Woodstock Ingersoll Echo

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Woodstock Ingersoll


Tourism Oxford seeks feedback on 5-year plan


Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tourism Oxford is looking toward the future as it builds a five-year plan to help guide management, product development and marketing of tourism in the county.

The five-year plan is an opportunity to consider the role tourism has played in growing the local economy over the past few years and build on that success. The plan will look to future opportunities to support Oxford and its eight local area municipalities in fostering a diverse and prosperous economy.

Tourism Oxford has created three surveys to collect feedback for the five-year plan. Surveys have been created for residents, visitors and tourism operators. The surveys are a chance for you to have your say on the future direction of tourism initiatives in Oxford County and offer suggestions on how Tourism Oxford can continue to support local tourism operators. Anyone interested can learn more or take one of the special surveys by June 9, 2024, at https:// speakup.oxfordcounty.ca/tourism-5-year-plan.

County tourism specialist Meredith Maywood said an environmental scan has been completed which provides valuable data.

“On what’s happening locally, and on a provincial and national level for tourism trends. Now we are in the consultation phase where we are looking for feedback on what people would like to see in the development of the future of tourism in the county.”

Maywood said the market dictates what gets developed but the county still wants to hear what people want to see.


Ingersoll ignites growth with secondary plan

Brian Petrie.

He added it is a big win for the town and explained what it means to the average Ingersoll resident.

The Town of Ingersoll is hoping its new Secondary Plan will deliver on its mission.

That mission is to offer sustainable services and amenities that promote quality of living by mapping out a future vision for 1,500 acres of land recently annexed through a partnership with the Township of South-West Oxford.

“Ingersoll Town Council and Oxford County Council have taken proactive measures to enact policies that promote increased population densities. This guarantees an abundant supply of residences for prospective residents while also strengthening industrial and commercial sectors to improve service delivery,” said Ingersoll Mayor

“We brought in land through the boundary adjustment process and now we have to figure out what those uses are. We have our Official Plan through Oxford County and this is applying the same lens to the new grouping of properties to say what we want done, generally speaking.”

The town’s CAO Michael Graves said the completion of the plan means increased growth which will benefit all.

"Ingersoll and the Township of South-West Oxford have forged a robust partnership to facilitate responsible growth. This synergy positions us to attract new residents and enhance existing services, thereby fortifying our community fabric.”

LEE GRIFFI Local Journalism Initiative Reporter JUNE IS
This issue we are celebrating the lifelong contributions that make our community shine! Section starts on page 16.
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Oxford Tourism award winners announced

Oxford’s tourism innovators and collaborators were on hand last Thursday night at Otter Creek Golf Club for the third annual Oxford Tourism Awards of Excellence.

Presented as part of Rural Oxford Economic Development Corporation’s 10th Anniversary Banquet and Awards Event on May 23, the 2023 Oxford Tourism Awards of Excellence winners were announced.

Meredith Maywood is the county’s tourism specialist and said the amount of local companies doing great things is growing.

“We had some incredible submissions once again this year, and it gets harder and harder every year we host these awards for our panel of judges to select a winner. We have so many businesses in Oxford County going above and beyond to support local tourism and keep guests coming back to the County.

She added she’s pleased the awards provide a forum to recognize the efforts of businesses and amplify their successes.

The award winners are:

Responsible Tourism Award - Golspie


Golspie Dairy has carried a sustainable mindset for its business since day one of operations. Golspie Dairy sourced local materials, including fallen ash trees, for use in the aging room. It increased biodiversity on the farm by planting a native species meadow and incorporating consumer education. Golspie Dairy’s refill program for milk and soft cheeses has reduced plastic consumption at its business while educating customers. In addition, it has ensured its build is accessible and inclusive and has supported cycling tourism, installing bike racks and seating.

Tourism Partnership Award first recipient - SixThirtyNine, Thames River Melons and Canada Grills

Local restaurant SixThirtyNine recently teamed up with Thames River Melons and Canada Grills for the highly successful Farm to Dinner Table event. The soldout event enhanced the tourism sector and profile of Oxford County, celebrating the many Oxford County and Ontario producers featured on the menu. This event included visitors from Toronto and travel media. SixThirtyNine, Thames River Melons and Canada Grills plan to continue

working together by offering new and exciting experiences in 2024 and beyond.

Tourism Partnership Award second recipient - Indigo Lounge Wellness and Eatery

The "It Takes a Village" mantra has always been at the root of everything they do at Indigo Lounge Wellness and Eatery in Tillsonburg. Indigo Lounge's mission statement focuses on collaboration and partnerships, and it is always looking to make new local partners. Throughout the year it hosted dinners and cooking classes with Cool Convenience, Sizzling African Cuisine, Punjabi Chef Jasjit Kaur and Nigerian Chef Khadjiah Haliru. It also partners with farmers for farm-to-table dinners. Partnership goes beyond the kitchen, including Bollywood dance and Henna nights with Sahar Zaidi, and special events with Oxford County Pride. It even offers up space every Sunday for a new restaurant start-up Sizzling African Cuisine.

Best New Tourism Product AwardOrange Door Acres

Orange Door Acres started as a small farm gate operation for people to buy pasture-raised chicken. Over the years, the business began to take flight by expand -

ing with innovations, recently completing a major expansion by adding a kitchen allowing it to expand products offered to visitors. Visitors are always welcome to tour the Orange Door Acres farm, as farm education is an essential aspect of the business. The on-site processing allows visitors to see firsthand how food from the garden, strawberry patch and barn winds up on the table. This investment has created new employment opportunities and allowed more people to discover Orange Door Acres.

The 2023 Oxford Tourism Award program recognizes the region’s tourism businesses, organizations, and individuals who have displayed excellence in product development, partnerships and collaborations, innovation, inclusiveness, leadership, sustainability, and attraction to the region. The program also recognizes partners who work collaboratively with Tourism Oxford to grow regional tourism and offer exceptional visitor experiences.

Winners were chosen by a panel of external judges with representatives from Ontario’s Southwest, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, and the Culinary Tourism Alliance.

Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 2 June 07, 2024 Business financing and community economic development www.cfoxford.ca 226.261.1837 heather@granthaven.com Woodstock Ingersoll Echo St. Marys Independent The Wilmot-Tavistock Gazette Goderich Sun STRATFORD TIME S Is your business organizing future workshops, seminars, or community events? Let me show you how to reach your audience to boost registration and attendance.
Responsible Tourism Award - Golspie Dairy. Left to right – Nancy Demarest Rural Oxford, Ron and Wendy Marshall Golspie Dairy, Warden Marcus Ryan (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO) LEE GRIFFI Tourism Partnership Award - SixThirtyNine, Thames River Melons and Canada Grills. Left to right – Ineke Rombouts Canada Grills, Alex Chesney Thames River Melons, Eric and Jenn Boyer SixThirtyNine, Warden Marcus Ryan (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The event celebrated its comeback at the Woodstock Fairgrounds from May 31 to June 2. The festival featured a variety of activities for attendees. Live music took center stage while food vendors offered a selection including barbecue beef or pork

Woodstock Ribfest returns

ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken, coleslaw, and baked beans, among other dishes. Local vendors also showcased a broad spectrum of items. Events like Ribfest contribute economically to Woodstock with all the meat sourced locally.

Oxford Road 59 (Vansittart Ave) bridge in Woodstock

Oxford Road 59 (Vansittart Avenue) bridge and Tecumseh Street in Woodstock will temporarily close to all northbound vehicle and pedestrian traffic on two (2) days in June for concrete deck pouring. These are additional closures to the ones already in place.

Road closures are expected to take place between June 19 and 28 but are subject to change due to weather or other factors. Signs will be posted in advance. During this period:

• Oxford Road 59 from Devonshire Ave. to Tecumseh St. will be closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic in both directions for a period of 12-15 hours on each of the two days. Vehicles should use alternate travel routes: West to Oxford Road 30 (11th Line) East to Oxford Road 4

• Tecumseh St. will be open to local traffic southbound only for a period of 6-9 hours, then it will re-open to local traffic only in both directions after work is completed.

• Access for emergency responders (fire, police and ambulance) will be maintained on Oxford Road 59 northbound with support from police at the intersection of Devonshire and Vansittart Avenues.

For more information visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/59bridge

June 07, 2024 3 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
Temporary closures northbound on OR 59 bridge and Tecumseh Street
Master Griller Storm cooking up ribs, chicken and pork for Gonzalez BBQ Displaying their earned trophies from other events are Storm (left) and owner Gonzalez from Go Gonzalez BBQ Several BBQ masters were on hand cooking their award-winning specialties Among the locals attending the event were (left to right) Aliyah, Leyah, Aria, Ramone and Tamla

Woodstock’s dragon boat event is back

some support.

After a five-year hiatus, the Pharmasave Woodstock Dragon Boat Festival is back.

The event will be held at the day-use area of Pittock Conservation Area on Saturday, August 10, and as always is hosted by the Woodstock Rotary Club.

Organizer David Harris said the pandemic put a wrench in the event and he didn’t have the time to dedicate for personal reasons as well.

“We have family on the east coast so we started going there for the summer and it always seemed to be right around the time the festival would be held. I told the club I couldn’t do it anymore. I hoped for the 20 years or so I did run it that someone else would have had the same sparkle in their eyes for it.”

Harris added he has heard from several teams that participated in the event asking if it would ever return. He decided to run it again this year if he was given


“I brought in a few guys with experience including one who knows dragon boating very well to help me with a lot of the festival management so my workload isn’t as heavy. That’s what has allowed me to put this year’s event on for Rotary.”

Along with a full day of races, the event will feature a variety of vendors that will interest competitors and viewers alike.

“We have Todd’s Dogs lined up as our main food vendor and there is usually at least one selling clothing. We are bringing in a few others offering other goods. We also have free access to the day-use area at Pittock, it’s great for spectators to be able to come and go as they see fit.”

Activity will be happening from 9 a.m. until about mid-afternoon and Harris said it’s non-stop.

“We have racing going on so there is always activity on the water. People can see the teams practice and get organized to see how they get ready for the day. We

are expecting teams from Toronto, Stratford has been a strong supporter as have other areas around southern Ontario.”

Harris added that despite the festival's competitive side, they are looking for other teams to fill the recreational divisions and come out for a day of fun and team building.

“We would love to see some local teams so if you are a company with a number of employees looking for a team event for a great day out, sign up. If you are a company that hasn’t paddled regularly you will need about 30 people lined up. That gives you enough people if some can’t come at the last minute. You need 22 paddlers and a drummer and we will provide someone to steer for an additional $50.”

Practice time is available the week before the festival in the evening. Paddling is also open at Roth Park on the lake's south shore on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“There is a local team always looking for new paddlers and are offering an opportunity for those looking to try out the sport,” added Harris who said he is still looking for sponsors to help financially with the event.

Harris is hoping anywhere from 24 to 30 teams participate in August and each team will complete a seeding race where the time will determine the division they are placed.

"We offer medals to the top two finishing teams in every division so it's a really good competition. That first round seeds you for the next two rounds, so you are always competing with teams of your calibre. The top teams from all of the divisions will get to battle at the end of the day.”

“Pharmasave is the title sponsor for the Dragon Boat Festival along with Scotiabank, Forvan Technology, Green Private Wealth and TransArctic Canada. My job is also to find more sponsors before August.”

More information is available at www.woodstockdragonboat.ca and on the club’s Facebook page. Registration is open and is set at $900 per team. Volunteers are also needed to help make this event possible and anyone interested can send an email to dragonboatwoodstock@gmail.com.


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(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO) LEE GRIFFI Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ingersoll ignites growth with secondary plan

Petrie explained land use applications will be forthcoming and council will have their input as to what ends up on the privately owned lands. The land is all privately owned but the town does own a small piece in the area and there are plans for housing and recreation projects.

“The rest will be up to the property owners to decide over time how they want that land to transform. The plan is a guide for them to see the vision of where we want that to go. Some is residential land, a lot of it is industrial and some is prime industrial so we can kind of control the development that goes there,” explained Petrie.

Affordable housing continues to be one of the top few issues faced by Oxford County municipalities and the Echo asked Petrie if any lower-cost lodging would be coming through the approval of the Secondary Plan.

“Traditionally we rely on the private sector to be able to develop the land and hopefully they provide a range of housing but the town owning property where we can control the outcome is huge. We will be able to influence what gets built there down to the zoning level. As the owners we can have some say and influence on what we want to see built.”

He added the town is hoping to be able to spur different types of affordability and build styles for housing on the 40 acres owned by taxpayers.

The boundary adjustment with the township was finalized in 2021 to provide an opportunity for Ingersoll’s future industrial, commercial and residential growth. The comprehensive Secondary Plan approved by the Town of Ingersoll and Oxford County Councils last month will direct growth and development in this area, including land use planning, transportation, water management, waste disposal, environmental protection, cultural heritage

preservation, financial viability, and legislative requirements.

A key part of planning for the new area includes a review of the different types of housing options that could be developed, including low, medium and high-density housing. Any future potential housing development projects would require planning approvals and include an opportunity for public feedback. Ingersoll’s Strategic Plan commits to a diverse and affordable housing mix.

Oxford County Warden Marcus Ryan said with the county’s communities facing unprecedented growth, the role of municipalities in providing well-planned, reliable local services that can be sustained into the future becomes even more important.

“The ability to collaborate among Oxford’s area municipalities and work together for the benefit of citizens is part of what makes our communities great places to live.”

Ingersoll’s Manager of Economic Development is Curtis Tighe and he said the land acquisition will allow the town to continue to attract new business.

"With over 700 acres of prime industrial land, Ingersoll is an attractive destination for industrial development. Coupled with our strategic location and a vast labour pool, we are poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities.”

With Ingersoll expected to grow to 19,000 people by 2046, the town said the Secondary Plan is an important step in ensuring strong residential, industrial, and commercial growth keeps pace with the town’s core commitments to communications and operations excellence, economic development, residential growth and community prosperity, and collaborative partnerships and infrastructure.

For more information visit www.ingersoll.ca.

Woodstock man victim of Toronto shooting


Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Toronto police responded to a call for a shooting in the parking lot of an Etobicoke high school on June 2, at approximately 10:53 p.m.

On arrival police and paramedics located 5 people suffering from injuries. All victims were transported to hospital where Delroy "George" Parkes, 61, of Woodstock was declared deceased.

Police said it is alleged that a group of men were gathered in the parking lot area after a soccer game when a dark pickup truck arrived in the parking lot. Two suspects got out and shot at the group of men before fleeing the area in the truck.

“It’s very disturbing. I think there isn’t anyone in this room or this community that isn’t outraged,” Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner said at a news conference on Monday. Police are now saying they believe the shooting was completely random.

Police do not feel there was any exchange of gunfire. They believe the shooting was one-sided with no exchange of gunfire between the shooters and victims, said Det. Sgt. Philip Campbell.

Two suspects are outstanding and police are appealing to the public for any information. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

A GoFundMe page has been set up by the victim’s daughter, Jaidyn, who lives in Maple, Ontario. The family is looking for help to cover funeral costs.

June 07, 2024 5 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo

Agricultural plastics

Agricultural plastics


Local farmers can dispose of agricultural plastics like bale wrap, fertilizer bags, and bunker covers at the Waste Management Facility for only $50/tonne.

Learn more about the agricultural plastics pilot program at www.wasteline.ca

Oxford OPP briefs

Police lay charge in fatal collision

A driver has been charged after a two-vehicle collision that claimed the life of one individual.

A 21-year-old resident of Beachville has been charged under the Criminal Code of Canada with dangerous operation causing death.

On May 2 at approximately 6:45 p.m., members from the Oxford OPP with assistance from Oxford County Fire Services, as well as Oxford County Paramedic Services, responded to a two-vehicle collision near the intersection of Pigram Road and Salford Road, South-West Oxford Township.

The investigation determined that two vehicles collided on Pigram Road.

A 48-year-old from London was transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries but was later pronounced deceased.

Underground wire stolen in Oxford County Police are seeking the assistance of the public in locating the individuals responsible for the theft of wire from a business in Blandford-Blenheim.

Police were called to a business on Oxford Waterloo Road, in the Township of Blandford-Blenheim, for a reported break and enter.

Sometime between 9 p.m. on Friday, May 24, and 2 a.m. on Saturday, May 25 individuals gained access to the business and proceeded to steal underground wire.

The estimated value of the underground wire stolen and the damage to the property is estimated at $10,000.

Impaired driver charged in Inger soll

An impaired driver was arrested after a RIDE program in Ingersoll.

On Friday, May 24 at approximately 10:30 p.m., members of the Oxford detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police conducted a RIDE program on Bell Street.

One of the drivers provided suspicion that they had consumed alcohol. An Approved Screening Device test was administered, and the test resulted in a fail. The driver was transported to the detachment for further testing.

A 30-year-old from London has been charged with impaired driving. The accused has been released and is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice, located in Woodstock, on July 2.

Another impaired charge laid after tips from the public

Police were able to locate and arrest an impaired driver thanks to traffic complaints received from members of the public.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 24 members of the Ontario Provincial Police were dispatched to Road 60 in Zorra Township to locate a vehicle that was the subject of traffic complaints.

Police located the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. After speaking to the driver, police observed further signs of impairment and made an arrest.

After conducting testing at the detachment, a 53-year-old Ingersoll man was charged with impaired driving and dangerous operation of a vehicle.

The accused has been released and is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Woodstock on July 16.

Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 6 June 07, 2024

Woodstock Police briefs

Impaired charges laid after bizarre driving incidents

A 74-year-old driver is facing impaired and dangerous driving charges.

On Sunday, May 26 around 6:25 p.m. Woodstock Police responded to reports of an impaired driver in the area of Chieftan Street where a vehicle was observed colliding with a post. Police say a pedestrian stopped to talk to the driver, but the driver proceeded to run over the pedestrian’s foot and drive away through the parking lot. Upon arrival, police observed the vehicle collide with a tree.

The driver was transported to hospital for treatment.

As a result of the investigation, the driver is facing charges of impaired driving and dangerous operation causing bodily harm.

Police would like to remind drivers that every time you get behind the wheel, you are taking on the responsibility of protecting yourself and others on the road. Driving under the influence of alcohol impairs your judgement, slows your reaction times, and puts lives at risk. Don’t drink and drive.

Woodstock person charged twice in two days

An individual is facing charges after being observed walking near a school with a weapon.

On Tuesday, May 21 just after 9 a.m., police responded to reports of a person in the area of Riddell Street, Hunter and Graham Streets, with their arms in the air holding what was believed to be a knife.

Police immediately located and arrested the suspect.

The investigation led to charges laid against the 26-year-old accused of Woodstock for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and failure to comply with a probation order.

Police say the very next day the same person was seen walking down Hunter Street carrying a hammer. He was located on Adelaide Street behind the police station.

Police have been working closely with the school in the area and the Thames Valley District School Board to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff. Police would like to ease concerns by confirming there is no evidence or reason for police to believe the school is a target for this individual and that staff and students are safe.

Woodstock man victim of Toronto shooting

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the tragic and untimely passing of my beloved father, Delroy Parkes who many of you knew as “Uncle George”. He was taken from us in a senseless act of violence during a shooting that injured several innocent people, including some of his best friends. Our hearts are broken, and our lives have been forever changed.”

The page also said Parkes was a beautiful human being who loved his family deeply. He was always kind, grateful, and willing to go above and beyond for everyone he met.

61-year-old Woodstock resident Delroy "George" Parkes was killed by gunfire in Toronto last weekend. His family has started a GoFundMe page. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

“A man of strong faith, he read his Bible every day and dedicated his life to the Lord. His passions included playing soccer and dominoes with his friends every night in a peaceful and friendly gathering. My father cherished his wife, children, and grandchildren more than words can express. He was the pillar of

our family, providing not only love and support but also a sense of security and stability.”

At press time just under $9000 of the $50,000 goal had been raised.

A Toronto church, St. Clair Avenue Baptist, also paid tribute to the family in a Facebook post.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of a former member Delroy George Parkes in the senseless act of violence that occurred in Mount Olive, Etobicoke on Sunday June 2.

Members of SCABC may remember the younger Parkes children taking part in kids and youth activities and Mrs. Parkes heading a Christmas shoebox missions project. As helpless as one may feel to provide comfort during this hard time please continue to pray for their well-being and support them in any way possible. One such way to support the family is via their GoFundMe to help with costs. Please keep the Parkes family in your prayers.”

Woodstock business group concerned about the cost of mental health and addictions

The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce has joined its provincial counterpart in supporting a call for more action to battle the drug crisis in the province.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has released a report outlining the effect on Ontario’s local businesses, many of them small and medium-sized enterprises. It said they have been placed at the frontlines of an addiction crisis that they are not equipped to address.

“Local chambers of commerce and boards of trade have reported increased incidents of trespassing and disruptions to business operations from people experiencing mental health challenges and substance dependencies.”

No one would deny a provincial crisis is being felt right here in Woodstock and local chamber president Ifhan Hudda said businesses here are struggling with the rising cost of security and the decrease in customer traffic. He had this message for the businesses of the Friendly City.

"We at the Chamber support our local businesses. We want to ensure that they know that there is a solution that is trying to be developed."

Hudda said many small and medium-sized businesses in the city have been placed on the front line of the addiction crisis.

“They’re just not really equipped to address the crisis. It has created a lot of frustration all across Ontario. They have reported increasing instances of trespassing and disruptions of business operations. All of this has led to increased security costs.”

The Woodstock Chamber has previously gotten local stakeholders together to discuss gaps in the mental health systems in Oxford County and a proposal was delivered to Michael Tibollo, the province’s minister of mental health and wellness.

“He has taken it back and is looking at providing some funding for the initiatives we had noted. We had a lot of businesses also ask if there were any kind of resources or education pieces that could be given to them. We looked at the Ontario chamber to assist us in providing some literature we could pass along,” he explained.

The local chamber met last year with officials from the Woodstock Hospital, Welkin, Southwest Public Health and others. Hudda said the chamber is willing to sit down at the table again to collaborate further.

“We can certainly go on further with that

to see what we can initiate to help with this crisis. When we had the stakeholders involved, we had the chief of police there who was able to give us first-hand information and they work closely with Operation Sharing. There were a lot of things put on the table and it was something beneficial for all of us.”

The local chamber has an advocacy board who are currently looking at how the organization can work more closely with the City of Woodstock, the mayor who is very much involved, to see how everyone can work more closely together. Hudda said does hear from businesses and consumers alike that the issues with drugs, homelessness and mental health aren’t improving.

“Some members of the public are fearful of coming to downtown Woodstock. I know the police have increased their presence in the core but there is only so much they can do with their resources to assist. It’s a matter of seeing how can come down to the root of the issue which is mental

health and addiction.”

Woodstock Councillor Deb Tait has been a critical voice in how the county and city have handled the drug, homelessness and mental health problems locally. She said not only do businesses need to hire security, but some ATMs are closing after normal business hours resulting in lost revenue. She added there needs to be a new approach to find a solution.

“What are we going to do? Nobody has any answers. We tried some things, but they didn’t work. We can’t keep throwing money at it and get zero results. I’m at a loss and it’s really frustrating. The amount the taxpayer is paying for a small number of people in the city is getting out of hand.”

Tait added she would like to see changes in the justice system and the fact criminals aren’t being held accountable for theft is costing everyone.

“There are no repercussions. I know there is a problem with shoplifting everywhere and employees are told not to stop thieves. It doesn’t just cost the business, it costs the end consumer since prices have to be increased. Even if someone was arrested for shoplifting it’s a slap on the wrist. If someone has no fixed address and can’t pay a fine, there’s nothing.”

She added no one can be arrested for possessing small amounts of drugs and if police see someone shooting up in public there is nothing they can do.

June 07, 2024 7 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
Woodstock Chamber of Commerce president Ifhan Hudda said more needs to be done to battle the drug addiction crisis locally and across the province. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
LEE GRIFFI Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Theatre Woodstock’s Cinderella wins two WODL awards

The success of Theatre Woodstock’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella continues long after its successful run in February. The musical secured two awards from the Western Ontario Drama League (WODL).

Theatre Woodstock’s wins include Becky Tanton earning the Best Newcomer award for her portrayal of Charlotte and Kristin and Jocelynne Klein winning the Award of Merit Behind the Scenes for their design of the fairy godmother transformation dresses. The mother and daughter designed three transformation dresses. Jocelynne came home four weekends from her studies at the University of Windsor to provide input for her mom, and she designed the purple ballgown.

The Fairy Godmother dress was an overcoat that would fly off and reveal a cloak as she spun around. The cloak incorporated rags from each cast member’s costume.

“She's the fairy godmother to all, so we wanted to incorporate that,” Kristin said.

The Kleins got a team together to work on the rest of the more than costumes to be made or altered for the rest

of the cast.

"We had a very short time frame to get this all done,” Kristin said. “Everybody was really great and helped out."

Emil and Shannon Wijnker, director and musical director of “Cinderella,” said the Kleins came on board after Rick Klein, who played Sebastian, suggested that his wife Kristin would be interested in creating the costumes.

“Not only did Kristin step up,” the Wijnkers said to the Woodstock-Ingersoll Echo. “But she assembled a team, turned her house into a costume factory, and got straight to work designing our three most complicated costumes. The results were so incredibly impressive, with the magical transforming costumes being many of our patrons' favourite parts of our show.”

Kristin made kids costumes from the time Jocelynne was growing up, and Jocelynne started designing clothes for herself and her friends during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time they created costumes for a theatrical production. Both said they were surprised to win the award.

“I was not expecting to get it,” Jocelynne said. “Especially when I saw some of the other nominations because it was an award of merit, so it was for behind the scenes and a lot of people


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we were up against had some really cool things as well. To hear that we got it was a fun and unique experience."

The mother and daughter enjoyed working on the Cinderella costumes together and will make costumes for Theatre Woodstock’s production of Norm Foster’s A Snow White Christmas.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Kristin said of designing “Cinderella” costumes. “To be able to share this with my daughter. It was very cool. It was a nice bonding time.”

"It definitely would not have been the same if I wasn't able to work with my mom for it,” Jocelynne added. “Especially since I've known her for 20 years, so I find we're able to work really, really well together in that sense. She also trusted me enough to be able to design it and make it all by myself, which was nice."

The Wijnkers also praised Tanton for her humorous take on Charlotte in Cinderella. The actress was new to the stage, as were more than 40 per cent of the cast.

“Theatre can be an intimidating space for first-timers, and it took Becky a few rehearsals to feel comfortable enough

to let herself go and take some risks with her performance,” they said. “But once she did it was magical! She would crack us all up during rehearsals, and we encouraged her not to worry about being a 'perfect' performer.”

Stephanie MacDonald, who portrayed Madame in Cinderella, was also nominated in the Best Newcomer category. The play also received nominations for Outstanding Performance in A Supporting Role for Kassidy Davies’ portrayal of Marie, the Fairy Godmother’s alter-ego, Memorable Moment in a Show for Cinderella’s carriage entrance, Outstanding Musical Direction from Shannon Wijnker, and Outstanding Direction from a First-Time Director from Emil Wijnker. The musical received plenty of praise and was sold out.

“We are humbled and grateful for this very high praise,” the Wijnkers said. “Ultimately, our show was an entire team effort, and credit for the success of our production is shared by the entire cast and crew. As you might expect, many strong friendships were forged as we worked on this show, which may be the most valuable reward of all.”

Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 8 June 07, 2024
Kristin and Jocelynne Klein were the recipients of the Western Ontario Drama League Award of Merritt Behind the Scenes for their three transformation dresses in Theatre Woodstock’s production of “Cinderella.” (EMILY STEWART PHOTO)

Lupus walk held in Woodstock

Woodstock's Annual Walk for Lupus took place on Saturday, June 1 at Southside Park. The event last year raised over $156,000 with events taking place at 12 locations across the province. This year's goal is $ 160,000. Funds raised go to support the Lupus Ontario Geoff Carr Research Fellowship which offers support and education programs for lupus patients and their families. It also has

advocacy projects aimed at improving programs and services for lupus patients. Lupus occurs when the immune system, which normally helps protect the body from infection and disease, attacks its own tissues. This attack causes inflammation and, in some cases, permanent tissue damage that can be widespread affecting skin, joints, heart, lungs, kidneys, circulating blood cells, and the brain.

Purple Hill entertains with blues concert

The Blues on the Hill concert at Purple Hill Country Music Hall near Thorndale featured an impressive lineup including Tim Woodcock and The Thunder Kings.

Also performing were Cheryl Lescom, Chris Trowell, Jayne Laidlaw, Robbie Antone and Jude Coyle.

Held on Sunday, May 26, the event enjoyed perfect sunny weather, making it an ideal day for an outdoor concert.

Located just 4 kilometres from Thamesford, the Purple Hill Country Music Hall's outdoor stage provided a scenic

setting for attendees, who brought their lawn chairs to relax and enjoy the music. The venue is known for its Opry shows, held on the first Sunday of every month at 2 p.m. They highlight great Canadian talent, featuring performers ranging from Country Music Hall of Fame inductees and top recording artists to Juno Award winners and emerging stars. The venue continues to be a hub for showcasing remarkable musical talent in a welcoming and picturesque environment.

June 07, 2024 9 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
Volunteers for the Woodstock event Sheila Moore and Daisy participating in the event Mayor Jerry Acchione, Joyce Watson and Jan Roop (local organizers), Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman and Oxford MP Arpan Khanna participated in the event (RON YUZARK PHOTO) Blues fans (left to right) Andrea Degg, Herry Austen, Georgia Spoon, Linda and Marilyn Greer park their RV in a perfect spot to enjoy the concert Tim Woodcock and The Thunder Kings played the blues as the event’s opening act

Route to the Past – Royal Tour of Oxford County

Eighty five years ago history was made when King George VI became the first reigning monarch to ever visit Canada. On May 17th 1939, the Empress of Australia docked at Wolfe’s Cove, Quebec City and the King and his consort set foot upon their oldest dominion.

The roar of cannons greeted them in a friendly salute from the city’s ramparts. Emotions ran high that day as thousands of voices joined in singing “God Save the King” as the royal procession moved to the provincial legislative chamber. Bruce West, reporter for The Globe and Mail described the King dressed in the uniform of an admiral, as “tall, bronzed and healthy.” and “The Queen looked slender and beautiful.” That description of Her Majesty would be the first of countless others to be penned by all of the journalists and others who had the privilege of seeing her over the next 44 days.

Newsstands across the country were crowded with numerous publications featuring front page photos and portraits of the royal couple. The May 1st edition of Maclean’s Magazine had run a cover with the Queen’s portrait to prepare the nation for their arrival. The May 15th issue was a special souvenir edition selling for 5¢ a copy with a full colour photo of the King by English photographer Bertram Park.

The seeds of this royal tour were planted by Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie

King two years before. In 1937, he was in England for George VI’s coronation. Then, in October the following year, an official statement was issued at Balmoral Castle that the royal couple would tour Canada in the spring of 1939. In the interim, scores of government mandarins on both sides of the Atlantic worked diligently to choreograph the entire tour.

Publicly, the purpose of their visit was at the least two-fold. This would be the first time that a ruling monarch had set foot in our country; other royals like the Prince of Wales in 1860, Prince Arthur in 1869, their sister Princess Louise’s visit to Ingersoll in 1879, and even George’s father the Duke of Cornwall in 1901 had previously toured but they were not occupying the throne at the time. Secondly, and most importantly for the time period, the trip would bolster support for Britain as the storm of war clouds were beginning to gather. The support of English-speaking Canadians was expected; the overwhelming emotions demonstrated by French Canadians may have been more of a surprise. Perhaps they were won over when King George addressed them in fluent French.

There was another hidden reason for their visit. Due to the looming war with Germany, and in spite of Chamberlain’s promise of peace in our time, the British government had taken the pre-emptive opportunity to stow much of its gold bullion reserves onto the royal barge and then the safety of Canadian banks. The chance of a German inva-

sion was too great a risk.


The cross-Canada tour was a total success. Given the vast expanse of our country, the tour took place by train. The governing premise behind it was to ensure that as many Canadians as possible could see their King and Queen, and that their Majesties see as much of Canadian life as possible. As the royal entourage travelled west, they followed the CPR lines; the return trip east was via CNR lines. Eleven of the 44 days were spent visiting more than 30 cities, towns and villages in Ontario alone.

On June 7, 1939 royal fever was at an alltime high in southern Ontario. The Royal Train, sporting its blue, silver and gold colour scheme, carried not only the royal couple but also Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Lords and Ladies-in-waiting, two Earls, the King’s private secretary, several medical officers, and at least twenty domestic servants. When they arrived in London for a one hour stop, roughly 300,000 people came to see them at the station and along the gaily decorated route to the Royal Canadian Regiment base where the King inspected his troops.

From London they travelled to Ingersoll where another throng gathered to see the iconic royal wave and meet and mingle with the couple. A special red carpeted dais was constructed on the north side of the CN train station. Planks placed on top of round cheese boxes provided free bench seating for some of the crowd. Town councillors were

appointed Special Constables to ensure control. The Ingersoll Boy Scouts were posted as honour guards on the platform before the royal arrival. Newspaper reports claim there were more than 10,000 in attendance from all over Oxford County – more than double the town’s population!

Veterans of the Great War had pride of place nearest the platform including retired Pipe Major Tom Johnston of the Ingersoll Pipe Band. His pipers played a few tunes in honour of the Queen’s highland heritage before the Tillsonburg Brass Band could mount their instruments. Unlike some other Canadian locations, George and Elizabeth met dignitaries on the platform and then did a quick walk-about in the crowd. All who met them were charmed. Perhaps she knew that her brother had been a WW1 POW with Ingersoll resident Wilfred MacKay.

Estimates of another 45,000 people met them in Woodstock and 55,000 in Brantford. Their day’s journey proceeded to Hamilton and a motorcade to St. Catharine’s for the official opening of the Queen Elizabeth Way. The visit to Ingersoll came with a price. In an effort to recoup some of their costs, town officials sold off small pieces of the red carpet which had been purchased for the occasion. Rumour has it that while the royal train was stopped, employees of a nearby factory had also loaded it up with pounds and pounds of good old world famous Ingersoll cheddar cheese!

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Surveys to gather input from residents, visitors and tourism operators

“We would love to hear from them on that but also what they are enjoying at this time and what could make a trip here more special.”

The survey is open and all three target audiences have so far been quick to provide their thoughts.

“People are enthusiastic about their communities and visitors have connected with us and are passionate about where they are visiting and of course, businesses have a passion for what they are doing. We have received a lot of feedback and it’s great to see the engagement,” explained Maywood.

The county is blessed to have destinations work together to collectively to bring tourism to a new height in Oxford and Maywood hopes the awareness will grow even more with the exercise.

“Whether that is residents or local businesses and of course visitors, there is so much being offered here. How can we engage people and let them know what’s available?”

She added the county is not only seeking out of region visitors but also wants to get the word out to locals who may not have visited the many unique opportunities available in their backyard.

County Warden Marcus Ryan believes there is much more room to grow the sector in Oxford and added there is a unique offering here.

“We don’t have Niagara Falls or the CN Tower, but so many people are looking to do day trips and we have cheese shops and opportunities for people to meet the cheesemakers and the family, see the farm. The last decade of that kind of business growth here has

shown these are really viable businesses that start as a ma and pop family side hustle but turn into a business that employs other people.”

He added the county needs to hear from people about what things they like, what they don’t like and how they would like it to be different to make sure they are doing it right going forward. Ryan said there are no plans to expand the county’s resources yet.

“A lot of what our tourism department does is support private businesses in growing. Our department connects them with grant and marketing opportunities. The county isn’t investing in a tourism business but in terms of resources to support growth, yeah, at a certain point, there might be more human resources to support it.”

He added there would need to be a plan to grow tourism in Oxford for that to happen.

As a Sustainable Tourism 2030 community, Tourism Oxford promotes sustainable travel opportunities in Oxford County while supporting efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion. Tourism Oxford partners with local tourism operators and supports local businesses with training and networking opportunities. Tourism’s key successes include a partnership with Oxford County Federation of Agriculture to create Oxford Fresh, a program that promotes local agriculture businesses, and the award-winning Oxford County Cheese Trail a self-guided tour featuring 32 cheese, dairy and related businesses and offerings for visitors to experience.

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Woodstock Minor Baseball Association registration up for the 2024 season

It was already a beautiful night for baseball at Woodstock’s Tip O’Neil Park.

A Wranglers 15U comeback victory simply emphasized that salient point.

The turning point of the game was also the turning point of the Inter-County Baseball Association (ICBA) regular season thus far for Woodstock. Trailing 8-3 after a tough top of the third inning, manager Rick Rochon called a brief meeting outside the dugout to refocus and rally his youthful troops.

They responded, his son Carter leading off the home half of the frame with a hustle base hit on a ground ball that ate up the third baseman. That single ignited an 11-run bat-around inning featuring lengthy RBI doubles from Braxton Xeng Ngo-Simmons and Graedon Smith.

The 15U Wranglers added two additional runs in each of their fourth and fifth inning at-bats, rounding an 18-8 mercy-rule victory.

“They brought what they had in the dugout onto the field,” credited manager Rochon.

The 15U Wranglers have been practicing indoors since last November, opening their regular season on May 14. Rochon enjoys everything about baseball from the smell of newly mown outfield grass and the competition to the sense of team camaraderie and the chance for young people to set aside any issues they might have and ‘just play and learn the game.’

“There’s something great about being out there.”

Woodstock’s Tues., May 21 victory snapped a two-game ICBA season-opening losing streak, initiating a subsequent three-game winning run, an encouraging sign as the 15Us begin the 2024 season along with their fellow Wranglers.

Woodstock’s baseball diamonds - recognized collectively as some of the best in the province including by The Toronto Blue Jays organization which visited Tip O’Neil Park with a May development clinic again in 2024 - will be as busy as ever this season says Woodstock Minor Baseball Association (WMBA) president Brian Vanpee.

A self-professed ‘nerd’ as much as an

Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 12 June 07, 2024
Woodstock U15 Wrangler relief pitcher Tyler Lafleur follows through on his delivery during a come-from-behind 18-8 ICBA victory over the visiting Brantford Red Sox.

Woodstock Minor Baseball Association registration up for the 2024 season

athlete, the long-time Jays supporter1993 World Series walk-off home run hero Joe Carter in particular - brings organizational and administrative skills to his third season as association president, and a position on the ICBA board. An extremely busy commitment does happily leave time to check out his son’s 18U Wranglers squad as well.

WMBA registration has returned to pre-Covid levels says Vanpee, with around 500 kids playing on 10 rep entries, three select squads and a whole pile of house league teams.

“It’s definitely up a bit from last year.”

WMBA rep squads play in the ICBA, contesting both league and Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) championships. Select team members play both in the ICBA and at the house league level. House league competitors enjoy both a mid-season tournament and end-of-season championship round-robin selection series, leading to semi-finals and a championship game for the top four squads in each division.

“It’s important every kid is learning and having fun,” says Vanpee, noting house league is in part a feeder system for select and rep programs.

Each level of play is co-ed although while girls tend to start playing at younger ages, many are attracted to competitive fast-pitch teams in Sweaburg and Innerkip. WMBA promotes a positive environment in which each player has fun, improves and is exposed to values encouraging respect in sport.

“Of course, if you win, that’s nice too,” admitted Vanpee with a laugh. “It’s not the number one thing, but it’s a measure of hey, you’re doing a good job too.”

Umpire-in-chief Ron Burns is in

charge of the officiating crew, including in-house development for local umpires, for whom training is provided free of charge. Trainees typically begin at the age of 12 or 13 says Vanpee and can continue umpiring up to and beyond retirement age should they so choose.

“It’s a great summer job for teenagers.”

Beyond the Blue Jays spring clinic, other WMBA seasonal highlights include a Baseball Canada 13U championship tournament scheduled for the week of Aug. 21-26. As host, WMBA’s 13U team gets an automatic entry and believes Vanpee, can be competitive at that

elevated level.

The championship requires significant volunteerism and sponsorship but also represents an economic boost for the city, as well as an opportunity to view a cross-section of Canada’s best young players.

“It’s great baseball, really high quality,” said Vanpee.

Given baseball interest and registration does tend to follow the fortunes of the Blue Jays, he wishes that team was doing a little better as well. Having said that however, Vanpee is happy to see the WMBA trending in a positive direction.

“There’s lots of reasons to be optimistic for baseball in Woodstock,” he concluded. “We’re looking forward to a great 2024 season and are set up pretty well for the future as well.”

4959 - Woodstock U15 Wrangler Miles MacLaren takes an aggressive lead from third with relief pitcher Tyler Lafleur at the plate.

4903 - Woodstock U15 Wrangler relief pitcher Tyler Lafleur follows through on his delivery during a come-from-behind 18-8 ICBA victory over the visiting Brantford Red Sox.

Woodstock Warriors U14 Volleyball Team Takes Silver at Niagara Frontier Mayhem Tournament

The Woodstock Warriors U14 volleyball team showcased their prowess at the recent Niagara Frontier Mayhem Tournament in Buffalo (May 10-12). Dominating the competition, the Warriors displayed exceptional skill and teamwork. Despite a hard-fought battle in the championship match, they secured the silver medals, bringing home a well-deserved honor! Their outstanding performance not only highlighted their talent but also proudly represented Canada.

June 07, 2024 13 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
AMY BODDY Echo Contributor Back Row: Alison Van Der Wyngaard, Jaylen Walker, Meghan Jongert, Katie Hofstetter, Lauren Cumberland, Avery Glanzmann, Avery Hahn, Josslyn Gaffney, Brooklyn Ruddy and Coach Durval Mederos. Front Row: Ajmer Poonia, Peyton Boddy, Hannah Law, Hope Mc Michael. (AMY BODDY PHOTO)
Woodstock U15 Wrangler Miles MacLaren takes an aggressive lead from third with relief pitcher Tyler Lafleur at the plate. (JEFF TRIBE PHOTO)

Woodstock Lawn Bowling Club (WLBC) greenskeeper and two-time provincial medallist Jim Roth has a simple wish for the people he sees eyeing the action from along Parkinson Road.

“If you could get them to come in and try it, they’d be surprised, pleasantly,” he smiled at the club’s opening ‘jitney’ or social bowling event.

The WLBC is attempting just that, issuing a free and open invitation to give lawn bowling a try during its sociable evenings, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 7 p.m., preceded by a 6:45 p.m. registration. The WLBC is also hosting a three-day open house from Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2.

Newcomers are welcome to attend three free trial sessions in flat-bottomed running shoes that protect the greens, provided with bowls from 80 sets on-site and support to see if the sport is something they’d care to pursue.

“We give you instruction until you feel comfortable,” explained club president Lorraine McLean.

Lawn bowling boasts a rich and lengthy history, dating back to Sir Francis Drake reportedly insisting on finishing his game before embarking to battle the Spanish Armada. Woodstock’s own lawn bowling connection reaches back 130 years, beginning in 1894 at a site in front of the courthouse, moving to its current 325 Finkle Street location in 1952. Elements of this tradition remain, including the venerable Krupp trophy, donated by avid bowler Dr. Weston Krupp in 1936 and still contested today.

However, the perception of an exclusive facility housing only white-clad bowlers has evolved to a diverse, egalitarian approach mirrored in contemporary fashion choices. Lawn bowling occupies middle ground between bocce ball and curling. As in bocce, a round white ball (jack in lawn bowling terms) is rolled to begin a set. Competitors strive to have as

Lawn bowling, why not?

many of their bowls as possible closer to this jack than their opposition, scoring a point for each closer than the competitors’ closest.

Bowls - originally made out of wood, currently from a composite material - are biased - unevenly weighted side to sideallowing curved pathways around obstacles to get closer to the jack, knock competitors’ bowls out of scoring position or one’s own in, or drive the jack into an improved location.

Rinks vary in size, however, Woodstock is in the typical range at 12 feet wide and 119 long. “Each is as flat as you can get them and as fast, without harming the grass by cutting it too short,” said Roth, a dedicated provincial-award-winning greenskeeper McLean considers the best in Ontario.

Competition comes in singles, pairs, triples and fours, same-sex, mixed or open in the team events. The amount of bowls per set varies, often four in singles, three or four each in pairs, two or three each in triples and two per bowler

in fours. Typically, singles matches go to a predetermined number of shots or points, with pairs, triples and fours often decided via an agreed-upon number of ends, usually eight for sociable games.

“At provincials, it can go up to 16,” said 2019 Canadian Men’s Fours champion Derek McKie.

Games open with a coin flip, the winner having the option of rolling the jack and taking the first bowl or deferring for the last shot in the opening end.

“It’s kind of like the hammer,” said McKie. “You can choose to place the jack and first bowl or have the last bowl.”

A team that scores a point or points in an end opens bowling in the next, giving up the hammer.

Strategy is significant in lawn bowling, based on what Roth refers to as its three L’s: line, length and luck. Some teams prefer to play short, others a longer game, based on their strengths.

“You always have plan B and sometimes you go further down the list from that,” he smiled.

Club members have the option of three sociable nights of bowling weekly, unlimited practice, social events in a licensed facility, tournaments at home or in other area clubs, or entering the provincial, Canadian and world streams.

“This game can be as competitive or as social as you want,” said Roth.

Woodstock will host six club tournaments this year as well as a mixed pairs provincial event Aug. 10 and 11.

COVID-19 provided a challenge to WLBC membership, which has rebounded from pandemic lows to 75 in 2023.

“And growing,” said McLean.

As an incentive to new bowlers, firstyear membership is a reduced $75 for the season, rising to $150 in year two and beyond. For more information, call 519463-5447 or visit the WLBC Facebook page.

“You can play this game from eight to 80,” said Roth who came late to lawn bowling despite his parents’ efforts, finding himself hooked immediately. “I wish I would have done it years earlier.”

Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 14 June 07, 2024
Suzanne Paul releases a bowl during the Woodstock Lawn Bowling Club’s opening jitney (sociable bowling evening). (JEFF TRIBE PHOTO) From left, Jim Roth, Lorraine MacLean and Derek McKie celebrate the opening of the Woodstock Lawn Bowling Club season Mon., May 21. (JEFF TRIBE PHOTO) Sheri Karelsen looks on as Woodstock Lawn Bowling Club president Lorraine MacLean lines up a shot at the club’s opening jitney. (JEFF TRIBE PHOTO) Lorraine MacLean applies a little body English encouragement to her teammates’ shot during the Woodstock Lawn Bowling Club’s opening night of sociable bowling. (JEFF TRIBE PHOTO)

Celebrate Seniors Month at South Gate Centre in Woodstock

South Gate Centre is always bustling with activity. During June, the fun increases as they celebrate Seniors Month with many free activities.

Kicking off the month is a free community BBQ on Tuesday, June 4th at noon. Century 21 Heritage House graciously sponsors this event.

Throughout the month four Lunch & Learn speakers providing informative talks on reverse mortgages, fraud prevention and identity theft, dispelling the myths of planning a funeral and fire prevention.:

The fitness instructors at the Centre are excited to host a Fitness Marathon

on Wednesday, June 26 between 8 am and 12 noon. Classes will be 40 minutes long and include weights, stretching (both on the floor and in a chair), stability ball, seated fitness, and seated yoga. The fitness classes at South Gate Centre are taught by those over 50 and all instructors are certified as Senior’s Fitness Instructors from the Canadian Centre for Active Aging.

Many of the classes offered at the Centre are geared to those with limited mobility or beginning to exercise after surgery. Seated classes like Seated Fitness and Seated Yoga are some of the Centre’s most popular classes.

South Gate Centre’s volunteer fitness instructors are certified as Senior’s Fitness Instructors from the Canadian Cen -


Thursday, June 6

12 pm - 1:15 pm Shannon Woolley: REVERSE MORTGAGES

tre for Active Aging. They will ensure that you are doing the exercises properly to avoid injury.

Local Roots Café food services at South Gate is offering a Special Seniors Month Lunch of ham and scalloped potatoes for $8 on Tuesday, June 25 from 11:30 am to 1 p.m. and a roast beef buffet lunch on Friday, June 28.

For a list of details of the free activities happening during the month of June and for more information about all the great things happening at South Gate Centre, check out our website at www.southgatectr.com/newsletter or stop by and grab a hard copy of our monthly newsletter at 191 Old Wellington St. S. in Woodstock.

Also happening at the Centre in June is a Car Cruise Night on Wednesday,

1:30 – 2:45 pm FirstOntario and Woodstock Police: FRAUD PREVENTION & IDENTITY THEFT

Thursday, June 20

12 pm - 1:15 pm Brock & Visser Funeral Home: DISPELLING THE MYTHS OF PLANNING A FUNERAL

1:30 pm – 2:45 pm Woodstock Fire Services: FIRE PREVENTION

June 12, 2024, 5 pm - 8 pm

June 26, 2024

June 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. This free event features cool rides, prizes, fun and music. A delicious rib dinner can be purchased that night for $20.

For theatregoers, the centre is hosting a production with Community FOAP Theatre and Theatre Woodstock called Our Little Secret. This delightful comedy tells the story of a woman surprised by an intruder. She soon discovers that the intruder is not what he seems… watch as something very funny develops between them. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at South Gate. Show dates are June 21 at 7:30 p.m. and June 22 at 2 p.m.

South Gate Centre’s expansion and renovation is ready to start in mid-July. As the population of those over the

Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 16 June 07, 2024 LUNCH & LEARN SERIES - Join us for FREE informative talks.
SGC MONTHLY CRUISE Cool cars, prizes, music,
fun. Local Roots Rib Dinn er -
8 am - 12 noon inclusive. 40 minutes classes.
June is 191 Old Wellington St. S. Woodstock, ON 519-539-9817 www.southgatectr.com www.facebook.com/southgatectr Everyone is welcome to celebrate with us - FREE.
Marketing & Communications
South Gate Centre CONTINUED TO PAGE 17

age of 50 rises in Oxford County, so does our membership and the needs and requests for more programming, social activities and food services/rentals. We are excited to be creating a place for all interests, with greater services to our members and the community. With an incredible addition and renovation to the current building, we aim to provide the very best venue in Woodstock and the surrounding area. The expansion will include more indoor space for programming and socializing, a community kitchen, banquet space for up to 400 and an expansive outdoor terrace. After almost ten years of planning the much-needed expansion, dreams are coming true!

Fundraising continues as the Centre seeks cash, pledges, endowments, and gifts of securities. If you or your company are looking to give back to the community in a meaningful way please contact Christine Cunningham, Executive Director at South Gate Centre at 519-539-9817. Donations of $1000 and up will be placed on a Permanent Wall of Recognition. Room naming opportunities are available for those donating more than $10,000. “All donations to the centre are greatly appreciated,” said Christine Cunningham, Executive Di-

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June is #SeniorsMonth2024! At VON Oxford we continue to support and provide essential care to seniors, we encourage you to join us in appreciating the wisdom, experience and love that seniors bring into our lives and communities! Together, we celebrate their stories, achievements and joy they bring to our hearts! #LiveEveryDay #VONCares Info: 519-539-1231

New one-stop-shop website connecting seniors and their families to government services and resources

June is Seniors Month in Ontario – a time to honour and celebrate the contributions seniors have made to help make this province the great place it is today.

To make it easier and more convenient for seniors and their families to find the information they need to connect to services and resources, the Ontario government is launching a new and interactive website at Ontario.ca/seniors.

"Thanks to our seniors, Ontario is a place we can proudly call home and I encourage all Ontarians to join me in celebrating Seniors Month throughout June,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “As part of our government’s plan to help people easily connect

with the government services they need, our new seniors website now puts everything seniors and their loved ones need to find, right at their fingertips.”

The simple and easy to use website and its search tool provides a one-stop-shop for seniors and their families to have all the information and resources they need on how to connect government services and community supports such as home and housing supports, health and well-being, recreation, caregiving, and finances.

Seniors can easily find out how to connect to services such as Health811, renew a driver’s licence, and find tax credits. It also helps seniors find other community resources including local seniors organizations that offer social, cultural and recreational programs.

This year’s Senior’s Month theme,

Your hearing helps you stay connected to those who matter most, enjoy all the sights and sounds around you, and maintain a good quality of life.

Get your hearing checked by a licensed hearing care professional at your local Connect Hearing clinic.

Service that puts your hearing needs first.

Personalized Tinnitus support.

CAA Members save up to $2,000

Working for Seniors, highlights the programs and services that are helping seniors all over the province stay fit, healthy, active and connected to their family, friends and communities.

Ontario is working for seniors by investing more than ever before in hundreds of local programs and services every year because when seniors have more opportunities to be social and together, they have a happier and better quality of life.

Quick Facts

• Seniors are Ontario’s fastest growing demographic.

• The number of seniors aged 65 and over is projected to increase significantly, from 2.8 million or 18.4 per cent of the population in 2022, to 4.4 million, or 20.3 per cent by 2046.

Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 18 June 07, 2024
(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO) Get back to enjoying what you love. Check your hearing.
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VON holds volunteer appreciation event

The Oxford VON hosted a Volunteer Appreciation event at Fore! Oxford on May 23. It celebrated the dedication of VON and Sakura House volunteers with an afternoon filled with golf, refreshments, and laughter. The volunteers provide invaluable support, offering their time to make a significant impact on the lives of those receiving palliative care, thereby strengthening the community. With over 160 volunteers involved in various programs and services, VON Oxford values their contributions. If you are interested in making a meaningful difference in your community and enriching your own life, consider joining the VON Oxford volunteer team. For more information call 519537-8515 ext. 1022.

June 07, 2024 19 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
Some of the organizers were (left to right) Angela Wildfong, Brittany Bratt, Rana Saleh, Jennifer Vanderploeg, Janet Somers, Melissa Doucette, Kim Anderson and September Quierrez (RON YUZARK PHOTO)
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Oxford County Pride expanding programming to seniors

A visit to the Tillsonburg Senior Centre and cue cards with guidelines on addressing gender and sexuality terminology part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are two ways Oxford County Pride is taking to reach out to seniors.

Tami Murray, president of Oxford County Pride, will be hosting educational sessions throughout the summer across the county, including at the Tillsonburg Senior Centre on June 14.

She said Oxford County Pride also created cue cards outlining 2SLGBTQIA+ terminology. The Pronoun Cow card, for example, highlights different pronoun sets someone may use such as she/her, he/him, they/them, she/they, he/they, and other sets, and addresses the importance of using someone’s pronouns correctly. The cards also explain the meaning of a variety of pride flags and the correct terminology to use when talking about a transgender person.

Murray said that they are an educational tool that can help ease the anxiety over addressing members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community incorrectly, especially pronouns.

“There's not a right or wrong way to do it, as long as you look to educate yourself,” she said.

“For us, it was about quick cue cards that give people the information they need so they can ask the questions and not be wrong and engage in those critical conversations that maybe they were avoiding before because they didn't want to say maybe the wrong thing or do the wrong thing."

Murray said one reason why organizations like Oxford County Pride need to reach out to senior citizens is so they can learn how to be better allies to their grandchildren part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

“We have a generation of kids coming up that, you know, they talk in a different language,” Murray said. “They have different perspectives, and we have grandparents that are engaging with these

kids, and they want to know. I applaud that population for gaining insight and doing such for their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.”

Reaching out to seniors also means reaching out to older generations as part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and decreasing stigma.

“There's a large population of 2SLGBTQIA+ in the senior population, we just lack resources and unfortunately many times, they have lived their life completely in the closest,” Murray explained.

“To even go into a seniors home or a nursing home and to be transparent about who you are can be a little bit intimidating and scary and some cases, not accepting from your peers. So, I think that it's important that we embrace belonging and unity and how I think we're going to do that is through education.”

Oxford County Pride’s outreach to seniors comes just in time for Pride Month in June. Visit www.oxfordpride.ca for more information including upcoming events.

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June 07, 2024 21 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
ERNIE HARDEMAN MPP - Oxford ernie.hardemanco@pc.ola.org • 519-537-5222 • 1-800-265-4046 Happy Seniors
EMILY STEWART Echo Correspondent
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Thamesford News Thamesford Lions elect new executive

Thamesford Lions holding Retro Rides and Community Vibes fundraiser

The event is being held on Saturday, June 15 at the Lions South Park in Thamesford and will raise funds for the Zorra Multi-Use Courts Committee.

Organizer and Lions Club member Rebecca Haggerty the committee is over halfway to its fundraising goal.

“The Thamesford Lions have donated $50,000 to the project but we thought there was more of an opportunity to get the word out about the project so we got together and planned the event.”

It will include a car show, kid’s activities, live entertainment, a BBQ, bake sale and information tables with community groups.

Haggerty explained they have a plan B

in case of inclement weather.

“The Thamesford Recreation Centre. The ice is out so we would take advantage of that area and have everyone come in through the Zamboni doors. If there is rain the car show will be cancelled.”

Haggerty said she is grateful for the hard work of club members but also thankful for community members for supporting their fundraising.

“We wouldn’t have a community without the people who aren’t in our club. We need supporters and so many people come out to our event, including newcomers to the town. We are grateful for everyone’s support and we are looking forward to holding more events.”

She added the event is family-friendly with something for everyone to enjoy. It runs from noon to 4 p.m.

been in existence for over 60

Thamesford minor ball opens 2024 season


Baseball is a great sport for kids to

play. From developing hand-eye coordination to fostering a love of the outdoors, the benefits of playing baseball are numerous. Whether your child is a seasoned player or just starting out, there's no better time to lace up their cleats and hit the field.

“You don’t need a ticket to see some of the best baseball in the world, you just need to drive one of the players to the game.”

June 07, 2024 23 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
Left: The club has unveiled its new executive members who will serve during the 2024/2025 term. Back row, left to right - Francine Overeem, 3rd Vice; Dave Salhani, Director; Ron Bouwman, Treasurer; Jim Keron, Treasurer; Brian Voigt, Director/Marketing; Andrew McClure, Director; Doris Weir, Tail Twister. Middle row, left to right - Dick Dufton, Membership Chair; Jack Broadfoot, LCIF; Michael Anderson, 2nd Vice; Glenn Ross, 1st vice; Rebecca Haggerty, Marketing; Wayne Romphf, Service Chair; Dan Fisher, Membership Chair. Front row, left to right - Chris Mayo, Service Chair; Sheldon Wade, President. The club has over 60 members and has years. Absent - Kristina Davis, Lion Tamer.
GP W L T PCT PTS RS RA STK Outcasts 5 4 1 0 0.800 8 72 47 1 W Damaged Goods 3 3 0 0 1.000 6 51 33 3 W Designated Drinkers 3 2 1 0 0.667 4 44 37 2 W NADS 4 2 2 0 0.500 4 64 54 1 W Dewy's Auto 4 2 2 0 0.500 4 54 55 2 W Bulldogs 4 2 2 0 0.500 4 53 62 1 L Silver Bullets 3 1 2 0 0.333 2 45 45 1 L Scared Hitless 3 1 2 0 0.333 2 52 47 2 L One Hitters 4 1 3 0 0.250 2 44 66 3 L Red Eyed Riders 3 0 3 0 0.000 0 27 60 9 L THAMESFORD SLO-PITCH LEAGUE Team Standings - 2024 Regular Season Thamesford Slo-Pitch League Team Standings - 2024 Regular Season
last week
you're anything like us, you're excited the minor league baseball season is finally
Thamesford Toro's Minor Baseball Association season opened the
and our association of dedicated executives couldn't be
JENNIFER DYER Thamesford Minor Baseball Association President
Contribute to your local community newspaper! Send articles, sports or event recaps, and photos to info@theecho.ca Echo
Lennon Bourque is in uniform and ready to start his Tball season.

Rural Oxford EDC hands out local business awards

A total of 11 outstanding Oxford County businesses were honoured last week as the Rural Oxford Economic Development Corporation held its 10th anniversary award event at the Otter Creek Golf Club.

Rural Oxford EDC Nancy Demarest said teamwork was in full view.

"Looking across the room and seeing ten years of history from volunteers to staff, to community builders and rural business owners. Together we celebrated both the nominated and those who took home an award. Collaboration is the common denominator in all that we do.”

She added that her organization and many others work together to help rural companies grow and succeed.

“The many recently celebrated award finalists and winners are testimony to what can be accomplished by working together. I couldn't be prouder to be Chair of Rural Oxford EDC.”

Ronda Stewart, Rural Oxford EDC’s economic development officer, said she continues to be impressed with the teamwork in the county.

"Collaboration and camaraderie are thriving in Oxford County and our 10th Anniversary and Awards Event last week delivered one more example of the collaborative spirit at the core of what we do.”

Ronda added working alongside so many incredible people is one of the most rewarding parts of her job.

“It is an honour to work closely with so many incredible people every day and it was truly a gift to be able to bring so many folks together to celebrate our successes collectively. As each community partner called a new award winner to the stage, the room filled with heartwarming applause and some tears of joy shed as well.”

Thank you to everyone who had a hand in shaping this fine organization into what it is today. We will continue in our mission to help others achieve busi-

ness success in Rural Oxford.”

Bright Cheese and Butter received one of four Lifetime Achievement Awards handed out. General Manager Stefan Cartmale has been at the helm for just over a decade and said on a personal level, the award means a lot to his team.

“It is recognition of the long-term perseverance of a business that has spent decades bucking the trends of making food less expensive and less nutritious by providing high-quality products at reasonable prices. The cheese industry is a tough business with very low margins and very high competition not only from Canada but now from all over the world.”

He added his team constantly looks for innovation without sacrificing quality or food safety and continues to develop products that are inclusive of diverse dietary requirements.

“It is an honour to work for a business that is so highly recognized locally and refuses to bend from its core values even though so many of our local Ontario competitors have closed their doors against the pressures of competing against imports and highly modified food ingredients.”

Anyone involved in small business in Oxford County knows there is a one-ofa-kind comradery. Cartmale explained the more he becomes involved in the community in Oxford County, the more impressed he is with how well the community supports each other.

“There are several events and initiatives led by organizations like ROEDC and having the ability to easily network with other local businesses is invaluable. It is truly amazing when you realize just how diverse the manufacturing base and business community in Oxford is. You could decide tomorrow to open a company and you’d be surprised to find that almost everything you need is within 30 minutes.”

He added at last week’s award ceremony the sense of appreciation everyone had for one another was on complete display.

“Businesses are truly supportive of one another and I was personally so happy for every one of the award recipients. It was a remarkable event.”

Among the dignitaries on hand was Ernie Hardeman who said having so many incredible small businesses in the same place at once is what makes Ox-

ford County an incredible place to do business.

“When I look at the places across the country I get involved with in my job I’ve never thought of any area better than Oxford and tonight proves that.”

Many of the award nominees and winners are part of agri-tourism, a growing part of the county’s economy. Hardeman said the sector is expanding more rapidly here than anywhere else.

“It’s all part of how we have changed and grown economically. When I first started in politics no one even talked about tourism let alone try and develop it in our rural area. The way agriculture is changing we have to make special efforts to protect our culture by encouraging people to go for awards like tonight.”

He added when agriculture is discussed the conversation is normally about increasing yields, farming more efficiently and being more competitive globally, something that wasn’t the case at the awards banquet.

“When you look at tonight’s awards, they were almost all directed at how we are building the agricultural community, not how much more efficiently we are fixing our food. This is about how we can protect our rural communities.”

The other award winners were:

• Oxford Fresh Farm Gate – Berrylicious Fruit Farm

• Oxford Fresh Farm Gate - Deep Purple Lavender Farm

• Business Leadership – Willow Grove Animal Wellness Centre

• Welcoming Workforce – Salford Group

• Agri-Food Excellence – Red Dragon Dairy

• Starter Company – Terra Nova Nordic Spa & Café

• Lifetime Business Achievement –Jakeman's Maple Products

• Lifetime Business Achievement –Oxford Pallet & Recyclers Ltd.

• Lifetime Business Achievement –Quehl’s Restaurant and Catering

• Community Leadership Award – Jim Pickard

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LEE GRIFFI Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Rural Oxford EDC board member Jim Pickard is presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Ronda Stewart, the organization’s Economic Development Officer (CUSTOM CONCEPT PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO)

Woodstock business group concerned about the cost of mental health and addictions

“You have to overhaul the judicial system. Why would anyone stop doing what they are doing if they don’t have to pay for it? All of us are paying for it. The store owner has to pay his taxes.”

Oxford County Council has hired a consultant at a cost of $125,000 to produce a report on homelessness and the issues that come along with it. It is expected to be released soon. Both Woodstock Mayor Jerry Acchione and Tait voted against the proposal. Tait said the province needs to start funding solutions.

“We have to keep pressuring them. The

taxpayers in Woodstock should not be paying for it. My understanding is they are looking at funding more detox beds. We don’t have mental health beds. Every group and municipality needs to keep pressuring the province. Everybody is dealing with the same problem.”

She added detox beds are expensive and although not everyone living on the street is a drug addict, it is the root of the problem.

Oxford County Warden Marcus Ryan echoed Tait’s thoughts that the province needs to step up.

“Provincial governments for decades have been perfectly happy to let municipalities step into areas of provincial jurisdiction because we are going to tax people on their property tax bills for services more appropriately and more effectively delivered by the Ministry of Health.”

He added there are many great local organizations but it can not be done in a way that absolves the province and its responsibility to deal with mental health and addiction issues.

“The ministry is tasked to deal with these issues on behalf of all Ontarians

and has powers of taxation through income, sales and corporate taxes. Municipalities have no access to any of that, it’s only property taxes. There is a question of which level of government should be providing this service and to me, it is crystal clear it is the provincial ministry of health.”

He added the county has told the province they are willing to partner with them several times but a local solution can’t be tackling what is more appropriately a provincial responsibility.

Ingersoll’s People On the Thames

“The land falls under the jurisdiction of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority” says Ingersoll Mayor Brian Petrie who also happens to be the Chair of the UTRCA. In a recent meeting at Oxford County administration building in Woodstock several figureheads were engaged looking for a plan. A CP Rail liaison joined the Oxford County Warden, Marcus Ryan, in a meeting that included, among others, a new staffer from the City of Woodstock that had recently been recruited from the City of Toronto, who holds some direct expertise in addressing a growing homelessness problem.

When I asked Mayor Brian Petrie to join

me for coffee to discuss my humanitarian concerns about the homeless encampments by the Thames River in Ingersoll I had incorrectly guessed that the information I had collected in my initial research would guide the conversation. We sat in big comfortable leather chairs in the back of Ingersoll’s newest coffee shop, the Evergreen Cafe enjoying $10 worth of delicious caffeinated percolations. The expense and modest luxury of the surroundings serving as a juxtaposition for the topic at hand.

Dave Brown, born and raised in St. Thomas, Ontario, came to Ingersoll visa vie Woodstock not too long after his relationship fell apart. “I used to do roofing, I have worked my whole life” he confides in me as we sit where he and some of what he calls “acquaintances” do in the wee hours of the early morning at Tim Horton’s. “I sleep in the daytime because it’s safer” he adds. Dave lives in the camp to the West of the VIA rail station. At present time he accounts for a population of six between the two camps, but says that number will climb a bit with the good weather. “This isn’t what I signed up for” he tells me. “I want out of there”. Dave lives to see his son, who resides with his ex in Woodstock. He says his life really took a turn for the worst when he was in a serious car accident that nearly cost him his life. Suffering from debilitating pain, like many of us, Dave was prescribed narcotic pain relief. This short term relief solution would inevitably change his life.

When I share my story of similarities with my friend and offer how “Homewood changed my life”, Dave looks aside, like he often does when we chat, and says quietly through his broken smile “I’ve never been to rehab”.

Dave echos the phrase “I want out of there”.

When I asked him what he wanted or needed, it wasn’t clothing or food, it was services like a shower and a place to do my laundry. “I don’t want any more stuff, I want to get out of there”.

Join in and read along for developing updates in my effort to help shine a light on a very real struggle going on among us. You

will recognize some of the names and you may also their faces.

Ingersoll, and Oxford County, is a community with a huge heart. Generations of families, such as mine, have called Ingersoll home. Recently we came together in an incredible display of solidarity enduring for over a decade, a fight with an outside interest that threatened our community with the idea of poisoning our land, water and air with a mega landfill on our doorstep. One needs only look to the burgeoning case on our West coast to see where the lines between public and private problems have blurred. Your boots and hearts are needed still and again.

June 07, 2024 25 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo Worship With Us We invite you to worship with us. Sunday School 9:30 am Sunday Worship Service 10:30 am GRAND RIVER MENNONITE CHURCH Princeton Pastor 519.521.3491 723 Dundas St., Woodstock Join us for worship, music and fellowship With our new Interim Priest Rev Mark Kinghan Sundays at 11am followed by coffee hour. Jun 23: Founder’s Day: featuring trumpet and Special Music. Historic Old St.Paul’s: Celebrating 190 years



How do you spell COW in thirteen letters?

What do you call a fly without wings?

Which part of a road do ghosts most love to travel?



Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 26 June 07, 2024 Word Search Basic (9) Sudoku by PeterS 2024 28 4 59 91 47 64 27 76 92 85 74 85 23 31 9 86 Solutions on page 31 Featured
at the cottage. Nominate your pet to be a Featured Pet by emailing info@theecho.ca Riddles
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everyone else? Your name Sudoku HAPPY PRIDE MONTH Acceptance Love Tolerance Pride Transgender Bisexual Gay Lesbian Marriage Support Ally LGBTQ Identity Diversity Inclusion Equal Queer Created w th TheTeachersCorner net Word Search Maker ACCEPTANCE LOVE TOLERANCE PRIDE TRANSGENDER BISEXUAL GAY LESBIAN MARRIAGE SUPPORT ALLY LGBTQ IDENTITY DIVERSITY INCLUSION Name: B R M D S L T R A N S G E N D E R Q V C X H P I B R G L J R E E U Q C P D W R S E G H Z V A L E W G O A P S Z R Y A S N C X Q H Z Y C D N F G C Z I T D M B O F N D A V H J W C W S K N M B T W J I C Q A G M F X N T Y E L A G H W W T S U T Z R R Y G O D Y U U P O X V L A U Q E I P E J X A S U P P O R T B I G L G K P E C L J E G E D W W N E Q A T C Y V V Y K I O K U J J D Q M K I T D N O B L A D S P T R R V L H G L F M B I Q C T G V K F V H P B N U P T B Y Q G V Y V E L V H G C I C Q U U J A C T L L E S B I A N W N E P M F S F Q U H I F C R U Z K P O S E K E G A I R R A M T L L S Q M N V A D Y O M N O U T F Z V N O Y I Z J S R I W P X R G F G N M W C E V E T C P I R A Y A I E E N N V Y Q O D E C Y X B P D T U S T O J G E J B Q B I S E X U A L O W S Z V Q A H Y X K P I J Y H L A I G S P N Z B
do you call it when your parachute doesn’t open? Jumping to a
What belongs to you but is used most

Beachville museum holds car show

June 07, 2024 27 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo JEFF’S Lawn Cutting Service Call me, Jeff at 519-671-1637 e-mail jeffscott986@gmail.com Free Quotes in Ingersoll Great Customer Service
The museum recently welcomed some vintage cars which drew a large crowd. Zachary Raine attended and sat in his dad's car. Zachary and his parents enjoyed the cars that came for the first of 5 car shows at the Beachville District Museum on May 26, 2024. (DORIS WEIR PHOTO) LEE GRIFFI Editor
1. What is the birthstone for May? 2. How many milliliters are in a liter? 3. Who composed the Brandenburg Concertos? 4. Who is the Prime Minister of the UK? 5. Where was the 2014 Winter Olympics held? 6. An unintentional error regarded as revealing subconscious feelings is known as a ____. 7. Hz is short form for what? 8. When was the electric guitar invented? 9. Who was the first person to win 2 Nobel prizes? 10. What two countries border Uruguay? Weekend Quiz This week’s answers are found on pg. 31
Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 28 June 07, 2024


GO: Robbie’s – an unusual, eclectic destination. And mind your fingers

If I were to try to describe Robbie’s of Islamorada in one or two words, I would give up. Because Robbie’s is one of the most unusual, eclectic destinations anywhere, it’s impossible to sum up with a single adjective.

At this popular spot in the Florida Keys, you can dine on pub food right by the docks or inside the Hungry Tarpon surrounded by hundreds of fluttering American one-dollar bills that adorn the ceiling, walls and occasional posts.

You can feed tarpon by hand, an activity more fraught with peril than you might expect given the number of people who eagerly hold out bait fish for these giant game fish to grab. From time to time, they also grab a hand –or forearm (they have very large mouths). No one has lost body parts that I know of, but I also know firsthand how poor tarpon are at discerning between bait fish and the skin on one’s arm. It

is, shall we say, an adventure.

And adventure is what Robbie’s is all about – that and perhaps beer and tacky tourist items. At this destination, right on the Overseas Highway, you can rent jet skis, kayaks and paddleboards. Robbie’s is on Florida Bay on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Keys, but just on the other side of the Lignumvitae Channel Bridge – one of many that link the islands of the Keys – is the Atlantic Ocean.

That’s where the newest Robbie’s adventure will take you –the Transparensea glass-bottom boat.

The 46-foot Transparensea sails during the day, and also at night, to offer a unique view of the ocean floor lit by under-boat LED lights. The crew told us the creatures you see after dark are very different than those during the day. Apparently, they spoke the truth – we spotted sea turtles, nurse sharks, lobster, as well as yellow snapper and other fish.

The trip takes you to part of the coral reef that runs the length of the keys off the Atlantic Coast, so day trips are likely to treat those on the boat to the brightly coloured fish that populate the reefs but hide from predators at night.

Either option will be an intriguing experience, but one piece of advice: pray for a calm day or evening. Wind and waves can significantly lessen one’s enjoyment of a glass-bottom boat, which rolls with the waves as it hovers over the sea bottom. This, even though the Transparensea is fitted with state-of-the art stability equipment.

Some of the guests on the glass-bottom boat tour.

If you want to get even more up close and personal with the denizens of the coral reefs, Robbie’s offers snorkeling and “SNUBA” diving. The latter is a combination of snorkeling and SCUBA. Divers don’t wear breathing equipment. Instead, they are connected to an air supply that remains in the boat. SNUBA divers can descend to about 20 feet below the surface.

Robbie’s also has sunset cruises on a catamaran – a popular feature everywhere in the Keys –and eco-tours through the islands of Florida Bay, which borders on the southern end of the Everglades.

But come back to Robbie’s on land for a moment. As well as the restaurant, there’s a gift shop and other kiosks, a beach bar and about two dozen potential selfie spots where visitors pose with statues of pirates, giant replicas

of tarpon, fluttering dollar bills or the ever-present pelicans, egrets and herons.

The pelicans, by the way, are eager to compete with the tarpon for the fish being offered by the would-be tarpon feeders. This inevitably leads to ambushes by the birds on the folks focused on the fish. All of this is genuine entertainment in its own right. I could watch this drama for hours.

That’s the thing about Robbie’s. It’s clearly a place that does not take itself very seriously, embraces its inner tackiness and welcomes all and sundry to do whatever they might enjoy doing on a given day.

By the way, there is a lot more to do in Islamorada in addition to the eclectic mix of activities at Robbie’s. The Morada Way Arts and Culture District is worth an article of its own – so I will provide one to you a few weeks from now.

And as is true all the way down the Keys, from Key Largo to Key West, there are lots of places to stay. This time around, we booked into the Hadley Resort and Marina and found it to be delightful. Our apartment had a balcony overlooking the resort’s docks and beyond them, the Atlantic Ocean. There was a welcoming pool, free ice cream on offer all the time and a significant number of shy lizards roaming the property. It was a great place to stay, and I’d recommend it as your headquarters as you explore this fascinating part of the Florida Keys.

Paul Knowles is an author and travel writer, and President of the Travel Media Association of Canada. To contact Paul about travel, his books, or speaking engagements, email pknowles@golden.net.

June 07, 2024 29 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo
PAUL KNOWLES Echo Contributor (PAUL KNOWLES PHOTOS) The Hungry Tarpon restaurant at Robbie's of Islamorada. Read for the attach of the tarpon!



A new Woodstock Optimist Club is in the process of being formed. If anyone is interested in dates for next info session please email chofrundraiser@gmail.com or maidykeir@sympatico.ca. The Optimist Brings out the Best in Kids, helping the youth in the community.


June 14-16

Woodstock Covenant Church, 410 Lansdowne Ave., Woodstock

Come on out for a fun-filled weekend for the whole family.

Friday June 14, 5-7 p.m. - Free BBQ, games, face painting, popcorn

Saturday June 15, 1-3:30 p.m. - Bible camp for children ages 4-11, no fee, register on church's website, woodstockcovenant.ca

Sunday June 16 @ 10:00 a.m. - Outdoor church service, ice cream sundaes following the service



Caring Hearts Support Network: St. David's United Church, 190 Springbank Ave., Woodstock ON

A safe and supportive space to explore your grief, with the guidance of trained facilitators. Please contact for upcoming dates. No cost to attend. To register or for more information call or text 519-536-3370. www.caringheartssupportnetwork.com. One-on-one grief support is also available.


Sunday, June 9th

Southside Park, 192 Old Wellington St S, Woodstock KidS Du is a non-competitive run-bike-run for kids aged 3 to 13 with a focus on having FUN! Participants need running shoes, a good helmet and a bike with 2, 3 or 4 wheels. Each age group is challenged with a course that is age appropriate. There is still time to sign up. For more details and online registration, visit woodstocktriathlonclub.ca.


June 15th; 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

South Lion's Park, Thamesford

Join Thamesford Lions for a pre-80's classic car show fundraiser supporting the Zorra Multi Use Courts Committee. Enjoy Lions BBQ, live entertainment, kids' activities, community partner information tents and more. Car registration at 11:00 a.m. for $10 includes a commemorative plaque. Don't miss the People's Choice Award! All proceeds benefit ZMCC. For donations, email thamesfordlions@gmail.com. Extra parking/rain location is the Thamesford District Recreation Centre. For details, contact Lion Rebecca Haggerty at 519-697-4650.


Saturday, June 22nd & Sunday, June 23rd; 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Woodstock Fairgrounds - 875 Nellis St., Woodstock Voted by Expedia. ca as the top 6th festival in Canada to visit. Now a two day event! Also Canadian Dachshund Rusty Ru Ru will be there, as well as a Dog pool, sponsored by Doggo Den Training, for people who want to try out the sport!! On Saturday, we will be having a concert featuring Country Singer Shelly Rastin. On Saturday there will be a large outdoor/indoor shopping market. In between shopping, talk to health professionals about how to train your dog, get your dogs nails trimmed, learn about your dogs health, what type of food they should eat. Talk to the professionals at Pathways and Woof Pet Wellness about treating your dogs IVDD and what are the alternatives. Try out some fun stuff with your dog, lure course, agility course, dock diving, learn how to do tricks with your dogs. Getting to hot outside, go into the building and cool off. Later come out, grab some food, your dogs can cool off in the dog pool, meet professionals to talk about concerns with your dog at the IAMS care center. We will have a meet and greet with Canadian Hero, Rusty Ru Ru, the Canadian Dachshund. Also at the festival will

be Canadian Food Network star, Tiffany Pratt, with her dachshund Poppy. Don't forget the fun games, costume contest, yogurt licking contest, bobbing for wieners games, and of course the WIENER RACES!!!! Don't leave yet!!! Join us for a fun music interlude with Shelly Rastin, at 4:30 p.m. Come back on Sunday for some more fun, where we celebrate the Sumer Olympics, by having our own Paw Olympics. You can join the small country, medium country or Large Dog Country. There will be approximately 12 games for your dog to compete in and try to win the Bonze, Sliver, Gold medal for your Dog Country. Contact Linda Sonnenburg at info@wienerfest.ca for info and volunteer opportunities.


Sunday, June 23rd; 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Villages of Sally Creek - 330 Lakeview Dr., Woodstock First annual Villages Of Sally Creek Charity Car Show at the Community Center located at 330 Lakeview Rd, Woodstock, 9am to 3pm, door prizes, top 10 awards, food truck, DJ. All proceeds to Domestic Abuse Services Oxford (DASO). Spectator admission: free, Vehicle admission: $10 Info: (519) 290-1173 email: larry.e.oliver@gmail.com


July 8-12th; 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

CornerStone Baptist Church: 34 Graham Street, across from the public library

To register: https://www.myvbs.org/cornerstonewoodstockvbs/


4th Saturday of each month; 10:00 a.m. - Noon Hosted by East Oxford 403 Anglican Churches St. John’s Church, 685860 Oxford Rd. 2, Woodstock Repairs to clothing, textiles and minor non-electrical household items by donation. Also offered: learn how to make your own repairs.

ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION EVENTS: 642 Dundas Street, Woodstock


June 9th 9-3pm

Unless it rains, then on June 23rd.


Ends for the summer June 10th


June 11th at 7:30pm


June 12th 4:30-6:30pm Call Canteen after 3pm at 519-539-3401


June 22nd 2-4pm - 2 of A Kind


June 22nd at 3pm


June 8th - Easthill 7-12am

June 15th - Mike Thorpe 7-11pm

June 22nd - 2 of A Kind 7-11pm

June 29th - VooDoo Kings 7-11pm



Our hours have changed as of May 1st (Mondays still closed for the Canteen):

Tuesday 7pm-10pm, Wed, Fri 3-9pm, Thurs 3-10pm every other when Soup n Sandwich then opens at 11:30am. Sat 12pm-12am

Office Wed, Thurs, Fri 9:30-12:30 & 1:30-4:30pm

WOODSTOCK MOOSE LODGE EVENTS: 690 Sutherland Drive, Woodstock


June 29, July 27, Aug 24 and Sept 21; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Once a month car show


Sunday, June 16th; 12:00 p.m. Noon to 4:00 p.m. Father's Day Jamboree Fundraiser with Gerald Davidson & Country. $12.00 @ the door. This will be a family event.


Saturday, June 22nd



July 13th; Doors open at 7 pm

Show Starts at 8 pm to 10:30 pm

$25.00 per couple in advance by calling 519-537-6010 at the door $15.00 per person Limited Tickets available



Sunday, June 9th; 10:30 a.m.

Guest Preacher – Ken Ingram.


July 15-19th; 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ages 5-14. Call the church office now for details on how to register. 519-421-4722.

HAPPENING AT SOUTH GATE CENTRE: 191 Old Wellington St. S. Woodstock; 519-539-9817


June 25th with $35 in slot play - $89.

BEACHVILLE LEGION EVENTS: 434852 Zorra Line, Beachville


June 8; 7 p.m.


June 14; 5:30 p.m.

Call 519-423-6363 to order


Stay for Music and Fun in Clubroom

June 28 5:30 p.m.

Call 519-423-6363 to order


July 20; 7 p.m.

Got a Classic Car? See you in parking lot at 6 pm


August 10; 7 p.m.


Thursdays; 7 p.m.


Fridays; 8 p.m.


Woodstock Ingersoll Echo 30 June 07, 2024
Email to inquire info@theecho.ca


Shade trees, Fruit trees, Apple, Pears, Peaches, Plums, Sweet and Sour Cherries, Apricot, Nectarines, Blueberry, Haskopp, Black Chokeberry, Grapes etc.

Lots of Spruce, Pine, Cedars for windbreaks and privacy hedges, Sizes 1 to 6+. Flowering shrubs and much more. Come check us out Mon-Sat 7:00am - 6:00pm Martin's Nursery, 42661 Orangehill Road, Wroxeter (1 concession north of Wroxeter on Belmore Line)

All kinds of used and washed

Bag in a bakers dozen (13) $5 or $10 Call 519-462-2701

June 07, 2024 31 Woodstock Ingersoll Echo SMALL ENGINE REPAIR REAL ESTATE CUSTOM FRAMING
Email to inquire info@theecho.ca CLASSIFIEDS Computer and TV Sales & Service. Pickup, delivery & in home service available. See the Experts at Shurr Electronics.ca 157 Thames St S Ingersoll 519-485-2790 TV & COMPUTERS Have you been affected by someone else's drinking? Al-Anon Family Groups could help YOU! Call for time and place. 1-800706-9833 or App Available SERVICES Contribute to your local community newspaper! Send articles, sports or event recaps, and photos to info@theecho.ca Echo John Deere 1020 Gas Loader Tractor, 1967 Waterloo Model, lots of new parts. $9500 OBO Call Kris 519-463-5583 FOR SALE
Framing Elizabeth McKinnon 519-765-4192 or 226-456-2455 mckinnonframing@gmail.com CONSERVATION CUSTOM FRAMING Artwork • Needlepoint • Photography Shadowboxes • Laminating Ken’s Small Engine Repair Ltd. Pickup & Delivery Available Sales, Service Mowers, Lawnmowers, Chainsaws Trimmers, Snowblowers, Gas Generators Jim Saunders 78 Victoria St Unit #1 Ingersoll Ontario N5C 2MB Tel: 519-425-4466 Email: jsaundersjr@live.ca Email to inquire info@theecho.ca BUYING ROOFING Advertise here for as low as $15 per issue! YOUR BUSINESS Advertise here for as low as $15 per issue! YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE WE ARE BUYING GOLD JEWELLERY • WATCHES PAPER MONEY • OLD COINS SILVER CUTLERY & PLATES 991 Victoria St. North, Kitchener, ON N2B 3C7 519-579-9302 Mon-Fri 9:30-4:30 Residential Roofing Experts Since 2003 519-749-1986 CALL FOR FREE ESTIMATE lmdroof@gmail.com www.lmdroof.ca ROOFING HAROLD MATTHEWS, Real Estate Broker Century 21 First Canadian Corp. 519-670-6780 Put over 35 years of experience to work for you. YOUR CLASSIFIED JUST $10 + HST PER EDITION Contact: info@theecho.ca or call 519-655-2341 YOUR CLASSIFIED JUST $10 + HST PER EDITION Contact: info@theecho.ca or call 519-655-2341 SUDOKU Sudoku Solution 728536914 435918672 916472385 164327598 587649231 293851746 679185423 842763159 351294867 QUIZ ANSWERS 1. Emerald 2. 1000 3. Johann Sebastian Bach 4. Rishi Sunak 5. Sochi, Russia 6. Freudian slip 7. Hertz 8. 1932 9. Marie Curie 10. Brazil and Argentina PHOTOGRAPHY Business & Industrial Image Creation • Web Content • Product Photography • Print & Media Promotions cell: 905-995-4636 stuart@sbvisualmedia.ca stuartblowerphotography.com HAVE AN EVENT COMING UP? Let us know! info@theecho.ca or 519-655-2341
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