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Hope for the future

Country Roads

celebrating life in hastings county

Country Roads

Photo: Haley Ashford

celebrating life in hastings county

We hear a lot of doom and gloom these days about the fragile state of our environment. The rigours of global warming, the depletion of our natural resources and the threats to our wildlife seem to be omnipresent news topics.

Without minimizing the dangers and the work still to be done, however, there is no harm in recognizing our triumphs as well. In this issue of Country Roads naturalist and photographer Robert Ferguson celebrates the revival of the Trumpeter Swan in this area, describing the bird’s flirtation with extinction and the painstaking restoration of its population. The story is a testament to the positive work that has been done for our environment and an encouraging counterpoint to the bad news we seem to be bombarded with. Indeed, the fact that we are able to recognize and willing to confront the problems that threaten our natural environment is a positive sign, and a complete 180-degree shift from the attitude that prevailed some 150 years ago. Through the 19th century not a lot of thought was given to conservation and regeneration. Our resources were being depleted partly out of necessity, as Ferguson points out, but also due to the naïve assumption that the wildlife and vegetation that inhabited this region was unlimited and never in danger of running out. We are wiser now. We replant, we have established conservation areas, and we recognize and try to protect endangered species. In some cases, like that of the Trumpeter Swan, our restorative efforts are paying dividends. It is also worth noting how the impact of a single person can have such a positive effect on the reversal of our environmental fortunes, and Ferguson credits biologist Harry Lumsden with playing a leading role in the reintroduction efforts of the Trumpeter. The challenges facing our natural world can sometimes seem overwhelming and as individuals we can often feel our single contributions have little impact, and are therefore not worth the trouble. Lumsden’s example, however, proves that an individual can indeed have a big impact. We are by no means out of the woods, so to speak, and there is much more work to be done. But at least our generation acknowledges that there is work to be done – that change must happen. And it is critical that we celebrate our successes. They provide a valuable counterpoint to the distressing stories that seem to dominate our media, and provide compelling proof that, just as we have the power to destroy our environment, we are equally capable of restoring it too.

Nancy & John Hopkins CONTRIBUTORS

CR Country

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




celebrating lifeGibson-Alcock in hastings county Lorraine 613.902.0462 NORTH HASTINGS & AREA Hope McFall 613.202.1541 ART DIRECTOR Jozef VanVeenen CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Robert Ferguson Orland French Angela Hawn Barry Penhale Lindi Pierce Michelle Annette Tremblay Sarah Vance Shelley Wildgen

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Sean Buk Robert Ferguson Anna Sherlock Jozef VanVeenen 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.

Sarah Vance freelances articles for publications such as Bancroft This Week, The Haliburton Echo, Municipal Monitor and Country Roads. Sarah’s interest in cultural and social themes led her to pursue a masters’ degree, under the guidance of British philosopher Keith AnsellPearson. Sarah is always on the lookout for interesting angles and projects that will take her off the beaten path.



Country Roads • Spring 2016


The advertising deadline for the Summer 2016 issue is May 6, 2016

Currently a resident of Marmora, Robert Ferguson has spent his professional life studying the natural world. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science degree and completed his Masters, specializing in Wildlife Ecology, at the University of Manitoba. Ferguson worked as a Wildlife Biologist in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut for 10 years, and most recently was the proprietor of MATRIX Resource Services in Golden, B.C., where he consulted on wildlife inventory and monitoring projects. Nature photography has been a lifelong passion.

COVER PHOTO: ROBERT FERGUSON 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





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Trumpeter Swans

Cover Photo: Robert Ferguson A few years ago, when Robert Ferguson first approached us about preparing a photo-feature on dragonflies, we weren’t sure what to expect. What we got astonished and amazed us. Last summer, when Robert suggested a feature on the return of the Trumpeter swans, we were excited to be able to work with him again. While his knowledge on the flora and fauna of this area is staggering, the quality of his photography is mesmerizing. His work shows a keen understanding of his subject and a patience and persistence that results in stunning images. He describes visiting the swans as an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, providing a sense of tranquility. Taking in his pictures, one gets the same feeling of peace and calm.

Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

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Spring ESSENTIALS When the rain comes Purchase your own rain barrel this spring and support a great local cause. Rain barrels capture rainwater, store it until you need it and make yard work a breeze. Water your plants, garden, even wash the car. In Bancroft, rain barrels can be ordered to support Harvest The North Community Gardens at a cost of $55. Pick up date is April 22 (Earth Day). Sustainable food activists and organizations have come together under the Harvest The North Community Garden initiative to put an end to hunger in the Bancroft area. The newly constructed community gardens are boxes about 18 inches deep, along the riverside near the new strawbale canteen in Riverside Park. Order at

Enjoy a bite Get a taste of budding theatrical talent by taking in a production of ‘Dracula’ from May 13-15 at Centennial Secondary School. Adapted by Michael Theodorou from Bram Stoker’s novel, all the wellknown characters are present, and more. While Dracula unleashes horror in his homeland of Transylvania, Dr. Seward, a female physician, works with the stricken victims in England. Terror will keep you in suspense until the very end. Performances are Friday, May 13, at 7:00pm; Saturday, May 14, at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; and Sunday, May 15, at 2:00pm at Centennial Secondary School, 160 Palmer Road, Belleville. Tickets for seniors and students are $10, and $15 for adults. Tickets are available from Red Ball Radio and Quinte Arts Council in Belleville, or by calling the school at 613-962-9233 ext. 3460. Photo courtesy Centennial Secondary School

Play Ball!

In Belleville, rain barrels are being sold in support of the Quinte Conservation Adopt An Acre Program. The money raised goes toward improving local Conservation Areas. The money raised with Adopt An Acre will help put up interpretive signage at Massassauga Point, Potter’s Creek, Vanderwater and Depot Lakes Conservation Areas, sharing important information about the natural heritage of these valuable local green and wilderness spaces including trail maps and information about invasive species. Order at

Put it in cruise Nothing says summer like cruise nights. See classic cars, share some memories and enjoy the atmosphere at a variety of locations in Hastings County all summer long. Many communities have regular weekly cruise nights, including Brighton (Mondays), Napanee (Mondays and Wednesdays), Bancroft and Belleville (Tuesdays), Marmora and Picton (Thursdays), and Trenton (Sundays). If you’re looking for something over just a single weekend, or perhaps are in the business of buying or selling parts, check out the Stirling Automotive & Antique Flea Market, April 30-May 1 at the Stirling Fairgrounds. Full details of cruise nights, including locations and hours, can be found at For more information on the Stirling Flea Market, contact Roxanne at 613-395-1583 or email



Country Roads • Spring 2016

The 40th season of the Toronto Blue Jays professional baseball franchise opens April 3 with a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, but if you haven’t already got seats you will have to cheer on from your armchair as tickets went like hotcakes. Canada’s beloved team gave some unforgettable moments in 2015, the 39th season for the franchise, and the 26th full season of play (27th overall) at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays clinched a playoff berth on Sept. 25, their first since1993 and ending what was the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports at the time. On Sept. 30, the team clinched the American League East Division and opened the playoffs by defeating the Texas Rangers in five games in the American League Division Series. The Blue Jays were eliminated in a playoff series for the first time since 1991, losing to the eventual World Series champions, Kansas City Royals, in six games in the American League Championship Series. Photo courtesy Toronto Blue Jays

Take My Seat…Please




have a confession. I am a chair collector (hoarder). I have a true appreciation (wanton love) for all kinds of chairs. I love wicker (way outdated) chairs, cane back (old) chairs, lounge (huge) chairs and have a special fondness for chairs with names (orphan chairs). The one in our bedroom is called The Lawson Chair. It’s deep, comfy and sits very low. I bought it at Funk & Gruven in Belleville, where I was told it was a Lawson Chair. Sold. That’s not to say I love all chairs with names. When you get into the Queen Annes and the Louis XIVs and such – well, I just don’t feel worthy. But a Lawson Chair has a nice, belonging ring to it. Our house is stuffed with chairs. In our twobedroom bungalow I have counted 15 chairs, including the pressed back (really, really old) chairs. That’s just inside. Our porch is home to four chairs and a loveseat. “Loveseat” has a cozy name but it’s not quite a chair; then there are four more chairs on the patio. This totals 23 chairs (and a loveseat). Oh, and the front courtyard has two more chairs – so 25 chairs. Enough to teach a grade seven class, but I don’t. You may assume that I like to entertain. No, not really. I just really like chairs, which happens to be uber-convenient when we do have company. Buying just the right chair brings sheer joy to my jaded heart. Finding a perfect one can take me right off the biorhythm chart. Last summer, in PEI, I spied a wicker chair sitting roadside, along with four, leather-seated dining chairs. It was as if I had found a basket of abandoned kittens. NO, I couldn’t have all of them, so I retrieved the wicker one and, for many nights, dreamt of the ones I left behind.

I wonder if my chair fixation is akin to the relationship some people have with shoes. I’ve heard the shoe thing is fed by a love of selecting things that will always fit, while new clothes can be fickle. Maybe chairs provide a little, sparkling heartburst to those of us who love houses and decor. It’s impossible to have every house we love, but a chair is haveable and reaps loads of instant gratification. That could be it. When I adopted The Lawson Chair, for example, it was to fill a spot in our rather large bedroom and, by doing so, it instantly gave the room a proper library annex kind of look. My husband agreed, so we outfitted it with a little side table and reading lamp. I can feel some of my friends rolling their long suffering eyes. Chair highs do, however, have a downside. My rather dowdy pressed back chairs take up six valuable chair real estate spots in our small dining area. They are family heirlooms. My kids, who are both recently engaged to their significant others, are the fifth generation to be seated at them. I can’t let the pressed backs go, especially with the strong possibility that a sixth generation may be within reach. Surely someone down the yet to be born line will cherish their teetery splendour as much as I do. This dilemma would not keep most people awake at nights. In fact, I’m sure my mother is screaming, “Get rid of the damned chairs!” from her billowing cloud chair above. It’s just not something I can do. Solution? I’m readying to paint all six red, or maybe white. Perhaps grey. Old chairs, new look. Win/win. Clearly addicted. As I write this, it is the day after a family event here at our house. All of my chairs were put to work.


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They busied themselves being just the right fit for a senior behind and supporting another person’s tired back. The chairs with arms tucked easily under those who need a little launch when they stand up, and the pressed backs provided efficient seating space at the table. I quietly rationalized my love for them. All of them. Upon cleaning up earlier today, my son noticed that one of the chintz seated ladder backs had bottomed out. Beaming with glee at the replacement possibilities that lay before me, I told him not to worry…not at all. The only thing better than buying a chair, is buying a chair to replace a well worn one that has served its term. Where would my search take me? A one piece Panton chair (do I dare)? A Glastonbury, a Dante, perhaps a Barcelona! I wouldn’t shop too hard. The thrill of the game is to have a new chair addition introduce itself unexpectedly. It could be the wild find of a roadside casting or a stupidly expensive prop in a fancy shop I had no business being in. Sourcing is as important as sitting. Then, while depositing my newly retired ladderback in the garage, something caught my eye. As I moved aside boxes and bins, I saw it. Sitting quietly was a chair I’d been saving. An old friend I hadn’t seen in over 30 years. It had been spilled on, beat up and washed down many times over. I grabbed it immediately and escorted it inside. My new/old chair is maple …a Colonial I think… maybe from Sears, originally, and in very good shape. It’s a highchair, and it’s a perfect find.

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Back from the Brink Trumpeter Swans make ­remarkable ­recovery Story and photos by Robert Ferguson 8


Country Roads • Spring 2016

This is a story about great loss and a subsequent remarkable recovery. It is a story of hardship and perseverance, tragedy and triumph. It is a factual account of how dedicated conservationists, led by one distinguished man, brought one of our most magnificent birds – the Trumpeter Swan – back from the brink of almost certain extinction. The Trumpeter Swan is the world’s largest species of waterfowl, with a wingspan measuring seven to eight feet. Mature birds weigh as much as 30 pounds or more. In former times, Trumpeter Swans inhabited a broad expanse of North America. In Ontario, swans nested from the Great Lakes marshlands to the muskeg habitats of the Hudson Bay and James Bay lowlands. If you have ever heard the loud, resonating calls of a ‘Trumpeter’, then you can appreciate how its name was chosen. Biologists estimate that, prior to European settlement, the Canadian population of Trumpeter Swans east of the Rocky Mountains contained at least 100,000 birds. By the end of the 19th century, however, the population had been reduced to near zero. For almost a full century, the skies above Ontario’s wetlands remained silent. Not a single Trumpeter Swan was heard.

Trumpeter Swans most often mate for life and pairs remain together throughout the year.

Prior to European settlement, Hastings County was sparsely populated, as was most of Ontario. Historians estimate that, in 1806, the human population of all of Upper Canada was about 71,000. Upper Canada stretched from the Ottawa River in the east, south to the shores of lakes Erie and Ontario, west to Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, and as far north as lakes Superior and Nipigon. By 1840, the population of Ontario had risen to 432,000. Just two decades later, the 1861 census counted almost 1.4 million! By the end of the 19th century, Ontarians numbered 2.2 million. During the early days of the 19th century, wildlife populations and the landscapes that supported them existed as they had since the last great ice age. Cougar and wolverine still roamed the forests of southern Ontario in relative abundance. Migrating flocks of shorebirds, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, passed through the Great Lakes in spring and again in fall. Hunting parties described spectacular migrations of waterfowl that “darkened the skies” from horizon to horizon. But life was about to change. An unintended consequence of such rapid human settlement was that wildlife populations

The orange staining on the head and neck is caused by the presence of iron-rich sediments, which occur in some wetland habitats where the swans regularly feed.

began to decline. Pioneering families were large – 10 or 12 children were not uncommon – so parents had many mouths to feed. Several years of back-breaking labour were needed to transform 100 acres of maple and oak into productive fields of oats and barley, clover and alfalfa. Accordingly, farms in the early years following settlement were rudimentary and could not produce enough food to feed a family. Instead, families relied heavily on the bounty of wild flora and fauna to supplement their limited farm production and to see them through from one season to the next. Waterfowl – ducks, geese and swans – were high on the list of favoured game birds because they were large, “meaty”, and relatively easy to hunt. We will never know to what extent our pioneering forefathers contributed to the decline in Trumpeter Swan numbers, because the levels of subsistence hunting were not documented. But we can speculate that the local impacts were

likely substantial, especially by the mid-1800s when Ontario’s human population was surging past the one-million mark. In the 1800s, there were no laws governing the hunting of migratory birds, so a family or hunting party could take as many birds as they desired. It wasn’t until 1916 when the governments of Canada and the United States implemented regulations regarding open and closed seasons, bag limits, and other measures to prevent indiscriminate killing of migratory birds. Trumpeter Swans were also targeted com-

Young swans remain with their parents during the first winter. First-year swans are easily recognized by their darker colouration, most noticeable on the head and neck. Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

I 9

mercially for their gleaming tered. As the trickle of immigrants white feathers. It is generally to North America in the 18th cenwell known that the Hudson’s tury became a flood in the 19th Bay Company and the Fur Trade century, the need for food became played an important economic role greater and greater. The hunting in Canada’s early development as of migratory birds then became an embryonic nation in the 18th a commercial venture. Market and 19th centuries. Less well hunters killed countless waterknown are the facts surrounding fowl, shorebirds and other wildthe trade in swan skins, the “Swan life for profit, selling their bounty Trade”, which occurred during the to fulfill the increasing demand same period. for meat. Each fall, the migrating From 1670 to 1870, the Hudflocks of waterfowl entering the son’s Bay Company held excluUnited States from Canada seemed sive trapping and trading rights on limitless, and in the 19th century all lands (“Rupert’s Land”) withformed the basis for a thriving wain the entire Hudson Bay drainterfowl hunting industry. age. According to Company reSadly, the combined pressures Takeoff by a full-grown swan weighing up to 30 pounds takes practice and strenuous effort. cords, 108,000 swan skins (most from rapid human settlement, subof which were Trumpeter Swans) sistence and market hunting, and were sold to the overseas London market beThe killing of swans, egrets, cranes and other the trade in swan skins were far more than the tween 1823 and 1877. Throughout Europe, as migratory birds in North America and elsewhere Trumpeter Swans could withstand. In the whole well as in cities like New York and Boston, the became known as the “Plume Boom”. Those who of Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, the swans’ pure white feathers were in great demand opposed the slaughter of migratory birds for the population had been reduced from an estimated for the fashioning of ladies’ hats and for making sake of satisfying a fickle fashion industry named 100,000-130,000 birds historically, to almost powder puffs. it the “Murderous Millinery”. Vocal opponents zero by the early 1900s. The last wild Trumpeter Swans were also killed for the stiff, flight of the murderous millinery were instrumental reported in Ontario was in 1886. feathers from their wings, which were used as in the eventual formation of the Royal Society The only remaining wild Trumpeters in North quill writing pens. Historical records from the for the Protection of Birds in Britain, and the America were in remote and mountainous loHudson’s Bay Company show that in 1834 – in National Audubon Society in the United States. cations in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, a single year – over 18 million swan and goose Ontario’s Trumpeter Swans were also exNorthwest Territories and Alaska, and in Yelquills were sold overseas in the London market. ploited by market hunters along the shores of lowstone National Park (although the swans Swans were even prized for their soft leather, the Great Lakes, as well as in the United States there were not discovered until 1919). In 1912, which was used to make ladies’ purses. where many of the migratory swans over-winthe plight of the Trumpeter Swan prompted Ed-

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Country Roads • Spring 2016

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With a wingspan approaching two-and-a-half meters, Trumpeter Swans are the largest of the world’s swans.

ward Forbush, a noted ornithologist and naturalist, to write, “The Trumpeter has succumbed to incessant persecution in all parts of its range, and its total extinction is now only a matter of years… The large size of this bird and its conspicuousness have served, as in the case of the Whooping Crane, to make it a shining mark [target], and the trumpetings that were once heard over the breadth of a great continent… will soon be heard no more.” But in 1982, biologists and conservationists in Canada and the United States developed a comprehensive plan to restore Trumpeter Swan populations to self-sustaining levels. Swan reintroductions in South Dakota and Minnesota in the 1960s had shown promise, so there was optimism that recovery programs in other states and provinces would be successful.

The Ontario recovery project was led by Harry Lumsden, a biologist and research scientist with the Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1982, he set in motion an ambitious plan to restore wild populations of the Trumpeter Swan to Ontario. Young swans (hatched from eggs removed from nests in western Canada) were raised in captivity and were then released into suitable wetland habitats. The first release site of captive-reared swans in Ontario was at Wye Marsh, southeast of Midland, in Simcoe County. Between 1982 and 2006, when the restoration project ended, more than 500 swans had been released at 50 wetland sites in southern Ontario. By 2008, the breeding population of wild swans in Ontario had surpassed the 1,000 mark, the minimum population goal set in 1982. Reaching this goal led waterfowl biologists to declare that Ontar-

io had a “successful, self-sustaining population of Trumpeter Swans.” The Ontario population continues to grow in numbers and is quickly approaching the 2,000 mark. A formal, continent-wide survey in 2010 counted more than 46,000 Trumpeters in North America. What a remarkable recovery for a species that was once on the brink of extinction. For his leadership and unwavering dedication to Trumpeter Swan conservation, Lumsden was awarded membership to the Order of Canada in 2004, our country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. The Ontario Field Ornithologists honored him with their Distinguished Ornithologist Award in 2008. In 2012, Lumsden received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement. In Hastings County, the November–March period is the best time for viewing Trumpeters.

Daily preening maintains a water repellent layer of feathers, which insulates the swans from frigid waters and sub-zero temperatures.

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Country Roads • Spring 2016

Open Year-Round Tuesday to Sunday

Lynn Gapes of Marmora offers corn to a growing flock of eager swans. The Trumpeter Swans of Hastings County are indeed wild birds, yet they seem to regard Lynn as “one of their own.” To a swan enthusiast, there is no greater compliment.

During this time, they gather at ice-free areas along Lake Ontario’s shoreline marshes, as well as on the Trent and Crowe rivers where open water persists. Upwards of 30 swans can be seen at favoured feeding sites where river currents maintain open water, a critical component of over-wintering habitat. Now – more than ever – we need champions of wildlife conservation like Lumsden. In today’s technological age of gadgets and gimmickry, our increasingly urban society is losing its connection with nature and with the other living things that share our world. As the global, human population surges towards the eight-billion mark, the challenges facing wildlife conservation have never been greater. With each passing year, governments around the world add more and more species to the lists of wildlife threatened with extinction. At times, the challenges ahead to reverse wildlife declines seem insurmountable. But Lumsden’s profound commitment to Trumpeter Swan conservation demonstrates one point most clearly – one individual can make a difference. Hastings County has its own local heroes. Bob and Lynn Gapes of Marmora started to feed a handful of over-wintering swans in 2005. Bob passed away in 2010 but Lynn continues her morning ritual of feeding swans to this very day. Between 30 and 40 swans greet Lynn almost every winter morning for handouts of corn. Histori-

cal migratory traditions of Ontario’s Trumpeters were lost when the swans were wiped out in the 1800s. Now, swans over-wintering in Ontario rely on artificial feeding to supplement their natural diets. Re-establishing migratory routes to milder winter ranges in the United States remains one of the challenges facing conservationists. The hours that I devoted to photographing swans this past winter were filled with wondrous moments. Captivated by the sights and sounds of a Trumpeter’s world, my thoughts of the turmoil and troubles in our human world quickly vanished. Often, the swans returned my scrutiny and watched me intently with their jet-black eyes, seeming to assess whether or not my tripod and telephoto lens represented a threat. Digital photography provides an amazing opportunity to share the exquisite beauty of swans and other birds. Viewing photographs is a distant second, however, when compared to a close personal experience on nature’s terms. The skies above Hastings County once again echo the trumpeting calls of this spectacular bird. On a few spring days during the past five years, Trumpeter pairs have flown directly over my neighbourhood along the Crowe River. It is their loud resonating calls that first announce their presence and attract my attention. I always look up with wonder and awe, and contemplate what might have been – how very close we came to losing for all time this majestic swan.

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By Michelle Annette Tremblay Photos by Sean Buk and Michelle Annette Tremblay


you well

Marmora’s Doug Alcock was taught how to witch by his mother when he was 14 years old.

Exploring the age-old tradition of dowsing for water


ixty-five years ago Floyd Shatraw broke a stick. Specifically it was a hazel crotch: a forked branch from a hazelnut tree. He didn’t mean to break it. He was a young lanky teenager, and had watched earlier as a visiting cousin had used it as a divining rod to find water, in the ancient tradition of dowsing, or witching for a well. When no-one was looking, Shatraw picked it up, pointed the tip to the sky and copied the grip he’d seen his cousin use. He started walking through the grass, holding the stick tightly, and within moments it started jiggling. Suddenly it tugged and bent toward the earth so strongly that it snapped in his hands. “I just put it back where I found it, hoping nobody would notice,” confesses Shatraw with a chuckle. “But then my Dad saw it later, and said, ‘Floyd, were you witching with this stick?’ ‘Yeah,’ I says. And that was it.” He’s been witching for wells ever since. “I don’t believe in it,” says the North Hastings resident, who figures he’s witched more than 200 wells since then, with 100 percent accuracy. “But it works. I can’t tell you how, or why, but it works.”

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Country Roads • Spring 2016

Left: In addition to using a willow divining rod Alcock has also prepared metal rods that are held in a loose fist and cross when they find water. Below: Eureka! The hazel crotch is pointing downward, indicating to Shatraw there is water below.

About an hour and a half away, in Marmora, I meet with another witcher. Like Shatraw, Doug Alcock fell into witching when he was a teenager. His mother taught him how to find water when he was 14. He’s not sure who taught her, but it was one of those skills that was passed down from one person to another, and he had the knack for it. It was a good thing, too. Alcock’s father was a well digger. “My Dad was putting in a well and septic system for this businessman in Toronto. He says to my Dad, ‘I want the well put there.’ And my Dad says, ‘you should get Doug to witch it just to be safe.’ But he goes, ‘there’s water everywhere, don’t worry about it.’” Alcock chuckles as he tells the story. He readily admits he didn’t like the businessman very much back

There are endless stories, theories and explanations about witching, ranging from the pseudoscientific to the superstitious. Some people say there can only be one witcher in a family at a time. Some say anyone can do it if they’re taught right. Others insist it’s a rare skill that only those with the right vibes can master. “I guess I’ve got that good energy,” laughs Shatraw. He might be on to something. At 81 he’s still treasured throughout the community as someone who’s always willing to lend a hand. It’s not uncommon to see him rototilling someone’s garden, or helping to move an old piano. Standing in my back yard, in the small community of Paudash, just down the road from the lake of the same name, Shatraw shows me how to hold the divining rod, which he has fashioned from a hazel crotch, not unlike the one he picked up all those years ago. He demonstrates how to hold it, with the tip pointing to the sky, and the ends of the fork in either hand, with thumbs pointing out. “You gotta hold it real tight,” he says. He shows me how to pull the ends of the fork away

from each other just enough to create some tension. “And you gotta keep your elbows tucked in. Then, you just walk. You’ll feel it.” I know my property pretty well, and know exactly where there’s water, but I don’t let on. Sure enough though, Shatraw finds it within a few minutes. I watch closely as the hazel crotch bends and turns in his hands until it points straight down at the ground, right above my unmarked grey well. “Here,” he says, offering me the hazel. “You try.” He helps me get the divining rod in the right position: pointing up, thumbs out, elbows in, and sends me walking. I take the same path he did. I definitely feel the rod jiggle, and maybe even bend a little bit, but not nearly the way it did in his hands. I try again, and get the same result. I really want it to work for me, but I’m also careful to not let that desire compromise my experiment. Maybe the fact that I want it to work so badly, combined with already knowing exactly where the water is located is actually working against me. I’m being so careful not to ‘cheat’ that I might be inadvertently blocking myself.

Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

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North Hastings resident Floyd Shatraw estimates he’s witched more than 200 wells over the past 65 years – with 100 percent accuracy.

Hand and arm position are key elements to the craft of water witching, as Shatraw demonstrates, with thumbs pointing out, a tight grip on the branch and elbows tucked in.

then because of the way he treated the people working for him. He was never satisfied, and required his labourers to make time consuming changes, seemingly on a whim. “Well, they went down, and down and down in the spot he wanted the well, and they didn’t get a drop of water,” recounts Alcock. “So Dad says to me, ‘you gotta witch for him,’ and I says, ‘That crappy old guy? No way, man!’ But my Dad said we needed the money and just to do it. So I did. And you know what? I found water 10 feet away.” I ask Alcock if he’s ever had a divining rod snap in his hands, like Shatraw. “Oh sure. You have to hold real tight. Sometimes I’ll peel the bark off from holding it so tight. And sometimes it breaks,” he says, explaining that once it’s broken you can’t use it anymore. He has prepared a few divining rods for our meeting, also tree crotches, but he prefers willow over hazel. “I think willow is more effective because it’s so flexible,” he explains. “It’ll bend right around. And maybe the willow is more susceptible because of its relationship to water. It grows right by the water.” Alcock motions to a willow tree, a hundred or so meters away, and points out how the boughs droop down toward the water. We’re standing next to his home on the Crowe River,

eventually cross. He takes a few steps backwards, and they straighten out again and face forward. My turn. Alcock helps me get the rods placed ‘just so’ in my hands, and I walk slowly. Very gradually, as I approach the same spot, the rods move together and finally cross. I’m excited that it’s finally worked, and ask Doug what kind of special metal the rods are made of. “It’s just a clothes hanger that I cut up this morning,” he grins. Like Shatraw, Alcock says he has no idea how or why it works, and he doesn’t think about it much. “Certain people just have a knack for it. I don’t know if it’s electricity in your body, or a special connection to the earth. I just know it works.” But Heather Inwood-Montrose has an idea. “It’s electro magnetic,” says the reiki master and yoga teacher from Bancroft. “Water vibrates at a certain frequency, and our bodies are 60 percent water so they too vibrate at a similar electromagnetic frequency. Frequencies are drawn to like frequencies.” Inwood-Montrose comes from a long line of witchers. She learned to witch when she was a little girl from her grandfather, who had learned the craft from his grandmother, a Welsh herbalist, midwife and dowser. “My sister and I would spend summers with our grandparents, and would at times be

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Country Roads • Spring 2016

where he runs Crowe Lake Cruises, crowned tourism business of the year in 2014 by Hastings County. I’m interested in seeing the vintage 28foot pontoon boat that he takes out for three hour tours of Crowe River, Crowe Lake and Beaver Creek, but it’s been put away for the winter. This time of year he keeps busy with his other business, Firewood Plus. Between the two businesses he’s fairly well known in the community, but he doesn’t get asked to witch very often. Most people don’t even know he can do it. He’s only lived in Marmora for the last 12 years, after all. And witching is one of those skills that’s being lost and forgotten over time. The entrepreneur gives a demonstration, and gets results much like Shatraw’s: he walks for a while and then suddenly the willow bends and points straight down. When I try, I get the same kind of results as before, too. The rod jiggles, and bends, but only slightly. In addition to the willow divining rod, Alcock has also prepared metal divining rods. Some people insist they have to be gripped tightly, but others, like Alcock swear it works better if you keep them loose. He shows me his method, in which the ends of the metal rods balance gently on his pinky fingers and are held in a loose fist. He walks the same path he did with the willow, and this time, when he reaches the magic spot, the two metal rods move toward each other and

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Despite the value of his skills, Alcock says he doesn’t get asked to witch very often. Witching is an art that’s been lost and forgotten over time.

brought along for the ride when my grandfather would provide the service to locals looking for water on their property.” Inwood-Montrose remembers. She describes the sound of cicadas and the smell of hot, dry earth as she walked slowly and methodically with her grandfather, crisscrossing a field, patiently waiting for the willow to dip to the ground. “The human body has a physical central and parasympathetic nervous system, which is mirrored by an energetic system that exists both in and around the physical body,” she explains. “This forms the foundation for acupressure, acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi, and therapeutic touch. They all make use of the meridian system. A finely tuned energetic system allows an individual to be more sensitive to other clear vibrations. This is how one can sense water or dowse.” It seems Shatraw was onto something when he said he must just have that good energy. So someday when you’re feeling like you’ve got some especially good vibes, why not give it a try? Get yourself a crotch of hazel or willow, or even just some wire-cutters and a coat hanger. Find yourself some space, take a deep breath, relax, and see if maybe you, too, have the ageold skill of witching for water. You might just surprise yourself.


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ith thousands of newcomers becoming part of our great country this article recalling two remarkable individuals long identified with Hastings County seems especially timely. The achievements of Nick and Helma Mika are monumental and lasting. As an immigrant to Belleville who arrived in Canada under a work-project program, Nick Mika quickly settled into the lifestyle of the eastern Ontario city that was to become home and to a community he served wholeheartedly until his death at 86 in 1997. Born in the Ukraine, Nick Mika lived for a period of time in Poland and Germany and it is believed that his publishing skills were honed there well in advance of his arrival in Canada. His early Hastings County jobs involved farm labour, casual work at the former House of Refuge on Dundas Street East in Belleville and ultimately employment with the well-known at that time Bakelite plant. There, according to contradictory newspaper accounts, he was either a chemist or draftsman or both. It appears that income stability during the early 1950s permitted his arranging for passage to Canada of his girlfriend Helma. Soon after her arrival in 1952 the couple was married at Bridge Street United Church. It was at this time that they began operating a silkscreen business, working on a “shoestring” out of their Victoria Avenue home. Here, they courageously made their entry into the field of Canadian book publishing, working side-by-side until Helma’s passing in 1995.

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Former mayor of Belleville, George Zegouras, is shown with Nick and Helma Mika during a tribute to the popular local book publishers. Mayor Zegouras often presented Belleville’s VIP visitors with a Mikapublished book.

It is generally known that book publishing in Canada is more than merely challenging. As a veteran of the book trade, I am all too familiar with industry jokes with more than just a half truth about them. “Show me a publisher with a small fortune,” goes the line, “and I’ll show you someone who once had a big fortune.” The Mikas did not start out with a fortune and one has to admire their courage and tenacity when reflecting upon the obstacles directly ahead once they began to publish local history books written by less than big-name authors. By far the majority of the book-publishing houses of that era were located in large centres, notably Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. In many cases these were the big players often long-established and boasting an impressive

house list of famous literary icons under contract —bigname authors of the day, all considered “bankable.” The city of Belleville was certainly not the hub of publishing but it was home base for Nick, Helma, and their fledgling Mika Publishing Company, eventually headquartered in a book-friendly building located at 200 Stanley Street. The site would become a home-awayfrom-home for eastern Ontario writers of nonfiction. In publishing jargon the Mikas would be labelled small-press publishers, sitting on a sizeable niche market in eastern Ontario just waiting to be served. Local history, though abundant, was seldom the stuff of books until Nick and Helma came along. They not only realized that Belleville and environs had important stories to tell but also quickly discovered local writers and historians well worth publishing and anxious to get into print. One of the most respected author/historians in the Quinte region, Gerry Boyce knew Nick and Helma well and has often gone on record lauding the couple for their many publications focusing on different aspects of Canadian history, not the least being titles of specific interest to historical/heritage groups within Hastings County. Boyce, having on several occasions served as president of the Hastings Historical Society, championed the initiative that led to Nick Mika being awarded, in November, 1996, the Ontario Historical Society’s coveted

R E M E M B E R I N G Front page of Mika Publishing News, Vol.1, No.1., October 1974. The Mikas published their first book in 1962.

Country Roads writer honoured

Frontispiece of Mika Publications catalogue No. 15. The company was eventually headquartered in a book-friendly building located at 200 Stanley Street in Belleville.

Carnochan Award in recognition of his and Helma’s services to the province through their publishing accomplishments. Other recognition related to their community involvement came over time from the City of Belleville, along with Rotary Club Honours and plaudits from the Quinte Humane Society. At the time of Nick’s death area newspapers had a different take on the total number of books published under the Mika imprint, the numbers ranging from 100 to 300 titles. The greater figure may be correct, but what was published during their time in business is what really counts, starting with Mosaic of Belleville (1962). Increased book buying during Canada’s Centennial Year in 1967, prompted by renewed interest in our nation’s history, proved a boon to Mika Publishing. Greatly encouraged, they forged ahead not only with such new works as Historic Mills of Ontario (with Larry Turner), but also reprinted many neglected and out-of-print

titles, including fascimile editions of early county atlases. Perhaps as we gear ourselves up for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations next year, it may not be any too soon to consider some form of recognition of Nick and Helma Mika — the small press publishers who so impressively punched above their weight! Possibly a retrospective of Mika titles would be in order. Meanwhile, we watch with interest the publishing activities of Kirby Books of Bancroft, the Hastings County Historical Society, and Wallbridge House Publishing, Belleville, under the direction of Orland and Sylvia French, as they follow in the footsteps of Nick and Helma Mika, trailblazers in their field and in their chosen land.

The assistance of Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County archivist Amanda Hill is gratefully acknowledged.

Country Roads contributor Barry Penhale and his wife Jane Gibson were recently honoured with The Harriet Tubman Award – Commitment to a Purpose at the Ontario Black History Society Black History Month Kick-Off Brunch in Toronto Jan. 31. Penhale and Gibson have been involved in a variety of Ontariobased race relations initiatives, in Penhale’s case dating back to the 1950s. After Penhale founded Natural Heritage Books in the 1980s, he and Gibson made a concerted effort to support African-Canadian works in print. This led to the publication of titles such as ‘A Stolen Life’ and ‘The Underground Railroad: Next Stop Toronto!’ as well as the support of such African-Canadian writers as Afua Cooper, Bryan Prince, Natasha Henry and Adrienne Shadd. Currently they actively support the Emancipation Day festivities held in Owen Sound, the Northern Terminus of the Underground Railway. The Harriet Tubman Award is named for the leading abolitionist and civil rights activist who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.

Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

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Healing Through


With her driftwood sculptures Ingrid Monteith has taken what many people see as debris and turned it into an art form. “I don’t carve or change the piece,” she says. “I see what is there naturally when I pick it up.”

Driftwood sculpture offers rebirth for North Hastings artist Story and photos by Sarah Vance


ccompanying Ingrid Monteith through her garden is like meeting an archeologist at an excavation site or an athlete on her field. As she places her feet along the limestone slate, Ingrid’s steps are confident and precise, as if acknowledging there are slippery slopes but she likes it better that way. “A landscaper once proposed that he could flatten the trees and hills to make a softer leveled lawn,” she says from her garden set atop the cliffs of Lavallee Lake, off Hackamatack

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Rd., near Wollaston Township. “I thanked him, but said no.” Ingrid’s garden is a vibrant collage of hostas, daffodils, phlox and orchids, carved out of the Canadian Shield wilderness. The banks of Lavallee Lake are where Ingrid gathers the canvases needed for her driftwood sculptures and where many pieces will eventually find a home. “I draw my inspiration from nature,” Monteith explains. “There is a coral reef in my shade

garden and a hedge of herons overlooking Snow White’s temptation...come see.” A painter and a lapidary jewelry designer, during her career Ingrid has developed a passion for working with rough and uneven driftwood canvases. And it is a passion that is bringing artistry to gardens in North Hastings. Known as the decaying pieces of trees that have made their way back to shore, Ingrid’s rough driftwood canvases bear the imprint of water and time, with surfaces embedded by the

Monteith spent nine months painting a mural for the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, where she had spent time as a patient. Poppies and bluebirds were meant to symbolize happiness and the Monarch butterflies represent hope.

tracks of wood boring isopods. This cycle of life and death is also a theme which emerges in the subjects that Ingrid chooses to paint, such as a butterfly chrysalis or a Phoenix coming out of the flames. They are subjects rich with history, like the timeless fossils and local sodalite and gems Monteith uses in her jewelry and that date back more that 300 million years, in what has come to be known as the Mineral Capital of Canada. “Fossils have existed for generations but we know very little about their dreams and aspirations,” she points out. “They tell of times when dragonflies were the only attractive insect in existence.” Driftwood is considered to be naturally occurring debris, and is sometimes referred to as a by-product and categorized as a form of waste. “Many people ignore driftwood,” Ingrid says. “They only use it to burn on camp fires.” But she has forged a career out of fishing driftwood from lakes; pulling it behind canoes or trekking it out of the wilderness and raw bleaching it in the sun. Only after this long sun bath does Ingrid, sometimes several years later, use sand paper to gently exfoliate away pieces which may be flaking away.

“I don’t carve or change the piece,” she says. “I see what is there naturally when I pick it up. Once it has dried out, I enhance the piece by painting and inserting gem stones to bring out its original character. I select the driftwood myself from the lake. It is gathered wet and it is not light.” Sometimes it is Ingrid’s husband Hugh or her son Jamie who salvage canvases by hauling them with ropes behind the canoe or the fishing boat. When she sees a beautiful piece in a lake and the others are intent on fishing, Ingrid is known amongst friends to boast that she will just jump out of the boat and retrieve it herself. In the centre of Ingrid’s garden is a sculpture of an eagle. It is at once predatory and vulnerable, composed of a delicate balance of raw and painted aspects, with knotted black talons and piercing eyes that grab the viewer’s gaze. “I was canoeing through lakes in the Ontario wilderness when I tied this root around my waist as I was wearing a 40-pound backpack,” she recalls. “I carried it across seven portages, Hugh carried the canoe, then we both paddled our way out to the car with it.” After displaying her find in the garden for many years and trying, to no avail, to get guests

Her artistic pursuits have been a source of healing for Monteith and have provided a sense of confidence.

to notice the eagle she envisioned within the gnarled roots, Ingrid finally decided to paint the image onto the root. “To me it was so obvious, but they just couldn’t see it,” Ingrid says. “So I went ahead and painted the head and talons....and now they see the eagle!” Monteith has gone on to paint dozens of driftwood canvases, which are each unique and differently proportioned. Ingrid embraces risk, like in 2006 when along with her family she packed up her life in the city, after purchasing a remote property in North Hastings. An elementary school educator by trade, at the age of 57 Monteith travelled to Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

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Clockwise from top left: 1. The evolution from lake debris to work of art can be a lengthy one, and Monteith will allow pieces of driftwood to bleach for as long as seven years before starting the painting process. 2. Monteith’s life has been about embracing risk. In addition to moving her family from the city to North Hastings, she travelled to Tanzania and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at the age of 57. 3. In addition to her work with driftwood and painting, Monteith is also a lapidary jewelry designer. 4. Monteith stops at nothing to obtain her materials, and has been known to jump out of a boat and retrieve a piece of driftwood that will serve as a canvas. This eagle sits in the centre of her garden.

“A friend asked me to help support her trip to Kilimanjaro and I agreed to sponsor her,” says Ingrid smiling. “But I promptly added, ‘I will be going too!’” True to form 10 months later, after a training regimen of yoga, hiking, dragon boat racing and canoe trips, Ingrid boarded a jet for two weeks in Tanzania, spending seven days on the mountain. So it’s not surprising that she doesn’t bat an eye at hoisting a log out of a lake. Ingrid has found resiliency in her artistic pursuits and her creativity has brought courage. “Art is a human process... I had a very difficult marriage and an abusive childhood,” says Ingrid describing her 17-year marriage to an alcoholic and the heartbreak her first husband’s disease caused her. “A survivor is someone who has had to live at the end of their rope and I have survived.

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I know intrinsically why women stay in difficult relationships; their whole focus is surviving one day at a time, there is no way to even think about plans for tomorrow.” Monteith has found reconciliation in art and the evolution of her career has been a testimony of a nurturing relationship between healing and creativity. “At one point I underwent a five-week recovery from depression in Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital. I would not go to the cafeteria to eat, but there was a wonderful volunteer, Patricia White, who would bring water colours and paper to the dining room in the evenings,” says Ingrid. “I would leave my room for that, as she inspired me with her enthusiasm and kindness. I started painting for the first time since I was a teenager and it provided me with the spark that began my full recovery.

“I am not ashamed of having had struggles. It is important that people out there who are struggling know that there is hope for a complete recovery.” One year after leaving Joseph Brant Memorial, Ingrid returned to the hospital, only this time she returned as an “artist”. “The dining room had once been a very grey cold clinical space, certainly very desolate and uninspiring,” says Ingrid. “I wanted to repay the hope that Patricia had given me by changing this space for future patients.” Over the next nine months Monteith proceeded to transform the in-patient cafeteria, by painting a 16 x 4 foot mural for the in-patient ward. “I chose poppies and bluebirds, showing happiness, and monarch butterflies in their full cycle on the milk weeds sending out seeds of hope and recovery,” Ingrid explains.

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Monteith draws her inspiration from nature, an example being this coral reef that enjoys pride of place in her shade garden.

The mural was framed and mounted on the wall in the dining room, only after Ingrid chose cheerful colours for the walls and bright silk poppies in wooden pots for each of the tables. “I have been fortunate to have the support of a really good husband,” says Monteith, who remarried after her divorce. “We have just celebrated our 20th anniversary.” Ingrid’s mural has been described in the Ontario Hospital Association Journal as a “catalyst for a

complete renewal of the Joseph Brant Memorial in-patient unit.” This is in part because it was initiated by “a survivor,” who is acutely aware of the issues -which weaves a deeply personal message of hope and healing for patients and their caregivers alike. “I have been back to visit twice and read the comments made by patients who have been given hope of recovery,” says Monteith. “The mural, called ‘The Journey’ tells the story of my life.”

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Monteith’s garden set atop the cliffs of Lavallee Lake is a vibrant collage of hostas, daffodils, phlox and orchids, carved out of the Canadian Shield wilderness.

Ingrid compares the nine months it took to paint the mural to the gestation of a new life, with each moment providing opportunities for growth. “In Ireland we always lived by the sea,” adds Monteith. “The lighthouse, the birds nesting in the new growth of spring time, there is a comfort I have drawn from the ancient stones of Ireland.”

Like a lighthouse, Ingrid’s mural lights up the hospital’s landscape and brightens the way for the many who find themselves adrift. “I suffered during my [first] marriage,” says Ingrid. “I was made to feel weak and I believed that others were so much smarter than me.” Through her artistic pursuits Ingrid began to develop opinions of her own. She began to notice her strengths and found confidence in herself.

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“People feel shame and they feel they have to hide their struggles,” says Monteith. “It took me a long time to get there, but through my art I recovered completely and appreciate my happiness all the more for having had such sadness in the past.” Ingrid is an active volunteer member of the Art Gallery of Bancroft, where she also facilitates workshops and children’s programs at venues like the annual Wings, Water and Wheels Festival. Ingrid’s on-line gallery is found on the Cedar Grove Originals Facebook Page with works for sale at West Wind, The Tin House Woodworking, The Bancroft Art Gallery and the Old Hastings Gallery. Monteith has taken a sabbatical after five years as a guest artist with the Bancroft and Area Autumn Studio Tour in order to devote herself to driftwood painting, with many of her sculptures being commission pieces for local gardens. I n g r i d ’s w o r k f o c u s e s o n t h e m e s o f transformation and renewal, she incorporates tones of humour, and her story of healing continues to inspire others.

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This 3 bedroom home sits on a very picturesque lot with flower gardens, 2 decks and a patio in the rear yard with a stone walkway. Natural green space behind affords privacy. Home has been lovingly redecorated with new furnace, new windows, new flooring and new shingles in the 5 years as well as a main floor laundry. Across the road from Paudash Lake!

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WWW.KATHYTRIPP.COM EMAIL: KATHYTRIPP@ROYALLEPAGE.CA 45 HASTINGS STREET NORTH, BANCROFT 29 EAGLES NEST CRESCENT, BANCROFT $209,000 Use your imagination! This home has residential and commercial zoning and could be used to live as well as operate a home based business. Large 2 acre lot is level and landscaped with a creek running through the back of the property. Private yet accessible from the highway. Great location! Some newer upgrades. Check it out!



Loving built 3 bedroom home in Bird`s Creek. Beautiful hardwood floors, bright and airy. Screened porch on side of house. Home features eat-in kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms up and 1 bedroom down. Large rec room with airtight and a cozy reading nook! Large, landscaped, level lot with detached garage/workshop. Nice curb appeal!

Great location for you to have your own business or to buy this very successful Antique Shop. Potential to work and live in one space. Located just off the main street in a high traffic area. Century home has gorgeous hardwood floors and wood trim. Shingles replaced in 2014 and new windows in 2002. Historical site!

Experience Has Its Rewards

Do You Want More Country Roads? Well you’re in luck.

We’re excited to have recently launched our NEW TURBO CHARGED WEBSITE. Now when you visit you can easily read articles from our current issue on our home page, check out back issues, learn more about Hastings County, keep up to date on current events, watch videos, connect to our favourite local blogs and more! SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER




We can’t wait to get some feedback. So don’t be shy - drop us a line and let us know what you think of our new site! And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, and like us on Facebook so you can keep up to date with everything going on at Country Roads!




ARTS • OUTDOORS • HISTORY • PEOPLE • PLACES Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

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pring is often described as a time of rebirth, renewal or rediscovery. After a winter of darkness, snow and cold the arrival of warmer weather and longer days brings a renewed vitality. Animals awaken from their slumber and venture out of doors again. The act of spring cleaning symbolizes that renewed sense of purpose and direction. I can always identify with these feelings at this time of year. For example, as the snow was melting a couple of weeks ago I rediscovered the storage tub that contained my salt at the top of the driveway. I had placed the tub there, ready to use when the first big snowstorm hit and I needed to salt the drive and get my car out. Of course, once our first (and essentially only) big snowfall hit the tub was buried and rendered useless (note to self: next winter do not choose a clear tub with a white lid for this purpose). The melting snow also helped me rediscover the outdoor Christmas decorations my sister-in-law had put up, which had later been blown to the ground and buried in snow. That led me to bring the bins containing our decorations out of their hibernation in the storage shed, which led to the rediscovery that our sheds need to be cleaned out. As the snow disappeared I also rediscovered the many leaves that were not raked and disposed of last fall. This will no doubt lead to another trip to the shed to bring the leaf blower out of its winter hibernation.

Lost and found I am sure I will also again discover that the sheds need to be cleaned, and discover many odds and ends that were meant to be taken to the dump or second-hand stores last year, but spent the winter in seclusion. It is quite likely that these various pieces of furniture and the like will spend the summer outside, waiting to be retired to their final resting place, only to be returned to the shed once again in the fall, much to Nancy’s frustration and my embarrassment, for another winter of hibernation. Consider it a variation of the eternal circle of life. The harsh winter, of course, can bring with it death, but this can lead to a rebirth of another kind. For example, Nancy’s car could not quite survive another winter, so it was retired to its final resting place. However, that passing led to the arrival of a new vehicle, so in a way the turning of the seasons continued their natural course. Of course, purchasing that car led to the death of our savings account, and the inevitable rebirth of a line of credit. “To everything, turn, turn, turn...” On a more uplifting note, the arrival of spring has led to the rediscovery we have neighbours. Throughout the winter the houses and cottages around us seemed empty and derelict, with only the occasional furtive glow of headlights in the seemingly endless dark hinting that we may not be alone. Yet now we see actual human beings across the river, moving around out of doors in apparent

Birch cLiff Lodge

on Baptiste Lake

A great place for weddings, conferences and vacation getaways.

comfort. It is a surprisingly reassuring sign. As the weather has warmed we have rediscovered that we have woodpeckers and, unfortunately they have rediscovered that we have trees. Strangely, they seem to make this discovery very early on weekend mornings, which is proof that rebirth in the natural world has its downside too. The sun and warmth have brought out chipmunks in increasing numbers, which has resulted in a renewed interest in the sliding porch doors for our two cats, who are no doubt relieved to have something other to torment besides each other. You can see the fresh enthusiasm in their faces as their noses probe the sweet spring air taking in all the scents that have reappeared. After a lethargic and mundane winter, there seems to be a renewed jump in their step and vitality to their movements. Whether this renewed enthusiasm will lead to the necessary weight loss in our large orange tabby is another matter, however. We might not celebrate all the renewals that spring brings -- for every blooming tree bud and warm, sunny evening there are allergies and the impending arrival of black flies and mosquitoes -- but one cannot argue that it is an exciting and energizing time, and a welcome relief from the dark and mundane winter. My advice is take all the positives from it you can. It will pass soon enough and we will be staring at the ongoing gloom of winter once again.

ARE YOU NEW TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD? Visits are free. No obligation. Compliments of local businesses. Sharon: (613) 475-5994 613-332-3316

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Country Roads • Spring 2016


celebrating life in hastings county

Country Roads

Advertiser Index

Hastings County 1

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Bancroft Bancroft General Mercantile Birchcliff Lodge Designer Kitchens Deuce Tattoos Kathy Tripp, Broker, Royal Lepage Mixin Mommas Café North Hastings Family Pharmacy Old Tin Shed Zihua Clothing Boutique Belleville Glanmore National Historic Site Loyalist College Ruttle Bros. Furniture Campbellford World’s Finest Chocolates Deseronto Deseronto, Town of Foxboro Farmgate Gardens Village Green Hastings County Shops & Services Classy Commodes Hastings Prince Edward Public Health -Travel Clinic Kawartha Dairy Cottage Docks Weeds B’ Gone Welcome Wagon Madoc Barley Pub & Eatery Johnston’s Pharmacy & Gift Shoppe Renshaw Power Products Marlbank Golden Bough Tree Farm Marmora Boutique Inspiration Fleetbreeze Heritage Redwattle Pigs Flowers by Sue & Café Itsy Bitsy Boutique, Mommy & Baby Gear Jillian’s Antiques & Things Michelle Clarkson, Realtor, Century 21 Possibilities, vintage furniture & décor accents Maynooth Pedalers Bicycle Sales & Service Ormsby Old Hastings Mercantile & Gallery Peterborough Discovery Dream Homes Stirling Brad Comeau Law Office Pro Gas Stop Stirling Dental Centre Stirling Manor Wells Ford Stirling Trenton Quinte West Home Show Tweed Black River Trading Co. By the Way Cafe Tweed, Municipality of

celebrating life in hastings county

CR Country



celebrating life in hastings county



6 Joe VanVeenen Map






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Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

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Things to see and do in and around Hastings County. To submit your event listing email or call us at 613 968-0499. Stirling Festival Theatre, West Front St., Stirling 613-395-2100 1-877-312-1162

ART GALLERIES/EXHIBITIONS Art Gallery of Bancroft, 10 Flint Avenue, Bancroft, 613-332-1542 agb@  March 30 – April 30 –Roadside Painters: Works by Lucy Manley and Olga Szaranski.  May 4 – May 28 – Invitation 2016 Annual Juried Exhibition.  June 1 – July 2 – Works by Nancy McKinnon. Belleville Art Association, 392 Front St., Belleville, Ontario. Tues to Sat 10am to 4pm. 613-968-8632 info@ March 14 – April 9: Artist Choice April 11 to May 7: Movement

THEATRE/LIVE ENTERTAINMENT Belleville Theatre Guild, Pinnacle Theatre, 256 Pinnacle Street, ­Belleville. 613-967-1442 April 7 - 23 - For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again. This funny, affectionate, and moving portrait of the bond between mother and son is revealed in a series of hilarious arguments about everything from rare roast beef to the mystery of where people go to the bathroom in novels. June 2 - 18 - The Music Man - There’s trouble in River City when a fasttalking salesman gets his heart stolen by the town librarian. By turns wicked, funny, romantic, and touching this is family entertainment at its best. With songs like “Trouble,”“Till There Was You,” and “Seventy-Six Trombones,” you’ll be singing as you leave the theatre.

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April 8 – Jukebox: The Best of Country Duets. Starring Leisa Way and the Wayward Wind Band this show is upbeat, humourous and musically, a knockout. April 13 - Séan McCann Sings. The songs and stories of Séan McCann Séan’s love for Newfoundland and Labrador folk songs shot him to international fame as a founding member of the renowned group Great Big Sea. A pril 15 – Hot House Cabaret Suzanne McKenney on vocals and Steve Hunter on piano this 1930’s style boogie-woogie, ragtime, bluesy, jazz show has fun stories and moments that will leave an impression April 16 Crystal Shawanda -unplugged Crystal’s new album, The Whole World’s Got the Blues, plumbs the depths of roots, blues, and Americana music to tell stories and weave spells with entrancing honesty. April 22 The Elvis Show Starring Garry Wesley. Garry has performed throughout the US, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and South America. He’s the only tribute artist to perform in Memphis during Elvis Week for the past 25 years. This show features Garry’s wife, Elaine Grant Wesley, as Patsy Cline.  April 29 – Night Fever, an Evening of the Bee Gees. This all Canadian cast has been touring for the past ten years, from Disneyland to Russia, recreating the look and sound of the Bee Gees. May 4 – 8 – On A First Name Basis - A Norm Foster play starring Norm Foster. This delightful comedy play tells the story of a very successful, but cantankerous, novelist who suddenly discovers that he knows nothing about his maid of 28 years. May 13 – Wichita Lineman: The Music of Glen Campbell. Starring Aaron Solomon, with guest stars Leisa Way & Randall Kempf. The songs of music legend Glen Campbell along with friends from “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” television show. May 27 – Rocket Man Tribute to Elton John. Jeffrey Scott has been performing the music of Sir Elton John for over 15 years. His stage show features an array of dazzling costumes, skillful piano playing and of course the distinctive Elton John vocals we all know and love.

Country Roads • Spring 2016

 May 28 – Lisa Brokop: The Patsy Cline Project - Lisa pays homage to one of country music’s greatest ladies with some of Cline’s classic hits like “Sweet Dreams” and “Walkin After Midnight” as well as some of her own material specifically written for the project.

April 16 - Annual Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny.

 June 1 – The Story of Rock & Roll - Johnny and The Gem Tones and The Best of Doo Wop, with songs by, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, The Monkeys, The Rolling Stones and more.

April 19 - History of CFB Trenton in the Quinte Area – speaker William March, Retired Major and current Air Force Historian. Speaking on the occasion of the Base’s 80th Anniversary this free public presentation takes place at 7:30 pm, Maranatha Church, 100 College St West, Belleville and is open to all. Ample parking and level access at the rear of the building. Presented by Hastings County Historical Society

J une 3 –Memories of the Rat Pack - A celebration of the lives and music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. starring Derek Marshall, Dean Hollin and Shane Philips.

April 23- Musical Evening With The Soundsations, Roast Beef dinner at 5:30 pm followed by music from the Soundsations at 7pm. St. John’s United Church, Tweed.

EVENTS March 28 American Kestrel - NA’s Smallest Falcon. Once NA’s most abundant bird of prey, American Kestrel populations are in decline. Avian biologist, Allie Anderson, will explain the Kestrel’s life history, the possible reasons current research is suggesting for their decline and how we can help. Quinte Field Naturalist meeting, 7:00 pm, Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church, Belleville. All welcome, by donation. April 10 - 3 pm Songs from the Heart: Belleville Choral Society Spring Concert at St. Michael the Archangel Church, Belleville. Adults: $25, $20 Youth (6- 18): $5. Guest Flautist Alexandra Danahy and Quinte Youth Chorale. or 613-771-1758 April 13-16 - Prince Edward County Authors Festival - An exhilarating celebration of writers, readers and the written word with author readings of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, panel discussions, and writing workshops and more., Books & Co in Picton at 613-4763037, or FB. April 16 – 2nd Annual Stirling-Rawdon Home Renovation & Lifestyle Show. Thinking of updating your home or just want to see what’s available in and around the community? 9am – 4pm, Stirling-Rawdon & District Recreation Centre, 435 W Front St, Stirling, ON. $2 admission or $3 for both days. Cassandra 613-395-3380

April 25- Quinte Field Naturalist Annual Fundraising Dinner - Birder Murder Mysteries by Steve Burrows A Seige of Bitterns…A Pitying of Doves….A Cast of Falcons… Past recipient of the BBC’S Wildlife magazine ‘Nature Writer of the Year’ award, former editor of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Magazine, contributing field editor for Asian Geographic, Burrows has now turned his passion for Nature into an award-winning mystery series. He will discuss his evolution from writing non-fiction to writing fiction and the impact he hopes his books will have on a new audience of non-birders. 6 pm St. Mark’s United Church, 237 Cannifton Road North, Belleville. Buffet Dinner $25 per person. Call Doug Newfield for tickets: 613¬-477-3066 April 30 – Community Care for Centre Hastings 14th Annual Dinner & Auction. Silent and Live Auctions, raffle draw at 8pm, cash or cheque only. Admission: $25. Tickets: Community Care Office (613) 473-9009 or 1-800-5541564. or Hidden Treasures (Tweed) 613-478-0101. Proceeds support programs and services for seniors and adults with disabilities in Central Hastings. 5- 9:30pm, Madoc Township Hall (15651 Hwy 62, Eldorado) Roast Beef Dinner at 6pm April 29 - Blood Donor Clinic, Stirling Public School, 107 St. James Street, 5 to 8pm. In 2016, about 100,000 new blood donors will be needed to meet the needs of Canadian patients who require blood transfusions. Book your appointment 1 888 2 DONATE or online April 30 & May 1 – Stirling Automotive Flea Market 9am to 5pm, Stirling Fairgrounds, Stirling, -20km north of Hwy. 401 on Hwy. 33. Two big days loaded with antique cars, parts and automobilia. Indoor & outdoor vendor sites. Info Roxanne 613-395-1583 or 613-921-6936

May 1 – Queensborough Community Centre Annual Pancake Breakfast 8am to Noon at 1853 Queensborough Road. For info Ann Brooks 613 473-4550 May 1 - The Mother of All Craft Shows This indoor/outdoor event features incredible artists and artisans, live music and a licensed bar. Items generously donated by the artisans raffled off with proceeds benefiting Fixed Fur Life. Admission $2, kids free. Rain or shine. 10 am - 4 pm River Inn, 79 River Road, Corbyville, On. May 1-30 – Student Art Show - The BDIA celebrates the talent of local high school student artists with the Student Art Show. Art work will be displayed in downtown windows during the month of May. 613968-2242 or May 7 & 8 - Belleville’s 4th Annual Jane’s Walk. This global event held the first weekend of May honours urban activist Jane Jacobs. Her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, called for an approach to city living that fosters healthy neighborhoods and communities. Lace up your walking shoes and bring your bike. Organized tours. Each walk (or ride) approx 1-1.5 hours. May 13 - Girls Night Out, 5:00pm 10:00pm Downtown Cobourg May 13 - 15 - Dracula - Adapted by Michael Theodorou from Bram Stoker’s novel, all the well-known characters are present, and more. While Dracula unleashes horror in his homeland of Transylvania, Dr. Seward, a female physician, works with the stricken victims in England. Terror will keep you in suspense until the very end. Centennial Secondary School, 160 Palmer Road, Belleville. Seniors and Students $10, Adults $15. Tickets available from Red Ball Radio and Quinte Arts Council in Belleville, or 613-962-9233 ext. 3460. May 17 - Teacher and Author John Boyko discussing his new book”Kennedy and the Canadians – The Crossroads”. Free public presentation, 7.30pm, Maranatha, 100 College Street West, Belleville. Ample parking and level access from the rear of the building . Presented by the Hastings County Historical Society www. May 21 – Tweed Annual Plant Sale 8:00am - 12:00pm, Tweed Memorial Park. Elizabeth Churcher - 613-478-3205



Things to see and do in and around Hastings County. To submit your event listing email or call us at 613 968-0499. May 28 & June 4 - Tales from the Hastings Woods - Exploring Centre Hastings - Day-long guided bus tour of Centre Hastings County. Cost $70 includes lunch. Organized by Hastings County Historical Society. For more info: MaryLynne Morgan (613-961-7091) www.

June 11 - Downtown Cobourg Busker & Street Festival - An exhibition of professional street performers from around the world. Experience 3 blocks of street vendors, stunts, magicians, acrobats, dancers, stilt walkers, face painting, dog shows, kid’s activities and great food. 9am – 6pm

June 4 – Country Wildfest - A live music festival, highlighting and celebrating Canadian music artists. This concert format festival happens on the shores of Lake Ontario and is set against the beautiful sandy beach of Cobourg. 129pm Victoria Park, Cobourg Presented by Andrew Hall/Matt Williams 1-888-262-6874

June 11 – County Garden Show presented by the Prince Edward County Horticultural Society. Several dozen vendors and displays of garden-related gadgets, goodies, furniture and art. Unusual plants for sale, a judged flower show, silver-service tea, monster raffle with great prizes. The Alpaca will be back … and custom wood oven pizzas made to order. Admis-


Celebrating Life in Hastings County



sion $2. 10am – 4pm Crystal Palace, Picton Fairgrounds, 375 Main Street (Hwy 49), Picton June 11 & 12 - Odessa Car Show. Celebrating its’ 43rd Year, Car Show, Flea Market, Crafts, Antique Car Parts & More. Odessa Fairgrounds. 8 am – 5 pm. Admission $3, Children 12 & under free.



SALES & SERVICE Wells Ford Sales Ltd

48 Belleville Rd., P.O. Box 160 Stirling, Ontario K0K 3E0


Body Shop: 613-395-3378 Wells Ford: 613-395-3375 Toll Free: 1-800-637-5944 Service: 613-395-3377

North American Customer Excellence Award Winner

• Gas Bar • Convenience Store • Laundromat • Movie Rentals • Propane


• Lawn & Garden Tractors • Roto-Tillers With 35+ years experience, Small but knowledgeable. (613) 473-5160 • R.R. #5, Madoc, ON K0K 2K0 (1 mile N. of Ivanhoe on Hwy. 62 - #11700)

Soups, Sandwiches, Sweets – in the best smelling café. Leave with a fragrant reminder: • Fresh Cut Flowers • Giftware • Cafe 20 Forsyth St., Marmora • 613.472.0330

Mon to Fri 9-5 Sat 9-4

Find us on Facebook


Providing bare root Trees & Shrubs to all of Canada for over 40 years

Saturday & Sunday, April 28 & 29 9:00am to 4:00pm Come, browse and choose from our great selection of bare root trees and shrubs.

OPEN HOUSE April 30/ May 1 END of SEASON SALE May 7/8 900 Napanee Road, Marlbank, ON K0K 2L0

END OF SEASON CLEARANCE Saturday & Sunday, May 5 & 6 Great buys on over-sized & leftover trees & shrubs. Cash Payment

900 Napanee Road, P.O. Box 5, Marlbank, ON K0K 2L0

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Min & Julie Yoo Tel: 613-395-5360 Fax: 613-395-1491 208 North Street, Stirling ON K0K 3E0

BRAD COMEAU Professional Corporation Law Office

HEALTH Box 569, 33 Mill Street, Stirling, ON K0K 3E0 Ph: 613-395-3397 Fx: 613-395-3398 Tf: 877-565-1626 Member of Ontario & PEI Law Societies

Real Estate, Wills & Estates


Celebrating Family, Friendship & Love

613-395-2596 218 Edward Street, Stirling


Visit our web site at


A BIKE $ day


32994 Highway 62, Maynooth Spring Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10am to 6pm

Spirng 2016 • Country Roads

I 29

Back Roads

200 Years Of Shopping Local In 2016 the Belleville Market celebrates its 200th year of operation. This photograph is part of the Topley Collection, held at Library and Archives Canada. It was taken by Ottawa-based photographer William Topley (1845-1930) and shows a busy market day behind City Hall in 1911. Located behind City Hall, Downtown Belleville, the market operates year round from 8-5 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, Topley Album 15, image 2117.

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Country Roads • Spring 2016

Bancroft Theatre District



Fun Starts Here! 13 Foot Candy Bar

Located behind TD Bank • Summer Patio • Daily Specials • Fresh Food & Friends

Enjoy shopping in 10 rooms plus basement & 2 out-buildings. Antiques, Used Furniture and Olde Stuff

Fresh Baked goods, Homemade Soups and Sandwiches, Paninis, Smoothies, Specialty Coffees


• Real Black Licorice • Black Balls • Retro Candy

Home & Garden Decor - New and Old

Hats, Clothing, Jewelry, Handbags & accessories

Pick up a FREE Wayback Times!

• Gifts, Toys & Novelties

75 Hastings St. N

Downtown Bancroft on the Strip


Open seven days a week Also visit Stirling General Mercantile 26 West Front St., Stirling 613.243.8462

Alive with entertainment, first class shopping, andSpirng dining. 2016 • Country Roads I



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w w w. dis c ove r y dre a mh o me s . c o m


Profile for COUNTRY ROADS, Celebrating Life in Hastings County

COUNTRY ROADS: Celebrating Life in Hastings County  

A seasonal lifestyle magazine celebrating Hastings County, in eastern Ontario, Canada. Copies are available complimentary throughout the reg...

COUNTRY ROADS: Celebrating Life in Hastings County  

A seasonal lifestyle magazine celebrating Hastings County, in eastern Ontario, Canada. Copies are available complimentary throughout the reg...