Windsor Life Magazine Anniversary 2021

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Insurance Made Easy


If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we all need to be prepared: prepared for the unexpected! Unfortunately, people tend to focus on investments, bank account balances, or paying down debt. Insurance protection can sometimes get put on the back burner, often because of misconceptions: it’s not fun to think about, it seems difficult to get or it’s assumed to be unaffordable. Well, insurance is changing – and today’s solutions not only make getting the coverage you need faster and easier than ever before – they can also play a big part in helping you reach your financial goals.

Tailored for your needs

Insurance is an important part of a financial plan – even those who are young, don’t have children, or are not the main breadwinner of a family, should have some form of protection. That said, choosing the right type of insurance for your life stage and financial needs is key. For example, young professionals may want to consider critical illness or disability insurance to help manage expenses if an illness or disability prevents them from working, whereas middle-aged consumers might benefit most from a permanent life insurance policy. I can help you find the right protection for your life and wealth stage.

Applications are easier

It used to be that applying for insurance was a complicated process involving face-to-face meetings, lengthy applications and the need to provide blood and urine samples. Now applications are simpler. Many can be completed online without having to meet in person and can also be signed electronically. In most cases, medical exams and fluid samples are a thing of the past. Today, approvals are quick and coverage can be in place in as little as 48 hours after you apply.

In a recent survey consumers revealed the top two reasons they hesitated in buying life insurance:

1 Ron Stang

1 Alley L. Biniarz

CREATIVE DIRECTOR1 Carol Garant ART DIRECTOR1 Michael Pietrangelo PRODUCTION1 George Sharpe PHOTOGRAPHERS1 John Liviero,

1 Sooters Photography

1 Michael Pietrangelo

1 Leah Colecchia

1 Rob Mar

1 Mark Hewer

1 Brendon Cloutier


Charles Thompson 519-818-7352

Leslie Campbell 519-567-0603

Mel Monczak 519-551-0072

But the truth is, the right coverage can be designed to fit comfortably into your life and financial plan. Term life insurance for example, is a cost-effective solution that can provide protection for a specific length of time. And some new programs allow consumers to earn premium reductions and other rewards, based on making healthy lifestyle choices. When you consider the advancements and choices available, it is clear that getting the necessary protection may actually be one of the easiest parts of implementing a financial plan. I will work with you to help determine how much, and what type of insurance is best for you.

Source: Solutions Magazine March 6, 2019


Barbara Allen, HBA, CFP Life Insurance Advisor Manulife Securities Insurance Inc. Senior Financial Advisor Manulife Securities Incorporated Direct Line 519-250-0515 519-250-5190, ext. 409 2255 Cadillac Street, Windsor

Manulife, Manulife & Stylized M Design, Stylized M Design and Manulife Securities are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license.


1. It was a low priority 2. They felt it wasn’t affordable.1


1 CONTRIBUTING1 Matthew St. Amand WRITERS1 Michael Seguin



It’s more affordable than you think


Stocks, bonds and mutual funds are offered through Manulife Securities Incorporated. Insurance products and services are offered through Manulife Securities Insurance Inc. Banking products and services are offered through referral.



318-5060 Tecumseh Road East Windsor, Ontario N8T 1C1 Tel: 519-979-5433 Fax: 519-979-9237 Windsor Life Magazine is published by Campbell McGregor Garant Publishing Incorporated. Articles and art may not be reprinted without written per­mission from the publishers. The publishers assume no responsibility to return unsolicited editorial or graphic material. Windsor Life Magazine is a registered trademark of Campbell McGregor Garant Publishing Incorporated, Suite 318-5060 Tecumseh Road East, Windsor, Ontario N8T 1C1. Telephone (519) 979-5433, Fax (519) 979-9237. All rights reserved. ISSN 11955694. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 43512513. Windsor Life Magazine is published 8 times per year. Mailed delivery in Canada is available for $40.00 per year including H.S.T. A $150.00 charge is required for mail delivery anywhere outside of Canada. Send cheque along with address information to Windsor Life Magazine, 318-5060 Tecumseh Road E., Windsor Ontario, N8T 1C1. PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

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Welcoming the next

Publisher’s Note Anniversaries are a very special time. A time to celebrate and reflect. They mark a milestone, be it one year or hundreds of years, a measure of time that comes around once a year. This month marks the 28th Anniversary of Windsor Life Magazine. And that is a milestone I am very proud of. As everyone knows the year has been one of many questions and too few answers. The world seems to have changed more this year than it should have changed in a lifetime. And yet, the great people and companies of Windsor/EssexChatham/Kent, have continually adapted, sometimes several times in a very short period. As we at Windsor Life Magazine celebrate another year of bringing you the stories of people and organizations encouraging the positive side of our area, we should all be celebrating each other for a resilience that has brought our community together at a time when keeping it together seemed an insurmountable task. As always, helping one another is what the people of Southwestern Ontario do. A year ago when I wrote about our anniversary I had no idea what was in store for the community or me personally. I was on a waiting list for open heart surgery and the pandemic was causing wait times to be much longer than usual. Medical professionals were, and rightfully so, tending to the needs of patients who were in much more imminent danger than I and many others waiting for procedures were. Reschedules became frequent and I accepted them and waited for the day when I would have my operation. Just before Christmas, I had my successful surgery in London and thought that all would be good in the New Year. In February, complications changed that thought and for the first time I was unable to control the day to day operation of our publication. That is when I had a firsthand look at why our community is as great as it is. I saw it in my wife…I saw it in my staff. Like so many in this community do when someone else is in need, this small group picked up where I could no longer function and didn’t skip a beat. Our issues came out on time, our advertising clients were taken care of, stories were assigned, all while I was under the care of wonderful medical professionals in both major Windsor hospitals. Even under the strain of COVID their attention to my needs was exceptional. For that I am very grateful and if I could I would thank them individually, even though I would not recognize them without their protective masks. So, to the great people of our community, thank you for helping each other at a very trying time. Please keep it up as we appear to be getting back to normal. And to my wife Carol, Vice President Charles Thompson, Production Manager Michael Pietrangelo, Sales Executives Leslie Campbell and Mel Monczak, as well as the writers and photographers who allow us to bring you the stories of the great people and things that make this the wonderful community that it is…I thank you for making this another great year.

Bob Robinson

Windsor Life Magazine is published eight times a year and each edition is delivered to over 70,000 addresses. Contact one of our experienced advertising representatives to discuss publication dates and effective use of your advertising budget.




Vice President Advertising & Sales

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ON THE COVER Pixar Animation Studios Character Art Director, Deanna Marsigliese.


Photography by Leah Colecchia See page 14



FEATURES 14 CREATIVITY ALWAYS FINDS A WAY Deanna Marsigliese Shares Her Journey To Pixar Animation Studios

32 ON THE LAKE Splendid Comforts Of A Designer Home

54 DAKODA SHEPLEY Perseverance And Drive Were Stepping Stones To The NFL

22 SKATING IN STYLE Four Lovingly Designed Backyard Ice Rinks

40 MARC SAVARD NHL All-star Is New Windsor Spitfires Head Coach

60 KEVIN ROBERT JARVIS Local Author’s Book Explores The Big Questions

27 BUTTERFLY LANE Artists Paint Murals For Brain Injury Association

44 BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS Photographer And Musician Mark Hewer


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THERE ARE professionals who guide home buyers/sellers through a maze of listings, showings and paperwork—and then there is Angie Goulet and Associates. Think of Angie and her team as the Super Friends seated around a crystalline table inside the Hall of Justice, each possessing their own unique super power. “Whether my team members are focused on industrial, commercial or residential real estate,” Angie says, “they are all customer-focused.” Movies and television often portray REALTORS® as people










with slick sales pitches, who do more talking than listening. That’s not how it is with Angie and her team. “Although I work with 15 REALTORS®, all competing in the same market,” Angie continues, “we’re a team. I’ve never been around another group of people who have such an affinity for one another. We look out for each other. It’s never ‘my client’ or ‘your client,’ it’s ‘our client.’” It’s not all hugs and high-fives. Angie explains that the office is not a fish bowl. “I don’t sit around feeding my team leads,” she says.


Most business is repeat and referral. When a cold call comes into the office, the goal is to pair that client with the associate best suited to help. “I talk to the client and learn about their needs, get a feel for their personality,” Angie explains. “If they are family-oriented, I may line them up with an agent who has young children, who lives in that area. We have 15 agents and six admins working here, who meet regularly and brainstorm. We have a really wide base of information because my team is in tune with their communities, and with each other.” Between the agents, they possess 177 years of real estate experience. Even so, each one of them has been trained by Angie, whose goal is to not only sell homes, but to educate clients. “In todays market houses sell faster then ever,” she says. “There is an ability to just get the house sold. Our focus is not a sold sign but the best outcome for our client—maximizing profits and helping generate wealth.” It all originates from her own experience: “I bought my first house when 19 years old,” Angie continues. “By age 25, I had flipped seven houses. Just because someone is approved for $700,000, doesn’t mean you shoot for that. We advise clients





to fit their homes to their lives. We’re creating a community of people who are comfortable in their homes.” And this approach works. “About six years ago, a couple we helped called me,” Angie recalls. “They were very young—24, 25 years old when they bought their home. They called to say: ‘Guess what? We paid off our mortgage!’ They did that within 13 to 14 years.” Sometimes former clients call asking for advice about renovations. “You’ll only get so much return on your reno investment,” Angie says. “In some cases, a $40,000 renovation might be a great investment, but $140,000 may never be realized. We can advise people about this.” Angie and her team also keep a directory of trusted vendors, so they can recommend the right person for the right job. There’s no wonder Angie’s repeat and referral business is so strong. “People send their kids to us,” she says. “They refer their 75 year old aunt to us. Education is first and foremost.” For more information about Angie and her team, visit them online:





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In this issue of Windsor Life Magazine, you will read about how Windsor residents, past and present, have gone out into the world and left their mark and others who are making our city a better place to live. There is Deanna Marsigliese who grew up in South Windsor, loving cartoons and creating art, who blazed a trail from the City of Roses all the way to Pixar Animation Studios in San Francisco. She was character designer for Pixar’s newest animated feature, Luca. Whether we like it or not, winter is on the way. Rather than mourn the end of the warm weather, four Windsor families share how they each turn their backyards into wonderlands, taking the age-old concept of the backyard ice rink to the next level. The artists of Windsor will, once again, blow your mind, with their murals down Butterfly Lane (spanning the 1100 block between Argyle and Devonshire roads). These are part of the Brain Injury Association of Windsor and Essex County’s new project to draw awareness to those living with brain injuries. Another of Essex County’s unique and beautiful homes is profiled. Behold the one and a half story Main Floor Master House, situated in Lighthouse Cove, which exemplifies relaxed country living with nautical themes. After a year with the OHL off the ice, the Windsor Spitfires are back with a new coach, two-time NHL all-star and Stanley Cup winner, Marc Savard. Local photographer, Mark Hewer, shares his story and photos demonstrating his love of sunsets as viewed from around the city. Mark is a lifelong resident of Windsor and his photographs exude a combination of intimacy and child-like wonder. In a strange turn of good fortune, the COVID-19 pandemic helped Windsor native, Dakoda Shepley realize his dream of playing in the NFL. First signing with the San Francisco 49ers, he is now playing for the Seattle Seahawks. His is a story of doggedness and determination—and a little help from circumstance. In his new book, From One Father to Another, local author Kevin Robert Jarvis attempts to answer some life’s big questions, including fatherhood, family, the nature of life, and the role of faith in it. Happy Reading!

Matthew St. Amand




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SOME PEOPLE JUST KNOW what path to take in life. Windsor native and Pixar Animation Studios Character Art Director, Deanna Marsigliese, was quite young when she had her plan together. “I was in second grade when I made a formal announcement to my parents that I would be an animator,” she said during an interview. If this occurred in a modern animated movie, that would be the moment where the main character’s parents attempted to “talk sense” to their daughter, advising her about the realities of this world and steering her toward more “practical” career choices, such as teacher, technologist, or tree trimmer. Luckily for Deanna, she didn’t grow up in a cartoon. “My mom started taking me to the library every Saturday,” she continues, “so I could pull books and try and understand what it was. I grew up on cartoons. I loved cartoons and my parents told me that adults make these, like, as a job.” Among her favourites were: Disney movies, Warner Brothers cartoons, Jem and the Holograms, Tom & Jerry, The Jetsons and The Flintstones. “As a kid, I used the window on the school bus as a light table,” Deanna recalls. “I was drawing clown faces—sad and then happy—flipping the pages to see movement, trying to figure out what the middle point was.” Growing up in South Windsor, Deanna attended Holy Names High School. There, she connected with one of her many mentors. “There was one art class,” Deanna says, “and my teacher was Mr. St. Pierre and I took it every year. After a while, especially in my last year, he let me do my own thing at the back of the class. He was like: ‘You can paint. You can do whatever you want.’ He was very supportive.”


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Left: Pixar Animation Studios Character Art Director, Deanna Marsigliese. This page top to bottom: Emma Berman, Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer provide the voices of a trio of new friends in Disney and Pixar’s “Luca”; a sea monster and he newfound best friend venture beyond the water; sketches depicting the many emotions of Luca. ® 2021 Disney/Pixar.


Following graduation, Deanna was accepted at Sheridan College, the premier institution for the study of classic animation. In a 2019 interview with VoyageLA, Deanna explained: “The following three years involved a lot of hard work, all of which culminated in the creation of our own short films. While in college, I interned as an animation assistant at a Toronto-based commercial studio and after graduation, I went on to obtain my certificate in digital animation at Seneca College.” In her third year, Deanna made a short film titled “Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow,” about a magician and his uncooperative rabbit. It won a Best Film award. At the end of each academic year, Deanna remained in Toronto, seeking internships with various animation studios. She landed one at Chuck Gammage Studio as a “clean up artist”—someone who creates drawings between the “key poses” drawn A n n i v e r s a r y

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by animators and often re-draws sketches that are too rough for the finished product. Upon graduating from Sheridan, Deanna leapt right into feature animation, knowing there were production houses in Toronto doing whole sequences for Disney. Around this time, her parents offered an observation: “You know, the computer looks like the way things are going. You may consider looking at learning ‘CG’”—meaning, computer generated animation. Deanna’s response was unequivocal: “No, I want to draw.” She continues: “I love to work with my hands: pen/paper/paint. I don’t have as much control—you have that beautiful imperfection. It makes the art more tactile and interesting. On computer, everything is perfect, so you must work to make it imperfect. Toy Story, however, taught everyone that the computer was not something to be afraid of. The story is what matters.” After doing a one-year post grad certificate in computer animation at Seneca College, Deanna stayed on as an instructor for 2D animation students. She did this on a part-time basis for six years while continuing her career as an animator. At some point, work in 2D animation began to dry up. Just as she was thinking: “I may have to figure something out,” Deanna received a telephone call from the Toronto animation studio, Nelvana. “We’re looking for a character designer,” the Nelvana rep said. “Is that something you’d like to try?” Deanna said yes. So, how did her new role designing characters differ from being a classical animator? “As Character Art Director, I design the look and feel of our characters through explorative art,” Deanna explains, “and then collaborate with our technical artists to build them. An animator is the puppeteer. Once they’re built and controls have been added, an animator brings the characters to life.” She joined Nelvana and Pixar became one her clients, along with Sony and Laika. “I was working on the film Inside Out from Toronto,” she recalls. “After several months, Pixar asked me to come in-house and moved my husband and I down to San Francisco.” Among the other animated features Deanna worked on are The Good Dinosaur, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and Soul. Her most recent project is Luca. Set on the Italian Riviera in the 1950–1960s,


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the film centers on Luca Paguro, a sea monster boy who can take human form while on land. He explores the town of Portorosso with his new best friend, Alberto Scorfano, experiencing a life-changing summer of adventure. “I was able to contribute in multiple ways on Luca!” Deanna says. “After completing my role as Character Art Director, I was embedded in the animation department as an Animation Sketch Artist Lead in order to help develop the style of animation that would complement the designs.” For all the complexity of the animation technology, Deanna says that story always comes first at Pixar. “We challenge the technology,” she says. “The goal is never ‘Let’s make this look as realistic as possible.’ It’s: ‘Let’s create a style that elevates the content and the story.’ As a trained 2D animator, I felt very strongly that Art and Animation should be sharing the same artistic goals. They’re both equally satisfying.” Along with her high school art teacher, Mr. St. Pierre, Deanna credits her parents as being a strong, encouraging force in her life. Other mentors include Chuck Gammage, Ralph Eggleston, Director and Production Designer at Pixar, and Daniela Strijleva Production Designer on Luca. Working for one of the world’s premier animation studios could very well be all-consuming, but Deanna finds time for other pursuits. Among these is her love for mid-century style clothing and furniture. “My love of vintage was sparked by my Nona’s basement on Erie Street,” Deanna says. “It was a treasure trove of random tchotchkes and oddities. I would try on clothes I found and look through old photographs. I loved the idea of treasure hunting, holding something and thinking: ‘This object is older than I am. It has a whole history behind it.’” Her other passion is travel. “I love hiking, camping,” she says. “Highlights for me are the 10 days my husband and I spent in the Himalayas, trekking between villages, staying with families, learning about the culture. In 2019, we did Machu Pichu for five days with no guides. Another time, we backpacked Africa, going over land from South Africa to Uganda.” To young, aspiring artists, Deanna offers the following advice: “Stay curious and observe the world around you! This attitude keeps me young at heart. It moves me to create and keeps me inspired!” To view some of Deanna’s work, visit her website WLM Back to Contents

PUTTING YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD DIANE SHOES, now more than 130 years old and located in the heart of Windsor at 1329 Ottawa Street, has offered customers extraordinary service, a huge choice of high quality and fashionable footwear and, through its expertise, perfectly fitting shoes. Run by the Weingarden family from its inception, Diane Shoes also happens to be the oldest family-run retailer in Windsor and the oldest shoe store in Canada! That long family tradition means the store has the depth of knowledge of shoes and brands to find the right footwear—just what the customer is looking for—for comfort, style and function. The store, with a vast selection of shoes and sandals for both men and women, also features products from more than two dozen brands. Besides exceptional footwear selection, the store has long developed professional expertise in fitting shoes. Says General Manager Carl Weingarden, “The average foot will change three times in an adult life. It is important to get measured often. We are one of the few stores in this city who take time with customers to ensure they are properly fitted.” With customers’ busy lives, and fewer and fewer stores doing it, people often don’t take the time to get their feet measured. Diane Shoes uses the time-tested Brannock measuring device to professionally measure foot length and width. Says Carl, “It’s so important to have good quality foot care. Shoes support your entire body. Many people are quick to turn to orthotics when they are experiencing issues, yet a properly fitted shoe can fix the problem.” Even if customers require orthotics Diane Shoes staff have the expertise fitting them into shoes. The store also carries a broad range of orthopedic shoes. In fact, there are shoes in all varieties and sizes to meet every customer’s footwear needs. Besides footwear Diane Shoes is known for its handbags and accessories for both women and men. Diane Shoes’ first store was on Riverside Drive. Opened by Isaac Weingarden the business quickly became a family enterprise with eight children involved in it. The store passed down through the generations. Eventually, more stores opened throughout the city under different names. The business was originally a men’s footwear and clothing company, but eventually branched out into women’s footwear and accessories. In 1970 Jerry Weingarden, still the owner, took over the business. Jerry’s son Carl, at age 11, started as a part time stockroom boy. After high school he joined the business full time and runs the store today. Throughout its history Diane Shoes has prided itself on keeping up with fashion trends and offering the latest styles and brands. Says Carl, “Fashion has definitely moved towards comfort, today anything goes.” Besides shoes the store offers an extensive selection of handbags, purses, hats, socks and foot care products.


Diane Shoes Has Been Properly Fitting Shoes To Windsor For More Than A Century

The founding family of Windsor’s Diane Shoes, a continuous enterprise for more than 130 years. From left to right: Isaac Weingarden (portrait), Max, Jerry and Carl Weingarden.

Winter is coming and Diane Shoes features a great selection of boots. It also sells the increasingly popular Tilley hats, Canadian made and lifetime guaranteed. For 70 years the retailer has been a well-known Ottawa St. retailer with consistent longtime customers and new ones discovering it all the time. “We are fortunate,” Carl says. “Business is excellent, and we continue to enjoy serving our clients with proper footwear and extraordinary service.” So, whether you’re looking for comfort or style and quality brands you need go nowhere else but Diane Shoes, a retailer long regarded in Windsor for its product selection and premium customer service.

1329 Ottawa St., Windsor, ON | 519-254-8638

Director Customer Service Robert Spagnuolo(l) with GIS Analyst Darren Daly and Senior Technical Analyst Marc Ethier outside the Operations Centre.

information-on-call TEAMWORK + TECHNOLOGY = FIRST CALL RESOLUTION Effective leaders understand that the best people to solve a problem are often the ones who deal with it every day.

Customer Care and Billing Supervisor Laura Johnston had a burning customer service issue and didn’t waste any time before signing up.

Customer service staff know their customers and understand what they need and want. Given the opportunity, they can also find the solution – often at little cost and great benefit to all.

“I knew we could alleviate the pain.”

Customer Care Supervisor Laura Johnston identified a need for a single contact solution in the call centre.

“Employee-driven innovations can offer solutions that make it easier for employees to satisfy customer needs,” explains ENWIN’s Director of Customer Service Robert Spagnuolo. Robert decided to take advantage of some untapped expertise by encouraging his employees to enlist for ENNOVATION – the utility’s grass roots think-tank that teaches design thinking and innovation.


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“I had overheard a customer care representative playing phone tag with other departments to try to find answers to a simple question. After several calls, she faced an angry, frustrated customer who had been kept waiting too long,” she explained. “I knew we could alleviate the pain if we could put accurate information at her fingertips.” She joined forces with Jeff St. Louis, also a Supervisor in Customer Care and Billing, to explore the idea of lowering call volumes by giving employees the tools to resolve customer requests in real time. But, without the budget to outsource the project, how could Jeff and Laura provide their staff with instant access to information?

“We needed a no-cost, easy-to-use solution that would empower our representatives to provide a seamless response in one contact,” explained Jeff, who managed the customer service implementation. “That’s a tall order for any company.” They found the answer through ENNOVATION. As is often the case at the think-tank, by researching and presenting their own issues they discovered that other departments across the company were facing similar challenges.

“It was the flip side of the customer service issue.” For example, Hydro Distribution was grappling with duplicate work orders, generated when customers called back more than once over the same issue. It was the flip side of the customer service issue. “Even as we were working with Hydro to identify and resolve a customer concern, that same customer was calling back and generating another work order for the same issue,” Laura explained. “It was an exercise in frustration – for employees and the public.”

“The customer is happy, and so are we.” “This has changed everything for our employees,” commented Laura. “Instead of facing frustrated customers, tired of waiting for information, they are able to instantly pull up the facts they need to answer a question or resolve a concern. The customer is happy, and so are we.” “The access to data is almost instantaneous,” added Jeff, “and the response is seamless from the customer’s point of view. Redundancies and follow-up work orders have been greatly reduced – and employee satisfaction is greatly increased. This is a win for us all!” The project is so successful that the team is planning to expand the scope. Laura explains, “Today, our representatives need only need to click the map, to answer a customer’s question. Tomorrow, we hope to generate updates before the customer even calls to ask.” ENWIN CEO Helga Reidel says she is proud of the innovative spirit exhibited by these employees.

Similar issues were identified in other operational areas. The team joined forces with IT and GIS to envision the solution. “All our services are related to areas on the map,” explains GIS Analyst Darren Daly. “We realized that the GIS was already the repository for all the data they needed, so the answer would lie in giving customer service staff easy access to that information.” “What we developed was a single, map-based information hub – a communication channel between customer service representatives and those who could answer their questions, adds Senior Technical Analyst Marc Ethier, who was brought in to define the scope and lead the project. “We basically populated the map with these facts and found a way to connect the dots.”

Supervisors Customer Care and Billing Jeff St. Louis (standing centre) and Laura Johnston (right) brainstorm with colleges at an ENNOVATION think-tank session .

The scope was enormous. Beyond the research and development of the technical solution, it required a massive IT training effort, across multiple departments, during a global pandemic, when the majority of participants were working out of the office.

“They defined an opportunity and pursued it with terrific outcomes,” she commented. “We are grateful to Laura, Jeff, Rob, Darren, Marc and all the others who are continually seeking better ways to serve our community.”

“We took it in small bites,” Marc remembers.

Laura says she is just grateful for the opportunity to grow, learn and shine.

That approach worked. After months of research, planning, training, measuring and testing, the home-grown solution is complete and the outcomes spectacular.

“I don’t think we would have tackled this without the ENNOVATION program,” she said. “We learned a lot and we are all delighted to work for a company that supports our success.” A n n i v e r s a r y

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HOME ICE ADVANTAGE These Backyard Rinks Up The Game For Family and Friends STORY BY RON STANG

AS WINTER COMES ON, thoughts turn to the good old hockey game—on TV, at the local arena and, for some, in their very own back yard. Sure, families have had backyard rinks from time immemorial. But locally, some have upped the game. These rinks are spacious and built with professional materials, engineered with both novice and professional TLC. They range from several hundred dollars to literally tens of thousands, all to provide a quality ice rink with a sense of professionalism. And their builders for the most part learned to make the rinks themselves. Ryan Eagen, owner of Ezee Wheelz, began building his 50 by 80 ft. rink almost a decade ago because his kids—two boys and two girls—were getting into travel hockey. “And I wanted to give them something to do in the wintertime when they’re not on the ice and with their friends.” Jeff Casey, owner and publisher of Neighbur, built his 30 by


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50 ft. rink for families and friends. During Covid lockdowns it was a godsend. Households couldn’t have people inside, but he would invite them over to use the outdoor rink. “There was no other place to do that in a controlled environment,” he says. “It was pretty awesome.” Ryan Marier, founder and managing partner of Landmark Financial Planning and Advisory, built his 35 by 70 ft. rink last season. “It just sort of organically came about as my kids became more and more involved in hockey,” he says. And then Covid hit. With regular rinks closed his backyard became a substitute. “Covid was really the catalyst.” Rocco Tullio, owner of Rock Developments Inc. and owner and president of

Opposite top and bottom: Jeff Casey couldn’t help himself, last winter adding to his South Windsor rink LED lighting under the ice and patio and Christmas lights along the side. Top left: Rocco Tullio’s $200,000 home ice palace was a principal training ground for son Ty, now with the Edmonton Oilers. Top right and centre: Ryan Marier said Covid was the “catalyst” for building his rink, as public skate facilities were closed. Right: Ryan Eagen’s rink now has night time lights, his kids love it so much they skate “until they’ve got to go to bed.” A n n i v e r s a r y

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the Oshawa Generals OHL team, has had his professionally designed Lakeshore 45 by 95 ft. rink a dozen years, used largely by family and especially by son Ty, a forward recently signed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. As Ty was growing up he would find it difficult to find ice time to practice at commercial rinks. Presto! Rocco solved that problem and gave him and the rest of the family a rink they could call their own, lauding “the convenience of being about to go out in the backyard rink.” Most of these supersized rinks were built by people who experimented with their own materials or from kits. Eagen started small. But “as the time went on, I just got carried away, it’s kind of my personality and made it bigger and bigger” alongside his Lakeshore home. Eagen, with grass as a base, measured out a rectangle and used 2 x 10s for the border. The underlying feature is the plastic liner. “It’s like a big, long tub,” he says. He purchased a 50 ft. wide sheet for $500$600. “Lay it out as long as you want” and place the square box on top. The plastic is wrapped on the outside. The finishing is exterior plywood boards 10 in. wide and 8 ft. long held by stakes. Jeff Casey has had his South Windsor rink seven seasons. He built it using a kit from Nice Rink. It comes with 4 ft. by 18 in. interlocking boards—40 altogether— and brackets, and he uses cinderblocks to brace the whole rink. Casey says the liner is key. He tried material from greenhouse supply stores, but these were too thin. “So, I went back to the Nice Rink stuff because it’s a little bit (8 mm) thicker.” Marier’s rink is built over an asphalt sport court where kids play roller hockey. He learned how to build the rink himself but “the internet helps” including a Facebook group of backyard enthusiasts. He bought high density polyethylene “puck board”— what hockey boards are made of—in 4 by 8 ft. sheets. He already had a commercial grade chain link fence to stop high shots. “So, I thought it would be perfect, it’s strong enough to hold the boards,” he said. Marier made the curved rink corners out of some leftover wood. Tullio had his rink professionally designed and engineered at a cost of $200,000. This, folks, is a smaller version of a real arena rink, complete with professional boards, plexiglass, and netting. “It’s basically everything you see at the Atlas Tube arena or Central Park Athletics ice rinks,” he says.


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The rink also comes with realistic touches like the Generals logo at centre ice and logos on the boards. One of the problems with outdoor rinks is Windsor’s short cold weather season. “Typically, your best ice is JanuaryFebruary,” Eagen says. “You’re really going to get two months out of it, and you hope it stays frozen.” Keeping the ice perfect is key. That means that after a day’s skating he’s out shoveling and reflooding. “So, then you’re out there for an hour and a half with a hose coming from the barn—I have 3 hoses that I screw together it’s over 300 ft long.” Says Casey, “You start watching the weather like a hawk. As soon as I see that there are going to be 2 or 3 days that are between say minus 5 and minus 12 then I’ll fill a couple of days before.” He says last year was probably the best in eight tears for sustained cold temperatures. Marier says keeping the ice clean and smooth is a “labour of love.” He discovered the so-called Homeboni or Handboni, a make-shift Zamboni that can personally be pulled around the ice. As part of Tullio’s professionally built rink there is also a mechanical Zamboni, a Kubota tractor pulling an Olympia blade attachment. And underlying his “mini stadium” are chillers which chill the base concrete. Any rink bells and whistles? These guys have a few. Eagen says a rink can be the centre of a day or evening’s family entertainment. “I live out in the county so it’s kind of really fun,” he says. They build bonfires and make hot chocolate. Backstops and side posts hold lights. “These kids are playing hockey from 5.30 until they’ve got to go to bed.” Casey installed some color. “This year I went a little bit more sideways and put lines underneath the liner, so they shine through the ice. And then I put up those patio lights.” He also built an ice path “so the kids could actually skate to the rink.” Marier put in lines underneath the ice. “Those are just tape. I just put red tape down on the liner, I didn’t know if it would cause a problem with the sun. The sun is our enemy in the backyard rink world.” Tullio’s rink has lights and piped in music. He doesn’t know if his rink is the most technologically advanced locally. “I don’t know of anybody with this size rink in this area,” he says. “But as you start trekking towards Toronto there are ones very similar and larger in nature.” WLM Back to Contents

TRANSFORMING THE ALLEYWAY Artists Contribute Butterfly-Themed Murals Dedicated to Those Living with Brain Injuries STORY BY ALLEY L. BINIARZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL PIETRANGELO ART HAS ITS BEAUTIFUL way of inspiring us to stop, think, and reflect, and the murals down Butterfly Lane were created to do just that. The Brain Injury Association of Windsor and Essex County (BIAWE) proudly revealed this new project in early October with a purpose to draw awareness to those living with brain injuries. “There are many people within our community who experience the ongoing effects and live with the symptoms of an acquired brain injury on a daily basis,” Anna Jurak, Executive Director and Peer Support Coordinator at BIAWE


says about the emotional and behavioural difficulties that come with this “invisible disability.” The murals, which span across the 1100 block between Argyle and Devonshire roads, were painted by local artists in Windsor-Essex. While each mural has its own unique messaging, all include images of butterflies and incorporate individual wooden butterflies painted by persons with an acquired brain injury as their personal contribution to this project. The life of a butterfly symbolizes the life of an individual with a brain injury: one that is transformative and leaves the person shifted from who they once were, but is no less beautiful. Along with the general theme behind these murals, each artist incorporated their own individual flare and background into the works of art. Alexandra Loxton, artist and student from L’Essor High School, decided to elaborate on the vision and created a piece representative of the transformation experienced by those living with brain injuries. Clockwise from left: Alexandra Loxton standing with her mural, “A New Beginning”; Sarah Robbins with her artwork, “Bright Future”; Adele Steinberg with her interpretation of Mother Nature; Richard Wood with his mural, “Tiger Swallowtail”. A n n i v e r s a r y

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“At the centre of my mural is a large rose, representative of Windsor, ‘The City of Roses.’ The petals are quite unique as they are morphing into butterflies flying into the sky to begin their new lives. I also chose Monarch butterflies because they are native to this region and the blue butterflies tie in with the BIAWE logo. Lastly, I incorporated the Owl butterfly into my tree trunk, symbolic of how those affected by a brain injury aren’t always noticeable at first glance, as they blend into society like everyone else,” she says. The artists felt called to this project, not only as a wonderful opportunity to cultivate awareness for brain injuries and demonstrate their art to the community, but also to contribute to the beautification of an area in our city. “This project has shown how an alley can be transformed by ordinary people to make an attractive, presentable area of alleys that are usually ignored,” mural artist Richard Wood says. His own Tiger Swallowtail painting was transformed from an original work of his that he completed in an art class at SHO Studios. As a sculpture artist, and with only six attempts at his first time painting a mural, Richard decided it was still better to try and fail than fail to try, which is a life attitude that he has adopted. Each volunteer was happy to stretch beyond their comfort zone and tackle this challenge in order to bring the community together to try and do something good. Graphic designer and visual artist Sarah Robbins says that though she has painted a few murals in people’s homes, this was her first outdoor mural. “Meeting everyone and being able to paint not for just one person but for a community lit a fire in me,” she says. “As people walked by or when the neighbours came out, I got to meet everyone and hear their stories while I painted. It was my favourite part!” Sarah wanted to create something positive and uplifting for not only those going through recovery but also for those around them. She adds that if she can bring more joy or positivity into the world through her art, then she feels like she’s serving her purpose. This alleyway has lit a spark all across Windsor and has inspired talk of future artistic projects with organizations. As a new attraction, the murals have turned into photo-opps on daily commutes and intentional visits which have turned into thought-provoking conversations about the

BIAWE initiative. “Because we cannot see a brain injury, which includes concussions, we often forget that repercussions exist for years for many people,” Anna at BIAWE says. “As a society we need to be aware that our friends, neighbours, and acquaintances may be suffering from a brain injury and they may not tell us. It’s important to be patient, kind, and understanding with everyone. A brain injury can happen to anyone at any time, and art can motivate people to turn thinking about something into doing something.” Each year over 45,000 Canadians sustain a potentially life altering brain injury, and 490 of those residents are here in WindsorEssex County. Brain injury costs Ontarians one billion dollars annually in direct or indirect costs, and the BIAWE aims to reduce those numbers through prevention. There are many ways that the community can help the Brain Injury Association. As a registered charitable organization, they rely on the community to participate in their fundraisers, volunteer for their committees and programs, or to make donations and sponsor their programs. BIAWE offers programs free to those affected by an acquired brain injury, which not only includes those living with the injury but the caregivers, friends, and family. “Participating in our programs reduces the anxiety and depression that often appears during the process of recovery,” Anna adds. It’s a tremendous effort to refer people to the BIAWE as it guides those with a brain injury to professionals who are able to help them learn to manage their recovery. It is part of the BIAWE’s mission to enhance the lives of those affected by an acquired brain injury through education, awareness, and support, and these murals serve as just one of the ways we can connect with the organization and the folks experiencing the repercussions of a brain injury. Whether you pass by the mural every day or go out of your way to see the new works of art, allow the alleyway to help you reflect on how you are thinking about persons with a brain injury and take it a step further as a call to action. Take and share photos of the mural for the cause, visit and volunteer with the BIAWE, and don’t forget to follow, tag and support the local Windsor artists involved in the project. The butterflies portrayed in this mural are representative of hope and new beginnings; what starts as a painting on a mural can transform into tangible help for those who need it most. WLM Back to Contents


Your Body

IN THE MIDST of this last year, Envy Aesthetics owner Manai realized how short life is and she didn’t want to wait any longer to pursue her dream of owning her own business. “People didn’t understand how I could have started a business through the pandemic,” Manai says about the unfortunate circumstances some businesses faced through this time. “But as a healthcare professional working through this year I saw it as a time to do something for myself. I knew this was my chance to take on this opportunity.” There is a broad scope to the nursing profession and Manai says that not many think to enter the skin and body field. She, however, has always wanted to explore the Medical Cosmetic side of the industry and decided to expand Windsor-Essex’s offerings for body contouring, skin tightening and skin rejuvenation treatments. The Accent Prime technology that Manai has introduced to the area has shown amazing results. Envy Aesthetics is the only one in the region to offer and use this revolutionary machine. Since this is a new offering for Windsor-Essex, Manai offers free consultations to explore clients’ individual needs and goals, where she takes the time to listen to clients’ stories and understand their unique life journeys. As a nurse, Manai has worked with all age groups and demographics and uses these relationship-building skills to create a deeper understanding of her clients’ realistic goals. “There’s always a reason for why they’re doing the work and listening to my clients means I can really guide them towards the right treatment.” Manai goes the extra mile with her clients by building trust through constant communication so that they can feel confident about their treatment decision. These free consultations also allow new clients to get a feel for the beautiful and positive environment within the collective location. Manai shares a space inside Jessica M Cosmetics Medi-Spa & Salon, which allows clients coming into the Spa the option to book a variety of services under one umbrella. “When Jessica (owner of Jessica M Cosmetics Medi-Spa & Salon) invited me into this space it truly helped jumpstart my business.” Manai and Jessica are not only good friends but also worked together for over 10 years in an acute care hospital. Manai is grateful for the support of her family and friends through the start of this new adventure. She has had the encouragement and wise words of her parents to motivate her through this

change, along with the strength and courage to persevere from her late grandmother. “They always told me that no matter what business you’re going into, your dreams won’t be realized without taking a little risk,” Manai says. Any risk she has taken has been a leap of faith, but it’s been worth every step. Manai loves being a part of her clients’ journeys and helping them meet their goals and achieve the very best results.


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Visit @envyaestheticsinc on Instagram and Facebook for before and after pictures, or for more information. You can book with Manai by phoning 519-819-9492, emailing or visiting Jessica M Cosmetics Medi Spa & Salon located at 13158 Tecumseh Rd. E.

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Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex had much to smile about recently. They were selected as one of the beneficiaries of the Tim Hortons Windsor-Essex locations Smile Cookie Campaign. The funds will support the development of the Youth Wellness Hub and also suicide prevention training for high school teachers. Pictured here is CMHA-WECB mascot Sole Mate, Tim Hortons owner Chris Caruana and Windsor Spitfires mascot. Also Happy 50th Anniversary to this amazing organization.


Purchase a meal for your family, group or business on Saturdays in November and December and the Serbian Centre will donate a meal on your behalf to the Salvation Army or Downtown Mission or you can just purchase a meal for donation. Last year this program was able to provide Friday dinner for both groups on a weekly basis from January through July.


Niki Grady is celebrating her first anniversary at 1277 Ottawa St. offering a unique way to get healthy and boost the immune system and energy levels with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Infusion offers more energy, better sleep and mental clarity which tops up the body’s needs that can be missing from the diet.


Vivarium Reptiles & Exotics has moved to Windsor Crossings Mall in LaSalle. Not your typical pet store, owner Brent Robinson refers to it as the “Home of the Odd, Unusual, Rare and Exotic”, catering to customers looking for reptiles and small animals. They also offer their customers Repti-sitting when owners are away (pet-sitting).


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Long time Sweet Revenge Bake Shop employee, Diana Elias has recently purchased the bakery located at 400 Erie Street East, Suite 9. Diana plans to use her baking experience, alongside her passion for art, to offer the same high quality custom cakes and treats that the bakery has built its 8-year reputation on. Additionally, the menu will be expanded with more vegan options as well.

The local CTV News Windsor Anchor has announced his retirement effective November 26 after 47 years of broadcasting. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my life behind the microphone, but by far the most satisfying has been my last 21 years in television,” Crichton said. He is looking forward to more family time with his wife Pat and their three grandchildren during his retirement, as well as continuing his ongoing involvement with local causes, car cruises and community events.


The biggest Chrysler dealership south of the GTA is finishing up its 25th year in operation furnishing Windsor and Essex County with new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & Ram from its state-of-the-art facility on Tecumseh Road East. Owner Phil Diemer is proud of his dedicated finance team, world-class service centre and body shop, incredible parts department, and extensive inventory of quality used vehicles.




Windsor Artist Shirley Williams has been selected as the Feature Artist for October by the Canadian Abstract Artists. According to the group “Her abstract paintings are absolutely gorgeous and very expressive. If you’re looking to add a painting to your home or office, Shirley loves working directly with collectors to find the perfect piece that, in her words, ‘speaks to them and enhances the ambiance’.”

Carol Crooks, better known to some as CLaroL the CLown is hanging up her clown shoes this January after 35 years of stomping around in oversized shoes, making balloon animals, and generally just having the time of her life. “It’s time to let somebody else fill in the shoes too, because it’s a big opportunity for someone out there.” Definity a big opportunity, but even bigger clown shoes to fill.


Precious Cargo & Mom 2 is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Located at 252 Queen St. in Chatham, owner Sandra Stepniak carries Canadian made baby furniture, clothing, gifts, toys, mother’s need items, maternity, post-partum and nursing bras. Back to Contents


Sam Ferraro started working at Freeds of Windsor on Oct 22nd, 1973 and on October 23rd, 2021 “Sam the Tailor” as known by his customers will officially retire after celebrating 48 years of exemplary service. Congratulations Sam from all of us at Windsor Life Magazine.

Seacliff Manor recently won the Leamington Chamber award for small businesses with staff under 50 employees. General Manager Kari Sleiman is proud of this recognition as well as their achievement of having no known covid cases throughout the pandemic. Seacliff offers worry free lifestyles from independent supportive living to assisted living and their memory support program. 519-326-2624 A n n i v e r s a r y

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WATERFRONT RETREAT Splendid Comforts of a Designer Home STORY BY RON STANG / PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL PIETRANGELO LIGHT BREEZY TONES inside and out mark this new Lighthouse Cove home, designed by Windsor architect Philip Fernandes, built by LaSalle’s Timberland Homes, with interior finishes and accents by Windsor’s Lionheart Home Collection. The one and a half story Main Floor Master House, set on the Lake St. Clair waterfront, exemplifies relaxed country living with nautical themes. “I like to call it a modern or contemporary lake


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house,” Timberland owner Gino Piccioni says. “The palettes they used were soft throughout the interior and exterior that makes it look very Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod.” Piccioni says this is one of the most detailed Main Floor Master’s his firm has built. “Just everywhere you turn its detailed from the flared walls to the swale roof, balconies, glass railing, built-in storage.”


Piccioni, describing the layout as a “very cool plan,” says more and more houses are being built this way, with the master bedroom on the first floor and other bedrooms (there are three others in this house) upstairs. It’s perfect for a couple who are becoming empty nesters, but families generally are choosing it. “The master bedroom is on the main floor, it acts as a ‘ranch’ for the two of them,” Piccioni says. “And when the kids come back for the weekend it also offers a nice lodging area upstairs and gives people their own sense of space.” The home is defined in part by its large windows, letting in lots of light and affording spectacular views of the lake. The colour scheme, finishes and decorative elements take it from there. Richard Pursel, owner of Lionheart Home Collection, along with longtime colleague and designer Melissa Woodrow, consulted extensively with the new home’s owners “on every aspect” of the finishes and details. This includes everything from the wall colours, lighting, fixtures, draperies, furniture, art and accessories. The residents, a couple and longtime county residents who’ve long had an interest in design, wanted a home on

Left: In the great room, natural materials take centre stage—weathered wood, linen, cotton, jute and sea grass. Below right: Carved cabinets with marble tops flank the paneled foyer with dramatic barrel ceiling detail. Below left: Designers Melissa Woodrow and Richard Pursel of Lionheart Home Collection.


the water (they’re also boaters and the property has a dock). “They decided Lighthouse Cove would be the best location for them, restful and serene, surrounded by water on three sides,” he says. Pursel describes the house as a “casual comfortable lakefront home but on a fairly grand scale.” The rooms are very spacious and the colour palette light, the furnishings “tactile and user friendly.” The interior melds with the exterior to take advantage of the water location with a large, covered porch and additional outside kitchen. “The house is made for indoor-outdoor living,” he says. The interior throughout has a warm white look. “We used a white background to show off the furniture, art and accessories,” Pursel says. Of special note are the sun-bleached oak flooring, repeated woven seagrass designs and pendant lighting. The main room chandeliers—oversized and original and highly distinct from one another—are “really quite spectacular,” Pursel says. There are also accents of blue and touches of gold to provide upscale


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Top left: Spectacular lighting fixtures illuminate every room. The chef’s kitchen features integrated appliances, detailed cabinetry and quartz countertops. Above: The dining table is crafted from natural American white oak with a chamfered edge. Woven sea grass side chairs provide coastal comfort.

Clockwise from below: The landing doubles as a cozy reading nook; the upper loft sofa was re upholstered in a washed linen fabric; the master ensuite with polished marble floor tiles and arabesque wall tiles are the back drop for polished nickel faucets and accessories. Topped with a natural rattan pendant fixture to enhance the waterfront vibe; the main floor master suite is a restful retreat and features motorized window shades and drapery.

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warmth as well as a marine feel. “The home has a seaside waterfront kind of vibe,” he says. The lighting exemplifies a certain style acumen such as hand-finished lighting fixtures. In fact, all the interior decor, from draperies to furniture, is singularly inspired by the designers. Another major design element is the unique built-in shelves and cabinets, that repeat throughout the house. They were crafted by Frank Cremasco Cabinetry of Windsor. The living room or great room, measuring 28 sq. ft., is quite spacious, complementing the large windows facing the lake. The plush white sofa measures 12 ft. The coffee table of reclaimed pine planks, with a whitewash finish, is six feet square. Four armchairs in two styles flank each side. Two woven seagrass chairs border the foyer and complement the wall paneling and white oak flooring. Pursel says “a great deal of thought” went into the foyer itself, so that “when you walk in you see the welcoming great room and beautiful outside view.” Those seagrass chairs, curved and sculptural, “are one of the first things you note.” On the other side of the great room’s coffee table are two cream leather power recliners. “We placed them there so that when the owners want to kick back and watch TV (located above the opposite wall fireplace) they have motion chairs to chillax,” Pursel says. The fireplace is surrounded by herringbone Carrera marble. The home’s foyer, again with abundant glass, is spacious and inviting. “It exhibits its own personality,” says Pursel, with a barreled ceiling and paneled walls and mirrored and carved antique cabinets, one on either side. Weathered wood finials have been placed on each side of the door. The finials complement the entrance and can be seen from outside. “So, when you approach the house, they lend another layer of interest.” The chef’s kitchen features white quartz counter tops and a white porcelain tile backsplash. “We kept it very clean and very coastal,” Pursel says. But the defining elements are the two huge, hammered iron pendant lights over the central island. They feature gold leaf on the inside “so they’ll cast a real warm glow in the evening.” These elements, plus the natural wood flooring, add warmth. The dining area between the kitchen and great room features a 10 ft. white oak natural finish table with Lucite plinth legs.

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The chairs also feature woven seagrass, which is repeated on the shades of the iron wall lights over the large farm sink. The table is topped with another stunning iron and glass chandelier. Since this is a Main Floor Master House the master bedroom is on the first floor. The room also features an oversized chandelier, showcasing an antique gold metal finish with mirrored circles. Two side by side dressers are painted white with gray washed wood front drawers. The room’s paint shade and draperies are a touch darker than elsewhere in the house “creating a slightly more restful atmosphere,” Pursel says. The bed itself is upholstered in a taupe woven fabric and the bedding white with blue accents. The same natural white oak floor in the nearby great room repeats. The draperies and roller shades are motorized with the touch of a button, a feature found elsewhere in the home as well. The master bathroom, with dual sinks, also features matching pendant lights, with a polished nickel finish found on the faucets. The freestanding bathtub sits on angle in front of corner windows. The overall theme is white on white and “spa like.” Again, the striking chandelier is the focal point. “We kind of played with the coastal feel by installing the natural rattan light fixture, shaped like barnacles,” Pursel says. The backslash features Arabesque shaped marble tiles. Then there is the intriguing landing between the first and second floors. The designers decided to show off this unique space by converting it into a reading alcove with window seat and bookshelves, offset by navy blue grasscloth wall covering. But the knockout touch has to be the large glass disc chandelier, so stunning it might transfix someone lounging in the window seat. At the top of the stairs is a large loft space, a family room which also overlooks the water. The nautical theme takes full force here with a woven diptych canvas painting of a weathered rowboat. WLM Windsor Life Magazine is always searching for interesting homes, landscaping, gardens, patios and water features to show our readers what others in the community are doing with their living spaces. If you have a home that you feel would be interesting please email photos to Photos need to be for reference only. If your home is chosen we will arrange for a complete photo shoot. If you wish, you may remain anonymous and the location of your home will not be disclosed. Back to Contents

Life Print FORMula “PLANNING IS BRINGING the future into the present,” explains Peter Dobrich, president of Private Financial Group. For those who attain a certain level of wealth, there comes a time when decisions need to be made regarding how to protect, sustain, and distribute that bounty. Private Financial Group has created a proprietary process called the Life Print FORMula to help clients assess whether they are on track to achieve their goals. “Once you go through our process,” Peter continues, “you’ll either like what you see, or you won’t. Either way, you’ll know where you stand.” The “FORM” in “FORMula” stands for those things that truly matter to people in life: Family, Occupation, Recreation, Money. Peter Dobrich “People are working toward retirement, or, as we think of it: a ‘workPRESIDENT optional lifestyle,’” Peter says. “Proper planning ensures they can do so without outliving their money. We look at the past and future, and help them with managing the money, which is the vehicle for the other things before it. We never lose sight of the first three.” He adds: “Every family has a different life print. We customize what’s important to each of them.” Although clients’ needs and circumstances vary in detail and complexity, Peter’s approach engages in panoramic financial planning in the context of a long-term partnership, taking the pieces of clients’ financial puzzle and putting them in place. To do this, Private Financial Group utilizes its proprietary process that integrates wealth management with risk and debt management, income and tax planning, and philanthropy for successful families, professionals, and business owners. A client’s Life Print FORMula focuses on the three “D”s: DISCOVER: What do you want to accomplish? What is essential to you?

DESIGN: How will we get you there? What services are the best fit for you? DEPLOY: Financial and legacy planning, customized strategy implementation, ongoing continuous service, building a lasting relationship. Peter admits, the Life Print FORMula is not for everyone. The biggest issue standing between people realizing their financial and legacy goals is indecision. “We don’t just let everyone on the ark,” Peter says. “We’re not everything to everyone. We’re everything to a few—those who recognize our value proposition.” He continues: “Once we understand the Why (family, occupation, recreation) and How (money), it’s a planning strategy. The Life Print FORMula provides comfort and confidence to deploy—that’s where our skillset comes in: keeping our clients and their strategy on track.” Information is power, but we live in an age of information overload. Successful business owners are bombarded with financial data. This is where Private Financial Group helps its clients: filtering out all the noise. “Once we find out what’s important,” Peter says, “it’s not much different than when you build a custom home, looking at the architectural drawings. We look at the same things in their life, putting the plan together. It’s not a one-time thing, but the management of a relationship. The strategy we develop adapts over time. It remains fluid and dynamic, going where the puck’s going, making sure our clients have the best opportunities available.” Most importantly, that the decisions make sense. There are numerous new financial products. Sometimes the right idea rolls around at the wrong time. It’s Private Financial Group’s role to ensure decisions remain aligned with the strategy developed with the client. To learn more about Private Financial Group’s Life Print FORMula, visit

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The Mark of Excellence Marc Savard Takes The Helm As The Windsor Spitfires New Head Coach STORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY WINDSOR SPITFIRES THE WAIT IS OVER. The 2021-22 OHL season is here and the Windsor Spitfires hit the ice backed by an experienced new bench boss: Stanley Cup winner, two-time NHL all-star, and former OHL star, Marc Savard. Taking over for former head coach, Trevor Letowski—who accepted an assistant coach position with the Montreal Canadiens—Marc is supported by assistant coach, Andy Delmore, and associate coach, Jerrod Smith. Before his arrival in Windsor, Marc spent the 2019-20 as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues. “I bring leadership,” he says when asked about the tools he brings to the Spitfires. “The players know I’ve been through it. I have their ear, they’re listening. I played for a lot of coaches, had some great ones, and took something from each.” It has been 17 months since the Spitfires last took to the ice before the league—and most of the world—was shut down due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. A long delay for fans, and an excruciating break for players who want to compete, hone their skills, and gain the attention of the NHL. “There’s a real excitement to get back on the ice, playing,” Marc says. “We are looking to get back to as much normalcy as possible. I’m excited for the players. They all look great. They’re big kids, in great shape. They used the time off wisely, maintaining their fitness, working on skills. It’s amazing to see.”


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Top: The Windsor Spitfires new bench coach Marc Savard. Above: Marc working the bench from the team’s first pre-season home game on September 19th vs. Sarnia.

The effects of the pandemic will reverberate through the season. Fans over the age of 12 are required to show proof of vaccination against the coronavirus to attend games. Also, the OHL schedule has teams limiting travel, staying closer to home, with an eye toward eliminating overnight stays for the near future. “We’re going to stay out here in the west,” Marc says. “We won’t be going to Ottawa, or Kingston, or Oshawa for the time being. We are keeping it close to home for the sake of safety. It’s easier on the guys, though it’s tough playing the same teams over and over.”

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But hockey is hockey, and some is better than none. Born and raised in Ottawa, Marc Savard brings a wealth of hockey experience to the Windsor Spitfires. He enjoyed a stand-out career in the OHL, playing for the Oshawa Generals, beginning in 1993–94. In his second season, Marc scored a leagueleading 139 points. In 1995, he was selected 91st overall by the New York Rangers in the NHL Entry Draft. He played two more seasons in the OHL, where he earned his second Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy, as the league’s leading scorer with 130 points in 1996–97. Marc added 27 points in 15 playoff games, leading the Generals to the 1997 J. Ross Robertson Cup and winning in the 1997 Memorial Cup. Marc says it was only after winning the Memorial Cup in his last season with the Oshawa Generals, that he thought he had a genuine chance to enter the NHL. “During my stint in Oshawa, we won the championship in my last season,” he recalls. “It was then that I really felt that if I got an opportunity I could do it.” The New York Rangers assigned Marc to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack in 199798. There, he scored 74 points and was called up to play in 28 games for the Rangers during his rookie year. “It was a bit of a culture shock, being 20 years old, playing in New York,” Marc recalls. “I wanted it and had an up-and-down first year. I finished the last 15 games with the Rangers.” After a season in New York, Marc was traded to the Calgary Flames, where he played from 1999-2002. He found his way in the 2000–01 season, finishing second in team scoring with 65 points, behind Jarome Iginla. “It took me a while to get a great opportunity,” Marc says. “It was a roller coaster my first season in New York, and then my second NHL season in Calgary, I got an opportunity to contribute each night.” It was not until Marc moved to the Atlanta Thrashers in 2002 to 2006, that he came into his own. “That’s where Bob Hartley gave me an opportunity,” Marc remembers. “I had more minutes, going from 13 minutes a night to 20. That was a big jump. One I was ready to make.” He rose to the occasion. Playing with superstar wingers Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk, Marc became a point-per-game player and recorded 52 points in 45

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games during an injury shortened 2003–04 season. According to ESPN: “At the end of his breakthrough season, Savard became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Boston Bruins to a four-year, $20 million contract on July 1, 2006.” By the time of announcing his retirement on January 22, 2018, Marc had climbed Mount Olympus in the world of professional hockey: playing in two NHL all-star games (2008 and 2009), and winning the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011. And he brings all of that knowledge and experience to the Spitfire bench. Marc readily acknowledges of his colleagues: “We’ve got a great staff around me: Jerrod Smith and Andy Delmore. Our goal is not only to win games, but to help these players get to the next level. I’m an open door guy, communication is always there.” Steve Bell, the Voice of the Windsor Spitfires, looks forward to the coming season. “The Spitfires are a good skating team,” Steve observes. “Like most coaches these days, Marc preaches a high tempo game. But you can never forget that you have to take care of your own end!” Indeed, Marc ran the power play while behind the St. Louis Blues’ bench. According to “They converted at 24.3%, which was not only third-best in the NHL in 2019-20 but the third-best in team history…” The Windsor Spitfires will benefit from that offensive mindset. Beyond his duties as head coach of the Windsor Spitfires, Marc is a husband and father of two children. His son, 18 year old Tyler Savard, was 11th-round pick of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2019. If the schedule opens up later in the season, the Spitfires will face-off against the Greyhounds. Marc also created Project 91: “The organization raises money for concussion awareness and research,” he explains. It’s a cause that hits close to home. Marc suffered two concussions in ten months during the 2010-11 season. Project 91 raises money through the sale of apparel, donating a portion of all sales to Toronto Western Hospital (Concussion Research). Regarding the upcoming season, Marc reflects: “It’s been a long year. These players haven’t played in a long time, a little patience. They’re working hard. I think the fans will be pleased.” WLM Back to Contents

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EVERY ARTIST’S MUSE strikes at different times. Local Photographer Mark Hewer’s starts whispering into his ear at sunsets. “Our sunsets around Windsor are so beautiful,” Mark explains. “I’ve always loved this city. I’ve always loved the beauty around here. It’s almost begging to be captured. The colours are like prisms out here. They’re almost asking to be photographed.” And Mark describes the features his hometown with one word: “Sexy,” Mark states. “The scenery around Windsor is very romantic. It’s sexy! If you take a drive down Riverside Drive at sunset, it’s just so beautiful. The skyline. The ships going by. You just feel compelled to capture these beautiful moments.” Mark spent the majority of his career working for Bell Canada. After 38 years of service—including a brief encore to help out with the Fiber to the Home Project—he retired in 2016. He currently delivers for Shoppers Drug Mart and Jubzi, a local food ordering application that donates a portion of their proceeds to the Downtown Mission. He has spent his entire life in Windsor. And because of that familiarity, Mark’s photographs exude a combination of lifelong intimacy and child-like wonder. Through his lens, Windsor becomes a city of sublime, almost supernatural, proportions. The lights on the Ambassador Bridge twinkle against the Detroit River, turning the waves into a canvas of glistening colours. Massive, lonely freighters chart a course through a white netherworld of fog. Dark clouds loom over the Detroit skyline, scraping against a horizon of defiant gold. The sun rises in the distance, a crown of blazing red flames. Through Mark’s lens, it’s as though you’re witnessing a sunrise for the first time. W i n d s o r

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Clockwise from bottom right: On Track; Comin’ Through; Lake Erie Pleasure Beach Sunset; Motown Reflections; Walkerville Christmas; Photographer Mark Hewer; Luminous Luna; Ghost Ship.


Although it is difficult for Mark to select a personal favourite among his works, he retains an affinity for Storm Over Lake Erie. “My wife and I were up at our cottage in Pleasure Beach,” Mark recalls. “And this storm blew in off of Lake Erie. I just watched this incredible cloud formation come in. I wasn’t sure whether to run for my life or snap some photos.” Mark compromised by meeting himself halfway. “I took the picture then ran screaming back to the cottage,” Mark laughs. However, despite how well the photograph turned out, Mark’s real enjoyment of the piece has less to do with the visuals and more to do with the story that followed.

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“There’s an interesting story with that one,” Mark recalls. “Someone claimed the photo as their own. Another local photographer Steve Biro and I actually appeared on CBC Radio and TV to prove that it was, in fact, my own shot. They were able to look at the metadata on the image to link it back to me!” Once Mark was declared the rightful owner, CBC meted out swift justice on the offender. “CBC got ahold of the people and said, ‘We have the photographer in who brought us the original. We’ve proven for a fact that this is his photo.’” Mark explains. “And they just said, ‘Oh. Okay.’” Attempted theft notwithstanding, the community continues to have profound reactions to Mark’s work. “One time I took a photo of the sunset on Riverside Drive,” Mark recalls. “There is a nursing home there. Somebody saw the photo and reached out to me on Facebook. Her grandmother had recently passed away, in that same nursing home. She said that, for me to capture the sunset at that place in that moment, it was just so symbolic. That really got to me. I had no idea that my photo could touch somebody like that.” Mark remains dedicated to painting a spectacular portrait of Windsor and Essex County. “I take most of my best photos on the Riverfront,” Mark states. “I think our Riverfront is world-class beautiful. It’s romantic. It’s sexy. It’s everything. You could travel all over the world and be hard-pressed to find a sunset as nice as ours. We’ve got so much history in our city. Basically anything that you come across in your daily life— even something simple—can be breathtaking. There’s so many things to see!” In addition to his gifts with the visual arts, Mark also dabbles in audio ones. And it is something he comes by honestly. “My entire family is musical,” Mark explains. “My uncle used to play at Madison Square Garden. My grandfather played violins. My father used to play keyboards. My mother used to sing at the Forest House. My brother, who is eight years older than me, won a Battle of the Bands contest back in the ‘60s with his Rolling Stones tribute act, the Lonely Knights. He later went on to play in Meadows, which ended up winning CBC’s the Fame Game!” Inspired by his older brother’s success, Mark started playing the drums when he was seven years old. “My brother got his first drum kit

Canadian Condominium Institute Windsor Essex Chapter CONDO INSURANCE IS GOING UP. That applies both for individual condo owners and for condominium associations or corporations to which individual members belong. The associations buy insurance for property claims and general liability. Individual owners buy to protect household contents, betterments, and improvements as well as liability. The trick is to not be caught off guard with premium increases that could jump 10-20 per cent or more because of recently evolving trends in the condo insurance industry. Mainly on the corporation side. Wally McNeilly, a broker with H.L. Hamilton Insurance Ltd. in Amherstburg and a board member with the Windsor Essex County Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), said several factors are combining to put pressure on premiums. One simply is the large payouts over the past five years. So much so that the “combined ratios” have been over 100 per cent. That means that insurers, when administrative costs are added to claim payments, “more money is being paid out than is being taken in,” McNeilly says. Consequently, more insurers are exiting the market, reducing competition. Why the increase in claims? Buildings are getting older. And an aging population may be prone to more personal mishaps causing property damage. “If it’s a multi-level building, because of gravity, should a dishwasher supply line let go, there could be $50-$100,000 in damages,” McNeilly says. Even Covid is playing a role. “Claims are a little more frequent because people are staying at home more, they’re cooking at home more,” he says. Then there’s material costs—building materials are increasing in price. “The cost of lumber is up, labour is up,” he says. “And you also have increased building limits (for insurance coverage) so it’s compounding the problem.” Dylan Parker, General Manager of Windsor’s Parker DKI, a disaster restoration company and CCI member, “The pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in the price of building materials, creating issues when restoring a property with policy limits. You always want to make sure that you are properly insured to avoid any added stress when dealing with a claim.” But there’s one silver lining. While claims frequency is up due to people staying more at home severity is down because at home people have some control over losses. The broker suggests its best for both condo associations and individual owners to be pro-active and shop around for the best rates. He suggests getting quotes 60 to 90 but even 120 days prior to renewal. Tricia Baratta, a CCI Windsor-Essex board member and account executive for Ontario with Gallagher Insurance and Risk Management, will be providing a webinar Nov. 17 at noon on this very topic. The course is called Condo Insurance Fundamentals, and anyone can attend by registering on CCI’s local website, Baratta adds that CCI is creating a certificate so that condo managers and owners can become knowledgeable in various aspects of the condo industry, from insurance to reserve funds management (where money is set aside over 30 years for repair and replacement). Getting a certificate allows peer reviewed education to be provided to condo directors and managers to assist in understanding how condo insurance works and how risk management throughout the policy term can assist in fewer claims and avoiding larger surcharges. “So, we will eventually be doing all of these different topics,” Baratta says. “Absolutely anyone can attend the webinar, you do not need to be a member.”



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when he was 15,” Mark states. “So one day, I just sat down and picked up the sticks. It was like riding a bike. Once you’ve got it, it never goes away. You can go for months without playing. But then you get behind a drum set, and it’s like it was yesterday.” Mark began performing at bars across Windsor when he was still in high school. “Nobody ever asks the band for ID,” Mark notes, winking. Mark lent to his talents to several local bands over the years, including Brand X, the Jets and many more. And in another show of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, Mark later won the Battle of the Bands at Jackson Park while performing with the Jets. Mark then continued to follow in his older brother’s footsteps in 1984, when he played on CBC’s the Fame Game. “It was a national television competition,” Mark recalls. “They had bands from different cities all across Canada come on and compete. We actually competed with Meadows, my brother’s band. We didn’t win! But my brother won and they went to Vancouver and made it to the semi-finals and won all of Canada.” Another watershed moment for Mark’s career is when he collaborated with a German musician on “Swayed,” one of the first Transatlantic music videos. “We made an online music video together,” Mark recalls. “I wrote the song, and sent the .MP3 to Mike. He produced it and added the guitar. Daniel Iorio from Montreal added lyrics and vocals. It was a song produced from two different countries. We had never even spoken on the phone. We just communicated over email. We ended up playing the song live at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany! Jim Crichton and CTV did a profile on us, because it was one of the first Transatlantic music videos.” Although Mark’s love of music has not waned, he is currently focusing his energies on photography. He concludes his interview by offering a single piece of advice to aspiring artists. “Appreciate all of it,” Mark stresses. “When I see something beautiful, I want to capture it. I want to hold onto it. Forever. And there’s so many moments like that in the day. So many people have such busy lives that they never see them. But sometimes you just have to pause and look around. There’s so much beauty surrounding you.” To view more about Mark’s work visit and WLM Back to Contents

Windsor’s Veteran Salesperson Geoff Trojand Now Victory Sales Manager Victory Lincoln, serving Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex, part of the Lally Auto Group, is proud to announce that Geoff Trojand has joined their sales team as Lincoln Brand Manager. His appointment comes as the Lincoln brand is one of the fastest-growing nameplates among automakers with four new models released in the past four years. Geoff is a perfect fit for the dealership. He’s been selling for Ford Motor Company since 2005 and the Lincoln brand since 2015. He has also been a Summit Award winner as both salesperson and manager. This prestigious award recognizes the hard work and commitment to excellence regarding customer service, leadership, and competitive achievement. “I’m happy to join the team at Victory Lincoln to help grow our brand,” he says. Geoff has been a resident of the Windsor area “most of my life and love the community.” He has been married to wife Jodie for 20 years and the couple have two boys – Kaleb and Evan. He’s also an avid sports fan, cheering on the Detroit Tigers and Lions and Toronto Maple Leafs. “In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and we often seem to be at an arena watching my son play hockey,” he says. Geoff’s family is a supporter of JDRF, a nonprofit that funds Type 1 diabetes research and provides community services to the T1D population. Their oldest boy has Type 1 diabetes. Besides spending time with family and being a hockey dad Geoff likes to keep personally fit. “I like to get out and run 3-4 times a week to stay active,” he says.

The dynamic Lincoln brand features the Navigator, Aviator, Nautilus and the Corsair that allow up to seven passengers to travel in style and comfort. There are also plug-in Hybrid models and innovating technologies like The Lincoln Way™ App. Available Lincoln Co-Pilot360™ Plus10 provides additional and enhanced technologies including a 360-Degree Camera, Active Park Assist Plus, Evasive Steering Assist, Reverse Brake Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, which includes Stop-and-Go and Lane Centering, as well as Speed Sign Recognition. This upgrade from the standard Lincoln Co-Pilot™ helps keep your journey seamless and stress-free. Victory Lincoln also offers concierge service and can pick up and drop off vehicles for purchase or service. The dealership also offers a Lincoln loaner if required during servicing.


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APPETIT! dining & nightlife guide

Antonino’s Original Pizza - South Windsor, Tecumseh, LaSalle. Multiple-award winning pizza with the money back guarantee! Fresh salads & authentic Sicilian Cannoli that even your Nonna will love! Google our menu. Capri Pizzeria - Check out our take-out menu and be tempted by our famous pizzas, great pastas, fresh salads and much more! Penny more, penny less, Capri Pizza is still the best! 3020 Dougall Ave. 519-969-6851 Carrots N’ Dates - A health-forward restaurant & bake shoppe that offers delicious meals made with whole foods. Full-service bar, coffee, juices, baked goods, breakfast-dinner menu items and more. Famous for our Pad Thai Sauce! Open Mon-Sat 9am-9pm. 519-735-0447 1125 Lesperance Rd., Tecumseh Casa Mia Ristorante - Experience authentic Italian food, local wines and homemade desserts served in a casual, completely handicap accessible setting. For many years, chef and owner Frank Puccio has been making lunch and dinner fresh to order. Gluten free options. Takeout available. Closed Sunday and Holidays. Follow us on Facebook. 519-728-2224 523 Notre Dame St., Belle River.

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Frank Brewing Company - FRANK is pure, straight-to-the-point, old-fashioned beer crafted with dedication and pride. Beer-loving folk enjoy FRANK’s small-batch brews made with only four natural and simple ingredients: water, hops, grain and yeast; and foodies enjoy the small plates, pizzas and sandwiches for pairing, and all the peanuts you can shell. 12000 Tecumseh Rd. E., Tecumseh, ON 519-956-9822 Fratelli Pasta Grill - Offering flavour drenched “woodfire” grilled steaks, seafood and pasta dishes. A fresh and healthy selection of modern and time tested classics. Located behind McDonald’s on Manning Rd. in Tecumseh. Take-out, catering, private parties. For reservations call 519-735-0355. The Hungry Wolf - The Hungry Wolf serves up Windsor’s best Greek, Canadian, Mexican


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Cheesecake On A Stick - Dessert shop offering gourmet cheesecake dipped in chocolate and various toppings. Take out or delivery offered with Open Thurs-Sun 12-9 pm. Kingsville location open Sat-Sun 12-9 pm. 13300 Tecumseh Rd. E., Tecumseh 519-999-9116. 460 Main St. E, Kingsville 519-999-6024

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Johnny Shotz - Tecumseh’s #1 roadhouse and home of the Chicken Deluxe. Serving Halibut every Friday. Everything cooked from scratch. 37 HD TVs, 15 beers on tap. Follow us on facebook. 13037 Tecumseh Rd. E. 519-735-7005


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The Parlour Ice Cream Co.- Satisfy your sweet tooth with premium Canadian made ice cream. 24 flavours, 15 Belgian chocolate dips to drizzle, ice cream cakes, milkshakes and so much more! Open Year Round. 5881 Malden Rd. Unit D3, LaSalle 519-970-9665 River’s Edge Tap & Table – Discover what is so delicious in the Harbour District of Riverside. Relaxing patio on the water, wine bar lounge, dining with private room available. Enjoy seafood, steaks, chops, pastas, burgers and more! 494 Riverdale Ave. 519-915-0200 Tea House Windsor - Local cafeteria offers Eastern/Western snacks with coffees, teas and drinks. We make all fresh with the specialty of Pink Kashmiri tea. Dine in, take-out, catering. Frozen homemade snacks available. Halal options. Mon-Fri 9am-4pm. Closed weekends and holidays. Located in the Jackson Park Health Centre. Call to order: 226-348-6151 2475 McDougall St., Windsor

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Nola’s, A Taste Of New Orleans - Located in Historic Walkerville. Cajun and Creole cuisine with the New Orleans Twist. Lunch dinner and lots of parking. 1526 Wyandotte Street East. 519-253-1234.

Vito’s Pizzeria - Rustic Italian restaurant serving woodfired pizza, fresh pasta, veal, chicken, grilled steaks and seafood. Wonderful wine selection. Private party spaces. Food truck and portable pizza oven for offsite catering. 1731 Wyandotte St. E., Windsor. 519-915-6145.


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Neros Gourmet Steakhouse - Indulge in the finer things in life at Neros where modern upscale dining meets traditional steakhouse fare. Fresh, local ingredients, an incredible wine selection and superb service. 1-800-991-7777 ext. 22481.




Joe Schmoe’s Eats N’ Drinks - Family friendly restaurant in LaSalle. Handcrafted burgers, sandwiches and salads. Fresh ingredients and house made sauces. Local wines; 12 Ontario craft and commercial beers on tap. HDTVs. Fast, cheerful service. 5881 Malden Rd. (behind Rexall). 519-250-5522

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GECDSB African Canadian Roads To Freedom Learning Resources

HISTORY DOES not really change, but perspectives on the historical record do. Deeper and broader research improves interpretations of what happened and how those events shaped succeeding events. That is why it is important to periodically review and update school curriculum. The Greater Essex County District School Board will release its third ediClara Howitt tion of the locally developed elementary gecdsb superintendent of education and secondary African Canadian Roads to Freedom documents in November. In addition, all GECDSB educators will have the opportunity to engage in professional learning to support the implementation of these valuable learning resources. Roads to Freedom was originally released in 2004 and revised in 2011 and 2015. The current revision reflects the most current African Canadian history and culture, as well as ensuring that suggested classroom activities reflect contemporary educational practice. “We are very grateful to members of the team who contributed to this update” stated GECDSB Superintendent of Education Clara Howitt. The team included teacher Shantelle Browning-Morgan and community experts Irene Moore Davis and Dr. Christina Simmons, who worked with Teacher-Consultant Jan Foy. Recognizing that many residents of Windsor and Essex County are descendants of those who

“followed the freedom trail north”, the GECDSB needs to honour the important role that African Canadians have played in the cultural, political, social and economic progress of our community and country. Roads to Freedom is intended to provide educators with background information on local African Canadian heritage, history, contributions and cultures connected directly to specific learning expectations in the Ontario Curriculum. This is a vital step in the Board’s overall Equity Action Plan. “Part of the plan,” says Superintendent Howitt, “is to build capacity of all our staff and students in identifying, understanding and building an appreciation and respect for Black history, culture and people. As well, we want Black students with the district to see themselves in the curriculum and in our learning resources.” The African Canadian Roads to Freedom documents will continue to serve as valuable reference tools in the pursuit of equity and inclusion in our school communities, celebrating the diversity in all programs, practices and people of the GECDSB.



IN HIS 1952 science fiction story, “A Sound of Thunder,” Ray Bradbury wrote about a character who used a time machine to travel back to the deep past. While in the prehistoric world, he accidentally stepped on a butterfly. Upon returning to present day, the central character found a startlingly different world. In the case of Windsor native, Dakoda Shepley, an errant on-ice punch during a hockey game when he was 15 changed the path of his life. From a young age, there was no question sports would be in Dakoda’s future. “When I was eight years old, I stood five-nine and weighed 185 pounds,” Dakoda says. I ask him to repeat that. Dakoda laughs. “That’s the size of some of the receivers on my team.” T-ball was the first sport he played, but it didn’t hold his interest. Dakoda switched to hockey because a cousin had just begun to play. For the next seven years, hockey was Dakoda’s sport. Upon entering Holy Names high school in ninth grade, every coach in the building sat up and took notice. Dakoda dabbled in football, but his focus remained on playing hockey for the Knights. The first person to encourage him to play football was business teacher, Rocky Leraci. “I remember him walking me on the field while a football practice going on. He said: ‘Here, when you get a good hit on someone, you get a pat on the helmet instead of two minutes in the box.’ I liked that. It drew me toward the game.” Dakoda continues: “I played football while playing hockey, but I never fully committed.”


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Top: Dakoda Shepley in his new Seattle Seahawks jersey. The Seahawks claimed him in late August from the San Francisco 49ers. Above: Dakoda (left) with Windsor native Tyrone Crawford, after the 49ers battled the Cowboys in Dallas in 2020.

Then, in grade 10, an on-ice tussle changed everything. Dakoda fractured his hand in a fight. The injury spilled over to football season, causing him to miss practices and games. “The junior football coach passed me in the hallway and said: ‘What’s going on with your hand?’” Dakoda recalls. “And I said: ‘It’s broke. I can’t do anything… Do I even need to come to practice?’ And he was like: ‘Just give me your jersey.’” Dakoda had his football jersey in his backpack and handed it over. That exchange shifted something in the matrix. “Kicking me off the team in tenth grade because my commitment wasn’t 100 percent,” Dakoda says, “made me realize what I was losing. That shifted my commitment to 100 percent for eleventh grade football season.” Dakoda played football for three years at Holy Names, and then received a scholarship to play at the University of British Columbia (UBC). There, he started in 31 of his 32 career collegiate games. In 2015, he was part of the team that won the 2015 Vanier Cup. In 2017, Dakoda played in the U Sports East-West Bowl, an


annual postseason all star game that showcases the top U Sports football prospects eligible for the following year’s CFL Draft. The same year, he was named 2017 Canada West All-Star. Following UBC: “I signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent after attending Eastern Michigan’s pro-day, at the request of two NFL clubs.” To an outside observer, it seemed that Dakoda had arrived at the Promised Land. New York, however, was a humbling experience. “I realized I had a lot to learn,” Dakoda says. “They told me I was too raw to be on the team.” His agent arranged for Dakoda to workout with a half dozen other NFL teams. “All of December, I was flying every other weekend,” he says, “going to different teams. They all said the same thing: ‘Raw… Has the tools, but not using them to the fullest.’ After the last one, I thought: ‘This is the last straw. I need to be developed.’” By that time, the CFL draft took place and Dakoda was selected fifth, overall, by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That wasn’t enough for Dakoda. He needed to improve his game. There was only one person who could help him achieve his dream: offensive line guru, Duke Manyweather, in Dallas, who is recognized throughout the NFL as one of the best private offensive line coaches. “Duke accepted me,” Dakoda says. “I am the only Canadian he’s worked with. Every year, he has 40 or 50 prominent NFL offensive linemen down there, and that was big for me to just learn from them. I’ve been going to Duke for three and a half years.” With the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, the once-in-a-century pandemic opened a window of opportunity for Dakoda that would not have existed, otherwise. After being nominated by the Roughriders as Rookie of the Year, the cancellation of the CFL season made it possible for Dakoda to play elsewhere. That’s when the San Francisco 49ers called. “I was on the practice squad in 2020,” Dakoda says, “and I was active for two games.” Making the transition to the legendary NFL team was a surreal experience. “It was pretty sweet,” Dakoda says. “You know all the big name guys, like Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle. Having a GM like John Lynch who is a Hall-of-Famer is absolutely insane. The year I arrived,

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they were the reigning NFC champs, and I realized: ‘I’m on the team to beat!’” If circumstances were not surreal enough, Dakoda says: “My first game was with Dallas, which was kind of like full-circle for me… where I came to train with Duke and commit to getting back to the NFL.” During that game, Dakoda found himself blocking Dallas Cowboy and fellow Windsor native, Tyrone Crawford, on a field goal kick. So, having played high level collegiate football at UBC, training with NFL pros from across the league, how does Dakoda Shepley rate Windsor as a sports town? “When people ask where I’m from, I say: ‘Windsor…the Factory’,” Dakoda says. “They laugh and scoff. Then I name the athletes and entertainers who come from Windsor: Jacob Robson in baseball, NFL players Luke Willson and Tyrone Crawford, countless hockey players. One of the coolest facts is that Shania Twain was born in Windsor.” Football is not the only arena where Dakoda has drawn notice. He has been in a handful of movies, most notably Deadpool 2. “That was a weird string of events,” Dakoda says. “A production crew was taking pictures in my lockerroom at UBC and I asked if they were filming a movie. They said: ‘Yeah. You wanna be in it?’ I said: ‘Yeah.’” That movie was for the Hallmark Channel. “Once you do that your info goes into a database where casting directors find people,” Dakoda explains. “I did a few other movies. Then, Deadpool 2 came along. At first, I was just an extra in the background, but then my role was upgraded to a featured person in the movie: Omega Red Prisoner. When I got the makeup done, other extras on set who were comic book fans were saying: ‘I can’t believe you’re Omega Red! You’re so lucky!’ I’m the only guy who ever played him.” Still years away from his 30th birthday, Dakoda’s wild ride continues. He credits his perseverance and success to his family’s unwavering support. “My parents are artists,” he says. “I grew up surrounded by music and creativity. Whether I was playing baseball, hockey, or football, my parents were all-in. I’m very grateful for that.” The moving parts of the NFL never stop. Dakoda was acquired by the Seattle Seahawks and is practicing as Center for this season. One might wonder if there is a crushed butterfly on the bottom of his cleats. WLM Back to Contents

Left to right: Sarah Carriere with mother Danielle Wellings Carriere, Denise and Bill Wellings, Pam Wellings-Kasana with husband George Kasana.

WELLINGS FAMILY LEGACY Wellings Family Passes On Entrepreneurial Skills From Generation To Generation

Interior Transformations. She went to Lawrence Technological University for an interior design degree. She works at the store and adds an overall design element. “That’s good with us because a lot of customers would like advice on colour and fashion and what materials and accents go together and how it all connects and Pam is really good for that aspect,” he says. Pam’s husband George Kasana got his start working alongside Bill and Pam. He parlayed woodworking skills into a successful decorative beam business. “He basically would come out and help us and that’s where he got the idea,” Bill says. “Somebody asked him for a beam and then he started showing these beams at our show and the first thing you know he’s got his own booth. He became an entrepreneur as a spinoff from what we do.” Bill describes granddaughter Sarah Carriere’s early success in real estate as “awesome.” With a nod to his business and her mother Danielle’s franchise company, Sarah has obviously been influenced by her family’s background. “She’s seeing the benefits of being an entrepreneur,” Bill says. Meanwhile, son Jason, 25 years with the business, a professional floor technician, “brings superb skills” and completes the family circle, says Bill.


THE WELLINGS FAMILY is an example of entrepreneurship passed down through the generations. Bill Wellings with wife Denise, owners of the Floor Coverings International store on County Rd. 42, have worked in flooring for over 50 years. They once held the FCI franchise rights for Canada and sold numerous franchises. Being in home décor meant attending home shows near and far. That’s how their children got the entrepreneurial bug. Besides working after school or on weekends at the store daughters Danielle and Pam travelled with dad to home shows and eventually hosted them on their own. “We trained them because we were a small business,” Bill says. His girls could display and sell the products while he and Denise were back at the shop. In fact, they sent Danielle and Pam to numerous FCI seminars throughout North America. “So, at home shows they knew the products and were able to talk to customers,” he says. Now daughter Danielle Wellings Carriere has her own company, ONESource Moving Solutions, specializing in all aspects of personal and professional moving. “I think she wouldn’t be doing that today if it wasn’t for all the experiences she got from what we were doing and sending them here and there and all over,” Bill says. Daughter Pam Wellings-Kasana also has her own enterprise,

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BILL WELLINGS always wanted to work on his own. He comes from a family who worked in auto factories but “that’s something that didn’t interest me.” He trained at former King George vocational school in Windsor and got his start working in a flooring business for 10 years. “The guy who hired me asked me to be his partner in a new store,” Bill says. Eventually he decided to open his own business, working literally out of a former gas station garage in Emeryville and then growing the business with bigger and bigger stores until

his present 6000 sq. ft. location with more than a dozen staff on County Rd. 42, celebrating 30 years with co-owner wife Denise. Along the way they had the franchise rights to Floor Coverings International in Canada and sold as many as 20 franchises across the country. “So, I did a lot of travelling selling franchises,” he laughs. Bill always liked working on his own and the satisfaction that comes with being involved in every aspect of the enterprise. “You can do very well working for other people but if you really want to strike out and do really well you’ve got to do your own thing,” he says. But, he allows, “You’ve got to have a lot of energy and you’ve got to go out and hustle.” Thankfully, every step of the way, as he grew his business, his customers came along giving the loyalty Bill now enjoys.

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ONESOURCE MOVING SOLUTIONS DANIELLE WELLINGS CARRIERE is the proud owner of one of the most unique moving companies in Canada. ONESource Moving Solutions for Seniors, Professionals and Families just doesn’t provide door-to-door moving but “manages” the move including a vast array of details beyond simply packing and unpacking and loading and unloading trucks. As such it serves a wide variety of niche markets from seniors downsizing homes and seeking retirement communities to professionals who need to focus on business while their homes or offices move to a new location. It helps people decide what items to keep or discard, reclaim possessions and rehabilitate them from fires and floods, even hang art and hook up peoples’ electronics. They are a full setup service. ONESource Moving Solutions is a fully certified and insured company. “You’re going to get the highest level of service with the least amount of risk,” she says. Danielle, who grew up working in her dad, Bill Wellings’s Floor Coverings International store, struck out on her own in 2014. “I saw a need for something and I wanted to bring it to Windsor,” she says. She started with a minivan

and now has four vehicles. But the business has grown leaps and bounds with four franchisees and operating in 13 cities throughout southwestern Ontario. And their moving expertise is local, provincial and international. Danielle says her success wouldn’t be possible without the business acumen passed down from her family. “The services that we provide are very very rewarding. My whole team has helped me grow as well.”


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OUT OF THE BARN RUSTORATIONS GEORGE KASANA, owner of Out of the Barn Rustorations and married to Pam Wellings-Kasana of Interior Transformations, had his eyes opened wide to the possibilities of business success through his father-in-law, Bill Wellings of Floor Coverings International. Working in a car dealership but having a creative woodworking side, George always wanted to grow professionally and open his own business. His product was wood beams and he saw the many uses for them and other decorative wood products, like fireplace mantels, barn doors, shelves,

harvest tables, ceiling planks, even entertainment cabinets. His first orders were fireplace mantels from customers doing business with Bill. “That kind of sparked things and people loved them,” George says. Then he helped Bill set up at home design shows, displaying one or two of his wood creations. Sales took off. The next year he had his own display space. Customers soon started ordering in droves, from decorative beams and mantels, furniture and outdoor posts. George carves, cuts, shapes and builds creative wood products. “There are these techniques I have that make a brand new piece of wood look like its 100 or 200 years old,” he says. Now demand is through the roof. His business complements wife Pam’s. When they interview a customer’s, “Pam’s thinking what I’m thinking, we’re always on the same page” of knowing just what the client needs.

SARAH CARRIERE SARAH CARRIERE is the third generation of the Wellings family. Her grandfather Bill Wellings owns Floor Coverings International. Her mom Danielle Wellings Carriere, owns ONESource Moving Solutions, a specialized move management company. And Sarah is a REALTOR® with Valente Real Estate. So Sarah, 22, grew up among an entire family of self-starters.

As a child she worked at her grandpa’s business Saturday mornings. “I got to see how he worked as a solo businessman and how it grew from a small shop in Emeryville to where it’s at today,” she says. She followed her mom who grew her successful company which has franchises throughout southwestern Ontario. So, it

was natural for Sarah to want to strike out on her own. “I have lots of family members and people around me who have built their own businesses,” she says. “They’ve always been giving me the encouragement and motivation and support I needed to start my own career at a fairly young age.” Sarah decided on real estate as a career because she saw the needs of her mom’s moving clients. At university she took business data analytics but “I really liked the sales aspect.” At Valente she’s service coordinator for the firm’s development side and does realty sales. She’s working on Valente’s Beachside Lakeshore. Other projects are Kingsville Commons, Creekside in LaSalle and Essex Town Centre town homes.

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PROBING SPIRIT Amherstburg Author’s Quest For Meaning



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the Father.” Personally, Jarvis says, fatherhood “has given me a glimpse” into the spiritual realm. In more than a couple of dozen short chapters, Jarvis delves into many of the questions religious and even non-religious people have long asked and which underly everyday life. Like why does life go on in an often-calamitous world, if everything is preordained how do we have free will and do our prayers get answered? And throughout, Jarvis refers to everyday episodes in his family, especially his interactions with his three children, as micro examples of how God works. Jarvis’s questions and answers can be remarkably simple and will likely have readers nodding in agreement. For example, “If we are willing to ask God why he would choose to create us to live in a broken world so full of pain and suffering then must we not also ask ourselves why we choose to do the very same thing by having kids of our own?” There’s also the old conundrum of free will, an “impenetrable problem,” Jarvis agrees. If God is all knowing how can human beings do whatever they want? The author explains by saying he also gives his children a certain amount of freedom but obviously he can’t be “attached at the hip” to them, especially as they grow older. Yes, as a father he can instill moral values but it’s up to them to carry those out. And so, in the bigger picture, God is also trying to prevent evil through our conscience. “But just as our children


FROM ONE FATHER to Another is local author Kevin Robert Jarvis’s attempt to answer a series of religious—and broadly speaking, life—questions with a wide scope including fatherhood, family, the nature of life and the role of faith in it. If you’ve ever wondered about the seeming contradictions and unanswerable questions about good and evil, why bad things happen to good people, why conflict and strife exist in the world, and yet why happiness and morality can still prevail, you might want to peek inside the covers of Jarvis’s book. (From One Father to Another, What Becoming a Father Taught Me about God, 152 pages, Word Alive Press; available through Amazon, $15.83). Jarvis, 42, grew up and lives in Amherstburg with his wife Jessica and their three children, Owen, Kara and Luke. The names are important because he refers to them constantly in the book, using personal anecdotes from his family together with analogies and metaphors to come to grips with some of the Big Questions. Jarvis also has a strong faith background, first as a teen participant at Amherstburg’s House of Shalom Youth Centre and later studying theology and pastoral ministry at Windsor’s Assumption University. He currently works as a law enforcement Special Constable. As the book title implies, From One Father to Another is not only an effort by Jarvis to understand his place in the world but to share his questions and insights with other families, in particular fathers, who may have some of the same questions as he has had as they raise their families. At the end of each chapter there are questions designed to have the reader reflect and probe deeper into the issues Jarvis has brought up and how they might apply to their own lives. Jarvis says he was surprised by how this “process of inquiry” led himself to a deeper understanding of spiritual matters. Jarvis grew up in a broken home and didn’t discover religion until his teen years. But getting married and raising a family has been the key to further developing his spirituality. As he says, “Jesus used sheep, coins and wheat to explain God’s truths…why couldn’t God use my own children and my experience of being a father to teach me?” Well, to be quite specific about it, anyone even a little bit familiar with Christianity will notice the metaphor right away. After all, the entire religious faith is based on the concept of “God

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can ignore our warnings and promptings, we can do the same for God’s quiet – yet stern – voice in our conscience.” Are we created in God’s image? No, Jarvis thinks, at least not in the anthropomorphic or looking “in the mirror” sense. But “just as my children” can take on what he hopes are his best traits “we also emulate and reflect qualities and attributes of God.” And, no, just because we pray doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily get what we ask for. But, reflects the author, is that the point of prayer? By example, Jarvis talks of Christmas gifts his kids got and how they quickly tired of them. Or even after he himself obtained long sought goals or possessions he soon became “bored” with his new acquisitions. He calls it the “moving goalpost” syndrome. The answer to his children’s disappointment was simply to be there or show his “presence” whether through play or understanding. And so, “we can choose to be in (God’s) presence and build relationship or go off in search of something more.” Kids ask the darndest – and most penetrating questions. One of Jarvis’s children wanted to know where God was and why He couldn’t be seen. This was tough to answer until Jarvis thought of the game Hide and Seek, though humorously admitting “no metaphor is perfect” so long as they “lead us to understanding.” In the game his kids couldn’t find him but there were “signs of my existence everywhere” such as pictures of him and his woodwork and guitars. As per St. Paul, he quotes, God is understood “by what was made.” The author also takes on atheists. Answering the charge of a supreme being as only a “psychological projection” or because of a believer’s culture andProudly upbring2017 Space Technology Designed, of Fame Inductee Developed and ing, the Hall same could be charged in reverse Engineered In the USA. for non-believers. Jarvis argues that coming Assembled In P.R.C. to terms with spirituality is more complex, for example relying on intellect, cognition and emotion. “The fact that some people believe God exists while others don’t in no way changes whether he exists or not.” Should we be concerned about how “successful” we are in life? Jarvis ponders the question, particularly considering celebrity culture and society’s emphasis on material living. One of his children wants to be an artist and he “was struck” that he didn’t have a preference about what any of them should do. If anything, he wants them to grow up to be people of good moral character. Similarly, “perhaps God cares more that I am a general labourer of my own soul than that I gain world success.” WLM Back to Contents



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