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WINTER 2014/2015


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Available At: Makin’ Waves Marine 29720 Hwy 62 N, Bancroft, ON 613-332-3777 Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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celebrating life in hastings county

Check out our website and ‘Friend’ us on Facebook Country-Roads-Celebrating-Life-inHastings-County-Magazine/ 129317950479693



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Country Roads • Winter 2014/2015

Country Roads

celebrating life in hastings county

Country Roads

celebrating life in hastings county

CR Country

CO-PUBLISHER & EDITOR Nancy Hopkins 613 968-0499 CO-PUBLISHER & EDITOR John Hopkins 613 968-0499



SOUTH & CENTRAL HASTINGS & AREA celebrating life in hastings county Nancy Hopkins 613.968.0499 NORTH HASTINGS & AREA Hope McFall 613.202.1541 ART DIRECTOR Jozef VanVeenen CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Orland French Angela Hawn Sharon Henderson Barry Penhale Anne Elspeth Rector Michelle Annette Tremblay Sarah Vance Shelley Wildgen CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Sharon Henderson Dorinda Murray Jozef VanVeenen INTERN Maddie Budding

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COUNTRY ROADS, Celebrating Life in Hastings County is published four times a year by PenWord Communications Inc. Copies are distributed to select locations throughout Hastings County including the c­ ommunities of Bancroft, Belleville, Madoc, Marmora, Stirling and Tweed. Copies are also delivered to select homes within southern Ontario. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: 1 year: $17.85 2 years: $33.90 3 years: $47.46 All prices include H.S.T. The contents of this publication are ­protected by copyright. Reproduction of this p­ ublication in whole or in part without prior written permission of PenWord C ­ ommunications Inc. is prohibited. The advertising deadline for the Spring 2015 issue is February 20, 2015. COVER PHOTO: SHARON HENDERSON Made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation

HOW TO CONTACT US Telephone: 613-968-0499 E-mail: Website: For written enquiries you can reach us at: PenWord Communications Inc. P.O. Box 423, Stirling, ON K0K 3E0

At either of our two locations you will enjoy friendly people and gentle dentistry for your whole family. Belleville

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Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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You might think you know someone, but do you ever really? Out of the blue they do or say something that surprises you. Why? Because people aren’t static. They are always changing. And the same goes for places – communities, cities, countries. It’s just the way it is. We base our opinions on what we know and our life as it is at this moment. But read our story on the large French history of this area. This information will likely be new to many readers and will add another layer to our interpretation of the past, present and impact our future experiences. Read celebrated Canadian author Frances Itani’s novel ‘Deafening’ set in Deseronto circa WW1 and you’ll be envisioning a very different community than that of today, one with a population of 5,000 and home to a lot of the large industries of the day. Drive through Eldorado north of Madoc and you’d be hard pressed to even imagine its bustling heyday. And what about the passenger and cargo vessels that once regularly travelled to and from the Bay of Quinte and other local waterways. And don’t even get us started on the loss of the railways. But this is not a tale of doom and gloom. It’s a tale of rebirth of sorts. The mining in North Hastings may not exist today but the area attracts more and more people from around the world to revel in its geological wonder. There’s a reason it’s known as the Mineral Capital of Canada. It’s not just a blanket statement. In Spring, 2015 Quinte West will open a new marina in Trenton. The local waters are known to have some of the best sailing in the world. Again truth, not marketing jargon. Railway lines have been reinvented into a terrific trail system. And let’s talk agriculture. With a genuine shift towards reconnecting with our food the area has stepped up to the plate magnificently. Hobby farms, agri businesses, farmer’s markets and food festivals all add to the local economy and quality of life. It can be difficult on a day-to-day basis to believe that things really are evolving and changing but over time things shift along with the earth’s revolutions. As you travel through your community and Hastings County stop for a moment and imagine standing in that very spot 100 years ago, then look around and take in what you see today. And for a moment let your mind wander and imagine what future generations will see. There are so many people working towards shaping this region. Like Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a changing.” And as the voice told Ray Kinsella in the 1980’s movie ‘Field of Dreams’, “If you build it they will come.” What will they see? I’m sure we would all be surprised.

Sharon Henderson lives on an archetypal back-wood homestead in the bush-land north of Highway 7. She spends her time reading children’s literature with her daughter, tending vegetables and flowers, writing, and catching the odd forest moment with her camera. Last year she studied sustainable local food and is now enjoying documenting the local rural scene. She loves Hastings County’s clean air, exposed shield, and tucked away talent.

Photo: Haley Ashford

e d i t o r i a l

Nancy & John Hopkins

Mic he lle A nne t t e Tre m b lay writes because she’s interested in everything. Interviewing fascinating people and sharing their wisdom and ideas is one of her favorite things and has led her to writing features for newspapers and magazines. After completing a Creative Writing degree from the University of British Columbia she spent many years teaching and writing on the west coast of Canada and internationally. But, a country girl at heart, she gave up the city life to return to her roots in Paudash, where she freelances for multiple publications and is the Creative Director of WordBird Media. When she’s not picking remarkable brains, writing or photographing the wonders of rural Ontario, she’s usually in her garden, running after her kids or cooking up something yummy with her husband. Shelley Wildgen was raised ‘radio.’ Both parents worked at CJBQ in Belleville and by the time Shelley was 14, so did she. Her years have included stints writing and broadcasting at stations as close as Belleville, and as far afield as Kingston, Winnipeg and Bermuda. In recent years, Shelley turned her pen to writing features for magazines and her voice is heard regularly on all ‘2001 Audio Video’ radio commercials in the Toronto area. Now she teaches Media at Loyalist College in Belleville.

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Country Roads • Winter 2014/2015

V O LU M E 7 , I S S U E 4 , W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 / 2 0 1 5

Contents 8








By Michelle Annette Tremblay


By Sharon Henderson


By Angela Hawn


By Anne Elspeth Rector

Healing art


Your Loving Anna


The 10 Lives of Tony the Cat


The Sound of Silence

You’ve got a copy of COUNTRY ROADS in your hands and that tells us you’re interested in Hastings County.

WANT MORE? Join the COUNTRY ROADS Facebook page. You’ll be the first to get a sneak peak at upcoming issues, new things on our website, and a whole lot more. C O V E R I N G T H E A R T S , O U T D O O R S , H I S T O R Y, P E O P L E A N D P L A C E S We are ALL Hastings County, ALL the time! Come join us! Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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Where T Eagles Dare

here’s a lot to concentrate on when you’re halfway up a frozen cliff, with nothing but your own strength and a few spikes stabbed into the ice to keep you perched. Are you sweating? How many ice-screws do you have left? Are your muscles fatigued? Is the ice solid enough? Might it break away? All these thoughts swirl and culminate into one over-arcing mantra, and a hallowed reverence for the second rule of ice climbing. Much like Fight Club, the second rule of ice climbing is an emphatic echo of the first rule of ice-climbing: Do. Not. Fall. Sure, sure, of course, right? Naturally, don’t fall. That’s obvious to anyone who has ever uttered the words anchor or belay. It’s obvious to anyone who has spent even one afternoon on any climbing wall, in any gym, in any city. When rock climbing, a fall can mean a twisted ankle, scrapes, cuts, bruises, or broken bones. But if you think of rock climbing as an adventure-seeker’s unpredictable hot date on a Saturday night, well then, look out. Because

Ice climbing provides bird’s-eye view of North Hastings By Michelle Annette Tremblay

Above: Did we mention the view? And Tim Hortons is just around the corner! Photo by Colin Huggard Left: Ice climbing is sexy for sure, but not without some real danger. ‘Dirty Harry’ is one of the popular routes at Bancroft’s Eagles Nest and is rated at ‘WI4+’. ‘WI’ stands for ‘Water Ice’ and the numbers reflect the difficulty, ranging from ‘1’ for the easiest to ‘6’ for the most difficult. Photo by Colin Huggard



Country Roads • Winter 2014/2015

Top-roping is the easiest way for a beginner to be introduced to ice climbing, with the risks reduced. This is on ‘The Curtain’, another one of Eagles Nest’s eight routes. Photo by Colin Huggard

ice climbing is that date’s hotter bad-ass cousin. Yup. It’s hardcore. Sexy, for sure, but not without some real danger. If you fall when ice climbing, you don’t just have to worry about the hard ground you’re going to hit. You also have to remember to hold your ice axe tightly as you plummet...while somehow managing to avoid stabbing yourself in the face with it. That’s a no-no. You have to make sure the spikes on your boots don’t get caught in the ice as you fall, causing your body to twist and break. And then of course there’s the cold. And the remoteness. No-one wants to find themselves injured and alone at the base of a cliff in -20 weather. So, whatever you do, don’t fall. And don’t forget rules three and four either – always climb with a buddy, and wear your helmet. With all that in mind, you might be wondering why anyone would attempt such a perilous activity. Who are these zany ice climbers? Are they self-destructive adrenalin junkies? Do they have a death wish? And why is the sport increasing in popularity so steadily? It turns out ice climbers are a close-knit and supportive community of adventurers, with an admirable set of ethics, stead-fast safety rules, and a deep appreciation for the regal beauty of Canada’s rugged landscapes. Most have a background in rock climbing, and graduated to ice for the additional challenge.

“When you’re new to it, you’re going to experience that adrenaline rush, and that’s fun,” says Jon Gullett, self proclaimed ice climbing fanatic, and chair of the Toronto chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). He’s been scaling frozen cliffs nearly every winter weekend for the last 13 years. “Over time though, the experience changes. Instead of the adrenaline rush, you start to appreciate the aesthetic of the ice. It is very beautiful. And it’s different every time, which keeps it exciting,” he explains. Unlike rock climbing where your route remains static, ice climbing routes change depending on the ice. The overall shape is basically the same every winter because the ice is created by runoff that always comes from the same source, and trickles down the same crevices. But as the amount of run-off increases or decreases due to weather and temperature fluctuations, the details of the ice change. The thickness, texture and colour can vary year to year, month to month, week to week, and even from one day to the next. “Roller Coaster, for example, is a very aesthetic climb,” Gullett says of the well-known route at Eagles Nest in Bancroft. “The ice forms very blue and pretty, and it glows in the sunlight.” Eagles Nest is a majestic 150-foot high hunk of granite. It provides a spectacular backdrop to the small town below, which is celebrated as the Mineral Capital of Canada. Every August tourists

Buying the right ice climbing equipment can be expensive, but a number of outlets will allow novices to rent the necessities and gain in experience. Photo courtesy Jon Gullett

flock to Bancroft to attend North America’s largest mineral show, the Rockhound Gemboree. Of course no visit to Bancroft is complete without a bit of rockhounding and hiking, and Eagles Nest is a favourite stop. Many an Instagram account hosts breathtaking panoramic shots taken from the large lookout at the top, which is a popular tourist draw in October too, when fall colours are at their peak. While Eagles Nest is a decent rock climbing venue, it’s not as popular as some others. This is mainly because of its distance from large urban centres. It’s not terribly difficult to find good rock climbing spots across Ontario, so most people don’t bother venturing too far from home. But ice climbing is a whole other ball game. “We tend to put a lot of miles on our cars every winter,” chuckles Gullett, explaining that it’s harder to find a good place to ice climb because so many factors need to come together just so. Ice climbers are willing to travel to find the perfect spot, and for that reason Eagles Nest is very popular. Gullett estimates that about 70 percent of Ontario ice climbers made their debut into the sport at Eagles Nest. The reasons are many. Firstly, the routes are well developed, and some have permanent bolts in place for securing safety ropes. As well, Eagles Nest tends to get ice earlier than other sites, lengthening its ice climbing season. It’s also a highly accessible Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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Climbing with a buddy is essential, and clubs will often lead group expeditions to popular venues like Bancroft’s Eagles Nest. Photo courtesy Jon Gullett

A variety of factors have to come together to create the perfect ice climbing venue, and enthusiasts put a lot of miles on their cars to find the right spot. It is estimated about 70 percent of Ontario climbers get their start at Eagles Nest. Photo courtesy Jon Gullett

spot, right in the town, which means you don’t have to spend hours hiking in the cold to reach it, or wait until the lakes freeze solid enough to cross in order to gain access. At the base of Eagles Nest is a smattering of small businesses, including a conveniently placed Tim Hortons. “My wife loves climbing at Eagles Nest because she gets cold easily, and can go warm up with a cup of tea whenever she needs to, while I continue climbing,” says Gullett. For beginner climbers Gullett recommends starting with a top-rope climb of ‘Roller Coaster.’ Top rope means exactly what it sounds like. A rope is secured at the top of the peak and dangled down the ice face. The climber secures to the rope and uses it, along with their climbing tools, to scale the ice. The danger of falling is greatly diminished this way, and if it does happen it’s not a huge risk because the climber will only fall a few inches. The route is also perfect for beginners because there’s a rest stop. “Halfway up ‘Roller Coaster’ there’s a big wide ledge, and people will generally take a break there,” says Gullett. Not only can climbers cool off, catch their breath, and adjust their safety gear, but they can also refuel, enjoying lunch as they take in the view of the picturesque town below and the rolling forested hills that span beyond into the horizon. Eagles Nest is not just for beginners though. Experienced climbers will sometimes challenge

themselves by climbing ‘Roller Coaster’ without a top rope, instead using ice-screws to secure themselves to the route. This is called lead climbing. It’s more dangerous than top rope climbing, but it gives serious climbers more opportunity to move around and explore. Eagles Nest has two top rope routes with permanent hardware. It also boasts eight other developed lead routes, including the popular ‘Dirty Harry,’ and the potential for many more. It’s a perfect climbing destination, according to Gullett, with oodles of untapped potential. Case in point, there is a creek at the top of Eagles Nest. Gullett explains that if Bancroft wanted to it could actually farm ice from this naturally occurring water source to create new routes. He cites the town of Ouray, Colo. as an example. There, some leaky pipes resulted in a very impressive lemons-to-lemonade story when local residents started climbing the ice that formed, and eventually began adding PVC pipes to add more water to create additional ice climbing routes. Now, 20 years later, Ouray is one of the top ice climbing venues on the planet, with more than 200 established routes. It hosts the premier international ice climbing event - the Ouray Ice Festival - which is held each January and draws climbers from all over the world, as well as industry sponsors, inspiring speakers, and the world’s top exhibition climbers.

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Black Diamond and The North Face are among the official sponsors of the upcoming 2015 Ouray Ice Festival. Even though Bancroft doesn’t currently have its own climbing club or much in the way of ice climbing promotion, Eagles Nest is already a celebrated destination within the ice climbing community. If the creek was used to farm more ice, and new routes were developed and promoted, Bancroft could become the Ouray of Ontario, says Gullett. “We’ve actually been looking for a venue for an ice festival,” adds the Toronto ACC Chair. Could Bancroft be that venue? Certainly, says Gullett. In addition to the excellent climbing opportunities at Eagles Nest, there are other popular sites nearby, including routes at Diamond Lake and at Bow Lake. Gullett sees the potential for the Bancroft area to become an ice climbing mecca, and for its economy to benefit from the winter tourism. “People will complain to me about how long winter is, but to me it feels so short,” laughs Gullett. “I tell people - climb ice, go skiing, enjoy winter! It’s a fabulous time of year!” Gullet’s not alone in his excitement. Over the past decade, ice climbing has steadily increased in popularity. Outfitters and climbing clubs are popping up across the country, and when there is no official club, climbers create communities

GEnEral IntErESt, CErtIfICatE & DIploma CourSES WIntEr 2015


ON LIFELONG LEARNING Distance Studies & Continuing Education ‘Roller Coaster’ is a popular route at Eagles Nest with both beginners and experienced ice climbers. More seasoned climbers ascend using ice-screws rather than a top rope, which is a trickier way to go but offers the chance to vary the route and explore. Photo by Colin Huggard

online where they compare notes about various locations and conditions. If you google “Eagles Nest ice climbing” today you won’t find an official Eagles Nest website, but you will find dozens of rock-climbing-community-led sites with photos and descriptions of the various routes, and friendly message boards where climbers exchange information. It’s a community of adventurers that embody typically Canadian stereotypes like being helpful, polite and resourceful. And though they are unwritten, there are very clear rules about safety, and ethics. Like Fight Club, there’s a code. “We know it’s a dangerous sport. We know what we’re getting ourselves into. There are unwritten laws that the climbing community adheres to. Any decent self-respecting climber would never risk limiting access, or jeopardize the public perception of climbing by not taking responsibility for their own actions,” says Gullett, referring to the potential dangers of climbing and liability in the case of injury. That means climbers don’t enter private property without permission, and don’t hold landowners liable for injuries. They don’t climb alone, and don’t take stupid chances. They know that having the right gear is essential, as is climbing as a crew, either with a local outfitter or on a club expedition. Gullett says joining the alpine club was a great decision. He instantly met a plethora

of like-minded adventurers and made fast friends. Joining is easy, and it can be done online at the Toronto ACC’s website at www. which also chronicles news and events. The site hosts a calendar of upcoming expeditions, including a three-day trip to Bancroft in January, and another in February. If you’re reading this and thinking, “Holy smokes, this is the sport for me,” you can find climbing clubs in most cities, as well as outfitters that will lead an expedition, provide liability insurance, and rent out equipment. “Mountain Equipment Co-op, and similar places will also rent out equipment,” Gullett says. This is great for beginners because like most extreme sports, buying equipment is a substantial investment. But you don’t have to spend a lot to try it out. The ACC allows nonmembers to participate in a certain number of expeditions before committing to membership, and equipment rental prices are moderate. Gullett says he’s confident that ice climbing will continue to gain popularity, as more people get out and try it. “People might be intimidated by ice climbing at first because it’s cold, or it’s hard, but you’ll be amazed at what you can do. Just try it. And then you’ll realize how short winter is, and how great it is, and how lucky we are to have it!”

Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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Cavanaugh was surprised to discover how her drawings accentuated the youthfulness of the residents she spent time with.

Drawing inspiration

Marmora artist brings talent to seniors Joanie Cavanaugh started drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil. “Anyone can do art, it is just a matter of starting,” she explains. “Getting better is only a matter of practice.” When she was younger, Cavanaugh painted mainly landscapes, seascapes, buildings and animals. At 15, she started painting in oils and then moved on to acrylics when they became readily available. Over the years Joanie has also created exceptional petit point, beadwork, sculptures, watercolours and pastels. She works in whichever medium moves her and she responds with genuine modesty when faced with complements regarding her artistic talent. She is forever trying to become a better artist. “Art is a constant pursuit for me, because I rarely am satisfied,” she admits. “I am always trying to improve.” Cavanaugh has been volunteering at Caressant Care in Marmora for just over a year. She started

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Country Roads • Winter 2014/2015

out in the activity room sitting one-on-one with the residents with a pad of paper and a pencil. “I asked them what they wanted me to draw,” she says. “Sometimes I got an answer but usually I suggested something like a flower or a cat or something. For example, if we agreed on a cat I would draw a quick sketch in a cartoonish style on the paper. I would ask, ‘What next?’ and I would fill in the paper with what we thought up to draw. “I tried to make them funny, like I would put a hat on the cat. There was a man there that used to work on road construction when he was younger. I would draw a cartoon of him sitting up in a big truck. I got them to laugh at a lot of the drawings and that was how it started. Almost everyone could think up something to draw and would laugh when I made it look funny. “One day, Janet Dies, the Activities Director, asked me if I would sketch the residents, one at a time, and she would get frames to hang the drawing in their room by their bed. They seem to like the

drawings and it is a really nice gift to give to their family when they are no longer ‘with us’. “I received a letter from one family and they wrote how much they appreciated having the portrait of their loved one. It equally meant a lot to me that someone would take the time to write that I had helped them and that they felt comfort in having the portrait.” Dies is equally pleased with the arrangement. “Joanie is wonderful and her drawings are wonderful,” she enthuses. “She has a heart of gold. The residents love her.” Cavanaugh’s mother was a semi-professional portrait artist who developed Alzheimer’s disease. She had painted all her life, but she progressively lost her artistic ability as her mind and hands weakened. A collection of her own paintings was displayed on the walls of her nursing home room and this helped inspire and strengthen Joanie’s desire “to help people feel useful and cared for” especially in such an innovative and artistic way.

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The Caressant Care residents seem to like their portraits, Cavanaugh says, and she has received a letter from one family expressing their thanks for her art.

Joanie receives therapy from drawing the residents at the nursing home, making them laugh, understanding them when they struggle to speak clearly about what concerns them, holding their hands and listening to them when they want to be understood. There are one or two who have not wanted to have a portrait drawn, but most of the residents at the nursing facility seem to have really enjoyed the experience. They have been appreciative and complimentary about the finished drawing. Joanie is currently about three quarters of the way through the nearly 100 portraits. Each drawing takes about two hours. “The challenging part is that some of the residents are busy talking and looking around,” Cavanaugh says. “Sometimes they wiggle around or take a nap in the middle of my trying to draw their face. It is hard to see features when there is that much movement or when they nod off. I sometimes use photos that the nurse’s station has of each resident, because a photo holds still. “What I found so surprising when drawing these older people is that when I was studying their face as I was drawing, I could see the beauty that was in their face when they were younger. I could see that because of their deep set eyes, high cheekbones, the colour in their cheeks, the grace in the shape in their mouth or nose does not totally hide with age. I could see how beautiful or handsome their features were when they were younger. This really surprised me because I didn’t expect to see anything other than their present age as I drew them.” The residents are all important to Joanie. She thinks of them like family. She feels that she is

helping to make them feel more confident and cared for. She likes to bring them humour, which is evident in the songs, gestures, and customs she plays out with many of them. She hopes that the time she spends with them might make their day a little more of a shared experience. Cavanaugh is aware that the nurses at Caressant Care are devoted to the residents, she sees it everyday. However, “they don’t have much time to visit and answer all the questions or to amuse them, because they are so busy with the actual physical care that the residents require. That is where I come in and that is what I feel I can give to them and I see this as being more important than the art I do for them. “I feel that I make them feel important and brighten their day. I always leave here feeling I have put part of my day to good use. I have always felt appreciated by the people who work at Caressant Care and by the residents.”

Check us out on Facebook for upcoming paint workshops.

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29 Forsyth Street, Marmora • 613-472-2555


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Cavanaugh has been volunteering at Caressant Care in Marmora for just over a year, where she started out in the activity room sitting one-on-one with the residents with a pad of paper and a pencil.

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Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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Torch bearer

Glass at heart of artist’s work STORY AND PHOTOS BY SHARON HENDERSON

Lucie Kovarova-Weir has had extensive artistic training in the Czech Republic and North America, yet none of it prepared her for her current form of expression. The Hastings Country resident uses a torch and glass rods to create distinctive glass jewellery and other objects. While she claims she always knew she would be an artist, Kovarova-Weir says her move into glasswork “just happened”. She has gained experience and received honours in the United States and Canada, and her work is sold around the world.

beads I wanted to make my own. After jumping through several hoops, I got myself set up and started working, with a book on my lap.

Who are you and what is your craft? A glass artist, a flameworker, and the craft is glass beads, jewellery made with those, paperweights and small glass objects.

Why did you choose this field of ­expression?

Would you describe in detail what you do for those unacquainted with your work?

I did not, it just kind of happened.

Since beginning to work with glass, how has your work evolved?

I use the flame of the torch and glass rods. The glass rod is heated and when softened, the glass is shaped into beads and small glass objects.

From small beads, to bigger beads to jewellery and after buying a bigger torch then paperweight and mosaic cane.

What tools are integral to your work? Bench mounted torch, graphite paddles, tweezers, and kiln.

Did you always know you would be an artist? I think so.

You received a diploma in graphic design in high school at the Arts School of Vaclav Hollar in Prague, earned a masters degree in art, majoring in ­animation at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, ex-

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Country Roads • Winter 2014/2015

perienced a student exchange p ­ rogram and met your husband at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, and studied one semester for jewellery making fundamentals at George Brown College in Toronto. You did not learn about working with glass at any of these institutions, so how did you learn your craft? I was always working with beads, that was my lifelong hobby. Once I came across hand-made

What do you enjoy most about what you do? Opening the kiln after a night of work.

What inspires you and your work? Mostly my surroundings, our house, gardening, woods, folk art.

How far afield have your glass works travelled? I have shipped my beads all over the world: Japan, Brazil, USA, Europe, and Canada.

Have you received any awards or ­distinctions for your glass work? I won the MacDonald Porter Drees Prize: Special Award for Lampworked Glass Beads and Jewellery at the Cabbagetown Arts and Crafts Festival in Toronto in 2005; I received a Paul Stankard Scholarship at the Corning Museum of Glass in 2006; I earned first place in the Glass Art Association of Canada, Looking Within Reaching Out Glass Conference Members’ Exhibition in 2006; I was part of the Artist Residency Program at the Bullseye Glass Company in Portland, Oregon in 2007; and there was an Ontario Arts Council grant in 2010.

What is the most memorable ­compliment you have received ­regarding your glass creations? Receiving the Ontario Arts Council grant was a big milestone that I am very proud of.

What wisdom do you possess that might be useful for those interested in pursuing a vocation in quality ­craftsmanship? The talent is 10 percent of your success, everything else is hard work.

How can people access the fruits of your labour? Several galleries including Quinn’s of Tweed,, lunacyglass.bigcartel. com,, and lunacyglassstudio.

Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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Stirling Manor ......................................... 27

Steven Switzer Construction ................... 26

Steinberg Dental Centres ....................... 25

Ruttle Bros. Furniture .............................. 24

Remax Quinte ......................................... 23

Possibilities ............................................. 22

Outdoor Awareness Landscaping .......... 21

Old Tin Shed .......................................... 20

Old Hastings Mercantile & Gallery ......... 19

O’Hara Mill & Homestead ...................... 18

North Hastings Family Pharmacy ........... 17

home for sale .......................................... 16

Nearly north - nicely south

Mixin’ Mommas Cafe.............................. 15

McKeown Motor Sales ........................... 14

Makin’ Waves Marine ............................. 13

Loyalist College Bancroft Campus ......... 12

Royal LePage Frank Real Estate ............. 11

Ken Hendren, Realtor,

Royal LePage Frank Real Estate ............. 10

Kathy Tripp, Broker,

Hosking Motorsports .............................. 9

Hearts to God Christian Books & Gifts ... 8

Farnsworth Construction ........................ 7

Dr. Doug Smith & Assoc. ........................ 6

Discovery Dream Homes ........................ 5 .......................... 4

Bunker’s Bistro & Bar .............................. 3

Bancroft Just Wine & Beer ..................... 2

of Commerce .......................................... 1

Bancroft & District Chamber






17 20 32

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celebrating life in hastings county

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Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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Branching out

Make your

Christmas tree a cut above By Angela Hawn


Fraser Firs are noted for retaining their needles and their longevity. Additionally, their strong branches are ideal for hanging ornaments. Photo courtesy Connon’s Nursery

Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, thy leaves are so unchanging. Could they possibly be wire and plastic? Or is that a Fraser Fir? Do I hear balsam? Pine anyone? From a nursery or straight off the farm? Potted and ready for replanting or fabulously fake? Table-top size? Go gargantuan or go home? So much information to consider and so little time. With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to activate your tree-choosing radar and gear up to make that once-a-year, all-important decision. What kind of tree will grace your holiday festivities this December and how can you keep it looking its best? Read on to get some great ideas, gathered directly from those in the know.

The Christmas Tree Farm Looking for fresh? Best to make tracks for the mother of all Christmas tree sources, the tree farmer. These are the people who plant, raise and make the final decision regarding that most significant moment in a Christmas tree’s young life: the year that evergreen becomes the star of some lucky household’s seasonal festivities. If you’re looking for an expert, tree farmers know their stuff.

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“Balsams are probably the easiest to pack and haul,” declares John Burnside of Burnside’s Christmas Tree Farm, “but I could put up a Scotch Pine tomorrow and it would still look as good as gold in January.” And John would know. His dad Tom started the business in 1954 when he decided to plant Christmas trees on an empty section of family land. These days John and his brother, Tom Jr., both manage Christmas tree farms of their own. While Tom’s “Choose and Cut” business operates on a tree plantation just east of Napanee, John pre-cuts evergreens for his customers, selling most of them at Burnside’s Casual Dining / Tom’s Cabin, his Madoc-based restaurant and dairy. Although John refers to the tree business as a hobby, he and wife Heather are looking to make Christmas an even bigger part of their lives when they convert part of Tom’s Cabin into a year-round Christmas store. Already catering to tourists and eastern Ontario cottage-country enthusiasts with seasonal giftware, the pair soon hopes to start celebrating the best part of winter 12 months of the year, selling Christmas-themed items even in the middle of a Canadian heatwave. Meanwhile, overseeing the growth of 20,000 to 30,000 trees can be a big job, even when the farmer considers it a mere sideline. John claims

some of his greatest challenges centre around the difficult task of cutting and bringing the product to market. Heavy snowfall is a tree-farmer’s worst enemy, but using a tractor might cause damage. That means a lot of back-breaking, pain-staking labour, dragging evergreens out by hand. “If there’s no profit but hard work, Burnsides are in it,” John chuckles, joking the job either keeps you in shape or causes undue wear and tear on the body. “But I’ll probably do it until I topple over.” A n d t h e r e a r e r ew a r d s . J o h n i n s i s t s establishing a rapport with his clientele makes it all worthwhile. Every year he sees many of the same customers and he always takes time to enjoy a little seasonal conversation. “I guess because it’s Christmas time, everyone’s in good spirits,” laughs John, declaring even the bleakest moods of occasional Scrooge-type customers always seem to lighten a little, all through the simple act of choosing a Christmas tree. “We have a few farmers go through every year who joke about how Christmas is just like any other day, the cows still need to be milked, the chores still need to be done,” adds Heather with a chuckle, “but they always end up laughing and happy and they make me smile, too.”

Nurseries offer a certain level of comfort and convenience. Be it balsam, spruce or Fraser Fir, customers can usually find what they want. Photo courtesy Connon’s Nursery

The Nurseries

If you’re really lucky, the trip to the tree farm could include a trip back to the car via horse-drawn wagon. Photo courtesy Kim & Dave Reid

Kim and David Reid can certainly relate to this sentiment. Like the Burnsides, they ran a casual Christmas tree farm near Foxboro for years, inviting customers to explore their property, saw in hand, before cutting down their evergreen of choice. Inspired by visits to a neighbour’s tree farm when their own children were little, the Reids decided to offer Christmas tree-seekers the opportunity to harvest their own seasonal centrepiece, carting both tree and happy purchasers back to their vehicles via horse-drawn wagon. “My daughter got married last summer, so we’re not really doing it anymore, “laughs Kim. “There aren’t any kids around anymore to help.”

Still, it’s hard to give up something you’ve loved for so long. Kim admits they won’t say no to friends or long-standing customers who call ahead and want to drop by for one last tree off the Reids’ farm. “We never really advertised much, mostly just word of mouth,” Kim declares, insisting the beauty of each tree lies in the eye of the beholder. “Last year my own tree was a Charlie Brown tree with one Christmas ball on top and I thought it was perfect.”

If tramping through the bush just isn’t you, consider shopping at your local nursery. Handy for excellent care advice, most also offer a variety of other Christmas needs, from wreaths to garlands to poinsettias. You might even consider checking out the gardening tool selection for the green thumb on your Christmas list. “Customers ask two different questions,” says Debb Poole, of Connon’s Nursery near Trenton. “They ask about price-point and they ask about needle-drop.” Fortunately, the knowledgeable staff at Connon’s is eager to help. Whether it’s balsam, spruce or the ever popular needle-retaining Fraser Fir, customers generally find what they want. And with nine different varieties of evergreens available, including the classically shaped Nordman Fir, even the pickiest treeseeker feels spoiled for choice. What’s more, Poole insists the nursery aims to accommodate every budget, carrying a Christmas tree selection ranging from economically priced “promo” types to premium 14-foot giants, destined for a space with cathedral ceilings. Even the much sought after Fraser Fir crosses a broad price range, all related to how much maintenance a tree might receive over its lifetime. Those left to grow naturally, a little extra space between their branches, generally sell for less. More expensive family members tend to require greater attention and are pruned “tight” to form a denser, thicker tree. Although Debb is quick to sing the praises of all Christmas tree types, she admits her own household celebrates the season with not one, but two Fraser Firs. Known for looking their best well past the 25th, these gorgeous evergreens also sport strong branches, good for loading up with heavy decorations. Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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Artificial trees allow for themes to suit individual tastes, and have the advantage of being reusable. No worries about the watering schedule either! Photo courtesy Tweed Festival of Trees

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Kim Reid’s selfdescribed ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas Tree suited her tastes last winter. Photo courtesy Kim & Dave Reid

The Artfully Artificial

“Potted trees require a little special attention,” declares Debb, “but it’s fairly easy.” Advising customers dig a hole in their vegetable garden or somewhere near the house before the ground freezes, Debb suggests the tree stay outside until just a few days before Christmas. During its brief indoor sojourn, don’t let the tree dry out and be prepared to return your evergreen to the great outdoors around Boxing Day. After that, potted tree purchasers should simply place the tree in its pre-dug “healing hole”, cover with soil or mulch and replant in the location of their choice once spring comes. Whichever option you choose, helpful advice and beautiful trees galore abound in Hastings County. Be it farm, nursery, plastic or potted, plenty of experts brimming with seasonal spirit stand by, ready to chat. Still can’t decide? Consider making your Christmas tree purchase an act of charity and check out your local church or nursery school. Many public organizations sell Christmas trees as a fundraising activity and, really, ‘tis the season. Nothing gets you into the festive mood quicker than giving. In fact, you might just want to explore all available options before making that final choice. What better way to fire up some holiday spirit than with a Christmas tree search? You’ll probably tumble onto the perfect evergreen sooner rather than later, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop looking. You can always pretend

If reusable is your kind of green, head directly to Tweed’s annual Festival of Trees. The $2 admission fee not only gets you in the door, but purchases the first raffle ticket towards the beautifully decorated artificial tree of your choice. Grab a complimentary cup of cider or coffee and check out the Christmas finery local designers have put together. “It’s always one of our pleasures on the Monday prior to the event’s opening to see all the trees,” says Barb Gunning, chair of this year’s steering committee, a dedicated and enthusiastic group which counts Tweed’s mayor as a member. “We’re always amazed at the creativity of the sponsors.” And local businesses plus a handful of private individuals never disappoint, regularly coming out in force, offering to put up enough cash to cover costs of both tree and decorations the January before each year’s festival. That means almost 11 whole months to brainstorm ideas and, according to Barb, sponsors consistently put all that thinking time to good use. “There’s always such a wide range,” declares Barb. “I’ve seen country-style, wild and whacky, traditional, unusual, even purple.” So where will all those raffle ticket dollars end up? Barb lists a wide range of lucky and

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deserving community recipients, from youth programs to the local foodbank. “Fifteen thousand dollars is the amount usually made each year, an amazing amount for a four-day festival,” Barb claims proudly, noting the money has supported a number of large infrastructure projects including arena renovations and soccer fields. “We’re hoping to raise another $15,000 this year!” And potential sponsors take note. Knowing you’ve contributed to a charitable cause need not be your only reward. Barb reports many volunteers insist they’ve accumulated a wealth of decorating tips over the years, often putting them to good use with their own Christmas trees.

The Potted Want to reuse your tree but still want the real deal? Consider buying a Christmas centrepiece of the potted variety, enjoying that fresh and fragrant green beauty indoors for a short time before replanting the tree in your backyard. Connon’s Poole reports some customers have been doing this for years, noting it’s a popular choice with people who own larger properties. Although this option takes a little foresight and preparation, going with a potted Christmas tree often suits the customer with an enthusiasm for all things environmental.

Make Your Tree the Talk of the Town

Nearly north… nicely south FOR SALE BY OWNER

The following tips come your way via a number of sources, including all contacts interviewed for this story. Consider them your first Christmas gift of the season - ho, ho, ho! 1. With a real tree, get a fresh cut right before you put the tree up in your house. Most nurseries and tree farmers will offer to do this for you. 2. Keep an eye on the water intake, especially during the first two weeks, when a fresh tree drinks the most. You don’t want the tree to run dry. According to Debb Poole, this causes an air-lock to form, drying out the tree’s capillaries, which leads to the dreaded needle-drop. 3. If you’re going artificial, consider the higher end trees which might cost at least $350. A good quality artificial tree should last 15 years or so. 4. Is it really all just about the ornaments? Tree toppers don’t have to be stars or angels, and a Consider a tree with strong branches such variety of different sized decorations help add to the as a Fraser Fir or going artificial. Fake trees diversity and appeal of your tree. don’t cry when you bend the wire a bit to Photo courtesy Tweed Festival of Trees secure Great Grandma’s heritage icicles. 5. T  weed’s Barb Gunning advises decorators go with their hearts. But for those in search of a little “how-to” guidance, here are a few tips picked up by sponsors at various Festival of Trees workshops over the years. a) Decorations should consist of three or four different sizes. Use approximately 65 pieces for a large (i.e. six and a half foot) tree. b) Use 100 mini lights for each foot of tree. c) D  on’t just hang ornaments at the end of tree branches. Nestle some into the tree to create the perception of depth. d) Use a variety of textures. e) A  tree topper doesn’t have to be a star or an angel. Get creative and set your own theme. Consider something unique such as Sinemay bows, a Santa hat or a spray of glittery mistletoe.

you’re just getting ideas for next year and, in the meantime, enjoy. Sing a few carols, reunite with old friends and family, maybe even indulge in an eggnog or two. And late some evening, when

it’s dark and quiet and everyone else has gone to bed dreaming of sugarplums, take a little time to salute that perfect green symbol of this most wonderful season: the Christmas tree.

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613.961.1777 Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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C r o s s r o a d s


etting up in years does have certain advantages. As a reader since early childhood and one who became a hands-on publisher, my current rant or gripe involves the disappearance of far too many independent booksellers. It isn’t all bad, however. Fortunately, some communities can still claim busy privately-owned bookstores. In the book world of 2014, shrinking book­ shelves are often to be found featuring celebrity memoirs and tell-all books with little left to the imagination. A slim book dealing with Canadian pioneer life in North Hastings, such as “Your Loving Anna”, would almost certainly not be of interest to book publishers today with the possible exception of a small niche market-oriented press, and I can report that Kirby Books of Bancroft has released a reprint of the book. And so Anna’s story continues to be told. The background to the original “Your Loving Anna” as published by the venerable University of Toronto Press could easily make for a separate volume. Though an academic publisher, The U of T Press has on occasion steered its press where least expected and with surprising results. This was the case when it published Your Loving Anna in 1972 and reprinted it in 1974. Available in both hardcover and paper, the book’s modest size and appearance immediately proved to be anything but a deterrent to sales with over 2,000 copies snapped up in two months. Leading booksellers so took to “Anna” as to make it their featured book in full-page advertisements. But perhaps the most remarkable development following publication was the widespread media interest resulting in generous reviews almost everywhere in Canada. Suddenly an unassuming volume of only 120 pages dealing with of all things pioneer life in North Hastings County was impressively competing with books by bestselling authors. Such attention and the impressive book sales that followed delighted the press and most especially Eleanor Harman, associate director, and Audrey Livernois, assistant manager, sales and promotion. The important role played by these women has, to the best of my knowledge, not been recognized publicly until now. It was Harman who was immediately intrigued when Louis Tivy approached the press with an unsolicited submission comprised of Anna Leveridge’s letters and the text that he had lovingly prepared for publication. Tivy was born in 1902 on the very farm that had been home to his pioneering grandparents, David and Anna Leveridge. From the time she brought her children to join her husband in the backwoods of north Hastings County, Anna wrote frequently to her family in England with first-hand accounts of both the hardships and the joys to be found in a simple life. Though some letters were lost, many survived eventually to be returned to the Leveridge family in Canada.

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Your Loving Anna Settler experiences ­revealed in letters By Barry Penhale Photos courtesy Kirby Books / Richard Trounce

Top: Anna Leveridge’s letters home to her mother in England formed the basis of Your Loving Anna and provided a rare and authentic window into pioneer life in the late 19th century. Bottom: A sketch of the Leveridge “shanty” by Louis Tivy. The Leveridge family settled in North Hastings in 1883, having emigrated from England.

It was these letters, mostly published as originally written along with further text by Tivy, that became the popular book “Your Loving Anna: Letters from the Ontario Frontier”. Tivy himself was educated in the little country school some two-and-one-half miles from home. Having suffered an attack of polio as a youngster, which left him with a permanent limp, he would have found it exceedingly difficult to walk to school and back, especially in the winter. Other than one year of high school in Bancroft, the balance of his education was acquired through home study and summer courses. In time, Tivy taught in nearby schools before heading to northern Ontario to take over a classroom in the predominantly French-speaking community of Hearst and later in Cochrane. There he met a fellow teacher who would become his wife. In 1945 they moved to Leamington, where they continued their teaching careers. Following retirement Louis began writing for the Family Herald and the Leamington Post and News. Unfortunately, he never did get to see his grandmother’s letters published since he passed away before the release of “Your Loving Anna”. Nor did he have the satisfaction of reading the many laudatory reviews that immediately followed or get to listen to the CBC radio broadcast based on the book and carried on the popular program “The Bush and the Salon.” In a letter written prior to publication, Miss M. Jean Houston, then executive editor at the University of Toronto Press, had written to inform Tivy that a decision to publish “Anna” had been made. She also confirmed that financial concerns had been worked out and went on to say that her colleague, Harman, was keen on the book project and personally wished to see it through to print. Not stated in the letter was her decision to reduce publishing costs by doing the necessary editorial work at home pro bono. I believe it can now be said that Tivy’s family letters and his own text may well have gone unpublished without Miss Harman’s involvement. Also to play a pivotal role in Anna’s success was Livernois, a first-rate book publicist whose promotional wizardry saw a small book receive attention most people in publishing would not have believed possible. One cannot but be impressed by her personal touch leading to individually prepared correspondence to those newspaper publishers and editors closest to north Hastings County. “The letters were written by Anna Leveridge during the 1880s to her mother back in England,” Livernois explained in a message addressed to Mr. M. Goulah of the Madoc Review. “Anna and her children arrived in Belleville on the 11th of July, 1883, and took the local train to Madoc where they were met by her husband who had preceded them. The letters depict with clarity, warmth and courage what it was like to settle in the backwoods of Ontario at that time — first in

C r o s s r o a d s

The Leveridge family pictured in England in 1880. (From left to right) Eddie, Anna (with baby Lily), Florence, Gertie, David, Katy (on knee) and Arthur.

Millbridge, later in Coe Lake [Coe Hill].” Similar information also appeared in letters sent to the Belleville Intelligence, the Trentonian in Trenton, the Tweed News, Peterborough Examiner, and other newspapers. All such letters ended with reference to the anticipated interest that could be expected from readers of the local papers. The importance of Anna Leveridge’s letters cannot be overemphasized. If today one was to compile a bucket list of the best examples of authentic accounts of pioneer life previously published, “Your Loving Anna” would surely be one of the first entries. At least in my bucket! “Christmas Day was a pet day as they say here; clear blue sky, bright sunshine and sparkling snow,

“The Corner”, near Coe Hill, as it appeared about 1912. The picture is taken from a field on the Elliott farm. The buildings in the foreground are all on the Elliott farm. The view is looking east with “Park Farm”, the Leveridge homestead to the right of the double row of fence that marks the road.

cold enough to make a roaring fire in the stove very comfortable. We had a big plum pudding, and a chicken, and pork of our own raising. We had a pk of apples sent to us, and some nuts and candies, and we put all of our cents together and made some toffee, which is always our high treat on state occasions. So we did very well. The little ones hung their stockings and put little presents to each other in, and found some nuts and candies in them in the morning.” — Christmas 1885 at the Leveridge home in Hastings County.

acknowledgement of the co-operation previously provided by Audrey Livernois, University of Toronto Press. Kirby Books has also published two other volumes concerning the Leveridge family – “Joe Alcorn’s Boy” by William Hanthorn, Anna’s nephew, and “Over the Hills of Home”, which features the poems of Lillian Leveridge along with the World War One diaries and letters of Frank Leveridge. For more information please call (613) 202-1939 or visit

Sources: Tivy family interviews and corres­ pondence, press notes from the University of Toronto Press, October, 1972, and with

ARE YOU NEW TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD? Visits are free. No obligation. Compliments of local businesses. Sharon: (613) 475-5994


Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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French roots run deep Shedding light on Quinte’s Francophone heritage Story and photos by Anne Elspeth Rector

aised in Trenton, Shawn Ellis’s roots run Acadia deep but like most locals he didn’t know that between generations of indigenous peoples and an influx of Loyalists lay a century-and-a-half of the history of New France. Countless explorers, soldiers, and voyageurs plied bountiful waters of the Bay of Quinte for French Kings. As President of Trent Port Historical Society Ellis now helps others discover that Europeans were here long before the British; renowned explorer Samuel de Champlain, for example, whose earliest foray foreshadowed many Francophones to follow. “While some residents know about Champlain, I don’t think they understand the history of why he came through this area,” Ellis points out, “or about the natives of this region.” On September 8, 1615, Champlain accom­ panied a Huron raiding party that was paddling south, into Quinte – supposedly along the Saggettewedgewam or ‘river hard to follow;’ Ontario’s Trent River system. En route he recorded native hunting methods for whitetailed deer, and how wild grapevines have thrived here for four centuries; a robust endorsement of Quinte’s terroir and today’s burgeoning wine industry. A seasoned cartographer, it’s difficult to believe Champlain would fail to survey the countryside from the highest vantage. His guides would surely have acquainted him with the ancient aboriginal portage at Carrying Place – immediately south, and Mount Pelion offered panoramic views of Quinte waters. Today, Mount Pelion’s lookout-platform offers eye-level vistas of migrating geese and planes from Canada’s largest military airbase, at CFB Trenton–8 Wing. After clashing with Iroquois, Huron guides carried a wounded Champlain through Quinte to recuperate that winter. Which river they took north remains in dispute, however, Champlain’s presence resurfaces now and again; such as recent controversy over naming Quinte West’s new marina. Community Press columnist Barry Ellsworth wrote; “…the most famous explorer in Canadian history, perhaps in the world, arrived at the mouth of the Trent. We don’t even have a plaque to commemorate this momentous event. So why not call the marina the Samuel de Champlain Marina and erect a large statue of him and his Huron Indian companions…” Champlain was the first Frenchman to tour Quinte, but hardly the last.

Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial at CFB 8 Wing Trenton. Names commemorating Canada’s recently fallen soldiers reflect both English and French heritage.

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Voyageur paddles photographed at a local re-enactment. The French presence in Quinte didn’t start and finish with Champlain, but continued through succeeding generations.

The ‘Did You Know’ bathroom wall in the Heritage Café offers snippets of information related to the Quinte area’s French roots.

By 1668 Sulpician priests established Fort Kenté/Keint-he mission near Consecon and Carrying Place portage; today, Ontario’s oldest road. Fathers Francois de Salignac Abbe de Fénelon and Abbe Claude Trouvé ministered to Cayuga Iroquois, introducing sacramental wine, and probably making some from wild Quinte grapes. Hoping to secure the Great Lakes fur trade, Rene Robert Cavalier de La Salle visited Fort Kenté/Keint-he in 1672 – scouting rendezvous sites for meetings between Count Louis Henri Buade, Comte De Palluau et de Frontenac, Governor of New France, and local indigenous tribes. On July 12, 1673 the Quebec flotilla arrived at ‘Kataracoui’ to establish a fort and fur-trading post. Beyond, the Bay of Quinte region stretched west to Carrying Place. Frontenac’s garrison was a critical outpost in the long chain of forts connecting the colonial frontier. It brought many French to Quinte shores. Ministering at the fort in 1678, Recollect priest Father Louis Hennepin wrote (sic), “While the Brink of the Lake was frozen, I walked upon the Ice to an Iroquese Village call’d Ganneouse, near to Kenté, about nine Leagues off the Fort, in company of the Sieur de La Salle...” He described how, “Late in December, La Salle and Tonty, with the remaining supplies, set sail in a great barque from Fort Frontenac. Their pilot almost succeeded in wrecking them on Christmas eve off the Bay of Quinté.” Today, Old Fort Henry overlooks ‘Fort Kataracoui’ ruins from across the waters of

of pioneer days. Because among those loyal British refugees gathering around Quinte came Guillaume Richard dit La Fleur’s grandson, Jean Richard, and his family. Having survived harsh ordeals in the Midwest, Jean migrated to New York’s Mohawk Valley, where he married a British widow and became an invaluable translator for the Brits… just as hostilities erupted toward America’s Revolution. By 1784 he was known as ‘John Richards,’ a Lieutenant with the British Indian Department; and just another Loyalist waiting for his lands to be assigned at Kingston. Richard had come full circle to the place his grandfather Guillaume had first commanded, Fort Frontenac, in 1673 – just as descendant Trevor Reid returns nine generations later. Says Reid thoughtfully, “Public schools should definitely provide kids with greater knowledge that it wasn’t just the British, but also, the First Nations and French who shaped this country.” Executive Director of Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation until 2011, Sue Bazely put regional history in perspective, “We’re on par with the French settlements you find in Montreal and Quebec.” Quinte’s military ties remain strong: CFB Trenton–8 Wing is home to the National Air Force Museum and Ad Astra Memorial. Past military runways repatriating troops, Afghanistan Memorials commemorate Canada’s recently fallen soldiers – names reflecting both French and British heritage, and throughout Quinte, bilingual soldiers are now commonplace.

Kingston harbour. But in 1673, when Count Frontenac returned to Quebec after his meetings with local tribes, he left as the fort’s first commandant one Sergeant Guillaume Richard dit La Fleur. By 1675, Rene Robert Cavalier de La Salle acquired the fort, becoming Ontario’s first landowner and securing a much-needed base for his explorations. Although financial and political difficulties scuttled La Salle’s designs for expansion the wooden palisade was later rebuilt with stone fortifications – still visible today, directly across from Canada’s Royal Military College gates at Tete-de-Pont barracks. It is here, on the same ground where Royal Fort Frontenac stood, that Guillaume Richard dit La Fleur’s seventh great grandson – Trevor Reid – attends his third year of studies at RMC. “Wow,” the Belleville native pauses to consider his military presence at the very spot where his French ancestor forged this part of Canada’s early frontier, “It’s crazy to be at RMC with that knowledge; that my ancestor was stationed here 341 years ago. That’s really cool.” He and older brother Andrew share a rich lineage reaching into the earliest days of ‘Vieux Quebec,’ and of France. With the British Conquest of Canada, Quinte was again settled by military veterans – this time, by those loyal to the British crown. Understandably, English predominated. Certainly, United Empire loyalists are much better known, but learning more about Quinte’s diverse heritage helps better our understanding

Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

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An example of the French fleur-de-lis flying at a reenactment event at Ameliasburgh Museum in Prince Edward County.

Colin Linden performs at a barn concert at Chadsey’s Cairns Winery. Quinte area grapes likely found their way into sacramental wines made by priests at Fort Kenté/ Keint-he mission around 1670. Photo courtesy Colin Linden

Carrying Place Road was built atop the ancient aboriginal portage path and is Ontario’s oldest road.

Helene Cadotte-Gagnon arrived at CFB Trenton with her husband in the 1980’s, returning again in 1991. With Quebec heritage that includes fur-traders and aboriginals, CadotteGagnon shares an interest in genealogy and television programs like, “Who Do You Think You Are.” Yet she admits, “I’d heard about Champlain, but I guess we thought he came and left and that was all. I didn’t know that La Salle, French missionaries and French soldiers followed.” She adds, “Most Francophones who arrive here want to learn English, to integrate, but if we knew more about French explorations in this region, we would be able to better relate… because until now, we thought it was mainly Loyalist country.” Royal Fort Frontenac listed among its fort stores for October 8, 1684, “barrel of wine – broached, holding about 12 to 13 jars,” and in 1725/6, “Twelve half-gallons of wine.” Quinte’s wild grapevines offered comparisons and today, local vineyards are favourably compared to those of Burgundy, France. “A lot of French now come here for the wine, which I enjoy too,” Cadotte-Gagnon exclaims. “Sandbanks wines are my favourite, and they speak French there,” where Catherine Langlois is the proprietor. Cadotte-Gagnon happily confirmed that among today’s military stores,

“Oh yes, most special events at the airbase prefer wines from Quinte.” Not far from the early Fort Kenté/Keinthe mission today, Geoff Heinricks, author of “A Fool and Forty Acres,” established namesake vineyard Keint-he Winery. Just south of Consecon, along Partridge Hollow Road, Canada’s greenest ‘off grid’ winery, Red Tail Vineyard, is owned by Gilbert Provost and Pauline Joicey – bilingual entrepreneurs producing organic wines. Even modern Wine Tour maps include bilingual references to guide the growing number of French-speaking tourists who visit Quinte each year. Assures CadotteGagnon, “When we came here, my English wasn’t good, but I never had any problems – Quinte is very welcoming for us; if they see Francophones trying, they help.” With countless French-speaking soldiers stationed nearby it’s surprising how few residents know of Quinte’s French past. Ellis’ enthusiasm helps fill such historical voids. “We have a wonderful history in Trenton but not enough awareness, so we’re renovating the Trent Port building so residents can come into a café, grab a soup, sandwich or muffin, and have a look at their history,” he explains. Historic photos and engaging displays adorn the café, sharing stories of politics, entertainment, transportation,

people, and business. As Trent Port Historical Society expands public perceptions, even the bathrooms are ‘Did You Know?’ informative. The Heritage Café operates downstairs, beneath a sumptuous, time-transporting theatre. Working 40-hour weeks to remodel the old police building into a café, an energetic Ellis draws strength from community. “The city [Quinte West] has been totally amazing with us, paid for all the fire updates to be done, got it all ready to put the café in and supported us 100 percent,” he points out. “They’ve bent over backwards to help us. It feels so good to know you’ve got their support. “Trenton has so much history that’s relevant to the people of Canada. We were home to the largest sawmill in the Commonwealth when Gilmour Lumber Company came to Trenton in 1852, bringing many French to the region.” An enormous Quebec company, Gilmour brought French-speaking workers adept at logging. Unsurprising then, that Trenton’s Bay Street was once known as French Village for the many Franco-phones living nearby. “The Town of Gilmour was named for Gilmour lumber because it was a logging village, and Algonquin Park had 450km of tramway… to transport logs down to Trenton.” Ellis’ enthusiasm gathers steam, “Some families altered their names; Reuben,

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View of small boats fishing on the Bay of Quinte, a spot Champlain would have had to pass through as he travelled through this area to be able to cross Lake Ontario. Photo: Joe VanVeenen

*Each office is independently owned and operated.

ContactSt.usWToday! 447 Dundas Trenton 613-392-6594 447 Dundas St. W Trenton 613-392-6594 41 Main St. Brighton 613-475-6594 41 Main St. Brighton 613-475-6594 106 N Front St. Belleville 613-969-9907 106 N Front St. Belleville 613-969-9907 81 St.Lawrence St W Madoc 613-473-9037 81 St.Lawrence St W Madoc 613-473-9037 10 Forsyth St Marmora 613-472-7007 10 Forsyth St Marmora 613-472-7007 1 Lake St. Picton 613-476-5900 1 Lake St. Picton 613-476-5900 259 Victoria St N. Tweed 613-478-9907 259 Victoria St N. Tweed 613-478-9907 304 Main St Wellington 613-399-5900 304 Main St Wellington - 1-800-567-0776 613-399-5900 - 1-800-567-0776


Trenton’s Shawn Ellis has made a point of bringing the Quinte region’s Francophone heritage to the forefront with the Heritage Café. Photo courtesy Shawn Ellis

For information visit:, http://tourism.bayofquinte. ca,, and the static Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation site:

Thank Belleville, Quinte We now you offer one of the LARGEST FACTORY We now offer one of the LARGEST FACTORY DIRECT COLLECTIONS OF& HANDCRAFTED CANADIAN “The Country” Eastern Ontario DIRECT COLLECTIONS OF HANDCRAFTED CANADIAN s MENNONITE FURNITURE in EASTERN ONTARIO. Heirloom pieces ni LarMENNONITE are now crafted from wormy maple, flat &ONTARIO 1/4 cut oak, Heirloom offer one of&inclear the LARGEST FACTORY ry We FURNITURE EASTERN Den rustic & rough sawn pine & Cherry DIRECTare COLLECTIONS OF HANDCRAFTED CANADIAN pieces crafted from wormy & clear maple, flat & Thank you Belleville, Quinte MENNONITE FURNITURE EASTERN ONTARIO “The Country” & Eastern Ontario 1/4 cut oak, rustic &Belleville, rough sawn pine &Heirloom cherry. Thank youin Quinte

MENNONITE pieces are crafted fromBelleville, wormy & clear maple, flat & Quinte “The Eastern Ontario We Thank nowCountry” offeryou one of&the LARGEST FACTORY 1/4DIRECT cut oak, rustic & OF rough sawn pine & cherry. “The Country” &HANDCRAFTED Eastern Ontario COLLECTIONS CANADIAN We Thank now offeryou one of the LARGEST FACTORY Belleville, Quinte MENNONITE FURNITURE in&EASTERN ONTARIO Heirloom DIRECT COLLECTIONS HANDCRAFTED CANADIAN We now offer one OF of the LARGEST FACTORY “The Country” Eastern Ontario pieces are crafted fromOF & clear maple, flat & MENNONITE FURNITURE inwormy EASTERN ONTARIO Heirloom DIRECT COLLECTIONS HANDCRAFTED CANADIAN We now offer one of the LARGEST FACTORY 1/4 cut rustic &inrough sawn pinemaple, & cherry. pieces are oak, crafted from wormy & clear flat & MENNONITE FURNITURE EASTERN ONTARIO Heirloom DIRECT COLLECTIONS OF HANDCRAFTED CANADIAN 1/4 cut rustic & rough pinemaple, & cherry. pieces are oak, crafted from wormysawn & clear flat & MENNONITE FURNITURE in EASTERN ONTARIO Heirloom 1/4 cut oak, rustic & rough sawn pine & cherry. pieces are crafted from wormy & clear maple, flat & 1/4 cut oak, rustic & rough sawn pine & cherry.

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to Quinte.” He pauses, “Even other students believed we were following in the footsteps of Loyalists for the British. We just weren’t aware of our French history.” Champlain, Trouvé, Fénelon, La Salle, Frontenac, Hennepin… French pioneers foreshadowing modern soldiers whose mother tongue is French, winemakers welcoming visitors in both official languages, and a bountiful Bienvenue throughout Quinte. Difficult to believe these icons of New France wouldn’t view this… as success.

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Wm., and Stephen White were the founders of White’s Cemetery and White’s Church, and probably part of the Leblanc families… I don’t think we realize just how many French were in this area… or that names like King came from Roy,” French for King, “or that Leblanc became White, Chouinard became Sweanor. In a Loyalist area… names were anglicized.” Meanwhile, bilingualism takes root. One of Canada’s two official languages, CFB Trenton-8 Wing’s airbase schools now educate children in the French they speak at home, while Hastings County public schools offer French immersion programs throughout Quinte. “All we can do is tweak people’s interest and hopefully they become more interested and engaged,” offers Ellis optimistically, “Like our poster on Champlain. Why did Champlain travel through Trenton? He came through to help the Huron fight the Iroquois. That’s what the Heritage Café is for… to tease people to become more interested in their community history.” A descendant of several Loyalist families, Reid reflects on earlier studies of Ontario’s pioneers. “I believe we were introduced to Loyalists from the American Revolution, but we don’t go back that far in the local history we take in school,” he says. “So without this information, I would have no idea that Loyalists weren’t the first Europeans



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Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

I 27



The 10 Lives of Tony the Cat


ats are nice. Most cats. In fact, when I met Tony the Cat, 13 years ago, I thought he was pretty nice. Nice in a nebbish, purple harness-wearing sort of way. Tony started out life as my husband’s very coddled kitten, well before I arrived. After purchasing the wee prince of a cat in 1999 my husband, Rob, named Tony after his doctor. It was a fragile time of life, and Rob thought highly of both Tonys. If you’re thinking this is a tale of a woebegone cat winning over a wicked new wife, you’ll be disappointed. Tony the Cat was playful with swirling brown and grey markings but, aside from Rob, he had just one friend - The Orange Cat with the Curly Tail. For some pheromone-resistant reason, known only to animals, all neighbourhood pets picked on Tony. All, except The Orange Cat with the Curly Tail, who would come calling every day. Down the street they’d slink, like two high school misfits living their own brand of cool. After this many years, my relationship with Tony has weathered on. It was clear that I had rocked his carefully balanced world by bringing with me a disruptive entourage. Not all at once of course, but over our time together I’ve added one adolescent daughter, more than 10 cats (including a litter of three kittens), a few Dachshunds, a Schnoodle, a Spaniel, a Shi Tzu, a Jack Russell terrier, and a handful of frequent Tony-repelling dog visitors. I have a reluctant respect for Tony, and he hates me. If I walked into a room, Tony would dart under or over the nearest piece of furniture. He’d hiss at me if I sat next to him and yes, he’s even been known to ‘scent’ a closet or two. My friend, Lynn says Tony’s sole goal in life is to outlive me. If you could see the way that cat looks at me you’d probably think the same. My hat’s off to his amazing survival skills. As an avowed outdoor cat, Tony has gone missing for upwards of two weeks at a time, always returning no worse for the wear. The first absence was met with a flurry of ‘missing cat’ posters and daily Humane Society phone calls,

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Country Roads • Winter 2014/2015

but eventually it became apparent that Tony was away by choice and always returned in short order. That was until this past summer. We spent the summer in PEI and after a few weeks, while Tony remained home in Belleville with Rob’s daughter and housesitter, she reported that Tony had been missing for more than a few days. He remained missing even after we returned home in September. Was I dancing a jig? No. Never. Evil incarnate dressed in a marble cakecoloured cat coat was something I’d grown used to, much like a bunion or a bee’s nest. Leave it alone, and hope for the best.

After this many years, my relationship with Tony has weathered on. It was clear that I had rocked his ­carefully balanced world by bringing with me a d ­ isruptive ­entourage. Not all at once of course, but over our time ­together...

Rob had resigned himself to thinking Tony had gone away to die. He loved his cat but felt 15 to be a ripe age for a cat. I knew better. Not that cat. Like the Portrait of Dorian Grey, that cat never changed…until, of course, he did change. In a big way. Early one fall evening the phone rang. The woman on the other end identified herself as Rose. She lived around the corner from us. Turns out

Rose had been housing a wayward cat all summer. She’d named her stray ‘Tia’, after the drink, because ‘she’ was the same colour. Eventually, Rose took Tia in for a check up and a micro-chip was discovered. That’s how she found us. I finally interrupted her to let her know that micro-chips don’t lie, but her vet check-up was somewhat suspect. Our missing cat was Tony. A ‘he’ cat. A senior, albeit virile, 15-year-old, male cat. Silence. Rose recovered and went on with her description. Tia was not just female, according to her vet. She was around two years old and quite likely pregnant. She was also adorably cuddly and slept on Rose’s pillow every night. Something was very wrong. Rose agreed to bring her new acquisition over for a visit. As expected, it was Tony. He scrambled into our house, looked up at me for a bone-chilling instant then ran into the bedroom. Rose stayed for quite a while insisting that perhaps we should check with our vet and see if the 1999 neutering records were incorrect. No. We were sure. So Tony/Tia was home -- for 12 hours. I served him smoked oysters, cheese and crackers, in bed. He took the offerings then, twice, curled his lip, and hissed at me. By noon the next day, he bolted out the door and did not return. Rose called every day for a week or so. She wanted us to know that Tony/Tia was safe and with her. Would we like her to bring her back? No. No, we would not. Rob told Rose she needn’t call every day. It was OK. She could keep the cat, since he/she seemed so much happier and well adjusted with her. Any future vet bills will be our concern – though, hopefully, not with Rose’s current vet. Rose agreed. That is my cat tale. Tony the Cat is now living out his/her golden years as a young, pampered, indoor female cat/ kitten, possibly (though not likely) pregnant. I may not have been that cat’s real problem after all.

C o u n t r y

C a l e n d a r

Things to see and do in and around Hastings County. To submit your event listing email or call us at 613 968-0499. ART GALLERIES/EXHIBITIONS


Art Gallery of Bancroft, 10 Flint Avenue, Bancroft, 613332-1542 Dec 3 – 27 -Aesthetic Fabrications” Photographs of an industrial Geography” Works by Don Wilson. Sponsors: Ashlie’s Books and Friend of the Gallery

Belleville Theatre Guild, 613-967-1442 Feb 5 – 21 – The Woman in Black by Susan Hill adapted by Stephen Mallatratt. Let us scare you with an old–fashioned ghost story. A simple tale of a man who cannot forget what he has seen. He tries to rid himself of these terrors and finds an unusual healer, an actor, who will help him relive the events and in a kind of exorcism purge the memories which haunt him.

John M. Parrott Art Gallery, Belleville Public Library, 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville, 613-968-6731, ext. 2240, Gallery 1  Nov 6 - Dec 31, 2014 - Perceptions -Arresting Images - curated by the OPP Museum, consisting of 100 mug shots dating from 1886 to 1908. Provides a unique perspective on the social history of Ontario during those years including police practices, the emergence of photography and the development and social phenomena of the mug shot.  Jan 8 - Feb 12 -Adventures Abroad -paintings in various media from Donna Bonin’s European workshops. Gallery 2 Dec 4 – 31 – On the River: A Sailor’s Perspective: favourite places in the Thousand Islands- an exhibition of paintings in oil by Artist Peter Davis. Jan 8 - Feb 12 - In the Right Light is the first solo exhibition of photographs by Audra Kent. Gallery 3 Nov 22 to Jan 9 - “Winter Magic en Plein Air” -selections of Manly MacDonald’s work from private collections and the Parrott Collection.

Stirling Festival Theatre, West Front St., Stirling 613-395-2100 1-877-312-1162 Nov 21 – Dec 31 – The Three Musketeers Panto –When Queen Milady DuWinter is in trouble, she calls for the Three Musketeers (Athos, Porthos and Aramis). When she can’t get them, she calls the Other Three Musketeers (Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax). Follow D’Arlington and our three heroes as they try to defeat the evil Count Roquefort. Family & Adult Naughty versions. Dec 14 8:00 – Sharron’s Christmas Party! - From Canada Sings, Sharron Matthews! Is she Naughty or Nice? Both! Stand-up comedy, vocal concert, talk show & controlled chaos… this show is not for the faint-of-Christmas heart! All others will die laughing.

EVENTS Nov 20 – Jan 31 – The Big Bright Light Show, Dundas Street, downtown Napanee. Over 450,000 lights - Nightly 5 – 11 pm. Dec 4 – 7 – 11th Annual Tweed Festival of Trees. View beautifully decorated trees & wreaths. Entertainment. $2.00 raffle tickets. Draws held Dec 7th- 3pm. Sponsored by the

Celebrating Life in Hastings County

Tweed Chapters of Beta Sigma Phi. All Proceeds to youth activities in the Municipality. 613-4783225

Street. Free. Call Marie Tenthorey 613-3321965 to donate or to volunteer. Everyone Welcome.

Dec 12 – Port Hope Friends of Music fiveconcert season of classical music. Ensemble Caprice, with guest soprano Dawn Bailey, performs “Christmas Around the World” on period instruments. Port Hope United Church7:30-9:30 pm 905 377-1599

Jan 17, Feb 14, March 14, April 18 Maynooth Winter Market Dates; Hastings Highlands Community Center, 33011 Hwy 62, Maynooth 613 338-2262 10:00am -4:00pm Hastings Highlands gym

Dec 13 – Maynooth Christmas Market Hastings Highlands Gym, 33011 Hwy 62, Maynooth. 11 am- 6 pm Dec 13 – 11th Annual Brighten the Night Christmas Parade and Kids Party at the ANAF, Maynooth. Dec 13 - Coe Hill Christmas Parade - 2pm Lower Faraday Road to the Coe Hill School. Treats, refreshment, crafting and pictures with Santa. Please bring a nonperishable food item with you for the Tri-Township Food Basket. Dec 14 - Christmas the Broads’ Way Concert, St. Paul’s United Church, Bancroft. Tickets: $10 available at Posies, Harvest Moon, and GIS Techspot. Contact: Mary Burbidge, 613-337-8692. Proceeds to Hospice North Hastings and North Hastings Community Trust Dec 20 - Winter Solstice Art Show & Concert featuring David R. Maracle and Rebecca Maracle. One of a Kind Art & Sculptures on display for sale. Musical performances 2pm and Evening ­Performance after Dinner Service at 6:pm. and Marmora Inn B & B in Marmora, Ontario, 29 Bursthall Street. Dec 24- Community Christmas Dinner, Bancroft Royal Canadian Legion 16 Station

Jan 20 - Hastings County Historical Society presents Brian and Renee Porter in, as we mark the bicentennial of his birth. Free- 7:30 pm at our new location, the Maranatha facility, 100 College St. West, Belleville. Jan. 26 A Walk on the Wet Side - The benefits and inhabitants of wetlands will be explored on a virtual hike with Pamela Stagg, Naturalist and radio host of The County, Naturally. Quinte Field Naturalist meeting, 7pm, Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church, Belleville. Jan 31- Marmora SnoFest - Drawing on the adventurous tradition of sled dog racing, Marmora SnoFest celebrates a love of dogs, sport and community. Sled dog racing and skijoring, attracting world-class competitors from Canada and beyond. Also talent shows, chainsaw carving, weight pulls, bonfires and more. Marmora SnoFest Association,, 416 835-9107 9 am to late Feb 17- Hastings County Historical Society presents Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte researcher, Amie Cowie speaking on the History and heritage of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Free- 7:30 pm at our new location, the Maranatha facility, 100 College St. West, Belleville.




Feb. 23 Natural Wonders of the Trent River Valley -What are they? Where are they? Discover these areas off the beaten path with Ewa Bednarczuk, Lower Trent Conservation, Ecology and Stewardship Specialist. Quinte Field Naturalist meeting, 7pm, Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church, Belleville. Feb 27 – March 1 Belleville Downtown DocFest: Three days of outstanding documentary films celebrating life and human dignity around the world and right here at home. March 17 - Hastings County Historical Society presents author Paul Kirby speaking on his new book, Trail of Broken Hearts: Surveying, Building and Settling the Hastings Colonization Road. Free- 7:30 pm at our new location, the Maranatha facility, 100 College St. West, Belleville. Mar. 23 Saving Our Living Dinosaurs Turtles are among the oldest living creatures on Earth but today 7 of Ontario’s 8 turtle species are at risk. Find out how the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre works to heal and protect our living dinosaurs. Quinte Field Naturalist meeting, 7pm, Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church, Belleville. Tuesday’s - Estevez Art Academy - Oil painting classes: landscape, still live, portraiture and figure. 9:30-11:30 am or 7-9 pm. 395 Front St. Belleville., 613 210-2979 $180 for 12 weeks, two hours a week. March 28 & 29 – O’Hara Mill Homestead 1850 Sugar Bush Demonstration and Pancake Breakfast. Mill Road, West off Hwy 62, Madoc. 613 473-2084



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Bird’s Creek Plaza, Bancroft Winter 2014/2015 • Country Roads

I 29



n the movie ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,’ set in sleepy Savannah, Ga., the main character, journalist John Kelso plays a recording of the urban cacophony from his native New York City each evening to help him fall asleep. The practice comes across as an amusing quirk of this character, but the reality is that we become accustomed to our surroundings and anything new or different can unsettle them. Thus, if you are used to falling asleep with the sounds of honking horns, sirens and shouting coming through your window, frogs croaking, crickets chirping or worse, nothing at all, will be an unsettling experience. I grew up in a suburb of Toronto, and when I first moved downtown to attend university I was awakened early every morning by the sounds of traffic outside my window. Over time I learned to sleep through them. While part of this could be attributed to my not so stoic university lifestyle, I think it also had to do with the daily familiarity and routine of these sounds. Similarly, I lived for two years virtually right on top of a central parking station for the Toronto Transit Commission subway, and barely stirred during the stretch between 1:30 and 2:00 in the morning when trains were shunted into position at the end of their workday. It is funny how we can get so accustomed to something buzzing in our ears at all times that when we are actually confronted with a quieter environment

The Sound of Silence we become like John Kelso and look for the security of those sounds that remind us of home. And for many of us the sound of silence, or actual lack of any sound, can be the most unsettling sound of all. We have recently moved to a country farmhouse not far outside of Stirling. It is quiet here, especially in the middle of the night. It seems funny to say that, because it’s not as if Stirling is a bustling metropolis. But as one of our friends said, there is a certain “buzz” to the village. Living right in the middle of Stirling, we could usually hear some sort of traffic in the middle of the night, or a voice, or something. But our first night in our new dwelling it was almost alarming how quiet it was; so quiet that at first I wondered what the hum coming from the kitchen was, until I realized it was the refrigerator. Now it is true that we are in a smaller house, so everything sounds closer than it used to, but I also think that the lack of any other background noise allowed me to pick up on that hum. The house was also very dark that first night. No streetlights, no lights shining through from other windows, no glow to the sky. Pitch dark and deadly quiet – the imagination can certainly run wild under those conditions. “Was that a bump downstairs or did I just dream it up?” “What is that creaking sound on the stairs?” It is certainly reassuring for most of us to have some sort of background noise in our ears, but is it healthy for us? Are we missing out on anything by not having moments when we are confronted

Landscape Design Credit:

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Country Roads • Winter 2014/2015

by absolute quiet? Is there such a thing as absolute quiet? I am amazed at how some people can accomplish many things, tasks often requiring a great deal of thought, while all the time having a television on in the room. Yet for my part, I had to turn off the radio to settle into writing this column, as I found it distracting to me. Am I less intelligent than someone who can do their job while watching TV? Less flexible? Or am I simply a product of a different environment? I do find that the quieter the surroundings the more clearly I think and the better I can concentrate, so that I am less likely to lose my train of thought. While this can often cause my imagination to run a little wild, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A little imagination doesn’t hurt when writing, although it can be unsettling at 3:00 in the morning. We get bombarded by a lot of sounds in our lives and I think there is a value to experiencing absolute silence, or at least something close to it, on some sort of a regular basis. We deserve a chance to get the buzzing out of our heads and go through some self-reflection. I wouldn’t even be surprised if after a good dose of silence we find we function better when confronted with the sounds that accompany our regular lives. Instead of going the route of John Kelso in Savannah, maybe it would be a better idea to put away the recording of the New York City streets and see what we hear, even if it’s nothing at all.

Bancroft Theatre District


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Profile for COUNTRY ROADS, Celebrating Life in Hastings County

Country Roads Winter 2014 2015  

Stories celebrating the arts, outdoors, history, people and places of Hastings County, Ontario.

Country Roads Winter 2014 2015  

Stories celebrating the arts, outdoors, history, people and places of Hastings County, Ontario.