe and healthy this summer. Playing in the summer sun Sun safety is the first thing to remember when going outside. Remember to cover up as much skin as possible with clothing. Choose longer sleeves, longer shorts or Capri pants and a wide-brimmed hat to shade tender faces, necks and ears. Keep shirts on at all times and consider wearing them during water play. Apply a waterproof sunscreen that protects from both UVA & UVB rays with a SPF 30 or higher. Put sunscreen on before going outside and be certain to reapply at least every 2 hours. Protect your children’s eyesight with sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB. Seek shade wherever you go and consider bringing some along – a UV block umbrella or shade shelter. Try to plan your activities in the morning or later afternoon to avoid as much midday sun (11am-4pm) as possible. Drinking lots of water will help prevent heat-related illnesses. Remember – kids learn by example. Role modeling makes a big impression on young minds. Playground safety Before your child starts playing on equipment, parents should check the playground to ensure it is safe for use. • Choose a playground with a deep soft surface such as pea gravel, wood chips or rubber crumbs. It should be 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) deep. • Make sure the playground has secure handrails and barriers to prevent falls.

Information adapted from Health Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and Invest in Kids. • Look for broken glass or garbage and throw it out before your child plays. If your child is old enough, teach them to stay away from any sharp edges or bolts. For younger children (under age 5) stand within reach of your child to prevent falls or bumping sharp edges. • Watch out for areas where your child’s neck could get stuck such as between steps on a slide and spaces between railings. Safe spaces are smaller than 3.5 inches (9 cm) or larger than 9 inches (22.5 cm). Teach your child playground safety rules: • Wait your turn. • Slide down feet first. • Hold onto railings. • Sit down on swings and slides. • Keep away from moving swings

and the bottom of slides. • Remove anything that could strangle your child such as helmets and drawstrings. Set aside skipping ropes before climbing on equipment. Water safety Swimming and water play can be lots of fun for children, especially in warm weather. The best way to prevent water-related injuries and drowning is active supervision by parents. Children should never be unattended while around water. A child can drown in as little as 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Other ways to keep children safe include the use of lifejackets, adult training in first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and children’s swimming lessons. Outdoor pools should have

RESOURCES For more information about childhood safety and parenting, please visit or call 519-631-9900 or 1-800-922-0096 (toll free) and ask to speak with a public health nurse.

Jennifer Wyscaver, RN is a public health nurse and lactation consultant at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.

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July, 2011


Memories of idyllic childhood summers

by Elizabeth VanHooren

The summers of my youth went on forever: endless days of swimming, shopping and simply exploring my own backyard. My fondest summer memories were made at Spring Lake, just minutes from home. Mom would pack a bag of chips and some pop and we would head out for the afternoon. My sisters and I would have races and swimming competitions and if we were lucky enough we would

come back after supper with Dad. He would let us jump of his shoulders into the deep side of the buoys. On Tuesdays Mom would take us to the Aylmer Sales Arena. With a few dollars in our pockets we would wander around the different booths looking for something to buy. One day we convinced mom that we needed – and Dad wouldn’t mind – if we brought home two fuzzy yellow ducks. They proved to be hours of entertainment. We bought them their

own swimming pool and watched them paddle and waddle around. But late that fall we realized the ducks were actually geese. By the next summer we were horrified to learn that they weren’t sisters either. The geese had a nice brood of goslings. Hissing and nipping at your heals they wouldn’t let you near their nest, which was conveniently located outside the barn door. On the days we didn’t go swimming or shopping we would strike out on an adventure, which simply involved trekking back through the hay field to the old apple tree. It was gnarly and stood alone in the twenty-acre field. It was just the right distance from the house that you felt as if you were out exploring new territory. We usually returned with some found treasure – an arrowhead, snake skin or just a weird looking stick. I recounted my memories to my husband as we discussed the possibilities for this summer’s vacation. He laughed and said, “You really are a simple country girl.” Perhaps I am, but the older I get it seems harder and harder to hold onto the youthful innocence that made those excursions so memorable. I want it back.

Looking out the window I see my sons playing in their sandbox digging and loading up mounds of dirt into dump trucks. I quickly grab a bag of chips and some juice boxes and head outside. They might be interested in mom’s memories and in having a little adventure in our own backyard.

In the good old summertime

you felt as if you were out exploring new territory

Elizabeth VanHooren is general manager of the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority.

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July, 2011






And a long search for the right stuff southern Ontario before the white man came, but have now been beaten back to just two areas. And – just my luck – they are my two favourite places in Ontario to visit. So I can rate my summers by the number I see. Last year was a tworattler summer – not a personal best, but better than average. One rattler haven is the northeast side of Georgian Bay and the hundreds of uninhabited, rocky islands offshore. This is kayaker nirvana. I saw my first rattlers here many years ago on a paddling trip with my wife and a friend. I stumbled out behind the tent at our island campsite one morning and heard a short BZZZZBZZZZ duet: two rattlers together, giving me a good morning warning. That woke me up like a double

by Duncan Watterworth

You have to like rattlesnakes, at least a little bit. I don’t mean those seven-foot monster diamondbacks in Texas, with their pitchfork fangs. No one likes them. I mean Ontario’s rattler – the one in my freezer – the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. These timid little guys rarely exceed three feet. They will buzz a warning if you crowd them, would rather flee than fight, and, if they do bite, often inject no venom. By animal kingdom standards, that is downright courteous. You might say – Canadian. Sure, they will bite if stepped on or molested, but Canadians will, too. Massasaugas roamed all over


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Book your Tee Times online: or call 519-773-2911 Hwy 3, 8 kms east of St.Thomas 6 kms West of Aylmer

last year was a two-rattler summer

espresso. And later at the same campsite, as I was answering the call of nature, I jumped when another slid past. No harm done, just a jolt of adrenalin, and a wet spot on the front of my shorts. Rattlers are also hanging tough on parts of the Bruce Peninsula, up Tobermory way. The Bruce is the location of my family’s cottage, and rattlers have always been part of the landscape. My Peninsula friend Steve, as a boy, caught rattlers and brought them to school. His teacher kept one in the classroom. No big deal to the locals, but wouldn’t the Ministry suits in Toronto have conniptions? It was on the side of a Peninsula back road, more than eight years ago, that my wife, Barb, and I found our poor little rattler, mortally injured. After he died, we bagged him up, and put him in the cottage freezer. Our previous taxidermy needs had always been admirably handled by David Snook, proprietor with wife Kathy, of the Mapleton Taxidermy and Cheese Store. Dave had done a handsome job on a gently roadkilled Saw Whet owl, and also a Screech owl. He once gave Barb a


bear’s head from his freezer, gratis, which I cleaned and reduced to a handsome skull. But Dave doesn’t do reptiles, so our snake ended up in the hands of a scoundrel who took on the job, but would never complete it, and became all but impossible even to locate. Let’s just say that he, more than any snake I know, deserves to be stuffed and mounted. Anyhow, last May 24 weekend, after eight long years (I’m not kidding), we were able to recover our poor snake, unstuffed but still frozen. So it is back home in our freezer. We aren’t discouraged. We still want to get the little guy displayed. And we don’t want the coiled, readyto-strike pose that was suggested. That’s too Hollywood, or too Texas. We want something more natural, relaxed, Canadian. Maybe stretched out on a log, swallowing a stuffed mouse. All we need is an honourable taxidermist – one experienced with reptiles, and freezer burn.

Duncan Watterworth is recently a retiree and emptynester in St.Thomas.




Tournaments Welcome •  Licensed Under LLBO 30

The tail of a Canadian snake



519-633-4100 July, 2011







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OEV July, 2011







New Model Home Now Open and Available For Viewing The Kenwood model home is located at 8 Osprey Lane in Lake Margaret Estates, in our lifestyle community which is made up of 25 luxury bungalows. This 1685 sq.ft., 2 bedroom backs onto a storm management pond. It has a finished walk out basement, main floor laundry, master bedroom with open walk in closet and an ensuite.

Call Today! Michelle Milles 519-637-8266

Doug Tarry Homes…Still Going Strong An economy that’s struggling? Sure, St Thomas and Elgin have had their challenges but at Doug Tarry Homes, we’re building new homes everyday. Exciting for us -- and for the people of this area -- to see new construction and progress.

New and different is the Kenwood! It has an open concept, walk-in closet with custom built in shelves. A walk out lot gives the feeling of a two storey but without adding all of the extra square footage.

Monday - Thursday 12 - 5:30pm Saturday & Sunday 1 - 5pm Friday by appointment: 519-637-8266

Visit us online for Models, Prices and Maps at

Advertised offers are subject to change without notice. See Sales Representative for details. E. & O. E. “The ENERGY STAR® is administered and promoted in Canada by Natural resources Canada. All Doug Tarry homes are ENERGY STAR® qualified and SOLAR Ready® as standard. HIGH PERFORMANCE HOMES® contains a complete portfolio of options designed to maximize the performance of your new home. See our Sales Representatives for complete details





July, 2011

July 2011 Issue  

Incorporating St.Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce Business beat. Your Business... Your Community

July 2011 Issue  

Incorporating St.Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce Business beat. Your Business... Your Community