Vol. 1, No. 14
G R A N D B E N D ’S F R E E C O M M U N I T Y N E W S P A P E R
Wed. Nov. 21 to Dec. 11, 2007
DOING IT FOR THE KIDS Hundreds of bikers cruise the strip for local charities - p.12
SPECIAL REPORT: BEACH ENHANCEMENT The good, the bad, and the funding - p.3-6 USING ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO GET OFF DRUGS - P.8 Cover photo of Ron Root by Casey Lessard
Mom’s Advice p. - Principal’s Page p. - Living in Balance p. - To Do List p.
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2 • GrandBendStrip.com
A total surprise View from the Strip By Casey Lessard It’s amazing how contentious change can be. This issue of the Strip profiles the varying opinions about plans to improve the beach and its parking lot. Lambton Shores wants everybody on side so it can get on with the project. Barbara Gare discovered this firsthand earlier this month, after she gave her opinions at the October 27 beach enhancement meeting. Representing herself, but mentioning she worked at the Chamber of Commerce, the (now) former executive director described concerns tourists brought to her attention at the tourism booth. The only note I made about her short speech was, “If you look at any websites for other tourist towns, they all have vital downtowns,” Gare said. “You have to have A before you can get B.” Watching her give that speech, something didn’t feel right. It was the last straw for the chamber executive. Gare was reprimanded in an email for representing the chamber, which supports the plan. Gare wasn’t aware of that official stance. She was fired days later. Barbara Gare says the move came as a total surprise, but the chamber executive told its members last week she should have seen it coming. They’re tight-lipped about what led to her departure (under legal advice). The question is, was this the last straw or the only one? Dear Casey, The October 10th issue was in the post when we got home from being away for a time. One of the items that caught my eye was about the Baileys and their Saturday night ministry. They are responding to the recognition that the teachings of Jesus need to be presented in ways that suit the place and time in which we ﬁnd ourselves. The world of theatre has long recognized that plays from the past or about the past can be made to resonate in the present. For example, The Shaw Festival’s “Saint Joan,” oﬀered this season, is so powerful that it speaks to the world of today. In the same way, the power inherent in Jesus’ teachings can be made to speak to the world we live in. Lots of “Sunday morning churches” try very hard to do this. The Baileys are trying to do this and I congratulate them and wish them well. Joe Wooden, Grand Bend
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Strip Thoughts Former chamber executive’s daughter questions termination To the editor, Have you ever seen someone who seems perfectly suited for his or her job? My mom is such a person. Mom is 61 years old and has worked hard all her life. She is someone who is very dedicated; she enjoys going to work. She worked as a bank teller for over 13 years, she is an experienced professional who has owned and operated her own business, and until last week my mother was Executive Director of the Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce. Anyone who has stopped by the chamber in the last year would know my mother, Barbara Gare. She is a naturally outgoing, friendly people-person who loves to organize. She just loved working for the chamber. She excelled in this post and worked hard to find ways to make improvements. Mom was one week short of her one-year anniversary when five people walked in to the office, handed her a letter and told her she had 15 minutes to leave the premises. To add insult to injury, the police were called in after she was still gathering her things 20 minutes later. I believe my mother was treated unfairly and unprofessionally. Chamber membership has increased since her hiring, events were well organized and community feedback was extremely supportive. Her six-month performance review was also positive. In my experience, professional organizations inform employees if they are not performing to expectations, thereby allowing them a chance to improve. My mother was never given an explanation for her dismissal. We teach children to try to work out their problems and to treat others as they would like to be treated. Unfortunately, as adults we tend to forget these lessons. My mother deserves, at the very least, an apology from the executive of the Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce. Belinda Gare Rigaud, QC
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Too old for winter Plus: thanks for fundraiser support Advice from mom By Rita Lessard I don’t know how everyone else feels about winter, but as far as I’m concerned I am not really looking forward to it. I’m not sure when this all came about, but it probably started when I realized that those fancy high-heeled shoes had to be replaced with the more sensible oxfords, the lovely shaping nylons had to be traded in for support stockings, and of course, there’s the cutesy bikini underwear that was taken over by the nice warm bloomers. So you can see where I’m coming from; yes, it’s called getting older, dear. Getting old is inevitable, and since I’ in pretty good shape, I’m sure I’ll be fine, but as far as winter goes, if we prepare for it, maybe we will manage. Here are some tips to consider: - Take care that your car is properly equipped with the necessities in case you get stuck in bad weather. Examples: blankets, flashlights with batteries, candles, matches, booster cables, extra clothing, sand, salt, nonperishable food, etc. - Get a tune up as soon as you can, and always make sure you’ve got plenty of gas in your tank. - I suppose a cell phone would also be handy. I don’t have one, but Christmas is coming, so maybe someone will surprise me. - Perhaps you’ll want to check your shovels or snowblower out also. Either way, keep safe and stay out of the ditch.
Hint: As I was struggling to open my door, which had frozen up, one of my coworkers suggested I put vegetable oil on the rubber on the Editor’s Note: Barbara Gare’s lawyer sent a letter to inside of my door so I’d have no problem opening the chamber last week, and as a result, the chamber it. This seals out the water. Try it! executive is not commenting on this matter.
Thanks for all your support! Letters: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry that my article is a little brief, but I wanted to concentrate on a more important
Publisher: Casey Lessard Editor: Casey Lessard Editorial Assistant: Anjhela Michielsen Proofreader: Carmen Kinniburgh Advertising Sales & Design: Casey Lessard Chief Photographer: Casey Lessard
Grand Bend Strip is printed once a month in the winter (middle Wednesday); 4340 copies are delivered free to all homes and businesses in Grand Bend, Zurich, Dashwood and Port Franks using Canada Post. An additional 1100 copies are available to other residents and visitors at local stores and restaurants.
Contributors: Rita Lessard - my mom Tom Lessard - my dad Jenipher Appleton - nature/birding Jeff Reaburn - SHDHS principal Cara Funk - Eddingtons, Exeter Distribution: Casey Lessard, Rita Lessard & Joan McCullough
issue, that being my thank you to my friends, neighbours and area business owners who made Tom’s benefit dance such a success. The support and kindness we received was incredible. First and foremost, I would like to thank Debra McNair and Corry Price for organizing the event, the Huron Park-Centralia Lions Club for sponsoring it, and Li’l Audrey for providing the great music. These businesses donated their support: Canadian Tire, Exeter; Iceculture, Hensall; Hansen’s Independent, Exeter; Scotty’s Pizza, Huron Park; Exi-Plast, Huron Park; Gnutti, Huron Park; Fast Photo, London; Country Corners, Exeter; Gar’s Bar, Exeter; Hayter’s Turkey Products, Dashwood; Foodland, Exeter; SAAN, Exeter; Aunt Gussie’s, Grand Bend; Bob’s Advanced Auto, Crediton; Jordy ’s, Crediton; Malibu Restaurant, Centralia; Exeter Lions Club. The following people donated money or prizes: Mike & Val Lessard, Sue and Wayne Foote, Doug and Keli Nethercott, Frank and Bridgitt Dubarry, Herman and Joan Minderlein, Pat Gray, Nancy Zettel, Bob & Millie Lessard, Bill & Anne Lacourtois, Brenda & Dave MacDonald, Deb & Doug Mason, Sid & Jeff Reaburn, Jeff & Jamie Weir, Rosemary Stewart, Tim Glavin, Ken Jones, Gary Sauder, Diane & Yvonne Wells & Lisa, Terry & Corry Price. Thank you to all the people who helped at the door and with games, lunch and at the bar. Special thanks to my sister Joan McCullough, who is way too generous with her help and kindness. Last but not least, to Casey, who provides me with the opportunity to thank everyone in his paper. Thank you all for your kindness and support. Thank you very much to the people who attended or bought tickets to the event. I apologize if I have missed anyone; to everybody who contributed, your efforts and time were greatly appreciated. Thank you, Tom and Rita Lessard
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Strip at the Beach: Special Report
GrandBendStrip.com • 3
Special report: Beach enhancement plan The view from town hall John Byrne CAO Lambton Shores As told to Casey Lessard This is probably one of the heaviest-used (per capita) beaches in Ontario. We want people that come to this community to see we’re on the leading edge: we’re a progressive community; we’re environmentally sensitive; we’re doing things about reintroducing its natural landscape. The beach is probably our most important tourism asset. It hasn’t had a lot of attention brought to it in terms of supporting infrastructure: the parking lot, the beach house, and the services that get people there such as the road network. You don’t want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Tourism is critical. But there is a demographic shift here, and that’s why we’re beginning to see a change in some of
the restaurants and businesses that are locating here. The permanent population can support them throughout the year. Nationally our demographic is changing to an older population, so that’s going to affect our status as a youth-oriented tourism destination. I’m not beating the drum against the youth culture, but there are costs associated with that including additional policing costs that come out of our taxes, increased by-law enforcement, increased maintenance that come with vandalism and garbage. We need to reinvest in our important asset, the beach. We can accommodate both younger people and families, but how do we make better use of the beach? The beach isn’t being well utilized the way it’s laid out. It’s all public beach from the harbour mouth to Oakwood. There are rights of way that are granted to property owners that abut on the beach. They have the right to cross and use the water. But it’s the community’s beach we’re trying to protect for everybody. It’s not a private beach, as some people would like to have it structured. It’s about reclaiming it for everybody. It’s becoming increasingly challenging for older people to enjoy the beach. Sand is a difficult thing to maneuver on. The promenade
allows people to come down here in the evening and go for a stroll to watch the sunset and enjoy it. The other component was making this beach accessible to people with disabilities. We’re investing in an elevator to the upper level of the beach house, which has denied access to people with disabilities before. People have short-term memories. There was a children’s play area down there. The lake can be a very challenging and dangerous place. Not only from the winds and wave actions but also the water quality. We deal with fluctuations in E. coli bacteria for a variety of reasons. Can we introduce an alternative for a family that comes to the area, has booked a hotel for the week, wants to enjoy the beach and finds the beach is posted? What will they do with their kids? A splash pad has the capacity so that when the weather and water conditions are such that it’s not advisable to swim in the lake, that you can at least have some fun down here.
At the last meeting, there was a loud roar of applause when somebody said, “Stay off our beach.” I think people need to reexamine the drawings that clearly demonstrate that we’re respecting that natural sand area. We are respecting the beach. Less than two or three per cent of what’s being proposed impacts the beach with the concrete infrastructure we’re going to add. It’s all on the existing parking area. We heard loud and clear from Blue Flag that Grand Bend isn’t a natural beach. It’s a man-made beach. The trees and the dunes that were traditionally there have been eradicated. We are going to reclaim that beach and reintroduce in a controlled way the natural environment of the dunes that used to be there. This is the community’s jewel in its crown. Right now, it doesn’t look much like a jewel. Quite frankly, we need to get our act together. It’s a starting point for other changes the community needs. That’s why we’re doing the community improvement plans. The downtown area is a market-driven area. It’s not the same as the beach. The beach is our legacy, our signature of who we are. Grand Bend beach defines what this community is about.
Making beach more accessible will drive more money into businesses Lambton Shores Ward 1 councillor Chair of beach enhancement committee As told to Casey Lessard Everybody likes the beach the way it is. We want to improve the parking lot and give some additional reasons to go to the beach. People want us to spend money on the main street. What people forget is there are two components to the main street: there’s the component the municipality owns, so the street, curbs, sidewalks, trees, light standards, benches, and all the things that make the town look nice; we can change all of those. What we can’t change are the buildings themselves. That’s driven by economics. The only way to drive more money into their businesses is by somehow making our beach more accessible to more people so we have a bigger shoulder season. The motivation for changing the beach is the same motivation we have for changing the main street. If we can start doing different things in our parking lots to make it look nicer, make it more accessible for challenged people, and attract more families with young children, it would also impact how our main street looks. We didn’t prioritize the beach over the main street. They’re being done at the same time. We have a main street meeting in January. The beach is the thrust because if you can bring more families, empty nesters and grandparents, they are the ones with money. They come to the beach, shop at the shops and eat at the restaurants. By changing the beach slightly, we hope to bring more money into the main street.
Because the beach is a seasonal thing, we want to stretch the season out. We have our main season from mid-June to Labour Day; we need to develop our shoulder seasons. If we can draw people to the beach to do things other than swim, through festivals and the play area, we can extend that season. At the end of the turnaround, we’re going to build an area where we can do festivals, much like the Burgerfest last year. If we have the area to do that, we will attract people to run and attend the events. One of the things that kept coming up was that there’s no place for kids to go when the water’s rough or when the beach is posted. So we looked at alternate means of getting people wet in the summertime. When people think of the play park, they think of waterslides, lots of noise and waves. It’s not that at all. Basically it’s a rubber pad with four or five spigots that are a little taller than a person and they spray water. There will be a couple things you can direct, but that’s about it. Water comes from the municipality. It needs a beach application, but it will help people wash off instead of going to the beach house. In the old days we also had a swing set and slides, and we want to bring some of that back. People think this children’s area is going to block the beach. It’s not. There will be benches there to sit at and watch the sunset, and I think it’s going to be a really nice enhancement. We also need to clean our lake. Lambton Shores wraps around the lake, but a lot of
pollutants come from other areas. A lot of our pollutants come from the farming community, our aging septic systems, the way some industries treat our lake like a sewer. Those things all need to be addressed by big government. We have a Clean Water Now initiative headed by Rotary, and they’ve set up a water monitoring system. It monitors the windwave-water conditions and determines what led to the beach being posted. The overall goal is that we end up in a better position. People are saying it’s a water park on a sandy beach. We know that. The engineering is structured to deal with that.
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The water that is going in there will irrigate and feed some of the plants that will be there to control the sand. We’re going to put in a green roof on the beach house so that will reduce long-term wear and tear on the building. Our elevator is going in this December, and we’re very excited about that. One of the criticisms is that it’s in a hostile environment and it won’t last as long as it would in the city of Toronto. So what? So what if it has a shorter lifespan; so what if it needs a little more oil and grease? That’s part of allowing the citizens of Lambton Shores to enjoy what all of us other people enjoy.
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Strip at the Beach: Special Report
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Beach is fine; focus on Main Street first Doug Smaill and Janet Carter Huckleberries Café As told to Casey Lessard Doug: They’re putting the cart before the horse. People come to the beach. That’s not an issue. I have yet to talk to anyone who is really for beach enhancement. Most people like the beach the way it is now. We need to talk about main street enhancement. In the last 14 months, we’ve lost eight full-time, year-round businesses including Blomans, I’m Starvin’, The Dollar Store, Saga Bound, Finnegan’s, The Health Nut, Periwinkles, Royal LePage. We’ve had a couple of year-round businesses that have now pulled out for the winter: Lakeview Café and the Pineland. The municipality, especially Ward 1, should be trying to make sure that stops. Let’s not worry about the beach – the beach is packed in the summer. To add a children’s splash park, there are all sorts of issues around maintenance of that. The expense of it; the location of it. It would be great to have a
water park, just not on the beach. We get sand all the way up here, so to put the mechanics of a water park on the main beach, the maintenance would be horrendous. As far as trees going in on the beach, most people don’t go to the beach to sit in the shade. They too would be better in a park away f rom the beach. If we’re able to spend $1.8 million on a parking lot, I’m sure we can spend some more money on another piece of land downtown. Janet: It’s great to implement new things. Just show me it’s going to work. In the three seasons we ’ve owned Huckleberries, we have yet to see any money spent on main street, and yet they’ve planted trees that are dying, dead, gone; they’ve got buckets around some trees that are broken; they have hydro beside the trees that is nonexistent (it’s there, it’s just not useable). We’ve had people tell us about lights in anchors not
Beachfront owners focused on environment Kristie McIndoe on behalf of Mel and Elia Douglas Bonnie Doone Manor on the Beach Via Fax Since the beach enhancement idea first surfaced a few years ago, we have been talking with our customers about what they would like to see at the beach. Many of these families are second, third and fourth generations returning year after year for their vacations in our wonderful slice of paradise. The resounding opinion is that Mother Nature has given us one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – why would we want to change that? Many of these customers have written letters to council stating just that and many more have signed a petition against changes to the beach. Change is inevitable. Without it, there would be no progress, but we need to consider each of these decisions and their impact on
happy either. I want to know that this is going to be self-sustaining. From what I’ve seen, there is no revenue generation; it is all cost. Where are we going to get revenue for all of these projects? I appreciate the Rotary and the Community Foundation are behind this. I believe we need to be behind enhancement for Grand Bend. But let’s do the due diligence. Someone needs to look at this and decide whether this is the best use of our money. Doug: People tell us they want to see the main street fixed. They would like to see better infrastructure in terms of the benches and the sidewalk. A lot of things could be done with the main street that wouldn’t be nearly as expensive as, for example, purchasing the pier. Let’s call Port Stanley and ask them how much the maintenance and upgrade for that would be. Janet: We’re proud of Grand Bend and we care enough to be concerned about what’s happening. It’s a beautiful project. Beautification is a great thing. But if it’s not meant to be in Grand Bend, then it shouldn’t be in Grand
Instead of moving on to new initiatives, we need to address the existing structures. Finish the beach house and current facilities. That building should have been designed to minimize the beach space usage and to leave the beach in as natural a state as possible. It really is an eyesore. I’ve seen families leave the beach early because of overly aggressive behaviour. People migrate to the main beach; it attracts too many people, yet they’re going to intensify the problem by putting the water park there. Perhaps that should go somewhere else in Grand Bend to take pressure off the main beach. I think people are most concerned about the main street. The layout and design, signage and lighting are problematic; make it more pedestrian-friendly and therefore safer. In Toronto, we have grant programs to clean up neighbourhoods; everybody wins. We’d end up with a revitalized downtown strip. Simple measures like that can have a big impact.
Beachfront cottage owner Director of events, City of Toronto department of our natural environment. economic development, culture and tourism. Environmental and ecological studies need to be done on the impact of the splash and As told to Casey Lessard sprinkler pads on the beach. Studies also need The most pressing issue Grand Bend faces to be done on the impact of planting trees that is the water quality in Lake Huron. are not indigenous to the sandy beach. Will It’s quite extreme. Unless everywe be making mistakes that will negatively body plays a part in cleaning up the impact the quality of our water and drive our lake, it’s not going to be addressed. customers (and revenue source) away? Residents and tourists have to fight Feasibility studies need to be done. What for this at the provincial and federal kind of expensive technical maintenance will government levels. this require, and how many additional people If they proceed with the water will need to be hired? park, what are the environmenWe would ask that the next public meet- tal impacts of that? We’re trying to ing be held in July or August, making it more clean up the lake, but if it’s adding accessible for our property owners that live to the pollution of that, we’re not moving forout of town, so they can attend and express ward; we’re moving backward. their concerns. Grand Bend has this natural gift of this We need to make smart choices with all the spectacular beachfront. Across the nation, facts, not uninformed hasty ones. Would this most municipal governments are looking at wonderful gift of money be better spent in ways to naturalize beaches and return them to other ways throughout Grand Bend? their natural condition.
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working properly. The bridge needs painting, the pier needs painting; these are all very doable things with the right manpower, but we don’t even have the infrastructure for that. I don’t understand how anyone can back a program that doesn’t have the infrastructure in place. Change is good. But it needs to be reasonable change. Things that can be affordable. Come together with an entire plan that tells us how much it’s going to cost to instigate it (because I don’t believe $3.5 million will do it), how much it’s going to cost to maintain it, how much additional manpower is going to be put into place to maintain it, and whether or not what they’ve already got is going to be maintained in this process. Our winters are very tough on businesses that stay open in the winter. Are they going to raise our taxes, which are already higher than the average? Are they going to hit the residential people? I’m sure that won’t make them
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Strip at the Beach: Special Report
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Fundraisers Grand Bend Community Foundation Chair David Bannister As told to Casey Lessard I am very much in favour of enhancing the beach. I know people have certain reservations about parts of the plan, but I think overall the plan is a good beginning. The main beach is very important to the community. It’s part of the persona of Grand Bend. I’m down there every day, often taking pictures. I go by it quite often on the sailboat. It is a beautiful beach. It’s not surprising that people get charged up about making changes or enhancements.
I almost wish they had called it the Grand Bend beach parking lot improvement project, because that’s largely what it is. I think people are getting tied up in making changes to the beach when, in my opinion, it will only beautify the area. I know a lot of people would rather start with the downtown, and there’s certainly merit to that. It needs work. If you go down and look at the beach at this time of year, they have to put snow fencing up to prevent sand getting up the main street. Efforts to support the dunes by planting dune grass that will survive the winter - admittedly that’s a tall order - would keep the beach from trying to migrate east every winter. Maybe it would prevent them from having to put up that snow fence all winter, which I don’t think is all that attractive. Landscaping and brickwork to make that turnaround area a more attractive welcome to the beach is
Rotary Club of Grand Bend Ron Hunt and Craig Scott As told to Casey Lessard Ron: Rotary is behind this project. We think it should go ahead. Craig: It becomes a matter of attracting people. Kincardine has just done a fabulous job in its beachfront. Goderich, 10 years ago, built a beach that wasn’t even there and made it accessible. Port Stanley is pouring money into its beach. You can’t just sit back and think people are going to come. Just because you think you have the best beach doesn’t mean it’s going to stay the best. If you look at all of the small towns across Canada, they all want to have something to promote. Many of them do not. Many of them don’t have a special project to dig their teeth into. They don’t have a waterfront. They don’t have a park in the middle of town. Grand Bend has the most fantastic natural beach and facility anybody could dream of and the town itself had not embraced that project. We felt for the betterment of the community at large, that if we could start the project and bring in like-minded partners like the foundation, like the town of Lambton
very positive. Planting trees there for shade is very important as we get into more UV problems with people getting too much sun. The shade would be good for vehicles and for the people who are down on the beach area. I know one of the most controversial things is the children’s play area and the water play area, and the municipality has to take the public’s input on that and consider, Is it in the right location and is it the right facility? I personally believe it’s important to have something like that for children. There’s been a lot of talk about whether it’s safe. At this point, we have lifeguards on the beach and children are playing near the main water area under their parents’ supervision. This would get them away from the potentially rough water, because it is dangerous when the flags are up and it’s
Shores to support this, we could really do something terrific for the community. Ron: We want to have the best facilities down there, but we want to have the best water we can possibly have. If there are problems with the water, we want it identified and we want something done about it. We were the ones who told Lambton Shores about Blue Flag (a designation recognizing water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services). Craig: They’ve come to realize that if they can achieve the Blue Flag designation, it’s fantastic for the beach. It’s a feather in your cap if you can get it. A consensus among the club was that we should finish the beach project that had been started at the time of the Canada Summer Games. At the same time as we started that project, the natural part is that you have to have a water quality project to go with it. The focus was, if we do a beach enhance-
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posted as a rough water day. You often will hear it said that after the Labour Day weekend, the village gets to take back its community. Grand Bend has always attracted a huge number of young people, and the beach is a big part of that. It’s always going to be difficult to balance the needs of families interested in using the beach against those of young people who are coming to have a good time. The two really are not compatible. The beach enhancements will change the demographic. Grand Bend is a huge and growing tax base for the municipality of Lambton Shores. You’ll find the same number of entries in the phone book in Grand Bend as you do for Exeter. If you look at the facilities the village has to offer, it has a hugely different level of services. It’s about time the level of
ment project and a water quality project, that should stimulate the main street project. We don’t have much control over that; that’s really up to the landowners. Ron: Hopefully it will lead to a better main street. That’s a whole other project. Make it an attraction so visitors can come. We have something great now. Keep it the same way only make it better. This is the third year we’ve been putting $20,000 into the beachfront. That’s doubled by the Community Foundation, and then it’s all doubled by the municipality. Our money has been going into this pile, but we haven’t really had anything to put it into. We put the money into the elevator, which should be completed shortly. Craig: There are people in wheelchairs who don’t have access to seeing the view from the upper level, and that’s a natural place for them. They’re out of the way and not trapped at ground level. We felt that ’s a ver y positive thing. At all the meetings we’ve been to,
the beach area and downtown continued to improve with the neighbourhoods in the area. The municipality is quite upfront about the fact that it makes significant revenues from that parking lot, and in my mind, that could go a long way toward maintaining that facility. It’s laudable that the municipality wants to keep that money in and around the beach area where they’re making it. There’s no question the municipality can’t fund the whole thing. Grand Bend has shown in the past if you capture the community’s interest in a project, they will come up with the funding. I feel there’s a large groundswell of support, maybe not for the project as it exists - it may need some tweaking. When we’ve got the municipality willing to improve the beach, why wouldn’t we take advantage of the opportunity to improve that area?
no one has ever said anything negative about putting that elevator in. Ron: Hopefully the technology will get around the sand. Consultants are looking into that, and hopefully it won’t be a problem. Craig: We’ve had one other holdup, and that’s that we don’t own Government Road and we don’t own the pier yet. They are an integral part of the plan. The federal government won’t sell you anything that isn’t in good condition. It’s my understanding there’s X amount of money to be spent on the pier. That’s spent by the federal government before you take ownership of it. Ron: Rotary’s not in the business of the ongoing maintenance of something. We do the capital expenditure. We raised all the money for the Rotary trail that goes down to the Pinery. However, it was turned over to Lambton Shores, so it’s theirs. We help keep it clean and help with the benches. Otherwise, it’s their responsibility. Craig: We have the finest public beach in southwestern Ontario, and we want to make it better. Our thought was that we’ve let people down on the facility. We have to build on that. Grand Bend itself is a beach destination, and we want to make it a better experience.
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6 • GrandBendStrip.com
Strip at the Beach: Special Report
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
A vision for Grand Bend beach
All images courtesy EDA Collaborative Inc. Top and above left and right are sketches of proposed changes to Grand Bend’s main beach parking lot and adjacent property. The top image shows plans for the main and north beach. The plans include a living “green” roof (#12), dune reenhancement (#16), and paved pedestrian walkway (#4). Far left is the proposed children’s area. Above is the turnaround and proposed promenade. The proposed children’s play area will include wet and dry areas; some of the possible amenities are shown left and below.
The Strip Remembers
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
GrandBendStrip.com • 7
rising crust pizza
half pork loin roast
Grade 9 student Jaemi Douglas won first prize in the SHDHS Remembrance Day poster contest.
Glenn Bryson was among the veterans at the Grand Bend Legion’s Remembrance Day ceremony.
A tribute to vets Photos by Casey Lessard
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Top: Harry Dougall of Exeter performs at the Grand Bend Legion’s ceremony. Left: Arnold Robicheau of Clandeboye was with the RCR in Germany and Cyprus. “We should always remember,” Robicheau said after the SHDHS ceremony. “We shouldn’t forget the ones who served. My dad served from 1939 to ‘45. It encouraged me to join the forces when I got old enough.” Above: Levon Cross of Shipka pins a poppy to a wreath at the high school ceremony.
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8 • GrandBendStrip.com
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Rock ‘n’ roll helps retired steelworker kick drugs Story and photos by Casey Lessard Originally from Wales, Bill Osmond is a retired steel refinery instrument technician and Elvis tribute artist. He lives with his wife in Grand Cove Estates. I was watching an Elvis concert - one of the last ones before he died. He walked on stage and he was just a balloon. He was so swollen and white and sweating. His words were garbled. He looked like he was dying, he was so far up on drugs. I thought to myself, if I don’t get off narcotics, that’s going to be me. I discovered Elvis when I was 10 years old. We had a sleepover at a friend’s house and we slept in his sister’s room. She was a teenager, and she had a picture of this strange looking guy leaning against a gate. He was wearing a red shirt and sneakers. It’s kind of a famous picture. When I started to hear his music, I thought he was fantastic. I was an Elvis fan until he came out of the army. Then, of course, we had the Beatles, the Stones, the Yardbirds and the Beach Boys, so I kind of went off Elvis. I still liked him, but it wasn’t the music of the day. Then in 1970, I saw an album of his called Moody Blue at the supermarket, so I bought it. His voice was much deeper and it had a new excitement. I got right back into it. I was working the steelworks at night, walking on the catwalks and I’d be singing my brains out. I’d go into the workshop and I’d always be singing there. Six months after I came to Canada, I was picked to go and commission a new strip mill. The second day on the job I had this terrific pain in my back. It just brought me to my knees. The engineer saw me and called the ambulance. I thought I was having a heart attack, the pain was so real. That was my first kidney stone. They shot me full of demerol to get the pain down. They operated on the stone to get the stone back in the kidney. There was nothing for about five years, and then they came
Elsie Hillrich will be sending this photograph by Stacey Pfaﬀ to friends in Montreal. “He’s good,” Hillrich said. “We all enjoy it very much.”
Is Elvis in the building?
He’s not Elvis, but Bill Osmond (right) close enough for the residents at Bluewater Rest Home in Zurich. Gertrude Stade (below) was convinced. “I kept my foot going,” Stade said. “I guess that’s why he shook hands with me.”
quicker and quicker. I got kidney stone disease, and it got to be impossible for me to go to work. Every time I’d go to work, they’d be shipping me out in the ambulance to operate on me. I had every operation going for kidney stones, including a kidney transplant. In the end, the company said, “If you want to retire early, we’ll give you a part pension and carry your benefits on for life.” We moved to Grand Bend in 2000. I was on a lot of pain pills. I was kind of out of it and very dependent on the drugs. I hurt my back and went to the health centre here, and there was a Chinese doctor who gave me acupuncture for pain. I never thought acupuncture really worked, but it did. It took me about six months to get off all the narcotics I was on. I did it gradually myself. One day I thought, maybe I’ll go down and sing some karaoke at the Riverbend, so I did. I was singing different songs, and one of them was an Elvis song. Women would come up to me with their husbands, and ask me to sing another Elvis song. After doing that three or four times, I thought this might be something to do in my retirement. I went to an Elvis competition in Brantford. All I had was a black shirt with a large collar on it. There I met a guy named Marcus Wells who is one of the top Elvis guys in Ontario, and he gave me my first jumpsuit. He said, “You should have a jumpsuit because you’ll get more points from the judges. I’ve got one for you; I’ll send it to you when I get home.” I do parties and stagettes, and whatever. When my dad’s partner died suddenly, we had to go down to Port Dover and rescue him; we put him in the Bluewater rest home. I found
out that they had volunteers going in to sing to these people. I volunteered my time one day, and I thought, this isn’t going to really go with these old ladies. But into the third song, I’m singing Teddy Bear, and they’re all tapping their hands and their feet, and they’re all listening intently. I thought they’d all be fast asleep. I’ve done that place about four times now. They just love it down there. I get more out of doing stuff for people like that than getting paid for jobs. You’re rewarding people that need to be rewarded, who are forgotten about. Being in pain, I can understand other people’s pain. Being locked up in a ward, I can understand the people in Bluewater or Forest, or the other places I sing. It gives me more compassion to people who are worse off than I am myself. The pain clinic had told me I’d have to be on narcotics the rest of my life. But the more you’re on narcotics, the more they become no use to you. It doesn’t free you from the pain for long. Maybe three or four months. You’re in a dream world all the time. It made me aggressive sometimes, it made me cry sometimes. I was living in a plastic world, and nothing was real. Now when I have a stone, I go the hospital and have a shot to get me over the worst part, then live it out at home. I’m a lot happier now than I’ve ever been and people don’t shy away from me. I enjoy the good times and lay down when I’m not feeling well. Bill Osmond is available to perform as Elvis; you can contact him at 519-238-2005 or via email at email@example.com. He performs free for local non-profits.
Grand Bend Strip
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Make tonight a cosy autumn evening
GrandBendStrip.com • 9
Principal’s Page By Jeff Reaburn, SHDHS
Recipes supplied by chef Cara Funk, Eddington’s of Exeter Casual Fine Dining Winter is not far away and this is a good Main St, Exeter. () - or http://www.eddingtons.ca time to review our inclement weather policies Soup: Red lentil and apple with a hint of curry f inished with a drizzle of Canadian maple syrup and procedures. Entrée: Rosemary roasted spaghetti squash with crispy fried bacon. Sautéed white asparagus The decision to cancel buses and close tossed with shallots, and red Bartlett pear f inished with fresh torn basil and aged cheddar schools is made after consultation amongst On a cozy evening there is nothing better then the aromas of autumn vegetables roasting, bus contractors, the roads crews, and school fried bacon, and fresh herbs. This a great dinner to sets the mood for comfort on those lazy administrators. Normally, we try to have a evenings in. My first intention for this meal was to create a healthy vegetarian dinner; however, decision by 6:30 a.m. so that the announcethe suggestion of having a meal without any meat was not the most appealing to my husband. ments can be on the radio by 7 a.m. And the white asparagus scared him a bit as well. So I did what every cook knows to do when However, it is not always possible to do this. cooking for the gourmet-challenged, I added bacon and cheese. Everything tastes better when Snowsqualls are very unpredictable and someyou add those two ingredients. The result was a fantastic dinner full of flavour and texture. It’s times we have relative calm up until 7, and then squalls set in, causing us to make the easy to prepare with restaurant appeal. Our soup is earthy and rustic, and features red lentils, which cook faster then other varieties decision far later than we would like. Our normal procedure when we cancel the of legumes. It’s a nice way to warm up on an autumn evening. buses is to close the elementary schools and keep the high school open for study purposes only (no classes), for students and staff who Sweetly curried apple lentil soup can safely get there. At South Huron, the Serves 4 to 6. school stays open unless the highways are closed or we lose power or water. 2 tbsp olive oil Bus cancellations and school closures are 1 large red onion chopped announced in several ways. The notices are 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped emailed to radio and television stations (pro3 stalks of celery chopped vided we don’t lose our electricity), but the 4 small to medium carrots chopped best source of information is our school or 3 royal gala apples chopped board web-site. The following websites will 1 cup red lentils rinsed have information about which buses are can1 sprig rosemary chopped celled and which schools are closed: www. 2 tbsp curry powder shdhs.ca, www.yourschools.ca, and www.our3 cups chicken stock (homemade is best, store-bought low-sodium stock will do) 3 cups water 2 tbsp maple syrup
schoolbuses.ca/delaysandcancellations.htm. In the event that we have to change or update the information, or if a power outage prevents us from emailing it, we will call AM 980 in London or FM 102 in Wingham. Last year, the A Channel announced bus and school cancellations by running a notice across the bottom of the TV screen. However, the announcement was rather general and their intent was for viewers to go to the A Channel web-site for more specific details. For example, if buses were cancelled or schools were closed anywhere in the Board, the announcement read “Avon Maitland District School Board: buses cancelled and schools closed.” This created considerable confusion at times for some of our students and parents when schools in our area were open but other AMDSB schools were not. When bad weather arises after students have arrived at school, we do not generally send students home before the usual dismissal time. First of all, if the weather is bad and road conditions have deteriorated, the last place we want students is out on the road. Second, local road crews know when our buses will be on the road, and they try to make sure that the roads have been cleared. Lastly, we need to ensure that someone is at home, particularly for younger students, and we do not want to risk sending them to a home where the doors may be locked and no one home. In a worstcase scenario, we would keep students at the school or find billets in town. Students have received their Semester One Mid-Term Reports; they need to be signed by a parent and returned by November 30.
Cook onions in olive oil until soft. Add garlic, celery, carrots, apple and lentils. Add rosemary, curry powder and cook until vegetables are soft. Add stock and water and simmer until lentils become soft and falling apart, about 30-40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth in texture. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Rosemary roasted squash Take two medium-sized spaghetti squash and cut each in half lengthwise, removing the seeds. Season each half with rosemary, salt and pepper and olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven skin side up, for 20-25 minutes.
Sautéed white asparagus with pears and shallots Slice one shallot and three pears and put in frying pan with eight trimmed asparagus spears and 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook until asparagus is tender yet still crispy. Finish by adding hand torn basil leaves and sliced aged cheddar. (I used four-year cheddar).
Fried bacon (Note: start the bacon in cold frying pan.) Cut six strips of bacon into three pieces each and cook on medium heat. Plate the squash and asparagus, and top squash with bacon.
Just then (on cue), the boys of a crew drew in to listen to the chainsaw sing. A thick wooded lot: recruiters, patriots, they nodded Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.
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10 • GrandBendStrip.com
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Evening grosbeaks make a rare visit to Ailsa Craig Living in Balance By Jenipher Appleton Mid 1960s: a typical February morning in Bracebridge, Muskoka at my house. Minus thirty degrees Fahrenheit. My pajama-clad father with winter coat over-top, armed with a bucket of striped sunflower seed, boots crunching over the backyard snow. His goal was to satisfy the voracious appetites of at least a hundred evening grosbeaks waiting in the naked maple tree for their daily feeding. The ancient maple would be festooned with the stunning yellow plumage of the evening grosbeaks. And there they would wait for him to fill the feeders, and to pour copious seeds onto the dining room windowsill. Soon after the solitary bird man had returned to his kitchen, multitudes of grosbeaks would descend upon the seed, affording us a very close-up view of these dazzling finches. Several sported metal ID bands around their skinny ankles. Bird research was very much alive and well during the mid‘60s. Without warning, a neighbourhood cat might slink into the yard and the sunny throng would be gone in a trifle, the cacophony would cease and the old maple would be bare once more. Gone are the days that we see the evening grosbeaks in such enormous numbers. The evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) is a plump, sturdy finch. It has a thick cone-shaped bill ideal for cracking seeds. Its plumage is unmistakable, with the brilliant yellow body and conspicuous gold band across the forehead. The snow- white wing patch is also distinctive. They were first noted in the early 19th century in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and were named evening grosbeaks because
the settlers thought they came out of the woods only to sing after sundown. This, of course, is not true. I prefer to associate the name with the beauty of a golden sunset. Their range has spread as far east as Newfoundland and Labrador and as far south as Alabama and Georgia. Such wanderings of the grosbeaks have been traced through the ID banding of the birds, beginning in the 1960’s.
Feeding Evening grosbeaks primarily eat seeds from the cones of spruce, balsam fir and other conifers, but also enjoy seeds and fruits from various deciduous trees. The favourite choice at feeders is any type of sunflower seed. They are truly voracious, known to wolf down 95-100 seeds in a minute! Grosbeaks will feed on the ground and love tray-style feeders. What a Tom Appleton captured these evening grosbeaks on camera as evidence welcome addition these magnificent birds are to your back that Jenipher had missed their visit. yard, even if they are a little hard on the pocketbook. feeder in our back yard (it doesn’t take too much to entertain us). I set off at a jog in hopes of seeing the birds. Alas! When I arrived at home, the elusive grosbeaks had already left. Ever Current sightings In all of the 28 years that we have lived on our country the skeptic, I asked husband and son, “Are you sure it wasn’t property north of Ailsa Craig, we have had the pleasure of just some really big fat goldfinches?” Somewhat slighted, they the grosbeaks only twice; and certainly not in the hordes that assured me that they had definitely seen evening grosbeaks. abounded in the ‘60s. A small grouping of perhaps six to eight They proved it by bringing out the digital camera. Indeed, birds is all that we have seen. Earlier this month, I was walk- on the screen were a few of the magnificent birds. I was sorry ing down our road with Fergus the Labrador puppy when my to have missed them but am hoping they drop by again soon. cell phone rang. It was my husband bearing the exciting news Now that our spruces are so mature, the chances are better that there was a small flock of evening grosbeaks on the tray that they might.
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COMING SOON: Malt Shoppe Memories (The Satiniques) - Nov. 24 & 25 StarDust New Years Eve Party - Dec. 31
Book your Christmas party at the StarDust today!
To Do List
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
To Do: Nov. 21 - Dec. 11
Approximately 1 hour in length featuring three or four bands and local floats followed by public skating at South Huron Recreation Centre. Contact Rob Reid 519 235-4756
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23
p.m. - Star Dust dinner theatre, Parkhill Malt Shoppe Memories featuring “The Satiniques.” 519-294-1141 or http:// www.stardustparkhill.com
to p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat Draw to p.m. - Huron Ridge Acres - Bronson Line, Zurich Poinsettia Celebration. Celebrate the season absorbing the beauty of the colourful varieties of poinsettias during this annual open house. Enjoy the ambience created by candlelight on Fri. and Sat. evening. Celebration continues Mon. to Sat. for two weeks 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact (519) 5652122; http://www.huronridge.on.ca : p.m. - Exeter, McNaughton Park Tree Lighting. Caroling, hot chocolate and treats. Family evening. Contact Liz Stephens 519 235-2214
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24 p.m. - Exeter Exeter Santa Claus parade.
and Luncheon. Sit down to p.m. - Grand Bend soup and dessert $3, bake CHC sale and craft sale. Contact: Stress Management Agnes Voyer 519-238-6267. T hrough the Holiday s. Profits to a local need. Join Social Worker Mickey Gurbin as she teaches you p.m. - Star Dust dinner theatre, how to manage your stress Parkhill before it manages you! Call Malt Shoppe Memories 238-1556 ext. 223 or ext 6 to featuring “The Satiniques.” register. 519-294-1141 or http:// to p.m. - Grand Bend www.stardustparkhill.com Legion Meat Draw to p.m. - Huron Ridge Acres - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1 Bronson Line, Zurich a.m. - Grand Bend Poinsettia Celebration. CHC See November 23. Grand Bend Community Foundation Awards : p.m. - Parkhill Presentation Santa Claus Parade to p.m. - Grand Bend Legion TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27 Live Music with Mark p.m. - Grand Bend Blayney Legion Bingo
p.m. to : p.m. Gables Grand Bend Optimists’ 11th annual Dinner Cabaret. 6 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner, 8:30 - 12:30 p.m. show. Silent auction throughout evening. Tickets: dinner and show $50; show only $20. To reserve, call 519238-2371. Entertainment by Mister E band “Ladies of the Eighties.” Proceeds to WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER Grand Bend Optimist Club. 28 to p.m. - Southcott a.m. to p.m. - Huron Pines clubhouse Ridge Acres - Huron Country Playhouse Bronson Line, Zurich Guild’s Annual Christmas Poinsettia Celebration. Wa s s a i l . A n n u a l e ve n t See November 23. will be catered this year by Between Friends. Please come out and join us for a SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25 fun afternoon! Guests and : to p.m. new members are welcome. Caddyshack, Grand For more information, please Cove, Grand Bend Ole Fashioned Bake Sale call Mary at 519-228-5640.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2
p.m. - Zurich Zurich lighted Santa Claus Parade. Contact V ickie Wilder (519) 263-5343
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC boardroom Alzheimer Caregiver Support. Everyone welcome. Contact the Alzheimer Society of Huron for more details 1-800-561-5012
GrandBendStrip.com • 11 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Bingo
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10
: to : a.m. Grand Bend CHC Healthy Eating In Store WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6 to p.m. - Grand Bend For You. Join community dietitian Miranda Burgess as CHC community room Men Can Cook Beginner she teaches you how to deciClass. Join our dietitian pher those food labels. Call Miranda as novice chefs 519-238-1556 ext 222 learn the basics of cooking. : to : p.m. - Grand Call 519-238-1556 ext 222 Bend CHC Heart Health Workshop. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7 to p.m. - Grand Bend Want to learn how to be heart healthy? Patricia Baker Legion RD CDC at 519-238-1556 Meat Draw ext. 235 to register.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8
to p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Horse races
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11
: a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Women’s Probus meeting. Topics: p.m. - StarDust, Grand Bend Public School Parkhill Toys and Turkeys with Music Program with Jim Rod Stewart tribute artist Brennan; Christmas finishing touches from Cranbury Doug Varty. See below. Lane, with owner Jim Snider and assistant Sue Dykes. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9 p.m. - StarDust, : p.m. - Port Franks Parkhill Community Centre See Dec. 8. Port Franks Garden Club : p.m. - Forest United Christmas Party. Dinner at 7 p.m. Church Forest Community Singers p.m. - Grand Bend present “The Messiah.” For Legion tickets, call Jim De Zorzi Bingo 519-243-1683, Jim Brennan 519-243-2990 or 1383, or Cathy Cober 519-786-4066
Winter Carnival events set
Briefs StarDust feeds local families
The StarDust dinner theatre wants your help making this Christmas a happy one for area kids and their families. The Parkhill theatre is donating the profits from its December 8 & 9 Rod Stewart (by Doug Varty) tribute shows to the Ailsa Craig food bank. The theatre will also receive donations of toys and non-perishable food items at the theatre that weekend from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days. Owner Dustin Pritchard hopes to be able to donate $3000 through Middlesex Christian Ministries. For tickets or information, call 519-636-8863 or visit http://www.stardustparkhill.com
YeeHaw! Benguin Goes Wild West for the 2008 Grand Bend Winter Carnival, which runs February 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9, 10. The Royal Canadian Legion hosts a country dance February 2, the Rotary parade is February 9, and events for children and adults will run both weekends. The Strip will keep you updated on all the events planned. The event organizing committee includes: chair Lynda Hillman-Rapley (Lakeshore Advance), Bob Uhrig (Sobeys), Mike Rahn (No Frills), Jen Gaukroger (Bikini Bobs), Tracey Ulch-Windsor (Riverbend), Judy Mason (Colonial/Gables), Diana Simpson (Oakwood), Neil Clifford (Lakeshore Advance), Karrie Rowcliffe, Jim Southcott (Rotary), and Chris Bregman (Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce).
Specials: Thursday - Shrimp & Wings Friday - All-U-Can-Eat Fish & Chips Saturday - Rib Dinner Sunday - Roast Beef Dinner
Gifts for golfers
Looking for a gift for your favourite golfer? The Lung Association’s Golf Privilege coupon books give you a chance to help the charity and get deals at courses across southwestern Ontario. For $39, you get 40 coupons for deals at 17 courses including Bayview Golf Club in St. Joseph, and Sand Hills Golf Resort in Thedford. For more information, call the Lung Association in Stratford at 519-271-7500.
Grand Bend’s Best Kept Secret (519) 238-2120
LIVE MUSIC! Everyone welcome Saturdays 3-6 p.m. Dec. 1 - Mark Blayney Dec. 8 - Join us for horse races
Nov. 30 & Dec. 1 Oakwood Inn Resort
NEW HOURS: Thurs. & Fri. - 4 to 10 p.m. Sat. & Sun. - 12 to 10 p.m.
10072 Poplar Ave.
Come out and play darts: Thursday nights - 7 p.m. Sunday afternoons - 2 p.m.
Port Franks 519-243-3636
Fun Darts Mondays @ 7 p.m. Bingo Tuesdays @ 7 p.m. Meat Draws Fridays @ 5 p.m. Hall rentals - contact Sharon (519) 238-6865
12 • GrandBendStrip.com
Strip: For a Good Kause
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Kruisin’ for a good Kause
Hundreds of motorcycles ﬁlled Grand Bend’s Main Street November 3 as bikers raised money and collected toys for area children’s charities during the annual Kause for Kids. The event is organized by Ontario’s West Coast Riders in conjunction with the Grand Bend Optimist Club, and hosted by Gables and the Colonial. Top left: Reid Burley of Grand Bend cruises the strip. “It’s a good cause,” Burley said. “They sure lucked out with the weather.” Top right: Ervin Vincent of Exeter takes in the sights. “It’s our ﬁrst time here,” he said. “Thought we’d ride our bike up.” Left: Riders decorated their bikes for the parade. Above: Colton Thompson, 4, of London protects his eardrums from the roar of the engines. Above right: Greg Jackson of London performs with the Mocha Trumpet band. Right: Julianna Zahn of Grand Bend hitches a ride with Santa.
Photos by Casey Lessard