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Dr. Plant

December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17

Next edition January 7

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Keeping the sparkle in Christmas By Fred Sherwin The Orléans Star

Orléans is home to some of the most dazzling residential light displays in the city, including this home at 1135 Taffy Lane. For more light displays see page 16. FRED SHERWIN/PHOTO


In a year when the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of so many holiday traditions, it’s nice to know that in Orléans at least one tradition has proven to be immune from the coronavirus – and that’s the tradition of going for a drive around the neighbourhood and seeing all the brightly lit houses along the way. Orléans residents can count themselves lucky to live in a community in which so many people take pride in decorating the outside of their homes for Christmas. There may not have been a Parade of Lights this year, but you can still go on a parade of your own down Taffy Lane, or Princess Louise Drive, or Belcourt Blvd, and be awed by

the effort put in by the people who put dozens and in some case hundreds of hours of work so that others can enjoy the fruit of their labour. In Orléans, four men in particular, have been decorating their homes every Christmas for more than 30 years – and in one case, more than 50 years. Peter Abercrombie is largely considered to be among the first residents on Taffy Lane to start decorating his house. His is the house with the large Frosty the Snowman in the front yard as you first turn onto Taffy Lane from Fortune Drive. Abercrombie has been decorating the outside of his home for the past 43 years. He started doing it when he and his wife first bought the house in 1977.

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2 • December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17

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Council approves 3% tax increase STAR STAFF – Ottawa city council passed the 2021 budget last week, which among other things, includes a 3 per cent tax increase. That equates to an extra $115 on the municipal portion of next year’s property tax bill for the average urban homeowner and an $88 increase for the average rural homeowner. The budget also includes a 2.5 increase in the cost of an OC Transpo pass and a 4.5 per cent increase in water and sewer rates. The operating budget has a baked in $153.5 million deficit, largely due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city is hoping the upper levels of government will cover the deficit. If not, they will have to dip into their reserves.

Chapel Hill girl behind community Christmas tree By Fred Sherwin The Orléans Star

An 11-year-old girl from École élémentaire Étoile de l’Est is doing her best to keep the Christmas spirit alive in Chapel Hill this holiday season. Eloïse Boutin decided to hang a few ornaments on a large pine tree beside the school late last month after she had seen a similar thing done to a tree near a pathway linking Jeanne d’Arc Blvd. and Autumn Ridge Drive. After Eloïse placed the first ornaments on the tree near Étoile de l’Est, she made a poster which she distributed to her neighbours and posted on area mailboxes inviting others to add to the decorations. Since then dozens of ornaments have been placed on the branches to the point where the bottom half of the tree is now totally covered with decorations. In fact, Éloïse has had to make several trips to the tree with her parents to move some of the ornaments higher up to make room for even more decorations. The reason she invited her neighbours to help decorate the tree, is to spread a little cheer during a difficult time. “I wanted to make some joy and some happiness because during this time it’s a little bit hard to smile, so I wanted to make something where everyone could share in the happiness,” says Éloïse, who can hardly wait to see what the tree will look like on Christmas Eve. “I’m excited to see how many decorations will be on the tree on the 24th. Hopefully then we’ll have more snow too.” Éloïse’s mother Katia Boutin is tremendously proud of her daughter for wanting to do something the entire

neighbourhood could share in doing. “She came up with the idea. She picked the tree and she made all the signs,” says Boutin. “It’s pretty exciting.” Éloise even got her 13-year-old brother Raphaêl to help out and she taped a sign on the trunk of the tree The tree is located between the school parking lot and the outdoor rink near the entrance to Louis Perrault Park on Beausejour Drive just west of Hunter’s Run. Community Christmas trees have been popping up all around Orléans this year, but apparently not everyone appreciates them. Bernie James has been helping to decorate a couple of trees along side the path at the base of Tenth Line Road leading to the Ottawa River pathway. He started doing it four years ago when he noticed someone else had been hanging ornaments on the trees. He’s kept doing for others to enjoy, but this year he noticed at least a dozen of the ornaments had gone missing during the first week. After he replaced them, a half dozen or more went missing. “It’s a real shame, you know, that someone would do that. We have a real Grinch in Orléans,” says James. “When I first saw them a few years ago I thought, ‘Geez those look real neat. And then I started adding to it so that other folks could enjoy them like I do.” James is hoping that whoever is taking the ornaments will stop, or someone might catch them in the act and stop them. In the meantime, he isn’t going to let the ornament pinching Grinch discourage him from replacing the decorations so that those who do appreciate his efforts can continue to enjoy them.

Eloïse Boutin is the 11-year-old girl who started decorating a pine tree near École élémentaire École de l’Est late last month. STAR PHOTO


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December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17 • 3

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From our family to yours, thank you for your efforts this past year. Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

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By Fred Sherwin The Orléans Star

Just when you thought the COVID-19 nightmare at the Madonna Care Community on St. Joseph Blvd. couldn’t possibly get any worse, it apparently has. In two separate inspection reports penned by Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care, the nursing home was found to have committed 12 separate violations during the early months of the pandemic including improper infection controls, staff shortages, fire safety concerns and abuse. The Madonna Care Community has experienced three separate outbreaks since the pandemic began during which 47 residents and two employees have died. Specific to infection prevention and control at the nursing home, inspectors found multiple issues of non-compliance of the Long-Term Care Homes Act. They include the failure to ensure that staff participate in the implementation of the infection prevention and control program as it relates to COVID-19 screening; an incident

during which a staff member was recorded eating a cereal bar while not wearing their Personal Protective Equipment in a room with a resident present during an outbreak in April. Other violations were in respect to a lack of fire safety training for staff and one case of abuse recorded by the daughter of a resident who placed a camera in her mother’s room just before the pandemic began. The Madonna Care Community is owned and operated by Sienna Senior Living. The company conducted it’s own investigation into its policies and practices over the summer which resulted in six action items including the implementation of a zerotolerance policy and sensitivity training to address inappropriate behaviour by staff; the accelerating of staffing, recruiting and retention efforts; increased frontline training and the acquisition of additional health care expertise. As for the violations outlined by inspectors in their reports, Sienna says they are committed to implementing a nine-point


Orléans nursing home in hot water over long list of violations

action plan in consultation with the Ministry. In the meantime, they have to answer to the family members of their residents who are outraged over the litany of violations cited in the inspection reports which came to a boiling point during a virtual town hall meeting on December 10. Prior to the meeting, family council chair

Betty Yakimenko, whose own mother lives at the nursing home, warned management to expect some fireworks. In an interview with CBC Ottawa, Yakimento said they had no idea how angry the families are. “They were angry before, now they’re just off the charts,” she said.

O U R S H OW R O O M I S O P E N ! P L E A S E V I S I T O U R W E B S I T E T O L E A R N A B O U T O U R S A F E T Y P R O T O C O L S ! Proud supporters


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December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17 • 5

Comfort and joy Christmas well-wishers have been offering, “Tidings of comfort and joy,” to friends and loved ones for as far back as the 16th century. The song, often referred to as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, has been a popular Christmas carol in the English-speaking world for centuries. It was even referred to in Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” It’s been sung in good times and in bad, during world wars, financial strife, pandemics and plagues. The lyrics are especially pertinent this year at a time when far too many people – negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – won’t experience either comfort, or joy. For those who have both, they should consider themselves especially fortunate. Not everyone is so lucky. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lost wages and hundreds of people out of work. Food banks across the city and across the country are experiencing higher than normal demand and the number of calls to crisis lines is higher than ever. According to the Canada Suicide Prevention Service, there’s been a 200 per cent increase in calls and texts between October 2019 and the same month this year, and during the pandemic, between 15 and 20 per cent of those reaching out have mentioned COVID-19 as contributing to the desire to end their lives. God only knows the number of people who have ended their lives during the pandemic and weren’t able to call a crisis line first. The Toronto-based technology company, Delvinia, has been conducting a series of mental health surveys throughout the pandemic. The most recent survey, done in September, found that about one-fifth of the close to 1,000 respondents were experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, loneliness and depression. Eighteen per cent said they were very worried about their finances and 26 per cent said they were very worried about contracting COVID-19, or someone close to them getting sick. Although the survey didn’t differentiate between those respondents who had previously been diagnosed with a mental health issue and those that had not, there is no question that the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on people who were already being treated for anxiety and depression before it began. The holiday season has traditionally been a difficult time for people suffering from loneliness and depression. Throw in the stress, uncertainty and anxiety created by living under the shadow of the pandemic for the last nine months and the situation is exacerbated to the Nth degree. For those people there is no comfort or joy, this holiday season. If you think you might know someone in that situation, reach out to them. If you find yourself in that same situation, reach out to a friend, or call the Ottawa Mental Health Crisis Line at 613-722-6914. In the meantime, we should all take comfort and joy in our friends, our family members and the knowledge that there is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. – Fred Sherwin, editor

Fredrick C. Sherwin, Editor & Publisher The Orléans Star is a bi-weekly publication distributed to 44,000 residences in Blackburn Hamlet, Orléans and Navan. The newspaper is locally owned and operated by Sherwin Publishing Inc., 745 Farmbrook Cres., Orléans, ON. Inquiries and delivery issues should be sent to

6 • December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17

It’s been an interesting 2020 for freshman MPP from Orléans Where has the year gone? The holiday season has our front-line heroes and those who have made the arrived and 2021 is just around the corner. utmost effort to keep us all safe. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the last I want to emphasize that this holiday season we year and wish everyone in Orléans a happy and safe cannot forget to shop local and help our neighbours holiday season. and our friends who run many This past year has been among the great small businesses in Queen’s of the most difficult in our lives. The Orléans. They are businesses and Park COVID-19 pandemic has been people who are there to help our far-reaching and has impacted community in need. They sponsor Corner our community in ways we would our sports teams and our local never have imagined. Whether it’s charities. Now more than ever, it is Stephen Blais your business, your job, or your time we show them support. personal life, COVID-19 has affected us all. Despite While we can’t all gather in person this year, I these hard times, our community has heeded the advice know that Orléans residents will find creative ways of public health officials and we have done our part to connect with loved ones and celebrate the holidays in curbing the spread, while still displaying kindness from a distance. So as you celebrate, please be and compassion to one another. I am humbled by mindful of public health guidelines, practise physical the collective effort that our community has made to distancing and, most importantly, enjoy your holidays. support one another during this unprecedented time. While this holiday season will be unlike any other we Over the last several months, I have joined my have celebrated before, the warm holiday spirit that Liberal colleagues in calling on the government to fills our hearts remains the same. invest in our pandemic response and recovery. As we My office will temporarily shut down as of Friday, move into the New Year, we will continue to advocate December 18th and reopen on Monday, January 4th. on behalf of our most vulnerable populations and Please do not hesitate to reach out to ensure that there is a clear and transparent COVID-19 with your thoughts or if you have any vaccination rollout plan that includes prioritizing high- questions. risk Ontarians. From my family to yours, I wish you and your As we come to the holiday season, I wanted to loved ones a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a express my sincere gratitude to the people of Orléans, healthy 2021!

Presenting the 28th annual Fredzee Awards Is it over yet? Seriously. In the words of Queen Elizabeth, 2020 has been the Annus horribilis of all Annus horribilises. The Queen coined the phrase during her Ruby Jubilee address in 1992, a year in which Prince Andrew and Sarah the Duchess of York separated; Princess Anne and Mark Philips divorced; and the release of Diana’s tell all book Diana: Her True Story. I’m sure even Liz would admit that the year she went through in 1992 pales in comparison to the year we’ve just been through and what still lies ahead. So for better or worse, here are this year’s Fredzee Awards. The year’s BIGGEST winners... 1) Joe Biden (The former vice-president came back from near oblivion after losing the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary to win the South Carolina primary and eventually the U.S. presidency.) 2) Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM) shareholders (On Dec. 31, 2019 Zoom stock was trading at $66.38 a share. On Dec. 11, 2020, it closed at $419 a share.) 3) The folks who sold Skype to Microsoft in 2011 for the tidy sum of $8.5 million, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, three years after they bought the company from ebay for $1.9 billion. The year’s BIGGEST losers... 1) Microsoft (The high tech giant recently announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021.) 2) The thousands of people who caught the coronavirus after attending a Donald Trump rally without wearing a mask or social distancing.

Up Front Fred Sherwin Biggest Stories of 2020 1) The COVID-19 pandemic (An obvious no-brainer. What started out as a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, quickly spread around the world, killing more than 1.6 million people as of December 15 and adversely impacting the economies of every single economy, including our own.) 2) The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines (What would normally take years has only taken months, providing the world with a bright light at the end of the COVID pandemic tunnel.) 3) The U.S. Presidential election (Aside from the development of the COVID-19 viruses, nothing has provided a brighter light in this dimly lit year than the defeat of Donald Trump.) 4) The death of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25 (The incident sparked massive protests around the world and raised the profile of the Black Lives Matter movement to an entirely new level and helped fuel the rise of Joe Biden to the U.S. presidency.) Newsmaker of the Year The COVID-19 virus – 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the vaccine will help get us on the road back to normal, it will take years for the economy to recover.

The Unsung Heroes of the Year Award To all the front line health care workers who must deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic at the risk of their own health every single day. Top Local Stories of 2020 1) More than 50 residents died after being infected by the COVID-19 virus at the Madonna Care Community in Orléans. 2) The ongoing saga over Rick Chiarelli’s legal issues. 3) The acquittal of the police officer who was involved in the death of Abdirahman Abdi in July 2016. Saddest Stories of the Year 1) The deaths of thousands of seniors in Canada’s long-term care facilities. Sadder still is the fact that too many seniors are still dying after catching the virus in a place where they should be relatively safe. 2) The shooting spree that claimed the lives of 22 people in Nova Scotia over a two-day period from April 18-19. The Story that Would Be the Biggest Story of the Year in Canada if not for the COVID-19 Virus To the WE Charity scandal and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lame explanation as to why and how the management of a $900-million student grant program was sole-sourced to the WE Charity despite the fact that Trudeau and former Finance Minister Bill Morneau both having family connections to the organization. The WTF Award Donald Trump suggests that people should ingest disinfectant to combat the coronavirus or have a “very powerful light” brought inside their body, which can be done “either through the skin or some other way.”

Train Wreck of the Year Award To Rudy Giuliani who becomes the first repeat winner of this award. The press conference he held during which his hair dye started running down the side of his face was priceless. The Definition of Irony Donald Trump and most of the people around him were infected by the COVID-19 virus after attending rallies and other events without a mask or the benefit of social distancing. The Fakest Fake News Story of 2020 Donald Trump’s constant assertions that the presidential election was rigged. Strangest Story of the Year A man named Adolf Hitler wins election in Namibia and promises he’s an OK guy. Adolf Hitler Uunona was given his name by his father. Adolf was elected to city council during Namibia’s elections on Nov. 27. A Special Place in Heaven To Kobe Bryant, Sean Connery, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Eddy Van Halen, Alex Trebek, Olivia de Havilland, Bill Withers, Vera Lynn, Diego Maradona, Lou Brock and Gayle Sayers – all of whom passed away in 2020. Three phrases that can’t be removed from the English lexicon soon enough 1) The new normal 2) Fake news 3) We’re all in this together Quote of the Year “One day – it’s like a miracle – it will disappear,” Donald Trump, referring to the prevalence of the coronavirus in the United States during a press conference in the White House on Feb. 27.

December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17 • 7

Orléans councillor looks back on Freshman east end councillor a very productive past 12 months looking forward to the year ahead As we begin to wrap up 2020, and head into the Christmas holidays, I find myself reflecting on the last two years. The challenges, the wins both big and small, and the road ahead. We’ve dealt with some tough files at council, many of which have divided us – from the persistent problems we had with the LRT, to the debates surrounding the Salvation Army building and the Fairmont Château Laurier, to the 2021 budget, the future of Lansdowne Park and the ward boundary review (which is literally divisive for us in the east end). Throughout this process, I have been an honest compromise broker. Sometimes we are successful, and sometimes we are not, but what matters most is the effort to work together, and I refuse to be discouraged by when we aren’t able to achieve the compromise we’re looking for. It is important to continue to try and I want you to know that I always will. Still, we have been able to achieve so much these last two years, in every corner

of our ward. We launched the Ottawa Veterans Task Force; renewed and improved pathways; rebuilt bridges; improved safety for pedestrians with new crosswalks; installed a COVID-19 Care Centre at Ray Friel; built a climbing wall at the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Centre; helped to make Petrie Island more accessible with the help of a new floating wheelchair (thanks to Community Pentecostal and Petrie Summer Smash); supported this local paper; brought our local artists into the spotlight with our Together Apart fundraiser for our Resource Centres and with new art installations coming soon to Bob McQuarrie; maximized our traffic calming budget; painted pickleball lines at all of our tennis courts; and began the largest Economic Development initiative Orléans has ever seen – one that will encourage affordable housing and attract the jobs and amenities we have needed for a long time. And we have done so much more. I’m looking forward to the next two years. I hope you are, too.

What a year. It brought us challenges we The borders of our wards changed through had never imagined we’d have to face. At the a controversial Ward Boundary Review same time, it afforded many an opportunity process. to slow down, reflect, take At a time when ecoin moments of solitude nomic and social unand connect with our certainty is abound, city immediate surroundings. council passed a difficult While the world, the budget aimed at being country and our city prudent and balanced. coped with a new reality Under the leadership Cumberland Ward 19 and shifted focus, it’s easy of Emergency and Proto forget that progress tective Services departcontinued to be made. ment a vaccine distribution task force was In just the few short months since I took created, and this week, Ottawa receives my seat around the virtual city council table, its first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s much has happened. COVID-19 vaccine – marking the beginning Thanks to the tireless work of my of an unprecedented vaccination effort in our colleagues, a COVID-19 testing centre community. opened in the east end. Council unanimously When months have at once flown by and felt approved Energy Evolution, the Ottawa’s like they were in slow motion, the needle has strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. continued to move, and the resiliency of our The City began seeking public input community has never been more prevalent. on a New Official Plan that will guide the From my household to yours, I wish you development of our city until 2046. and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday. We saw a huge milestone for the Stage 2 In a year during which we helped one Light Rail Transit East Extension with the another by staying apart, let us join in a demolition of the two Hwy. 174 bridge decks unanimous wish for the New Year – health that cross Montreal Road. and happiness in 2021.

Catherine Kitts

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Dr. Plant and her team want to wish you a Merry Christmas. Nous vous souhaitons un joyeux Noël.






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Christmas in Orléans

Local pols share their fondest Christmas memories The Orléans Star recently asked a number of local politicians to share their fondest memories of Christmases past. Here are their recollections. My fondest Christmas memory goes back to 1994. That Christmas will always be engraved in the hearts of my husband and I as it was the very first Christmas we got to spend with our beloved daughter, Monica. As she was not yet even a month old, her presence and addition to our family truly was the most amazing and precious Christmas Marie-France gift we could Lalonde have wished for. Besides, our sweet little baby also blessed us that Christmas by sleeping all through the night for the first time on Christmas Eve. I remember it as a peaceful, serene, and cozy night. The magic of Christmas was truly among us. Christmas has always meant uniting my husband’s family with mine to share memorable moments. That year, not only did we get to include Monica in our celebration for the first time, we also gathered four generations under the same roof. Looking back, that get-together was a true blessing since it was the last time all four generations of my family were gathered – sadly, Monica’s great-grandparents passed away shortly

after that magical Christmas. Coming from a large family, Christmas Day has always been such a warm and heartfelt moment. I cherish memories of laughter, happiness, and love – and that love was amplified when Monica joined us. – Marie-France Lalonde

My most cherished holiday memories are a smattering of images and moments that all centre on the warmth of time spent with my family. One particularly special holiday memory of mine was of a Christmas Eve, when my husband and I, in an effort to keep our young children awake in anticipation of attending midnight mass, tucked the family into the car, along with an ample supply of hot chocolate and sugar cookies, for a tour of east end Christmas lights. We stopped at Taffy Lane and visited our Laura Dudas favourite decorated homes on Belcourt Blvd. and Larkhaven Cres. As a fresh dusting of snow fell, we stopped at a park for an impromptu snowball fight, with the parents getting the brunt of the attack, of course! TTHEW LU“It was such a simple evening, nothing LOFF formal, nothing Councillor, Ward 1forced, and it exemplified

that the sense of togetherness with loved ones, the beauty of the season and nature, and the happiness of the holiday are hallmarks of some of my most beloved Christmas memories. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays and may you create many new joyful memories this holiday season. – Laura Dudas Innes Ward

Christmas is a time that we reflect on the love we have for who is with us, but often it is about reflecting on who is no longer with us. My fondest Christmas memory is the last Christmas I spent with my grandfather, Melville Taylor, an Matt Luloff incredible man who served with the British Commonwealth Air Training Program during the Second World War. My last real Christmas with him was in his 96th year in 2013. He was lively, funny and cared for me deeply. I miss our conversations and I miss his advice. We drank beer from old German steins and enjoyed deep and meaningful conversation. I visited him every week that next year until he passed away at 97. Christmas is about love and giving, but it

is also about remembering. The best present is presence. – Matt Luloff Orléans Ward

Like so many children, Christmas was the holiday I most looked forward to. My mother is French Canadian, and « réveillon » was the main event of our holiday traditions. For those who are unfamiliar, réveillon is a celebration that starts late on Christmas Eve and goes nearly all night. French Canadians attend mass and then feast, give gifts and revel until the wee hours of Christmas morning. The food served at réveillon, with Catherine Kitts traditional tourtière as the centrepiece, speaks to the history of francophones in Ontario and across Canada. Food and presents aside, the best part of réveillon was always that it was a large celebration that included all my extended family. About 30 of us would gather in one room to eat, drink and celebrate the year that was. The togetherness that is so central to our holiday celebrations won’t be possible this year, but we have every reason to hope that next year’s Christmas will be extra special. – Catherine Kitts Cumberland Ward


MATTHEW LULOFF Ward / Quartier 1 Orléans

LAURA DUDAS Ward / Quartier 2 Innes


Ward / Quartier 11 Beacon Hill-Cyrville

CATHERINE KITTS Ward / Quartier 19 Cumberland

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Orléans 613-837-3800 • Ottawa 613-596-1900 • Embrun 613-443-2272 14 • December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17

Pandemic won’t stop Santa from making his rounds Ho-ho-ho boys and girls. How is everyone doing? I hope you are all healthy and well and being good little girls and boys. I know the past nine months have been very difficult with the coronavirus affecting everyone’s lives. Many of you haven’t been able to visit Grandma and Grandpa, and I haven’t been able to see you this year either. I miss seeing all of you, but don’t worry, the coronavirus won’t stop Christmas and it won’t stop me and my reindeer from going around the world on Christmas Day to deliver presents to everyone. We’ve all been quarantining at the North Pole together and wearing our face masks, as I’m sure you have. The Pfizer company was very nice in sending someone to the North Pole to give me the vaccine. I should be getting the second dose in time for Christmas so I won’t have to worry about going into everyone’s houses. While the elves have been very busy in the workshop, Mrs. Claus and I have been busy reading all your letters and Christmas

St. Nick Guest column wishes. I’ve also been chatting with many of you on the radio. A lot of boys and girls have been making a Christmas wish to bring the vaccine to their grandparents, but although Santa can do a lot of magical things, I’m not a scientist. The vaccine is a type of medicine that will protect people from catching the coronavirus. It will be given to people using a needle just like the flu shot which many of you may have already gotten this year. Scientists around have been working on a vaccine for many months and now they have several that look like they will work. The next step is to make enough of

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whatever sport you like to play. You will be able to visit your friends, or have them come over to your house. You will even be able to visit your grandparents anytime you want. Best of all, I will be able to see you at Place d’Orléans and have my Parade of Lights which sadly had to be canceled this year. But that’s next year. The coronavirus has changed a lot of things, but it can’t change the spirit and magic of Christmas. The truest way to celebrate Christmas is to think about the people around you and how to bring the greatest happiness to them. It could be something as simple as giving your mother or father a hug, or putting away your toys after you play with them without being told to. Maybe you could pick up your brother’s or sister’s toys and put them away – that would be extra nice. Well, Santa has to stop writing now. There’s still a lot of things to do before we start loading up the sleigh. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and all your dreams come true.

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the vaccine to give it to everybody, which will take a long time. The first people who will get the vaccine are all the brave men and women who work at the hospitals. Then they will give it to the people who work at senior homes and the people who live there and eventually your grandma and grandpa and your mother and father and your brothers and sisters and even you, so by next Christmas I will be able to see you all in person again. I know it’s been a very difficult time for many of you. You can’t see your friends and play with them as much as you would like to. School has been especially difficult, but your teachers and your parents have been doing everything they can to help. A lot of boys and girls have been telling me that they miss playing sports and going to the movies, or having birthday parties, but all of that will change eventually and things will slowly go back to normal. By this time next year, or even sooner, you will be able to go the movies again. You will be able to play hockey, soccer or football, or






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December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17 • 15

Star light, star bright

1360 Belcourt Blvd. 1092 Taffy Lane

6086 Rivercrest Dr.

309 Elderberry Terrace 16 • December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17

1143 Cholette Cres.

1481 Deavy Way

Take a tour of Orléans’ best and brightest light displays By Fred Sherwin The Orléans Star

You can start the tour at any of the houses along the route, but I would suggest starting in Chatelaine Village where you will find a pair of impressive light displays on Pintail Terrace and Elderberry Terrace. The two streets and a block apart off Lawnsberry Crescent. The home at 309 Elderberry Terrace has more than 60 holiday inflatables wrapped around the property. If you roll down your window, you will immediately notice the noise that more than 60 holiday inflatables make when they are all running at the same time. I’m not quite sure how many power bars they need to plug in all those inflatables, but they must have quite a few. The home at 268 Pintail Terrace has more than 20,000 lights which are all synchronized to Christmas music. The best way to enjoy the display is to get out of your car and take it all in.

From Pintail Terrace, take Lawnsberry back to Jeanne d’Arc Blvd. Drive west to Orléans Blvd. where you will take a lefthand turn and proceed to the next set of lights where you will turn left again on to Sugar Creek Way. Don’t be surprised if you run into a small traffic jam, because this is where you can access Taffy Lane where you will find more than a dozen brightly decorated houses. The best way to enjoy the light displays is to leave your car in the Orléans United Church parking lot and proceed to Taffy Lane on foot. It should take you anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes to stroll down the street and return to your vehicle. When you finish walking down Taffy Lane you will return to your car by walking down Sugar Creek Way where you will see another spectacular house on your left. When you get back in your car, take Orleáns Blvd. south to Lumberman Way on the other side of the Hwy. 174 overpass. Turn left on to Lumberman

Way and then right on to Grey Nuns Drive. Follow Grey Nuns to Fieldstone Crescent where you will see two brightly lit residences – one at 1678 Grey Nuns Drive and the other just on the corner at 1692 Fieldstone. From there find your way back to St. Joseph Blvd. and turn left. Drive two blocks eastbound and turn left again on to Dussere Street across from the St. Hubert. Dussere runs into Cholette Cres., where you will find the Giroux residence on the left. Take Dussere back to St. Joseph Blvd. and continue east to Belcourt Blvd. where you will turn right at the Pioneer gas station and find the Léger residence on the righthand side of the street just past the entrance to the Belcourt Retirement Community. The Légers have been decorating their home for the past 21 years. A lot of the mechanical decorations in the front yard and the carport were made by Gilles himself. If you have time to fully take in

475 Princess Louise Dr. the display, you can park your car on Notre Dame Street which is less than a block away. From Belcourt, drive east on St. Joseph Blvd. to Prestone Drive and turn right. Follow Prestone up the hill and continue south past Tompkins Avenue. Your first left after Tompkins is Deavy Way where you will find another impressive display. Continue along Deavy Way and turn right at Tompkins. Take

Tompkins across Tenth Line Road, then turn left at the next set of lights on to Princess Louise Drive where you will see a number of nicely decorated houses including the home at 475 Princess Louise Dr. pictured above. Other houses that are worth checking out if you have the time are at 801 Brissac Way in Fallingbrook, 6086 Rivercrest Dr. in Chapel Hill and 412 Larkhaven Queenswood Heights.

Wishing you a Holly Jolly Holiday Season and A Happy New Year! Je vous souhaite un joyeux temps des fêtes et une bonne et heureuse année!

MP|Députée fédérale Orléans

Marie-France LALONDE (613) 834-1800

December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17 • 17

Four men, the pioneers of Xmas light displays in Orléans Continued from page 1 He continued it after his kids were born and now does it to entertain his grandchildren and maintain Taffy Lane’s position as the most visited residential street in Ottawa during the Christmas season. Abercrombie normally flips the switch for his lights on Dec. 1, but this year, because of the pandemic, he turned them on a week and a half early. “People were already walking down the street and they were walking by dark houses so I turned them on to give them something to see and I’ve been turning them on every night ever since,” says Abercrombie. Gilles Léger lives at 1360 Belcourt Blvd. He’s been decorating the front of his house since 1999, but before that he decorated previous homes on Princess Louise Drive and Oaklawn Crescent in Fallingbrook all the way back to their first home in Rockland some 48 years ago. He first started decorating the exterior of his home as a way to make up for his youth when his parents never had lights. “It’s the way to give back to the community what I was missing when I was a kid,” says Léger, who has three granddaughters age 13, 10 and 10. One year, one of his granddaughters asked him to turn on the lights so everyone on her school bus could see the lights. The only problem was that the bus only drove by the house in the morning. In the afternoon it took a different route.

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Gilles Léger

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“The bus went by the house at eight o’clock every morning, but on this particular morning in was overcast so I turned on the lights and the bus stopped right in front of the house and the children were all looking were their faces pressed against the windows. It was really something to see,” says Léger, who starter turning on his lights two weeks earlier than other years because of the pandemic. Not far from Belcourt Blvd. is the Giroux residence on Cholette Crescent. Don Giroux has been decorating the exterior of his house since 1980. Like his fellow exterior Christmas lighting pioneers, he started doing it for his children and is now inspired by his grandchildren. Maurice Faubert, has been decorating the outside of his house at 1646 Trim Rd. ever

since he and his wife first built the place more than 50 years ago, giving them the distinction of having the longest continuously decorated house in Orléans. “Every year we kept adding a little bit more and a little bit more,” says Faubert who has two grandsons age nine and 12. All four men agree that touring the various Christmas light displays in Orléans offers families a great excuse to get out of the house during the pandemic. “It’s something families can do together and feel safe,” says Léger. You can take a tour of the most brightly decorated homes in Orléans on pages 16 and 17. So fill up the thermos with some hot chocolate, pick up a few snacks and trip the lights fantastic.

Maurice Faubert

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Area churches find alternate ways to celebrate Christmas this year By Fred Sherwin The Orléans Star The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on churches and the way people worship in cities and towns across Canada, including Orléans. Some churches are still holding services under the current provincial guidelines limiting indoor gatherings to 30 per cent capacity while respecting the requirement for proper social distancing and the wearing of face masks. Others have made the transition to virtual services. All of them have been impacted financially. With the period of Advent now upon us, churches in and around Orléans have been planning their Christmas services taking into account the provincial COVID-19 regulations while trying to address spiritual needs of their congregations. The Divine Infant Parish is the largest Roman Catholic Parish in Orléans. They have scheduled Christmas Eve services at 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

and midnight. Christmas Day services will be held at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon. In all cases, parishioners must pre-register on the church’s website. The 10 a.m. Christmas Day service will also be live-streamed on the church’s YouTube channel. As per the provincial regulations, the traditional singing of hymns is prohibited, but communion is still offered as long as each parishioner maintains proper social distancing until the host is offered which they must receive in their outstretched palms at arms length. The Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Parish on Innes Road is following the same guidelines with Chirstmas Eve service at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Christmas Day service will be held at 10 a.m. Queenswood United Church has a small congregation, so meeting indoors isn’t a big problem for them. Of course like every church, there is no singing, instead they have been reciting the words to the songs during Advent services.

The church will have an open service on Christmas Eve starting at 7 p.m. with music provided by Lynne Stacey. Communion will be offered as members of the congregation leave the church. The situation is very similar at Grace Presbyterian. The church is holding its traditional candlelight service at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, but with a slight variation, instead of using real candles those in attendance are being asked to bring an electric candle Since only a quarter of the pews can be used, seating is limited to 50-60 people and attendees must register in advance. Although singing is prohibited, a small choir of four will be performing the traditional carols and hymns at the front of the church behind plexiglass to keep everyone safe. The service will also be live-streamed on the church’s website. St. Helen’s Anglican Church in Queenswood Heights will be limiting it’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services to online

only. The proceedings will be live-streamed on the church’s website at Orléans United Church is doing the same thing. Their Christmas Eve service will be available on their YouTube channel. Simply type Orleans United Church into the YouTube search bar. St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Navan will be holding Christmas Eve service at 4 p.m. and a Christmas Day service at 10 a.m. As is the case at other churches holding in-person services, attendees must preregister to attend due to the limited seating arrangements. You can register by visiting You can also attend the services virtually via Zoom, which you can log on to by visiting the church’s website at If in doubt, the best way to find out when and how a church is celebrating Christmas this year is to call or email their office. – With notes by Aislin Lionais



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S H O P, T O U R A N D B U Y O N L I N E 20 • December 17, 2020 • Volume 35, No. 17

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