Windsor Life Magazine Summer 2023

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CONTRIBUTING Matthew St. Amand

WRITERS Ryan Percy

Karen Tinsley

Michael Seguin


ART DIRECTOR Michael Pietrangelo

PRODUCTION George Sharpe

PHOTOGRAPHERS John Liviero, Sooter’s Photography

Michael Pietrangelo

Pam and Bill Seney

Jolie Inthavong

Chris Edwards

Glenn Gervais

Ben Dartnell




Charles Thompson 519-818-7352


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.

Windsor Life Magazine is published 8 times per year. Mailed delivery in Canada is available for $40.00 per year including H.S.T. A $150.00 charge is required for mail delivery anywhere outside of Canada. Send cheque along with address information to Windsor Life Magazine, 318-5060 Tecumseh Road E., Windsor Ontario, N8T 1C1.

6 Windsor Life
PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE SUMMER 2023 VOLUME 30, ISSUE 5 1602 Sylvestre Dr, Tecumseh / 519-956-0123 / SUBARU WINDSOR
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8 Windsor Life 22 51 30 FEATURES DEPARTMENTS 14 COURAGEOUS JOURNEY Kobra Safi’s 11,000 Kilometre Expedition to Freedom 22 THE EMERALD ISLE Photographer Glenn Gervais Travels to Ireland 28 SCRAPBOOK BASEBALL The History of One of the Best Canadian Seasons 30 HOME FEELS LIKE VACATION Creating the Perfect Minimalist Oasis for a Destressed Life 36 WORLD OF SUSTAINABLE STYLE Secondhand Savvy Saves Money and the Planet 40 THE BRIDGE’S PROGRESS Gordie Howe International Bridge In the Homestretch of Completion 44 BUILDING HOPE AND DREAMS Part Creative, Part Craftsman, Part Community Builder 51 ALL I CAN DO Local Country Music Band Buck Twenty 56 IN THE SHADOW OF THE ROCK Pam and Bill Seney Visit Gibraltar 26 NEW & NOTICED 48 BON APPETIT! ON THE COVER Kobra Safi, recipient of a Multicultural Council Award, in the traditional dress of her homeland.
by John Liviero, Sooter’s Photography See page 14
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(LMS) was founded by Janice Mayhew in 1978, opening in St. Mark’s church hall with approximately fourteen children. As Lakeview expanded, it moved to St. Andrew’s church in 1981, and then to the current location in 1984. Janice led Lakeview for its first 30 years, through times of growth and expansion, as well as recession.

“I am proud to see my vision of a Montessori school for children in this area continuing today,” says Janice.

In 1981, she opened the LMS Teacher Education Program to train teachers in the Montessori curriculum so she and others could help as many children as possible. She continues to share her knowledge and to train teachers (MACTE accredited 2006) to be Montessorians using Lakeview’s Montessori-designed classrooms.

“Through this program, we have trained hundreds of Montessori teachers who now teach in Montessori schools in Canada, USA, China, and many other countries. There are so many people who helped grow Lakeview… my parents, sons, friends and family, who pitched in to do whatever was needed.”

Lakeview board members, volunteers and parents at the school helped to raise funds through those years for the development projects.

Lakeview continues to be a part in Janice’s family as her grandson now attends the Infant room.

“My sons have grown into intelligent, kind, independent, knowledgeable and caring men, and I am grateful that Lakeview continues on for my grandson and next generations.”

In 2012, Prof. Maureen Harris was appointed Head of School. She put her whole heart into the school just like Janice did.

“I first became aware of Montessori when I enrolled my children at Lakeview. One area I love about the philosophy is respect for the child, respect for one’s peers and respect for the environment in which we live.”

During Maureen’s decade at the school, she secured two national accreditations (CAIS and CCMA), increased enrollment by 50 percent, doubling the footprint of the school to include a new gymnasium, robotics room, four new classrooms, new playgrounds and a healing garden, just to list a few.

Maureen states: “My years at Lakeview were thrilling and engaging. Getting to know the families, staff and management team and seeing everyone grow to their full potential was most rewarding and an accomplishment that I’m most proud of.”

Today there continues to be many pillars that strengthen Lakeview school. The very dedicated and professional Board of Directors, passionate faculty and the very supportive school community members.

Mrs. Renee Ryerson, the current Head of School says, “As you enter our classrooms, it doesn’t take long to feel the sense of family, the positive energy and the sought out, personal touch that resonates from the relationship that each teacher shares with their students.”

Renee has been a part of Lakeview’s journey since 2001 and is honored to lead such an amazing team. “Lakeview community, join me in honoring our students potential and let’s walk together to empower them to better the world, now and in the future. Let today be the start of something new.”

Prof. Maureen Harris Mrs. Renee Ryerson, Head of School Founder, Janice Mayhew and children
Lakeview’s well prepared Montessori learning environment honors each student individually, tailoring goals that foster creativity, independence and confidence. Our warm and nurturing teachers challenge their students’ growing minds, inspiring lifelong learners and preparing them for real world experiences. 13797 Riverside Drive East, Tecumseh, N8N 1B5 ph. 519-735-5005 INFANT TO GRADE 8 LEARN MORE TODAY! CODING & ROBOTICS COMMUNITY ATMOSPHERE NEW PHYS-ED & ARTS FACILITY LIMITED SPACE FOR 2023-2024 SCHOOL YEAR

Publisher’s Note

It was just two issues ago that I signed off my publisher’s note with “Oh look…it’s snowing”. Well it is certainly not snowing now. If the first week of June is any indication of what’s in store for the summer of 2023, it appears it will be a warm one.

And our region is on fire. Construction is everywhere. New roads are being built, the Gordie Howe International Bridge is well under way and many other commercial construction projects are flourishing.

The Ontario government recently announced significant new investments to our local infrastructure including announcing the $138 Million contract to widen 16 kilometres of Highway 3 between Essex and Leamington (finishing this project) as well as the long-anticipated interchange between Lauzon Parkway and Highway 401. This connection to the 401 will give travelers another option to enter our Windsor.

Help wanted signs are still very much a part of the landscape of the community indicating that there are more jobs than applicants.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Publisher’s Note.

The festival season is upon us and it appears that all of our long running events are back to full speed. Make it a point to attend as many of these great outings as possible. They all supply a great deal of the fun and culture our area has to offer. Go with friends or meet new ones. We all know how friendly our neighbours are. Get up and dance to the music of one of our many local bands, of which our area has plenty of incredibly talented performers.

See how facilities have changed and improved over the last few years. Some communities have taken the downtime to make over some of their public gathering areas and the changes are refreshing. Parks have been expanded and improved while infrastructures have been modernized to service the demands of today’s customers.

Let us all enjoy the riches that summer in Windsor, Essex County and Chatham Kent brings with our phenomenal weather for boating, golfing and many other outdoor activities. We are blessed with longer summers than most of the country. Let’s take advantage of it.

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An Afghan Woman Now Calls Windsor “Home”

Kobra Safi’s father strongly believed in education for his six daughters. Illiterate himself, Kobra’s dedicated dad did everything he could to empower her. After receiving top grades in high school and the highest university grades in her Afghanistan district, Kobra’s graduation from medical school was a major breakthrough in a country where education for women is a privilege, not a right.

When the Taliban overtook Afghanistan in 2021, life for Kobra as well as all girls and women took a traumatic turn.

Wherever she went, Kobra feared being stopped by Taliban soldiers. “No matter how much you covered yourself, they could always find something to pick on,” she said.

One day Kobra, a trained plastic surgeon, witnessed in horror as a female colleague was

14 Windsor Life

brutally beaten for wearing “inadequate, inappropriate” body coverings while performing surgery.

“Day after day, my terror escalated,” she recalls. “I felt it was only a matter of time when I would be next. My beloved country had become a Taliban prison. Somehow, I knew that getting out was the only option for me.”

Getting out meant giving up her family, friends, and the only life she had ever known. It even meant leaving her husband behind.

“I spent 24 years of my life studying and training to be a plastic surgeon,” Kobra says. “While in university I worked in the media as a reporter. The television station closed because all the staff were women and we were told we could not work anymore. My supervisor was beaten because she refused to close the station doors to her female employees. But now all women must stay home; some women in households where there are no males are begging on the streets to survive.”

Despite crippling fear and grave danger, Kobra and two female colleagues set up an

emergency aid camp, risking their lives to support the thousands of displaced Afghans living on the streets of Kabul.

Since recapturing Afghanistan, the Taliban has passed more than 40 laws specifically aimed to restrict and constrain women. Afghan women are being erased from public life, right down to the beheading of female mannequins in shop windows. It is illegal for girls and women to access any education past sixth grade. They cannot eat in restaurants,

Summer • 2023 15
This page clockwise from top: Kobra in her current role as a Life Skills Worker at Windsor’s Multicultural Council of Canada; the medical emergency camp Kobra and her colleagues set up for 12,000 displaced people; a trained plastic surgeon in Afghanistan, Kobra scrubs to remove a large tumor from a child’s face.

work in government or leave their homes without a male “guardian”.

Kobra says, “Even recreational walks are forbidden. There is a law banning us from all public parks. Society has taken giant steps backwards.”

At one time, Afghan families enjoyed summer excursions to places like Paghman, a mountain town 20 miles outside Kabul. Approaching the town would generate excitement as the sky transformed from thick layers of dust, smog and debris to clear, brilliant blue. The greenery and open spaces offered haven and respite from suicide bombings, targeted killings, persecution and corruption.

Isolation, lack of freedom and fear of severe punishment for unknowingly violating constantly changing laws has caused women untold anxiety and despair. The ban on indoor and outdoor recreation has many concerned about mounting mental health crises.

Kobra adds, “As a doctor, I know how essential exercise and recreation are for a healthy body. Now for Afghan girls and women, no matter if they are diabetic or have other chronic health conditions, exercise is illegal.”

Even before the Taliban, Afghanistan consistently ranked as the worst country in the world for women; rampant poverty and unrelenting insecurity also ranks it as one of the most unhappy.

The Ministry for Women’s Affairs was eliminated; replacing it is the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, an institution mandated to enforce behaviour, including how women dress and when (or whether) they can leave their homes unaccompanied by a man.

Shelters for women fleeing violence are closed. Some who sought refuge in them now languish in women’s prisons. Suicide rates among Afghan women have escalated.

She eventually fled to an Abu Dhabi refugee camp, where she continued helping others, teaching children and volunteering as a translator.

Living in refugee camps with cramped quarters as well as squalid health and safety conditions, families and children experience various degrees of serious, life-changing trauma. Navigating new lives and learning new languages, they are trapped by insecurity and uncertainty about their futures.

Kobra recalls, “I felt very sad and alone in Abu Dhabi. For an entire year, every day was the same as the one before. s

16 Windsor Life
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Sometimes I felt suffocated and could not breathe. I was diagnosed with PTSD and prescribed medication. Also prescribed was exercise, but that was out of the question. I had no way to release my pent-up anger and frustration over what was happening to my life and my country.”

While in camp, Kobra took up painting. Skilled with a scalpel but with no formal art training, “I was surprised to discover not only comfort, but emotional and recreational release.”

After struggling to escape Afghanistan, Kobra decided she wanted to flee Abu Dhabi and her war-torn country and make Canada her new home.

In September 2022, she arrived in Windsor. “I’m free now. I have a brand-new life.”

But Kobra’s new life has come with a staggering personal price tag.

Even though she has received practical, compassionate support from the Multicultural Council of Windsor and our government to acclimatize to her new life in a new home country, sometimes she just can’t help thinking about everything and everyone she had no choice but to leave behind.

“I don’t know if I can accurately describe how that feels. Sometimes it’s like the rug has been yanked out from under me and my heart has been ripped out. I still grieve and cry when I’m alone.”

While she feels empowered by her newfound independence and security, when things get too tough to handle, Kobra still turns to painting. She finds peace through her artwork. Steeped in symbolism and depicting the hate, anger and bloodshed of her past, Kobra’s art is powerful. She paints the suffering of Afghan women as well as their hopes and dreams for a brighter future.

One of Kobra’s hopes and dreams is to practice medicine in Canada.

“Now that I am safe and secure, I want to continue making lives better, even save lives.”

Another hope is to mount an exhibition of her art to raise money to help Afghan girls and women obtain an education.

Recently, the Multicultural Council of Windsor presented Kobra with the Kathleen Thomas Inspire Award, which recognizes newcomers who embody optimism and perseverance.

“Now I am here, but I was once there and one of them. Even now, every Afghan woman is me. I feel their pain and want to show the world.”

18 Windsor Life
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Back: Susie, Dr. Ed MacMurdo, Sarah. Front: Jenny, Jade, Rachel.

Quinn Roofing Solutions


WHEN KEN AND SUE QUINN opened Quinn Roofing Solutions in 2002 their vision was to bring roofing into the 21st century for Southwestern Ontario.

What started as just a small handful of tradespeople has bloomed into a thriving business that has been serving the community of Windsor-Essex for over 20 years.

But you don’t just get to be one of the most recognized roofing companies in the area without having something that sets you apart from the others.

“We were very successful in getting on-board with the manufacturers and suppliers to provide proper training and certifications for our staff and give us the tools required to install a superior product,” says Ken. “Old style roofing practices were not applicable in this modern era, and getting our employees familiar and comfortable with new products and techniques was critical to our growth.”

“Integrity is such a valuable commodity,” Sue says. “Ken leads with integrity, and our customers’ confidence in our services is key.” “Our entire staff takes a great deal of pride in their work. We know when a customer is dealing with our team, they know they can count on us, and it puts their mind at ease.”

That integrity has seen Quinn Roofing become one of the most

respected names in the business, having earned the trust of companies like Stellantis Canada, Ford Motor Company, Farhi Holdings, Tim Hortons and others. However, our goal is for every customer to feel that same level of importance regardless of who they are, the project size or scope of work.

“Ken’s management style and level of integrity has helped us in creating a great team. The people we have on staff are the key to our success and these dedicated individuals really keep us moving forward,” Sue says. “We’re not a one-person show. We have great crews, great management and support staff and people who are vested and really care about the quality of the services they provide.”

Having built up a legacy, Ken and Sue are not only striving to create the best team but also laying the groundwork for the next generation of the Quinn Roofing legacy.

“They’re working with us and getting to know the business,” Sue says of getting their two sons, Dane and Adam, involved as they enter adulthood. “They’ve been on the roof, in the shop, learning about the products and the different aspects of the business.”

The two boys are currently pursuing post-secondary education in business and communication. The plan being to eventually turn Quinn Roofing into a family-led business that can keep the name alive for generations to come.

“In a short time, we needed to grow our staff and, with that, a larger facility,” Sue says of how the business grew to match growth. “Sometimes you just hit the ground running and you just concentrate your efforts on continually improving and moving forward.”

And moving forward is the name of the game at Quinn Roofing Solutions. With a clear vision of the company’s direction and the staff to move things forward, the future appears bright indeed.

If you want to know how the team at Quinn Roofing Solutions can put over two decades of expertise to help you with your facility, give them a call.

519-256-8474 |
Quinn Roofing Solutions management staff. Adam, Ken and Dane Quinn.

WHEN VIEWED IN THE sober light of daily news, the financial world may sometimes seem like blood sport. The recent failures of small banks in the United States passed over depositors and investors like the shadows of birds of prey, sparking panic and an old-fashioned “run on the bank.” Although this occurred in the U.S., and larger banks did step in to stabilize the situation, Michael Piccioni, CEO of CanAm Currency Exchange, says this was only a short-term remedy.

“It’s a systemic issue,” Michael says. “The core problem is not going away. Many more regional banks will fail. Before anyone says, ‘Well, that


The Ultimate Hedge Against Inflation

Michael CEO of CanAm Currency Exchange

is happening in the United States,’ they should understand that there is also a potential risk with Canadian banks.”

He continues: “It’s tough to see what the exposure is for Canadian institutions with all these regional banks going down. Maybe it takes a few more of them to go down before the Canadian banks feel the effects of that. If we continue to see these institutions going down, people will pull out their funds from their accounts. Banks don’t have the money to give everyone their deposits back because of fractional reserve banking.”

It’s easy to see how the panic sets in. “Ignorance is bliss” goes the old expression, but it makes for a lousy strategy for managing one’s finances. Rather than panic or give in to feelings of hopelessness, Michael has another option: “Buy gold and silver. It’s as simple as that. Take your money out of paper and digital assets and put them into tangible assets. Gold and silver perform well in this environment. They are the best hedges against inflation and economic uncertainty.”

That may be easier said than done. One way for investors and depositors to ease their minds is to make an appointment with CanAm Currency Exchange for a free consultation where they can receive professional advice regarding investing in precious metals.

“Anyone can come in, they can sit down with an expert and get answers to their questions,” Michael says. “Everyone’s situation is unique, everyone has a different risk appetite, a different portfolio. Depending on a person’s situation, I can advise them about whether they should buy gold or silver, bars versus rounds, private versus government minted precious metals.”

Many people are purchasing precious metals for the first time, and they are unsure what they should be buying. CanAm Currency Exchange will not only answer all buyers’ questions, but they also offer a much wider range of services and options than the banks.

“We offer a broader selection of precious metals,” Michael explains. “We sell most government minted precious metals, from places such as the U.S., Austria, Australia, among many other countries. We also sell privately minted precious metals. You can come into the store and buy it right away, whereas you must place an order with the banks, and then wait for delivery. We are also opening an online precious metals store. Once you’re set up with CanAm, you can do all your transactions online and choose either home delivery, in-store pick-up or customers can store their precious metals with CanAm.”

CanAm also buys precious metals at very competitive rates.

There are a host of options for buyers as well as sellers and CanAm Currency Exchange is ready to help. To learn more about CanAm, or to book a free consultation, visit them online at

3234 Dougall Ave 519-915-5151 | Toll-Free: 1-844-915-5151
“Gold and silver perform well in this environment. They are the best hedges against inflation and economic uncertainty.”


Local Photographer Glenn Gervais Captures the Emerald Isle

WHEN LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER Glenn Gervais stares down his lens, he isn’t necessarily looking for the obvious.

In his own words, he’s looking for untold stories.

“When you take a picture, you want to draw the viewer in,” Glenn explains. “I hate taking photos where people all stand together and pose. A better picture says something. A better picture tells a story.”

For Glenn, what truly makes a photo three-dimensional is those splashes of emotion.

“Sometimes instead of taking a photo of a bonfire, you want to turn around and capture the faces watching the flames,” Glenn states. “What’s the reaction? What are people saying with their faces? Sometimes I’ll go to weddings and shoot photos from off to the side. And people often end up liking those pictures more than the official wedding photographer’s. I’ll shoot closeups of people laughing or taking a drink of wine with a strange expression on their face. It’s all about that human element.”

Glenn is a retired Detective with the Windsor Police Service. He started dabbling in photography in the eighties as a way of escaping his demanding profession. And since then, the industry has only exploded around him—with new technology available to consumers and the boom of digital media.

But through it all, Glenn’s focus has not wavered—letting little escape his unblinking eye.

“I wouldn’t call myself a professional, because I don’t think I’m ever

This page clockwise from above: A waterfall taking up a part of Killarney National Park; Glenn and Vinka Gervais in Conamera National Wild Atlantic Way Park; a picturesque view of Cobh City; a crowded street in Cork City; a lakeside view of the Kylemore Abbey.

done learning,” Glenn explains. “It’s a constant journey. And lots of people have great cameras but take lousy pictures. I teach wildlife photography courses, and I tell my students all the time that the hardest thing to develop is your eye. If you don’t have a good eye, your photos won’t work.”

Or, in other words: “Think of your grandmother!” Glenn states. “Give her the right ingredients and she can make an excellent cake. Give me the same ingredients and I’ll just make a mess!”

Summer • 2023 23
Opposite top to bottom: The Gap of Dunloe at the Golden Hour; Shamrocks forming the Ring of Henry; the imposing Blarney Castle.

Glenn has travelled all around the world, capturing both expansive landscapes and small, intimate moments. He’s photographed places like Yosemite Park, the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji, Switzerland, Italy and more.

And now, Glenn has added Ireland to his list.

The trip was motivated by four specific things: First, a revelation about Glenn’s legacy.

“Even though my last name is Gervais, my mother’s side of the family is Irish,” Glenn explains. “And when I did my 23andMe DNA test, it turned out I was 72% Irish! That planted the seed. I started thinking about how much I’ve always wanted to travel to the country.”

Second, a few months ago Glenn saw the Oscar-nominated The Banshees of Inisherin, a period-piece set on a fictional Irish island.

“The movie was so beautiful!” Glenn states. “As soon as the credits rolled, I thought, ‘Okay, we’re going!’”

Third, the trip was a way for Glenn to celebrate his 35th wedding anniversary with his wife, Vinka.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, was anxiety surrounding a certain number.

“I couldn’t stand the fact that I’d been to 13 countries in the last year,” Glenn jokes. “I needed to get a 14th one booked to avoid the bad luck.”

Glenn and his wife spent a couple weeks in Ireland, travelling around the countryside, making memories and capturing moments.

“My wife and I always travel with very little plans,” Glenn explains. “We get off the plane, rent a car and we’re off. We have a general idea of where we’re going, but wherever we end up at the end of the day, that’s where we stay. And if we happen across a place we like, we just decide to spend the rest of the day there. Sometimes we stay in a hotel, sometimes an Airbnb. And sometimes we sleep above a pub. There’s no pressure to reach that next destination.”

That said, the trip presented Glenn with some small challenges.

“It was a big learning curve when it came to driving on the left side of the road,” Glenn laughs. “And having a steering wheel on the right side of the car. It took me a couple days to get used to that. I can’t tell you how many times I opened my wife’s door thinking I was climbing into the driver’s seat. She’d laugh and

I’d have to take the Walk of Shame back around the vehicle.”

Glenn and Vinka discovered some incredible beauty on the Emerald Isle. But perhaps what dazzled them the most was the rustic scenery outside the cities.

“I loved taking pictures of the farms,” Glenn states. “Everything there was just so green. There was all this natural beauty that we sometimes take for granted here. Everything here is big, expansive. But everything in Ireland is small. And there’s more sheep than people there!”

But perhaps what inspired Glenn the most about Ireland was the sheer sense of history written across everything.

“That scale was so intriguing to me,” Glenn explains. “It’s amazing—you’ll be driving down stone roads that were built a thousand year ago. You’ll find old Viking ruins looming over the hills. It was so fascinating, seeing all these places that haven’t been touched for hundreds of years. All those little Irish towns still look the same as they do decades ago. There’s a pub in Dublin that’s over a thousand years old.”

As well, Glenn discovered some hidden talents that stretched beyond his lens.

“My Irish accent kicked back in while I was there!” Glenn laughs. “Everywhere I went, I started picking up the voice. I started saying to people, ‘Oh bejesus, that’s a crack.’ I just grew up hearing so much of that from relatives that it never really left me.”

In the end, Glenn and Vinka had an incredible time in Ireland. They encourage everyone interested to make the trip.

“There are some amazing places there,” Glenn explains. “I really enjoyed visiting towns like Killarney, Kilkenny and Cobh. Cobh in particular was a fun little town. They had a Titanic Exhibit there on the last place the ship left. Seventy-five passengers climbed aboard there. It’s a sobering thought, knowing that all these people got on that ship and never returned. And what’s even stranger are the stories of the people who got off the Titanic there. You can only imagine what they thought, knowing that the boat sank three days later.”

Glenn and Vinka are currently back in Tecumseh, relaxing and enjoying the warm summer weather. But we can all rest easy knowing that they won’t sit on their hands for long.

Any minute now Glenn will be off on another adventure, squinting down his lens and capturing those untold stories. WLM

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The 21st annual MCC Awards Gala was held last month to thank those in the region who contribute to our society in building a multi-cultural community. Honoured were (from left) Kobra Safi, who won the ‘Kathleen Thomas Inspire Award’ recognizes a newcomer for their perseverance and optimism: Bill Marra, the President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, who won the ‘MCC Champion Award’ celebrating the contributions that first-generation Canadians make to the community; and Dr. Patti France, the President of St. Clair College, who won the Herb Gray Harmony Award’ for her contribution to building a welcoming community.


Congratulations Glen Muir, Broker of Record of RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd. for receiving the RE/MAX President’s Circle Award for 2022! Glen was among a distinguished group of growth-minded RE/MAX leaders who share an unstoppable determination to strengthen and scale their local presence. This award honours the RE/MAX network’s top growth brokerages in Canada and the United States.


The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) has elected Windsor’s Stefan Fediuk as its new President. Mr. Fediuk has worked as a landscape architect with the City of Windsor for the past 15 years. OALA members frequently meet with MPPs and Ministers to bring visibility to landscape architects and their significant contributions to the health, safety and welfare of our communities.


Owners Katie Gibb Minardi (pictured right) and Tina Jewhurst have brought together their wealth of experience to offer upscale fashions at Windsor’s newest bridal boutique. From Wedding and Bridesmaid dresses to Mother Of The Bride and flower girl as well as all of the accessories, you will love the modern spacious yet private and personal setting. Intimate, elegant and chic. By appointment only.


Jason Dion heads up the area’s newest Family owned and operated hearing clinic offering complimentary hearing assessments with state-of-the-art testing and fitting equipment. Opened earlier this year in South Windsor, Dion Hearing Centre is offering hearing assessments, hearing aid fitting plus hearing aid cleaning/adjustments/ wax removal. Contact them for a in-office demo at 226-674-1127.

26 Windsor Life


In recognition of the outstanding contribution nurses make to care for residents of Windsor-Essex, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (R.N.A.O.), Essex Chapter, recently presented the 2023 Lois Fairley Nurses Award to Mary Cunningham, who has been a nurse practitioner in the Intensive Care Unit at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette Campus since 1990. Pictured with Mary (second from the right) are Lois’ family members Cari, Scott and John Fairley.


The Leamington Flyers are the winners of the 2023 Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s (GOJHL) Sutherland Cup. During Game 7 at the William Allman Memorial Arena in Stratford, the Flyers swept up the Stratford Warriors, securing their first championship title in franchise’s history. Pictured with the cup are the team’s owners Craig Mahon, Cam Crowder, Jason Melo, Dan Jancevski and David Halliwill.

Photo by Garrett Fodor, Leamington Flyers.


The team at Plumbing Now are enjoying their 30th anniversary of serving Windsor and Essex County. Their niche has always been same day or next day service. Pictured are Mark Beaudoin (Owner Operator) with his grandson Rocky along with Plumbing Technicians David Beaudoin, Max Jones and Adam Dinunzio.


After 20 years in business, the team at Urban Home is excited to present their new retail location and design studio located at 4145 7th concession, directly across from Windsor airport. They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and Grand opening. Celebrants included staff members Philip Chouinard (Interior Design Consultant), Jodi Mason (Owner/ Principal Design Consultant), Nicole Bested (Admin Design Assistant), Brittney Durhan (Office Manager) and Jennifer Lotz (Marketing Director).


Shannon Moir has recently been selected to be the new Chair of the Canadian Crane Rental Association of Canada which brings together crane rental operations, manufacturers and suppliers of cranes and equipment, suppliers of services used in the specialty crane rental business in Canada. Shannon is also the Vice President of Operations and 5th generation to the family’s company, Moir Crane Service Ltd., which has been serving the Community since 1890.

Summer • 2023 27


Dr. Heidi LM Jacobs Talks About One of The Most Important Years In Baseball

IT ALL STARTED with a family scrapbook. The local history of one family exploding into a near decade long dig through the history of Chatham to bring forth a retelling of one of the most influential seasons of baseball.

One of the most iconic moments in the history and politics of baseball was April 15, 1947, when Jackie Robinson stepped out onto the field as the first African American player since the 1880’s to be a part of the major leagues.

While Robinson is credited with breaking through the colour barrier of the sport on an international scale there are still the stories of teams who smashed through it earlier in their own way.

“I got an email from my colleague in the History Department, Dr Miriam Wright,” says Dr. Heidi LM Jacobs, author of 1934: The Chatham Coloured All-Stars’ Barrier-Breaking Year, “she said she met a woman who had scrap books for her father-in-law Wilfred ‘Boomer’ Harding. He was a baseball player, a hockey player and his baseball team was the first Black team to win the Ontario Baseball Amateur Association Championship and she would like us to help her make a website.”

Working with the Harding family and the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame, they received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Jacobs, Wright and fellow teammate Dave Johnston were able to synthesize multiple scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, photos and records into the website Breaking the Colour Barrier.

However, this was not the end of the itch: the story had started in Jacobs’ brain, there was still the opportunity to deliver more. It was off brand for the type of work she had done in the past.

“The book seems a very strange place for me to end up, I have a PhD in 19th century women’s literature,” Jacobs says with a bit of a laugh. “But I realized so much of my doctoral research was about finding stories that people had forgotten, great missing voices from history.”

The story of the Chatham Coloured All-Stars is a very localized one. If you were to take the drive to Chatham, especially the community around Stirling Park, you would meet people who knew the story of the team. But the further out you go the less likely you were to meet anyone who knew.

“When we launched the website we did an event for Black History

Month in Windsor,” Jacobs says of the amount of people who knew about the team. “Maybe four hands went up out of 50 or 60. All those people were from Chatham. Even down in Windsor people didn’t really know about this story. Let alone Ontario. Let alone Canada.”

The fact that it was such an interesting and important piece of history hooked Jacobs and drove her onward to continue working on the book.

The book has been a process, starting with research in 2015 it has grown from the roots of oral tradition and familial scrapbooking into a narrative that follows the team through probably one of the most important seasons of baseball in history.

Reading through the book, 1934: The Chatham Coloured AllStars’ Barrier-Breaking Year it feels almost mythical, like an urban legend made manifest in your hands, bringing to life a story that would make you think you were watching a baseball movie.

But this actually happened. These men could perhaps have played Major League Baseball had the colour of their skin not closed doors during their generation.

If the world had been different and not segregated as it was, we may have had Wilfred “Boomer” Harding, Earl “Flat” Chase, Kingsley Terrell and others as role models to youngsters the world over dreaming of baseball greatness instead of just Chatham.

The men who made up the Chatham Coloured All-Stars faced adversity both on and off the field. From racial slurs being hurled

28 Windsor Life

at them to even being run out of town after defeating a white home team.

Through Jacobs’ excellent prose, you follow these men as they fight their way to the top to be crowned champions. But what is more important than simply the story of an amazing baseball season is what it leads to: breaking the colour barrier in Chatham. Not just for sports, but in every walk of life.

“I think a lot of times Canadians think ‘oh we didn’t have racism, it wasn’t the same as the US,’” Jacobs says of the adversity the team faced. “We definitely had our own paths to it. In interviews in the 1980’s, these memories still brought tears to these men’s eyes. It had a big impact on them.”

The championship made an impact, helping to strengthen the communal bonds in Chatham between the white and Black neighbourhoods. Not long after Boomer Harding became Chatham’s first Black postman, Andy Harding became Chatham’s first Black police officer and Ken Milburn became Chatham’s first Black firefighter.

While Boomer Harding may be the focus of the scrapbooks, he is not the only important historical character. Earl ‘Flat’ Chase, Kingsley Terrell, Ross and Ben Talbot and the rest of the team each have their own important stories and moments in the season.

Jacobs’ interest is in highlighting and preserving the likely to be forgotten history of a place.

“Canada has a rich, deep history,” Jacobs says of what drove her to write this book. “The All-Stars are a fantastic story, but I guarantee you there’s 20, 30, 40 other stories that are equally interesting and important for people to discover. I hope this work makes us look at our history differently. But I also hope anyone who reads it takes it as an invitation for others to look for those missing gaps and stories.”

Regardless of your interest in baseball 1934: The Chatham Coloured All-Stars’ Barrier-Breaking Year is worth the read as a look into our nation’s not-so-distant past and how we have worked towards removing racial barriers, so all Canadians are treated equal.

If you are interested in a piece of local history, you can purchase a copy of the book directly from Biblioasis Press or all other major book retailers. Royalties from the sale of 1934: The Chatham Coloured All-Stars’ Barrier-Breaking Year will go to support the The Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society.

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Design and Decluttering Make for the Perfect Destressing Haven Home

IT REALLY SAYS SOMETHING about how desirable a condominium is when the realtor selling suites in the complex buys one for herself.

This is exactly what realtor Doris Lapico did when she was showing units in the new Harbour Club complex in St. Clair Beach.

“What makes it very interesting is that Harbour Club doesn’t stand in a cluster of other buildings, but is situated in a neighbourhood,” she says. “That’s very special. These newer buildings, the trend is being embedded, and designed to blend so beautifully with their surroundings.”

30 Windsor Life

The spacious condo suite—complete with twelve-foot-high ceilings—gave Doris a blank canvas for her to exercise the design skills she has honed for many years.

New residents at Harbour Club were given numerous options regarding colour and trim styles to choose from to customize their suites. Having moved into her unit last autumn, Doris chose to go with natural, neutral palettes to keep things modern and mellow.

“I didn’t want to compete with the outside,” Doris explains. “The size of the windows engulfs the outdoors—they bring the outdoors in. These views—of St. Clair Beach in front and the water in the back—I didn’t want to compete with that. The builder used really nice materials—I didn’t have to compromise on anything.”

Doris explains how she brought natural stones into her design.

“I love the magic of a fireplace,” she says. “I incorporated a lot of actual stone, black marble, into it. The fireplace is large, traditional. I didn’t do linear but went with a traditional modernized mantel.”

Regarding the living area surrounding the fireplace, she says: “I worked with a lot of brown tones. I call it ‘Soprano Brown’—a lot of beige. The curves of the furniture balance the fireplace.”

It goes without saying that Doris’ furniture is very unique and evocative of her personality.

“My sofa is a 1970s Mario Bellini from Italy,” she says. “I also love art, so I have some beautiful pieces displayed. Because of the white walls, and because of the scale of the art pieces, it creates a gallery effect. The art became part of the décor. The art does not compete with outside. It’s a large scale. I had one wall, so I knew it had to be special!”

Doris’ art also reflects her sense of humour and love of entertaining.

“I have a large picture of Sophia Loren making pasta,” she

Summer • 2023 31
Clockwise from above: Retro turntable – always a need for music; indoor/outdoor entertaining area with view of deck and boat slips; prep kitchen with “Granny Chic” wallpaper; bistro-style kitchen, seating for six, and bar area. s
32 Windsor Life
This page clockwise from right: Ensuite primary with honed black marble; enclosed shower room; primary bedroom, working space, with vintage tapestry art.

says. “I’m casual about displaying that piece. I just have it leaned against a windowsill right now. If I get tired of where it’s at, I just move it.”

Regarding the primary bedroom, she says: “I needed that space to reflect my lifestyle. Once again, I went with a white palette because I did not want the décor to compete with the splendour beyond my window. On the wall, I have a vintage tapestry from Italy that has been in my family for three generations.”

The theme of marble from the fireplace mantle in the living room is carried into the kitchen where Doris chose to have marble counter tops.

“There is no sheen to the marble in the kitchen,” she says. “I took that patina off it—like you’ll find in New York bistros. I went flat—it has so much energy.”

As someone who enjoys entertaining, the kitchen area was very important to Doris. She had put in a kitchen and a prep room.

“I have a fabulous wallpaper, like my grandmothers’ in Italy,” Doris says. “I did a ‘Granny Chic’ beige hydrangea flowers/floral, like my Nona’s cute little pantry. There is a retro refrigerator, with a large handle to open it. The prep

Above: Powder room with art pieces Below: Curvy gathering room with 1970s Mario Bellini sofa; fireplace with black marble mantel. s

room has a lot of fun, green counter tops and black cabinetry.”

Even practical aspects of the kitchen allowed Doris’ creativity to flex. For many people, storing pots and pans is a bothersome afterthought.

“I did a wall of shelves in my powder room and kitchen,” Doris says. “Even for storage—like they have in restaurants— open racking for kitchen dishes. We suspended the black steel racking from the ceiling for my pots and pans and dishes.”

Regarding the experience of “downsizing,” Doris says: “Moving into a condo, leaving a bigger home, purging, before creating a design, you have to decide: ‘What are my essentials?’ That’s what inspired me. ‘What is it that you cannot live without? What is it you can’t compromise on?’ For me, it was my kitchen. That had to be a showstopper. More generally, I love an open space. You walk in and see that view of the water.”

Doris goes on to say that she found it a cathartic, therapeutic exercise to downsize; decluttering her life of possessions that do not fit this new chapter in her life.

“You realize how much stuff you don’t need in life,” she reflects. “The best part is going into a minimalist mode. The exercise of doing that destresses you, decompresses you. I found it a relief to get rid of stuff. That was part of my plan—to not feel as overwhelmed.”

Dining is also very important to Doris— indoor and outdoor—and has kept both areas simple and neutral. The patio area, really, needs no elaboration. It is nearly sixty feet wide and affords a beautiful view of the water and the boat slips behind the building.

All of her work had the desired effect.

“Living here, I feel like I’m on vacation,” Doris says. “There is a very ‘lake-side boater’s heaven’ feel here. There is something about being this close to nature, it’s not just landscaping, it’s nature, trees, water, that backdrop, which makes it easier for the design.”

Windsor Life Magazine is always searching for interesting homes, landscaping, gardens, patios and water features to show our readers what others in the community are doing with their living spaces. If you have a home that you feel would be interesting please email photos to Photos need to be for reference only. If your home is chosen we will arrange for a complete photo shoot. If you wish, you may remain anonymous and the location of your home will not be disclosed.

34 Windsor Life


IF THERE IS ONE SENSE that people take most for granted, it is our hearing. Rarely does it come to mind until there is a problem. Luckily, when hearing issues arise, Jason Dion, Hearing Instrument Specialist/Owner at Dion Hearing Centre is ready to help.

“The most common indications of hearing loss are continuously asking people to repeat themselves in conversation,” Jason explains. “Or if people comment that the television is consistently too loud.”

The person most directly affected by hearing loss is often the last person to know.

“As we discuss the subject more deeply with patients,” Jason says, “we learn that due to hearing loss people start to take themselves out of conversations, they gradually become less a part of social gatherings. They don’t want to do things because hearing loss makes it difficult.”

He continues: “Also, people are sometimes reluctant to wear hearing aids. They have no problem wearing glasses, but they think that wearing a hearing aid means they have a disability—when, in fact, it’s not.”

Hearing aid technology has come a long way in recent years. Their size has decreased to where they are often so small as not to be visible to other people. As well, smart phone apps make it possible to regulate volume with a phone, or to stream television shows directly through the hearing aids. There are a variety of features available that come in a number of price points. Jason is quick to note that every patient is unique, and that hearing aids are need specific.

“We do demos in the office,” he points out, “so that patients are sure they’re getting exactly what they need before they make their final decision.”

It’s beneficial for patients to come in with a loved one because it’s often this outside person who has more experience with the patient’s hearing loss.

“At Dion Hearing Centre, we offer complimentary hearing tests because we believe everyone deserves to have their ears checked,” Jason says. “Money shouldn’t be a barrier.”

Dion Hearing Centre also provides such services as ear wax removal, hearing aid cleaning, minor hearing aid repairs, to name a few.

“From your first test, to fitting you with your hearing aids,” Jason says, “we take care of our patients through every step of their hearing healthcare.”

For anyone who has doubts that hearing loss is just an inconvenience, the quality of one’s life slowly slipping away is a serious matter. If hearing loss goes untreated, it can lead to other ailments, such as cognitive decline, depression, and isolation.

Jason provides life-changing results on a daily basis at Dion Hearing Centre.

“We had one young woman come in,” he recalls. “She had seen multiple people about her issue, but no one could figure out the problem. I determined what her trouble was and referred her to a specialist.”

One man grudgingly visited under pressure from his wife who had grown fed up with his hearing loss. At first unconvinced there was a problem, the man cooperated with Jason’s tests and realized he did, actually, need hearing aids.

“He now wears his hearing aids every waking hour,” Jason says. “He absolutely loves them. It was life-changing for him and his wife!”

To learn more about how the Dion Hearing Centre can help you, or to schedule an appointment, visit them online at

226-674-1127 | 3869 Dougall Ave
JASON DION Hearing Instrument Specialist/Owner Reg. AHIP, H.I.S.


Rocking Sustainable Fashion

WHEN ELAINE WEEKS and husband Chris Edwards embarked on a 165-day trip around the world last year, there was more to their mission than visiting exotic lands.

As a supporter and promoter of sustainable fashion (a term describing processes, products and people striving to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry), Elaine realized this trip of a lifetime presented an exciting opportunity.

To raise awareness and inspire others, she envisioned staging fashion photo shoots against iconic backdrops in every country they visited: the United States, England, France, Turkey, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam and Canada.

“I’ve always loved fashion, but I was raised to live frugally. Reduce, reuse and recycle was the norm in our house long before it became a thing,” Elaine shares. “My father grew up during the Depression, and like so many who endured the rations and shortages of the ‘30’s and ‘40’s, Dad taught us to think very carefully about waste, which made me more mindful of the environment.”

Because her late father Bert Weeks (Windsor’s 28th mayor from 1975 to 1982) also firmly believed that green spaces could enhance Windsor’s quality of life, Elaine witnessed his tireless work protecting Windsor’s riverfront from development.

Mayor Weeks spearheaded the formation of many of those green spaces including Ganatchio Trail, Lakeview Park Marina, Coventry Gardens as well as several other waterfront parks. At the foot of Parent Avenue, a

Clockwise from top left: Elegance in Chiangrai, Thailand; the cobblestone streets of Istanbul, Turkey; striking a pose in Vietnam; standing out in Times Square, New York City; classic Paris cachet.

cascading water fountain and reflecting pool, flowers, plants and pathways comprise Bert Weeks Memorial Gardens, a fitting and enduring tribute.

So it’s no surprise that Elaine is continuing her father’s long legacy in the city of Windsor.

In January 1990, she helped organize and lead a peaceful protest against Styrofoam packaging used by the McDonald’s restaurant chain.

She recalls, “We chose the McDonald’s Huron Church Road location (a stone’s throw from one of the world’s busiest border crossings). I was almost 9 months pregnant and it was freezing, but the protest fired up media attention, gained traction and led to victory: those Styrofoam ‘clamshell’ sandwich containers were no more!”

Today, Elaine is raising awareness of “fast fashion” and doing her part to slow it down.

She explains, “The whole idea of fast fashion is quick, affordable access to knock-offs of higher-end catwalk and runway styles; for many people, the initial small cash outlay to wear the latest trendy top means it’s no big deal to toss it when the next new trend comes along. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s so harmful to the earth.”

Indeed, fashion has a massive carbon footprint.

According to CBC News, the fashion industry is one of the largest global consumers of water. It’s used throughout the washing, manufacturing, dyeing and finishing processes. Just to put that into perspective, a whopping 7,000 litres are involved in producing one single pair of blue jeans!

CBC News also reports that every second of every day, from one end of the planet to the other, one truck of textile waste is dumped at a landfill or incinerated.

Also of concern are the garment factories in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and other developing countries. Poor working conditions (long hours, no health and safety standards and being paid less than a living wage) foster a workplace rife with exploitation (of women and children in particular.)

“One of the best ways to reduce our fashion footprint and dress with less impact on the planet is buying and wearing ‘pre-loved’ (secondhand) clothing. Pre-loved clothing already exists, so there’s no need to manufacture it again; therefore no further toxic chemicals, greenhouse gases or pesticides. When you buy pre-loved pieces, you’re prolonging or preventing them from ending up in a landfill,” Elaine suggests.

Summer • 2023 37
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An early adopter of finding fabulous, affordable fashion treasures at thrift and secondhand stores, Elaine recalls, “When I was a student, I just didn’t have the funds, plus I have always disliked shopping in malls. I like designer labels, but I have never bought them brand new.”

For a five-and-a-half-month sojourn across several continents and climates, Elaine brought only two small suitcases, which were primarily packed with thrift store clothing and accessories.

“From a boat on the Mekong River (where I celebrated my 66th birthday) to New York City’s Times Square, the average cost of each featured outfit in the photo shoots was just $20. Thrifted dresses, pants, tops, skirts, sweaters, shoes and even jewelry are a definite win/win: better for the planet, easier on your pocketbook.

With Chris as photographer/videographer, Elaine shared her thrifted travel style on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

“I was only able to pack one pair of high heels, so observant followers may have noticed them in almost every photo or video,” she laughs.

In Thailand, standing at the foot of the stairway leading to the Goddess of Mercy (aka the White Buddha), we see Elaine in a thrifted $9 ANTISTAR ‘LBD’ (Little Black Dress), $5 shawl from a Bali artisan and $6 MIA heels (also thrifted).

Striking a pose in Istanbul, Turkey on the cobblestone streets leading from the ancient Galata Tower, the willowy locks of an inexpensive blonde wig cascade over Elaine’s thrifted Caution to the Wind dress ($10), $2 dollar store gloves and a $4 red beret straight from the sidewalks of Paris.

The old town of Hoian, Vietnam (a UNESCO heritage site) provides a colourful contrast to Elaine’s ever-versatile black thrifted LBD and $6 MIA heels. Once again, the $4 Paris beret

and $2 dollar store gloves provide pretty pops of primary colour. Sporting a popsicle pink Columbia puffy coat and Calvin Klein leggings ($15 and $10 respectively, pre-loved) at Times Square in the Big Apple, Elaine cuts a striking figure.

With “La Dame de Fer” (The Iron Lady) rising majestically behind her, Elaine’s $10 Fashion Nova dress (paired once again with her pre-loved MIA heels) evokes the classic Paris cachet of Coco Chanel, who said, “Fashion is in the sky, in the street. It has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Now home and happy to reflect on and share her most recent adventure, Elaine says, “One funny thing that surprised me was that people all over the world were quite nonchalant when they came upon a popup fashion shoot.” But on a more serious note, “Fashion should not cost the earth, and by being mindful and careful of what I buy, I can save money and make a difference.”

Once a champion track and field athlete, Elaine is also passionate about health, fitness and aging well.

“Age really is just a number. By showcasing pre-loved clothing as an affordable, sustainable fashion alternative, I hope other people are inspired to become fit, stay fit and look great into their ‘60’s and beyond!”

Elaine and Chris have authored and published nine books about the history of the Windsor/Detroit area. Co-owners of Walkerville Publishing, Elaine’s writing and editing skills complement Chris’ publishing and digital design expertise. Well-known for stewarding, preserving and documenting Windsor’s robust local history, they have also collaborated with fellow local historians on 20 books, as well as numerous authors who self-publish their work. Chris and Elaine’s newest work, “A River Runs Between Us” will be available in 2024. Visit to find out more. WLM

38 Windsor Life
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Since 2015, Three Lambs Baby Boutique has been the area’s one-stop shop for everything baby.

Throughout the last eight years, Owner Jeanine Jodoin and her team has attended to countless expecting parents, offering wisdom, encouragement, and an exceptional, ever-growing catalogue of high quality, Canadian-made, non-toxic products.

And now, in this age of online shopping and large e-commerce corporations, choosing local with Three Lambs affords you advantages that the big guys can’t possibly compete with.

“We are proud to be a part of the Windsor-Essex community and to make a real difference in the lives of those around us. We understand the importance of giving back and supporting initiatives that have a meaningful impact on our community. That’s why we donate to local charity fundraisers, sponsor children’s and family events and contribute to events focused on health initiatives. We are committed to always making our community a better place. When you register with us and encourage your family and friends to shop with us, you’re actively helping us make a difference in your community and we thank you for that.”

By shopping at Three Lambs, you can be confident knowing that you’re not just providing for your child’s immediate future—you’re providing for generations.

“Your dollar affects your community on all these net levels,” Jeanine explains. “It’s easy to overlook the importance of supporting independent businesses with purchasing decisions. But when you make a conscious effort, you are investing in programs and supporting the sustainability of your local economy.

When we choose to spend our dollars locally, we are ensuring that our community has access to important amenities like sports teams, local parks and more!”

And what’s more, Three Lambs offers a much warmer, more hands-on approach to shopping than a computer screen could hope to match.

“All of our staff members are highly trained in product knowledge,” Owner Jeanine Jodoin explains. “It’s a very non-judgmental and non-opinionated environment. We’re not saying, ‘I have this. You have to have this!’ We know the right questions to ask to help you navigate the process and find the perfect product for you.”

For Jeanine, it’s all about making sure that everyone is catered to, regardless of their concerns or needs.

“We have all the right product knowledge,” Jeanine states. “If you’re shopping for your second stage car seat and you’re not entirely certain how long you’re supposed to rear-face for, then you can turn to us! We’ll take the car seat off the shelf and show it to you. We’ll make sure it fits in your car. We’ll make sure we find one that gives you enough leg-room. And what’s your budget? We’ll find a way to meet all your goals.”

In addition to the human touch, shopping at Three Lambs also affords you a more accessible shopping experience. Their gorgeous, 5000-foot storefront at 13444 Tecumseh Rd. E. is filled to bursting with all the designer brands, fashion lines and furniture you’re searching for.

“How many times have you ordered something online, received it and been disappointed?” Jeanine explains. “You can come in, browse, talk to us and find something amazing. It’s quick, it’s easy and you have something tangible in your hands when you leave.”

At Three Lambs it is not just about what’s the “best,” it’s about what’s the best for YOU.


Taking Shape on the Western Bank of the Detroit River

FOR ALMOST A CENTURY, the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit/ Windsor Tunnel have been the main crossing points between Windsor and Detroit for truckers, commuters and other travelers. In the next few years, there will be another option: the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

In the background of Windsorites’ daily lives, this $4.5 billion, multi-year construction project has slowly come together on the western bank of the Detroit River. Progress has been steady on the bridge project.

Recent drone flyover images captured by the bridge’s construction team documents the ongoing process of cable installation and offers a glimpse at how the first of these massive cables extend from the towers above to support the road deck below.

In local media, Tara Carson, communications director for the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA)—which is overseeing construction— told local media: “The Gordie Howe International Bridge will include 216 stay cables—108 connecting each tower to the bridge and road deck when completed.” As of mid-May, 16 have been installed on the Canadian side and 20 of them installed on the U.S. side.

For those not versed in modern bridge construction, a stay cable is comprised of rope-like metal strands housed in a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipe. Each of the bridge’s 216 cables is comprised of between 38 and 122 steel strands. The metal strands inside the pipe are stressed and anchored to two points: an anchor box inside the tower and an edge girder on the deck.

Crews began the installation process by craning these HDPE plastic pipes

40 Windsor Life

up to the road deck, which are welded together before individual cable strands are inserted in a highly technical and precise process.

When completed, the cables will distribute the weight of the entire structure to the tower and maintain the stability and placement of the bridge deck. The towers and stay cables will be capable of supporting millions of pounds of weight.

The tower legs join together on the Canadian and U.S. sites and continue to climb as single pylons. They now stand over 190 metres and will continue to a height of 220 metres. It is anticipated the towers will reach their final heights in 2023.

Information provided by the communications team at the bridge project says: “Over 8,550 individuals have been oriented to work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project in the U.S. and Canada, with 42 per cent of those individuals being local from the City of Detroit or Windsor-Essex. These include ironworkers, operating engineers, carpenters and millwrights, bricklayers, cement masons, electricians, plumbers and labourers… Additionally, over 485 apprentices and pre-apprentices have been engaged in the U.S. and Canada. Two hundred fifty local businesses in Windsor and Detroit have been engaged to provide goods or services to the project and more than 280 co-operative learning experiences have been provided on the project.”

At the Canadian Port of Entry, foundation work has been completed on the primary inspection lanes. Structural steel erection continues, and paving is underway. The toll booths continue to take form and work has begun on all buildings and canopy structures with the structures at various stages of construction.

Aside from its grand profile in the landscape and interesting stats, the bridge will have a feature that should interest a great many people on both sides of the river: The Gordie Howe International Bridge will have a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. It will be one lane that accommodates two-way traffic in either direction. Concrete barriers will separate vehicular traffic from pedestrians and cyclists on

Summer • 2023 41
Clockwise from above: Stay cables are installed on the Canadian tower of the Gordie Howe International Bridge; construction continues on the bridge and road deck; workers inside the pylon head build up the Canadian tower; The Gordie Howe International Bridge will feature six lanes of traffic and a multi-use pedestrian path between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. s

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the bridge and dedicated processing areas at each Port of Entry will welcome them. Pedestrians and cyclists will not cross oncoming pathways and will be toll-free for users.

Representatives of the WDBA said they came to their decision to include this multiuse path following public consultation and feedback from both Canadian and American border protection agencies.

Once pedestrians and cyclists cross the bridge, will they just turn around and come back the way they came? The Gordie Howe International Bridge team is working with the City of Detroit to create pedestrian and cycling connections into adjacent road and trail networks in the city, including the Southwest Detroit section of the Joe Louis Greenway. Users of the bridge’s multi-use path will access local street connections on West Jefferson Avenue, adjacent to Historic Fort Wayne. From there, users can travel along the new West Jefferson Avenue multi-use path to connect to new cycling infrastructure via Green Street or Campbell Street which leads to bike lanes on Fort Street. Additional bike lanes have been integrated into the new road crossing bridges at Springwells, Green, Livernois and Clark Streets to connect the communities on the north and south sides of I-75.

Not only did the bridge designers listen to the groups who lobbied for the multiuse path, they also took into consideration concerns from leading mental health organizations dedicated to suicide prevention. These organizations support the construction of physical barriers on bridges along with other passive measures. In response— and in keeping with their overall dedication to create meaningful and positive outcomes for the community—the WDBA incorporated means restriction interventions into the bridge’s design, including non-climbable fencing along the sides of the bridge, call boxes along the multi-use path and monitored video surveillance along the entire pathway.

When completed, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will break the record for the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, with its clear span of 853 metres. This will nearly double the current record held by the Port Mann Bridge in British Columbia, which spans 470 metres over the Fraser River.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge is expected to enter service in 2025.

To keep up with the progress of

tion and see updated photos/videos, visit

42 Windsor Life
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From Building The Ultimate Dollhouses To Building Community

THE OXFORD DICTIONARY defines “Renaissance Man” as “a person with many talents or areas of knowledge.”

Vincent Giannotti may best be described as a Renaissance Man with one exception: he has many talents and areas of knowledge.

Case in point: Vince welcomed a Windsor Life interview for this feature on his ultimate dollhouses. But during our time together, we also discovered that: Vince has written and self-published “Life Lessons” (two slim hardcover anthologies of volumes of poetry); has a small onsite stained glass-making studio (where he fashions sun catchers and other creations); and he built his entire multi-level wood, glass and light-filled home from the ground up.

44 Windsor Life
Clockwise from above: Vince proudly displays a finished dollhouse; authentic bunk beds including a ladder and wood applique flowers; a baby grand piano handcrafted by Vince; a working hinged front door and embellished window panels; a handcrafted table and chairs are part and parcel of every ultimate dollhouse Vince creates.

Vince is also a plumber by trade, but a life-altering health diagnosis forced him to retire before he planned. That was more than one year ago.

Invited into his spacious, airy kitchen, the first thing we see is Vince’s dollhouse worktable, where an almost-completed dollhouse for a lucky little girl named Ava awaits its finishing touches. We know this because Vince has incorporated the name AVA throughout the house decor, and “AVA” appears in big pink block letters on one wall, the bed and also on the chimney.

Since the early 20th century, dollhouses were primarily for children to play with and put dolls in; today, crafting dollhouses is also a beloved hobby, as well as dollhouse collecting. The age of Dollhouse 2.0 is upon us.

Miniature homes with furnishings and human/animal inhabitants have been around for a long time; the earliest known examples were found in the Egyptian tombs, created nearly five thousand years ago.

The one-of-a-kind Nostell Doll’s House in West Yorkshire, England was handcrafted in the 1730s. At that time, dollhouses were not considered toys; called “baby houses”, they were used to teach young girls how to run a household.

The term “baby” in baby house is coined from the old English word meaning doll. Dollhouses of this period showed idealized interiors with detailed furnishings and accessories. Cabinets were constructed by hand, featuring architectural details and filled with miniature household items. Intended solely for adult use, they were off-limits to children (not because of safety concerns for the child, but because of safety concerns for the dollhouse).

Before the Industrial Revolution, dollhouses were custom-built and crafted completely by hand. Following World War II, mass production took over. Models became more generic in design and more affordable. While mass production may well have made dollhouses more accessible, quality and design suffered. By the 1950s, typical retail dollhouses were made from painted sheet metal and filled with cheap plastic furniture.

Vince has incorporated the best of all worlds with his one-of-a-kind design, careful construction and meticulous attention to every detail.

It’s hard to fathom, but it’s been less than two years since Vince embraced dollhouse making. s

Summer • 2023 45
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“When I retired, I needed to find something I enjoyed that would challenge me, keep me occupied and not be too physically taxing.”

Of course Vince’s inaugural effort was for his grandchildren—a certain five-year-old in particular. “The Dollhouse Nonno Built” occupies a playroom on the main level of Vince’s home.

When Windsor was welcoming refugees from war-ravaged Ukraine, Vince heard about a family of four who arrived here with nothing more than a few suitcases. Because the little Ukrainian girl Arina was roughly the same age as one of his granddaughters, Vince had a pretty good hunch that she’d be just delighted with an ultimate dollhouse of her very own.

It would take Vince about a month to build, decorate and furnish Arina’s dollhouse; during his downtime, he gathered and packed 9 boxes full of household goods: everything from dish towels to cleaning supplies to cookware and canned goods for the Ukrainian family.

“I will remember Arina’s smile for the rest of my life,” Vince says. She adored her dollhouse, complete with its own Ukrainian flag, beds, a kitchen table with four chairs, a stained-glass window and her name on the chimney. The little girl’s eyes widened further when Vince put a crisp new $50 bill in her hand to help with any future upkeep.

To date, Vince has built 15 custom dollhouses and he has no intention of stopping.

But these heirloom masterpieces are not for sale at any price.

“I consider it a labour of love,” says Vince.

Before construction can begin, Vince must determine the floor plan and dimensions. Next, he calculates the total number of windows and the exact measurements for each one. This differs,

depending on the dollhouse size and style (one-floor ranch, two-storey, with/without loft or chalet).

“At this stage, I must also figure out how many mini studs I’ll require for the entire house,” Vince adds.

Using 2×4 underlay, finished plywood or both, he makes and cuts them all. Crafting all the corner pieces to their exact measurements is a very important step before gluing the walls together; this ensures the house will be sturdy.

“The windows take time to paint and decorate; then the finished walls can be glued to the floor and the rafters can measured, cut and installed.”

After the rafters are in place, Vince measures and cuts the roof.

Bent wood spiral staircases are one of Vince’s specialties. There are no nails involved in any element of construction; he just clamps the bent wood into place, glues it and allows it to dry completely.

“The final steps involve making and installing the roof and chimney. Once they’re in place, it’s time to install the front and back doors.”

A handmade kitchen table, four matching chairs, two beds and an easel displaying a colourful painting are part and parcel of every ultimate dollhouse. Vince makes his own furniture and accessories, but kits are also readily available at craft and hobby stores to fashion furnishings, interior decorations, dolls, books, wallpaper and even clocks.

After seeing how much joy his dollhouses bring to healthy children, Vince is inspired to create and gift them to children living with cancer. “I hope to bring these kids a much-deserved boost to their spirits, happiness and well-being,” he concludes. The rich complexity of dollhouse play makes it one of the best toys ever, but it is so much more than a toy for children of any age! WLM Back to Contents

46 Windsor Life Learn more and register at!

Local Charity Provides Therapeutic Martial Arts

NO COMMUNITY is as charitable as Windsor and Essex County. And when it comes to generosity, few can rival In Honour of the Ones We Love, a grassroots organization dedicated to helping patients suffering from cancer, other life-threatening illnesses, special needs and mental health.

In Honour of the Ones We Love was founded by Anita Imperioli in 1997. Since then, they have launched several programs dedicated to ensuring that patients and families have access to the best medical treatment around.

And since 2008, In Honour of the Ones Love has hosted “Kids Beating Cancer” Honourable Ninjas—a therapeutic martial arts program for children with life-threatening illnesses or special needs.

“It’s one of our most successful and rewarding programs,” Anita explains. “We’re so proud to see so many children gain life skills and enjoyment from it on a weekly basis. We hope to continue making a difference and caring for our children.”

The program was originally developed to help children suffering from cancer. Through learning these exercises and special breathing techniques, children could better relax and focus their energies on healing. Now, the program is completely inclusive and is open to all children with all abilities—as well as their siblings.

As well, the true benefit of the program

goes far beyond martial arts. Through participating in these activities, children are building self-esteem, self-confidence, concentration and above all, life skills that will benefit them for decades to come.

“Our goal is for children to envision their futures as something they can control,” Anita explains. “They learn how to work with others and how to follow directions from their instructors. These skills contribute to the well-being of children physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

And perhaps most significantly, In Honour of the Ones We Love has ensured that the Little Ninjas program is completely free of charge. Parents are not required to flip the bill for any of the services. The weekly lessons and all supplies—including things such as uniforms and belts—are completely financed through fundraising events throughout the year.

In Honour of the Ones We Love even hosts special events, such as belting ceremonies and parties, for the students.

The results of the Little Ninjas program speak for themselves. One such parent,

Louanne Miron, has been astonished by the transformation in her son Julien since enrolling nine years ago.

“If you’re a parent thinking of enrolling your child, then you have to try it,” Louanne explains. “This program has given my son so much. It’s improved his motor skills, his balance, his social skills. He’s built so much strength, physically and mentally. I’ve seen parents in tears because they see how happy their children are!”

“I’ve been part of the program for years, and I don’t want to leave!” Julien states. “I’ve even started volunteering as an instructor. In Honour has always been there for us.”

And once again, this is just one of many programs provided by In Honour of the Ones We Love, our community’s brightest beacon of generosity.

“Our children are the future leaders,” Anita stresses.

More information on In Honour of the Ones We Love—including events and other programs—is available at

To donate or volunteer, please contact or 519-791-8633 |

Live MusicON THE



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48 Windsor Life
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Summer • 2023 49
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Local Country Music Band Takes the Stage

IT STARTS OFF traditional, all acoustic cords and familiar beats. Then it gains momentum, the rhythm dragging you along behind it. Finally, just when you start nodding along to the beat, the chorus kicks in—and then, you’re helpless. You’re somewhere else.

It’s difficult to capture something as wordless as music in print.

And local country music band Buck Twenty is a sound that’s meant to be experienced, not described.

Songwriter and vocalist Mike Ure describes himself as a late bloomer when it comes to music. That said, the seeds of his lifelong passion were planted at any early age.

“Growing up, I worked at my Mom and Dad’s store, Ure’s Country Kitchen out in Harrow,” Mike recalls. “We always had country music playing on the radio. In addition, Dad had a firewood business. Whenever we were stacking wood, we had truck doors open and the radio blasting.”

When asked what it is about the genre that he thinks finds so arresting, Mike mentions the stories those sounds tell.

“I’ve always been drawn to the lyrics,” Mike explains. “It’s all about family and love. They’ve always drawn my attention.”

Mike first started performing in high school. And, like all artists with over a decade of experience, the exact moment the trajectory of his life changed continues to elude him.

“I don’t remember exactly how it happened,” Mike admits. “I played football for a while, and then decided it wasn’t my thing. So, for some reason, I decided to take guitar lessons. I eventually started singing as well.”

After a while, Mike surprised himself. He was actually pretty good.

And what’s more, he soon discovered something else: that nothing spurs inspiration quite like the sound of applause.

“I eventually posted a video of myself singing on Facebook,” Mike recalls. “I went to school the next day and everyone said, ‘Oh my God, Mike! I didn’t

Summer • 2023 51
Buck Twenty are left to right: Aidan Johnson-Bujold and Mike Ure.

know you could sing!’ Or: ‘That was really good!’ I kind of fed off that. I thought, ‘This is kind of cool! People are kind of into this!’ It was probably only 20 likes, but still!”

After graduating high school, Mike started performing around Windsor as a solo act. He eventually enrolled in TopBlip, an online music competition where the winner would open for YouTube Star, Tyler Ward in Toronto.

And that’s where the trajectory of his life shifted again.

“A musician named Aidan Johnson-Bujold was there,” Mike states. “He and I were aware of each other before that through our work, but we’d never really spoken. We had a mutual friend who we worked in the studio with. Aidan would come in and play guitar on my songs. I’d come in the next day, hear his work, and always be impressed.”

After the competition, Mike approached Aidan and asked if he wanted to perform with him at the Tyler Ward show, a sold-out show at the Sound Academy in Toronto.

“Afterwards, we were sitting around our hotel room just looking at each other,” Mike recalls. “And I said, ‘Are we a band now?’”

And thus, Buck Twenty was born.

The two began performing around Windsor and Essex County. And over the next ten years, the two have only spread their wings. They have released a Top 40 Billboard Single, came in second place in the 2020 Unsigned Only Contest and received four 2021 CMAO nominations (Single of the Year, Duo or Group of the Year, Rising Star, Music Video of the Year). They have also performed for the Easter Seals for six consecutive years.

When asked what it was about Aidan that has led to such a fruitful partnership, Mike’s answer has less to do with the guitar and more to do with character.

“He’s just a fun guy!” Mike explains. “He brings a lot of energy to the recording booth and the stage. He’s just a fun person to hang out with. And at the end of the day—yeah, talent is important—but our whole band is a good group of guys. That’s what you always want to surround yourself with.”

For his own part, Aidan describes their band as: “I couldn’t ask for a better partner,” Aidan states. “Well, maybe one who snores less, but Mike is a great partner and a terrific friend. I think we work so well together because we both try to have as little of s

52 Windsor Life
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an ego as possible. I know I couldn’t do it without him.”

“We’re an old married couple at this point,” Mike laughs. “We get along really well. There is a business aspect to our relationship. But underneath it all, there is a true friendship between us. And I think that’s what’s made us so successful together.”

That said, despite all their success, when asked about a favourite venue, the two turn their gazes closer to home.

“Last year we played the Harrow Fair,” Mike recalls. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing. And last year we played in front of two thousand people. It was a packed house. The promoter said it was busiest Friday night they’d had in years. Friends and family came out to see us. It was like one big high school reunion.”

“I remember feeling really nervous before the show,” Aidan recalls. “I think I felt like that because I didn’t want to let down all these people who had been supporting us since the beginning. I wanted to show them that they had put their support in the right people.”

And now, when asked what advice he would give to younger aspiring musicians, the two offer some words of encouragement:

“Don’t be afraid to be different when it comes to music,” Mike stresses. “Be sure to work on your craft. Perform as much as you can. Get out there and get that experience. And don’t give up! It does get hard at times, but always keep at it. It’s fun. It’s an outlet for you to express yourself.”

“It’s a really long road,” Aidan admits. “Be prepared for the process to take a long time. Years longer than you think it’ll be. Very few people ‘make it’ quickly and don’t strive for that. Work on your writing as often as you can, play as much as you can and remember who you are making music for: your fans!”

And once again, Buck Twenty’s sound is best heard rather than heard about. The two have several shows lined up throughout the summer.

“We’re going to be playing in Amherstburg on Canada Day,” Mike states. “And on July 30th, we’ll be at Gravenhurst Live on the Barge. We’ll also be at Cindy’s Night Market in Kingsville on August 11th, the Two Creeks Campground on September 3rd and in LaSalle for the Last Call for Fall festival on September 9th.”

More information the band is available at WLM

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Community Living Windsor Celebrates 70 Years

COMMUNITY LIVING WINDSOR (CLW), a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to supporting people who have an intellectual disability as well as their families as they pursue possibilities, make choices and achieve the life they want. While best practices, approaches and philosophies have changed over seven decades, the mission of CLW has remained constant for 70 years.

Windsor families were at the forefront of this movement. Having first met in 1952 and successfully convinced the Board of Education to support a small classroom at the YMCA, the group incorporated in April 1953. In November of that year, it joined with eight other groups to form the Ontario Association. Families were coming together across the province to dream of opportunities for their lead a more inclusive life with friends, neighbours, brothers and sisters; to grow up in a society in which all people live in decent, family-style homes; to have the resources and support necessary to perform real work; to have access to the richness and variety of a community which welcomes all people as equal citizens.

Community Living Windsor’s mission has developed around that dream. From a volunteer-run family organization into an incorporated body in which over 500 staff provide support to over 600 people who have an intellectual disability as well as their families.

Committed to creating an inclusive community

that works towards full independence for people, CLW provides supports and services to ensure that people can independently plan and direct their own lives. They advocate for funding and support, while building good working relationships and community partnerships.

Bernie Mastromattei, current CLW Board President and board member for over 30 years said, “As an organization and community partner, we have much to be proud of over the past seven decades.”

Executive Director Jennifer Pestrin, who has worked with the organization for nearly 30 years, said, “we are dedicated to an approach that demonstrates our commitment to people, families, staff and volunteers. We appreciate and embrace our joint responsibility to create and contribute to a rich, respectful, welcoming and inclusive community.”

To celebrate this milestone, CLW held an anniversary party in May attended by over 500 people, families and partners. More events are planned throughout the remainder of the year to continue the celebration of 70 years of providing support in our Windsor community.

Mastromattei concludes, “communities are enriched by people with diverse talents, interests, strengths and skills. Connecting with community leads to new relationships and a greater sense of self-worth for all. When we see and understand that every person has something to offer, it makes our world a better place.”

To find out more about Community Living Windsor, visit or call 519-974-4221. If interested in applying for a Direct Support Professional position apply at

519-974-4221 |

The Rock of Gibraltar

Husband and Wife Scale the Pillars of Hercules

SOME PLACES CAPTURE our imagination. Some places are so jaw-dropping, so awe-inspiring, that they demand an explanation.

And so, countless writers have tried.

In Greek mythology, Hercules once angered the gods. As punishment, he was condemned to perform his iconic Twelve Labours. The tasks were incredibly dangerous, intended to test the worth of the mortal world’s greatest hero. They involved slaying murderous beasts, such as the man-eating Nemean lion, the poisonous Lernaean Hydra and the winged Stymphalian Birds.

And, for the tenth Labour, Hercules was ordered to steal the Cattle of Greyon. In order to do so, he had to pass beyond charted lands and into the unmapped unknown.

Accounts vary on how exactly Hercules made this journey. One source claims that he shot an arrow at the Sun, stole a god’s chariot and flew across a desert. But, according to some Roman writers, rather than going through the trouble of climbing a mountain, the

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impatient demigod simply lifted his club and smashed through it.

In doing so, he connected part of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea—and formed the Rock of Gibraltar, which was later identified as one of the two Pillars of Hercules.

This might all sound a little farfetched, even by the standards of Greek mythology. But when you stand along the coast of the island and stare up at that monolithic slab of limestone, you can’t help but believe that something magical had a hand in creating it.

This is something Pam and Bill Seney discovered for themselves when they took a trip to the island last September.

The Seneys are veritable globetrotters. “Seeing the world is our passion,” Pam explains. “When we go somewhere, we try to do as much as we can and go, go, go! We try to cram as much experience as we can into each day.” s

Summer • 2023 57
Opposite page clockwise from top: The inside of the Rock of Gibraltar, St. Michael’s Cave; the marina, with the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance; Pam and Bill Seney. This page clockwise from top: A photo taken from the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, with Morocco in the distance; one of the districts of Gibraltar, as Pam and Bill head up the mountain; a Barbary macaques, an endangered species of monkey; overlooking the town heading up the Rock of Gibraltar.

Fortunately, Gibraltar presented the Seneys with countless experiences. The Rock of Gibraltar itself was foremost among them.

“The Rock of Gibraltar looms over the whole island,” Bill states. “When you stand on top of it, you can see Morocco in the distance.”

And as magnificent as the Rock of Gibraltar is from its summit, what’s inside might be even more amazing.

“Inside the mountain is St. Michael’s Cave,” Bill explains. “It’s an absolute mustsee. It’s a huge, gorgeous cave. They splash different coloured lights against the wall. It brings out such a different view of everything. One in particular looks like a pair of angel’s wings.”

The largest of the chambers, dubbed the Cathedral Cave, is used as an auditorium. It comes equipped with a concrete stage and enough space for over 100 guests.

“They use it for concerts, plays—everything,” Bill explains. “It’s a major destination on the island. The acoustics in there are incredible. If you so much as speak in there, you can hear how far your voice carries.”

And, in keeping with the imagination of early Greek storytellers, the dimensions of the cave were so vast that some believed it to the Gates of Hades—the entrance to the Underworld.

“It took us an hour to get through the cave,” Pam states. “And we only went through the smaller corridors. But these caves stretch through the whole Rock of Gibraltar. And the history there is written into everything. During World War II, the caves were used as a hospital. Soldiers dug tunnels and lookout points. There are even canons still down there. You could spend days charting it all out.”

But if tunnels aren’t your forte, there’s plenty to do under the open sky.

“There’s a lot of marinas there,” Bill explains. “The whole island is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a major destination point. A lot of people stop there with their boat. It’s a port city! There are seven beaches.”

That said, sometimes Gibraltar receives other visitors.

“The dolphins all go there to breed!” Pam states. “We took an excursion in the bay and saw all the common and stripped dolphins. They were everywhere! There were hundreds and hundreds of them! They would swim right up to you and play with the boat. They’d race alongside you, jump around. It was incredible.”

“If you love water, then this is a great destination for you,” Bill explains. “There’s all kinds of fishing and wildlife viewing. And you can even tour the island!”

The island is quite a spectacle itself. And, as Bill and Pam learned, extremely welcoming.

“The whole town had a very European feel,” Bill states. “Everyone spoke English primarily, with some Spanish. There’s all kinds of sidewalk cafes, restaurants and boutiques.”

“They have all these cobblestone streets,” Pam explains. “It’s all very quaint and beautiful.”

As well, the island hummed with an energy that the two found intoxicating.

“Everyone is out!” Bill states. “It’s not like here, where you go downtown and might see 10 people. Everyone is out. Everyone is smiling. Everyone is active.”

And while the locals were all active, none were quite as busy as some of the other guests.

“I have pages and pages of pictures of monkeys!” Pam laughs.

The upper part of the Rock of Gibraltar forms a nature reserve, which is home to the famous Barbary macaques—an endangered species of monkeys.

“The island is in the only place in Europe that has wild monkeys,” Bill explains. “But that’s a bit of a misnomer, as these monkeys are actually from the mountains of Morocco, about 14 kilometers away. So I guess that makes them tourists, too!”

At any moment, Gibraltar is home to over 300 monkeys scattered across five troupes. And while most are well-behaved, locals caution visitors to keep a tight grip on their belongings.

“They’re not aggressive, but you don’t challenge them,” Bill states. “You’ve got to keep hold of your sunglasses. And if they see food, they’ll try and take it from you.”

“They’ll unzip your backpack pretty quick if they smell anything in there,” Pam explains. “They occupy the whole Rock of Gibraltar. Some people will take a taxi to the top of the mountain, and there will be monkeys all over the vehicles. They’re everywhere!”

Bill and Pam encourage anyone interested to make the trip and immerse themselves in the world under the shadow of the Rock of Gibraltar.

“You need to spend at least two to three days there,” Bill explains. “Embrace the culture. Go to the restaurants. Go deep-sea fishing. There’s a lot to do.” WLM

58 Windsor Life
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We strive to provide exceptional service and create a welcoming atmosphere, so you can feel at home when you visit us. Your smile reflects the satisfaction and confidence you have in us to provide quality care and attention to your needs. Thank you for choosing Rose City Ford as your trusted dealership - we're grateful for your trust and loyalty, and we're committed to making sure you feel important every time you visit us.

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