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GG-Whiz! Grand Bend playwright Paul Ciufo nominated for Governor-General’s literary award for Reverend Jonah Born in Toronto, raised in Guelph and Mississauga, Paul Ciufo has called Grand Bend home for more than two decades. His first professional play, Reverend Jonah, was recently nominated for the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Drama. “It was probably the most pleasant surprise of my life,” says Blyth Festival artistic director Eric Coates of his response to Ciufo’s news. Blyth developed Ciufo’s and produced the play for the festival’s 2007 season. “It was one of the most gratifying moments in my career as someone who develops and produces new Canadian work.” Blyth scripts have been nominated for Governor-General’s awards twice over the years; both plays, The Drawer Boy and Quiet in the Land, won the award. “Competition is stiff,” Coates says. “Paul ’s work stood out among the best new plays in the country. “This play really forced people to take a look at faith, tolerance and inclusion, and they responded very well to it.”

As told to Casey Lessard Reverend Jonah is inspired by a couple of ministers, primarily a minister I know who got into conflict with the powerful families in the church where he was a minister, and there was a real clash, and it was quite devastating to him health-wise. It was quite poisonous for the church; quite a few members of the congregation stopped going over this because they disagreed with the antagonism toward the minister. I got incensed about that. This is a church, a place of love and support amongst its membership. I felt angry and sad that even that kind of human institution can be so flawed, that people can be seeking power there. I also had a relative who was a minister and it was quite taxing on him. He struggled with addiction issues and died at a young age. These are the starting points. I went to Blyth Festival and presented my idea for the play, and they said they liked it and would commission me. ‘We will work with you and we’ll get the first opportunity to produce the play when it’s done.’ That was a long process because it took me a long time to get this play right. When I started, what caused the conflict in the fictional church was much less controversial and smaller than what ultimately is the cause of the conflict in the church. The people at Blyth Festival were the ones who said, ‘Choose a bigger issue. It’s not realistic and it’s not incendiary enough.’ So I thought, why not choose the biggest issue facing churches right now, which is acceptance of gay and lesbian people. I’m really glad I did. This wasn’t the only thing I was working

on for those years. I’d take a run at it and take it to Blyth, and they’d say, ‘It’s getting better, but it’s still not ready.’ We did readings of it with actors, and they did that several times. This process started in 1999, and it wasn’t until 2006 that Blyth said, ‘Yes, we’re going to go ahead with this.’ And in summer 2007, it finally made its way to the stage. One thing I learned along the way was the process of a theatre company commissioning a writer. I always envisioned just sort of going off and doing your thing and then making the approach. I didn’t realize that you could go to a theatre company and say, ‘I’ve got an idea. Here’s an outline of the plot and the characters,’ and have them jump aboard with you in the process. I didn’t realize it would take so long. I almost totally lost faith in the project several times and gave up on it. The fact that it finally occurred was somewhat surprising. I got to a point where I thought, I just can’t get it to be good enough to be worthy of being on stage. But something about that story got me to give it another try. It finally paid off. The monetary payment is a very modest amount, and it’s in several installments. It’s not a lot of money (for seven years work). Do you want to do the hourly rate (laughs)? Knowing that someone is waiting to read your draft gives you extra motivation to get done, apart from your own satisfaction. Of course there’s always the chance that they might say, ‘It’s ready to be produced.’ That didn’t happen until the summer/fall of 2006. My emotions would ebb and flow. I would be out for a run in the Pinery and suddenly think about the play and say, That’s how I solve that problem. I’d come home and spend all weekend working on that. I’d get excited and that process of working on problems, deleting some characters, adding some subplot would lead to a new draft. I’d take it to Blyth and wait expectantly. In the early days, the artistic director was Anne Chislett, and she has won a Governor-General’s award for her play Quiet in the Land. She would say, you’re on to something, but you just need to keep working on it. To show you how long it took, there’s a new artistic director there. Fortunately, Eric Coates, who took over, also saw the value and potential in the play and kept encouraging me. When they say there’s something here, but it’s still lacking, it’s like you’ve completed a marathon and there’s another one in front of you because you put your best into that draft and it wasn’t good enough. Sometimes that meant putting it away and working on something else. For example, I did a radio play for CBC in 2002. Or I got a new idea for a

Strip VIPs play and would work on that. But I always circled back to Reverend Jonah and tried to get it right. It was this flow of hope followed by despair, followed by hope, followed by despair. There was a further complicating factor, and I’ll never know how big of a factor it was. I believe Blyth Festival saw it as a risk to put the play on because they have a core audience that may be deeply offended by a play with sensitive religious issues. The play had to be bang on artistically, but there was always the question of what the impact would be. Would sponsors stop supporting the festival? Eric Coates had a public reading of the play in the summer of 2006, and that may have been as much to road test it from an artistic merit standpoint as from a community reaction standpoint. The feedback was incredibly positive. The ministers at that reading stood up and said, ‘Paul, you got that right. That’s what ministers go through.’ Or, ‘Thank you for tackling this issue.’ Or, ‘This isn’t a play about one issue; it’s about community and acceptance.’ A lot of people connected to it in all sorts of ways. I’m also a rookie. I’ve only written one stage play before this called On Convoy. That got a tremendous non-professional production at the Livery Theatre in Goderich, and was produced as a radio play for CBC. But this was my first professionally produced stage play, so I had a lot to learn. I learned some things doing that CBC production working with very knowledgeable people there, such as executive producer James Roy and script editor Dave Carley. They really helped me understand parts of the craft, like how to structure a scene, how conflict works to drive a scene forward; basic things that are essential. I learned that writing is not just a talent. It’s a skill you have to hone and hone and hone. (When Blyth said it was ready,) first of all I felt joy. Yes! It’s going to see the light of day. It’s actually going to reach people and be seen. I was really excited and I essentially had the goal of having a play produced by Blyth for about a decade, so it was a realization of a long-term goal. I was very excited and very happy. Then there’s the buildup as the season was approaching. Then there was, surprisingly to me, a lot of work to be done on the script over the winter and spring. I was asked to be at the first week of rehearsals. I thought there would be some tweaking as the actors were

rehearsing, but major rewriting happened that week. I’d wake up in the morning and email the new script to the actors and the process would start again. What you’ve written on the page, when it’s a play, doesn’t tell the whole story. Actors move around, insights emerge into what’s working and what’s not. The major realization was that with one of the characters, I hadn’t done a very good job with her. The actress bravely said, ‘I don’t know who this character is; she’s just angry all the time.’ I was taken aback, but then I realized it was true and I had known all along that was true. I tried in the course of a very short time to flesh out that character. That has impacts on everything else when you’re adding a character and scenes. She is the life partner of arguably the most important character in the play. Bottom line, I learned a lot that week about the process. It was very intense. They rehearse for several more weeks and opening night arrives. To my surprise, I wasn’t very nervous. I knew they were going to do a good job. I will never forget that night because I just sat and watched these incredible performers totally nail it. The audience was so receptive. They were laughing at the funny parts and very moved at the poignant parts. There was so much energy in that. I was sitting among my family and friends and I got to watch their reactions. It was odd because I knew where every line was coming from. Two of the characters are based on my in-laws, so when Fred sings in the shower, I’m laughing, and the character based on my mother-in-law says ‘I can’t get him to sing a note in church.’ And she actually said that. It was really neat to watch it and be there in the moment while thinking of the background leading up to it. Paula Citron, a reviewer from Toronto, wrote the review every playwright hopes for when she said, ‘The play was beautifully written.’ That’s a wonderful thing because so often theatre reviews focus on the performance. I started sending the play out to other theatres, and nothing. I was told, ‘The cast is too big.’ A year goes by and there are no other productions. I had been hoping that since it was such a success that it would go on. I got contacted by Scirocco Drama publishing house that wanted to publish it. A play is in its most fully realized form on stage, so you don’t often think of plays in books except for Shakespeare. But plays are often published, and that’s how they are


studied in classrooms and that’s how theatre people get access to them and get inspired to put them on stage. It was really exciting because since the age of seven, I dreamt of having a book published. My first book idea was a mystery novel in the Hardy Boys style called the Mystery of Shadow Ranch. I had never thought that it would be a play that would get published. I also thought it would be a real struggle to find a publisher. You hear all these stories of authors who get 49 rejections, but here was a publisher who sought me out, so that was great.

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new work in the future, it will be easier to have people consider it. Blyth has commissioned me to write a play called The Five Day Whiteout. It’s a thriller/ murder mystery. The plot is that four people traveling separately by car are blinded by a whiteout and stranded on the side of a country road. A retired schoolteacher brings these five people into his house, and there’s a killer in their midst. My family is really excited for me. Julie is really happy for me and it’s her success, too, because she has to make sacrifices when I’m writing. I get the sense that she also thinks the sacrifices are worthwhile.

I knew theoretically (because only published plays may be nominated) that it could Paul Ciufo will f ind out November 18 be nominated for the Governor-General’s award, but I had no expectations of that. The whether he has won the Governor-General ’s publication date was September 30, and I award. The winner will attend a December just got a phone call the other Tuesday (Oct. ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa hosted by 21). The woman said, ‘I’m calling on behalf Governor-General Michaëlle Jean. The awards of the Canadian Arts Council,’ so my wheels are Canada’s oldest and one of its most prestistarted turning and I wondered why they gious literature awards. would be calling, and ‘I’m calling to inform you that you have been nominated in the drama category…’ and I’m thinking, Oh my God, it’s the Governor-General’s awards, which it was. It was quite a moment. I was really moved. I was at a business conference in Toronto, so it was a voicemail message I was listening to, and I was immediately a mess. All my writing life flashed through my mind. I saw myself as a kid working on that novel, as a very nerdy high school guy working on a spy novel in high school, and studying literature in university. W hether you paint or write, artistically it’s completely subjective. It’s tough to know whether what you do is good. There are always varying opinions on it. I tend to suspect the negative opinions are right. When something like this happens, a national award, it’s tough to dismiss that. Perhaps now it will be considered for more produc- The cover of Paul Ciufo’s play, Reverend Jonah. The book is nominated tions, so that’s positive. For for a Governor-General’s award for drama.

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4 • Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grand Bend Strip Special: Jesse Imeson trial

Thursday, November 13, 2008 • 5

Looking evil in the eye By Casey Lessard Similar to the crowd at a Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church, familiar faces fill the rows of seats at today’s gathering. I see Steve Dietrich, Pat and Marion Sullivan, Marty and Teresa Larkin, Don O’Rourke, and many Regiers. Instead of seeing Father Ray Lawhead at the front of this room, though, he is among the many. Family friends fill the seats house left, with Carlos Rivera’s family at the front. The Regiers occupy the entire house right side. Altogether, the court seats about 100. We, the media, number 20 and have the privileged position of occupying the jury boxes on either side of the court. It is now several minutes past ten o’clock, and we are waiting for Jesse Norman Imeson’s murder trial to begin. Unlike the Riveras, who used the front entrance, the Regier family was able to avoid the throng of reporters and photographers by using the back entrance. Their sober faces bely the fact that they must wonder what the lawyers at the front have to chuckle about. Perhaps today’s proceedings will bring good news. Hopefully those in attendance will leave with a lighter load than they carried in. At 10:10 a.m., Imeson’s defense lawyer Don Crawford comes to speak with the reporter ahead of me, Peter Edwards of the Toronto Star (he wrote the book One Dead Indian about the Ipperwash crisis). “We’ve got to stop meeting like this,” Crawford says. “Is this what it takes to get you out of Toronto and into the sticks?” My stomach growls. Knowing the courthouse would be full, I left home at 6:30 to ensure a seat. Normally I would be fine after a few hours without food, but the tension in the room makes my gut constrict. It is quiet, with only a spattering of whispers here, then there. The audience is still, staring forward. The court reporter fidgets, police stand on guard, and lawyers chat among themselves.

Crown Attorney Robert Morris reads the charges against Imeson. He will be pleading not guilty to first degree murder charges, but guilty to three counts of second degree murder. Morris tells the court that a guilty plea carries an automatic life sentence, with no parole for at least 10 years and up to 25. The lawyers have agreed that Imeson will serve concurrent life sentences with no parole for 15 years for the murder of Carlos Rivera, and no parole for 25 years for the murders of Bill and Helene Regier. Morris notes this is the maximum sentence available according to Canadian law, and is the same as a first degree sentence. Because he has killed more than one person, he is not eligible to reduce his sentence after 15 years. I have an odd vantage point. Jesse Imeson’s prisoner’s box is directly in my line of sight over Morris’ shoulder. We stare at each other, and it is an odd feeling to know he is helpless. This court controls his fate as he controlled the fate of his victims. Imeson stares at the bailiff as she reads the charges. As she tells him that he is charged with killing Bill Regier, his head drops. When she tells him of the charge regarding Helene Regier, he stares ahead. When she is finished, she asks how he wishes to plea. This is the first time I hear his voice. “Not guilty as charged, your honour,” he says the first of three times. “Guilty to the included offence of second degree murder.” His eyes widen as he finishes, and he stares at the judge. “Do you understand that by pleading guilty,” Justice Haines asks, “that by pleading guilty that you by your unlawful acts caused the deaths of Car los Rivera, Bill Regier and Helene Regier?” He nods. “Yes, your honour.”

Crown attorney presents the evidence of the case, and it’s shocking to hear the details of the deaths. Regier granddaughter Nicole Denomy’s audible wail breaks the silence when Morris recounts how Bill Regier was tied in a crucifixion pose while Helene was tied on the floor before being shot to death in the basement of their home. These are details I’ve never heard before this day, and it’s impossible to believe the crown did not have a case to find Imeson guilty of first degree “All rise.” Imeson stands and his face wrinkles. His murder. chains restrict him from scratching his nose. The court takes a break and returns to “Let me apologize for the delay,” says Superior Court Justice Roland Haines. “I hear victim impact statements. The Riveras realize this will e an emotional morning, but – Carlos’ mother and father and two brothI ask you to please restrain yourself from any ers (one brother was unable to attend) – had intended to present their own statements, but outbursts during the proceedings.” It’s 10:20, and the bailiff looks over her shoulder at the judge’s door. No action yet. “Go ahead and bring him out,” a voice crackles through an intercom behind the door to my right. Chains rattle beside me and the door opens. Police offices guide Jesse Imeson behind me and to the prisoner’s box in the middle of the court room.

are too overcome with emotion to speak. T h e i r l a w ye r J e n n i f e r Holmes presents on their behalf, and tells the court that Carlos’ mother, Maria, is unable to work, and is financially and physically insecure. “I’m a different person now. I cry constantly. I walk around in a daze thinking about him. At night, the thought of Carlos invades my mind. I have thoughts of taking my life. “Carlos was everything to me. This murderer killed Carlos’ dreams and my dreams as well.” Carlos’ father, Carlos Sr., wonders: “Did (Carlos) ask for help, or did he try to defend himself?” Carlos’ brother, Javier, would speak to Carlos every day after work. “Sometimes I come home and wait for the phone call that never comes.” The words of Alvero Rivera make Holmes break down. “He took me under his wing and made me into a man. He loved taking care of me. I love you. I miss you.” “Carlos helped take a demon out of society,” Hugo Rivera writes. Imeson reacts with a toothless grin, and it’s hard to tell whether he wants to laugh or growl. Clearly uneasy at this point, Imeson appears infuriated to have to listen to their testimony. The Regier family is next to speak, and they choose to face the killer directly. Daughter Carol Denomy speaks first: “Our lives are changed forever. In everything we do at work and at home, we see them. “We can no longer go to Mass with them, and sit on the front porch to watch the sunset. Our conversations with Mom and Dad kept us stable and rooted, always reminding us of what was important in life. “We will never forget this deep sorrow. It was sudden, violent, undeserved, and defenseless. The pain is sharp, raw, intense. “Violence is foreign to us. Our hearts are wrenched between an emotional torment of evil, grief, sadness, and fear. Breaking into the sanctuary of one’s home is a bizarre and barbaric act. “We carry on our lives because that is what our parents would have wanted us to do. “We are consumed by their absence.” Brother Paul Regier: “On that night, Bill and Helene looked evil in the eye. This tragic event has opened wounds of despair. We work obsessively to dull the pain of that warm summer’s evening when this cowardly act changed us forever. “There is no justice… neither sentence nor compensation will euthanize our sense of loss and anger. Although this tragedy has shattered the peace and tranquility in our families

and community, for our own health we are all trying in our own ways to graft on to the wound in our family’s tree a healthy memory of happier times.” Granddaughter Nicole Denomy: “We have all become more skeptical of how safe we really are in our homes. Moving out on my own has been postponed because every night I am reminded of how my grandparents were taken from this earth. “It is ironic that two selfless people who lived their entire lives for everyone around them were taken at the expense of one person’s incredible selfishness. Grandma and Grandpa would have given him a chance if only he had done the same for them. “Our family is tired of associating Grandma and Grandpa’s wonderful life with the wickedness of this man.” Granddaughter Kelli Rathwell: “O ur Grandpa had said in a conversation a couple weeks before his and Grandma’s heinous death, ‘This world is changing, you just watch.’ “I believe that when a person is at their very worst, it is because no one is around. “Please know that you have done our family no favours on this day. But always remember, although you did not listen to the plea of our beautiful grandparents for their life, their family has listened to yours.” Accepting the crown’s evidence, Don Crawford says the DNA stands for itself, but tells the court that Imeson did not go to the Regier farm with the intention of killing anybody. “Things,” he says, “unfortunately got out of hand.” Defending the plea bargain, Crawford tells the court that the families “have been spared the anguish of having to testify at a preliminary inquiry and a subsequent trial. “I can’t imagine the amount of money that would have been spent,” he reminds the judge. While Imeson chooses not to apologize in the courtroom, he has given his lawyer a statement to read. “I will be an old man when I am released, if ever. I am truly sorry. Please forgive me.” The judge’s reaction seems more honest. “It is apparent they were extraordinary people,” Justice Haines says. “I would like to express my sympathy and extend my condolences.” After finalizing the details, the judge sends Imeson to serve his sentence at a federal facility outside of Ontario. We get one last look at Imeson, and I am the last person he sees before he leaves the court. We stare at each other as we have done many times this day. Feeling no fear, I hold my stare with an emotionless face. I now know the depth of his transgression. He breaks and looks to his left. Is this one moment of true embarrassment? The door closes. “This court is closed for the day,” the bailiff says.

Strip Thoughts

6 • Thursday, November 13, 2008

So, why did he do it?

If there is any reason people feel uneasy about the Jesse Imeson trial, I suggest it is this: we still have no explanation for why Jesse Imeson decided to kill Carlos Rivera, and Bill and Helene Regier. At least Imeson has an explanation for the former, claiming that Rivera was sexually assaulting him by performing fellatio as he slept. That’s certainly possible; no one has the right to touch you without your permission, let alone perform oral sex on you. Imeson claims he woke up to see Rivera performing said act, and strangled Rivera to death with his belt. He told Lindsay Glavin that another guy did it, and that he watched as Rivera’s “eyes went white and blood bubbles came from his nose.” Later, he told a Quebec police officer, “the gay guy, if I had to do it again, I would do it.” With regards to the murders of Bill and Helene Regier, his lawyer relayed an apology at his Oct. 27 trial, telling the Regier family that he didn’t intend to kill Bill and Helene. His alleged lack of intent in the Regier case, and crime of passion argument in the Rivera case seem to have saved him from facing first degree instead of second-degree murder charges. But this is where I get confused. Why did the crown believe anything Imeson said? He has already proven himself to be a liar and a con artist. In fact, everything he says is sus-

pect, especially his insulting and ridiculous apology. No one witnessed the murders except Imeson, so I suppose we have to take into consideration his testimony. Fine, believe the method, but doubt the rationale. I will never believe that Imeson did not intend to kill any of his victims, especially the Regiers, whose hands he had tied so they would be helpless. Bill was tied to the posts and rafters holding up the house, and Helene was securely bound on the floor. Neither of them was going anywhere, and Imeson would have had many hours to flee. So why do it? Why pull the trigger, not once, but many times until they were more than dead? It’s disgusting to think of Imeson’s rationale for the act, and the fact that they were in a harmless state tells me that he had intent. Apparently, he had plenty of time to think about it. And if this is the way he approached a murder he “didn’t intend” to do, how did he approach Carlos Rivera? We will never know. There is some consolation in the fact that Jesse Imeson is locked up for the next 25 years. It’s the most our justice system can do. So why does he seem pleased? I can’t help feeling that he believes he’s still in control, and that he’s going to be remembered. On the latter point, at least, he’s right. However, unlike the heroic demon he seems to hope we will recall, I’ll just remember him as a bottom-rung loser who tried to bring others down. The Rivera and Regier families won’t forget him either. Fortunately, they won’t have to look at his face for another 25 years, and then, as Carol Denomy says, they “will remain vigilant to ensure in 25 years that Jesse Imeson remains behind bars.” We should all do the same.

Editor’s Note: The Optimist Club of Dashwood is encouraging area students to expound on the phrase “The Power of Youth” as part of the Optimist International Essay Contest for 2009. The Optimist Club will judge the local students’ essays, based on the theme of “The Power of Youth,” and determine the top winners. Winners will receive awards and the

winning essays will be sent to the district level. Essays will be judged at the district level, and each district will send top entries to the international level. College scholarships are available for top winners at the district and international levels. Students wishing to participate in the essay contest can find out more about the contest by contacting the club at 519-237-3870.

View from the Strip By Casey Lessard Warning: graphic details of the Rivera and Regier murders follow. Discretion is advised.

Publisher/Editor: Casey Lessard Advertising Sales: Casey Lessard Chief Photographer: Casey Lessard Grand Bend Strip P.O. Box 218 Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0 CANADA Phone: (519) 614-3614 Fax: 1 (866) 753-2781

Distribution: Joan McCullough, Rita Lessard and Casey Lessard Contributors: Tom Lessard - my dad Rita Lessard - my mom Anjhela Michielsen - social justice Jenipher Appleton - nature/birding Lance Crossley - national affairs Lorette Mawson - interior design James Eddington - fine dining

Two sides of the same coin What the U.S. and Canadian elections reveal about “democracy” Alternative View By Lance Crossley On the surface, the recent Canadian and U.S. elections seem like a study in contrast. The Canadian election recorded the nation’s lowest voter turnout in history – a paltry 59 per cent – which is a shameful outcome for a country whose average turnout for the last half century exceeded 70 per cent. Meanwhile in the U.S., voters turned out in historic numbers. Early estimates report that two-thirds of eligible voters made their voices heard – no small feat for a country where only about half of eligible voters marked their ballots during the last 50 years. But upon closer examination, both of the North American elections point to two countries that are alarmingly removed from real democracy; that is, an informed public making rational decisions based on how proposed policies will affect them. Both campaigns, albeit in very different ways, illustrate how elections have moved away from real democracy and have been taken over by advertising firms. Elections are now about selling a product – the candidate’s personality – and not ideas. Canadians had four national parties that offered a number of distinct policy visions. We had the most neoliberal party in the country’s history (Conservatives), an idea to fundamentally change our tax system (Liberals), an offer to implement a national pharmacare program (NDP), and some of the most environmentally progressive policies this country has ever seen (Green). These various political visions were met by a collective yawn from the Canadian public. Voting was reduced to whether Dion was a

“real leader” and what kind of sweater Harper was wearing. The Canadian election’s failure was one of branding, not policy. In contrast, the U.S. offered two candidates whose political differences were grossly exaggerated. Neither candidate represented any real change to American imperial policy. There was virtually no difference in their stance toward so-called Russian and Iranian “aggression”, except for John McCain’s more macho rhetoric. There were real differences to their ideas on Iraq. But the sum of American foreign military involvement will be about the same, as President-elect Barack Obama wants to transfer many of the troops in Iraq to Afghanistan. Domestically, both McCain and Obama hurriedly offered a no-strings-attached endorsement of Wall Street’s $700-billion bailout, confirming the fact that both parties are firmly in the pockets of the financial elite. But Americans were galvanized by a despised president and an ailing economy. They were desperate for a hero. Obama, an articulate and poetic speaker, was the perfect personality for the times. He managed to inspire not only Americans but the entire world. But his success was largely based on enthusiasm for his charismatic personality and motivational speeches, not his political ideas. It’s not that inspiration is not important. But if our elections continue to be determined by either the presence or absence of a cult of personality, then “change” will remain more of a feeling than a reality for both countries.

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Strip in the Arctic

Thursday, November 13, 2008 • 7

North of Summer We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. - T.S. Eliot

Story and Photos by Andy McGuire For two weeks in mid-September I traveled to the Canadian Arctic with a group of nearly 100 other travelers, organized through Adventure Canada. After flying from Ottawa to Resolute (which lies at the 75th parallel), we boarded the Lyubov Orlova – the Yugoslavian-built, Maltese-owned, Russianmanned, Canadian-chartered, double-hulled ship that would be our floating home for the next two weeks. From Resolute the ship travelled down the east coast of Baffin Island, crossed the Davis Strait for a three-day visit to Greenland, and returned to Baffin to complete the east coast of the island, ending in Iqaluit. The trip was sponsored by the Walrus Foundation and was as much a tour of Canada’s polar region as it was a crash-course on all issues Arctic – and I was eager to learn. We were equipped with a resource staff team of about 15 professionals ranging from marine biologists and other scientific folk to musicians, writers, and academics working in the humanities. Every day three different resource staff members each delivered lectures on various topics pertaining to Arctic wildlife, Inuit life, and northern political issues, which were followed by discussion. Needless to say, much learning happened during the trip, academic and otherwise. There were many things I witnessed that I was only accustomed to seeing in movies, magazines, and books: snow-capped mountain ranges littered with glaciers; icebergs the size of city blocks and stretching higher than apartment buildings; watching one hundred walrus sunbathing on a tiny island in Frobisher Bay. We visited many small Inuit

and Greenlandic communities and were warmly received at each destination as guests rather than tourists. What follows are a few excerpts from my journal noting a few of the moments that will remain highlighted in my own memory of travelling through the far north. Saturday, September 13, 2008 This morning the ship anchored off of Beechey Island. This small, desolate island situated near the 75th parallel is a significant site in the history of Arctic exploration, specifically the quest for the Northwest Passage, a trade route that, when mapped, would historically link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans via the Canadian Arctic. In 1845, Sir John Franklin set sail in search of the Passage, yet he and his entire crew would eventually perish as a result of hypothermia, tuberculosis, and

lead poisoning. It is here on Beechey Island that the graves of three of Sir John Franklin’s men were discovered in 1851 by British and American vessels. The common belief among forensic archaeologists and many academics is that the men died largely due to lead poisoning, caused by the lead-soldered cans storing their food. To this day, the three men on Beechey Island remain the only members of Franklin’s crew whose bodies were ever found. It was an appropriately gloomy day for our visit. Stepping out of the zodiac and onto the beach I felt a very real and pressing sense that this small patch of land demanded my respect. It was the sort of feeling one usually gets when visiting important historical sites, but this place in particular was terrific in its remote barrenness. It was difficult to reconcile the fact that three men – including one my age, 25 – died marooned on this island at the edge of the world, yet I had just enjoyed a coffee and muffin before going ashore. Our fellow passenger and resident Newfoundland musician, Daniel Payne, sang the traditional song “Concerning Franklin and His Gallant Crew” a capella as we stood in front of the graves. It was a very moving and fitting tribute to Petty Officer John Torrington, Royal Marine Private William Braine, and Able Seaman John Hartnell, who are still stranded in the imagination of Canadians on Beechey Island.

Beechey Island, Sept. 13, 2008

Sir John Franklin and his crew set out in 1845 in search of the Northwest Passage; his entire crew perished. Only three men’s graves were found.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 It’s now late afternoon and I’m back on the ship after visiting Pond Inlet, a small community with a population of about one thousand people on the northwest corner of Baffin Island. Houses in Pond are modest in

size and unornamented; they are built simply for living. There is little industry in this remote Arctic town. The town’s Economic Development Officer Colin Saunders tells me that, from an economic standpoint, the community relies heavily on the annual seal hunt, which last year brought in over $100,000 for the community. Because the town lies quite far north geographically (around the 72nd parallel), the cost of living is astronomical compared to the south. To get goods to Pond, the shipping cost is about $14/kg, and federal subsidies reduce the cost to about $12/kg. As a result, the Inuit woman in front of me at the local co-op grocery store spent over $430 on a single, small box of canned and boxed food, plus some bread and milk. Saunders also gave me insight into the seal hunt, which Sir Paul McCartney opposes. Our southern view of the hunt ignores the reality of the intimate and respectful relationship between the Inuit and the seal. As a southerner it was very interesting to learn, in the most direct way possible, about the dynamic existing between southern perspectives on life in northern communities such as Pond and the reality of life in such northern towns. The reality was that everybody I passed smiled and said hello to me, and almost all of the children I passed would stop to ask where I was from and chat. I enjoyed myself tremendously in Pond, wandering around town, talking and laughing with locals – simply being there. Although the box of Pop Tarts I treated myself to cost six dollars, I would highly recommend that any Arctic traveler add Pond Inlet to their itinerary. (continued on page 8)

Strip in the Arctic

8 • Thursday, November 13, 2008

Uummanaq, Greenland - September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 Today was a full day of chugging across the open waters of Davis Strait en route to Greenland. Earlier this afternoon, Franklyn Griffiths, a resource staff member representing Walrus magazine, lead a discussion entitled “The Politics of the Northwest Passage”. The issue of Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, and, in particular, our claim to ownership of the Northwest Passage, has been debated for some time between polar nations, including the United States, Russia and Canada. Griffiths explained that other polar nations agree that the Passage – that is, the water and its contents – belongs to Canada. However, the United States and others main-

tain that the Passage is an international strait because it connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Beaufort Sea and eventually the Pacific, and thus it is not necessary for foreign vessels to “ask permission” before using the waterway. The issue is management. For instance, consider a hypothetical situation involving an ill-equipped, poorly maintained and perhaps even poorly-manned foreign vessel entering the waters of the Northwest Passage, crashing and spilling its contents into Canadian waters. Perhaps the most obvious question would be who would “pick up the bill” for such a massive clean-up endeavour, since the cost of operating in the Arctic is enormous. Griffiths suggested that spending money to defend the

Pond Inlet - September 14, 2008

passage against such disasters is senseless considering the narrow window of usage (approximately two months during the summer). Instead of focusing on Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, Franklin suggested the dialogue be focused more on the idea of stewardship: management rather than protection. “If the Arctic were to become a geographical area of conflict,” he says, “we would all be in trouble.” Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Early this morning the ship anchored offshore from Uummanaq, Greenland, population 1,500. Translated as “heart-shaped”, the small community on Greenland’s northwest coast derives its name from the immense

heart-shaped mountain adjacent the town. In Uummanaq one sees a handful of beautiful small, pastel-coloured homes and a modest harbor, suggesting the presence of a fishing industry. Besides the presence of a vibrant fishing industry, the visible differences between Greenlandic and Canadian Inuit communities can also be attributed to the fact that Greenland, although governed by homerule, still receives around three billion dollars annually from Denmark. The highlight of my visit to Uummanaq was hearing a performance by the local church choir, which had just returned the previous day from a European tour that ended in Paris, France. (continued on page 9)

Walruses in Nunavut - September 22, 2008

Strip in the Arctic

Near Uummanaq, Greenland - September 17, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008 • 9

Near Uummanaq, Greenland - September 17, 2008

“A photograph wouldn’t properly convey the scale of the natural wonders to be found here.” Unfortunately, between Paris and Greenland a few members came down with bad colds. Despite being a few members short, the small choir beautifully performed a number of Greenlandic hymns and traditional songs. The performance was made more special by the church, built in 1935 from Precambrian granite taken from the heart-shaped mountain. Although the church itself is not yet 75 years old, physically it is much older as it was made from stone approximately 2.8 billion years old. It seemed to me profoundly poetic that any church, let alone a small church in a remote Greenlandic community, should be built from nearly three billion year-old stone taken from an immense heart-shaped mountain. To further this romantic image, after construction was completed it was realized that the mountain’s contour had coincidentally been traced in the contour of the mortar holding together the wall directly behind the altar. It was nothing short of magical listening to the local choir perform in this church that quietly exists on Greenland’s northwest coast.

Friday, September 19, 2008 At mid-morning the ship arrived in Ilulissat, Greenland, after successfully navigating through the minefield of icebergs ranging in size between a truck and Prince Edward Island. Running along the south side of town is the Jakobshavn Fjord, a watershed of ice stretching 200 miles back up the Greenland icecap that drains the fastest-moving glacier on the island. In the warmth of the summer, the glacier can advance up to 100’ per day. I walked to the far edge of town, up a path leading to a viewpoint nestled in the rocky hills that surround town. Standing on the hillside, one can overlook the traffic jam of icebergs slouching towards the sea from the mouth of the fjord, and at the same time turn and follow the fjord itself stretch inland in a compact cluster of ice as far as the eyes allow. Strangely enough I didn’t feel the urge (or perhaps the need) to bring out my camera. A photograph wouldn’t properly convey the sheer immensity and scale of the natural wonders to be found here. This was the type of

place where one needs to simply spend time and be there, a place where giant white remnants – ruins if you like – of the last Ice Age are still visible. Many fellow passengers kidded me for being the youngest person on the trip (by an average of about fifty years), but standing on the hills outside of Ilulissat and beholding the surrounding landscape of Precambrian rock and the ice fields, I hoped that everyone felt quite young. Returning from the trip was only the beginning. The first night back I found myself outside of Kingston driving 60km/h on an 80km/h road, feeling as though I was driving ridiculously fast. The pace of life is one of the most distinguishing features of my Arctic experience. While there, I was too immersed in the immediacy of it all and didn’t consider things that now seem obvious, like the fact that no roads led out of the remote communities we visited. These internal roads weren’t even conducive to driving 50km/h, meaning that, our southern concept of pace is fundamentally dif-

ferent than that of the Inuit. The pace of Inuit life is a reflection of the landscape that is their backyard. Change in the Arctic landscape tends to occur in centennial increments. For instance, since the glaciers have receded, the land itself is rising out of the water due to the alleviation of the weight of the glaciers—a process called “isostatic rebound” – the effects of which take the form of one-meter ridges, visible on most beaches, which mark old shorelines, occurring roughly every one hundred years. It is as though the land keeps a slow record of itself, one that is “readable” and available to anyone who takes the time to notice. After having been in such a “slow” place – not to mention watching the land crawl by from aboard a sluggish ship – it was quite a sharp contrast returning home and being catapulted back into the fast-paced ways of the south, which, ironically, involved riding the clutch from midToronto all the way to Milton on my way back to Waterloo. Two entirely different worlds converged in my head. And I thought of the Eliot lines that introduce this article.

10 • Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grand Bend Strip

Riders, including Santa, saddled up for the Kause for Kids November 1. While the motorcycle parade route traditionally runs to the beach and back, this year’s route was detoured because of the beach enhancement project.

The Lambton Heritage Museum hosted its annual Fall Colour and Craft Festival October 18 & 19. Among those shopping, Catherine Shantz of Zurich, who checks out the work of a tinsmith.

Top: Kim and Jeff Kerr of Pickering joined the spirit of the parade. Above: Riders brought a truckload of toys for needy kids.

Among the artisan work, Canadian flags from Born in a Barn of Ailsa Craig, cement bird feeders from Simply Perfect of Amherstburg, and Nunder Arrest from Nun of a Kind of Bright’s Grove.

Attention Strip VIPs! The Grand Bend Strip would like to give you the chance to wish everyone a

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (or whatever you celebrate during the holidays)

We want to fill our December edition with your wishes and thoughts for the season and for the new year. SEND STORIES/ART/PHOTOS/LETTERS: - 1-866-753-2781 (FAX) - BOX 218, GRAND BEND, ON N0M1T0

Strip Around the House

Thursday, November 13, 2008 • 11

Spruce up your home for the holidays Eye for Design By Lorette Mawson As we approach that magical yet busy time of year, this month is a great time to think about how to give your home a festive look for the holidays on any budget. My first suggestion is to look to the great outdoors. I draw inspiration from my backyard, but you could try a walk through the park looking for pinecones, or a drive out to the country roads in search of greenery such as cedar, spruce, pine, or festive red dogwood. Dollar stores are a great place to find inexpensive Christmas items, including Christmas mugs. Put a group of three together with a mini poinsettia in each or pinecones for a great look. For an added extra sparkle, a can of spray paint will go a long way. While at the dollar store, pick up a stack of Christmas boxes and wrap bows around them with a sprig of greenery to make an inexpensive festive decoration. The possibilities are endless. If your budget allows for a little more splurging, fill outdoor urns and window boxes with greenery. Home stores can provide you with lots of reasonably priced items like Christmas throws, pillows, placemats, and tablecloths. Don’t forget candles: they are available at all price points and always add glow and warmth to a room. For big spenders, remember that nothing is more festive that real greenery. Visit greenhouses/nurseries for some boxwoods for your urns, window boxes etc, and maybe some fancier greens. For the indoors, think about changing your art or area carpets. Now is the time to buy or bring out your fine china, crystal, wonderful centrepieces and candelabras. Also, if you are fortunate enough to have high ceilings some large-scale wreaths or arrangements in a smaller urn loaded up with greens and some hydrangeas or willow would look great on a buffet or in your foyer. But all in all, just enjoy the season and the time you get to spend with family and friends and know that you really can have a beautifully decorated home on any budget. Decorator and home stager Lorette (Vanneste) Mawson lives in McGillivray Township with her husband and two daughters. For more, visit or call 519-294-0651.


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If you know a young person, aged 6 to 17, who is involved in worthwhile community service; a special person who is contributing while living with a limitation; a youth who has performed an act of heroism; or a ‘good kid’ who shows a commitment to making life better for others, doing more than is normally expected of someone their age – help us recognize their contribution – nominate them today! Contact this newspaper or the Ontario Community Newspapers Association at or 905.639.8720.

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Strip Thoughts

12 • Thursday, November 13, 2008

A tricky treat Advice from Mom


Go west, young man Keeping the Peace By Tom Lessard, C.D.

By Rita Lessard I suppose by now the kids who were out trick or treating have slowly come down from their sugar high. Most people enjoy this holiday because it gives them time to act silly by dressing up in their favourite costumes and partying; sometimes we need an excuse to do that. My family always enjoyed this occasion to get candy and also to give out the goodies. I recall the time when I was a teenager that, because I was older, I volunteered to take my neighbours’ daughter Suzie out. My older sister stayed home and she would hand out the stuff. Before I left the house, she told me to make sure that I stopped in to our house before I dropped Suzie of because she would save some favours for us. So, after an hour or so, Suzie got a little tired and we quit. But then I remembered my sister telling me she would save us something, so we stopped by and got something from my house. When we got to Suzie’s house, her mother said, “Rita, why don’t you stay a while and you can sort through the bags and Suzie can share some of the stuff with you.” I agreed to do so, and although Suzie’s not to keen on the idea, she eventually agrees. I have a bit of stuff in my bag that some of my friends gave me, so I’m really not that interested in taking too much and I tell Suzie this, so she says “Okay.” I’m going through her stuff and I come across a piece of candy I think is fudge, so I say to Suzie, “Oh wow, I would really like to have that fudge. What do you say?” She says, “I don’t think so. I want it.”

I reluctantly let her have it and she decides she’s going to eat it right away while I’m sitting there drooling. She puts it in her mouth and then right away spits it out and yells, “Ew! That’s gross!” So I pick it up and look a little closer. It’s not fudge after all, but a piece of liver that’s nicely wrapped in cellophane. I knew right away where the liver came from, considering my family had liver for supper that night. As soon as I get home, my sister knows the gig is up just by the look on my face and the evidence in my hand. I’m calling her an ugly witch, which was appropriate for the occasion, and I tell her that her trick backfired because Suzie ended up getting her so-called treat. She was a bit remorseful, but she was still laughing and cackling like the witch she was and she headed off to bed singing Trick or Treat! I never did pay her back.

Birthday greetings Happy birthday to our son Bill (Nov. 15) and our granddaughter Katie (Nov. 22)!

In the spring of 1958, there was a posting on the board for an increment to go to Wainwright, Alberta for three months attached to the RCEME (Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) workshop. Of course I applied, and was accepted. I boarded the train in London and met up with the unit in Toronto. The CNR, in its wisdom, gave us our own car along with a porter. In those days it was generally accepted that most of the men were not averse to having a beer or two. We had a number of Korean and WWII vets with us, a couple of whom tried to teach us younger fellows how to drink. At Sudbury, we had a stopover of a couple of hours while we waited for the cross-Canada train to link up with us. First thing we did after disembarking from the train was to hop a cab and head for the beer and liquor stores to load up. We were going to be on the train for at least two and a half days, so we didn’t want to run dry, but that is what happened. The porter got word that CN detectives were going to board the train at Fort William (now Thunder Bay) looking for booze, so we collected money and lists from all the guys.

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They elected me to do the shopping; I got off at the station, jumped into a cab, drove to the appropriate stores, loaded up and headed for Port Arthur (10km down the track). Arriving at the station, I watched our car for a pre-arranged signal from our porter. It wasn’t long before I got the okay to pull up to the train, unload our booze, pay the cabbie and get on board. We went our merry way to Calgary and our marshalling area. Calgary had only one drawback for me. At the time, I was a Legion member. One day at about 1 p.m., one of my buddies and I were looking for something to do when we spotted a Legion branch downtown. Hoping to play some pool or darts, we entered the building. We were met at the door and were asked what we wanted. We told him and he asked if we were members of this particular branch. I told him that I was a member back in Ontario. No good. He then asked if I knew any member of this branch. I said no. “Sorry, if you’re not a member of this branch, then you are not allowed in unless signed in by a paid up member.” By the way, we were in uniform. So much for western hospitality. Despite this experience, I was so impressed by what a beautiful country we live in. I had hitchhiked across in 1956, but had never been able to see it the same way as from a dome car. The north shore of Lake Superior has to be one of the most spectacular sites in our land. The flora, fauna, tunnels and wild animals are breathtaking. I have been all over the States, to Europe and the Middle East; put them all together, and they run a distant second to Canada.

proceeds to Grace Bible Chapel Youth Group

For information or tickets: Marg McKichan - 519-232-4514, Dr. Bertha Wolf - 519-294-6767 or Lisa Smith - 226-373-4960 or

This holiday, give your pets the gift of love from

Tour proceeds to North Middlesex Community Medical Centre

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North Middlesex


519-234-6879 69484 PARR LINE, CREDITON

Grand Bend Strip

Thursday, November 13, 2008 • 13

A run through the woods Three hundred and twenty eight runners raced in the annual Pinery Park Road Race October 19. Above, Mary Ann Burgess of Goderich came third in her age group, while Celia Ciufo, right, ran the Fawn Run. Next year’s run is scheuled for October 18. Diane Littlejohns and Aileen Knip get a good look at the gift South Huron Medical Recruitment Team member Fred Simmons presented to the Grand Bend Community Health Centre staff to thank them for helping retain medical staff in the community. “It’s an incredible program here,” Simmons said. “We all need to thank these people.”

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To Do List

14 • Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things to Do

 a.m. - Grand Bend Legion voice”. Prepare to be fascinated and moti- gym members, spouses and students. Call Men’s Probus Club meeting. Field Trip to vated! To register, contact Teresa Marie at Beth Sweeney, (519) 238-5555. 519-238-8978 or Car Museum.



EVERY TUESDAY  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Bingo

EVERY FRIDAY  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat Draw

THURSDAY, NOV. 13 : p.m. - St. John’s Anglican Church Grand Bend Diners Prog ram. second and fourth Thursday of the month. Transportation is available along with take out. Cost $9/person, entertainment and social time. Contact Town & Country Support Services at 519-235-0258.

TUESDAY, NOV. 18  a.m. - Port Franks Comm. Centre Euchre-rama. Coffee at 9:00 a.m. Games starting at 10:00 a.m. sharp Cost is $6 per person which includes lunch. Everyone welcome. Call 519-243-3844 or 1126 for details.


 to  p.m. - Southcott Pines  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Clubhouse Live music with The Persuaders Huron Country Playhouse Guild Annual Wassail. Hours are 2-4 p.m. Please join us MONDAY, NOV. 24 for a festive afternoon! Call Mary at 519 to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Centre 238-5640 for further information. Painting with Teresa Marie. Bring your current project or start a new one!  to  p.m. - Port Franks Community To register, contact Teresa Marie at 519Centre 238-8978 or Musical Night in Port Franks! Dancers, singers, instrumental. Refreshments/treats. FRIDAY, NOV. 28 Free will donations. Proceeds will go to:  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Ctr. Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital Discover Watercolour on Yupo Paper Foundation. All welcome! For details call: with Catherine Weber. An introductory, 519-243-2090. exploratory workshop offering new ideas on painting with watercolours. Yupo, an aerilyc paper, is forgiving and provides endMONDAY, NOV. 24 less opportunities for creativity. Catherine Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Horticultural Society meet- will also discuss principles and elements ing. Annual meeting and Pot Luck Dinner. of design. All levels welcome! To register, Demonstration of a Christmas F lower contact Teresa Marie at 519-238-8978 or arrangement by Shannon Ryan from the Garden Gate.


 to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Live music with Bob Finlay

: to : a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Arts & Entertainment Grand Bend Women’s Probus Club. Guest Phillip Winters speaks on “The SUNDAY, NOV. 16 Environment a Progress report”. Everyone  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Ctr. Health & Fitness welcome. Complementar y Colours with Teresa Marie. Oils and acrylics. To register, contact MONDAYS Teresa Marie at 519-238-8978 or teresama to  a.m. - Southcott Pines Clubhouse Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, THURSDAY, NOV. 20  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Ctr. (519) 238-5555. Photographic composition with Mary : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Lynn Fluter. Get to grips with what makes a CHRISTMAS 2008 CLASSES great photograph. To register, contact Teresa T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise Marie at 519-238-8978 or teresamarie@hay. class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 Outdoor planter - $75 per week; all fees go to charity net Wed., Nov. 19 @ 7 p.m.

Fill a 12” patio pot with a mix of evergreens like pine, cedars and fir, with three birch poles to add some dramatic height, and some ornaments and moss to finish your fantastic outdoor creations. (Great for using as an insert for your own decorative container.)

Outdoor fresh boxwood wreath - $50 Thurs., Nov. 27, 2008 @ 7 p.m. Make your own handmade 20” boxwood wreath with fresh accents. This wreath will be a rich, dark green boxwood with a fresh mix of winter greens and accents to last outdoors in our winter. This wreath will be decorated with a simple chocolate bow and copper accents.

Fresh Christmas arrangement - $35 Wed., Dec. 17, 2008 @ 7 p.m. This stunning Christmas arrangement will be a show stopper for any table, with all white florals and your choice of gold, silver or copper accents.

We can also do private parties or booking after store hours; call for more info. Minimum of 8 people and store discounts will be offered for private shopping party.

15 Ontario St. S., Grand Bend (519) 238-1701 -

FRIDAY, NOV. 21  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Ctr. Unlock that Great Painting with Mary Abma. This class, suitable for painters of all levels in watercolour or acrylic, will focus on providing the keys that will help you to create a successful painting. Design principles and colour theory will be explored through the use of presentations, demonstrations, individualized attention, and critiques. Bring your own references or use references provided by the instructor. To register, contact Teresa Marie at 519-238-8978 or

SATURDAY, NOV. 22  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Ctr. Plug into your creativity with Suzette Terry. Conquer your fear! Suzette will show you basic methods to open up so that your creative energy can flow: Exercises include activating your left brain while shutting down the right; drawing exercises to engage; gesture drawings; blind contours and negative space usage. Also, methods to jump start one’s own personal imagery and “find your


 to  a.m. - Southcott Pines Clubhouse Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, (519) 238-5555. : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 per week; all fees go to charity

TUESDAY, NOV. 18  p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Well Women’s Night Grand Bend Area CHC. Topics this year are “Women and Diabetes,” How to Eat out Healthy and the Joy of Stress! Call Health Promoter Cindy Maxfield to register at 519-238-1556 ext 231 or email Door prizes, refreshments! Pap and breast exams for women WHO DO NOT have a family doctor are also available that day at the clinic. Call 519-238-2362 to book an appointment.

THURSDAY, NOV. 20 Blessings Community Store, Zurich Cooking Outside of the Box. Drop in and taste test great recipe ideas for yummy low cost meals. Call Miranda Burgess Grand Bend CHC dietitian 519-238-1556 ext.222

MONDAY, NOV. 24 : to : p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Heart Health Class. Please come if you have high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure or want to learn more about heart health, To register, please contact Patricia Baker RD, CDE at 519-238-1556 ext. 235 or email at


: to : p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Label Reading Class. The class will include interactive tools to help you label TUESDAYS read. To register, please contact Patricia  to  p.m. - South Huron Golf & Baker RD, CDE at 519-238-1556 ext. 235 or Fitness Centre, Exeter Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for email at gym members, spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, (519) 238-5555. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 26  to  p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Men Can Cook. Advance your cookWEDNESDAYS ing skills and enjoy a tasty healthy lunch.  to  a.m. - Southcott Pines Contact Miranda at 519-238-1556 ext 222. Clubhouse Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, : to : p.m. and/or  to : p.m. (519) 238-5555. – Grand Bend CHC Mental Health Education and Support Group. Monthly support group for family : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise and friends that provides tools and strategies class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 along with ongoing educational information. Contact Social Worker Lise Callahan per week; all fees go to charity at 519-238-1556 ext. 230 for details.  to : a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Line Dancing THURSDAY, NOV. 27  to  p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Community Blood Pressure Clinic in the THURSDAYS Adult Centre Wing. Everyone welcome.  to  p.m. - South Huron Golf & Have your blood pressure checked free by a Fitness Centre, Exeter Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for nurse. No appointment necessary.

Grand Bend Strip

Thursday, November 13, 2008 • 15

Left: Jackie Rowe and Paul Norton of Exeter enjoy the evening, including wine from Pelee Island winery (see Living in Balance at bottom of page). Below: Melanie Greif of Frankfurt, Germany (Frank’s cousin) and Cheryl Regier of Zurich prepare dessert.

Cooking for a cause Hessenland hosted its annual Parkinson’s fundraiser Oct. 25. The Ihrig family’s involvement is inspired by the fact that Ernst Ihrig has the illness. Top: Frank and Christa Ihrig prepare the meal. Right: Erin Pennings delivers the main course.

What’s the right bird for this wine? Living in Balance By Jenipher Appleton Most people choose their wines by bouquet, an eye-catching label, or price. The true connoisseur uses terms like ‘oaky’, ‘peppery’, ‘fruity’, or ‘earthy’. Our outdoorsman friend, Gary Russwurm of Muskoka, chooses his wines by the birds pictured on the label. His choices come from Pelee Island, the southernmost point in Canada. Anyone who has visited Point Pelee National Park may have witnessed spectacular spring or fall bird migrations. Avid birders make the trek each year with their binoculars and cameras poised. Many of them are also there to visit the winery and take home a few bottles of wine. Several of the countless species which pass through the park are depicted on the bottles produced by Pelee Island Winery. When Gary and his wife, Margaret Ann, came from Muskoka to visit us in October, they brought along a VQA bottle of VIDAL/

SEYVAL BLANC. The bird on the label was a new one for me. I guessed it to be a warbler by its body shape, general size and type of beak. Further exploration of text on the back label revealed that the bird was a prothonotary warbler, a brilliantly deep yellow bird with blue-gray wings and no wing bars. Jenipher Appleton was impressed by Pelee Island Winery’s use of Ontario birds on

Since the Russwurms’ visit, I have conducttheir wine labels. Here are just a few of the labels depicting bird species. ed a wine inventory in our basement. I have managed to locate: woodland edges and brushy fields of from within a hundred mile radius. To trans• Pelee Island CABERNET; bird species Pelee Island. This bird relies on brilliant port goods across a nation, continent, or ocean Scarlet tanager – best viewing in midsunlight to transform its plumage into demands enormous amounts of energy. The May (according to the back label); the bright turquoise-blue for which it is Niagara region is another example of some • MERLOT; bird species red-headed fabulous wineries. So drink up! Your local named (reports the back label); and woodpecker – an entirely red head and a • SHIRAZ; bird species the Northern ori- wines are readily available and you can learn solidly black back; ole; flame-orange and black with a solid about the birds at the same time. • MERLOT CABERNET; bird species black head. American goldfinch (otherwise known as Editor’s Note: Pelee Island Winery has a birder a wild canary); Choosing an Ontario wine has an added package of six wines, including several of the ones • SHIRAZ CABERNET; bird species benefit; there is a smaller ecological footprint Jenipher describes here, available online at http:// Indigo bunting – often graces the grassy created when one chooses food and wine

16 • Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grand Bend Strip

The secret of their success Chamber’s top entrepreneur and business agree: it’s about customer service and quality 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Shannon Ryan The Garden Gate Gifts & Florals 15 Ontario St. S., beside New Orleans Pizza Opened March 2007

Listen to your customers, and if they come in and say so-and-so has this product for this amount, try to source it for that price. It’s also important to be able to have an appreciation for your staff so they’ll give the same customer service when you’re not there.”

“I think people wish Grand Bend were a more intimate town like Bayfield,” Ryan says. About winning the award: “I wish there were more stores like this that “After they called my name, I said to the would draw a different age group than already president, Are you sure? I was so nervous I comes here faithfully every summer.” couldn’t say anything. I’ve been dreaming of what I would have said, and I would have thanked my staff because I couldn’t do it Challenges: “Renovating the store was a huge challenge. without them. “It’s just been such an exciting adventure, So was trying to source the products that I wanted and trying to figure out what custom- from finding the building and painting, to finding staff and learning how to use the till. ers wanted before I got here. “I’d like to say thank you to the people who nominated me, to my girls, and to my family What does it take to be a and husband who gave me that little kick that successful entrepreneur? “We definitely strive for the best customer I needed to finally get out and do it. “I wish I had done this earlier.” service possible, and the best quality product.

2008 Business of the Year Grandpa Jimmy’s Scottish Bakery Bob & Ruth Hosford 36 Ontario St. N. since May 2008, previously at Dale’s Antique Market on Hwy. 21 S.

What does it take to succeed in Grand Bend? Bob: “Customer service and quality are both on the same level. Be nice to people and helpful, and get to know your customers.” Ruth: “Uniqueness. We have something no one else has. We appeal to the Scottish/Irish

community, but we find a lot of Canadians trying our product and really liking it.”

About winning the award: Ruth: “We were told one day by Carol MacDougall that we had been nominated and that in itself was a huge surprise, and we were floored, really, because this is what we do. “This is our work, this is our business. We weren’t expecting any honours for it. We were totally overwhelmed. We didn’t realize we had so much support behind us.” Text and Photos by Casey Lessard

Profile for Grand Bend Strip

Vol. 2 #13 Grand Bend Strip, November 13, 2008  

November 13, 2008 edition of Grand Bend Strip community newspaper

Vol. 2 #13 Grand Bend Strip, November 13, 2008  

November 13, 2008 edition of Grand Bend Strip community newspaper