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Academy Theatre struggles with direction, leadership




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Fireside Publishing House, a proudly Canadian company. The Lindsay Advocate is published monthly and distributed to a wide variety of businesses and locations within Kawartha Lakes, North Durham and southern Haliburton County. We are a proud member of the Lindsay and District, Bobcaygeon, and Fenelon Falls Chambers of Commerce. TEAM ADVOCATE EDITORIAL

Publisher and Writer-at-Large: Roderick Benns Contributing Editor & Writer-at-Large: Trevor Hutchinson Associate Editor: Nancy Payne Research, Strategy & Development: Joli Scheidler-Benns Contributing Writers: Nancy Payne, Geoff Coleman,

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Printed by Maracle Inc. OUR PRIVACY POLICY The Lindsay Advocate is independently owned and operated. The opinions expressed herein are the views of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine. Photos, text, and art work contained in The Lindsay Advocate are copyrighted and may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without the express permission of the Publisher. Liability for incorrectly displayed advertising is limited to publishing corrections or advertising credit for subsequent issues. The Publisher reserves the right to reject, revise, cancel, omit, discontinue or even decline to print advertising without reason or liability, and without notice. The Publisher has made every effort to ensure information contained herein was accurate at press time. The Publisher does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for damage, loss, or disruption caused by errors or omissions.


4 5 6 9 14 16 18 22 24 29 33 34 36 38

Letters to the Editor Benns’ Belief: Charity and Justice UpFront Academy Theatre Struggles There is No Them Brioche and Books in Omemee Christmas in Kawartha Lakes Top 5 in 2019 Roses & Thorns Top 5 Photos in 2019 The Living Christmas Tree Friends & Neighbours with Jamie Morris Just in Time with Ian McKechnie Trevor’s Take: We Need Some Christmas Cheer

The Story of the Advocate

Every one of us has a story. It informs who we are and it explains how we got here. The Lindsay Advocate itself is a story. It is a story that began in 1855, although we didn’t know it at the time. Months after we created the Advocate to focus on the social and economic wellness of our area, we learned that Lindsay’s first newspaper was also called The Lindsay Advocate, first published in 1855 by Edward D. Hand. Its mission? “Our chief efforts will be directed towards furthering the interests of this Town and County and advocating (for) their well-being and improvement…” We embrace this echo of history and consider it a profound trust to carry forward. Our focus will continue to be about putting human values ahead of market values for our people and small businesses, not furthering the corporate agenda. It’s great to be back in Kawartha Lakes to build this community with you. ~ Roderick and Joli

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The secret to a happy life


To tip your food service delivery driver or not? This is absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt a no brainer! Of course you should always tip your delivery driver. This is their livelihood and they could not survive on just the delivery charge alone. Consider this: Most people tip their restaurant server for bringing them their order from the kitchen to your table. They tip their hairdresser after paying $40 for a half-hour cut, doormen get tipped for opening a door, bartenders get tipped for popping the lid off a beer and handing it to you. Yet, a delivery driver brings your food to your door and quite often gets zero. Why is that? We in the food delivery industry have far more costs than anyone listed above. Most use their own cars, gas and insurance and have vehicle maintenance costs, which can be extreme. Consider this: I have been driving for 38 years without a blemish on my driving record. Yet, my insurance company wants $500 a month for me to deliver food! I cannot afford that and I doubt any driver can. So, if I ever get into an accident (most likely from some other driver’s fault), it could very well mean my car will not be insured. So, yes, it can be very stressful out there on the roads. I’m not doing this for extra money for smokes or beer. This is my livelihood to put a roof over my children’s and my heads, and food on the table. I do not get a minimum wage. I rely on tips to get things paid. Not tipping your driver makes it feel like we don’t matter. I was brought up that any job that pays the bills and supports your family is a respectable job, yet we can be treated pretty poorly at the door. And for all you folks who do tip accordingly and generously, I thank you very much!   S. Davis, Lindsay

A dreary sameness overtakes us in middle life. Even highly paid professionals see the same horse canter by on the carousel again, and again, and again. The middle life crisis of boredom, of collapsing job satisfaction, of dwindling creativity, and stagnating personal growth, is seldom discussed. For many years I taught senior mathematics classes. After several years I found that I was using the same jokes, the same homework assignments, the same lesson plans. Even the students have their clones in each generation. They have different names, and different faces, but the same range of personal traits is always there. We so often hear these people say “I really need a change,” and that is true. But do your patients, your students, your customers, and your clients, need a change? You have earned their trust. Your careful attention to their needs has been of immense value to them. You have saved lives, ensured that justice is served, developed skills, and expanded knowledge. These are not trivial accomplishments. Every day you have done something commendable, something worthwhile. The secret to a happy life seems to be an assurance that you have done a great job. That, at the end of the day, the applause is still ringing in your ears.  I know that it may, in fact, be a simple “thank you so much.” In many cases it is your own self-knowledge that something good has been accomplished. But, after that, you should turn to other things: crafts, hobbies, music, planning the next vacation, puttering around in the garden, volunteering, or having a date with your spouse. I started painting in my senior years. It is a very open-ended hobby. Each brush stroke is a mini-creation, each change of light a new challenge. One of the dilemmas of the active person is choosing what path to take in their spare time. Suddenly the whole world is open to you, from learning another language to trying wood carving. So, after the curtain falls on your day job, and after the muted applause dies away, carve out for yourself a new path of novelty, and interest. I assure you that the mid-life crisis will then take on a much less depressing role in your life. Peter Weygang, Bobcaygeon

We want your letters! Send us your thoughts to be featured on this page. The Lindsay Advocate welcomes your Letters to the Editor. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity or length. Simply email or mail to 151 King St., Suite 1, Lindsay, ON, K9V 1E4. Please keep your letters to 200 words or less.




Charity and Justice

Back in October I asked the federal candidates a simple question during the televised debates. Do you believe in charity or do you believe in justice? In other words, how best can we meet our needs as a society? Is it through better social policies so that no one is left behind, or is it through a belief and expectation that someone else will be there to help out if it’s really needed? (“Someone” generally being charities and church efforts.) For me, I stand squarely on the side of justice. In fact, I think we need to work at marginalizing our charities. That’s a strong word. What I mean is I believe we need to sideline them as much as possible, simply because they would no longer be needed — that through better social policies we wouldn’t lose so many people through the cracks. In the meantime, we recognize that there are people who are hungry and people who are in pain. There are folks who are depressed and others who are isolated. Meeting those needs and more, to the best of their ability, are the women and men who are connected with our local charities and churches. I won’t start naming these groups for fear of missing someone. But you know who you are and should be commended for your tireless work. I believe that most of these people do what they do because they’re driven to care. If we had better social policies so the depth of need wasn’t so great, they would just find other ways to care. And what a great society that would be then. In fact, we are all linked together, one and all, by our belief that we should treat each other well. When I worked at the Ministry of Education for nine years in Toronto, a teacher friend gave me a poster which I placed prominently on my wall. It was essentially the golden rule according to the world’s major religions. Here are but a few: Christianity: In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Jesus, Matthew 7:12 Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517 Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith Sikhism: I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. Guru Granth Sahib, p.1299 I’m thankful to live in this community with you, where we take the time to care for each other. Have a restful, peaceful holiday. I wish you great health and happiness in the days to come.

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}} Valerie’s Blessing offers free Christmas dinner

Valerie Brunst may have passed away last year at the age of 77, but her gift to her church is ensuring her legacy will help others this Christmas. Brunst cut an eccentric figure, often seen on Hwy 36 about seven kilometres north of Lindsay in front of her house in her distinctive, bright outfits, hitchhiking for a ride into town. Pastor Joel Holtz of Calvary Pentecostal Church in Lindsay says Brunst left her entire estate to the church. Now the church is creating the first annual Valerie’s Blessing, a series of free Christmas dinners given in her honour. On Sunday Dec. 8, the church will hold three seatings for dinner, at 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 at the church, located at 125 Victoria Ave. N. If Brunst was not hitchhiking into town to go to church, then most often the other reason was to go to Giant Tiger – her favourite store where she loyally shopped.


Pastor Joel Holtz and Giant Tiger Manager Judy Sorensen Five $100 gift cards will be drawn every hour from the names of those who are attending the dinner. Any donations received at the dinner will be sent to Kawartha Lakes Food Source. Call 705-324-4681 for more information or email

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Academy Theatre struggles with direction, leadership



Ray Marshall served as general manager of Lindsay’s storied Academy Theatre from 1985 to 2006 — 21 consecutive years of service. After Marshall moved on, there have been at least nine general managers; no new general manager was yet in place as of press time. This revolving door — and the erosion of good will associated with it — is not only threatening the theatre’s reputation but its continued operation. The Academy, said to be the most technically perfect theatre in Canada, is the crown cultural jewel of Lindsay. It was once led and nurtured by Dennis Sweeting, the founder of Kawartha Summer Theatre (KST), who was also the first president of the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). His wife, Maggie Sweeting, was the administrator.

KST ran from 1966 to 1997. At its peak its highest summer attendance for eight plays in nine weeks (six performances a week) yielded about 25,000 ticket sales from 1981-84. The average summer show attendance, per play, was 375-400 people, while matinees and Saturdays were usually sellouts. Susan Taylor, chair of the cultural centre committee and chair of the cultural centre working group, spoke to the Advocate about the Academy from a bird’s-eye view as someone concerned about arts and culture in our area.




“How can I be effective in my job, dealing with a new general manager every six months? It’s exhausting.” “If we’re looking to tap into and promote the arts within Kawartha Lakes, then the Academy is key,” Taylor says. And there’s certainly economic potential. According to the City, visitor spending at cultural tourism destinations was $1,817,419 in Kawartha Lakes in 2016, and more than $6 million on retail purchases. One former committee member of the Academy, who wanted to remain anonymous, says there is one key issue above all others that could help the theatre succeed: improved board governance. “In many ways the board can’t be faulted because they don’t have the education,” says the former committee member. “It’s this lack of education (about how to run a non-profit board, like the Academy) that is preventing representation to the best of their ability.” Once this is completed, the source says, the Academy can rebuild its once-central role in the community. That’s the kind of stability that Jeff Broad, the theatre’s technical director, can only dream about lately. “I’m disillusioned,” Broad tells the Advocate. “How can I be effective in my job, dealing with a new general manager every six months? It’s exhausting,” he says. Broad, the only staff member who would speak with the Advocate, says the theatre needs a good board that understands the business side of running things, not just the creative side. He thought the theatre was finally set when they hired Helen Nestor back in April.


Nestor was from Toronto; she had both a strong business and creative background, and a great deal of experience as a general manager at other arts organizations. She also had no ties to or knowledge of our small town culture and politics.

Realizing how much she loved Lindsay and surrounding area, Nestor bought a home here in anticipation of a long career with the Academy, knowing she would be putting in a lot of late nights and wouldn’t want to drive back to Toronto every day. She lasted four months before being fired in August. The Advocate reached out to Alex McLeod, then chair of the Academy’s board. Nestor says he and board member Mike Piggott were the ones who let her go. McLeod would not speak to us on the record about any issues related to the Academy; he resigned soon after we made our request. Piggott is the new chair of the board. Nestor spoke with the Advocate in her Lindsay home, which she now rents out to Fleming College students, since she no longer has a job here. “‘You’re just not the right fit,’ I was told,” Nestor says. “I didn’t come here with any agenda. I have no history here at all, and nothing I ever did was behind closed doors.” Asked to describe her leadership style, she didn’t hesitate. “Straightforward. Open. Honest to a fault. Clear. Tough.”

Helen Nestor Nestor was also thorough, she says. She went through every relevant file she could find, to understand what had been happening at the theatre. She says she found a theatre that was not financially stable. She believed that “things needed to be done differently,” including supporting more board governance education. “When you’re having trouble paying the water bill, does it make sense to keep doing things the same way?” she asks rhetorically.


She initiated training on the Ticketmaster program for staff, an initiative started by her predecessor, Cory Strong, who also only lasted a matter of months in the position of general manager. Nestor standardized contracts, talked with people to understand the structural condition of the building, and wasn’t in favour of granting the same deal to community arts organizations that they were used to getting, if the Academy was going to lose money in doing so. “I pissed some people off. That’s what happened. I wanted to do things differently – I felt we desperately needed to do things differently.” For instance, Lindsay Little Theatre’s production of Harvey was supposed to be staged at the Academy in July, but ultimately ended up at its facility on George Street due to “lack of cooperation from management, related to cost negotiations,” according to one anonymous source. At her core, though, Nestor says she believes all arts organizations matter in order to create a viable cultural sector within Kawartha Lakes. “But you have to show you’re willing and able to take care of your business. Otherwise why would anyone want to support us?” When asked why the last general manager didn’t work out, Piggott responded that he would “not comment on personnel issues.”

“When you’re having trouble paying the water bill, does it make sense to keep doing things the same way?” The Advocate asked Piggott why he thought the theatre seemed to be struggling with governance issues and with general managers coming and going so quickly. “Over the past decade, all the members of the volunteer board of the Academy Theatre Foundation have worked hard to keep the best interests of the theatre in mind at all times. Since the resignation of a long-time manager it has been difficult to find the ideal candidate to manage the theatre,” he replied in an email interview. CONT’D ON PAGE 12



He writes that it is not easy and that all theatres are grappling with “declining attendance, competition with more easily accessible forms of home entertainment” and an aging demographic along with busy families who have fewer expendable dollars. Piggott says he wants to build the board and committees in size and in expertise. He notes there are currently advertisements running, and a committee devoted to filling an additional four to six board positions “concentrating on persons with fundraising, sponsorship and finance backgrounds.” “We are also in the process of interviewing for a manager,” he notes. If people want to help out the Academy, says Piggott, it always comes down to finances for a “non-profit theatre of this size.” He notes that there are many avenues available to the public to show support. These include buying a diner’s card, which offers savings at local restaurants, or by making a donation at or by contacting the box office. Volunteering time and/or services is welcome, “or simply come to a show.”


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From a business perspective, there’s no doubt there are spillover benefits of a strong Academy Theatre. Nicki Dedes, owner and operator of the Olympia Restaurant in downtown Lindsay, says “when the Academy does well, we do well. That’s why my dad (Chris Karkabasis) was a patron of the Academy from the beginning. He knew it was in the whole community’s interest,” for the theatre to do well. Dedes says it was always “good days for the restaurant, whether it was a matinee or an evening performance.” Inevitably, when something was on at the Academy, it would bring people to the downtown who were looking for a place to eat or shop. Like Nestor, Susan Taylor also believes the defeatist, business-as-usual mentality has to go if arts organizations are going to find success. “We (the arts community) can’t keep going to council, begging for money. It presents the entire sector in a negative light,” she says. Taylor believes that fresh blood at the board level with people who have the requisite skills, coupled with strong committee structures made up of community members, CONT’D ON PAGE 31


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“My husband and I lived in eastern Ontario during the 1998 ice storm, which knocked out our power for 13 long days. In the face of the crisis, all the distinctions just disappeared, as they always do...No questions asked. No “them.” Just “us.”

EXHIBIT 1: Trevor Berkan was the kind

of person people around Southey, Sask., described as always putting others first. He died of an aortic dissection at the tragically young age of 41 in September, leaving much of the family farm’s crop unharvested. Neighbours immediately designated a Saturday to finish the harvest and without anyone formally calling for help, 50 people and 17 combines showed up — more help than could be used, at a time when everyone also needed to get their own crops in. EXHIBIT 2: World Series, 2019, Game 4, between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. During the sixth inning, raucous Nationals Park fell silent for a full minute as every single player, member of the coaching staff, journalist and fan in the facility held up one, two, even three cards with the words “I stand up for” and a line bearing the name of someone who is fighting cancer, or helping those who are, or who has died from the disease. Nearly

45,000 people were united by grief and hope, the cameras silently registering the common humanity of everyone in the ballpark. With division and discord so easy to find, it’s more important than ever to remember that we’re all in this together. It doesn’t matter how you define “this” — this life, this treaty, this workplace, this community, this family, this country, this school, this climate, this world, this society, this time, this place. Whichever “this” or multiple “this-es” you’re talking about, you’re not alone. The alternative is as familiar as it is ugly: to give in to the forces of “us vs. them.” When we do, we quickly slap on the labels: “dropout,” “drug user,” “dyke.” Or maybe it takes a few moments of conversation for us to decide on “climate denier,” “social justice warrior,” or simply “moron,” and then close our minds. That dismissal is a choice — one we can only make when we see others as less-than. In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock appeals to his non-Jewish listeners in one


of Shakespeare’s most moving speeches: “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?” If you’ve ever doubted Shakespeare’s relevance in the modern world, for “Jew,” just substitute “immigrant,” “schizophrenic” or, yes, “dropout,” “drug user” or “dyke.” At this time of year, there’s no shortage of twinkly sentiments about making the spirit of Christmas last all year long. The question is, do we actually mean them? If so, we can start by recognizing that life is terribly hard at times, for everyone. That we are all flawed and inconsistent, and that other people deserve compassion and another chance just as much as we do. That we can never know what’s going on in someone else’s head or what kind of day they’re having, and that we never know the whole story. Because when we can think of each other, even the people who annoy us, as also having aspirations and disappointments and love and loss and good days and bad days, we can’t help but realize all that we have in common. That in turn reminds us that we all laugh

when we’re tickled and bleed when we’re pricked, and that no one should have to suffer. Our community thrives when we stop deciding who is deserving and who isn’t, and instead choose to make life better for all. We know deep down that the public good is what’s good for the public — all of it. Which is why no one asks how you voted when you take your kid to swimming lessons, or determines your opinion on pipelines before you can use our roads or trails. The firefighters come to your house when you need them whether you’re straight or gay or trans or of no gender. From parks and libraries to hospitals and schools, we all benefit when we remember that we’re all in this together. My husband and I lived in eastern Ontario during the 1998 ice storm, which knocked out our power for 13 long days. In the face of the crisis, all the distinctions just disappeared, as they always do. Those with power opened their homes; those who were without it gathered in the curling club to cook for each other and for the hydro crews. Those with generators and firewood shared them. No questions asked. No “them.” Just “us.” The Irish rock group U2, whose driving guitars and drums and powerful lyrics made them so important to many in my Generation X cohort are now widely considered — ahem — “mom rock.” (Which makes me wonder why it is that attaching “mom” to something as in “soccer mom” makes it worthy of ridicule, but that’s another column.) Their song “Invisible” ends with these simple, haunting lyrics: “There is no them. There’s only us. There’s only you. There’s only me. There is no them.” It’s not a Christmas carol, but if we let it, it could change us and our shared community forever.


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Brioche and books

}} How Omemee keeps

getting cooler

Mickaël Durand

GEOFF COLEMAN For many people, Omemee will always be the coolest place in the Kawarthas simply on the single fact alone of Neil Young having lived there at one time. But today, there are new reasons to like the little village that too many of us just breeze through on the way to Peterborough. One of the best is a unique union of books and brioche on the main street. The building that was once the Ace Hardware store now houses the Omemee Public Library and a new incarnation of Mickaël’s Cafe Librairie — the ever-evolving vision of Parisian-trained baker Mickaël Durand. Similar to his successful Lindsay bakery, the Omemee location also boasts seating for 20 while offering the same fresh, delicious baked goods. The cool thing here is that although the library and the cafe have separate entrances, they share an interior door which is left open when both tenants are operating. So, patrons of the library can drift over and pick up a fresh cheese pretzel or cookie. And with a few steps, eaters can become readers on the book side. A comparison between the Chapters and Starbucks marriage in Peterborough is inevitable, but it would be more accurate if the baked goods were prepared fresh every morning by a guy who had a hand in three authentic French bakeries, and if the books were free, along with computer terminals and workshops and programs offered in a beautifully restored historic building. Not to mention it’s so much more meaningful because it’s local, not a corporate behemoth. Both tenants are new to the location. Until the 2017 move, the public library was part of Coronation Hall — where Neil Young recently performed — and got by in a cramped 400-square-foot allotment of space. During the last month of operation there, 364 items were circulated, matching the historical monthly average. After the branch moved, the number of circulations doubled within a few months, and they finished October 2019 with more than 1,600


circulations. In July and August they hovered around 1,900 items. Library staffer Bill Scholey aims to keep close to 1,500 items in circulation during the winter months. It’s easy to see that a more inviting library space has paid major dividends. Just as the cafe represents a departure from the typical cafe one would have found in the Kawarthas 20 years ago, libraries are evolving too. No longer a place to be silent and solitary, public libraries still offer loans of books, but also have CDs, DVDs, and audio books, and even movies to stream. But the bigger change has been in how the spaces are used. Scholey credits programming that includes emerging technology workshops, book clubs, genealogy groups, and a parents and tots morning for bringing new people in. These have become much easier to offer with the new location’s larger space, ample parking and inviting layout. He also doesn’t discount the value of a top-shelf tenant next door that generates its own foot traffic at a highly visible location. Based on 2003 numbers, an average of 10,000 cars pass by the building daily. Regular customers move freely between the two sides, and newcomers on both sides of the wall are naturally drawn to the open door and look to see what’s happening in the adjacent space. Together, the two make a destination that’s appealing to locals and passers-through alike. In addition to physically sharing space, they also have a common goal in becoming a community hub. “I would like to establish a daily, walk-in clientele,” says Durand, and the public library is well on its way to the same thing. With a bakery-and-books symbiosis, both sides are confident their hopes will become reality. The building was transformed from nuts and bolts to pecans and books with the assistance of Kawartha Lakes’ Million Dollar Makeover funding program, and Durand sees this kind of investment as key to further rejuvenation of the village. In the meantime, patrons of both places in Omemee are grateful for the opportunity to enjoy a good book and a croissant, with a local vibe that Chapters-Starbucks only wishes it could capture.



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IN KAWARTHA LAKES A shopping list in one hand and a coffee in another, the challenge to find that one gift that elicits a “Wow, it’s perfect” is top of mind for those starting their holiday shopping. Gi giving has emerged as one of the most stressful ac vi es when preparing for the Christmas season. A growing trend is giving the gi of experiences and the stories behind the wrapped present under the tree. The feeling that many of us have enough ‘stuff’ is driving the desire to commission personal items, choose one-of-a-kind ar sanal work, share me and laughter over a meal, and build memories while taking in a play or figuring out your favourite float in one of the many Santa Claus parades.

THINK OUTSIDE (THE BOX) Garden Art by Sandy provides the opportunity to buy handcraed and upcycled artwork that can withstand our four season lifestyle. Having just finished a great outdoor show and sale, it‘s important to call ahead and check the website so she can guarantee the best selec on at this busy me of year.

KNOW YOUR GIFTS James Lukow, of Your Dreams in Wood feels that his crasmanship and quality furniture allows you to buy local, and really know your items’ origin, material and environmental impact. Most custom orders received by the first week of December will ensure they will be ready to put under the tree this Christmas season. For more informa on visit:

From one end of the Kawarthas to the other, checking off the people on your list couldn’t be easier with Kawartha Lakes‘ own Arts & Heritage Trail. Some of the seasonal ac vi es of November are carried over for your shopping pleasure. ‘Twas Art before Christmas Exhibit and Sale con nues at the Kawartha Art Gallery un l December 21. The Colborne Street Gallery con nues to offer their Tis the Season Holiday Art Market un l January 5.

BRING THE OUTSIDE IN Rhonda Laursen’s Studio is perfect for the nature lover on your list. Rhonda’s unique style draws on her love of nature and is evident in all the beau ful details from light hi‘ng the trees to the shadows in the snow on a bright winters day. Be sure to make an appointment to visit Rhonda’s Studio.

DINE LOCALLY Aer a full day of shopping, Olympia is a great spot to dine in style. Originally established in 1906, the Olympia Restaurant stands on an unbroken legacy of quality, service and value. Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, healthy, fresh, quality food is prepared everyday. Served in an eclec c atmosphere, with a nod to past glories, Olympia con nues to show that beauty and quality are eternal. Call to reserve your table or swing by to pick up a gi cer ficate to stuff into the stocking of the ‘foodie’ on your list.




Explore the newly established Mariposa Woolen Mill through their self-guided educaonal farm tours. Ellen Edney invites you to learn more about the milling process and explore the long family history of the farm. Hand craŠed woolen creaons can be purchased at the arsanal store located on site. Find her on Instagram at @mariposawoolenmill.

Nestled in the countryside of Kawartha Lakes, Gridley’s Herb and Aromatherapy offers a wide range of handmade soaps and body care products. Michele began experimenng with soapmaking aŠer a love of gardening and cooking with herbs led her to grow over 75 different types of herbs in her backyard. From stocking stuffers to beauful fesve giŠ sets, there is something for everyone on your list. You can find Michele at Lindsay Square Mall from Dec. 3-23.

‘TWAS ART BEFORE CHRISTMAS EXHIBIT & SALE November 26 - Dec. 21, 2019  Kawartha Art Gallery 


FANCIFUL AND FUNCTIONAL Peace of Earth Poery in Dunsford, provides a calm environment for the creaon of stoneware po‘ery that is both funconal and sculptural. Asian infused inspiraon enables Sheila to show off a different style of po‘ery for the disconcerng eye. Fanciful hostess giŠs or funconal stoneware adds to offerings you can place under the tree.

 December 4 - 15, 2019  Globus Theatre

GIVE AN EXPERIENCE Globus Theatre’s Christmas Panto this year is Sleeping Beauty. Running from December 4-15th , it’s a great opportunity to start a family tradion. Order ckets or giŠ cerficates online at or call the box office at 1-800-304-7897.

And finally Santa Claus will begin to make his final rounds with the Omemee Santa Claus Parade December 7th at 1pm which gives enough me to make it to Bobcaygeon for his run down Bolton St. at 5pm. Santa’s stay in Kawartha Lakes wraps up on the final weekend of December 13th in Lile Britain at 7pm with Woodville’s Santa Claus Parade closing out the season on December 14th at 6:30pm. Visit to find out more about this magical me of year. HoHoHo and Happy Shopping!

OMEMEE SANTA CLAUS PARADE  December 7, 2019 | 1 PM  Downtown Omemee


 December 7, 2019 | 5 PM  Bolton St., Bobcaygeon


 December 13, 2019 | 7 PM  Downtown Liˆle Britain


 December 14, 2019 | 6:30 PM  Downtown Woodville


NATURE NOTES with Suzanne Alden




There’s no mistaking the wonderful sound of the largest swan in the world, and we’re lucky to hear it. In 1886, a hunter shot the last known trumpeter swan in Ontario. Due to conservationist Harry Lumsden we again have Trumpeter Swans in Kawartha Lakes and beyond. In 1982, he brought eggs from the Yukon and Alaska to Ontario, hatched and raised cygnets, then slowly started releasing them. After 37 years of hard work, there are more than 1,000, most of which winter in Ontario. Many adult males (cobs) and females (pens) have been tagged, see above. People are encouraged to report tag numbers ( as the restoration of these magnificent birds is ongoing.


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BOOKS Top 5 Adult Fiction Titles

(over the past 12 months) 1. The Kingdom of the Blind Dark 2. Sacred Night 4 3. The Reckoning 4. Ambush 5. Glass Houses



5 Great Bands/Singers with Kawartha Lakes Roots (with new music in 2019) 1. Strumbellas - Rattlesnake 2. James Barker Band 1 Singles Only 3. Cassie Noble - Find a Way 4. Looking for Heather - Youth 5. Daniel Greer @FUpostmanDan


Top 5 Adult Non-Fiction Titles 1. Becoming 2. Fear: Trump in the White House 3. Educated 4. In Pieces: A Memoir 4. By Chance Alone

Top 5 highest grossing movies at Century Theatre, Lindsay

1. Lion King 2. Avengers Endgame 3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 4. Captain Marvel 5. The Joker

DVD’S Top 5 DVD Movies borrowed 1. A Star Is Born 2. Bohemian Rhapsody 3. Ocean’s 8 4. Book Club 5. Green Book

Top 5 DVD TV Series borrowed 1. The Coroner 2. In Treatment 3. Wycliffe 4. Janet King 5. Game of Thrones

2 1

ICE CREAM Kawartha Dairy’s Top 5 scooping flavours in 2019 1. Moose Tracks 2. Salty Caramel Truffle 3. Mint Chip 4. Chocolate 5. Vanilla





RODERICK BENNS, Publisher 1. The Sport and Prey of Capitalists, Linda McQuaig 2. Bootstraps Need Boots: One Tory’s Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada, Hugh Segal 3. Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman 4. The Flame, Leonard Cohen 5. This is Marketing, Seth Godin





(OLD & NEW) JOLI SCHEIDLER-BENNS 1. Stuffed and Starved, Raj Patel 2. The Precariat, Guy Standing 3. Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner, Katrine Marcal 4. Scarcity, Mullainathan and Shafir 5. Who Rules the World?, Noam Chomsky TREVOR HUTCHINSON, Contributing Editor 1. Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World, Clive Thompson 2. Days by Moonlight, André Alexis 3. Different Beasts, J.R. McConvey 4. Cymbeline, William Shakespeare 5. Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me, Anna Mehler Paperny NANCY PAYNE, Associate Editor 1. The Testaments, Margaret Atwood 2. Women Talking, Miriam Toews 3. Washington Black, Esi Edugyan 4. The Reason You Walk, Wab Kinew 5. Wolf Willow, Wallace Stegner JAMIE MORRIS, Writer-at-Large 1. We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, Jonathan Safran Foer 2. The Overstory, Richard Powers 3. The Heart, Maylis de Keragal 4. Great Works: 50 Paintings Explored, Tom Lubbock 5. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Mordecai Richler

IAN MCKECHNIE, Writer-at-Large 1. Trust: Twenty Ways to Build A Better Country, Rt. Hon. David Johnston 2. By The Sound of Her Whistle, John Craig 3. Surprised By Scripture: Engaging With Contemporary Issues, N.T. Wright 4. Haunted Museums & Galleries of Ontario, Andrew Hind 5. Love & Whiskey: The Story of the Dominion Drama Festival, Betty Lee

GEOFF COLEMAN, Writer-at-Large 1. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens 2. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen 3. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman 4. Stranger Than Fiction, Chuck Palahniuk 5. Razor Girl, Carl Hiaasen


Top 5 Books sold at Kent Book Store, Lindsay FICTION 1. The Testaments, Margaret Atwood 2. The Gown, Jennifer Robson 3. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles 4. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah 5. The Huntress, Kate Quinn NON FICTION 1. Seven Fallen Feathers, Tanya Talaga 2. Dam Busters, Ted Barris 3. Becoming, Michelle Obama 4. Little Book of Sloth Philosophy, Jennifer Mccartney 5. Murdered Midas, Charlotte Gray LOCAL 1. Nip N Tuck, Paul Arculus 2. Whiskey & Wickedness: Kawartha Haliburton, Larry Cotton 3. No Poverty Between the Sheets, Pauline Kiely 4. Tom Thomson’s Last Bonfire, Geoff Taylor 5. Cookie Dough in the Dark, Tanya Willis



& Thorns

Team Advocate notes some highlights and lowlights of 2019

ROSES CIBC for providing the funds to allow Boys and Girls Club of Kawartha Lakes to offer extended hours — including Saturdays and holidays — for its new splash pad. Wards Lawyers for its third annual Wards Lawyers PC road hockey tournament. Around 450 kids enjoyed a day of friendly competition and money raised was donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to support the CMHA/HKPR Early Psychosis Intervention program in Lindsay.  St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Lindsay for sponsoring monthly “Taste of India” events to help welcome the large number of international students arriving in Lindsay  to study at Fleming’s Frost campus.  Burns Bulk Food, Lindsay, and Country Cupboard, Fenelon Falls, for encouraging customers to bring their own containers.  Maryboro Lodge, The Fenelon Museum for its creative and wildly successful efforts to engage children and youth with culture and heritage. Valumart, Lindsay, for arranging with local farms to sell fresh, seasonal produce such as strawberries, corn and squash.

The Lindsay Legacy C.H.E.S.T. Fund. In December each year roughly a quarter of a million dollars in grants flows from this fund into our community. As the fund requires, the money goes to “non-profit, community-based organizations.” Kawartha Lakes City Council for initiating regular Committee of the Whole meetings to allow staff to bring forward topics that require more discussion, debate or background information, and to provide a less formal setting for members of the public to participate and make deputations. Local restaurants for changing to reusable or recyclable containers — and for buying local food ingredients where possible. City Council for working with the Advocate and YourTV to produce “Kawartha Lakes Matters,” a program that includes a regular Q & A with the mayor to respond to inquiries from readers and the public at large.  HKPR Health Unit, for its tireless efforts to achieve its broad goals of preventing illness, protecting against disease and promoting healthy lifestyles. (The A-Z index on its website covers everything from Access to Dental Care and Age-Friendly Communities to Zika Virus).  Mike Perry for leading the David vs. Goliath fight — pro bono — to take legal action against the Ontario government after the premature cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.   Young people from local schools who are rightly calling out their elders on the need for urgent local action to combat the climate crisis. Volunteer board members at the Olde Gaol Museum who worked tirelessly on this important local landmark, resulting in refreshed exhibits, unique events and increased opening hours.



MPP Laurie Scott for failing to show up to meet constituents facing the hardships of the Basic Income Pilot cancellation.

Local fast-food businesses for their mostly continued reliance on single-use plastics for packaging.

Local residents who routinely do the bulk of their regular shopping outside Kawartha Lakes.

Treating rural roads like personal dumpsites. It’s not hard to keep that garbage in your vehicle until you get home, so please respect our shared environment and your rural neighbours by not throwing it out on a sideroad. Believe it or not, it doesn’t actually disappear on its own.

Throwaway cups when you’re staying inside the coffee shop. (This one’s easy, folks — for 2020, when we’re going to sit down with friends, let’s all pledge to add the words “in a mug, please!” to our order at Boiling Over or Kawartha Coffee Company. (Or, yes, even at that hockey-player place…)

Kawartha Lakes City Council for moving so slowly on Active Transportation (23 communities, less than 1 kilometre of marked bike lanes in total).

Inconsiderate hours for young employees. Just because workers are under 18 doesn’t mean they should be pressured to take shifts that don’t end until 11 pm or later on weeknights.

The empty lot on the south side of Kent Street between the Lingerie Loft and Friendly Dollar & Discount Store. Other towns use spaces like this for the arts or heritage or a parkette, while this unattractive paved area sits idle most of the year, detracting from Lindsay’s lovely downtown.

Rudeness to customer service personnel. It’s sad that some stores and workplaces, including the Lindsay-Ops landfill site, have had to post signs warning that abuse of staff won’t be tolerated. Members of the public shouldn’t be taking out their frustration or personal problems on front-line staff anywhere.

The Elementary Teachers of Trillium Lakelands Advocating for our students and their families We will always support: • The Current Full Day Kindergarten Program • Supports for students with special needs • Smaller class sizes • Safe and well-maintained schools Please help us to advocate for our students by visiting Have a safe and happy holiday on behalf of your local elementary teachers!


Stay connected

during the Holiday season

Community Care Needs You! Community Care staff and volunteers enhance and enrich the lives of more than 7,000 local residents every year. Please join our team! We are recruiting staff members for the following positions: • Personal Support Workers • Primary Care Physician

We are also recruiting volunteers for several programs including: • Transportation (Volunteer Drivers) • Adult Day Program • Friendly Visiting

We offer a progressive career environment and meaningful opportunities to make a difference in your community. Please contact us to explore making Community Care the next step in your career or volunteer plans.

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Doug Ford wants to cancel or combine more than 350 courses in our local high schools. This will mean bigger classes, less individual attention for students and fewer programme options.

I am going to go out on a limb here but I would say that I just read what may be the best book I’ve ever read. It was wonderful! The book is called Where the Crawdad’s Sing. Now, the reason I liked this book so much is because it was a murder mystery style book but done in a very unconventional way. The book almost didn’t seem like it was going to be a murder mystery when reading it because it got so in depth with the main character and scenery which I find most murder mystery books don’t do. And then BAM! An amazing twist ending which ended the book in a perfect way.

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would go a long way to changing things for the better at the Academy. She would like to see the City adopt an approach like Peterborough’s, where there is some regular investment in the operational costs of arts organizations. A requirement for receiving such funding would be a commitment to ongoing education of board members to ensure stability. In the past, the Academy has received C.H.E.S.T. Fund grants, and the City has come to the aid of the theatre here and there over its long history. But there is an absence of annual funding that other like-sized municipalities offer to their signature theatres, according to most of the people the Advocate spoke with. Piggott agrees. “We recognize and appreciate the challenges facing the City. Having said that, Christmas is just around the corner and a line item on the City budget supporting the theatre would be a lovely gift,” he writes. Mayor Andy Letham says “a solid business plan” would be a good first step. “Once that’s done, I’m open to having that discussion moving forward.”


There are few institutions as storied as the Academy Theatre, which has been a cultural fixture in our area since 1893, hosting theatre, movies, music, dance, comedy and more. The community came to its rescue in 1962 when it was slated for demolition — does that same will to see our theatre thrive still exist? As more retirees from the Greater Toronto Area settle here and as more entrepreneurs find Kawartha Lakes a viable alternative to city life, they will be looking for cultural options. A revitalized Academy has the potential to be a key part of providing this quality of life. Nestor says that in her longer term vision, she was looking forward to bringing back summer stock theatre to the Academy and taking some calculated risks on bringing in bigger acts. “I still believe we could see positive change happen for the Academy,” says Nestor, who often used the term ‘we’ in our discussion. “This could be the beginning of a new chapter for the Academy, if we want it to be.”

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FIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON Top 6 safety tips for the Holidays: Real Christmas Trees: remember to water your tree at least once a day! Smoke Alarms: make sure to have working smoke alarms; and check them once a month. Flameless Candles: make the move! They look great, and are much safer! Vintage Lights: if you’re still using your grandpa’s hand-me-down Christmas lights, you should think about upgrading to lights that are CSA approved! Overloaded Outlets: just don’t. Plugging too many lights into one outlet can overload the circuits. Cooking: deep frying your turkey this year? Delicious! Just make sure it is completely thawed, and you are aware of your surroundings when

using open flames.


LOCAL HEIRLOOM RECIPES Grandma Chambers’ Tea Biscuits Sisters Belinda Wilson and Bonnie Spry gathered together at what used to be their grandparents’ home on Princes’ Street in Fenelon Falls with their arms full of ingredients and baking tools. Their grandma, Vera Chambers, never recorded her tea biscuit recipe. She had based hers off one from Uncle Joe, who was also the bequeather of the house. The sisters pieced the recipe together, including the three secret ingredients: whipping cream, raisins, and maraschino cherries. “She used an empty can of baking powder with a small hole in the top that gave the right pressure to cut the biscuits.” Vera was an avid baker and kept a diary that included the number of Christmas cookies she made. She made Christmas cakes decorated with a pattern of blanched almonds and cherries, for the nearby funeral home to give to ambulance attendants, doctors, and other associates. Belinda and Bonnie wish they had their grandmother’s moist brownie recipe.

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Sharon Walker is the creative director at Maryboro Lodge: The Fenelon Museum. She is documenting local, heirloom recipes for a cookbook. If you have a recipe that you would like to see featured, contact her at



An Annual Tradition }} The Living Christmas Tree


It’s the first week of Advent, circa 2001. Throngs of children and teenagers arrayed in burgundy-and-white choir gowns gather in the Sunday School room at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, talking excitedly among themselves. In due course, they troop upstairs and are marshalled outside of the minister’s vestry. They enter the vast sanctuary, hundreds of eyes focused on a 40-foot tall Christmas Tree occupying the apse and choir loft. For these young choristers, the appearance of this towering tree structure in the church means only one thing – the festive season is around the corner! Moments later, a soaring descant rings out across the nave as the choir and congregation sings The First Nowell and takes their places in “The Tree;” the Rodgers organ leading several hundred voices in song as organist Bob Tompkins pulls out all the stops... And pull out all the stops he did in 1982, when he approached the Kirk Session at St. Andrew’s with a vision to share the good news of the gospel story through what has become known far and wide as the Living Christmas Tree. “Bob’s goal was to present this Good News through the spoken and sung messages of our choirs, enhanced by coloured lights that would vary in combinations and intensities according to the words and music,” says Mary Lou Tompkins today. Bob, who died earlier this year, “had ‘thought’ it might continue for five or six years. We retired from our roles after its 23rd season, having needed to expand within two years to seven services each - well beyond his imagination!” For many attendees, the Living Christmas Tree has become an annual tradition. Like all traditions, it involves a great deal of behind-the-scenes planning. Well before the tree structure goes up and the lights go on, the organizing committee is selecting music, discerning which combinations of lights will best reflect the cantata’s message, and attending to a multitude of other tasks. Each of the six services requires more than 100 people to happen, from choristers, musicians, and lighting technicians, to sound technicians, safety personnel, and ushers. More than six months of preparations culminate in what the Tree Committee hopes will, through the music or narration, give people food for thought. This year’s cantata, by Tony Wood, Michael Farren, and Cliff Duren, is titled “What Kind of Throne.” In a world seemingly defined by lust for power, injustice, and violence, organizers hope that this cantata will remind attendees of the love, joy, peace, and hope that is at the heart of the Christmas story. The Living Christmas Tree takes place Saturday November 30th at 4:30 PM, Sunday December 1st at 4:30 PM, Monday December 2nd at 7:00 PM, Friday December 6th at 7:00 PM, Saturday December 7th at 4:30 PM, and Sunday December 8th at 4:30 PM. Tickets can be reserved online (https://, or by calling the church at (705)324-4842.

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David Morrison

}} The Sound of Band Music In its first year in existence the Kawartha Lakes Concert Band performed two concerts. The first happened just three months after it formed; the second was for a sold-out audience at the Academy Theatre. When the band participated in the Peterborough Kiwanis Music Festival, it earned a mark of 93 per cent and went on to win top prize for community bands in province-wide competition. So, as the band prepares for “To All a Good Night,” the Dec. 14 concert that will kick off its second year, the question is, what’s responsible for this success? Some good fortune for sure: Who knew 74 musicians would answer a call to join, or that there’d be such a good balance of brass, woodwind, and percussion players? (Show me another community band that has 14 clarinets — a core component, clarinets are the violins of a concert band — and two bass clarinets, or three tubas and six trombones.)  And there’s been community support. LCVI lent space and some equipment. More recently the Lakeland Funeral facility opened one of its rooms for practices (for the princely sum of $1 a month).  But ask any of the band members and they will tell you the real question isn’t “what” is responsible for the success, but “who,” and the answer is band founder and director David Morrison.  If you have any connection to music locally you already know David. He’s now retired, but he taught secondary school music for 30 years, directed the Lindsay Kinsmen Band for eight years, played key roles with the Trillium Lakelands Arts Camp, and launched the Odyssey Project. So, “who’s David?” is less interesting than the question of what’s enabled him to pull the very best from the players.  Because here’s the thing about a community band: Players come from a broad range of experience and abilities. Two stands down from a high-school trumpeter is an 80-year-old who’s dusted off his horn after decades away


from playing; three stands away is the school board’s Arts Consultant, an accomplished tuba player.

THE RECIPE FOR SUCCESS Let’s start with a love of music. Both David’s mother and maternal grandfather were piano teachers, so naturally he took piano lessons and later picked up tenor sax. Some of his musical tastes were forged as a teen in the late 1970s (which explains how an Earth, Wind and Fire medley found its way into the first concert and why selections from Chicago X and Chuck Mangione will join Christmas music and Mozart in the next one). After high school in Scarborough David studied music at the University of Western Ontario, where he met his wife-to-be, Colleen, another music student (piano and flute). 


David Morrison

Love of music is contagious. It’s no accident that when David takes the podium three Morrisons are among those awaiting the downbeat — Colleen on clarinet and sons Ian and Graeme on baritone sax and bass, respectively — or that a goodly number of players are former students of his. The rest of the band has been infected too (in a good way).

After high school in Scarborough David studied music at the University of Western Ontario, where he met his wife-to-be, Colleen, another music student. Next is the ability to turn a motley collection of players into a cohesive ensemble. “You need to get to one place,” explains David. He’s drawn on various strategies. Choice of repertoire is crucial. Early pieces were easy and left nobody exposed; more challenging works were added gradually.   Better to play fewer pieces well than many sloppily, so there are no more than a dozen in the music folders. Each piece is an opportunity to polish a skill and improve. A focus could, for example, be on dynamics — the challenge of playing softly, or building from piano (soft) to forte (loud).  Each piece is broken down and reassembled so players understand how their individual parts fit with the whole. David really wants players to be sensitive to this and will sometimes ask everyone to listen for one instrument. For players or sections wanting extra help he’s slotted in extra, optional, rehearsal times. And he’s put together a website with a members’ area that includes reference recordings — expert versions of a piece the musicians can listen to on their own, or even play along.    Effort and hours? Being a director takes both. Here’s David on how he prepares for the Monday night practices: “I always have a plan. I usually spend between one-and-a-half and two hours with the scores and recordings over the week to identify areas where I would like to improve something. I usually try to choose three pieces that I really want to move forward each week.”  Finally, a good leader has to set goals. Concerts and competitions are incentives to play at the highest possible level, and give players objective measures of progress.  If this all sounds a little dry and earnest, it’s not — and it can’t be, because the other thing about a community band is that the process has to be fun.  The view of David from the concert audience shows a slight figure with greying hair and beard and wonkish glasses. Players are close enough to see more: an earring and a forearm tattoo, ease and rapport, a slightly unnerving ability to imitate the unmusical playing he wants to eliminate but also expressively sing or gesture to model what is wanted; above all, the pleasure he takes when it all comes together and the band plays as one.  “To All a Good Night” takes place December 14, at 7pm at Cambridge Street United Church. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available from any band member or at Fit Body Boot Camp or Cathy Allan Ladieswear.

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Remembering the Lindsay Kinsmen Band Back in the autumn of 2003, while in Grade 7 at Central Senior School, I decided to take on an extracurricular activity by signing up for the school band. Those of us who were interested attended a lunchtime meeting in the school’s music room, where instruments were assigned according to what aspiring band members wanted to play. When it came my turn to select a band instrument, I hesitated, not having completely made my mind up. “You know how to play recorder, right?” asked Eric Smeaton, the school’s popular music teacher — possibly knowing that my father had once taught recorder to music students at Mariposa Elementary School. “It’s the same fingering.” With that assurance, I began my middle-school music career as a clarinetist. Initially, I made use of the school’s new B-flat clarinets. By Grade 8, however, I began using an old clarinet which had been loaned to me by an aunt. This wasn’t just any clarinet, though. Some 30 years before, my aunt had played this clarinet in the famous Lindsay Kinsmen Band, with which it travelled across the county, across the country, and across the border en route to any number of Christmas parades, festivals, and concerts.


Sixty-five years have passed since Muriel Kennedy and Lloyd McMullen set about forming what was known initially as the Lindsay Boys and Girls Band. Dale Kennedy, who with brother Garry were the first members of the band, reminisces today about its origins. “Parents contributed greatly,” he says, and this defined the band’s success over the years — both financially and otherwise. Earl Kennedy, for instance, generously bankrolled the procurement of instruments when the municipal council of the day declined to assist the band financially in that initial season. February of 1955 saw the Kinsmen Club assume responsibility for sponsoring the band, which by that point was under the directorship of the late Frank Banks. Within two years of its founding, the band was recognized as the best junior band in the province of Ontario. Marching along in red berets, the Lindsay Boys and Girls

Lindsay Kinsmen Band


Band-turned-Lindsay Kinsmen Band stood in a long and storied tradition of marching bands which had graced the town for nearly a century. Chief among these were community-run groups like the Lindsay Citizens’ Band; military marching bands attached to the 45th Regiment and the 109th Battalion; and ensembles like the Sylvester Manufacturing Co.’s staff band. The Salvation Army’s signature brass band was a commanding presence as well in Victorianera Lindsay — at one point drowning out the citizens’ band with its hymn tunes! Unlike those early bands, many of which disappeared as time marched along, the Lindsay Kinsmen Band was going from strength to strength as the Fabulous Fifties turned to the Swinging Sixties. It was making its presence felt as far away as Quebec and Toronto, not to mention a host of small towns and cities in between and beyond. By 1970, the Lindsay Kinsmen Band had become as much a fixture of Lindsay’s cultural scene as the Academy Theatre. “There wasn’t any instrumental music in the high schools at that time, so the band provided an outlet for these musicians and helped make their home town proud of its teenagers,” observes Bill Walden, who became involved with the band almost half a century ago. Parents of band members oversaw a variety of fundraising initiatives that band alumni recall to this day. “The band conducted a large rummage sale each spring at the fairgrounds,” Walden says, “and we collected throughout the town for unneeded good articles and clothing. This was before people held their own garage sales.” While the Kinsmen Club provided a healthy sum of money to the band each year, with the Town of Lindsay donating a sum of money annually as well, “the bulk of the needed funds were raised by the band parents,” Walden explains, “either through a per member fee or annual membership.” Band trips have almost legendary status among former members and the chaperones and organizers who facilitated them. The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Virginia, to which the band travelled in May of 1975, stands out as an example. Merton and Eleanor Davis drove the entire route over the school break in March of that year, meticulously planning every detail of an itinerary that included tours of Washington D.C., Pennsylvania Amish country, and the renowned Hershey chocolate factory. Accommodations on this particular trip were unique, to say the least. “We were offered a portion of a volunteer fire station as a base,” Bill Walden reminisces, “and so fold-up army cots were purchased and shipped to that firehouse. Some of us even put up our cots in the area beside the fire trucks, so we might have had to move them if the truck was called out.” Dwindling membership saw the Lindsay Kinsmen Band march into history after over half a century of making musical memories. Still, the leadership of such musical directors and drum majors as Frank Banks, Jack Clarke, Paul Skipworth, David Morrison, and others — not to mention the parents who gave so much of their time and energy — have meant that the Lindsay Kinsmen Band will remain alive in the memories of many local residents for years to come. What are your memories of the Kinsmen Band? Email us at


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We Need Some Christmas Cheer

No one ever accused me of being the biggest fan of Christmas. Heck, the kids just picked me up a Sally-Ann gem: a T-shirt with Darth Vader in a Santa hat below the word ‘humbug!’ It’s the only Christmas thing I own that’s (in the words of Farley Mowat) worth the powder to blow it all to hell. And let’s clear one thing up right off the top: It may make me old-school, but I say Merry Christmas. I don’t let some Russian-produced meme scare me into thinking that my custom is in any way under threat. See, because I do the “church thing,” Xmas is actually a part of my liturgical calendar, whether I like it or not. And in a lifetime of chit-chatting with strangers from a gazillion backgrounds, I’ve found just about everyone to be okay with a greeting that translates as “from my tradition to yours, I wish you happiness.” But this year, I find myself wanting to get to that part where most of us try to be nice to each other, if only for a week or two. I don’t think it’s just me, but we could use a holiday — whatever you want to call it or whatever it means to you. See, we’ve been kind of yelling at each other lately. A lot. The conversational dumpster-fire that erupted from the comments of a certain hockey commentator sure didn’t help our communal tone. And that train-wreck came shortly after a federal election, which is hardly a time of rational, fact-based debate. There are clearly some divisions in our society: some generational, some class-based, many clearly partisan. There are really important things we have to talk about but I don’t think shouting into the echo chambers of social media are going to help us solve anything. We really should just take a beat. Take a moment to breathe, to think a little less emotionally, to listen a little more. Maybe a big collective glass of eggnog would help? (And for some of us maybe a little rum in there wouldn’t hurt.) See, it’s okay if, like me, you don’t believe that the biggest story in the week following Remembrance Day was Don Cherry — it was a story on how the 45 richest Canadians have as much wealth as the combined GDP of five of our provinces. I’m not going to yell at you if don’t agree that we are being distracted by trifles as the billionaires consume wealth at a rate that would make earlier robber barons blush. (Why do you think that foreign adversaries create bots to interject into our mundane social media politics, anyway? Answer: Because we are weaker when we are always arguing.) So I’m taking a seasonal break from this growing cacophony. To quote a punk rock Christmas classic by the Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight.)” Merry Christmas, indeed.


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Val ies Blessing '


December 8, 2019 | Seatings at 4 pm, 5 pm, and 6 pm Calvary Pentecostal Church | 125 Victoria Ave. N., Lindsay

Fifteen $100 Giant Tiger gift cards will be drawn from the names of those attending the dinner, five Pastor Joel Holtz with Giant Tiger Manager Judy Sorensen.

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In honour of the late Valerie Brunst

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Lindsay Advocate - Dec 2019  

Lindsay Advocate - Dec 2019