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Culture Home Recreation Early Spring 2014 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

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Welcome Spring! FEATURING

The Aylmer Performing Arts Series Port Stanley Terminal Rail Memories in Wool Rug Hooking Group Indulging a Fancy for Hostas Pizza from Heritage Line Herbs Chef Cindy Bircham's Apple, Orange & Wheat Berry Salad


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FROM THE EDITOR Spring—it’s a good time to think about taking a new direction in your work or play. In this edition of Relish Elgin you will find examples of local people trying a new twist on what has gone before. The Aylmer Performing Arts Council has presented an annual series of high-calibre Canadian talent for more than twenty years—one of the shows for 2014/15 will be a novel experience for most as a live multi-piece orchestra will provide sound for the classic 1921 silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The members of the Memories in Wool hooking group discovered a centuries old craft based on recycling and shape it to their own personal styles. Elgin County’s longest running tourist attraction, the Port Stanley Terminal Rail, has long maintained hopes for a connection into downtown St. Thomas—that happened this past September and they now look forward to broadening opportunities for their event train. Justin Benner of Heritage Line Herbs writes about the art of pizza making, the latest evolution for the tobacco farm turned herb farm and tea room. The hosta, an old plant stand-by with some great local sources has taken off in popularity with new colours, shapes and sizes to become the subject of plant addiction for many gardeners. “The patterns are simple, but followed together, they make for a whole that is wiser than the sum of its parts. Go for a walk; cultivate hunches; write everything down, but keep your folders messy; embrace serendipity; make generative mistakes; take on multiple hobbies; frequent coffeehouses and other liquid networks; follow the links; let others build on your ideas; borrow, recycle; reinvent. Build a tangled bank.” —Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

Debra RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2014

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 4 Aylmer Performing Arts Series: A Sweet Musical Deal A look ahead at the 2014/15 Season

7 The PSTR & St. Thomas Railway Corridor 12 The Art of Making Memories in Wool

Rug hooking with Gail McNaughton

16 Elgin Map & What's in Season 18 The Season's Events in Elgin 25 Indulging a Fancy for Hostas Welcome spring with these diverse foliage plants

28 Talking Pizza

By Justin Benner of Heritage Line Herbs

30 Recipe: Apple, Orange & Wheat Berry Salad By Chef Cindy Bircham

Cover image ©istockphoto.com/EBlokhina Editor • Debra Bagshaw • editor@relishelgin.ca Design • Joanne Rowles • jo@relishelgin.ca Advertising Info • ads@relishelgin.ca TO SUBSCRIBE Send a cheque for $10 (to cover mailing) to the following address. Includes 5 issues. Relish Elgin Magazine P.O. Box 20058, St. Thomas, ON, N5P 4H4 519-633-1992

www.relishelgin.ca

Copyright 2014, Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. All rights reserved. Relish Elgin is published by Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. Reproduction of any material published in Relish Elgin is strictly prohibited without the written permission of the Publisher.

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Entertainment

A Sweet Musical Deal AYLMER PERFORMING ARTS SERIES

The Aylmer Performing Arts Council (APAC) has become known for bringing their community a series of high-calibre, Canadian music in a variety of genres. There is always an anticipatory buzz on the evening when they announce the shows for the upcoming season. This past January, council members seemed to be just about bursting to share what they had come up with for 2014/15. Once again, it looks like a crowd-pleasing sampling of the depth and breadth of Canadian musical talent and the opportunity to see it live. Check out the schedule on page 6. Sounds of the 2013/14 season, which winds up in April, have ranged from John McDermott’s sweet tenor refrains to the alt-rocker beat of Cuff the Duke. Margo Bode, who is a member of the

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performance selection committee of APAC, chatted recently about the current and upcoming seasons. Margo notes, “We try to appeal to a wide audience, to offer variety and to include something a little bit ‘rockier’. Not everyone loves everything but our season’s ticket holders are receptive to variety— they are there to hear the music.” Last November, Margo eagerly introduced Cuff the Duke to the stage. She had suggested the band for the series, and there may have been a tiny hint of apprehension in her voice as she wondered if the audience would share her enthusiasm. Heading into their first set, the band did seem a little taken aback by the quietness of the crowd, with frontman Wayne Petti commenting “I am not used to hearing myself tuning.” However, as the evening progressed

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Entertainment they seemed to realize that the audience, though not noisy, was attentively appreciative of their talents. The night ended with a moment of live performance magic when all of the band members stepped to the front of the stage to sing acapella. The current season kicked off with Patricia O’Callaghan’s interpretation of Leonard Cohen songs. Although not everyone in the audience was familiar with O’Callaghan, they were quickly captivated by her expressive voice, dramatic instinct, sense of humour, and talented back-up musicians. Two avid O’Callaghan fans had even come from Michigan for the show in Aylmer.

Of her own decision to become part of APAC Margo says, “We bought tickets for a number of years, thought it was such a good community event, and also a way to show off our Town Hall.” Performers themselves inevitably express their admiration for the venue. The 1874 Old Town Hall was painstakingly restored over several years to reopen in 1983. The upstairs was formerly an Opera House—its beautiful Italianate design, balcony seating and outstanding acoustics make it the perfect place for music. Enjoy the venue with a season’s pass ($100 for seven shows) and you have one of the sweetest musical deals to be found anywhere.

O’Callaghan’s show also led to the inclusion of a novel twist in selections for the 2014/15 season. Margo notes that everyone on the selection committee brings something to the table. Kevin Morrell had been intrigued by band member Andrew Downing’s mention of a venture of his in which a live multi-piece orchestra provides sound and effects for the silent horror movie, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Kevin investigated further and, as a result, the show of live music combined with screening of the 1921 ground-breaking German expressionist film will come to Aylmer in October 2014. In February 2015, another committee member, Aylmer musician Tom Starks, will step onto the stage along with singer Denise Pelley and Rhythm Nocturne, a seven piece band, to feature lush rhythm and blues tunes of the 60s and 70s. Those who are familiar with Tom’s projects know this will be an exceptional evening—a wonderful winter warmer that may well involve dancing in the aisles. On-going support by community sponsors is a vital part of APAC’s success. Says Margo, “I can’t stress how much we value our sponsors. They are what allows us to bring these performances to the community.” The volunteers of APAC have brought a world of talent to Aylmer for more than twenty years.

Above: 2013/14 APAC Series performer Patricia O'Callaghan (Mark Girdauskas, Photos by MG) Opposite: APAC committee members are (from left) Tracey Tiersma, Suzanne Steed, Kevin Morrell, Tom Starks, Susan Morrell, Mary Van Roestel, Margo Bode, Rick Starks and John Bardwell; absent from photo are Pauline Krygsman, Judy Mennill and Peter Blain (April Laroche, Jersey Photography)

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Entertainment

The 2014–2015 Season An Evening with Ian Thomas

Sat September 13, 2014 – An internationally acclaimed Juno winning artist, Thomas has over 15 albums and as many top twenty songs and his music has been covered by Santana, America, Chicago and Anne Murray.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Sat October 11, 2014 – A live multi piece orchestra on the stage will provide sound and effects for the 1921 silent movie, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Jack de Keyzer

Sat November 8, 2014 – A two times Juno and seven times Maple Blues award winning artist, blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer, Jack will perform with his 5 piece band.

Kim Stockwood

Fri December 5, 2014 – Kim Stockwood’s east coast influence is guaranteed to engage as she performs music from her Christmas CD I Love Santa, her pop hits from the 90s and new contemporary music from her Back to the Water CD.

Danny Michel

Sat January 17, 2015 – Danny is a multi-instrumentalist, singer song-writer and producer from Kitchener-Waterloo. With three Juno nominations and 10 albums under his belt, his honest and thoughtful lyrics will charm.

Rhythm Nocturne

Sat February 21, 2015 – Tom Starks and Denise Pelley with seven piece band Rhythm Nocturne will feature lush rhythm and blues tunes from the late 60s and 70s.

Emilie Claire Barlow

Sat March 21, 2015 – Emilie has released a string of albums, racking up multiple awards and nominations and pleasing audiences as she applies her ethereal voice to innovative arrangements from ballads to bossa novas to jazz standards. Ottawa-based musical storyteller Jeremy Fisher caps off the 2013/14 series on April 12th. Season’s tickets ($100) go on sale May 1st and individual performance ticket sales ($25) start July 1st. For more information, visit www.artsinaylmer.com or www.facebook.com/AylmerPerformingArtsCoucil or call 519-765-3039. Above (from top): Ian Thomas, Jack de Keyzer (photo by Mark Zelinski Photographic Design), Kim Stockwood (photo by Greg Locke) and Danny Michel (photo by Ilia Horsburgh).

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Recreation

The Pstr & St. Thomas RailWay Corridor The Port Stanley Terminal Rail (PSTR) marked their 30th anniversary in 2013 and also brought their train into downtown St. Thomas for the first time. It was another milestone in a long list of PSTR achievements, and one which has them excited about expanding their horizons into the future. In 1983, the founders of the PSTR recognized the potential of a tourist railroad based in the picturesque lakeside community of Port Stanley, running through some lovely scenery, with historical connections, and large markets nearby. Over the years, the PSTR has expanded upon their offering of regularly scheduled scenic rides with the addition of seasonal and specialty trains. Appealing to both adults and children, it is now Elgin County’s longest running tourist attraction. At the heart of the PSTR’s charm is the fact that it is nostalgic and authentic—real trains run on real tracks which cross travelled highways.

Operating a railroad since 1983 has required contributions by volunteers of countless hours— labouring on stock and tracks (initially finding them buried under trees, weeds, mud and pavement) and coordinating their repair; innumerable meetings and negotiations to secure right of way from CN; dealing with the insurance crisis of 1985, and with a myriad of red tape. It wasn’t until 1987 that the PSTR received a Provincial railway charter, the first under the Ontario Railway Act since 1927. Not till the passing of the Ontario Shortline Railways Act in December of 1995 were several of the PSTR’s operating restrictions (stopping at each road crossing, limited hours of operation) released.

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Recreation

A PSTR train pulls into the newly reconstructed L&PS Station in downtown St. Thomas. In 2012 PSTR members were asked to consider bringing their train to downtown St. Thomas. That would be made possible by the planned reconnection of the track from Parkside to Moore and Talbot Streets, where a replica of the former St. Thomas L&PS Station was to be erected. It would bring the rail back to a city whose claim to the name “Railway Capital of Canada” was distinctly lacking in actual trains. It was an exciting development for the PSTR. They had always been eager to maintain a connection to St. Thomas. The L&PS St. Thomas to Port Stanley line was historically significant and the link could provide new tourism opportunities for the PSTR. PSTR president Dan Vernackt recalls, “In the 80s and early 90s PSTR took on CN to maintain a connection to the outside world. It was awarded an official connection with CN at the Barwick Street bridge area, but the track had already been removed against a board order. We were still connected through the

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now removed CASO corridor but continued meeting with city officials to carry on a dialogue in hopes of one day preserving the corridor through downtown St. Thomas. In the past, I had thought that since the city owned the right of way, it would make sense to erect a building where the original L&PS station stood and style it as a depot to house chamber or tourism offices. Fast forward to 2010 and the St. Thomas & Elgin Homebuilders’ L&PS station replica built for the International Plowing Match, along with a donation from the Palmer Estate toward development of the railway corridor … and the rest is history.” There was a vibrant feeling of excitement in the air at the Grand Opening of the Railway Corridor and the inaugural PSTR run on September 20th. Throughout the weekend, crowds eagerly awaited the arrival of the train at the L&PS Station and a chance to ride the rails—trains had returned to St. Thomas!

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Recreation As with most significant ventures, there were surprises along the way, and a multitude of details to work out that the public probably wasn’t aware of. Giving just one example, Dan says, “Even though it was an abandoned railway corridor, permission was needed from adjacent landowners at the two railway crossings to have the crossings re-installed.” In spite of the work involved in this latest project, the public’s enthusiasm is matched by the PSTR’s. They look forward to bringing their Entertainment Train into the city for special events and charters. Says Dan, “This train consists of cars built in 1937. One is outfitted for dining and the other is set up for entertainment with a licensed bar. Having this equipment in the downtown core has given it much more exposure and generated more inquires.” Several events are in the planning stages for the 2014 season and people will be experiencing more of the sight of trains running through the core. What they won’t see is commuter type service. Says Dan, “We still get phone calls from people who want to take the train from downtown London to the beach. Sorry, that ended in 1957. PSTR is a tourist railway expanding with more special events trains.” Down the tracks, Dan sees two main challenges for the PSTR organization. “The first is finding young people who will become involved to keep the trains running. Most of the volunteers are getting on in years and cannot commit the time they once had.

He continues, “The second issue that will affect us and anyone else in the industry is liability insurance. We have already seen steep increases in our premiums one month after the Lac Megantic, Quebec rail disaster. Somebody will have to pay for that … and sadly, it’s us even though we are not involved in it.” In spite of challenges like these, the PSTR group is optimistic about their expanded role. The opening of the railway corridor was an exciting way to celebrate their 30th anniversary, and it will bring to the public a range of options to consider when planning their own upcoming celebrations. Anniversaries, birthdays, corporate events and more could become very unique and moving experiences on the PSTR Event Train. To find out more visit www.pstr.on.ca, call 519-782-3730 or email info@pstr.on.ca. Scenic, hour-long train rides from the Port Stanley station begin in April. Longer rides to St. Thomas (Parkside) run every Saturday in July and August. Several special event trains feature Murder Mysteries, Easter Egg Hunt, Santa Treats plus more. The Red Caboose is available for birthday parties and other special events. PSTR welcomes inquiries about booking the Entertainment Train. They are also always happy to have new volunteers join the PSTR team.

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Recreation L&PS AND PSTR TIMELINE 1856 – The first train to reach Port Stanley was a passenger train. In subsequent years thousands of steam trains carried passengers and freight between London and Port Stanley. 1913 – The City of London assumed operation of the line and rebuilt it into a high-speed electrical operation. It brought thousands of excursionists to Port Stanley to enjoy the L&PS (London & Port Stanley) amusement park, bathhouse, cafeteria and dance Pavilion (later known as the Stork Club). 1957 – The advent of the automobile resulted in a gradual decline and end of passenger service. 1976 – Freight traffic ceased. 1982 – The L&PS line from St. Thomas to Port Stanley was abandoned after a washout at Union. 1983 – The Port Stanley Terminal Rail group was formed to purchase the line and rebuild it into an operating railway. The line was opened from Port Stanley to Union and the first train rides offered. 1985 – The washout at Union was rebuilt. 1988 – PSTR purchased property from Parkside Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas to Port Stanley. 1990 – PSTR was allowed to operate over the entire line. Top to bottom: A Scenic Train Ride on the PSTR, one of their regularly scheduled rides; searching for eggs on the Easter Egg Hunt Train Ride, and posing for a photo with the conductor and Easter Bunny (bottom two photos courtesy of Larry Broadbent)

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Recreation VOLUNTEER PROFILE: ANDREW POOLE Andrew Poole is one of the younger generation of volunteers at the PSTR. With plans for a railroading career, he has found, “PSTR offers you invaluable experience and training as to how operations on a railway work—everything from how to assemble a train to maintaining the tracks and right of way. Some of the volunteers are current or former railway employees and their knowledge is invaluable in the training process.” Andrew has enjoyed the sense of responsibility of volunteering. He says, “For example, as conductor you are responsible for getting the train coaches clean, performing a brake test before departure and any switching that may be required, taking tickets and helping patrons on and off the train as well as giving a historical commentary and pointing out sights along the route.”

Volunteers handle everything from landscaping to tree trimming along with maintaining and operating trains and tracks. Andrew says, “The volunteers are some of the most wonderful and passionate people I’ve ever met. Without them the PSTR would not have lasted half as long as it has.” Andrew has also had a lot of fun interacting with patrons from all over the world on the PSTR trains. He says “To see the priceless looks on the young ones faces when they step off the train and see the Easter Bunny is truly amazing. As a conductor on this year’s Murder Mystery Train I had the pleasure of seeing the unique costumes and watching a live murder mystery play as we travelled to our destination—it’s an experience like no other!” Andrew sums it up, “Being a part of the PSTR has been a wonderful and invaluable experience—I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has a passion for railroading or for people.”

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Arts

THE ART OF MAKING

Memories In Wool

in 2014, Gail suggested the idea of a full-scale show to incorporate her enthusiasm for rug hooking and the Memories in Wool group and also support Serenity House Hospice. With help from Lynn Davis at Serenity House, Algoma University was found as a location.

The St. Thomas rug hooking group, Memories in Wool, was started in 2001 by a group of women who wanted to share their love of the more-than200-year-old craft. Through the years, members have created numerous beautiful pieces, some sticking close to the traditional style and some venturing a ways ‘outside the box’. Some of the members have displayed rugs at demonstrations to small groups but last year they decided it was time to go public in a bigger way with their first Memories in Wool Show and Sale.

Memories in Wool had its first public mini-exhibit in 2008, in the constituency office of MP Joe Preston. For two years, long-time group member Gail McNaughton had volunteered to coordinate monthly exhibitions showcasing local artists on a wall in the office, and she felt the time was right to share the art of the group. Last year, as she thought about ways to celebrate her 65th birthday

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Gail had always been drawn to the primitive rugs she found in the pages of Country Living Magazine as they complemented her love of antiques and collectibles. After she took a course in rug hooking she found that patterns created from her whimsical doodle artwork, and her passion for bold, textured wool were a perfect match for hooking with a modern twist. Says Gail, “When a rug hooking is finished I have a sense of completion and pride, for I love recycling and this craft is ideal for that. Doing rug hooking allows others to see an old-fashioned craft that was really developed to take clothing and other materi-

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Arts als and make use of them by rug hooking them on burlap seed, potato or other crop bags. Rugs were expensive and this was an easy way to cover floor boards and make homes warmer on the floor and be decorative.” Rug hooking as we know it today likely developed in pioneer times on the eastern seaboard of the United States and in the Canadian Maritimes. For most rug-hooking enthusiasts, the historic roots and simplicity are a big part of the attraction. Hooking is accomplished by pulling loops from narrow strips of fabric (traditionally wool) through woven material (traditionally burlap) with a hook. In contrast, for latch-hooking, pre-cut lengths of yarn are knotted to a canvas using a latch hook tool. At a recent Saturday morning gathering of the Memories in Wool group, some of the members shared a bit about its history, their own start in hooking and how they got involved with the group. Every woman tells a unique story but there is a common theme—each was charmed by hooked work they had seen, tried it, loved it, went on to learn more about different styles and techniques and has benefitted from the support and camaraderie of the Memories in Wool group. In response to the observation that they seem to think this is the ultimate craft, there is quick agreement from everyone. One long-time member, Ruth McLean notes, “Most of us have tried other crafts, but once we hit on rug-hooking we were done with them. With hooking, you can use a pattern, but you don’t have to; it’s easy to learn; there’s no counting; you can pull work out easily if you change your mind; it’s relaxing and you can socialize while you are doing it.” Opposite page: A closeup of Pauline Wimbush's piece; This page, from top: Some of the fifteen members of the Memories in Wool group—Gail McNaughton, Wendy Harpelle, Marie Nancarrow, Pauline Wimbush, Ruth McLean (seated) and Loeki Ven Roessel; Loeki Van Roessel and Wendy Harpelle discuss their work; Gail poses with one of her pieces

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Arts All of the women indicate that it is a satisfying form of self-expression—it’s a craft but there is also an art to choosing and combining colours and fabrics, and most create some of their own patterns. Many of those designs contain a personal story or memory. Marie Nancarrow, the group’s archivist, documents with care the work and activities of Memories in Wool members. As she shares photos of their work, she stops to point out the personal and family stories depicted in many of the hookings. Much of their creation has taken place in the company of fellow members at the Elgin County Museum or as they passed sunny hours in Pinafore Park, chatting about both hooking and life and welcoming questions from passersby. They have taken classes, encouraged each other to learn and try new colours and techniques and had a lot of fun. “A lot of fun!” says Marie as she points to one photo of two mem-

A closeup of Ruth McLean's work in progress

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Arts bers, one in each leg of a pair of jeans, just prior to recycling the fabric into strips. As a group, they have developed an appreciation for each woman’s talents and contributions and in turn Memories in Wool has itself become an important part of each of their stories. Also along the way, the members have cultivated a keen awareness of colour and texture and the infinite possibilities of cloth (especially wool cloth), torn into strips and worked into a rug. That fact leads to one cautionary note! Beware—these ladies size up your clothing with a discerning eye—if what you are wearing looks like it might, upon disposal, offer up interesting strips of material, they aren’t shy in mentioning that they willingly take donations. But they also let you know that, even better, they would be delighted if you would join them along with your fabric. They would be happy to share their knowledge and their fabric stashes.

The Memories in Wool Rug Hooking Show takes place May 3-4, 2014, 10am-4pm at Algoma University, St. Thomas (corner of Wellington & Elgin Streets). Admission is free. It will feature work of the Memories in Woool group; hooked rugs, books and art by Gail McNaughton; demonstrations of rug hooking and punch needle; wool, supplies and art to purchase; scissors sharpening and the sale of handmade rug hooks by Norma Bray and rugs by Dorothy Bray, professional rug wool dyer. Donations for Serenity House are welcome. For information about the show, contact Gail McNaughton, gail@gailmcnaughton.com or 519-637-3777. The group meets at the Elgin County Museum or member homes and in Pinafore Park, Tuesdays during the summer, from 9:30am onwards. For more information contact Elgin County Museum, 519-631-1460, ext. 160.

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Map of Elgin

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10882 Sunset Rd, Talbotville • 519-633-0527 519-631-0279 • 42828 Shorlea Line, St. Thomas

www.McsmithsOrganicFarm.com

Open Mon to Fri 9am-5:30pm & Sat 9am-4pm

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WWW.TURKEYSHOPPE.COM

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Spring TO LIFE EVENTS ACROSS ELGIN • MORE AT WWW.RELISHELGIN.CA ONGOING EVENTS

Current Exhibitions

Sat mornings Cineplex Family Favourites

Sat Feb 22 to Sat Apr 26 STEPAC Exhibition: Great Beginnings

See website for titles; 11am; $2.50/person Galaxy Cinema, 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | cineplex.com/Events/FamilyFavourites

Great Beginnings Elementary until Mar 22nd; Secondary from Mar 29th-Apr 26th – reception Mar 29th, 1-3pm St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca

Every Sun Jammin' In The Cabin Open Jams

Mon Jan 6 to Sat Aug 30 Elgin County Museum Exhibition: Treasures from the Vault

Everyone welcome; 1-4pm Jammin' Cabin at Pinecroft, 8048 Rogers Rd S, Aylmer 519-773-3435 | www.pinecroft.ca

Elgin County Museum, 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-1460 x159 | www.elgincounty.ca/museum

2 Sun of every month Meet Art Emporium's Featured Artists nd

Meet selected Boathouse Gallery artists; 2-4pm The Art Emporium, 177 Main St, Port Stanley 226-658-1888 | www.artemporium.ca

MARCH EVENTS

Thurs Evenings Joe Fournier at the Windjammer

Shanty tours, self-guided woods excursion, maple leaf branding and more; 9am-3pm Palmer’s Maple Syrup, 34308 Lake Ln, RR #1, Port Stanley | 519-769-0007

Weekends in March Palmer's Maple Syrup Festival

Music and conviviality in the Library Café & Pub; 7-10pm The Windjammer Inn, 324 Smith St, Port Stanley 519-782-4173 | www.thewindjammerinn.com

Various Dates Social Painting Nights

Weekends Mar 8 TO Mar 30 & March Break Springwater Maple Syrup Festival

2-3 hr sessions for adults, children and families; price starts at $20; preregister at least one day prior Art Gallery of Lambeth, 2454 Main St, Lambeth (London) 519-652-5556 | www.artgalleryoflambeth.com

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Brunch, demos; 10am-3pm; $7/adult, $4/child 12 & under; horse-drawn wagon rides Mar 22, 29 & 30; Children’s Fest Mar 22, Butterfly & Bat House Building Mar 29 ($5/child) Springwater Conservation Area, 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer | 519-773-9037 | www.catfishcreek.ca

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©istockphoto.com/RNphotos

Events


Events March 8, 9, 15, 16, 29 & 30 Winter Tours of HMCS Ojibwa

Tours aboard Canada’s first Oberon Class submarine – tickets available online; walk-ins welcome (debit not available in winter months); 12-4pm (last tour at 3pm); $18.50/ages 13+, $11/child 6-12 (no children under 6) HMCS Ojibwa Submarine, 3 Pitt St, Port Burwell 519-633-7641 | www.projectojibwa.ca

Wed Mar 12 to Sun Apr 6 Tundra Swan Line Open

Call 519-773-SWAN (7926) for updates on swan migration Aylmer Wildlife Management Area 10594 Hacienda Rd, Aylmer (beside Ont. Police College)

Fri Mar 14 J.P. Cormier at Port Stanley Theatre

Featuring songs from his newest album "Somewhere In The Back of My Heart"; 8pm; $28 Port Stanley Festival Theatre, 6-302 Bridge St, Port Stanley | 519-782-4353 | www.portstanleytheatre.ca

Fri Mar 14 St. Patrick's Day with The Sheridan Band

A fundraiser for Central United Church; 8pm; $12 St. Thomas Legion Hall, 24 John St, St. Thomas Contact Karen, 519-631-3503 or Jeff, 519-637-2300 www.centraluc.ca/FundraisingEvents.html

PALMER'S

festival

MAPLE SYRUP

Weekends in March 9am-3pm

• shanty tours • self-guided woods excursions • pioneer storyteller • maple leaf branding • log-sawing • much more family fun

519-769-0007

Sat Mar 15 The Shamrock Shuffle

34308 Lake Line, RR1 Port Stanley

2 & 5km walks and 5 & 10km runs in support of The Inn Out of the Cold, St. Thomas-Elgin's homeless shelter; doors open at 8am, start time is 9am; $20/individual or $40/family (2 adults & 2 children at same address) Central United Church, 135 Wellington St, St. Thomas www.theshamrockshuffle.ca

Sat Mar 15 Curl for Kids Sake

Supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Thomas Elgin Aylmer Curling Club, 115 Pine St East, Aylmer www.bbbselgin.org/en/Home/events/curlforkids.aspx

Sat Mar 15 The Met: Live in HD

See Massenet's Werther live from the Metropolitan Opera Galaxy Cinema, 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com/Events/MetOpera

Sun Mar 16 St. Patrick's Day Family Ceilidh

Food, singing, dancing, crafts and fun; 3-7pm Advance: $5/person, $20/family (call 519-633-1681); at door: $7/person, $25/family (children under 10 free) Knights of Columbus Hall, 265 Wellington St, St. Thomas

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The Shamrock Shuffle (Photos by MG)

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Events Sat Mar 22 Maple Syrup Run

Palmer’s Maple Syrup, 34308 Lake Ln, RR #1, Port Stanley Contact Run For Your Life, 519-637-0333 www.facebook.com/events/417202411716751/?ref=5

Tues Mar 25 & TUES APR 29 Create, Make & Take: ADULT CraftS

Admission is free, but registration is required; 2-3:30 pm St. Thomas Public Library, Carnegie Room, Lower Level 153 Curtis St, St. Thomas | 519-631-6050 www.st-thomas.library.on.ca

Thurs Mar 27 No Kidneying Around

Celebrating Doug's 10th Kidney Transplant Anniversary and 50 years for the Kidney Foundation of Canada South Western Ontario; proceeds to the Kidney Foundation of Canada South Western Ontario St. Anne's Centre, 20 Morrison Dr, St. Thomas Contact Candice, 519-207-3336 www.facebook.com/NoKidneyingAround

Thurs Mar 27 to Sun Apr 6 Elgin Theatre Guild: 37 Postcards

37 Postcards by Michael McKeever suggests that you can, in fact, go home again... you just never know what you'll find; Thurs-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm; $16 in advance (at Bell's Bookbin or online), $17 at door ($10 first Thurs) Princess Avenue Playhouse, 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-8530 | www.elgintheatreguild.ca

Canadale's Spring Garden Show Wed Mar 19 Handbags for Hospice

A stylish cocktail party featuring designer, new and preloved handbags; all proceeds to Serenity House Hospice; 6:30-9:30pm; $50/person Saxonia Hall, 522 Talbot St West, Aylmer 519-637-3034 | www.serenityhousehospice.ca

Fri Mar 21 to Sat Apr 26 4TH Annual Art Gallery of Lambeth Spring Miniature Show & Sale

The strong message generated by hundreds of millions of people across every continent turning off their lights together helps bring attention to large-scale change that will help solve climate change. Switch off your lights from 8:30–9:30pm (local time, wherever you are). www.wwf.ca/earthhour/

Vegas style gaming, live music, martini bar, silent auction, photo booth, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres; $35/person or 2 for $60 – includes one complimentary cocktail and $20 in Royale Money; organized by HUB Belmont; 7-10pm Belmont Arena, 14020 Belmont Rd, Belmont www.facebook.com/events/599278136822591/?ref=22

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Fri 5-9pm; Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-5pm Timken Community Centre, 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas Contact Chris Cox, 519-932-0571 www.twentyfivepercentmorelife.com

Sat Mar 29 Earth Hour 2013

Opening reception Sun Mar 23, 1-4pm Art Gallery of Lambeth, 2454 Main St, Lambeth 519-652-5556 | www.artgalleryoflambeth.com

Sat Mar 22 Black & White Royale: An Evening of Elegance

Fri Mar 28 to Sun Mar 30 St. Thomas Home Show

Sat & SUN FROM APR 6 TO JUN 29, plus Fri Apr 18 (Good Friday) & Mon May 19 (Victoria Day) Scenic Train Rides on the PSTR

Trains depart at 11am, 1pm & 2:30pm (arrive 30 min ahead); adults $15, children (2-12) $9 Port Stanley Terminal Rail, 309 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-3730 | www.pstr.on.ca

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Events APRIL EVENTS Thurs Apr 3 & THURS MAY 1 Citizens 4 Active Transportation Meeting

Get involved and have a voice; first Thurs of each month in the Carnegie Room – check website to confirm; 6-8pm St. Thomas Public Library, 153 Curtis St, St. Thomas 519-631-9900 ext. 1247 | www.activeelgin.ca/C4AT

Thurs Apr 3 to Sat Apr 12 West Elgin Dramatics Society: Quilting Pieces

Quilts are featured in ten vignettes and an old time fiddling band plays us into each scene; $15/adult, $10/student/ senior, $30/family of 4; Thurs-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm WEDS Performing Arts Centre, 199 Currie Rd, Dutton Contact Village Crier, 519-762-2862 | www.weds.ca

Fri Apr 4 to Sun Apr 6 7TH Annual Canadale Spring Garden Show Landscape displays, seminars and demos, local artisans, a sneak peek at new plant introductions, Kids Club Activities and a charity lunch Canadale Nurseries, 269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-7264 | www.canadale.com

Fri Apr 11 Sparta House TEAROOM's Downton Abbey High Tea

2pm; $25/person (by reservation only) Sparta House Tearoom, 46342 Sparta Ln, Sparta 519-775-2313 | www.spartahouse.com

Fri Apr 11 St. Thomas Rotary Music Festival Keynotes Concert & Awards

A showcase of Rotary Music Festival winners, and awards presentation; 7pm Salvation Army Citadel, 380 Elm St, St. Thomas Contact Ron Somerville, 519-631-0852 www.rotarystthomas.org

Sat Apr 12 5th Annual Port Stanley Spring Fever Women's Shopping Event

Fabulous finds, significant savings, breakfast buffet and fashion show; doors open at 9am; $35/person Kettle Creek Golf Club, 320 Carlow Rd, Port Stanley Contact Natasha Newby, 519-630-6946 www.facebook.com/PortShoppingEvent

Sat Apr 5 The Met: Live in HD

See Puccini's La Boheme live from the Metropolitan Opera Galaxy Cinema, 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com/Events/MetOpera

Sun Apr 6 4TH Annual Mud Dog Run

Register early for the best registration fee; 10am; 5k/10k/Doggy Dash $22-44, Mud Puppy Run free to $10 Springwater Conservation Area, 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer | Contact Run For Your Life, 519-637-0333 www.facebook.com/MudDogRace

RING SP Ap GA OW ril RDEN SH 4-6 , 2014

Sun Apr 6 to Sat Apr 12 Active Elgin Week

A chance to try various sport, leisure and recreational activities for free or at a discounted rate! Across Elgin County & St.Thomas 519-631-9900 | www.activeelgin.ca

Wed Apr 9 Annual Vimy Lecture

Elgin County Museum honours Wallacetown native Lance-Sgt. Ellis W. Sifton, awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions on the first day of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, by hosting a lecture on some aspects of the battle, this year with Professor Jonathan Vance; 2pm Elgin County Museum, 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-1460 x159 | www.elgincounty.ca

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OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 269 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas, ON 519-631-7264

www.canadale.com Find us on Facebook

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Events Sat Apr 12 Aylmer Performing Arts Presents Jeremy Fisher

Folk-infused musical storyteller; doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 7:30pm; $25/person Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre, 38 John St South, Aylmer 519-765-3039 | www.artsinaylmer.com

Sat Apr 12 Elgin Theatre Guild: Skin Deep

A comedy by Trish West about seeing past what is considered beautiful; proceeds to Wellspring London cancer support; 8pm; $15 (at Bell's Bookbin or online) Princess Avenue Playhouse, 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-8530 | www.elgintheatreguild.ca

Sat Apr 19 Rodney Kiwanis club Easter Egg Hunt

Sat Apr 12 Cooking with Herbs Workshop: International Cuisine

Rodney Park | 519-785-0415

1:30pm; $25 (preregistration required) Heritage Line Herbs, 53443 Heritage Ln, Aylmer 519-866-5577 | www.heritagelineherbs.com

Sat Apr 19 West Lorne Optimist Easter Egg Hunt

142 Chestnut St, West Lorne | 519-768-3306

Sun Apr 13 Elgin Theatre Guild: Ennis

These sisters from Newfoundland, grounded in traditional Irish music, create music whose themes are totally contemporary; 2pm; $21 (at Bell's Bookbin or online) Princess Avenue Playhouse, 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-8530 | www.elgintheatreguild.ca

Fri Apr 18 Belmont HUB Easter Egg Hunt

Fri Apr 18, Sat Apr 19 & Sun Apr 20 PSTR Easter BUNNY EXPRESS TRAIN RIDES

The railway version of this popular tradition; trains depart at 11am, 1pm & 2:30pm (arrive 30 min ahead); $15/adult, $9/child (2-12) Port Stanley Terminal Rail, 309 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-3730 | www.pstr.on.ca

Sat Apr 19 Easter Bunny Visits Sparta

Free admission; Thur 6-9pm; Fri 10am-9pm; Sat 10am-4pm Lambeth United Church, Hwy 4 & Main St, Lambeth lambethartassociation.blogspot.com

Fri Apr 25 to Sun Apr 27 Aylmer Home and Garden Show

Sat Apr 26 Opening Day of Trout Fishing

Springwater Conservation Area, 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer | 519-773-9037 | www.catfishcreek.ca

Sat Apr 26 The Met: Live in HD

Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte live from the Metropolitan Opera Galaxy Cinema, 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com/Events/MetOpera

Free picture with the Easter Bunny, draws, Easter egg hunts and specials at participating businesses; 12-3pm Sparta House Tearoom, side room, Main St Sparta Contact Sparta Country Candles, 519-775-0054

Sat Apr 19 St. Thomas Kinsmen Club Easter Egg Hunt

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Thur Apr 24 to Sat Apr 26 42ND Annual Lambeth Art Association Show & Sale

Landscaping, home staging, professional projects, tools, renovations, seminars and presentations, supplies and much more; $5/person, $20/family East Elgin Community Complex, 531 Talbot St W, Aylmer 519-773-3445 | www.aylmerfair.ca

Starts at 11am Union Street Park, Belmont | www.belmonthub.ca

Starts at 10:30am Pinafore Park, Main Pavilion, 89 Elm Street, St. Thomas

St. Thomas Kinsmen Easter Egg Hunt (Photos by MG)

Sat Apr 26, Sat May 31, Sat Jun 28 Quai du Vin Winemaker's Dinner

Chef James Meadows and winemaker Jamie Quai showcase wine and food pairing; $85 (by reservation) Quai du Vin Estate Winery, 45811 Fruit Ridge Ln, St. Thomas | 519-775-2216 | www.quaiduvin.com

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Events MAY EVENTS Thurs May 1 GT’s Opening Day (WEATHER PERMITTING)

GT's Beach Bar & Grill, 350 Edith Cavell Blvd, Port Stanley 519-782-4555 | www.gtsportstanley.ca

Thurs May 1 Fest-A-Month: CULTURAL DINNER

Maritimes: Celebrating the Canadian Lobster; $35/person The Arts & Cookery Bank, 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne 519-768-9986 | www.theartsandcookerybank.com

Fri May 2 Spring Art Salon

Art by the Assn. of Port Stanley Artists (226-658-4444), hors d'oeuvres, live music and cash bar; call for tickets The Windjammer Inn, 324 Smith St, Port Stanley 519-782-4173 | www.portstanleyartists.com

Sat May 3 Rodney Hort. Society Annual Plant Sale

15th Annual Plant Sale; 8-11am Rodney Community Centre, 135 Queen St, Rodney 519-785-0937

Sat May 3 Canadian Cancer Society’s Bark for Life

Designed as an extension of Relay for Life, Bark For Life invites dog owners to join the fight against cancer; register online or by phone Pinafore Park, 95 Elm St, St. Thomas Contact Canadian Cancer Society, Elgin-Middlesex Unit, 519-432-1137 | www.cancer.ca/barkstthomas

Sat May 3 Ollee’s 10TH Anniversary Superjam

Featuring members of Dave’s Not Here, The Wrecks, I’m Easy, Rail City Kings, Kickback, The Incumbents, Kerri Manning and friends, Chronic Noise Injection, Simple Simon, Stiff Kitty and more; 8:30pm Ollee’s Bar & Eatery, 146 5th Ave, St. Thomas | 519-633-8759 www.facebook.com/events/1448680138683461/

Sat May 3 & Sun May 4 Longwoods Heritage Weekend

Battle of Longwoods re-enactment; 10am-4pm Longwoods Road Conservation Area, 8348 Longwoods Rd (6.5 km west of Delaware, 10 km east of Melbourne) 519-264-2420 | www.lowerthames-conservation.on.ca

WEST ELGIN WEST LORNE • RODNEY • PORT GLASGOW

elgincounty EXPERIENCE

Explore Our Trails

Quiet spaces abound along gravel roads that pass by generations-old family farms and through Carolinian forests.

West Elgin Spring Events

Kids’ Easter Egg Hunts • Sat April 19th Rodney (Kiwanis) & West Lorne (Optimists) Rodney Horticultural Society Plant Sale Sat May 3rd • Rodney Rec Centre We’re just down the road and off the beaten path. Visit www.elgintourist.com or call 1-877-GO-ELGIN for a visitor’s guide.

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519-785-0560

www.westelgin.net

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Events Sun May 4 MS Walk St. Thomas

2km and 5km route lengths; register online; check in at 8:30am, start at 10am Timken Community Centre, 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas Contact Sabrina Poirier, 1-888-510-7777 x3306 www.mswalks.ca

Sun May 4 Hike for Hospice

Hike, run or walk in support of Serenity House Hospice; 100% of the funds raised stay in your community; 10am Waterworks Park, 2 South Edgeware Rd, St. Thomas Contact Lynn Davis, 519-637-3034 www.serenityhousehospice.ca

Sat May 10 Sparta's Annual Garage Sale

9am-2pm (rain or shine) Village of Sparta, Quaker Line & Sparta Line, Sparta Contact Sparta Country Candles, 519-775-0054

Mark, Nathan, Cameron and Janis of Harris Flower Farm at Horton Farmers' Market (Photos by MG)

Sat May 10 Opening Day of Horton Farmers' Market

Sat May 3 & Sun May 4 Memories in Wool Show & Sale

Rugs from St. Thomas rug hooking group, Memories in Wool, and books and art by Gail McNaughton; donations for Serenity House Hospice appreciated; 10am-4pm Algoma University, St. Thomas Campus, 50 Wellington St, St. Thomas | Contact Gail McNaughton, 519-637-3777

Sat May 3 to Sat Jun 7 STEPAC ExhibitionS: Donna Andreychuk'S A Perfect Storm, Dennis Kalichuk'S 1000 Words of Nature & Heather Keating'S Journeys

Opening reception May 3 at 7pm, with live music by Dennis Kalichuk starting at 8 pm St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca

Sat May 3, May 17, May 31 & Jun 14 Silverthorn Landscape Seminars

Create an Inukshuk, 9-10am; Build a Pond, 10-11:30pm; Build a Water Feature, 1-2pm Silverthorn Landscape Supplies, 46400 Talbot Ln, St. Thomas | 519-765-2379 www.silverthornlandscape.com

Making memories since 1878, with high quality local food producers, crafters and artisans; Saturdays 8am-12pm Manitoba St, just north of Talbot St, St. Thomas www.hortonfarmersmarket.ca

May 10 The Met: Live in HD

Rossini's La Cenerentola live from the Metropolitan Opera Galaxy Cinema, 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com/Events/MetOpera

Sat May 10 & Sun May 11 Mother’s Day Open House at Heritage Line Herbs

Sales, food samples, and fun; High Tea Lunch on Sunday (reservation required) Heritage Line Herbs, 53443 Heritage Ln, Aylmer 519-866-5577 | www.heritagelineherbs.com

Sun May 11 Steed & Co. Lavender Mother's Day Season Opening

Steed & Co. Lavender, 47589 Sparta Ln, Sparta 519-494-5525 | www.steedandcompany.com

WE STRIVE FOR ACCURACY IN THESE LISTINGS, BUT DETAILS SOMETIMES CHANGE SO PLEASE CALL AHEAD.

FIND MORE AT WWW.RELISHELGIN.CA

More events, details and past event photos can be found on our website.

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Home & Garden

INDULGING A FANCY FOR

Hostas Hostas peek out of the soil as spring arrives and, soon after, begin to unfurl into a bounty of foliage which will last right through to fall. They have long been appreciated for their easy-care qualities. However, in recent years it’s the hosta’s growing selection of enticing varieties which has been winning it fans. Hostas originated in northeast Asia, were first imported to Europe in the late 1700s and by the mid-1800s were being grown in North America. Over the next century, the original ‘plain Jane’ green or green and white striped varieties appeared along walkways, beneath large trees, and as camouflage for foundations. Today, the number of hosta varieties or cultivars has exploded to more than 6 000. The dizzying array of colours, textures, sizes and flowers has pushed them out of the role of easy, useful but a little hohum and onto centre-stage.

Garden tours hosted by members of local horticultural societies provide a chance see what plants they are incorporating in their garden designs—hostas are often part of the mix. On the 2013 St. Thomas Horticultural Society tour, Sally Carr invited the public for a peek at her gardens where hostas (more than 100 varieties of them) play a starring role. She says, “They are almost the perfect plant! They are easy to grow, there are so many colours, and some have a beautiful fragrance. I chose them because I have lots of shade and they do better in shade than many plants, but really they can go almost anywhere except in burning sun.” A big fan of minis, she notes, “I put them in planters and mixed pots or work them into a bed interspersed with other plants.” How does a gardener choose from all of the hosta possibilities? Pauline Intven-Casier at Canadale Nurseries says, “Each year the American Hosta

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Home & Garden Growers Association picks a ‘hosta of the year’. The 2014 selection is the Abiqua Drinking Gourd. It is a nice size, dark blue-green and has a beautiful flower—it is a lovely plant!” She adds, “Many people have a misconception that hostas are finicky. Except for the pale yellow or more delicate-leafed ones, they can be grown in almost any environment as long as there is enough moisture. Pick the thickest leaf possible if you are looking for hardiness and resistance to pests—those varieties are much more resistant than the paper-thin ones.” The trend to down-sized gardens has led to the development of many interesting tiny hostas. Lynn Bisschop at Shades of Green, south of Aylmer has seen the demand for the minis take off. She says, “They have gained a lot of popularity in the last five years. The American Hosta Society has made a classification for minis with a height of less than 6” being one of the criteria. People come here looking for them; many are collectors. Two favourites are Pandora’s Box which is white with a green edge, and Dragon Tails which is yellow with very ruffled leaves and is very cute!” Though the minis can be found in the same variety as regular hostas, Lynn suggests that they require some special treatment. She notes, “They generally don’t do well mixed in with regular hostas which tend to grow over top of them—it’s better to plant them in a garden dedicated to minis. Even better, plant them in a pot where they are closer to eye level and can be really appreciated. Use a liquid fertilizer (10-10-10 or 20-20-20—Miracle Gro works well) every couple of weeks until the end of July. That’s when you should stop fertilizing any hostas.”

Top and middle: Two gardens featuring hostas on display during the Aylmer Garden Tour Bottom: Sally Carr in her shade garden

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The South Western Ontario Hosta Society (SWOHS) promotes education and camaraderie amongst hosta gardeners who live in Southwestern Ontario. Many gardeners will readily admit to having a serious hosta addiction. With help and inspiration close at hand and some great places to find the best and newest, it’s a passion which is easy to indulge locally.

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Home & Garden Canadale Garden Centre is located at 269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas (www.canadale.com, 519-631-7264, open year-round). Don’t miss their annual Spring Garden Show on April 4th to 6th with seminars, demos, landscape displays and activities for kids. Shades of Green is located at 48855 John Wise Ln, south of Aylmer (www.shadesofgreenhostas.ca, 519-773-7279, open in May starting on Mother’s

Day). Shades of Green sells almost 700 varieties of hosta and 200 varieties of daylilies, with even more on display. They also ship across Canada. Find out more about the South Western Ontario Hosta Society at www.swohs.org. The group is affiliated with the Ontario Hosta Society and offers OHS benefits along with information, networking events and an annual hosta tour within the region.

Mini hosta varieties Pandora's Box (left) and Dragon Tails (photos courtesy of Shades of Green) Eco-Conscious Seasonal Cut Flowers Sunflowers • Mixed Annuals • Perennials Flowers for Special Events & Weddings

Wind n Willow

R AR

OWER IS FL FA

R M

H

HOME & GARDEN DÉCOR GIFTWARE • GOURMET GOODS JEWELLERY • FASHION

HORTON FARMERS' MARKET Saturdays from Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving COVENT GARDEN MARKET Outdoor Farmer’s Market, London (in season) Janis & Mark Harris, Sons Cameron & Nathan janisandmarkharris@hotmail.com

Featuring Lampe Berger Teas & Accessories DaVinci Beads, Reading Glasses & More

foi www.harrisflowerfarmpasturedpork.weebly.com

519.637.3904 • windnwillow@bellnet.ca

Affordable Luxury for Your Home

519-668-9537

Member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers

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435 Talbot Street, St. Thomas

www.windnwillow.ca

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Food & Dining

TALKING PIZZA BY JUSTIN BENNER OF HERITAGE LINE HERBS

When I was in university, I managed a pizza place in London. One of my duties was to train new staff in the art of making, cooking and delivering pizza. There are lots of interesting stories I could regale you with, but one incident in particular stands out in my mind. We had just hired a new delivery driver, a young man named Gordon, who was eager to learn and showed all the signs of a good employee. I had just cooked a large pizza for delivery. Once it was done, I took it out and cut it. I yelled "Delivery up!" Gordon came bounding up from the back, where he had been doing prep work. Eager to get on the road, he grabbed the box, turned it on its side, tucked it under his arm, and walked out the door. The results were predictable and hilarious. I ran after him, my mood wavering between frustration and amusement. When I finally caught him just outside his car, I asked him if the customer had ordered a pizza or a calzone. Confused, he said, "A large pizza, I think." Then it dawned on him. The look of panic on his face was one I'll never forget.

I am fairly certain he thought he was about to be fired on the spot. The point of this anecdote is that even when people know something intuitively—"It isn't a good idea to carry a pizza vertically"—they often don't grasp it until they make a mistake. So it is with pizza. If you want to make good pizza, you have to be willing to make mistakes. You have to try new dough, new toppings, new cheeses, and combine them in ways people wouldn't expect. Nobody ever created the next best thing without first creating a few next worst things. One of the pizzas we make on the farm is called Home for the Holidays. I came up with the idea after a busy Thanksgiving. Our fridge was overflowing with leftovers, and I knew there was only so many turkey and grilled cheese sandwiches I could eat. Then it hit me—why not make a pizza out of it? So I stretched out some dough, added gravy as the base, and topped it with turkey, ham and stuffing. Then I covered it in mozzarella cheese, cooked it, and ate it with some cranberry sauce. Delicious! It

Greek's the Word (left) and Home For the Holidays (turkey) pizzas (photos courtesy of Heritage Line Herbs)

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Food & Dining remains one of our most popular pizzas to this day, and it just goes to show that inspiration can strike at any time. In many ways, pizza is, in my opinion, the evolution of the sandwich. With a sandwich, you have bread, cheese and a sauce, usually mayo. With a pizza, you have bread, cheese and a sauce, usually tomato. But you can add nearly anything to these items and, with the right proportions and combinations, make it delicious.

©istockphoto.com/foodandstyle

I want to put particular emphasis on proportion. In my experience, that is the biggest mistake people make when they are learning how to make pizza. Many assume that more toppings equals better pizza. That is incorrect. What matters is having the right toppings in the right amount. You don't want your pizza to be dominated by any one flavour— like the sandwich, a pizza is best when it is a merger of different flavours. To put it simply, the sum ought to be greater than the parts.

tobacco to producing culinary herbs. Their goal is to farm sustainably, sell locally and connect with their customers. To that end, the business has evolved over the past decade with the addition of the retail store, cooking classes, and the serene Silver Birch Tearoom. Soon after Justin joined Tom & Deb in operating the business, his thoughts turned to the idea of incorporating their herbs into pizza—they are now a popular addition in the family’s on-going quest to bring herbalicious zest to your eating. Find out more at www.heritagelineherbs.com or by calling 519-866-5577.

In Italy, the pizza masters have been making the same varieties of pizza for a half-millennia or more. Neapolitan pizza, for instance, is nothing more than tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, whole basil leaves and buffalo mozzarella cheese. The simplicity of it is exactly what makes it so delicious. These pizzas are designed so that each bite includes the flavour of each topping, and no one topping is dominant. This is a good model on which to base your own pizza—if they can keep at it for so long, they must be right about something! As you can probably tell, I love talking about pizza. So I encourage all of you to visit me at Heritage Line Herbs. We can have a slice and talk about the greatest food on earth... when it is horizontal. Justin Benner is a third generation farmer and first generation pizza artist at Heritage Line Herbs. Twelve years ago his parents, Tom & Deb Benner, transitioned their small family farm from growing

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Food & Dining

Apple, Orange &

Wheat Berry Salad BY CHEF CINDY BIRCHAM

fragrant. Remove peel and pith off the remaining oranges and slice into rounds. Wash apple and slice thinly.

Makes 4 side salads 3 blood oranges 1 tsp white wine vinegar ½ cup extra virgin olive oil salt & pepper 1 Ontario apple, such as Ambrosia 1 cup Italian parsley, or other leafy greens 1 cup wheat berries, uncooked or 2 cups cooked ¼ cup sliced almonds

4. When ready to assemble salad, combine parsley, apples, and cooked berries in a mixing bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinaigrette, pinch of salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine. Top with toasted almonds, sliced oranges, a spoonful of vinaigrette then serve.

1. To cook the wheat berries, rinse 1 cup of berries under cold water. Place them in a pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, season with salt, and cover slightly. Simmer until tender and chewy, about 45-60 minutes; drain off excess water and set aside to cool. To reduce cooking time, soak wheat berries overnight in cold water. Drain, then cook as above, 30-40 minutes.

To turn these side salads into 2 main courses, marinate 2 pieces of pork loin or chicken breasts in ¼ cup of vinaigrette for several hours in the fridge. Remove meat from marinade, discarding any excess, and pan fry or grill until cooked; serve sliced atop salad.

2. Make a vinaigrette by combining the zest and juice of one orange (about ¼ cup) with vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Pour ¼ cup of vinaigrette over cooked wheat berries to absorb flavours. Set both berries and vinaigrette aside until needed. 3. Remove most of the stems from the parsley; wash and dry. Toast almonds in a hot skillet until

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Food & Dining Wheat Berries With the growing interest in incorporating more whole grains in our diets, wheat berries (also called kernels), have become much easier to access on local shelves. Not only do they contain a wide variety of nutrients, they also deliver a unique, chewy texture and toasted, hearty flavour to soups and salads. Wheat berries are the entire grain from a wheat plant made up of three parts—the bran, germ, and endosperm—and are ground to form wheat flours. Often during milling the bran and germ are removed and we end up with refined flours. The bran and germ, the nutrient-dense parts of the grain, are removed because they can become rancid quickly. These flours have to be fortified with vitamins and minerals before being sold in Canada—an attempt to add back what nature originally intended. Sometimes the bran and germ are sold back to us separately or partially mixed in with the refined flours to become whole wheat flour. Not all millers think removing the most nutritious parts are necessary though; to get the most benefits from wheat, look for whole grain flours, or cook with whole grains.

keeping leftover grains in the fridge for a few days or portioned into convenient sized packages in the freezer.

Using whole grains like wheat berries does require more cooking, similar to brown rice or legumes. Presoaking the berries or using a pressure cooker will cut that time down, but I find it’s easiest to just cook more than what I need at one time,

Photos courtesy of Chef Cindy Bircham

Kamut (left), wheat berries (top right), spelt (bottom)

Cindy Bircham is a professional chef and recipe developer cooking her way across Elgin County with a passion for quality, local, and made from scratch. Visit www.ElginHarvest.ca for her blog 'From the Kitchen'.

Jeff Yurek, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London

Here to help you with: Ontario Disability Support Program, OHIP Cards, Driver’s Licences, Ontario Works, Birth Certificates 750 Talbot Street, Suite 201, St. Thomas, ON, N5P 1E2 P: 519-631-0666 | T: 1-800-265-7638 | E: jeff.yurekco@pc.ola.org www.jeffyurekmpp.com

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THE PERFECT BACKDROP WEDDINGS • PARTIES • RECEPTIONS • REUNIONS

City of St. Thomas Parks & Recreation Pavilions & Facility Rentals Contact the administration office today for more information: 519-633-7112

www.stthomas.ca


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