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WINTER 2015/2016

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Country Roads

e d i t o r i a l

celebrating life in hastings county

A winter way of life

Photo: Haley Ashford

In her article ‘Canadian Vintage’ in this issue of Country Roads, writer Michelle Annette Tremblay touches upon a particular Canadian winter lifestyle, one that involves getting out in nature and draws on a strong sense of community. While we may grumble and moan about the harsh realities of the winter months, there is no doubt that they produce a unique way of life with a distinctly Canadian flavour. While our instinct in the summer seems to be to broaden our horizons, travel and discover new places, in winter we are preoccupied with staying close to home and conserving our energies. Sure, we take advantage of summer holidays to enjoy family reunions, picnics and BBQs, but we also take advantage of the fine weather to spread our wings. In winter we hunker down close to home, take in family and friends and share drinks and food, sheltering ourselves from the cold outside. If we do venture out of doors, it isn’t far. We take in local winter festivals or carnivals, gather with like-minded people in curling or hockey rinks, or join in activities like a game of pond hockey, ice fishing or skiing. No matter the occasion, however, the day ends with us once again collectively gathered in a warm, indoor refuge, with a fire roaring and a healthy supply of warm soup or chili on hand. Indeed, I always found part of the pleasure of taking in a winter’s day out of doors was enjoying the warmth and relaxation of getting back inside. You don’t really appreciate that comfortable feeling until you’ve felt a bit of the nip of the cold and wind biting at you. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from peeling off that big coat, the hats and the mittens after a really bracing walk and enjoying the comforts of the indoors. The harsh reality is that we are saddled with winter for a good four months of the year, so we might as well embrace it and take from it whatever pleasures we can. And during this time when we are not venturing too far afield, why not make those shorter journeys to visit family and friends just around the corner? Spend some time around a warm fire and enjoy some good conversation or a game and reconnect. And there is nothing wrong with using the winter months as a time of solitary pleasure and reflection. Read a book, listen to some music or simply grab your cup of coffee in the morning and watch the snow falling. Our lives involve enough rushing and hustle and bustle. Winter gives us an opportunity to slow down, recharge and reinvigorate ourselves so that we’re ready to enjoy the longer days and warmer weather to come. Every season brings its pleasures and challenges. Why not focus on the positive elements of winter instead of its negative influences? The thaws of spring will be here before you know it.

contributors

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Country Roads • Winter 2015/2016

celebrating life in hastings county

CR Country

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

Roads

SALES DEPARTMENT

CENTRAL HASTINGS & AREA

celebrating lifeGibson-Alcock in hastings county Lorraine

lorraine@countryroadshastings.ca 613.902.0462 NORTH HASTINGS & AREA Hope McFall hope@countryroadshastings.ca 613.202.1541 ART DIRECTOR Jozef VanVeenen CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Orland French Angela Hawn Sharon Henderson Barry Penhale Lindi Pierce Michelle Annette Tremblay Sarah Vance Shelley Wildgen

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Robert Ferguson Sharon Henderson 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.

Nancy & John Hopkins Michelle Annette Tremblay 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.

Country Roads

Angela Hawn thanks her lucky stars for landing in Hastings County after years of an ‘on the road’ lifestyle teaching ESL in Asia, Europe and the Canadian Arctic. Although she loves to travel, some chance meetings here with a few people in the publishing business finally allowed her to put to use a few things learned long ago at Carleton University’s journalism school. When not writing or travelling, Angela enjoys the inspiration and humour consistently delivered by the nine- and 10-year-olds seen in her day job as an elementary school teacher. Her dream job? Why, travel writer, of course. Interested parties take note: for the right assignment, she’d work cheap. Closer to home, Angela seeks editorial advice and often, just plain old validation, from fellow travelling companions, husband, Mike, and their two incredible daughters, Maddie and Isobel.

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 2016 issue is February 16, 2016 COVER PHOTO: GAIL BURSTYN, LYLIS DESIGNS Made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation

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


V O LU M E 8 , I S S U E 4 , W I N T E R 2 0 1 5 / 2 0 1 6

Contents 6

12

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FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

6 HOME AND AWAY 12 CANADIAN VINTAGE

4 EDITORIAL 4 CONTRIBUTORS 11 JUST SAYING

By Angela Hawn By Michelle Annette Tremblay

16 THE “MUGWUMP” CANADIAN

By Barry Penhale

Small Town Whirl

18 THE VILLAGE IDIOT

Being Prepared

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ADVERTISER INDEX COUNTRY CALENDAR MARKETPLACE BACK ROADS

Home from Xmas Tree Drive, 1907

ON THE COVER

Bancroft Ice Climbers

Cover Photo: Gail Burstyn, Lylis Designs Our cover photo depicts a pair of ice climbers tackling Bancroft’s Eagle’s Nest in January, 2013. “I often stop and watch the ice climbers and especially when the ice is changing to turquoise in colour,” explains photographer Gail Burstyn. “I love the changing ice formations there, with and without climbers. It is a sight to see day and night.” Her first experience of the sport provided a humorous moment, however. “I noticed a single climber who seemed, in my mind at least, to be ‘stuck’ and perhaps in danger. Not realizing, at that very moment, that this was a sport, I got out of the car and shouted out to him, asking if he needed me to call 911…” You can see more of Lylis Designs on Facebook, and https://500px.com/lylisdesigns.

Winter 2015/2016 • Country Roads

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Home and away Tweed group promotes passion for theatre By Angela Hawn Photos courtesy Tweed & Co. Theatre

Tweed & Co.’s Fringe Festival appearance took them to Toronto’s famed Lee’s Palace, where they earned much popular and critical acclaim.

G

ood thing Tim Porter likes to keep busy. These days when not run off his feet operating Tweed & Co. Theatre, Porter’s hard at work performing a wide range of acting gigs in various theatres near and far. Name any major city in either the U.S. or Canada and Tim has probably graced a stage there. In fact, well before this issue of Country Roads makes it to press, his current Tweed show ‘I’ll Fly Away’ will have long since wrapped up and Tim will have moved on to St. Jacobs to perform in a Christmas panto version of Aladdin. “I think I’m pretty good at multi-tasking,” Porter chuckles into his bluetooth as he cruises around Toronto, running errands and answering interview questions on the fly. “But [my girlfriend] Sarah would probably disagree.”

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In the background, Sarah Higgins laughs, but doesn’t contest Tim’s ability to keep a number of balls in the air all at once. A cast member of ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and quite familiar to the tight-knit group of young, energetic, (mostly) 20-somethings who form the theatre company’s core, she’s no doubt used to seeing more than a few projects juggled simultaneously. “Joel MacMeekin is 31, so I guess that makes him the oldest,” Tim laughs, describing the theatre company’s key players. “He’s the associate artistic director/producer, but we like to call him a ‘Jack of all trades.’” What does this mean exactly? Well, in addition to helping write and perform in many Tweed & Co. productions, MacMeekin’s the guy you call on when you’re looking for a fine arts touch. Often central to the important task of set construction,

he also plays a convincing acoustic bass as one of the music-loving characters in ‘I’ll Fly Away.’ And if in doubt of his talents with a paintbrush, check out some of Joel’s paintings, one of which held centre stage at the latest Tweed & Co. silent auction fundraiser. Emily Mewett acts as general manager, a job she performs with much enthusiasm and professional aplomb, despite the fact most of her energies now focus on stage manager duties for Toronto’s famous SoulPepper Theatre. Then there’s talented Tricia Black, who co-wrote the company’s latest show with Porter and MacMeekin, drawing on some creative ideas she’d been kicking around for years. Like Mewett and the other Tweed and Company regulars, Black’s based mostly out of Toronto, but happily takes on the job of artistic producer in Tweed. Porter leads the bunch as


A theatrical tradition By Angela Hawn

At 31, Joel MacMeekin (left) is the elder statesman of the youthful Tweed & Co. group. He is shown in rehearsal’s for ‘All You Need Is Love’ with Danielle Leger.

Presented at the Marble Arts Centre in October, ‘I’ll Fly Away’ is the latest homespun creation from the Tweed & Co. group.

artistic director, overseeing artistic elements, selecting theatre seasons, directing shows and generally bringing scripts and story ideas to the rest of the company for consideration. And while that might seem like a lot, it makes sense. The company is essentially, after all,

Porter’s baby. Still, it makes for a hectic lifestyle. ‘I’ve tried to be smart about it and it’s usually worked out,” Tim says in regards to navigating around potential schedule glitches. “Usually the shows in Tweed fill the gap between other projects.”

Local history buffs won’t be at all surprised to hear Tweed and its surrounding area have been attracting theatre types for years. Long before the arts community first made its appearance in the marble church on Highway 37, several early plays by Merrill Denison hit the stage at a playhouse on Tweed’s Jamieson Street East. Though born in Detroit in 1893, Denison spent much of his youth and a good many of his later years in Canada, with a large part spent in Tweed’s neck of the woods. Take some time to check out the historic plaque dedicated to this famous writer in Tweed’s downtown core and note this ambitious talent also studied architecture and served as director of Toronto’s Hart House Theatre before turning much of his attention to writing. In fact, several of his early comedies came to life just an hour or so away on the beautiful property now known as Bon Echo Provincial Park, a spot Denison later donated to the provincial government in hopes the general public would also enjoy its natural splendor. Considered one of Canada’s first important 20th century playwrights by The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia, Denison wrote the famous one-act play, ‘Brothers in Arms.’ This piece went on to become one of the most often produced English-Canadian dramas while another Denison work, ‘Marsh Hay,’ played at the Shaw Festival in 1996. And though seeing a Denison production on stage certainly once proved popular, this prolific playwright reached countless more avid story fans through the magic of radio. Works such as ‘The Romance of Canada’ series and the American ‘Great Moments in History’ kept listeners enthralled on a regular basis. A huge history fan, Denison no doubt drew upon this particular passion frequently for inspiration. But some might argue his first muse may well have been his very own mother. Flora MacDonald Merrill Denison started life near the village of Bridgewater (now Actinolite), home to the same marble church which now hosts a variety of performance arts, including shows by Tweed and Company Theatre. According to The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Flora adored her son. And she certainly must have exerted some influence. An early suffragette, as well as a writer, this wellspoken and opinionated mom supported her family with a dress-making business at a time when most women stayed well within the boundaries of their own homes and parameters set by their husbands.

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Above: In rehearsals for ‘Aleck Bell’ in Toronto, one of a variety of successful productions written by the Tweed & Co. crew. Left: Although Tweed & Co. bases its operations out of the Marble Arts Centre in Actinolite, its projects have carried the various members of the troupe over a wide expanse of the country.

And what a lot of projects there have been. Educated at Kingston’s St. Lawrence College, Porter has never once doubted he made the right career choice. Whether playing a character in a Stirling holiday panto or garnering rave reviews for his portrayal of Noon in ‘Cannibal! The Musical’ at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre, Tim moves from one job to the next with the grace

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Country Roads • Winter 2015/2016

and security of someone who’s found his niche. Along the way, he’s been fortunate enough to work with some major heavy hitters in contemporary Canadian theatre, including wellknown directors David Connolly and Christopher Bond. Always eager to improve his own craft, Tim’s even managed to mentor a few up and coming actors himself. Co-founder of Quinte

Youth Actors Company, he’s also put in plenty of hours running theatre camps for area young people. Even a cursory glance at Tim’s packed CV leaves one wondering just where on earth he ever found the time to start up his own theatre company! Yet, as far as Tweed & Co.’s productions go, ‘I’ll Fly Away’ represents only the latest tip of a very impressive iceberg. A folk- and gospeloriented musical about an old-time radio show seeking to pump life into its ratings by entering the brand new world of television, the show carries a real “wholesome, Tweed-Twangers” vibe according to Porter. Perfect for the entire family, it’s simply the most recent offering in what appears to be quite an extensive list. This home-grown theatre group has been steadfastly bringing first rate shows to audiences since 2007.


Artistic Director Tim Porter has been active in a variety of local theatre ventures in addition to the Tweed & Co. group. A co-founder of Quinte Youth Actors Company, he’s also put in plenty of hours running theatre camps for area young people.

Proudly Tim ticks off some titles, starting with the American musical ‘The Last Five Years,’ which the group first performed in Belleville before taking the show to select centres across Ontario. Next came a string of major hits including ‘Godspell,’ ‘Tweed the Musical’ and ‘Aleck Bell.’ Incredibly, Tim and the talented crew behind Tweed & Co. wrote many of these musicals themselves. No slouches when it comes to sifting through scripts, they also appear extraordinarily adept when choosing from the best of works penned by others. One of their latest productions, the rock musical ‘Stalkyard Hurts,’ appeared at the Toronto Fringe Festival just this past summer. Written by Justin Collette and Danielle Leger with vocal arrangements by Jennie Del Motte, this clever “rockumentary” details the successes and excesses of a fictional rockband. Opening for audiences at Toronto’s famed Lee’s Palace, the show played on a stage well known to local

music fans. Think Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and The Tragically Hip. All played the Dance Cave at Lee’s Palace early on in their careers. No doubt inspired by some of these past legends, Tweed and Company delivered 11 straight smash performances, earning much popular and critical acclaim. “We were named a best bet and fan favourites by The Torontoist, Gracing the Stage, Mooney on Theatre and Now Magazine,” declares Porter, a little awe creeping into his voice. With any luck, ‘Stalkyard Hurts’ just might return to the stage in future to wow audiences yet again. The trick, of course, is finding the money to get the job done. And no one knows better than Tim how important the money is. Though he speaks glowingly of Tweed & Co.’s creative successes, he acknowledges there have been a few personal sacrifices along the way, starting with generating enough cash to front the company in the first place.

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Local colour By Angela Hawn • Photo courtesy Tweed & Co. Theatre

Home base for Tweed & Co. is the Marble Arts Centre in Actinolite, just north of town, which despite its tight quarters provides an ideal space according to artistic director Tim Porter.

Tweed & Co. productions are apt to pop up in theatres anywhere, but why not catch a performance by this home-grown group right in their own backyard? Head straight to the marble church in Actinolite, just north of Tweed and take a moment to contemplate this lovely building’s history before taking your seat. Constructed from gleaming white marble quarried mere metres up the road, this site’s cornerstone dates back to 1864. Since then, the place has seen a lot, including more than a few troubles. From a devastating fire in 1889 to dwindling congregations a hundred years later, things have sometimes been rough. By the time the new millennium swung around, the church’s future truly looked bleak. Fortunately, that’s when The Tweed and Area Arts Council stepped in and the marble church entered its latest incarnation as the Marble Arts Centre. “It’s a great space,” declares Tweed and Company’s artistic director Tim Porter, though he notes the lack of wings and formal dressing rooms means the players need to keep an open mind when preparing for a performance. “We encourage the actors to walk around in the lobby or outside or anywhere they need to before a show.” This is the kind of theatre where you’re apt to encounter a performer in full costume while waiting in line for the loo or checking out items from an interesting Tweed & Co. fundraiser, a “curated yard sale” full of locally donated antiques. And somehow, this fits perfectly. Though Tweed & Co. certainly isn’t community theatre, this professional group’s roots reach deep into the community. Look around and you’re sure to see a few familiar faces. The man handing out programs at the door just happens to be Tim Porter’s brother, Dan. Like Tim, he grew up a few kilometres away on the family beef farm. Serving up drinks behind the backstage bar is the perpetually jovial Will Austin, taking time from his “day job” as co-proprietor of Newton House Bed and Breakfast to lend a hand. And seated just a few rows up, isn’t that international model turned Tweed vintner Sandor Johnson? Apparently some of his latest wines are on offer at the bar. Mingle with the crowd at intermission and you just might find yourself drawn into conversation with Stirling beekeeper Peter Mewett and wife Judy (who also serves on Tweed and Company’s advisory panel). Parents to the theatre group’s general manager, Emily, the pair saw ‘I’ll Fly Away’ earlier in the week, but opted to attend the closing performance as well. Make sure you allow a little time for some parental bragging rights and let them explain Emily’s absence. Although their busy daughter happily helped out with earlier performances of Tweed and Company’s latest show, prior commitments with her job at world-renowned SoulPepper Theatre meant an early return to Toronto. You’ll find their enthusiasm contagious and they’ll even let you ramble on about your own kids! If the crowds aren’t too thick, congratulate Tim on a job well done before he excuses himself to help out at the bar, or chat with scene-stealing funny man Joel MacMeekin as he pauses for breath between acts. Compliment local actress Nicole Flynn on her violin solo and ask how many international medals she’s won competing with The Canadian Down Syndrome Swimming Association. Take time to look around, soak up the atmosphere and simply enjoy yourself. But when the lights dim, hurry back to your seat in this fabulous heritage space. Act two is about to start and you won’t want to miss a minute.

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Country Roads • Winter 2015/2016

Written by Danielle Leger (second from left) and Justin Collette (right), ‘Stalkyard Hurts’ was a hit of this year’s Fringe Festival in Toronto. Also shown are Cat Montgomery (left) and Tricia Black (second from right).

“I’ve funded things from the get-go,” Porter says, though it’s obvious from his tone he considers every step of the journey worthwhile. “I knew I wanted to start my own production company one day, but I thought it might happen in my forties.” So how does someone in their twenties realize their dreams so early? Remember that popular children’s TV series ‘The Doodlebops?’ Tim credits time spent with The Doodlebops road company for granting him the kind of financial freedom most young theatre grads only dream about. Using income earned while touring across the country as Rooney, the tall, blue, guitarplaying member of the famous multi-coloured pop band, Tim bankrolled Tweed and Company from the beginning. And there’s simply been no looking back since. “Back then it was called Iana, a play on the word Canadiana,” Porter declares ruefully. “But no one knew how to pronounce it or what it meant, so we changed the name to Tweed & Co.” Still, Canadiana aptly describes one of the things this talented crew of thespians cares about most. Making it their unofficial mandate to deliver original Canadian scripts to the Canadian stage, this dedicated group puts in a lot of time bringing worthwhile shows north of the 401 corridor and beyond. “It’s an exciting time to be in theatre,” exclaims Tim, noting the growing number of home-grown writers, performers and producers coming up with hit shows. “We will now hopefully start to be a vehicle for more Canadian shows, not just the ones we write.” In the meantime, Tim and the rest of Tweed & Co.’s stalwarts will continue to take on various gigs, most of them far away from the little theatreloving town of Tweed. Fortunately, the group really seems to love coming back! And when they do, you just know it’s going to be an entertaining homecoming!


JUST SAYING

BY SHELLEY WILDGEN

T

here are two things you should do at least once in your life: 1. Get your hair cut really, really short. 2. Live a good chunk of time in a small town. With both experiences you get to glimpse your real self and you’ll save cash on hair products. The hair thing is truly quite freeing. The small town sampling started with Stirling, a few years ago. It, too, has reaped unexpected rewards. As someone who never quite fit in with one solid group anywhere, I have forever felt the needles of restlessness at my feet. All things considered, I was a little nervous about committing to Stirling, in the early nineties. I was pretty sure I enjoyed the anonymity of unfamiliar streets and a larger city, but with our sights set on raising kids, my husband and I left the west and moved back to small town Ontario. Stirling was more affordable than Belleville so that’s where we landed. We lived across from the Mill Pond, in a house that backed onto a farmer’s field. It wasn’t unusual, albeit a little unnerving, to step out the back door and be greeted by a dozen geese marching down our driveway to the pond across the street. It was just as common to repeatedly see familiar faces at the grocery store, the hardware store and the Stirling arena. Everyone friendly and not one bit intrusive. “You new here?” asked the manager of the arena. “Yes, I am. My son has signed up for ball hockey,” I answered while scanning the bustling rink and bleachers. “Find a comfortable spot. You’re gonna be here a lot,” was his reply. Was he ever right. The arena, the three schools (then primary, junior and senior), and the thriving little downtown became the centre of my life. The schools were so small and well-staffed that when I couldn’t find my daughter at the crossing guard corner one afternoon, the entire primary school staff knew Laura by name, fanned out on foot and in cars until they found her in the town library reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. The walk to the crossing guard was also cloaked in quaintness. We’d wander down the

Small Town Whirl

hill and stop to watch the mile high balls of butter rolling slowly on the other side of The Stirling Creamery window. Strange, yellow and comforting. That small town feeling of solidarity and protection was everywhere. Laura even did her own gift shopping downtown at Stedman’s. She was four. I’d watch from the porch as she made her way across the covered bridge and into the store. About 20 minutes later, someone from the store would call to tell me of Laura’s selections. “Don’t forget to tell her about the Johnny Cash CD!” Laura would lisp from over the counter.

Winter evenings and weekends were often spent over on the Mill Pond, skating, sledding and daydreaming. I remember one mild winter afternoon when the riverbank was warm. A few of us sat there in sunbeams, eating tangerines while the kids skated. It felt like a Beatles song.

Home she’d come with her purchases and I’d nip over later to pay the bill. That’s how it went. Winter evenings and weekends were often spent over on the Mill Pond, skating, sledding and daydreaming. I remember one mild winter afternoon when the riverbank was warm. A few of us sat there in sunbeams, eating tangerines while the kids skated. It felt like a Beatles song. Holiday times were extra special in Stirling. The shops, street lanterns and wreaths, the tall, lit tree beside the covered bridge – magical!

After a toddy or five on the porch, staring at that tree, you absolutely could hear the Whos from Whoville, “Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores…” And parades! Always with the parades. Not just the Christmas parade. At that time Stirling had a parade for most special occasions. My personal favourite was the Canada Day parade. Floats were encouraged, and face-painted kids decorated their bicycles, tricycles and wagons to create their own little festive army. My parents were visiting from Winnipeg one year and truly they were the only ones watching the Canada Day parade. The whole town was in the parade. Even would-be criminals were treated well in Stirling. One year a group of senior school kids were involved in a sort of small scale theft cartel. Stirling’s lone cop contacted the parents, suggesting ‘interrogations’ for the pre-teen hoodlums. There was little to be done legally with these young kids, but a good table talk with Stirling’s finest just might do the trick. And it did. Each kid sweated bullets for the two weeks leading up to their individual interviews, felt huge relief when it was over, and most volunteered to do their own restitution for their crime. Hey, the system works. Altogether, I think I spent about 10 years living in Stirling. True to form, I then stamped my ‘Places I’ve Lived’ personal passport and moved on, but not far. Carrying Place, Frankford, and now a return to Belleville – all added to my locale collection. Now, in addition to our Belleville house, we have a farmhouse in PEI. We live there for part of the year. Again I sort of awkwardly try, but don’t really fit into any group. In fact, in PEI, we’re actually called CFAs (Come From Aways) so we’ll never be true islanders, but they still treat us magnificently. It is now time to get comfortable with always being a little uncomfortable. This many years into it, I’ve come to realize that whole misfit part of my persona works not so badly after all….especially when I keep my towns small, and my hair short.

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Story and photos by Michelle Annette Tremblay

Canadian Vintage North Hastings enthusiast shares his classic snowmobile collection

Above: Sleds like this 1965 Diablo Rouge carry a lot of value, but Conrad Switzer does not see his collection as a money-making venture. Right: Switzer gets plenty of looks when he rides one of his old sleds into town, and he has participated in a number of community events in the North Hastings region. Photo courtesy Conrad Switzer

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he two men, father and son, all business an hour ago, now clown around as they put on matching yellow vintage snowmobile helmets and pose for a photo holding a Bombardier sign. “I stayed up all night to see the sun. Then it dawned on me...” jokes the elder, Conrad Switzer, as we walk toward the shed. His son Jarrett and I both groan and chuckle. The weather’s been mild for mid-November, though today it’s drizzled off and on all afternoon. There’s no snow yet, but we can smell it on the wind, not far off. We’ve just come back out from Switzer’s kitchen where we warmed up over a cup of coffee after spending an hour or more out by the shed, touring Switzer’s vintage snowmobile collection. His kitchen is the type I always feel immediately comfortable in, with a Farley Mowat novel on the table, and a friendly albeit skittish dog at my feet. Clover is a Springer Spaniel who resembles

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Above: The snowmobile passion has turned into a true Switzer family affair, with Conrad’s son Jarrett also joining in the fun. Right: Jarrett does some old-fashioned research – when his Dad started in the hobby there was no internet, so expertise came from trial and error, reading and sharing stories with other collectors.

Switzer’s previous dog before her. She’s young, just two, and still likes to mouth people’s hands affectionately when excited. Switzer says he’ll take her out ice fishing this winter, and teach her to ride alongside him on one of his snow machines. “Which one?” I ask. He’s got more than 50 though there are only about a dozen he rides regularly. These ones are kept here in a shed by the house where they’re easily accessible. The remainder are over at the farm and are kept for parts, or for tinkering on. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the Bombardier with the sled. It’s good for ice fishing.” I’ve never seen a two-piece snowmobile before today. Bright yellow with red branding, the front section of the Bombardier holds the motor, the gas tank and all the controls. There’s no electric start on these. You have to use the pull cord, like a lawnmower. The back part, which is completely separate and can be easily detached, consists of a padded seat on skis. What makes it especially handy for ice fishing is the storage compartment under the flip-up seat. It’s perfect for transporting fishing lines and gear. Switzer has a few of these old models, including a 1965 Diablo Rouge.

“I could sell the ‘65 Diablo to a collector for $10,000 tomorrow if I wanted to,” boasts Switzer. But he doesn’t want to. This isn’t a money-making endeavour for him. It’s a life-long hobby. He’s been working on snowmobiles for more than 50 years. Largely self taught, he refers to books when he gets stumped. There was no internet when he started this habit, after all. It was a process of trial and error, reading, and chatting with other machinists. It all started with his father. “He bought this ‘66 Bombardier brand new.” “And it still runs?” I ask. “Yeah. Jarrett rides that one a lot,” Switzer answers. The junior Switzer, like his father, has grown up around the vintage machines. He joins his father each winter, the two of them riding out into the middle of the lake to fish. He’s young, and quiet, with an easy smile. I’ve seen him around town lots of times. Usually making a supply run at the local hardware store, or selling produce at the Bancroft farmer’s market. Everyone around Bancroft knows Switzer’s Farm. It’s synonymous with the Bancroft Farmer’s Market. The Switzer men are there at the market

Winter 2015/2016 • Country Roads

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Above: Conrad Switzer’s collection includes this novel two-piece set-up, ideal for ice fishing. Left: Conrad Switzer inherited his passion for sleds from his father, who bought a 1966 Bombardier brand new. It still runs, Conrad points out.

every summer, bagging up tomatoes and brussels sprouts, cucumbers and pumpkins for tourists and locals alike. If you make the short but scenic drive to their farm you can pick your own berries - an especially fun day trip for kids - but if that’s not your style you can just buy a basket at the market. The Switzers also raise cattle and chickens, sell eggs, run a successful Christmas tree farm and sell fire wood. “I cut about 350 cords of wood every year, and I sell a couple hundred of them.” says Switzer. “Jeepers,” I say, “Is there anything you don’t do?” “I try to sleep when I can,” laughs the patriarch. He shows me around the shed, where his favourite sleds are. He points out two more Bombardiers, almost identical to each other; same model, but different year. He has replaced the windshields of both, using various skills picked up over a lifetime of fixing things to fashion new windshields out of plexiglass. I study them closely. You’d never know they’re not original. The work is flawless. I ask the farmer if he ever does repair work for other people.

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“No, It’s just a hobby,” he says, squinting at the overcast sky. “I get people calling me to sell them but I don’t do that. Sometimes people ask me to fix them. But if I started doing that I’d have people on my doorstep every day. I wouldn’t have time for anything else.” With a certain playfulness he tells me he needs to keep some time aside to spend with his wife. And maybe the dog. I ask if his wife minds the large collection of ski-doos that dominate the shed and yard. “Oh she minds some,” he chuckles. “But that’s my stuff,” he continues, turning serious. About once a year Switzer gets a tip on a new sled for his collection. Usually it’s a machine that’s been sitting neglected in an old barn for a couple of decades. They generally need quite a bit of work to get them running again: the motor needs fixing, a belt needs replacing. Switzer doesn’t mind. Going to check out a new vintage sled is like hunting for buried treasure. There’s a mystery to it. An excitement. What will he uncover this time? Unfortunately though, these vintage sleds are becoming less common every year.


The Switzer family collection consists of more than 50 snowmobiles, although only about a dozen are ridden regularly.

“I was talking to one old guy, and he said he had to get rid of some snowmobiles, because he was ill or something. He had two or three,” recounts Switzer. “He asked me how many I had. I told him, and he said, ‘you must have some sort of disease’.” He shakes his head and we both laugh. “It’s either a disease or an addiction”, he says. Whatever it is, it makes him happy, especially when he gets to share his hobby. Sometimes Switzer will ride one of his snowmobiles into town. He says he gets a lot of attention. People come right up and want to check out his ride. He’s been asked many times to display parts of his collection at various winter events, from Bancroft’s Think Snow, to Coe Hill’s family day weekend event. He always agrees. Last year at Coe Hill he let some children ride on the back, to their delight. “I get asked sometimes why I don’t have a newer sled,” admits Switzer. “I tell people the truth: I’d rather stick with the old ones. These run perfect.

The Switzer men don’t take themselves too seriously…

They’ll go anywhere. They putt right along. They’ll do 25 miles an hour.” I confess that I’ve never ridden a snowmobile, and ask how fast a modern sled goes. “Too fast,” Switzer replies. “Seventy to 80 miles an hour.” Speeds like that can be dangerous, he explains. He says there’s no need to go that fast. Twenty-five miles an hour is plenty fast enough. “I’ll take you out ice fishing this winter. You can bring the husband and kids.” There’s no way I’m going to turn down an offer like that. As if I need convincing, he opens up his truck and pulls out some photographs. They’re of the fish he caught last winter. He shuffles through the photos, giving details I don’t really understand about the fish in each one. I nod my head, listening, and wonder how many fellas drive around with photos of fish in their trucks. Probably more than you’d guess, in these parts.

And then I realize it’s not just the sleds that are old fashioned, but the sport itself. And the whole lifestyle around it. Riding a vintage snowmobile isn’t about flash and speed. It’s about traditions that are as Canadian as they come. Getting out amongst the trees. Spending time with family. Chatting and drinking cocoa in the fishing hut, in the middle of the lake where the only sounds are the yarns being spun, the shuffle of wildlife, and the whisper of wind. It’s about catching dinner, and bringing it home, with cheeks raw from the cold. A day spent living; engaged in something real, and old, and eternal. Suddenly, Switzer announces he has to leave. He’s got to see someone about a furnace. Snow’s going to be here any day after all. But I’m welcome to come back for coffee anytime; and we can make plans to take the sleds out for some ice fishing. It’s a sincere invitation. And I’ll take it. Hopefully I’ll get to wear the yellow helmet.

Making Your Dream Kitchen A Reality!

159 Y Road, Bancroft

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Winter 2015/2016 • Country Roads

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R E M E M B E R I N G

The “Mugwump” Canadian A Tribute to Merrill Denison

BY B A R RY P E N H A L E • P H O T O S C O U RT E S Y T H E B A R RY P E N H A L E C O L L E C T I O N

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n July 8, 1984, the man often referred to as the first significant Canadian playwright of the 20th century was honoured with an Ontario Heritage Foundation plaque. The site was the Tweed Playhouse in the village of Tweed. The man was Merrill Denison (1893–1975) whose early plays had been performed at the Orange Hall back in the 1920s. Years later, the affable Clyde Bell, editor and co-owner of The Tweed News from 1964 to 1986, hosted my wife and myself during a special 1993 Denison memorabilia exhibit in the Tweed Playhouse. My fascination with Denison was something I had long nourished and the exhibition greatly accelerated my interest. Born in Detroit in 1893 to an American father and a Canadian mother, Denison was to spend a sizeable part of his highly productive career living in Ontario and writing articles, books and plays celebrating Canada. Known for a zany sense of humour, Denison’s dual affiliation led to frequent references to himself as a “Mugwump” Canadian — with his mug on one side of the border and his wump on the other. His pleasure with this selfappointed moniker stayed with him to the end. Denison’s story would not be complete without including his remarkable mother Flora MacDonald Merrill Denison — businesswoman, writer/editor, feminist, and social reformer. Quite an achievement for a Hastings County girl born at Bridgeport (Actinolite) on February 20, 1867! After her father, George Merrill, became involved with a worthless Flinton-area mining venture, an already difficult period for the family became more so and they moved to Belleville. Young Flora, having assessed her short teaching experience in a one-room school near Flinton as considerably less than appealing, departed in search of her destiny. Following a short stint in Toronto, she joined relatives in Detroit in the 1880s where she assumed the name Mrs. Denison in 1892, having entered an unconventional marital relationship with Howard Denison, an already married commercial traveler. The couple moved to Toronto, but Flora purposefully returned to Detroit for her son’s birth in 1893. Once back home, she used her expert dressmaking skills to become self-sufficient as head of the Robert Simpson Company’s ladies’ tailoring department. But ever the independent woman, she left employment to establish her own successful dressmaking business. Always an ardent advocate for women’s rights, she was president of

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This portrait of Merrill Denison by Grant Macdonald first appeared in The Toronto Star Weekly, March 15, 1930. In Bon Echo: The Denison Years, Mary Savigny included the image in a chapter entitled “Keeping the Wolf from the Door.”

the Canadian Suffragette Movement from 1911 to 1914. At some point, Flora would discover the writings of the man who became her idol — American humanist, philosopher, and poet, Walt Whitman. As a youngster Flora Merrill would have heard accounts of the vast Lake Mazinaw country north of her birthplace, colourful tales extolling raftsmen, river drives, and Native lore. Son Merrill had his introduction to what today is known as the Land O’Lakes when the Denison family stayed at Bon Echo Inn in 1908. Getting there would have been a lengthy arduous adventure since they travelled on the CP Railway from Toronto to Kaladar. The next leg of their journey involved proceeding by horse and wagon to Snider Depot at the south end of the Mazinaw. But the trip wasn’t over. It was still necessary to get to their final destination, which meant travel in the inboard-powered boat The Wanderer. They must have breathed a sigh of relief once at the dock south

of the narrows. Upon arrival, Flora was enthralled by the beauty of Lake Mazinaw and the spectacular dominating landmark known as Bon Echo Rock. The site claimed her total attention and was to be the focal point of her incredibly productive life up to her passing in 1921. In 1904 Flora, who by then was increasingly using the pen name MacDonald (adopted from her maternal grandmother), purchased a nearby property. But the acquisition that truly changed her life and that of Merrill was yet ahead. In the summer of 1910, word reached her of the impending sale of Bon Echo Inn, owned at the time by Canadian-born but Cleveland-based dentist, Dr. Weston Price. The sale became final on September 27 and Flora took over not only the inn but miles of Lake Mazinaw shoreline, including Bon Echo Rock and hundreds of acres of land. The presence of Flora and her son in Mazinaw country ushered in a period of enormous creativity that drew widespread attention partly as a result of the establishment of a summer community dedicated to the teachings of Whitman. By then, Howard, at best a shadowy presence in her life, seems to disappear. Flora not only founded the Walt Whitman Club of Bon Echo but also launched the publication The Sunset of Bon Echo to promote an understanding of Whitman and advertise Bon Echo Inn. The Sunset of Bon Echo was published from 1916 to 1920 and edited by Flora MacDonald. In time, mother and son attracted many prominent visitors — mostly intellectuals, painters and theatrical personalities. Among the surviving memorabilia of that period are several stylish tourism brochures featuring the art of such major artists as A.Y. Jackson, Frank “Franz” Johnston and Franklin Carmichael. Flora Denison’s death from pneumonia at age 54, robbed her devoted son of his best friend. As heir to Bon Echo, Merrill assumed enormous responsibility and financial challenges, hardly ideal for a creative individual immersed in writing books, plays and radio drama scripts. One marvels at his impressive body of work considering the many shaky years that not only drained the coffers but must surely have sapped the man both emotionally and physically. But Merrill’s inner strength and creative juices prevailed. A baker’s dozen of successful books would be published, along with numerous commissioned corporate histories including The Barley and the Stream: The Molson Story. Success with light comedy, broadcast assignments, and


The cover of the publication (vol. 1: no. 5) edited by Flora Macdonald.

Flora MacDonald completed her purchase of the Bon Echo Inn in September, 1910.

Page 1 of the official journal of The Whitman Club of Bon Echo, as published in the spring 1920 edition of The Sunset of Bon Echo.

writing for the stage kept Merrill busy and though never flush, his urgent bills did get paid. Mary Savigny, in her book Bon Echo: The Denison Years* recalls the existence of several bank accounts that regularly needed feeding, including one in Tweed. Interestingly, Merrill’s first wife, Muriel Groggin of Toronto, was also an accomplished author. One particularly popular title for the young reader, Susannah: A Little Girl With The Mounties, became a big-screen movie starring Shirley Temple. Five years after Muriel died, Merrill married Americanborn Lisa Andrews who, like Muriel before her, would find herself also wed to Bon Echo. In preparing this article, I searched old files and was rewarded with a folder crammed with materials related to Flora MacDonald and Merrill

Denison. The most exciting finds were numerous letters from Mary Savigny and copies of The Sunset of Bon Echo. Mary’s letters were especially informative. Her life had changed dramatically in 1947 when she and husband John purchased an old farmstead south of Northbrook. It was rough going, but, having survived wartime in their native England, the duo was up to anything including rural inconveniences. John started a radio/appliances repair shop and one day greeted a customer who turned out to be the crusty old Bon Echo caretaker, Mike Schwager. Later, John was asked to go to Bon Echo to repair radios on site, and for Mary it was a life-changing day when Merrill, in search of a typist, heard all he needed to engage her services. The working relationship produced a warm friendship that only ended with Merrill’s death in California in 1975. In the Foreword to her book, Mary Savigny spoke of my eight years of gentle persuasion that caused her to write about Bon Echo and the Denisons. When the book was published, John and Mary Savigny came to Toronto, stayed at a posh hotel, and, joined by myself and wife Jane, enjoyed a sumptuous celebratory dinner. A toast was proposed to Merrill Denison and thanks given for his most generous gift to the people of Ontario — the property that today is known as the enormously popular Bon Echo Provincial Park.

*Bon Echo: The Denison Years by Mary Savigny was published by Natural Heritage Books, 1997. Sources: John Campbell. The Mazinaw Experience: Bon Echo and Beyond, Natural Heritage Books, 2000. Ramsay Cook and Michèle Lacombe. “Merrill, Flora MacDonald (Denison).” Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. 15. www.biographi.ca/ en/bio/merrill_flora_macdonald_15W.html Dick MacDonald. Mugwump Canadian: The Merrill Denison Story. Content Publishing Co. Ltd., 1973 Robert Stacey and Stan McMullin. Massanoga: The Art of Bon Echo. Archives of Canadian Art, Penumbra Press, 1998.

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9B Tuftsville Road, Stirling, ON 613-395-2800 Winter 2015/2016 • Country Roads

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Being Prepared

THE VILLAGE IDIOT BY JOHN HOPKINS

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never thought animals so small could make me feel so inadequate, but they did. Many mornings this past August I would settle on the deck with my coffee and book and enjoy the pleasant weather, wiling away the time without a care in the world. And then I would spot them – squirrels or chipmunks rushing about the yard, collecting sticks, leaves or branches from the ground as they prepared their winter shelter or perhaps accumulating food reserves to store underground. These creatures weren’t enjoying a lazy summer morning like I was. They were hard at work preparing for the coming cold. They weren’t stopping to take in a spectacular summer setting. No, they were on the job. It wasn’t like I didn’t have jobs that needed doing as part of my own winter preparation. There was the wood to be ordered and delivered, and when it arrived, it needed to be stacked. There was always yard clean-up work to be done. As summer turned into fall there was patio furniture to be stored, winter boots, coats and shovels to be retrieved from the shed, and snow tires to go on the car. I thought about some of these things as I sat with my coffee and book, but I was not motivated to spring into action, despite the hustle and bustle of industry taking place all around my yard. I always managed to justify a delay in beginning my winter preparations. One particularly ambitious chipmunk was a great fascination to Nancy and I. From a very early point in the summer he had begun a long

process of moving dirt and rocks from a spot in the back yard and hollowed out a cozy-looking winter home in the earth. It was by no means a simple task. We were quite impressed with how he had managed to move some of the rock away – he was definitely a small animal that dreamt big. It made me wonder if animals have any capacity to procrastinate, or if that is solely a human curse. While all his buddies were scurrying around making their winter preparations last August, was there a squirrel sitting somewhere up in a tree, enjoying the view and munching on a few nuts, thinking to himself, “I really should start getting that winter burrow ready and saving some of this food, but it’s only Monday and I have all week.” I would be that squirrel. For a long time I thought the chipmunks and squirrels were oblivious to my presence as they scuttled around, not wanting to be distracted. But then I noticed that the chipmunk who had been building the fancy underground condo started giving me a bit of a look, that sort of disdainful look you get from someone who clearly feels they are pulling more than their fair share of the load and you are somehow falling down on the job. I daresay he turned up his nose at me a couple of times. Well, if there’s one thing for sure, I’m not about to be shown up by a chipmunk. So I finally sprang into action – stacking wood, storing furniture, getting all my winter gear ready for the coming dark days. And it felt good. I had a sense of usefulness and productivity.

When I lived in the city, winter preparation always seemed to be a minor consideration. As long as the furnace still worked, heat was not really an issue. Roads always seemed to be plowed, so there was never much need for snow tires. And most days you could get by without boots depending on where your travels took you. Indeed, in the city I always found very little contrast between the seasons. Summer eased into fall, fall into winter, winter into spring, and then summer would roll around again. Apart from the hours of daylight and the swings of the temperature, the differences didn’t seem that pronounced. Out here, however, the seasonal shifts seem that much more stark. Things like a warm house and easy travel to and from work can’t be taken for granted without the proper preparations. The tone of nature changes as the seasons do as well. The animal bustle of late summer and fall recedes as the days get shorter, the temperatures drop and those once busy creatures settle in for a quiet winter. You can sense the change in the activity level. Those quiet, still mid-winter days are so calm and peaceful for a reason. When you’re out in the country you have to think more like the animals and take their cues. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure my chipmunk friend wasn’t so much turning up his nose at me as trying to offer some friendly advice; making sure I noticed his example and followed it. Thanks for the tip little guy and have a nice warm winter in your underground condo. I’ll see you in the spring.

www.deseronto.ca

613-396-2440 ~

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Experience Deseronto… Situated in Hastings County at the heart of the Bay of Quinte region, with Prince Edward & L&A Counties at its doorstep; it’s your ideal destination for visiting, living and business. Explore the historic downtown and uptown business district to discover a unique blend of boutiques, antiques/collectibles, artisans, dining, culture and events. Experience the picturesque waterfront, just a short stroll from downtown; and the unique variety of parks/trails, natural assets & heritage sites.

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Country Roads

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celebrating life in hastings county

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Bancroft Bancroft General Mercantile Designer Kitchens Deuce Tattoos Kathy Tripp, Broker, Royal LePage Mixin Mommas North Hastings Family Pharmacy Old Tin Shed Zihua Clothing Boutique Belleville Ruttle Bros. Furniture Scotia McLeod Campbellford Worlds Finest Chocolates Deseronto Impressions Dental Centres Town of Deseronto Foxboro Village Green Hastings County Shops & Services Classy Commodes Remax Quinte Welcome Wagon Madoc Impressions Dental Centres Renshaw Power Products Marmora Fleetbreeze Heritage Redwattle Pigs Flowers by Sue Possibilities; Vintage Furniture Décor Accents Ormsby Old Hastings Mercantile & Gallery Peterborough Discovery Dream Homes Stirling Apple Store - Cooney Farms Denmar Farms Christmas Trees-Holiday Spirit Pro One Gas Stirling Dental Centre Stirling Manor Wells Ford Tweed Tweed, Municipality of Tweed & Hastings Co. Steven Switzer Construction

Roads

celebrating life in hastings county

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6 Joe VanVeenen Map

HASTINGS COUNTY SHOPS & SERVICES

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Winter 2015/2016 • Country Roads

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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 info@countryroadshastings.ca or call us at 613 968-0499.

29 Forsyth Street, Marmora, ON 613-472-2555

ART GALLERIES/EXHIBITIONS

• Painted Vintage Furniture • Fusion Furniture Paint • Van Gogh Fossil Paint • Handcrafted Pillows • Original Art Work • Décor Accents • Yarn • Fabric & Notions • Workshops • Custom Painting

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Art Gallery of Bancroft, 10 Flint Avenue, Bancroft, 613-332-1542 agb@nexicom.net www.artgallerybancroft.ca Dec 2 – Jan. 4 – Patrick Stewart - paintings, Sue Prentice – printmaking and Robin Tinney – sculpture. Sponsored by Ingrid and Hugh Monteith, and Barbara Allport. Opening reception Friday, Dec. 4 at 7:30pm Belleville Art Association, 392 Front St., Belleville, Ontario10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. 613-968-8632 info@bellevilleart.ca www.bellevilleart.ca

THEATRE/LIVE ENTERTAINMENT Bancroft Village Playhouse, www.bancroftvillageplayhouse.ca 1 877-322-4682 or www.boxofficebancroft.com  Dec 12 – Next Generation Leahy Christmas Concert – 2pm & 7pm. Tickets $25 and available at Harvest Moon, Posies, Hospice

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A cut above the rest.

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Visits are free. No obligation. Compliments of local businesses. Sharon: (613) 475-5994 sharon.welcome2014@gmail.com

1-844-299-2466 www.welcomewagon.ca

D ec 17 - The Christmas Office Party Starring The Blues Boyler. 7:30pm Tickets $20 and available at Harvest Moon, Posies, Hospice

presents author and naval historian Roger Litwiller 7:30 pm at Maranatha, 100 College Street W, Belleville. Ample parking and level access from the rear of the building www.hastingshistory.ca

Stirling Festival Theatre, West Front St., Stirling 613-395-2100 1-877-312-1162 www.stirlingfestivaltheatre.com

Jan 25 - Native Plants for the Garden: Peter Fuller, owner of Fuller Native and Rare Plants in Belleville, will discuss the benefits of using native plants in your garden, introduce the plants which are best for sustaining pollinators and birds and explain how to go about propagating native plants yourself! Quinte Field Naturalist meeting, 7 pm, Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church, Belleville. All welcome, by donation.

Nov 20 – Dec 31- Treasure Island PANTO - Ahoy Maties, the SFT Panto is setting sail for Treasure Island, tucked deep in the tropical Bay of Quinte! Shiver me timbers, there’s pirates, mermaids and seas creatures of all kind. Whether you’re a fan of the Family show or the Naughty show, you’ll love our panto-fied version of Treasure Island! Jan 9 - CDHS Jazz Bands annual fundraising concert to benefit the Campbellford Memorial. Featuring the Juno-nominated Maple Blues Award-winning The 24th Street Wailers. The 24th Street Wailers are experienced, road-tested and tougher than a two by four. Their major influence? The sounds from the freewheeling period in the ‘40s and ‘50s when the Blues gave birth to Rock and Roll in black communities in major American cities. When showmanship mattered. When the sax player, not the guitarist, got the girls. 7pm Prices: Youth $15, Adult $20 EVENTS Nov 13 – Jan 31 - Big Bright Light Show, Dundas St., downtown Napanee. Over 450,000 lights nightly 5-11pm. www.greaternapanee.com Dec 12 – Maynooth Brighten the Night Christmas Parade and Kids Party (at the ANAF after). Start time is 5 pm with set up on Young Street at 4 pm judging for prizes for best floats. Dec 20 – Queensborough Christmas Carolling Celebrations – Join in with your community from 2-4 pm for an old fashion sing song, a tree, treats and some fun gifts for every family. Call Katherine Sedgwick 613 473-2110 Jan 19 - From Tugboats to Nuclear Submarines, Shipbuilding in Trenton Hastings County Historical Society

Feb 6 & 7 – Marmora SnoFest 2016: Drawing on the adventurous tradition of sled dog racing, Marmora SnoFest celebrates a love of dogs, sport and community. SnoFest continues to be a destination for stellar sled dog racing and skijoring, attracting world-class competitors from Canada and beyond, and offers programming to entertain the whole family. www.marmorasnofest.ca Feb 14 – Queensborough’s St. Andrew’s United Church Suppers. 812 Bosley Road, Queensborough, ON Potluck Supper - Eat at 4 pm Info Joanie Sims 613 473-1087 Feb 16 - The Development of Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag. Hastings County Historical Society presents researcher and HCHS Director, Bill Kennedy. This free public presentation takes place at 7:30 pm at Maranatha, 100 College Street W, Belleville. Ample parking and level access from the rear of the building. www.hastingshistory.ca Feb 22 - Go West, and North, Young Man: Kyle Blaney, avid traveller, birdwatcher and nature photographer, will share stories and photos of some incredible wildlife encounters he’s experienced on an annual camping trip between his home in Belleville and his job in BC. Quinte Field Naturalist meeting, 7 pm, Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church, Belleville. All welcome, by donation.


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 info@countryroadshastings.ca or call us at 613 968-0499.

March 4 – 6 Belleville Downtown DocFest – 3 days of outstanding documentary films celebrating life and human dignity around the world and right here at home. www.downtowndocfest.ca

March 15 - Lighthouses of Eastern Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte. Hastings County Historical Society presents historian and author Marc Sequin. 7:30 pm at Maranatha, 100 College Street W, Belleville. Ample parking and level access from the rear of the building. www.hastingshistory.ca March 28 - American Kestrel - NA’s Smallest Falcon Once North America’s most abundant bird of prey, Ameri-

can 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 pm, Sills Auditorium, Bridge Street United Church, Belleville. All welcome, by donation.

April 25 - QFN Annual Fundraising Dinner: Birder Murder Mysteries by Steve Burrows. A Seige of Bitterns…A Pitying of Doves….A Cast of Falcons… Past recipient of a ‘Nature Writer of the Year’ award from the BBC’s Wildlife magazine, former editor of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Magazine, contributing field editor for Asian Geographic, Steve Burrows has now turned his passion for Nature into an award-winning mystery series. In his presentation, Steve will look at how the

marketplace

Celebrating Life in Hastings County

AUTOMOTIVE

LAWN & GARDEN

concept of weaving environmental themes into a crime story morphed into his Birder Murder mystery series. 6 pm St. Mark’s United Church, 237 Cannifton Road N., Belleville, Ontario. $25 per person. Call Doug Newfield for tickets 613-477-3066

TO BOOK YOUR MARKETPLACE ADVERTISEMENT PLEASE CALL 613-968-0499

SPECIALTY SHOPPING

SALES & SERVICE Wells Ford Sales Ltd

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

Wells

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

GRAVELY-ARIENS TROY-BILT-BOLENS

• 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)

Relax with a hot beverage & a sweet treat in the best smelling cafe... Leave with a fragrant reminder: • Fresh Cut Flowers • Giftware • Terraniums 29 Forsyth St., Marmora • 613.472.0330

www.flowersbysueontario.com flowersbysue2010@hotmail.com

Mon to Fri 9-5 Sat 9-4

Find us on Facebook

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

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

HEALTH

WEB DESIGN

W W W. T I K I T W E B. C O M SEASONAL

Celebrating Family, Friendship & Love

613-395-2596

www.stirlingmanor.com 218 Edward Street, Stirling

Winter 2015/2016 • Country Roads

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Back Roads

Home from Xmas Tree Drive, 1907 The group in the photo are members of the Holton family, wealthy Belleville lumber merchants. Charles Philip Holton married Harriet Louise Bowell, daughter of Mackenzie Bowell, Canada’s fifth prime minister. Charles Holton’s family lived at 223 Charles Street, Belleville, in the house on the right of the photograph, which was built in 1870. It burned down in 1959. The house on the left is still standing at the corner of Queen and Charles: this was owned by Charles’s brother, William Ezra Holton. Credit: The photo is from the “Holton Family fonds photograph album, Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County”.

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Country Roads • Winter 2015/2016


Bancroft Theatre District

Located behind TD Bank • Summer Patio • Daily Specials • Fresh Food & Friends Fresh Baked goods, Homemade Soups and Sandwiches, Paninis, Smoothies, Specialty Coffees

NO SANDING, NO STRIPPING, NO PRIMING

CAROMAL COLOUR PAINT

www.facebook.com/mixinmommas www.mixinmammas.com

613.332.6642

Bancroft Theatre District Shopping, theatre, dining, NEW SPECIAL EVENTS...and more Bridge & Hastings Streets in Downtown Bancroft For Details Visit Bancroft Theatre District on Facebook

Fun Starts Here! 13 Foot Candy Bar • Real Black Licorice • Black Balls • Retro Candy

• Gifts, Toys & Novelties

75 Hastings St. N

Downtown Bancroft on the Strip

613.332.2332

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

Alive with entertainment, first class shopping, and dining. Winter 2015/2016 • Country Roads I

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Me? I’m No Scaredy Cat! Well, Maybe Just A Little. Meet Carly. She’s 16, and has always been afraid of going to see the dentist. What she doesn’t know is that Sleep Dentistry is now used on both children and adults for everything including invasive procedures (like the tooth extraction she needs) to a simple hygiene cleaning.

It’s true. It’s safe, and it really works! How it's used depends on the severity of your anxiety and fear. If you are avoiding the dentist like Carly, we invite you to call our offices or visit us online to learn more about how Sleep Dentistry can turn you from a scaredy cat, into a fearless lioness.

IDC Madoc - 613-473-2142 IDC Deseronto - 613-396-2974

impressionsdentalcentres.com

IMPRESSIONS DENTAL CENTRES

Profile for COUNTRY ROADS, Celebrating Life in Hastings County

Country Roads Winter 2015/16 issue  

A seasonal community and lifestyle publication celebrating Hastings County and eastern Ontario, Canada.

Country Roads Winter 2015/16 issue  

A seasonal community and lifestyle publication celebrating Hastings County and eastern Ontario, Canada.

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