Estate planning mistakes to avoid
Advice for ensuring a smooth transfer of wealth.
Every year in Canada, billions of dollars in estate assets are transferred at death. Sometimes these transfers don’t go as smoothly as expected. There are, however, ways to minimize the risk of problems by keeping a few points in mind during the estate planning process. Careful planning and review of existing plans can help to ensure that the assets you’ve spent a lifetime accumulating go to the people you’ve selected, in the way you intend.
I’ve highlighted a few of the most important factors to consider when planning your estate. Of course, each highlighted factor requires significant explanation and understanding to ensure the smooth transition you are seeking.
A basic and all too common mistake is not preparing a will. A will communicates your intentions and allows you – rather than the government – to determine how your assets will be distributed when you die. A will facilitates the administration of your estate and can help you avoid some taxes. It also allows you to choose the executor of your estate and the guardians of your children.
Often people intend to split their assets equally between beneficiaries – for example, between three children. However, if you fail to consider the tax consequences, the wealth transfer may not turn out equal at all!
Another example of failing to consider the tax implications often involves second marriages or separated and estranged spouses. Understanding these implications is extremely important. Tax issues may feel complicated, I can help you to sort out appropriate solutions related to both investments, life insurance and retirement savings.
When a life event such as a birth, death, marriage, separation or divorce occurs, people often remember to review and update their will, but may forget to review their beneficiaries. This common oversight could greatly affect the realization of your final wishes. When naming a beneficiary, it’s also important to consider the age of the individual.
Oft times, individuals choose joint ownership for “simplicity” yet fail to consider the implications of such a choice. I can explain.
After a lifetime of carefully saving, investing and planning, you want the peace of mind of knowing your assets will be distributed as you intended. As a well-established, trusted advisor, I can partner with you to make the best choices for your situation.
VOLUME 30, ISSUE 4
PUBLISHER/EDITOR Robert E. Robinson
CONTRIBUTING Matthew St. Amand
WRITERS Alley L. Biniarz
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Carol Garant
ART DIRECTOR Michael Pietrangelo
PRODUCTION George Sharpe
PHOTOGRAPHERS John Liviero, Sooter’s Photography
Pam and Bill Seney
Lars Van Toerne
Peter H. Stranks
Windsor Aerial Drone Photography
Mallinson Sadler Productions Ltd.
VICE PRESIDENT ADVERTISING SALES Charles Thompson 519-818-7352
ADVERTISING SALES ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Leslie Campbell 519-567-0603
WINDSOR LIFE MAGAZINE 318-5060 Tecumseh Road East Windsor, Ontario N8T 1C1 Tel: 519-979-5433
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.
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Is it time to incorporate your business?
Most businesses in Canada are set up in one of three ways: as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation.
The simplest structure is a sole proprietorship. In this case, the company and the owner are not legally distinct. Even though it operates under a registered business name and collects and remits HST, the sole proprietor pays personal taxes on all business income and is personally liable for all business risks.
However, incorporating also has drawbacks that will need to be considered carefully. The legal and accounting costs associated with establishing and maintaining a corporation can be substantial, in part because the corporation will have to file corporate records and a separate set of tax returns every year.
1. What risks do you and your business face?
The owner has acquired significant personal assets including home and car. He worries he may be vulnerable if his business isn’t able to pay a business loan or worse, declares bankruptcy.
2. Can you leave money inside the corporation to defer taxes?
If the business has net income (after expenses) of $190,000, which is significantly more than the $90,000 he needs to cover all his personal bills. As a sole proprietor, we have to pay tax on the full $190,000 at personal tax rates. If he incorporates and leaves $100,000 within the corporation, he’ll only pay tax on $90,000 at personal tax rates.
We emphasize this is tax deferral, rather than tax elimination, because the money will generally be subject to personal tax rates at some point if the owner withdraws it from the corporation.
3. What is your succession plan?
What will happen to the business when the owner is ready to stop working. As an owner of a small incorporated business we may be able to benefit from the lifetime capital gains exemption if we sell the shares to a successor. Also, a corporation lives on after its owner’s death, which means that it can be integrated into an estate plan, with its value transferring to his beneficiaries on death.
Get professional advice before deciding
Choosing the structure of a business is a foundational decision that has a significant impact on legal liability, taxation, succession, and estate planning.
More Than a Condominium, It’s a Community
Whether you are entering your active autumn years and looking to downsize, or you’re a young professional interested in the maintenance free lifestyle, 1855 North may be the home for you.
1855 North is an upscale boutique condominium located in the heart of LaSalle. The building has 40 units and is already more than 50 percent sold out. In May, these new owners will begin to call 1855 North home.
The draw of condo living is the maintenance free lifestyle: no more shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, or cleaning gutters. Having these typical household chores taken care of gives residents options and allows them to live a more balanced life. 1855 North takes care of the rest. Owners will enjoy a meticulously maintained property that they will be proud to call home.
This building includes a party room available for larger family gatherings as well as storage lockers for each unit. While each unit comes with parking, private garages are also available.
“This is true maintenance-free living,” Teresa says.
Built by award-winning builder, Timberland Homes, the features that come standard in each condo unit are what people typically consider upgrades and extras. Custom contemporary cabinets, KitchenAid appliances, quartz solid surface countertops, ceramic showers with glass surrounds and stunning lighting packages are just some of the features residents can expect.
“Some builders get people in with a low base price,” Teresa notes. That has never been the business model for Timberland Homes. We offer exceptional finishes as the standard and the craftsmanship is second to none.
People are welcome to come in and see the quality of the workmanship. They will be pleasantly surprised with the level of finish and intricacy found in this development.
“1855 North is for the discerning buyer who understands and appreciates excellence,” Teresa says. “No feature has been overlooked. Timberland Homes is not just building condos. They are building communities.”
Beyond the quality of these boutique, luxury condominium units is their proximity to everything that residents will enjoy that makes 1855 North so special. It is located steps from anything residents could possibly need, from a variety of restaurants, grocery stores, doctors’ offices and so many other amenities. It is close to LaSalle’s waterfront and a short drive to the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex. LaSalle’s famous network of nature trails is right outside the door. Timberland Homes can’t wait for people to come see this extraordinary development for themselves.
To make an appointment to tour model suites, or for more information about 1855 North, call Teresa Neusch and her sales team at 519-791-8258 or visit www.1855north.com.
Concept to Completion
Well Spring is upon us. It is time to start enjoying some vitamin D on our faces. Time to enjoy our parks and trails and get moving, jogging, playing outdoor games and walking your pets.
Get together outdoors with family and friends. Have a backyard bar-b-que and enjoy great conversations. Maybe part of the conversation will be how much our community is growing. Windsor/Essex and Chatham/Kent are enjoying growth unmatched by any other area in Canada.
From the Gordie Howe International Bridge rising in west Windsor to new factories being built all over the region, our communities will be envied by all. The boom in our economy will be felt for many years. This boom will undoubtedly bring new faces as our workforce will need to expand to fill the many new jobs coming our way.
Unique to our area is how we welcome newcomers, which may be a refreshing change from what they have experienced elsewhere. We tend to be a very friendly group who make new arrivals feel like they have been here and belong here for their entire lives.
I have always been proud of how the people of Southern Ontario welcome new neighbours. It is a very nice feeling when a stranger smiles at you when you are simply walking down a trail or shopping at a local retailer. Strangers to our area are only strangers once. They quickly become part of the fabric of the area.
Still on the topic of being part of the area, let us all do our part to support our local businesses. Local produce will be coming very soon. It will be everywhere. A simple drive through the rural areas will provide you with an abundance of choices of fresh fruits and vegetables. Support these local growers and enjoy a fresh meal with your family.
On your drive you will need to bring change as you will notice a number of fresh produce stands that simply have prices on their products and a box with a slot in it for you to pay. How great is it to live in a community with that much trust in one another.
May it always be that way.
2744 Jefferson Blvd. | 519-945-3000
Showroom Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8-5; Sat. 9-2
A CONTEMPORARY PARADISE The Right Vision Created a Private OasisSTORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEVON PASTORIUS
WITH A CANVAS of almost 20,000 square feet to work with—minus house and pool house—a true work of art had to be conjured to transform a sprawling space. The homeowner had their own specifications, as well. They enjoyed entertaining and requested that various separate areas be incorporated. They wanted a unique project with a pool, water feature, fire feature, and a small kitchen area with a separate semi-private entertaining space. And they also wanted privacy—situated on a subdivision island, neighbours on all sides had a view of their yard.
Heather Horton, Senior Designer with Landscape Effects (LFX), was tasked with turning a subdivision island into a private oasis.
“It doesn’t happen all the time,” Heather admits, “but on this project we pretty much captured the clients’ vision in the first concept with very few revisions when we got to the final design. It took a few months, mind you. Although we had the architectural plans, we had to return to the property a few times while the house was being built in order to verify material choices and exterior utility locations.”
She adds: “When you mesh with a client, you develop a good relationship, and each understands the other.”
FURNITURE TO SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
The project was made more interesting when the client specified that they wanted “an interesting mix of materials to accentuate the uniqueness of the home.”
“Although we planned for a front walkway that intersected the driveway, we also wanted to include offset stepping pads through the lawn from the road,” Heather says. “It was not a necessity, but it looks cool, and it draws your eye to the address sign on the masoned wall/planter at the front entrance.”
MOST COLOURS IN STOCK
An important specification the homeowner made was they wanted to pull the interior architecture of the house outside. The desire was to have the end result look simple, unique, clean, contemporary and modern.
“They wanted to carry this through to the yard outside,” Heather says, “so that entertaining outside would be as intimate and enjoyable as it was indoors.”
The solution to the homeowners’ vision was to create several different entertainment areas in the back yard. There is the covered porch—their main entertaining space—and of course an area out by the swimming pool. There is also a completely separate area by the sunken fire pit on the other side of the property.
“The homeowners could have three parties going on and keep them completely separate, if they wanted to,” Heather says. “All on the same property—three completely different areas, without interrupting each other.”
The biggest challenge was the home’s location. The homeowners are very private people and did not want their neighbours on all sides to have a view into their yard. The designer dealt with this by building a wall at the rear of the property and with strategic placement of shrubs and greenery—the effect is a very natural look, which provides seamless privacy to anyone enjoying the yard.
“The wall behind the swimming pool, along the rear of the property, provides the added privacy,” Heather explains. “It’s approximately fifty feet long and adds another cool element to the property. You can’t see the pool when that is combined with the plantings. We were there last week, and you cannot see into that area.”
Aesthetics provided the perfect solution for noise cancelation. A six-foot-wide sheer descent waterfall was added to the swimming pool, which effectively cancels the sounds of the neighbourhood. Normally, such a waterfall might be about two feet s
wide, but the 18’ x 38’ custom designed vinyl liner sport pool, complete with sun shelf, bench, is substantial enough to handle such a large feature.
The property’s sunken fire pit is another custom-built feature.
“We purchased all of the components individually to achieve the desired look and proportion,” Heather says. “There are different tray sizes you can pick from.” This is the area from which the flames rise.
“We started with a tray that was appropriate for the size of the site. We then designed the rectangular surround from that,” Heather continues. “You can’t be too close or too far from the fire feature— twenty inches in this case. There is always a ‘sweet spot’, which is determined by the tray size. We also have to take wind, water, drainage, snow removal, into consideration, for all areas, and snow removal when designing any front spaces. We planned for all eventualities. Durability, practicality.”
The pool house bar was already built when LFX took on the project. The builder had its location already predetermined. The outdoor kitchen is a modest feature, but it works for the homeowner’s use. Going large does not always mean it is the best solution. This is where practicality and understanding a client’s wants and needs comes into play.
The front of the house boasts a very unique path across the lawn.
“I saw this picture on the Internet—a very cool walkway—and always wanted to do it,” Heather says. “I showed it to the client. We communicate as much with pictures as we do with words! The client was a little reluctant at first because this is not something you see everyday. A few more examples helped them see that vision. Now, it’s one of their favourite features of the property.”
One of the most subtle aspects of the yard, which is greater than the sum of its parts is the lighting. Any designer will say it: it’s easy to overdo lighting. This project incorporates 114 lights—all low voltage LED—which do not look overdone.
The first and foremost measurement of success is the client’s satisfaction. The property transformation met and exceeded the homeowner’s vision for their property.
This project did enjoy an added bonus: the lighting design and build, as well as the overall landscape design and build, each received a 2023 Landscape Ontario award. WLM
Shibley Righton LLP welcomes Lauren as an Associate in the Real Estate, Wills and Estates, and Corporate Law Group of our Windsor Office.
Lauren obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Memorial University in her native Newfoundland in 2015 before completing a Master of Arts in Political Science (’17) and Juris Doctor (’21) at the University of Windsor. Lauren will focus on real estate transactions, and our growing wills, and estates practice.
To learn more, call, or email Lauren today. 519-967-3784
CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF TAKING FAMILIES BOATING
Welcome to Maple City Marine! We pride ourselves on having the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff in Chatham. We are family-owned and can provide you with the latest in marine products to make your outdoor living more enjoyable. It is our goal to help our customers find the perfect boat to fit their lifestyle, along with just the right parts and accessories.
We offer a full line up of boats including Beneteau Yachts, Bennington Pontoon Boats, Crest Pontoon Boats, Fountain Centre Console Powerboats, Kingfisher, Lund, Mastercraft, NauticStar, Ranger, Regal and Scout. Motors by Mercury Marine and Yamaha. Plus, a full range of wakeboards and water toys. In addition, we offer YETI—the best premium coolers and accessories. The ultimate in design, performance and durability.
If you need help in making your selection, please call or stop in, we’re always ready to serve you. Maple City Marine — you’re one-stop dealership for sales, service and FUN!Three Generations to Serve You. Left to right: Rob, Grant and Bob Rule.
A NATIONAL TREASURE
The Rich, Enduring Legacy of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic ChurchSTORY BY KAREN TINSLEY / PHOTOGRAPHY BY OWEN WOLTER
ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS travelers see crossing the Ambassador Bridge into Canada are her majestic pale green spires ascending into the sky.
The rich patina of those spires (known as verdigris, the process that transforms certain metals into soft shades of green over time), with their fleur-de-lis embellishments (said to signify purity and the Holy Trinity) make for one remarkable welcome.
She basks in the shadow of our iconic international gateway, nestled next to the University of Windsor and Assumption University campuses. Long before these other landmarks were specks on the horizon, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church was here. Established in 1728, her parish preceded her by two centuries.
Her majestic Gothic Revival architecture and provenance are not only historically significant to Windsor Essex, but also Ontario, Canada and the Catholic Church itself.
This fascinating saga starring Windsor’s most venerable lady begins near Detroit’s Fort Ponchartrain, where the Huron and Wyandotte settled after being forced off their traditional Huronia territory during the bloody fur trade battles. The Huron beseeched the Jesuits for a Black Robe to minister to them in their new home.
As a result, “The Mission of Our Lady of the Assumption among the Hurons of Detroit” was established (making Assumption the oldest continuous parish in Ontario and the 2nd oldest in Canada).
Almost directly across the river is Ste. Anne de Detroit, the 2nd oldest operating U.S. Catholic parish; priests on both shores have long collaborated, cementing another meaningful connection between our border cities.
From 1767 to 1787, Assumption parish priest Father Pierre Potier meticulously documented every birth, marriage and death. His conscientious
Opposite top to bottom: Looking south toward the sanctuary; hand-carved wooden pulpit by Detroit’s renowned carver Francois Frerot circa 1793; Heaven-evoking hues of this mural of Speculum Justitiae (Mirror of Justice). This page clockwise from above: One of 12 portraits of the apostles; closeup of Our Lady front courtyard statue; Italian marble communion rail acquired in 1925; Our Lady’s signature pale green spires with its new copper roof, which was installed in 2019 by local roofing company AA Roofing; stunning stained glass detail circa 1882.
records paint vividly accurate portraits of everyday life: infant mortality was high; typical families included at least six members; most women were married by age seventeen. Most parishioners could not read or write. Black and Indigenous slavery were prevalent.
Father Potier’s successors concluded that Our Lady of the Assumption Parish warranted its own church. A presbytery and church hall were built on land donated by the loyal Huron.
One of the finest appointments to the sturdy new timber church was a hand-carved pulpit by renowned Detroit woodcarver Francois Frerot, featuring scenes of late 18th century life. Two and a half centuries later, this pulpit still graces the church. The fourth cornerstone was laid on July 7, 1842.
In 1843, Jesuits from France took charge of the parish. The first Bishop of the London Diocese transferred his headquarters to the Towne of Sandwich in 1845; the Jesuits departed. The Basilian Fathers of Toronto assumed management of the parish and Assumption College (which opened in 1857). First superior Father Dennis O’Connor oversaw the addition of a graceful church tower and sanctuary, where stained glass windows were installed in both the sanctuary and apse. The spectacular windows in the main part of the church were erected in 1882.
An elaborate stone altar was imported from France in 1887.
Construction of the Rosary Chapel began around 1907. Stained glass windows representing the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary were donated.
Several more changes culminated in 1925 when the sanctuary floor was tiled and an exquisitely carved Italian marble communion rail was acquired.
By 1934 a new roof was essential; asbestos slates replaced rotting wooden shingles. At the same time, the steeple and minarets were copperized. A balustrade made of stone from the old Sandwich jail replaced a wooden one.
The Depression impoverished numerous parish families in the late 1930’s. Disillusioned with their faith, many had stopped attending church. In response, the parish financed the mission chapel of the Blessed Sacrament on Prince Road near St. Edward’s school.
In 1970, the City of Windsor designated Assumption Church an historical edifice; in 1985 the Province of Ontario registered an easement, designating it as a heritage building.
By the early 2000’s, Windsor’s most venerable lady was in critical need of a $20 million restoration.
Every Catholic parish is responsible for daily maintenance and repairs to their buildings; they must rely on fundraising to support any work over and above that scope. After two fundraising campaigns failed, the church was closed and placed on the National Trust for Canada list of the 10 most endangered heritage buildings.
Demonstrating complete confidence and belief in the historical significance of this restoration, the London Diocese kicked off a new fundraising effort with a rare $1 million donation. Even more meaningful was Bishop Ronald Fabbro’s personal donation of $25,000. s
In 2019, The Heritage Trust for Canada declared the church “saved”. Restoration Phase 1 began, including a new copper roof, HVAC system and asbestos removal. After five long years, Our Lady of the Assumption reopened to a full house, with hundreds more spilling outside.
Phase 2 (restoration of interior walls ravaged by years of water damage) is well underway. Using undamaged areas for reference, 18 exact colour palettes and stencil templates have been meticulously replicated. Phase 2 also includes a new Sacristy, stained glass restoration and exterior brick and masonry.
Lawyer Paul Mullins, who leads the restoration project (and is also the overarching driving force fueling fundraising efforts) says, “we celebrate our Tricentennial in 2028; our goal is to have the project complete before then. The church has also applied to be recognized as a Nationally Significant Historic Site.”
Project Manager, Tony Pupatello (Windsor-based Pupatello & Sons Ltd.) ensures the Assumption Church Restoration does not incur debt; unless and until there’s cash in hand, no work happens. Chosen as the PMAC (Project Management Association) 2022 Canadian Small Project of the Year award, the project is on time and on budget.
Mullins and Tony Pupatello are our guides for a fulsome tour; the painstaking attention, care, quality and craftsmanship are obvious. The vaulted ceilings encompass a simple motif of stars, each cast in plaster, painted gold and affixed to a robin’s egg blue “sky”, evoking a feeling of heaven. Each star must be removed, refurbished and replaced.
We ascend the labyrinth of the centuryand-a-half-old attic; we traverse wooden plank catwalks with overhead “lifeline” grab ropes that serve as footpaths over insulation-clad vaulted church ceilings, separated by steep crevices that descend dozens of feet below into darkness.
In the belfry we find the massive metal bell and one magnificent circular stainedglass window depicting the ascension of Mary.
Our Lady of the Assumption stands as an exceptional example of Canadian Gothic Revival architecture; the only surviving example in Canada honouring the Assumption of Mary in such a harmonized way.
A Catholic icon in our predominantly Protestant province, no other church in Canada can claim the inspiration and international influence of Windsor’s most venerable lady. WLM
Finding The Dress of YourDreams
AFTER SEVERAL MONTHS of planning, re-designing and remodeling their space, Bride to Be Boutique opened its doors in January of 2023 with a vision for Windsor brides to have the shopping experience they have always dreamed of, without having to leave the community to find it.
Owners Katie Gibb Minardi and Tina Jewhurst designed Bride to Be with the modern bride in mind: effortlessly sophisticated, filled with natural light, private and intimate styling suites, simple design, and textiles as smooth as their service. It’s everything that you would expect from a modern, chic, and elegant bridal boutique with exclusive pieces that don’t shy away from making a statement.
Katie and Tina understand that finding a dream wedding gown is one of the most sentimental and emotional purchases a bride can make, and they want that special moment to be an everlasting memory that their brides can look back on fondly and cherish for the rest of their lives. With their combined 30 years of experience in the Bridal industry, Katie and Tina know bridal. They breathe bridal. Quality service is their priority, and their goal is to take care of all of the details for the bride so that she can enjoy the experience of finding her perfect gown.
Bride to Be is an inviting, elegant, and no-pressure environment that makes sure each bride’s experience is a memorable and personal one. They provide their brides and guests with a luxury experience that includes private dressing rooms, drawing attention to the bride with no external distractions and allowing for undivided attention on the bride. A typical guest appointment includes a formal welcome and introduction by their stylist who will discuss the bride’s vision, expectations and budget. The stylist will then guide the guest through the dress choices and assist in making the entire experience a seamless and magical one.
The boutique offers a carefully curated collection of gowns by designers Maggie Sottero, Sottero & Midgley, and Sophia Tolli and are the exclusive carriers of Eva Lendel, Wona, Enzoani, Demetrios, and St. Patrick. These stunning gowns include classic to bohemian and sexy to modest styles, all in a range of sizes. This stunning array of couture, feminine, and elegant bridal gowns are sure to take any bride’s breath away.
Beyond the bride, Bride to Be carries couture lines of Mother of the Bride and Groom dresses like Montage, Ivonne D, Cameron Blake, and the exclusive Terani Couture line, and are the exclusive carriers of the Jenny Yoo Bridesmaids Collection. A glittery variety of both glamorous and fun accessories are also available.
Windsor’s newest bridal boutique brings an elevated, inviting, and intimate experience to this special day. Whether you are a statement maker, a romantic at heart, or a modern minimalist, Bride to Be wants every bride to leave empowered, surrounded by love, and ultimately feeling excited for her big day — with the bridal gown of her dreams.
JEFF LEMIRE REVISITS ESSEX COUNTY
The Popular Graphic Novelist Sees His Most Personal Work Brought to Life As
a Five-Part Mini Series on CBCSTORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND
THE AMERICAN AUTHOR Thomas Wolfe once wrote: “You can’t go home again.” He might have been right for most of us, but in March graphic novelist, Jeff Lemire, went home again—to Essex County. Most of Jeff’s work has been optioned by Hollywood, but he has held back a few personal favourites that are close to him. Chief among these is his break-out graphic novel trilogy Essex County, first published in 2006.
How does it feel seeing this very personal work finally make it to television?
“It’s very surreal—for a lot of reasons,” Jeff says. “It just took so long to make this show, first of all. We started working on it in 2016. It was a long development process, and there were a lot of times along that process where it didn’t seem like it would get made. So many things need to go right to get something over the ‘finish line.’ I’ve had other projects in development that didn’t get that far.”
He goes on: “And you know, the project being my first book that I did fifteen, well, twenty years ago, now… I didn’t even think I was
going to get published. When I was originally drawing the book, I was just doing it for myself.”
As it turned out, Jeff not only got the books published, but they led to a whole career for him in comics. In 2008, he won the Joe Shuster Award for outstanding Canadian comic book cartoonist, as well as the Doug Wright Award for best emerging talent. In 2011, Essex County was a finalist for CBC’s Canada Reads competition. Along the way, Jeff gained legions of devoted fans.
For as inevitable as it seemed that Essex County would make it to film or TV, the process took seven years. It was a real hands-on experience for Jeff. Contrasted with his experience seeing his book Sweet Tooth brought to Netflix as a limited series—the second season set to begin at the end of April—Jeff was immersed in the creation of the screen version of Essex County.
“For me, it was a lot different with Sweet Tooth,” he says. “I wasn’t directly involved with the development. I visited the set. On [Essex County] I was involved in every part of production and postproduction, working with the director, the cinematographer, and working in the edit as well. Sweet Tooth I got to enjoy as a spectator. Ultimately, this one is extremely rewarding because I put so much into it.”
Part of the lengthy development process was mining a five-episode script from the spare, poetic Essex County trilogy. Anyone who has read Jeff’s books knows the depth of emotion he is capable of evoking with images, alone. Some pages have no words, but carry tremendous impact. Canadian producer, Christina Piovesan, saw the screen potential of the story and approached Jeff about developing it. She teamed Jeff with screenwriter Eilis Kirwan to expand the story so that it would span five episodes. Although Jeff was the original creator of Essex County, the process was not quite as easy as simply “writing more.”
What was it like collaborating with another writer on such personal material?
“The collaborative aspect was very different, very rewarding,” Jeff says, “especially working with screenwriter Eilis Kirwan. We clicked as a team. It was great to have another voice to bounce ideas off. I wrote the book exactly as I wanted it and translating it to a new medium—things that work in the comic may not work on the screen with actors—and having another voice there is helpful to pitch other ideas.”
Jeff continues: “The style of the book is s
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so sparse, so visual, so much about the tone and the mood of it, and TV is a medium that eats up story fast. Time works so differently in comics as opposed to film. That was the hardest thing early on. We knew we had to add material to fill five hours of TV. We went through some wrong turns. Eventually we stopped working on plot and then just built on the characters.”
The result is a haunting, nostalgic vision of Essex County come to three-dimensional life. It is peopled with an excellent cast of actors: Molly Parker as Ann, Stephen McHattie as Lou, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong as Lester, and Brian J. Smith as Ken, just to name a few. North Bay stood in for the actual Essex County as much of the project’s funding came from northern sources.
“Ideally, I would have loved to film in the real Essex County,” Jeff explains, “but for logistical reasons and financing we had to shoot in northern Ontario. We spent a lot of time lo cation scouting to find areas in northern Ontario that could double for home.”
When asked what was the most important aspect of Essex County he sought to translate from the page to the screen, Jeff conceded that it was difficult to put it into words.
“Just that feeling when you read the books, not something you can literally say,” he says. “The four main characters, you want to be true to them. I think the stories of Lester, the young boy, and Lou, the old man, translated well to the screen. The other characters, Ann and Ken, were areas where we had to build those characters out.”
Satisfying as the end result is, the process could be grueling. Jeff had an active hand in the production working as the show runner, head writer, and one of the executive producers. He remembers fifteen- to twenty-hour days on set, away from his family at times. It also took him away from his usual work, which has been the pillar of his schedule for the past twenty years.
You can’t go home again. Jeff confirms that there won’t be any more Essex County books. He has told that story and is content to let it stand.
“But I think doing the show, in a weird way, was a chance to go back and revisit those characters and that world at a different point in my life,” he says.
Essex County can be viewed online on CBC Gem. The second season of Sweet Tooth will be on Netflix at the end of April. The books that inspired both series are highly recommended reading. WLM
30 Years of Quality Service PLUMBING
PLUMBING NOW HAS SERVED the Windsor-Essex area for more than 30 years. Owner operator Mark Beaudoin and his crew have more than 50 years of experience among them, and thousands of service calls under their belts. Experience matters.
“Our niche is residential plumbing service—same day or next,” Mark explains. “What distinguishes us from the others is that we answer our phone. We take your information, book an appointment, and show up when we say we’re going to show up. We don’t say ‘Sometime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.’ We give our customers a 2 or 3-hour window.”
Headquartered in Amherstburg, Plumbing Now services all Windsor-Essex County. They do a lot of toilet repair/replacements, help homeowners with clogged drains, sewer backups, sump pumps, issues relating to basement flooding, hot water tank replacements and just about any other issue that can arise with household plumbing.
“We don’t just fix things,” Mark continues. “Sometimes the better option is replacement. Our trucks are fully stocked, like warehouses on wheels. We carry toilets, faucets and nearly all the supplies and parts needed to take care of the jobs same day.”
Plumbing Now also believes in upfront pricing. They give the price of the job before they start the work so that there is no invoice shock. All of the Plumbing Now technicians are equipped with a Straight Forward Pricing Guide that ensures that customers are charged the same price for the same job. Nearly 80 percent of their business is from repeat clients and referrals.
“I have some customers who have been with me since I started in the business,” Mark says.
He and his crew are not only skilled plumbers, but they also treat their customers’ homes like their own.
“People trust us. I have customers who’ve been with me for 30 years,” Mark says. “We are licensed, bonded, insured. We arrive on time, in uniform. We wear shoe covers, put the red carpet down, clean up our messes. We have towels and a Shop-Vac on every truck. We leave zero mess behind when we complete a job.”
It is that attention to detail that separates Plumbing Now from the competition.
“When I hire someone, it’s a person I’d trust in my own home,” Mark says. “Our customers give us their garage door codes, leave keys for us, or sometimes a door open so we can enter and do the work when they are not home. People trust us. We’ve earned that trust. We want our customers to feel comfortable using our service. We always call when we are on our way and tell you the name of the technician coming to perform service.”
Few issues in the home can be as disruptive as plumbing problems. Plumbing Now’s customers are effusive with their praise, which can be found right on the website: www.plumbingnow.com.
“Looking back, it’s now 20 years since I’ve been a customer of Marks’. In that time there has been nothing but prompt and reliable service to rectify the full slate of plumbing emergencies that are due to arise. They are my first and only call” wrote one customer.
“Very Happy with the prompt arrival, quality of work and the satisfaction provided. Will definitely recommend to friends” another customer wrote.
Learn more about how Plumbing Now can help in your home by giving them a call. At Plumbing Now, it is their preferred method of communication. 519.972.9876
NEW AND NOTICED
CAESARS WINDSOR CARES
Caesars Windsor Cares has donated $20,000 to a United Way program that helps parents and caregivers in “priority neighbourhoods” make sure their children can successfully pursue an education. Pictured from left are Kelly Wolfe-Gregoire, VP of Human Resources at Caesars Windsor, Kevin Laforet, President of Caesars Windsor and Lorraine Goddard, CEO at United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County. Photo by Kristina Stojkovski. weareunited.com
Congratulations to Jayden Trudell who recently won gold in the M67kg division at the GeeBee Boxing Tournament in Helsinki, Finland. He also received an award for Best Brawler in the tournament. As featured in the last issue of Windsor Life Magazine, Trudell also won gold at the Canadian National Boxing Championship in February. Photo by Margit Kincses.
DESJARDINS GOODSPARK GRANT
Head of the Class, a tutoring and learning support centre in Windsor, has been awarded the Desjardins GoodSpark Grant of $20,000. HOTC Catch Up Club will fill gaps in literacy experienced in learning. Over the last couple of years, Desjardins has awarded GoodSpark Grants to small businesses in a number of categories. Head of the Class’s focus is community outreach and Julie Fader, owner and director says “It is an honour to win this grant and our even greater honour to use it to support young learners in Windsor Essex.” headoftheclasseducation.com
MAY COURT CLUB
The May Court Club, a completely volunteer run charity, is thriving heading into its 90th year of raising funds through their resale shop and numerous fundraisers throughout the year. This June they will be donating $50,000 to local children’s causes in our community. Pictured are May Court members Zofia Belczowski and Martha Robinson. windsormaycourt.com
HOUSEWEARS — HW COLLECTION
Jill Straky of Housewears has been designing interiors for residential and commercial spaces for almost 20 years, and she recently relocated to a larger space at the Lakeland Plaza in Tecumseh. Her new showroom now displays pieces from her HW COLLECTION – unique wall art and luxury seating that is completely customizable, to stop the endless hunt of looking for perfect pieces in the ideal sizes for your spaces! Lounge on a sofa or swivel chair, while viewing cool art and exploring options by appointment. housewears.ca
NEW WINDSOR ESSEX BIRDING GUIDE
The City of Windsor announced the Tufted Titmouse as the city’s Official Bird. Windsor was recently named Canada’s 16th Bird-Friendly City by Nature Canada, receiving the important designation for implementing bird-friendly policies and actions to help birds thrive in the city. This announcement was recently made at the Ojibway Nature Centre in concert with the launch the new Windsor Essex Birding Guide. Presenters included (left) Jason Toner, Director of Marketing & Communications, Tourism Windsor Essex along with James Chacko, Executive Director, Parks & Facilities, City of Windsor. Visit windsoressex.com/birding.
COMMUNITY LIVING WINDSOR 70TH ANNIVERSARY
Community Living Windsor’s Executive Director, Jennifer Pestrin, is proud to celebrate a milestone this year as they recognize their 70th Anniversary of this not-for-profit which supports adults with an intellectual disability in the Windsor area. Also, May is recognized as Community Living Month in Ontario, a time to celebrate and promote the inclusion and participation of people with an intellectual disability in all aspects of community life. clwindsor.org
ANTONINO’S ORIGINAL PIZZA RIVERSIDE AND LEAMINGTON
It’s truly a tale of two pizza families in Riverside and Leamington—the Kakous and Krautner families. From left to right: spouses, Feras & Ramia Kakous; spouses, Amir & Linda Kakous (together, the Antonino’s-Riverside franchisees); and siblings, Andrew & Julia Krautner (the Antonino’s-Leamington franchisees), are proud to announce the openings of their brand-new locations at 5410 Wyandotte St. E. in Riverside and 270 Erie St. S. in Leamington. To view Antonino’s menu, visit originalpizza.ca.
100TH ANNIVERSARY CADET CELEBRATION
Shaping the leaders of tomorrow since March of 1923, the 1086 Windsor Walkerville Collegiate Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps recently celebrated its Centennial Parade. Commanding Office Captain Megan Martin was presented with a plaque on behalf of the Mayor in recognition of the Cadet Corps Centennial by Windsor Ward 3 Councillor Renaldo Agostino. For more information on the program go to Canada.ca/cadets or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers Dane Fader and Alley Biniarz from GreenerFarms believe in the power of good food, grown right; that it can strengthen our bond to our environment and community. They love to share the organic abundance they grow with a delivery program and weekly veggie box subscription. Grown with no pesticides or chemicals, this is food our ancestors would be proud of: grown in quality soil with the planet and people in mind. greenerfarms.ca Back to Contents
SONGS FROM THE SPIRITBOX
MELØ Discusses Growing Up in Windsor and His Upcoming AlbumSTORY BY RYAN PERCY / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOMENICO AMBROSIO
THE 80s ARE MAKING A COMEBACK. Whether by a drive of nostalgia or through a general push for the good old days, there is something about the neon and pastel era which drives people.
But with the 80s being 40 plus years ago, there are even trends driving people who never experienced the decade to dive into its style and substance. The techno scene was born then and now genres like synthwave and vaporwave call back nostalgically to it.
But while some of the younger crowds flocking to the stylings are taking it as a gift from the past, there are others where the connection is stronger.
If living in and embracing the 80s turned your blood neon, then MELØ would glow like the sun.
MELØ was a teen then, taking in all the music of the time; 80s pop, techno and synth and has elevated those 20th century vibes into the 21st century.
“I got labelled as the 80s but I call it more of a retro vibe,” MELØ says of how he styles himself. “You get hints of the 80s but I’m trying to put my own twist on there.”
He has been steadily putting music out since 2021. His first track, Mysteria, has already garnered close to 200,000 plays.
When talking about his earliest track, it is easy to see the 80’s in it. Mysteria has a bright neon twang to its progression, bringing to mind the rolling end credits from cult classic 80’s movies. If the chorus does not send your mind crashing into a glimmering pastel period of pop music history then you may need to get your head checked.
MELØ was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario but moved with his family at a young age to Windsor. While he might not have
been born with the city’s blood in his veins, he has definitely built it up over the years.
“My dad came here for work, all the immigrants came here for Chrysler when it was first booming,” MELØ says of how he ended up in Windsor to begin with. “Windsor is home to me. It’s also so great since Detroit is close by for music.”
It makes sense MELØ would find his musical soul here. Windsor and Detroit have a long symbiotic history when it comes to the development and production of music. If it were not for Windsor radio stations, some Detroit acts may never have gotten big on our side of the border.
This influence played into MELØ’s drive to pick up an instrument and play, but while the external culture drove him to a certain genre, it was family who started him off.
“I grew up in a big Italian family,” he laughs as he dives into his background. “Every family function was a lot of singing and a lot of my cousins and uncles played instruments. Maybe I caught the bug there first. But growing up next to Detroit I listened to techno, punk and Motown. I grew up on this stuff and it was embedded in my head.”
He was self-taught, learning by ear.
He picked guitar up at 12-years-old and after learning a few chords he giddily banded together with his brother to form a cover band.
“I wanted to learn so I listened to a lot of vinyl and cassettes,” MELØ says of his humble beginnings. “I learned singing from it, I never took vocal lessons. I don’t know how to read music.”
He had music on his mind, but it took a push to finally start down his path.
“A good friend of mine, Domenico Ambrosio, motivated me
to get back into writing music,” MELØ says of how he was pulled out of his rut while stuck inside during the 2020-2021 lockdowns. “We were home, no work, so I started to write. It was like a faucet opened and all these ideas just started pouring out.”
To date, he has over 100 songs and counting, in various stages of writing and production. He laughs and says the mere act of song writing has become addicting. He says in part what drives him is tied to what music really means to him.
“Songs are like stories to me,” he says of his process of putting pen to paper and fingers to frets. “Some are true, some are not. When you first start out, they probably aren’t very good. There’s a lot of garbage you have to weave through. But if you enjoy writing stories it’s a form of release and you slowly get better over time. It’s almost a form of therapy.”
The notion of storytelling from songs is the basis of his upcoming album, Songs from the Spiritbox.
“It’s like a box of treasures with notes from your diary,” he says of the meaning behind the name. “The album is kind of a diary. But while I have a lot of songs on those pages, only the ones that rise to the top are going to be on this album.”
The album is planned to be a mix of tones, a walk through the feelings he felt in the past years. From upbeat moments of joy down to the darker, sadder times. All slowly drip fed through streaming services. Each single leading up to an end-of-summer or early fall release.
The darker trend can be perfectly summarized by the released single Paralyzed. The slow melody brings up images of stargazing and reminiscing. MELØ says it is about being paralyzed in the moment of realizing things have changed.
“It’s about lost friends and growing old,” he says. “Wondering if they’re still. Closing your eyes and picturing a moment when you were all still together.”
The goal of the album is to tell a story, to leave a diary for the world.
“I hope listeners can connect with the music and see the whole body of work for what it is,” MELØ says. “Songs from the Spiritbox will let you see the whole picture. The emotions of every song is a little different but if you pay attention you’ll learn my whole story.”
You can find out more about MELØ at melomusicofficial.com or find his music on every major streaming platform. WLM
A Windsor Scuba Diver Locates Historic Artifact in the Detroit River for National GeographicSTORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND PHOTOGRAPHY © MALLINSON SADLER PRODUCTIONS LTD
“ONE PERSON’S TRASH is another person’s treasure” is certainly true when it comes to the hidden history lying on the bed of the Detroit River. In 2020, the venerable National Geographic began inquiring in the area about what historical artifacts might lie at the bottom of the river—and was there anyone around who could help them find them. Windsor Port Authority harbourmaster, Peter Barry, knew exactly the person to call: area diver Matt Zuidema.
Haling from Wallaceburg, Matt came to Windsor in the 1990s to attend the University of Windsor. His lifelong love of water led to a passion for scuba diving. As he says in National Geographic’s series Drain the Oceans, “Rise of the Mob” about the Detroit River dive: “I’ve been a scuba diver and diving instructor for over twenty-five years. I was a broke university student and [the Detroit River] was the only place I could dive.”
The rules about diving in the Detroit River were much looser in the 1990s than they are today. One constant rule, however, has always been that the riverbed is not a salvage yard. Divers finding the remnants of automobiles, shipwrecks, or other historical artifacts, must leave the items where they are found. These days, a hard-to-come-by permit is required to dive in the river— that is, for divers willing to endure the current and poor visibility, which could be as much as five feet and as little as one foot, depending on conditions.
“I found a car somewhere around 1995 in the river out front of the Casino,” Matt recalls. “It was sitting upright on the riverbed. I researched that car and I think it was a Buick from somewhere around 1915-1920. It was very low
on the bottom of the river. When I dove in 2020, looking for that car, I could not find it. I figured it was covered up by the silt. ‘The National Geographic people need a car!’ I thought. ‘I lost my car.’”
Matt and his team—boat captain Paul Boycott and first mate Mike Lahoud—engaged in research and numerous dives looking for it.
“I went on some diving forums,” Matt continues. “Then, I was speaking with a local diver. He said he had found a vehicle that was upside-down, laying in the middle of the Detroit River and it was something that definitely should not have been there. Since
this was something that was not well-known, I wanted to follow up and see it for myself. With very limited visibility in the river, that’s easier said than done. I had a hard time locating it.”
By 2022, National Geographic told Matt that he had until Memorial Day—May 30— to find the car or they would scrub the episode.
“I did a search pattern,” Matt explains during the “Rise of the Mob” episode, “where you just do a zigzag on the bottom of the river, going back and forth and just seeing what I could find. I actually saw coming out of the gloom wooden spokes for a vehicle. That told me that vehicle was very early.”
With a day left, Matt located the Model T truck, which lay upside-down on the bottom of the river: a remnant of the days when bootleggers risked their lives driving cars across the frozen expanse of the Detroit River during the most forbidding months of winter, to sell Canadian booze to American customers languishing under Prohibition.
The National Geographic team came to Windsor and over the course of two days s
Learn to Dive Today!
in July, filmed the episode “Rise of the Mob,” focusing on Windsor’s rum-running past. Matt notes that Ron Waxman of Benthic Scuba was helpful in the filming of the episode, which aired in late March 2023, and can be viewed on the National Geographic website for a few dollars.
The episode is augmented with interviews with Matt that took place at Willistead Manor. The National Geographic crew also took a ride out to the Canadian Automotive Museum in Kingsville where they found a truck that matched what was found in the river.
For Matt, it was the experience of a lifetime. He said in local media following the episode: “And the funny thing is some of my most enjoyable dives—even those amazing dives all over the world—I find some of the neatest things I’ve done are right here in the Detroit River.”
He goes on: “I love the adventure of it all. I did a dive behind the old Holiday Inn by the Caron Avenue Pumping Station. That’s a treasure trove because people used to throw stuff out of the windows of the hotel. A while back I found a toilet down there with the floorboard still attached. I found a piano, furniture, and last year, I found a suitcase—one of the roller types—full of mixed tapes and videos from the 1990s… from what it looks like.”
It bears repeating that diving in the Detroit River is not for the faint of heart, or for amateurs. At its deepest, the river is approximately sixty feet deep, out in the middle of the channel. When freighters come through the area, some of them are so massive, they draw approximately thirty feet of water. Couple that with the river’s powerful current, poor visibility, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision how divers could find themselves in trouble. There are few things less forgiving than the unrelenting, colossal propellers that move those ships through the channel.
That said, as pastimes go, Matt cannot think of anything better than scuba diving for adventure and enjoyment.
“For people who want to dive, Lake Erie and Lake Huron offer some of the best freshwater diving,” he says. “And nothing compares to the diving in Tobermory and the experiences you can have in the Fathom Five National Marine Park. There are lots of shipwrecks out there. The diving is unbelievable!”
Check out more of Matt’s dives by visiting his YouTube channel: Matt Zuidema @mattzuidema6930. WLM
FALL IN LOVE WITH THE FREEDOM OF THE ROAD!
Since 1994, Thunder Road Harley-Davidson® has been passionately promoting power sports and all of the fun, freedom and adventure they can bring to your life!
Thunder Road’s iconic Huron Church Road location is your destination if you are seeking the ultimate in new and pre-owned motorcycles. The friendly and knowledgeable Thunder Road team are ready to offer outstanding service every step of the way, from test drives to helping you make an informed purchase decision to financing options to customization to service to parts to ongoing maintenance.
The name Harley-Davidson® champions the timeless pursuit of adventure and freedom. This year, the world’s most well-known motorcycle brand will mark its 120th anniversary. In July, the rumble of V-Twin engines and the crackling energy of the Foo Fighters and Green Day will rock the Harley-Davidson® Homecoming™ Festival. This exciting four-day moto-culture kickoff celebration will happen on the waterfront in Milwaukee—the city where it all began for the Motor Company.
Thunder Road General Manager Rob Reeb says, “Three of the most sought-after Harleys—the Pan America 1250 Special, Street Bob and Nightster—are in stock and ready for a test ride.”
Softail Street Bob 114v
When it comes to “best bang for your style buck,” the Street Bob is among the best of all Harley-Davidson® motorcycles.
The Pan America 1250 Special Not only designed and built to last, this premier two-wheel multi-tool is engineered for adventure.
Rob says, “It’s called Special for good reason. Designed to compete with top-of-the-line ADV bikes, it’s loaded with premium features,” including:
• Semi-Active Front and Rear Suspension with Vehicle Load Control
• Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
• Centre Stand
• Multi-Position Rear Brake Pedal
• Brush Guard
• Aluminum Skid Plate
• Daymaker™ Signature Adaptive Headlamp
• Hand Wind Deflectors
• Heated Hand Grips
• Steering Damper
• Factory Installed Option: Adaptive Ride Height
• Factory Installed Option: Tubeless Laced Wheels
2023 Harley-Davidson® Nightster™
Designed to inspire both new and experienced riders, the 2023 Nightster is quick and nimble with razor-sharp handling. A bike made to make your own!
• Exposed dual rear shocks
• Air Box Cover honouring the classic Sportster model fuel tank
• 19-inch front wheel, 16-inch rear wheel
• Stylish LED headlamp, rear lighting and bullet turn signals
The name Street Bob references the ‘bobber’ fashion inspired by the post-WWII movement—where ex-military Harleys were chopped down with low seats, fat tires and Ape hanger bars. This Harley-Davidson® is the epitome of cool with a low seat and classic Fat Bob tank.
Street Bob is a minimalist cycle, which means no frills: other than two custom blacked out (fat) wheels, one 114 cubic inch engine, 2-up seat and custom paint, there’s not much else. However, paint and build quality, durability and overall reliability are among the best anywhere. Plus it’s got loads of torque and a soul-satisfying rumble.
SOME PEOPLE CHOOSE THEIR PASSIONS. Some passions have a way of choosing you. And as Canadian Football Hall of Famer Josh Bourke can attest, some passions have a way of dragging you away by your ankles.
“I didn’t grow up playing football,” Josh admits. “Back then, in Windsor, there wasn’t great exposure for the sport. At least not for youth leagues.”
While in the seventh grade, Josh went on a ski trip to Blue Mountain with his mother. While there, he ended up taking a fateful chairlift ride with an older man.
“He and I started chatting,” Josh recalls. “This gentleman said to me, ‘You know, you’re a big kid. Have you ever considered playing football?’ And at the time, I hadn’t. I was always into sports, but my main passion at the time was baseball. I hadn’t even played any kind of organized football.”
Josh told the older man that he wasn’t interested. But the stranger was insistent.
“It turns out he was a football coach at Saint Mary’s Preparatory High School in Orchard Lake, Michigan,” Josh states. “He encouraged me to give the school a shot.”
The coach failed to sell Josh on the game. However, he did perk Josh’s interest in the school. After a quick tour, Josh enrolled at Saint Mary’s. But then, on his first day of high school, another coach approached him and said:
“Why aren’t you playing football?”
Finally, Josh admitted defeat.
Offensive Lineman Enters Canadian Football Hall of FameSTORY
All this is surprising enough. But what’s even more startling is how Josh’s early years on the field progressed.
“Honestly, I was pretty terrible when I first started,” Josh laughs. “I wasn’t even good enough to make the varsity team in my second year, which is pretty embarrassing! There were definitely times when I thought about quitting. But my parents instilled in me early on that the world doesn’t like quitters. That even if things don’t come easy, you have to stick with it.”
Still, despite these early disappointments, Josh continued to fall in love with the game.
“I loved the physicality of the sport,” Josh explains. “Growing up playing baseball, there’s not a lot of physical contact. But, oddly enough, I was just a big guy and enjoyed hitting people! I wasn’t a bully by any means, but I loved the controlled aggression and the technique involved—especially as an offensive lineman. It’s an art form.”
But what perhaps endeared the sport the most to Josh was the bond he formed with his teammates.
“I loved the camaraderie,” Josh states. “Even now that I’m retired, I don’t really miss the game that much. But I miss the guys. I miss the hotels. I miss the travelling. I miss the dinners, the parties, the events. I just loved being around the guys—they’re what kept me afloat during those tough times.”
During his teen years, Josh continued to play. And eventually, his talent caught up with his persistence.
And then, in his own words: “I started beasting people,” Josh explains. “People said, ‘Woah. Where did this come from?’”
After high school, Josh was recruited by Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
“I chose to stay closer to home,” Josh explains. “The coaches there had a really good plan in place to get on me on the field sooner rather than later. If I’d gone to a bigger school, who knows? I might have had to wait years to get my chance.”
After university, Josh was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. The following season, Josh enrolled with the Montreal Alouettes—where he would remain for the next nine years.
“I started playing for Montreal right away, almost two weeks after I got there.” Josh explains. “And the rest is history!”
Josh’s career with the Canadian Football League has been a distinguished one. He earned himself a CFL Eastern All-Star s
every season, from 2008 to 2014. He was also named the CFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2011. And most significantly, he won two Grey Cups while playing with Montreal in 2009 and 2010.
“I’ve won a lot of accolades, which is great,” Josh explains. “But the team accolades mean more to me than the individual ones. The two Grey Cups means more to me.”
Even now, fourteen years later, the memory of the first Grey Cup win lingers with Josh.
“The year before, in 2008, we’d lost the Grey Cup during a home game,” Josh recalls. “We’d lost to Calgary. The following year we had a fantastic season, and we ended up playing Saskatchewan. It was an absolute grind! We were down sixteen points with seven minutes to go.”
Miraculously, the Alouettes were able to take control of the ball and score some points.
“We managed to get down to field goal range,” Josh states. “And we missed! We thought that was it. That it was over. But it turns out Saskatchewan had too many guys on the field, so they ended up bumping the filed goal up another ten yards. And that time, we scored.”
The victory that night remains Josh’s fondest memory of his career.
“Losing the Grey Cup the year before was heartbreaking,” Josh states. “But I still remember that last quarter like it was yesterday. That sequence of events is etched into my brain.”
And now, after a ten-year career, Josh has been admitted in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
But despite his numerous accolades, Josh has chosen instead to move forward with his life in the Detroit area, channeling his tenacity into a new profession.
“I always knew that Sales would be my next step after football,” Josh explains. “I like the competitiveness of it. When I look to hire people, one of the main things I look for is if they were an athlete. They’ve been through the ringer. They’ve been prodded, they’ve been criticized. They’re used to losing. In Sales, you have to be able to hear “no” a lot more than you hear yes. If you get ten “no’s”, the eleventh yes makes it all worth it.”
And whatever the future holds for Josh, we’re confident that any setback will not slow him down for long.
“It’s all part of my philosophy,” Josh stresses, “being the best at whatever I do in life.”
Silence the Snores & Find Relief
with Dr. DiGioia’s Solutions for Headaches, TMJ, and Sleep-Related Issues
Dr. DiGioia is always looking for new and innovative ways to help her patients. She is excited to announce that she has added an additional laser to her practice that is quick, painless and can reduce or eliminate snoring. During treatment, the laser energy stimulates collagen, which helps tighten the areas being treated hence opening up the airway. There are no side effects, no bleeding, and patients can resume their normal
activities immediately. It’s that simple. This state-of-the-art treatment is an alternative to traditional snoring treatments, and Dr. DiGioia is the first dentist in Canada to offer this specific laser.
If you suffer from sleep or TMJ-related issues, you know how debilitating it can be. Symptoms may include headaches, chronic pain, difficulty concentrating, earaches, facial pain, feeling unrefreshed, and issues with balance and dizziness. For many people, these issues have a negative impact on their quality of life often affecting their work, relationships and overall wellbeing. However, Dr. Lisa DiGioia’s treatment is changing peoples lives.
Dr. DiGioia has dedicated her career helping patients suffering from sleep apnea, headaches and TMJ-related issues for over 25 years. Her patients speak of her with gratitude for their transformation. Dr. DiGioia understands the impact of chronic pain and poor sleep on her patients, stating that it leads to depression and often leaves patients feeling dysfunctional. She believes that patients should not have to live like this and that there is hope. Her commitment to her patients is evident in the way she works tirelessly to bring the best possible treatment options to them.
Dr. DiGioia is widely regarded as a leader by other health care professionals, including dentists, physicians, surgeons, chiropractors, and physical therapists who refer patients to her for help. She and her team work closely to provide a comprehensive treatment plan that address the root cause of patient’s problem. Dr. DiGioia’s passion for helping patients is undeniable, and her commitment to learning and staying up-todate with the latest developments in her field is unwavering.
For patients who suffer with sleep apnea and don’t like their CPAP machine, Dr. DiGioia offers alternatives.
Dr. DiGioia ensures that her patients receive the best possible care. She offers at home sleep testing which is a convenient way for a patient to get a diagnosis without having to spend a night in a sleep clinic.
If you are suffering from headaches, pain, snoring, and sleep or TMJ-related issues call 519-733-8888 to schedule a consultation today.
SHOTZ ORIGINAL BURGER
Deluxe with fries, coleslaw or soup
WEDNESDAY 2-4-1 GYROS
Comes with one side. Choose between fries, coleslaw or soup.
THURSDAY RIBS & WINGS
One order of Salt & Pepper ribs paired with a half order of our delicious wings. Comes with one side. Choose between fries, coleslaw or soup.
FRIDAY HALIBUT DINNER
1 Piece Halibut or 2 Piece
SATURDAY CHEF’S FEATURE
Please ask your server for details.
SUNDAY 2-4-1 WINGS
(Available for Dine-In and Takeout) Order a full order of wings with a side and beverage, get another order of wings free.
BON APP ETIT!
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. originalpizza.ca
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK
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. casamiabelleriver.com
523 Notre Dame St., Belle River.
Cheesecake On A Stick - Dessert shop offering gourmet cheesecake dipped in chocolate and various toppings. Take out or delivery offered with Jubzi.com. Open Thurs-Sun 12-9 pm. Kingsville location open Sat-Sun 12-9 pm. 13300 Tecumseh Rd. E., Tecumseh 519-999-9116. cheesecakeonastick.ca
460 Main St. E, Kingsville 519-999-6024
Cotta Food Bar - Let us be your place for private events, holiday parties, weddings, dine-in, takeout, catering and more! With a wealth of experience, our talented chefs pride themselves in creating delicious contemporary Italian food. Friendly service. 3891 Dougall Ave., Windsor. 519-915-6882. cottafoodbar.com
Erie St GastroPub - Located in the heart of Little Italy, this hidden gem offers elevated pub fare and a scrumptious Asian-fusion menu. The bar features local Ontario wines, a constantly rotating craft beer menu, handcrafted cocktails as well as alcohol infused ice cream.
839 Erie Street, Windsor. 519-252-3743
Fourteen Restaurant & Skylounge - Experience dining with a panoramic riverfront view of the Detroit skyline from the 14th floor. For both casual and special occasions. Private and semiprivate rooms available. Live music in our lounge most Saturday nights. Open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday at 5pm. Reserve online or call 226-526-7214.
14th Floor – 100 Ouellette Avenue fourteenrestaurantandskylounge.com
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 s
all the peanuts you can shell. 519-956-9822
12000 Tecumseh Rd. E., Tecumseh, ON
Georgia Rae’s Hot Chicken & Barbecue - Serving Nashville Hot Chicken (Available in 6 different spice levels) & House Smoked Barbecue (Brisket, Ribs, Chicken Wings) with scratch made sides and desserts. Open Wed-Sun at 4pm. 400 Manning Road, Tecumseh. 519-735-9305 georgiaraes.com
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
Original Guys Pizza Pies - The “Windsor style” thin crust pizza skillfully rolled and hand tossed is cooked to perfection in a stone baked oven. With vegetarian and vegan options, pizzas are tailored to each customer’s individual taste. Also offering wings, salads and subs. 3335 Banwell Rd., Windsor. 519-979-8808
Mamo Burger Bar - Burgers made with local beef are piled high with creative topping combinations at this casual spot. Recently voted 9th best burger in the world. Kids menu also available! mamoburgerbar.com
1515 Ottawa Street, Windsor. 519-973-1234
Neros 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. OpenTable.ca 1-800-991-7777 ext. 22481.
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
SONA Ristorante & Taverna - An upscale casual dining experience inspired by cliffside restaurants of the Mediterranean. Spend an evening in our ristorante, featuring seasonal cuisine and international wines for your enjoyment.
11 Queens Ave, Leamington.
Thirteen At The Inn - Casual/finer dining with a comfortable, modern ambiance. Carrying on traditions of Thirteen Russell Steakhouse, enjoy old favourites or something new. Prime Rib, fresh Lake Erie fish, steak and seafood. Cocktail lounge. Waterfront patio. Private parties. 40 minutes from Windsor/Detroit. Reservations recommended: 519-324-9266 Ext 215. 388 Erie St. S., Leamington. 13attheinn.com
For information on listings and advertising in Bon Appetit! please call 519-567-0603.
HOW TO DO BARCELONA IN THREE DAYS
Travellers Pam And Bill Seney Share All There Was To See In One Of Europe’s Most Visited CountriesSTORY BY ALLEY L. BINIARZ / PHOTOGRAPHY PAM AND BILL SENEY
THE BUSY BUSTLE OF BARCELONA was no match for the Seney’s trusted planning skills and spreadsheet abilities. Knowing they only had three days to take in all of what the popular city had to offer, Pam and Bill got to work planning this trip to one of Europe’s most visited countries.
“We knew there would be a lot to see and we actually just hit the ground running,” Pam says excitedly. “We had previously arranged for a taxi driver to be there waiting so when we arrived in the morning, the tour guide was already waiting. We got in the car and with suitcases still in the trunk, we went sight-seeing from there.”
Pam and Bill handed their spreadsheet over to their driver and jumped right into travelling mode. They wanted to see as much of Barcelona as they could on that first day so they could decide where they wanted to return to the next day.
On that first day, they made a point of visiting the famous La Sagrada Familia structure which is not a sight to be missed. “The amount of detail is just incredible,” Bill says, having marveled at the architecture. “We didn’t get a chance to go inside, but even just the outside took forever to walk around to take in all the details. The pictures don’t do it justice.”
La Sagrada Familia, or the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family, has been under construction for over 135 years, with the last remaining work being the six massive central spires and structure which is set to take place in 2026. When finished, it will be one of the tallest (if not largest) churches in the world. Its architect, Antoni Gaudi, is known for his incredible artistic influence around all of Barcelona, but most famously for this church. The Gothic architecture mixed with natural elements along with its turbulent and fascinating history make it the unique attraction that it is.
From there, Pam and Bill got back into their taxi and continued their excursion around Barcelona before taking a cable car ride to Montjuïc Hill. Here they enjoyed the view of the entire city as well as the Castell de Montjuïc, a large 17th century fortress. This 1450-metre-long aerial tramway connects Montjuïc Hill and Barceloneta beach and takes you all across the harbour and waterfront.
The day was still young after that and so the two continued on to see the Arc de Triomphe, drove around the Gothic Quarter, went down to the Barceloneta beach, and took in more Gaudi architecture — which is hard to miss anywhere you go in Barcelona — by visiting Casa Batllo. “Our taxi driver basically covered most of the city,” Pam shares. “It was better than a tour guide where you get an hour history lesson that you could have found on the internet. This way, we got a good look at everything and could investigate on our own from there.”
Since they got a sneak peak of the city on day one, on day two they were able to narrow down their list. Consulting their trusted spreadsheet, Pam and Bill made their way to the popular tourist strip, La Rambla. “Everyone is on the street and it’s hard to believe that so many people come out,” Bill says about the 1.2 kilometre road. It’s an exceptional place to wander down; the street ends at two key places, one being the beach and the other being the Placa de Catalunya or Catalunya square. Here, visitors can catch street performers, visit local cafes, and enjoy all of the delicious food Barcelona has to offer.
While wandering La Rambla, the two ended up at another spot on their list: La Boqueria Market. The first mention of a market being there dates back to 1217, making it a monumental part of local history. “You could spend an entire day here,” Pam says. “Had we known how spectacular it was the first day, we would have eaten
all of our meals here!” Bill adds. They say you could find anything you wanted from exotic meats, fruits, fresh eggs, everything. The market has a range of food stalls and restaurants selling all of the famous Spanish eats like paella and tapas. Catalan cuisine is the result of thousands of years of experimentation, making Barcelona known for its decadent foods consisting of plates of rice, eggplant, spinach and citrus fruit. Tapas (or appetizers) are a great way to try small samples of everything the region has to offer.
The Seney’s days were full-on and they didn’t stop until they wound up back at their hotel. Even then, their hotel (H10) had an immaculate rooftop restaurant and bar where the two would enjoy a few drinks and take in the views.
By the third day, the couple did another tour on their own and enjoyed a cruise along the waterfront. This three-hour cruise took them down one way and back another and was a nice, relaxing catamaran ride to counter the previous days’ walking. Pam and Bill say that a highlight was that no matter where they were in the city, they got a beautiful view of La Sagrada Familia and it was just breathtaking.
“If we had three or four more days we would go back and try more restaurants and do the third cable car up to Tibadabo,” Pam says. “Otherwise, on a whole, we really enjoyed Barcelona and felt comfortable. English was spoken everywhere and we didn’t have to use our very poor Spanish,” they both laugh. Many people might hear that Barcelona is known for pickpockets, and although this can be true, Pam and Bill say they kept their wits about them and felt incredibly safe, even in hot tourist spots.
“The city is considered a beach city so if a person likes the waterfront, boating, sailing, or anything water related, it’s an excellent one to visit,” Bill explains. “It’s right up there with some of the best cities we’ve been to. It’s a world class city.” For those who spend longer in Barcelona, Pam and Bill recommend the “hop on, hop off” bus system, which takes you all across the city. Although they didn’t do it, they said it seems very well run.
The travellers say that this was a city they didn’t mind getting lost in. If people don’t mind the walk, Barcelona is easily a city where someone could wander around the Gothic Quarter, get close and personal with the architecture, stroll down the beach, and just take in all of the magnificent history (and food) that Barcelona’s streets have in store. WLM
Have Your Next Business Meeting at Lakeshore St. Andrew’s Church
LAKESHORE ST. ANDREW’S Church (LSA) was founded in the 1850s, but you would never know that stepping into their building. LSA has a state-of-the-art facility located off of Amy Croft Drive. Rather than hiding its lamp beneath a bushel, LSA is opening its doors to the community to come and use its top-notch resources.
“We moved buildings about twenty-five years ago because we were growing,” says Director of Administration and Production Shane Davis. “We built this awesome facility and we’re letting the community know that there is space for use.”
Shane continues: “We’ve had the Miss Windsor Pageant here. A couple of different dance studios have used the auditorium for their showcases. We have a local musician who is coming in to do a CD release. We’ve had sports teams… a lot of different things.”
LSA is particularly interested in getting the word out to the local business community that their location has everything they need to conduct business conferences. Some businesses have already found this hidden gem, but LSA is hoping that more will make that discovery.
To start with the basics, there is ample parking, and the entire facility is on one floor making all amenities easily accessible.
There are two primary rooms that groups have been interested in: the boardroom and the auditorium.
The recently renovated boardroom seats twelve comfortably, though LSA has easily fit eighteen in there for its meetings.
“The boardroom is set up with a Meeting Owl system for hybrid meetings,” Shane explains. “This is an easy-to-use, plug-and-play 360-degree camera that focuses on whoever in the room is speaking. We installed it because we were having hybrid meetings. If you know how to do an online video chat, you know how to use the Owl.”
Tech support comes with facility rentals. Shane is on site or one of his key volunteers will provide assistance. There is even a security person on premises.
“There is always help,” Shane says.
The LSA auditorium seats 850 people and has a state-of-the-art sound system. There are six cameras available to capture video or live stream. The auditorium is equipped with three video projector screens on the stage, three teleprompter screens for stage speakers, which can be controlled by each speaker.
“Everyone who has rented the venue so far has been blown away,” Shane says.
There are also two overflow rooms. One is like a classroom and the other is a mini auditorium that can hold a hundred people.
“We have a full gymnasium,” Shane says, “with basketball nets. Sports teams rent this through the winter.”
LSA also has a full industrial kitchen complete with walk-in coolers, two convection ovens, a flat top, and an industrial dishwasher.
“We have a massive foyer with a coffee bar,” Shane continues. “And I would argue that we have the best church coffee in the area!”
For more information regarding costs and availability, call LSA at 519-979-8082 or visit the rental page on their website at www.lsa.church/facility-rental.
Planning Your Gift Today, For A Brighter Tomorrow!
MOST OF US SPEND a lifetime contributing to causes that are close to our hearts. Through all the challenges of recent years, the philanthropic sector has never stopped working to inspire Canadians to think differently about their charitable giving, as they support the causes they care about.
Since the year 2000, Canada has seen a 25% increase in charitable organizations, with more than 968,000 Canadians giving over $465 million to 31,700 charities in 2021. Charities and non-profits make up a thriving sector of the Canadian economy, representing 8.1% of Canada’s GDP and 10.5% of the work force, according to recent statistics from Imagine Canada.
While most are familiar with traditional forms of charitable giving, many Canadians are now looking at Planned Giving as a way to make a bigger contribution than they ever thought possible, without
using any of the money needed during their lifetimes or significantly taking away from their loved ones.
A new Environics survey shows that 23% of Canadians have considered leaving a charitable donation in their Will, but only 8% have actually made arrangements to do so.
If more Canadians commit even a small percentage of their estate to charitable causes, the sum of these efforts could represent as much as a $40 billion increase to charitable giving across the country, supporting our communities where the need is the greatest. Philanthropic leaders across the country are helping to make this process as straightforward and simple as possible for donors, through efforts like the WILL POWER™ program.
WILL POWER™ is a collaborative effort of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners that unites donors, charities, not-for-profitsLisa Kolody Chair, Executive Director, WindsorEssex Community Foundation Sandra Presland Marketing & Communications Chair, Marketing & Fundraising Manager, Transition to Betterness Kelly Gosselin Vice-Chair, Education Co-Chair, Major Gift Officer, University of Windsor Tim Jones Marketing & Communications Committee, Financial Advisor, Rock Harbour Wealth Management Inc Michael Flanagan Treasurer, Relationship Manager, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County James Krestick Member, Gift Planner, Lutheran Foundation Canada Katie Mazzuca Secretary Major Gift Officer, University of Windsor Gisele Seguin Member, Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation Katie Corchis Member, Major Gift Officer, University of Windsor Karen Momotiuk Member, Major Gift Officer, University of Windsor Sherri Gowman Member, Relationship Manager, United Way Eugene van Wyk Member, Mgr Fund Development & Community Engagement, Alzheimer Society Windsor Essex Melissa Landry Member, VON Windsor-Essex Patricia Valleau Past-Chair Principal, Valleau Fundraising Consulting Martin Sobocan Member, Advisor, Sobocan Insurance and Financial Services Gemma Grey-Hall Education Co-Chair, Major Gift Officer, University of Windsor Camille Armour Member, Major Gift Officer, University of Windsor Canadian Association of Gift Planners
and professional advisors in their efforts to support the causes that matter to us all. Through the WILL POWER™ campaign, local philanthropic leaders aim to provide valuable resources and information to Ca nadians looking to make a difference by leaving a charitable gift in their will. WILL POWER™’s mission is to increase the num ber of Canadians leaving a charitable dona tion in their Will from 8 to 13 percent by the year 2030.
MEET CAGP - CANADA’S EXPERTS IN PLANNED GIVING
When it comes to designing your legacy and determining the best way to support your community by leaving a charitable gift, there are many options available to ex plore. Fortunately, the Windsor and Essex County community is rich in experts who can provide the right guidance to help you plan your gift.
Many of the professionals at the forefront of the philanthropic sector are members of the Canadian Association of Professional Gift Planners (CAGP), a national professional association that inspires and educates the people involved in strategic charitable gift planning. Gift Planners are experts with a unique body of knowledge regarding a range of giving options, such as bequests, gifts of securities and gifts of insurance. They are equipped with the knowledge and resources required to guide donors through the technical aspects and benefits of various giving opportunities, helping to guide community members to the best philanthropic choices for their individual needs.
“Planned Giving is essential to the vitality of our philanthropic sector and the overall support of our community.” says Lisa Kolody, Chair of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners Windsor & Essex County Chapter, and Executive Director of the WindsorEssex Community Foundation. “With so many available options for charitable giving, and various family, financial and personal considerations to take into account, donors rely on the advice of experts in the philanthropic sector to guide them in their decision-making.”
When it comes to Planned Giving, Kolody says it’s important to start the conversation early, and with those who matter most to you.
“Let your loved ones know why it matters to you to support the causes you care about,” she says, adding that it’s best to discuss these topics in advance, ahead of the emergence of serious health concerns.
P L A N N E D G I V I N G
to build sustainable equine programs for nearly 200 people each week. Participants gain strength, self confidence and renew their optimism for life through the eyes of a horse!
To ensure a stronger Windsor Essex, we need to provide ALL young people with the support they need.
WAYS TO GIVE:
• Life Insurance
• Gift Annuities
• Trusts and Tax-Free Savings Accounts
Legacy gifts to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation of Windsor Essex allows us to:
• Provide caring supportive adult mentors to children and youth still waiting
• Create programs to respond to our community’s most pressing challenges around youth mental health
“Many people think they need to make a choice between providing for their loved ones and supporting a charitable cause. Often, they don’t realize that they can do both. That’s where we, as professional gift planners, can help. Talk to your financial advisor or meet with the charitable organizations you wish to support—we have resources that can guide you through these conversations.”
A national, community-based organization, CAGP has 20 Chapters across the country, all of which serve their communities through relationship-building and member engagement, strengthening local philanthropic and strategic gift-planning efforts.
In Windsor and Essex County, the CAGP is represented by a dedicated team of 17 local leaders in the philanthropic sector, each with their own expertise in this vital and valuable industry. The Windsor & Essex County Chapter of CAGP provides resources, guidance and education to the broader philanthropic community, as well as opportunities for local philanthropic leaders to share knowledge that will benefit their community as we move towards a more giving and supportive future.
“CAGP provides the know-how to fundraising professionals so we can better serve our donors and community,” shares Kelly Gosselin, Vice-Chair & Education CoChair of CAGP Windsor & Essex County Chapter, and Major Gift Officer at the Odette School of Business, University of Windsor. “We are extremely proud of the education and professional development our Windsor & Essex County Chapter has designed to support local charities, not-forprofit organizations, fundraising professionals as well as advisors, along with the wonderful donors who support our excellent work within the region.”
Gosselin shares that one of the most rewarding things about working in philanthropy is being able to help others find ways to support the causes and charities they believe in the most.
“The education and experience I have received with my involvement in CAGP, locally and nationally, has genuinely deepened my ability to support my donors in their charitable giving. CAGP provides educational training and professional network to Fundraisers and Financial Advisors so that we can better help our donors make strategic donations to maximize the impact of their gift.”
There are many great ways that donors
Thousands of friends in our community are living in poverty.
Help us provide them with food, supplies and support.
FEEDING OVER 400 HOMELESS AND HUNGRY EVERY DAY.
Providing sleeping bags, backpacks and hygiene products as available.
Daily food bank and hot meals for local families in need.
Donations of stocks, bonds, shares in companies and mutual funds to Street Help can be processed through CanadaHelps.org! Just type STREET HELP on their website.
Thanks for all YOU do to help us help the homeless and hungry!
SUPPORT OUR VISIONS
964 Wyandotte Street E., Windsor
Research tells us that respite is crucial for everyone, especially for people caring for children with disabilities. Your gift will make a significant impact for 1200 families caring for children with disabilities in our community, so that caregivers get a short break while children with complex needs can access meaningful programs in Windsor and Essex County.
Can you respond to the respite need in our community?
and philanthropic individuals can leave a legacy by making a gift for “now” and “later” by exploring the many options of Planned Giving with experienced professionals in this growing field. For charities, Planned Giving provides organizations with the opportunity to plan for the future funding streams enabled by generous individuals who want to build a stronger community today, and for future generations.
The CAGP Windsor & Essex Chapter is supporting the local community of donors, fundraisers, and advisors with the “knowhow” of benefits and gigantic gains that planned gifts from supporters provide to the important work and services philanthropic organizations execute today and far into the future.
With a history of providing educational resources for the community where Planned Giving is concerned, the local chapter’s education sessions and webinars are widely attended by members of the philanthropic community in Windsor and Essex County, featuring guest speakers and experts.
In summer 2023, the return to in-person educational events will feature Ted Garrard, C.M., former President & CEO of the SickKids Foundation and a leader in the Canadian philanthropic sector, in a day of enlightening and sharing for industry professionals. The event is open to all organizations and individuals with an interest in philanthropy and how to best support our community through fundraising, outreach and Planned Giving activities. Find more information below!
ASK AN ADVISOR: THE BENEFITS OF GOOD ADVICE
With as little as 1% of your estate left to charitable causes, you can make an incredible impact on your community and the causes that matter most to you. The majority of your estate will remain to support your loved ones, and you can support your community without using any of the money you need today.
Aside from support for the causes that matter most to us, some of the greatest benefits of charitable giving are the tax advantages that are afforded to Canadians. Our country’s tax system is built on an understand that philanthropic support is essential to the success of our citizens and communities.
Just as giving in life can help with your annual tax return, a planned gift from your estate can greatly reduce estate taxes, allowing money to go to charitable causes rather than the government, an appealing
support helps families like Josh’s get the support that they need.
prospect for many families. This is a mechanism that is built into the Canadian tax system—it’s not a loophole, but rather a way of acknowledging that continued support of charitable causes benefits everyone, and is a meaningful way of leaving a legacy while giving back to our communities.
Planning ahead also has the additional benefit of easing transitions and maintaining familial harmony during a challenging time of change.
“Working with a dedicated financial planning professional means that donors can further the generosity they’ve shown during their lifetime by creating a legacy that will remain after their passing,” says Tim Jones, CAGP Windsor & Essex Chapter Member and President of Rock Harbour Wealth Management. “Financial Advisors come with a wealth of knowledge pertaining to Planned Giving and estate planning, and can help their clients plan in advance for what is to come, supporting their families and the causes to which they’ve always been committed.”
Jones adds that Planned Giving comes in a variety of formats, and that any time is the right time to begin discussing with a professional who can help determine the best path.
“Often, people begin discussions with financial advisors later in life,” he shares. “Perhaps they’re selling a family home or downsizing, and want to plan for what’s ahead in the coming years. Maybe they’re making adjustments to their will—or creating one for the first time.”
“Wherever they may be in their financial journey, we encourage people to engage with an advisor, to fully examine all their options. The market has also changed, new and unique solutions specifically designed to aid in charitable Planned Giving are now available. We encourage you to reach out to us or a trusted financial advisor to learn more.”
Planned gifts can come in many forms, all with their own advantages. Bequests, Trusts, Securities, Insurance Policies and Retirement Plan Assets are just a few of the giving vehicles available to donors. To find out which options are the best fit for you and your loved ones, speak to a trusted financial advisor who can help you create your plan for leaving a legacy through charitable giving.
Charitable giving through your estate is a wise choice.
We can help design the income tax-efficient Wills and Trusts plan that best supports your favourite causes.
Show your UWindsor pride by leaving a legacy gift.
for supporting your loved ones and the causes you care about, creating a lasting and multi-generational impact. Many of us have a will, or have thought about creating one, but may not know the full advantages associated with this important document.
According to a recent Angus Reid poll, only half of Canadian adults have a will. Of that number, 13% say that their will needs to be updated or is out of date.
In Canada, if an individual passes away without a will, court appointed representatives are put in charge of their estate and the division of their assets. These circumstances can often result in significant tax burdens being passed on to survivors. The best way to avoid this loss of control over your estate is to create a will, and ensure that it is kept up to date throughout your lifetime.
How can you plan today to support the causes you care about, tomorrow and in the future? Here are a few suggestions from the WILL POWER™ campaign, that can help you take the next steps towards your philanthropic goals:
1. Calculate your donation. You can determine how much you want to leave to charity, and how much you want your loved ones to receive, with a simple calculation. Speak to your advisor, or use the Legacy Calculator tool developed by Will Power, at www.willpower.ca
2. Discover the tax benefits. Did you know the Canadian government has created some of the best tax incentives in the world to encourage more giving to charity, especially from your estate? You may be able to give big to charity and take advantage of the tax benefits, all while leaving a sizable inheritance for your family and loved ones.
3. Ask a financial advisor. Consulting a financial expert can help you maximize your donation and ensure it works in your favour. You can use Will Power’s Financial Advisor Finder to match with an expert in your region. Will Power also has handy guides available to explore, which can help you start the conversation.
4. Find out how to keep the love going. Learn how a gift in your Will would be used to advance the causes you care about within your community by visiting www.willpower.ca and exploring local Will Power partner organizations!
More and more Canadians are using the power of their wills to make a positive change in the world, inspiring others andFor more information on legacy giving to the University of Windsor, contact the Advancement Ofﬁce at email@example.com or 519-253-3000 ext. 3229
ASSUMPTION CHURCH RESTORATION
Assumption Church sits on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy. The Huron, who were given refuge by the Three Fires Confederacy, shared this land with Assumption Parish in order to establish the first Catholic parish in Canada west of Montreal.
MAKE A DONATION – MAKE A BEQUEST
Be Part Of The Legacy
1728: Mission to the Hurons established
Assumption Parish created 1845: Assumption Church built 1867: Confederation of Canada
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org 519-982-3300
leaving a lasting legacy in our communities. Join the movement and keep the love going for what matters to you!
For more information about Legacy Giving or the Windsor & Essex County Chapter of the CAGP, contact Lisa Kolody, Chair at email@example.com.
CAGP Windsor & Essex County Chapter’s Upcoming Planned Giving Educational Session: “Ask The Expert”
The CAGP Windsor-Essex County Chapter is excited to announce their upcoming educational session on Wednesday June 21, 2023, titled “Ask the Expert” featuring national fundraising specialist Ted Garrard, C.M., the former Chief Executive Officer of SickKids Foundation.
Under Ted’s fourteen-year leadership, the SickKids Foundation increased annual revenues from $80 million per annum to more than $200 million per year, grew its endowment from $480 million to $1.2 billion and set a new standard for charity branding by becoming one of the top brands in Canada. During Ted’s time at the foundation, their donor base grew by more than 100,000 to 330,000 annually. SickKids Foundation is a digital leader in fundraising and with the expert leadership of Ted, the foundation increased their operating budget from $26 million to $60 million.
How did SickKids achieve these monumental goals, you maybe asking yourself? This education session is your opportunity to ask the expert to apply best practices to your own shop’s Planned Giving and fundraising efforts.
Over the past few years, the Windsor & Essex County CAGP chapter has focused on supporting not-for-profit organizations in the region with quality educational sessions that brought in trained professionals in the field of planned-giving and fundraising.
The upcoming educational session will be unique and “a must attend” for 2023. The event will be held at the University of Windsor starting at 10am and will run until 2pm. The session will focus on demystifying planned-giving, the coming headwinds in the industry, and the growing importance and role of family foundation advisors. Ted will share his insights and knowledge on challenges you would like to ask about as you move forward with your Planned Giving program within your fundraising organization.
Tickets will be $45 for CAGP members, and $50 for non-CAGP members. For more information, email the CAGP Windsor & Essex Chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate shares and receive full tax credit without incurring any capital gains tax. All donations are used exclusively for the restoration/preservation of Assumption Church. This ad is sponsored by Woodslee Estates Inc.
A TREASURE FROM ANOTHER TIME
For All The Architectural Excellence In The Region, The “Most Photographed House In Canada” is a Dilapidated Structure Built Almost Two Hundred Years Ago
TO PARAPHRASE the old saying: Time and tide wait for no one. Nowhere is this truer than at the Guyitt house, known as “Canada’s most photographed house,” located on Talbot Trail in Palmyra. Built sometime in the 1840s, the house is currently owned by Peter Anderson whose grandparents, Roy and Ethel Guyitt, bought the home in 1908. The house has been vacant since 1985.
Now, the race between the elements and the Chatham-Kent municipality is on. One way or another, the house is coming down. The question is when that will happen.
On August 15, 2022, Chatham-Kent’s Chief Building Official Paul Lacina received a complaint about the home’s structural safety. This set the gears of government in motion. According to an autumn 2022 article, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent sent a letter to Peter Anderson notifying him under the property standards bylaw that he had fourteen days to either fix the Guyitt House or tear it down due of these safety concerns. Peter appealed the order, a reprieve was granted, and an appeal hearing scheduled for some time this Spring.
For more than 180 years, the Guyitt House has weathered the
vicissitudes of the region as a farmhouse, family home, as just another structure along a far-flung country road. As the elements took their toll, over the decades its identity as a structure from another time drew attention. Changes to the house occurred slowly. It was bricked and had a wrap-around porch until 2008. The structure has slowly slanted over time, the roof of the back bedroom eventually caved in. The roof of the main structure is canted. As the structure decayed, it ceased being a viable dwelling and became something else: a beautiful, fascinating landmark.
Not everyone sees it that way. Some see it as a dangerous structure and want it demolished.
Speaking to local media, Peter Anderson said that the house is beyond repair. He tends the lawn and enjoys how other people appreciate the property. He said visitors are welcome to take photos, but they should not enter the building.
“I left it there for one reason so that people can appreciate the historical value of Talbot Trail,” he said, speaking to local media. There are plenty of people who appreciate it.STORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND / PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF WINDSOR AERIAL DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY s
Photography, is a photographer who recently discovered this local treasure.
“I do drone videography and a client had hired me to do some aerial photos a few miles past the Guyitt house,” Mike explains. “As I drove by and saw the place, and looked around online, found articles about it, it blew me away. I did a Facebook post on the house that was looked at over a thousand times. Even sitting there, at the house, photographing it with the drone, a few people stopped to photograph the house—in February!”
Mike adds: “Even when I took the pictures. It doesn’t even look real.”
As a person with a newfound interest in the Guyitt House, Mike doesn’t know anything more about the progress of it receiving protective heritage status. “I don’t know where it stands,” he says. “I have Google alerts to see if a demolition order hits the media. If that happens, I’ll go and film it that day.”
A petition was created by local man, Ken Bell, on Change.org, which states “At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!” At the time of this writing, 3,732 people have signed the petition.
Amid the comments on the petition, neighbours and local people have chimed in with their thoughts about the Guyitt House, and the rightness or wrongness of the municipality demolishing it due to “safety concerns.”
One person commented, in part: “She continues to stand. She was once part of a loving home with a carriage house, barn and silo. A large, covered porch to relax on. A wood burning stove to keep away the chill. A piano to bring joy. Hedges lined her semicircular driveway. Trees protected her western face and gave fruit to smiling children. Farm life flourished. Time has erased her grandeur, yet
she alone continues to stand. The weather, the flora, the fauna and people have eaten away at her over the years. And through those years her beauty has changed… Let her beauty continue to be seen while she still has the will to stand.”
Another commenter wrote: “Because old things can be beautiful too!”
Peter Anderson has told reporters: “The house is way beyond repair. That’s what adds to its historical value. There are people out there who would like to get the woodwork in the boards, the door frames, trim and everything inside that house. It stood the test of time this far. How much longer will it last?”
In a perfect world, he says, the house should be left untouched until the day it hits the ground by its own natural course. As of this writing, Peter confirms that there is no word on the progress of his appeal.
Veteran urban explorer, Dave from Freaktography.com, has visited the Guyitt House numerous times.
“It’s so eye-catching,” he says. “No wonder so many people will pull over who don’t even have an interest in abandoned photography. The weathered, exposed wood, the slanting roof.”
As to why the Guyitt House draws so many photographers, Dave observes: “What’s great about it is that there is nothing around it. The house is totally isolated, so you can stand on any side, and on a great blue-sky day, you can get some great colours with the green grass, blue sky, and the contrast of this decaying house.”
Regardless of the glad tidings or skeptical bureaucratic attention cast upon the Guyitt House, the days of this unusual landmark are numbered. Anyone in the area who has an interest in such things should set some time aside to make a visit. Time and tide wait for no one. WLM Back to Contents
Help and Hope for Kids with Disabilities, their Families And Caregivers
THE PHRASE “it takes a village to raise a child” may well be a time-worn cliche, but for families raising children and youth with complex needs, it’s a fact.
And while raising even a completely healthy child today is costly, it costs 4 times more if a child has a disability.
As well as providing food, shelter, clothing, care and education, parents of children and youth with disabilities may also be required to invest in critical but costly medications, home therapeutic devices and equipment (that may not be covered by OHIP or only partially covered by private insurance, if they are fortunate enough to have it).
Many of these families also face unexpected out-of-pocket expenses such as travelling far from home for medical and therapy appointments, diagnostics, procedures or surgeries.
Fuel costs, hotel rooms, specialized care and equipment costs add up quickly, as do medications, personal hygiene products, essential feeding tube supplies or adaptive clothing.
And finally, because of their child’s constant care demands, many parents must take time off work, adding to their financial burden and placing them under even more pressure.
The John McGivney Children’s Centre (JMCC) has a 44-year history of providing help, hope and holistic, family-centred care to thousands of physically and developmentally challenged children and youth each year.
From physio, occupational and speech-language therapy to augmentative communication for children with severe speaking or language difficulties, to family social work support, JMCC is there. A Seating and Mobility Clinic provides assessment and services for children unable to walk or who have difficulty doing so.
Every day, JMCC staff and volunteers witness the strength and resilience of these families first hand. Every team member is committed to doing whatever possible to make loads a little lighter and lives a little easier.
Like Gerry Demers. With close to a quarter century of service in the Seating & Mobility Clinic, Gerry says he has seen many changes, but two things have remained constant: 1) the relentless dedication of the JMCC team to help children, families and caregivers and 2) the financial pressures these families must face, endure and navigate.
“I work very closely with many families, so I see just how tough it is for them. Certain mobility equipment, such as adaptive walkers and wheel chairs are extremely expensive—thousands and thousands of dollars.”
Or JMCC Social Worker Carla Passador, who says, “I know families who are not able to make medical appointments or participate in much-needed therapeutic recreation because they just can’t afford the transportation and travel costs. I am amazed by the parents and caregivers who juggle so many things every day. Thank you to everyone who helps our families breathe a bit.”
JMCC Community Affairs Manager Cathy Mombourquette concludes, “Our Family Support Fund directly and positively impacts the lives of our families. And thanks to an incredibly generous donor, for a limited time every donation made will double! Great communities build great support networks and strong safety nets for neighbours in need. We are in awe of the generosity of our community.”
Donations can be made online at www.jmccentre.ca/donate or call Cathy at 519-252-7281 Ext. 273.
A PERFECT STORM
Meet up-and-coming LeamingtonAuthor Samantha Sabelli Ion STORY BY KAREN TINSLEY / PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW SABELLI
BORN AND RAISED in Leamington, Samantha Sabelli Ion was an enthusiastic reader with a preference for heart-and-soul-warming stories.
Now a primary school teacher and married mom of a 2-year-old toddler, it’s pretty understandable that Samantha took nearly ten years to craft and complete A Twist in Her Fate, her first book.
Since then, Samantha’s passion for writing continues to inspire her. “I like to say that my creativity knows no bounds,” Samantha laughs. “Unlike many people, when the pandemic dramatically changed our lives in 2020, I found a real silver lining. I had a ton of time to devote to writing and eventually publishing A Twist of Her Fate.”
In the first of a planned series of novels, we meet 23-year-old Sophia Destino, a small-town girl desperate for change after holding
on too long to a broken heart. She decides to pursue her freedom by moving to Toronto to pursue a graduate degree.
While living it up in the big city, temptations abound for naïve, small-town Sophia and her new friend Charlotte. From potential lovers to sticky social and work situations to blunders and scandalous moments, Sophia endures and overcomes, all while discovering who she is and what her heart truly desires.
Are Sophia and the other characters inspired or based on real-life people?
Samantha shares, “They’re a bit of both. I see myself in Sophia, even though she’s a totally and completely different person than I am.”
Samantha considers A Twist in Her Fate to belong in the Young Adult fiction (YA) genre. Generally, the YA audience targets from 12 to 18 years of age but interestingly, half of YA readers are adults. The themes in YA are expansive, including most of those found in adult fiction (such as friendship, first love, relationships and identity). YA subject matter correlates with the age and experience of the main characters, which invites more mature readers to “take a trip back in time.”
New authors seeking to distribute their book have two publishing options: First, acquire a literary agent which is by no means easy. Agents are the gatekeepers to the traditional publishing world. Publishers have been known to offer deals to authors without agents, but it makes a time-consuming, tedious process considerably more difficult. A standard deal gives the publisher exclusive rights to print and distribute the book. The author works with a publishing house editor to execute a final draft. Whether or not the novel ultimately sees the light of day is at the discretion of the publishing company.
Every book you see on the New York Times bestseller list was issued by a traditional publisher.
Samantha says, “I did my homework and found out that only 2% of new authors actually secure a traditional book deal. That’s a real long shot.”
Like many new authors, Samantha is proving her chops with the second option, in the world of self-publishing.
Self-published authors skip the publishing house and get their book out by making it available for print-on-demand (copies only printed when someone orders one), as an e-book (requires no paper and no printing), audiobook (which can be issued by the author
or a traditional publisher) or by printing and selling copies online or in person.
Establishing an online presence really got things going for Samantha.
“People far and wide have read A Twist of Her Fate, thanks to the internet. It’s great for connecting with readers, who give me awesome feedback. Just recently I was in touch with a reader from Thailand. It’s inspiring and keeps me going. I’m a so grateful whenever anyone cares enough to say anything at all about my book, and any online attention helps boost sales.”
Self-publishing also means authors get their books out quickly. A traditional publication may take three years from the final draft to bookstore shelves (first you need to find an agent, go on submission, secure a deal, then wait 12-18 months for your book to be released).
A time-worn piece of advice for aspiring authors is “write what you know.” If you live on a sheep farm, you know the feel of a newborn lamb’s damp, tight-curled fleece and the sharp sound a well-bucket chain makes as it scrapes on stone. If you live in a metropolis, you know the feel of the subway rumbling beneath the sidewalk and the sounds of sirens wailing in the distance. You know all the feelings that flourish in specific settings.
And no matter what your age, you also know emotional truths (how you feel about situations).
For Samantha, this means “the story should remain true to lived experience. I say to myself, “this is how I see it”, “this is how it happened” or “here’s my take on the story.”
But by the same token, Samantha tries to remember that truth is relative (what’s true for one person might not be true for another). Best-selling author Pat Conroy once remarked “if you get too wrapped up in truths, then your story won’t get told.”
And speaking of truth, does Samantha remember the first book she read that made her cry?
“Wow, good question! I was just a kid when I started reading the Harry Potter series, but the well-developed characters really resonated with me.”
Speaking of well-developed characters, writing a compelling story is hard work. From people to place to plot to purpose, an author must create the perfect storm: one that will really hook readers from the first page and not let them go until the last.
To purchase A Twist in Her Fate, visit www.sophiadestinoseries.ca WLM
— (Age 5)
A SUCCESS STORY
WECYAC Has Come a Long Way!
The Windsor Essex Child/Youth Advocacy Centre (WECYAC) provides a valuable child-centred, safe location for children/ youth to disclose the abuse they endured. WECYAC strongly believes that kids should only have to tell their story once!
A specially trained, multidisciplinary team of professionals facilitate the process. Prior to the development of WECYAC, children/youth were interviewed in several locations around the community by a variety of professionals. This new process reduces anxiety for our children/youth and moves them along the healing process. WECYAC minimizes the number of times children/youth must tell their story which greatly reduces the trauma of disclosure.
WECYAC’s Board President, Dr. Sharon Pyke has been a supporter of WECYAC through every step of its development and believes, “All children deserve to be comforted and supported especially when faced with adversity. It is their right, and our community’s responsibility, to provide such a setting for them to feel valued, safe, and respected.”
Housed in St. Clair College, Centre for Applied Health Sciences building
since 2018, WECYAC has built efficient working relationships with its Key Partner Organizations along with many other community and corporate organizations within Windsor Essex to ensure effective and efficient service delivery.
Rick Derus, WECYAC’s Vice-President and Administrator for the Windsor Police Association notes “The most vulnerable of our society, children and youth, deserve community leaders stepping forward and providing unconditional support for them when they are victims of tragic circumstances.”
The Centre’s staff strive to build strong communication pathways for the children/ youth and their families. Children/youth need to feel reassured and safe as they bravely speak about the abuse to professionals.
Over the past five years, WECYAC has served over 2,300 clients, and hosted nearly 1,100 interviews! This year alone, WECYAC saw a 20% increase in children/ youth and families that required the safe and comfortable environment for support services to be accessed and healing to begin.
WECYAC is partially funded by the Department of Justice Canada and must rely on the support and donations from the community to ensure sustainability. WECYAC continues to ensure that every dollar contributed is utilized with maximum efficiency to support local children/ youth who have endured abuse.
To learn more about WECYAC, visit our website at www.wecyac.ca or call us at 519-995-3974.
If you are interested in supporting some of the most vulnerable children/youth in our community, visit www.wecyac.ca/donate/. As a registered charitable organization recognized by the Income Tax Act, WECYAC can write you a tax receipt for donations $20.00 and above. WECYAC’s mailing address is:
Windsor Essex Child/Youth Advocacy Centre St. Clair College, Centre for Applied Health Sciences
2000 Talbot Road West Suite #3304, Mailbox #12 Windsor, ON, N9A 6S4
“I think I’ll sleep better now.”
“I’m brave like a tiger.”
“Thank you for listening to me.”
“Your support means a lot…more than you know.”
PAYING FORWARD A KINDNESS
Training Service Dogs for Canadian Veterans with PTSDSTORY BY ALLEY L. BINIARZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN ISLEY
BEAMSVILLE-BASED not for profit Veteran’s Elite Canines has partnered with Kingsville dog trainer and breeder Ontario K9 to help bring trained service dogs to Canadian Veterans with PTSD. This idea was inspired by the organization’s founder Cindy Weir, who herself is a Veteran diagnosed with PTSD.
Back in 2018, Cindy’s psychologist saw the need for a service dog. After being told the wait list was five to six years and they were not taking any more names, Cindy ended up going to the United States and finding Pawsitive Love Foundation in Florida. To her surprise, they gifted her the training of her dog Gracie, free of charge.
“It was a kindness I wasn’t used to,” Cindy shares. “As Veterans, we have a hard time accepting help. We’re used to doing things for other people and not people doing things for us.” Cindy says that they did this for her even though she served for Canada. “They told me a Veteran is a Veteran,” which is the motto that her organization carries forward now.
Coming back to Canada, Cindy continued to see the difficulties that Veterans faced accessing service dogs. Starting Veteran’s Elite Canines was her way of paying that kindness forward and helping other Canadian Veterans. Once the idea was in place, the next step was to find a trainer that would fit the vision. Cindy stumbled upon the Essex County dog training facility, Ontario K9 online and said she was immediately drawn to the methods they were using. After meeting the owner Ryan Isley in person, seeing his passion for the dogs in the way he was handling and training them, they decided to collaborate on this project.
“I wanted to get my business more involved with the community,” Ryan explains his agreement to train the dogs for the organization. “I know what effect dogs can have on people and I wanted to pair the Veterans with the right type of dogs.”
Ryan doesn’t just train the dogs for the Veterans but goes the extra
mile to breed specific working dogs that can handle the training properly and be safe service dogs. He handles them from puppyhood for about 10-16 months before they’re ready to be paired with a Veteran. “This way all of the training is complete and there is no stress on the Veteran to need to do any of this work; the dogs help them with their stress, not the other way around.”
The way that Ontario K9 trains the dogs goes beyond the praise tactics and creates a true team relationship between owner and dog. They incorporate obstacles to add in a variety of stressors so that the dog can perform under real life stress and know how to handle the number of situations that may arise in the veterans’ day-to-day life.
The fees for the dogs’ food and training accumulates and can cost up to $40,000 per dog, which is why Cindy is grateful for Boeing Canada’s donation to Veteran’s Elite Canines and their sponsorship of two dogs and to Ryan for his own donation of a dog. Ryan currently has five dogs in the training grounds who will be ready to be paired up by October, but the need is still greater than they can financially handle. Cindy says that she is receiving messages constantly about the need for more service dogs, and that they’re always looking for more donors to help with this cause. “Veterans always seem to slide to the bottom of the food chain when it comes to help and I believe we need to do more and help save these Veterans,” she adds.
Cindy knows the difference having a service dog makes in a Veteran’s life. Personally, Cindy shares how she found it difficult to leave the house to walk around the block, let alone run errands. She explains how each Veteran handles PTSD differently but many of them are hypervigilant and are always on the lookout for something to happen. “When you’ve seen the things we’ve seen, you’re always on the defensive to protect your family and self. The dogs mitigate that and provide a barrier and a sense of safety when you need boundaries.” These dogs are also trained to sense panic attacks or nightmares and be able to interrupt them and calm their handler down.
“When you live with these mental health issues, you don’t often have the capacity to fight for yourself. A service dog gives you a whole new life.” Many people can’t see the benefits of service dogs for invisible injuries and assume that Cindy is training Gracie when they see them out for a walk. Cindy emphasizes that if you see a person with a service dog, know that this dog s
is working and never ask to pet them. “If you see a vest, don’t even look at the dog if you want to engage; talk to the person who is using the dog. Treat them like a normal person, they probably miss that.”
Cindy says it’s situations like this that creates the need for education and public awareness about service dogs for PTSD and other non-visible mental health needs. They are making an incredible difference, even if you can’t see it. “My life has changed so dramatically with Gracie, and I’m grateful every day for the gift of training that was given to me because I am a Veteran. I know for a fact that I would not be here today if it wasn’t for Gracie and the kindness of a stranger at the Pawsitive Love Foundation.”
She adds that once Veterans get their lives back, they inevitably pay it forward. “They receive their service dog with no strings attached. The Service Dog becomes part of the healing journey and Post Traumatic Growth, their inner strength builds from those beginning steps and then that same Veteran wants to or feels the need to pay it forward somehow.” She says that this can be seen through the Veteran being able to reconnect with their families again, volunteer at the food bank, serve on the boards in their local community or coach their neighborhood’s little league. “Some of the first big achievements are when they go to a doctor’s appointment by themselves, or go grocery shopping, or just grab coffee with a friend, all things that we take for granted.”
She says that the ability to serve again is a blessing in itself because it’s in their DNA; serving is something that Cindy feels she was born and meant to do, and she feels that she’s been given the gift to be able to serve her country again through this organization.
Ontario K9 and its team are doing an amazing job raising and training the dogs to become an invaluable tool in the healing journey of their Veteran Handler. Once paired together they will become an inseparable team that will be ready to take on the world, and you can be a part of this wonderful story. As mentioned, Veteran’s Elite Canines has a sponsorship with Boeing Canada and two Veterans have already been vetted and screened and are aware that they will be the recipients of the two sponsored dogs. However, with five dogs training now, they need sponsors for the other three. If you or someone you know is able to lend a hand in sponsoring a dog, you can visit www.veteranselitecanines.ca to find out how. WLM
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