Burlington gets yet another award - this one is a little dubious

opinionred 100x100By Blair Smith

March 19th, 2021



A press release received today from PSD CITYWIDE announced “North America’ Top 20 Open Cities”.

PSD is a corporation with offices in Burlington that serves the municipal sector as consultants, advisors and software providers.

PSD graphic

The organization that gave the city the award published a lot of background material for the municipal sector.

Their award sounded  like something worth knowing about and certainly something worth celebrating. The ‘presser’ begins with “Today, PSD announces North America’s Most Open Cities with the City of Edmonton, Alberta maintaining their number one spot for the fifth consecutive time. Next, Ottawa, Ontario moves into the second place spot, with Winnipeg, Manitoba coming in third. All top 3 organizations achieved excellent scores and made great strides this year in all three competency categories.” According to the ranking, the City of Burlington is tied with the City of Coral Gables as the 9th Most Open city in North America.

On its face this appears to be a remarkable achievement and one certainly worthy of having a temporary primacy of place on the COB and/or Mayor’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various other social media accounts. However, appearances (and awards) can be deceptive. First, just how many jurisdictions were included in the ‘competition’ and analysis? Remember there are over 400 municipalities in Ontario alone. How many more (or comparable governance bodies) across Canada; how many state and county organizations? The number must be well into the thousands. But, according to the press release, only 41 organizations across North America participated. Is the response then even statistically relevant?

Secondly, to implicitly associate Open Government with the survey’s three evaluation contexts for “open data” is perhaps both misleading and inaccurate.

Open data does not automatically equate with open information and most certainly does not, in itself, constitute open government – not even close. So, the sampling is statistically insignificant, the association perhaps misleading and the ranking virtually meaningless when you consider the sample size. Even so, how did the responding organizations do? How shining is their example? Well, the average score of the 41 was a completely miserable 34.9%. Burlington in the exalted 9th position was barely above 50%.

Really, this is hardly something worthy of a press release; if it does perhaps the banner should read “North America’s Top 20 Most Open Cities Are Still Closed Shops To Their Citizens”.

Blair Smith is a retired provincial civil servant who delegates frequently at city hall and has very strong views on both open data and open, transparent municipal government.

Return to the Front page

BellyUp and Tone up - 8 week class to take place while the city is in the Red Zone

News 100 redBy Staff

March 18th, 2021


Belly Up

Registration is open for BellyUp Bellydance’s 8 Week Spring Session.

Is this just a fun event or is this preparation for a public performance?

Register for in-person at the studio or live online.

In-Studio class sizes are reduced to 10 per class as per the Province of Ontario’s “Red Zone” restrictions which means their classes fill faster than ever. Join them for an inspiring session that’ll make you feel alive, build your self-esteem, strengthen and tone your body and so much more.

Click here for in-studio registration!
Click here for live online class registration!

Related news items:

Classic Belly Dancing

belly dancers

Feel alive, build your self-esteem, strengthen and tone your body.

Return to the Front page

Good news: those 75 and older can register on line for vaccination

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 18th, 2021



Starting Friday, March 19, Halton residents who are 75 years of age and older and Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations) 55 years of age and older who live in Halton can book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Appointments are available to book in March and April.

“This is another important step in our plan to get our most vulnerable Halton residents vaccinated as quickly as possible, as supplies are available,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “I would like to thank Halton Region, Joseph Brant Hospital and Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital staff who have been working tirelessly to open our vaccination clinics in each of our municipalities, and our teams who have been doing a tremendous job administering vaccinations.”

Halton Region continues to follow Provincial directions on eligibility, including vaccinating vulnerable populations as part of the Province’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan. To ensure Indigenous voices were included in decision-making for Halton’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program, the Region initiated engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations in and around Halton, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Credit River Métis Council, Indigenous Affairs Ontario, Urban Indigenous Organizations servicing the GTHA and highly regarded Indigenous healthcare professionals. These engagements will continue to ensure that Halton’s clinics are respectful of both the priority given to vaccinating this population and Indigenous cultures.

vaccination signHalton has opened COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in Burlington, Halton Hills, Oakville and Milton. Eligible Halton residents 75 years of age and older and Indigenous adults 55 years of age and older can book their vaccination appointment at any one of the clinics, including the COVID-19 Vaccination Centre at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital starting March 19. Additional locations will continue to be identified as required. Residents are reminded that appointments must be booked through Halton’s online booking system or through 311. Bookings for Halton’s clinics are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be guided back to Halton’s system.

“As our vaccination program ramps up, I want to remind residents that the COVID-19 virus and the transmission of the variants is still very concerning,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Vaccines are just one important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and we must remain vigilant – please continue to stay home as much as possible, limit close contact to people you live with and go out for essentials only. These everyday decisions are critical over the next few weeks and months to prevent the severity of a third wave and will help to get us back to normal sooner.”

Important information & instructions:

In addition to groups currently eligible, on Friday, March 19, the following groups (or someone booking on their behalf) will also be able to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Halton’s online booking system:

o Halton residents who are 75 years of age and older (born in 1946 or earlier); and,

o Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations) living in Halton who are 55 years of age and older.

• While booking online is the fastest way to schedule an appointment, residents can also call 311 if they require booking support. Residents who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine are asked to please not call 311 or visit the online booking system to ensure eligible residents have access.

• Vaccinations are by appointment only (no walk-ins) and must be booked through Halton Region’s online system or through 311. Please do not contact clinics directly. Bookings are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be guided back to Halton’s system.

• All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.

• Halton Region continues to offer transportation services to and from appointments for residents who require support, free of charge.

• To maintain physical distancing and safety measures, please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment (not earlier) and remember to wear a mask/face covering.

To learn more about Halton Region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program, including who is currently eligible, transportation options and how to book an appointment, please visit halton.ca/COVIDvaccines.

Return to the Front page

Football Association looking for referee recruits

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

March 18th, 2021



The Lakeshore Football Officials Association needs more in the way of people who can serve as officials on the field.

It is no secret that officiating is an integral part of football. The Lakeshore Football Officials Association is beginning a campaign to recruit individuals who have a passion for football and are eager to stay engaged with the game.

The students on the Bateman High School football team would love an opportunity to play in the rain. According to their side of the story they are not being given the chance they feel they deserve.

Bateman High School football team students .

“We are reaching out to women and men, teens and adults who may be interested and have a passion for football. If you bring that passion, you will be mentored by some of the best football officials in the country,” commented Referee-in-Chief Murray Drinkwalter.

“There are many reasons to “Say Yes to Officiating”

For the love of the Game

Maybe you want to stay engaged and be a part of the game you loved to play, or maybe you are looking to get more engaged in the game your kids are playing. Either way, being an official will give you access to, and an appreciation for, the rules and strategies of the games you officiate like nothing else can.

Earn extra money

There is no better part-time job or hobby for you to make a little extra money doing something you enjoy. It’s the perfect extra gig for anyone from a high school student, to a parent to a retiree.

Give Back

Many officials like to pay it forward to football for what it has given them. Officiating is also a way to guide and enrich the lives of the athletes who are playing by teaching the value of sportsmanship and fair play.

It was raining, the ground was wet, slippery and football was hard to hang onto - but the game went on.

It was raining, the ground was wet, slippery and football was hard to hang onto – but the game went on.

Stay Active

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by engaging with a sport you love. Also, who doesn’t like getting paid to exercise?

Sense of Community

The fellowship and humour officials share with one another are incomparable. You will quickly realize there is no community like officials. Many of them will become your closest friends — lifelong friends.

Life skills

Officiating teaches independent thinking and the ability to see the big picture — a skill that translates outside of officiating. It also requires dedication, togetherness, and ability to work as a team that is important everywhere.


Football officials are often identified and associated with the sport and are known outside of officiating by coaches, players and fans. Even if people don’t know you specifically, many people associate officiating with trustworthiness, impartiality, dedication and integrity – all qualities that can open doors for you in other areas of life.

The organization is making a concerted effort to recruit individuals who have the availability to officiate high school football from September to November, the busiest time for the organization. High school football games are normally played Tuesday-Friday with most doubleheaders kicking off at noon, 1 p.m. or 2:30 pm.

All new officials must complete a Level 1 Football Canada Officials’ Certification Program, which has yet to be scheduled.

If you are looking to stay or get involved with football, make some extra money, be a part of a community, and enjoy being active, then please visit www.lfoa.ca to learn more and see the links to social media. 

Have more questions? E-mail info@lfoa.ca and someone will contact you.

footballAbout the Lakeshore Football Officials Association

The Lakeshore Football Officials’ Association, (LFOA) established in 1963, is responsible for officiating all community and high school tackle football in the regions of Halton, Peel, and Niagara. The organization offers Football Canada Certification Programs, rules and positioning clinics, and a personal mentoring program to assist in the development of all officials. Many of the organization’s officials are former or current members of the Canadian Football League and Ontario University Athletics officiating staffs.


Return to the Front page

Big $$ on the table for community led ideas

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 18th, 2021


Think big Burlington; Community-led projects could receive up to $10,000

The City of Burlington is now accepting applications for the Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund (NCMF), where approved projects could receive up to $10,000.

The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2021.

Lakeshore ball park - matching grant winners

A number of years ago these boys wanted to fix up the neighbourhood ball park They succeeded – using grant money and sweat equity.

Created to inspire residents to champion community-led projects, the goal of the NCMF is to improve neighbourhoods by creating a sense of belonging and community pride, while building meaningful connections.

Burlington residents are encouraged to submit community-led project plans that help make our city a better place to live and play. Inspired by the unique needs of residents and community groups, projects can increase walkability, promote beautification, encourage recreational activity, build social connections and improve safety or accessibility. These projects are to be planned, led and implemented by, and for the community in a public setting.

All projects must comply with the current public health regulations and provincial framework during development and implementation.

For 2021, the Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund will focus on small projects that enhance infrastructure amenities within parks, gardens, buildings on public lands or on lands that are accessible to the public that meet the goal of the fund.

Burlington residents interested in applying for funds are encouraged to visit burlington.ca/matchingfund to learn more about the application process, guidelines and past projects.

How the fund works
The NCMF provides up to $10,000 in funding to support selected neighbourhood and community group-led projects in Burlington.

Approved projects receive up to 50 per cent of the funding for the project from the city to a maximum of $10,000.

That means the project could be something that comes in at $20,000.

The neighbourhood or community group will match this funding with an equal contribution made up through any combination of volunteer hours, donated services, donated materials and supplies or other funds raised, such as cash donations.

For more information or to apply, visit burlington.ca/matchingfund.

There have been some really interesting projects that have benefited a lot of people.


Chris Glenn

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture believes that “Grassroots community building is where we get great value for money. Community-led initiatives that can build connectedness, walkability, visual appeal, recreation opportunities and better understanding can have lasting and meaningful impacts for years to come. If you have an idea for your community, take a look at the website and consider moving it from idea to reality.”


Return to the Front page

Alert citizen spots injured Swans on the ice at LaSalle Park; calls the Swan Coalition - rescue follows

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

March 18th, 2021



Earlier this week we did a story about how the Trumpeter Swans were doing at LaSalle Park. What we didn’t know at the time that even earlier in the month some of the swans were stuck in the ice on the lake and needed help.

A citizen, Greg Alderson, called the Trumpeter Swan Coalition on March 5 to report that two Trumpeters appeared to be stuck on the ice at LaSalle harbour, that they were injured because of being stuck and there was blood on the ice around them.

Swans stuck on ice 1

Stuck in the ice – needing help to get out. An alert citizen saw the problem and knew who to call.

He reported that they seemed to be covered in some kind of tarry, gritty substance and that he had noticed this substance on those two Trumpeters and another the day before when he was at the Park.

The Coalition reached out to the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group and Kyna Itini and her father were able to rescue one of the swans soon after the phone call and went back later in the day to rescue the other.

Wing Damage 2

Some significant damage to the wings that was healed

swan Wing Damage 2

Despite the experience, good care at the right place and the pair – a Mother and daughter, were returned to the wild.

Kyna is a licensed rehabber so the swans were taken to her facility where they were cleaned up and cared for. It turned out that they were a mother (M58) and daughter (Z00) pair.

Greg Alderson rescue

Greg Alderson bringing the injured swan in from the lake ice.

The good news is that they have now healed up and were released yesterday to a private pond to continue their recovery and are free to fly off whenever they are up to it.

The third swan, Z74, was also located but had managed get himself cleaned up and didn’t need to go into care.

A good news story about how an alert citizen, the Coalition and the TSRG worked together to help two Trumpeters in distress and return them to the wild.

Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group run by Kyna Itini uses Canada HELPS to raise funds.  If you think you’d like to send Kyna and her organization (Amherst Wildlife Foundation) some of the money you’re not able to spend GO HERE

Related news story:

Taking care of the swans.

Pictures of the injured Swans were taken by Greg Alderson; the one of the rescue was taken by Kyna Itini.

Return to the Front page

Burlington city Councillor has part of her valedictorian speech published in the Globe and Mail

G&M page 5 Kearns

ROB section of March 18th edition of the Globe and Mail

News 100 redBy Staff

March 18th, 2021



There it was – on page 5 of the March 18th issue of the Globe and Mail, in the Report on Business section.

A promotional piece paid for by the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Business touting the 89 graduates of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.

The copy accompanying the 89 pictures read:

“At any time, especially in a time of global change, board of directors must be positioned to successfully lean into challenge.  Today’s directors must drive value, improve diversity, navigate opportunity and risk with a dutiful focus on contributing to the pursuit of excellence. Bottom line, ICD Rotman Directors fully recognize that organization strategy and performance are intrinsically linked and board accountability for results is absolute.”

All this was said by Burlington’s ward 2 City Councillor Lisa Kearns who was the class valedictorian

There is a political launch if we ever saw one.

Congratulations Lisa, the provincial Liberals are going to just love you once you are nominated.

Return to the Front page

Residential and condominium sales still hot with some startling sales figures.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 17th, 2021



The Rocca Sisters,  in their regular newsletter, report that residential sales were up 40.7%, sale prices were up 21.1% and days on market were down 48% on average as compared to February 2020.

The average price of a freehold property at the end of February was $1,210,336. Year to date, the average price of a freehold property was sitting at $1,244,466 as compared to $1,002,193 at the end of February, 2020, up 24.2%.

Inventory levels at the end of February were down just under 50% as compared to the end of February 2020. At the end of February 2017, again, the hottest real estate market on record up until now, inventory sat at 154 compared to 2021 at 102.

During the month of February, of the 211 sales, 36 of them sold for under the asking price.

Properties sold for, on average, 110.44% of the asking price. Some truly remarkable and difficult to explain sales included yet another one on Penn Drive – a nicely maintained, 1699 sq. ft. side-split on an 80 x 150 lot was listed for $1,289,000 – sold for $1,652,000.

A 1650 sq. ft. nicely updated two storey with a single car garage on Riley Ave in the Palmer neighbourhood was listed at $929,900 – sold for $1,207,000.

In Brant Hills we saw a property that backed onto the 407 list at $999,500 sell for $1,300,000 – it was partially updated and had an in-ground pool. Finally, the most startling sale of all involved an 1125 sq. ft. bungalow on a 75×150 lot, a stone’s throw away from the train tracks near the Aldershot Go Station. Hard to say what the house was like as there were no interior photos – suggesting it was a fixer/upper opportunity. Listed at $769,000 (which seemed a little on the high side), sold for $1,131,000 – 47% over the asking price.

The numbers tell the residential story:
rocca resid feb 2021

The condominium market sale prices during the month of February rose to $567,000, up 10%, sales were up 13%, price per square foot reached $624, up over 22% as compared to February 2020.

Condos sold for 102.16% of the listing price and in 22 days, on average. Inventory levels have rocketed to a 10 year low with only 31 active units at the end of February. For the first time, we saw several condos sell for more than 20% of the listed price.

The state of the condominium market:

rocco condo sales Feb 2021

Return to the Front page

Halton Police Investigate Series of Pharmacy Robberies

Crime 100By Staff

March 16th, 2021



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) are investigating a series of pharmacy robberies that police believe to be connected.

On February 15, 2021, at approximately 3:55 pm three males entered Halton Pharmacy on Speers Road in Oakville and demanded the pharmacist turnover narcotics from the safe. After stealing the drugs, the suspects fled the area in an SUV. No weapons were seen or mentioned and no physical injuries were sustained.

Alton IDA

No one physically injured during the incident at this location.

On February 19, 2021, at approximately 5:15 pm three males entered IDA Pharmacy and Alton Village Medical Clinic on Thomas Alton Boulevard in Burlington and demanded the pharmacist turnover narcotics. They were unsuccessful in obtaining any drugs however they did steal cash from the register. They fled the area in an SUV. The suspects indicated they were armed, but no weapons were observed. Nobody was physically injured during the incident.

On March 14, 2021, at approximately 7:05 pm four males entered Rexall Pharma Plus on Lakeshore Road West in Oakville. They again targeted narcotics from the safe and were able to steal a quantity of prescription drugs and cash. On this occasion, one of the suspects was armed with a kitchen knife. They fled the area in a sedan.  Two victims suffered minor physical injuries during this robbery.

In each incident the suspects have been wearing masks however they appear to be between 16-22 years of age.

Police want to remind the public of the following safety tips:

  • Always be vigilant of your surroundings
  • If you find yourself present during a robbery, remain calm. Do not argue with the robbers or attempt to disarm them
  • Try and note/remember as many details as possible
  • Do not touch or move anything discarded or left behind by the robbers
  • Once safe to do so, call 911 and remain at the scene until police arrive

Crime stoppers logoAnyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Barry Malciw of the 2 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2218.

Police would also be interested in any dash cam footage residents may have of the suspects and their vehicles in the area and time of the robberies.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

Return to the Front page

How did the guys who know how to communicate when they are running for office - fail to communicate when their public is frightened

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 16th, 2021



How did this get so screwed up?

The province had months to create a web site that people would use to register for a Covid19 vaccination.

They day they opened it up – it failed.  They appear to have fixed it.

HillierOn the same day the retired Army General who was overseeing the distribution of the vaccines in the province quits.  Maybe the $20,000 a month he was being paid (this on top of an Armed Forces pension) wasn’t enough.  Or maybe he stood back and saw nothing but a disaster on its way and chose to step aside.  Question – did he get vaccinated before he quit?

There are very legitimate concerns about one of the vaccines; the AstraZeneca vaccine is reported to have resulted in blood clots in some people.

The Prime Minister assures us that the batch that had the problems is not the batch of vaccines that we are using in Canada.  Do you feel assured?  I don’t.

Remember the thalidomide tragedy; those poor souls only recently got acceptable support and compensation.

For those who don’t recognize the word thalidomide it was a pharmaceutical that was prescribed for pregnant women. Far too many gave birth to children with no arms – just stubs instead of a fully formed arm.

Tragedies like this happen when governments fail to do the job the public expects.  There is good reason to ask if the same kind of incompetence, let’s be candid and call it what it is – stupidity, is happening to us now.

We have failed terribly to ensure that we would have access to the vaccines the government should have known would be needed.

The buck on situations like this rests at the very top.

Instead all we are getting from the leadership at the federal and provincial levels are bromides – people are beginning to become frightened; the last thing we need is a public that no longer trusts and begins to do what human beings do – look out for their own interests.

The best source of the news and information people need in Burlington comes from the Regional level – The Public Health Unit for Halton struggled like everyone else at the beginning to get organized.

When this is all over hopefully there will be an opportunity to tell the full story about the job these people have done.

In the meantime, we wait.  There is more that can be done.  Governments react to protest – if you are worried,  scream blue murder and let the leadership at the federal and provincial levels know that what they are doing is just not good enough.

There have been a few examples of superb leadership – try naming one.

Elections will take place in the not too distant future.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

Return to the Front page

Who can get vaccinated now - how do they register.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 16th, 2021



Who can get vaccinated now – how do they register?

It is a little on the confusing side when you try to register for a vaccination.

The province opened up its web site yesterday – it didn’t work all that well – but they appear to have solved the problems.

So – if you live in Burlington, or anywhere in the Region, and you are using the provincial web site to make a vaccination appointment that web site will push you over to the Regional site which has worked very well from the day they opened it up.

Biggest concern is – who can register.

Those over 80.

Those working in the medical field – and they all go to the Oakville Trafalgar Hospital.

Those in long term care housing have been taken care of.  The Region went to extraordinary effort to ensure those people were vaccinated.  They had mobile units that went to each location.

The rest of us have to wait until the medical people know that they have vaccines in stock and that they can meet the demand.  Then, and only then will things open up for vaccination registrations.

Roll out plan Mar 16



There is a lot of data on the Regional web site. The link to that web site is HERE

We are going to have to learn to be patient and we must continue to follow the rules.

Six feet apart – wear the mask.  If you have to get out of the house and have dinner with people – make sure you are dining with people that you live with.  Yes that does limit things – the objective is to prevent the spread of a virus that is proving to be quite a bit smarter than anyone expected.



Return to the Front page

What the data tells us: It isn't a pretty picture

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 16th, 2021



With people now being able to register on line for a vaccination appointment and actual vaccinations taking place it is useful to look at the data the Regional Public Health unit has put together.

The data from a Regional perspective:

PHU data Mar 15 Region

The variant versions of the virus are the huge concern. They are proving to be more deadly than the first version of the virus and they spread much faster.




The data from a Burlington perspective:

PHU data March 15 Burl

The number of variant cases is low – but these variants travel very very quickly. Reports are that we are now into a third wave..

The data that related directly to Burlington. There are variant versions of the virus in the community.

There is a desperate race to get people vaccinated before the variant versions of the virus spread.

Related news stories:

Medical Officer of  Health concerned about variant version of the virus

Return to the Front page

Burlington Foundation sends 4th round of grants totaling $146,000 to community groups

graphic community 5By Staff

March 15th, 2021



Burlington Foundation last week announced the charities that will receive $146,000 from Phase 4 granting from the Covid-19 Pandemic Response Fund, since the Foundation announced the fund on March 31, 2020.

The Pandemic Response Fund was established to support community-based relief efforts through four phases of granting that has taken place since early 2020. With these new grant awards, the Foundation’s Pandemic Response Fund has provided over $453,000 in grant relief to assist charities in their response efforts recognizing that this pandemic will have long-term implications for the non-profit sector.

“With the second wave of Covid-19 striking our community and driving even more demand for emergency relief, we are very pleased to provide Phase 4 funding of $146,000 to 26 local charities who are working tirelessly to help our community’s most vulnerable citizens during this time of ongoing need,” says Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO of Burlington Foundation.


Aliya Khawari, Executive Director, Compassion Society of Halton

The Compassion Society of Halton received $7,000 in funding. Aliya Khawari, Executive Director, shares, “We are so grateful for the generous funding from the Burlington Foundation for Covid emergency response.

The Compassion Society has been able to provide all the care and basic needs for many who have been deeply impacted by the ongoing pandemic. With mental health issues on the rise and anxiety levels in red due to social isolation and curbing of many social services – accessing food, hygiene and self-care items, clothing and other basic needs should be the last thing for people to worry about.”

The ongoing pandemic also continues to present connectivity challenges for people living with developmental disability. Community Living Burlington received $7,000 to enable the organization to continue providing virtual opportunities and meaningful connections. “Community Living Burlington is incredibly grateful for the support from the Burlington Foundation. During these challenging times, our agency goal is to ensure the people we support still feel connected to their community, and this funding will help us ensure that people will continue to thrive during this pandemic,” says Emily Huang, Senior Manager, Community and Resource Development.

Providing these critical emergency grants in this time of tremendous need would not be possible without the kindness of donors. Our heartfelt thank you to our many donors including: The Paletta Family, Pioneer Energy, Randy and Denise Reeve Family Fund, Milne Family Foundation Fund, Pieczonka Family Foundation Fund, LKH Spirit Fund, BDO Burlington Community Fund, Dalton Timmis Group Fund, and several community donors.

About Burlington Foundation
BCF logoBurlington Foundation is a registered charity with over 20 years of experience helping people accomplish their charitable goals and address our city’s most pressing needs. As one of 191 community foundations across Canada, we are dedicated to having a significant impact in Burlington by building legacy endowment funds, providing vital charitable grants, and bringing people together to address important community issues such as flood relief, mental health and now the global Covid- 19 pandemic.

Return to the Front page

Grieving is not something you need to do alone - there is help

graphic community 4By Pepper Parr

March 15th, 2021



Grief is a part of life.

Grief 1We live in a world where for the most part there are family and friends to see you through the grief that has come into your life.

We survive and become better people, wiser people and more appreciative of what we have.

That has changed hasn’t it?

We normally attend funerals for people we knew well, admired, worked with, and will miss. We have not been able to do that, meaning one of the tools we use to come to terms with the grief we are experiencing is no longer there for us to use.

Frank and Doreen Kelly are leading a 13 week course on managing grief that will be held at Glad Tiding Pentecostal Church.

The next 13 week class starts May 5.  The meetings will run from 7:00p.m. -9:00p.m .

grief 2Registration is free – the program will take place on line.

The team has held three sessions and is ready to take registrations for the fourth session of 13 weeks that will start in May

You can register HERE.

When you get to the site you select Burlington as the location and then select Glad Tidings Church.

The course is free – there is a nominal cost for a Workbook.

The sessions at this point in time are done via Zoom.  The Kellys are part of the Glad Tidings Church in Burlington who are supporting this initiative.

Return to the Front page

Swans are getting looked after - there are now a reported 1000 of them in Ontario

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 15th, 2021



Harry Lumsden, pictured below,  the retired Ministry of Natural Resources Biologist who brought Trumpeter Swans back to Ontario in the 1980s after they had been extirpated for 100 years, with Bev Kingdon who has been with the Trumpeter Swan Restoration project since its earliest days, together at LaSalle Park, Burlington on March 10th 2021.

swans and bev

The swans appear to be doing just fine.

We now have more than 1,000 Trumpeters in this province again, thanks to Harry, Bev and all the other volunteers with the project.

Our thanks to Vince Fiorito for bringing this to our attention

Return to the Front page

Resident asks: have we lost the ability to hope and see a better time ahead.

graphic community 4By Blair Smith 

March 13th, 2021



The pandemic has affected virtually every person on the planet. It has disrupted business, affected all levels and means of social interaction, put accepted norms of behaviour under serious scrutiny, challenged our concepts of family and friends and required everyone to adopt coping mechanisms just to get up and start another day. And perhaps what has suffered most is that which is most necessary for our survival – our ability to hope and see a better time ahead.

Tree Hope tree

It was not really a Christmas tree any longer but a ‘tree of hope.

On a small court in north Burlington, in a well treed and older neighbourhood there is a rather quirky but harmless symbol of one family’s expectations of better times to come – a Christmas tree that has been in place and lit since the pandemic struck almost a year ago. Truthfully, the tree is always slow to come down and be put away. It usually can be seen in the large front window until Easter. It is one of those eccentric expressions of personality that make life just a little more interesting.

And now, for the two retired and disabled seniors who remain in the house, it has become a tree of hope and will stand erect and lit until this pandemic has finally run its course and life returns to a ‘new normal’.

Unfortunately, our capacity for toleration and our ability to appreciate the unconventional seems to have been seriously undermined as Covid-19 strains both our perspectives and our basic decency. Yesterday, the family received a phone call mid-afternoon from a woman who, unidentified, began with an abrupt “You have a Christmas tree in your window”. Somewhat taken aback, they responded with “yes, we do” and were quickly met with “and you have had it there since at least last summer”.

They admitted that this was so and explained that it was not really a Christmas tree any longer but a ‘tree of hope’, a symbol of better times and that it would stay in place until the pandemic finally ends. The angel that would normally crown the tree has been replaced by a butterfly, pointing to regeneration and renewal.

The response was a sarcastic “well that’s absolutely ridiculous! We have a house to sell!” and the caller hung up. And indeed, one of the houses on the court, now empty, has been the focus of a great deal of activity over the past two weeks as professional cleaners and organizers worked to make the house ready for viewing. Was the caller associated with the Realtor? Was she a member of the seller’s family? I doubt the latter as the family are very decent people and have always respected their neighbours and community. Attempts to call back the number met with no success and, frankly, there would be little profit in speaking to whomever made the call anyways.

They simply wouldn’t “get it”.

The first thing that the pandemic took from us was our freedom of movement and often the companionship of our friends and family. As serious as these constraints have been they will also eventually end. However, the emotional isolation that has also been the product of the pandemic, the loss of intimacy and empathy that comes with physical separation may be far longer lasting and far more damaging.

Return to the Front page

National Advisory body needs volunteers to sit on Canada’s Volunteer Awards Committee

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 13th, 2021



We all play a role in recognizing Canada’s volunteers.

Great volunteers come from everywhere.

Until April 8, 2021, Canada’s Volunteer Awards (CVA) will be accepting applications for its National Advisory Committee (NAC).

Members of the National Advisory Committee play a leading role in the selection of Canada’s Volunteer Awards recipients by reviewing nominations and making recommendations to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. They also support the promotion of the program throughout their term.

volunteers cleaning up

Volunteers sweep the boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy

The committee consists of 15 volunteer members from across Canada who are passionate about volunteering. They are selected based on their knowledge and experience working or volunteering in support of community development. Additionally, members reflect Canada’s diversity and serve for a term of three years. If you have experience in one of the following sectors, you might have what the committee needs:

a not-for-profit organization
the charitable sector
the health sector
the social services sector
a service provider
the private sector, or
a municipality.

Employment and Social Development Canada is accepting applications until April 8, 2021. If you want to learn more about this opportunity or to apply, CLICK HERE

Return to the Front page

Burlington MP Karina Gould in conversation with Ancilla Ho-Young

graphic community 3By Pepper Parr

March 13th, 2021



I was looking for a way to close out a week in which we celebrated women.

A colleague sent me a link to a Facebook page that had Burlington MP Karina Gould talking to Ancilla Ho-Young, and the work she has done from the day she arrived in Canada in 1970.

Her first job was as a nurse at the Joseph Brant Hospital – it turned out to be her only job. During the 40 years she worked as a nurse she broke a lot of barriers and did a lot of pioneering work.

It was a treat, a real treat, to listen to Ancilla talk about the trials she experienced as a woman of colour. She saw it all and experienced much of it – some of it is still taking place, as she noted during a virtual conversation with MP Gould.

Ancilla + Gould

Ancilla Ho Young in a virtual conversation with Burlington MP Karina Gould

The last ten years of her career at Joseph Brant Hospital were spent as the lead in the sexual assault victims unit where she put in a full shift each day and was on the phone many evenings making sure that a victim who walked into emergency didn’t get shipped off to some other institution.

Ancilla developed strong working relationships with the police, which she still maintains.
She is one of these people you have to meet and experience. More often than not, at least in my experience, she would look at you with one eyebrow raised – and that sort of yeah? look on her face.

Ancilla Ho-Young was not a woman to trifle with.

Firm in her responses, which she will tell you “got me in trouble sometimes” she adds that, “There is still quite a bit of racism in Burlington but it has changed” remembering “there were times when I would be followed in a store by people thinking I was going to steal something”.

Retirement wasn’t an opportunity to do a little less – the week it became known that she had retired, the invitations to sit on different boards came flooding in.

Karina Gould asked Ancilla how she handled the transition from being a nurse with front line responsibilities within an organization that had both structure and hierarchy to being to be an activist and now able to put her views, beliefs and convictions into practice at a grass roots level.

A deep smile comes across her face as she respond “there is more work to be done”.

Return to the Front page

City reminds public that we are into salamander mating season

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 11th, 2012



It’s Salamander mating season. And to do what that salamander needs to do to maintain the species he has to cross King Road – which means for a period of time King Road will be closed to traffic. This year, the road is already closed for construction of a nearby subdivision.

Salamander space at Nelson

The green patch has been identified as a natural habitat for the salamander and will not have public access. The shaded parts are land the Nelson Aggregate people want to extend their license to quarry. The large open area in the middle if the current quarry site that is reaching its extraction limits.

The annual passage of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their breeding migration will begin soon on King Road near the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road. Since 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road for the salamanders which are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species.

The Jefferson Salamander has an exalted place in the minds of the environmentalists who want to keep the escarpment lands as pristine as possible which for them means not allowing any increasing in the size of the Nelson Aggregate open pit off Side Road number 2 at Guelph Line.

After failing to have an application to expand the pit in 2015 Nelson has filed a new application that sets aside land for the salamander.

That Nelson application is working its way through the application process.


Jefferson Salamander – becoming a cult figure with the various vested interests working to give them a place to live.

About the Jefferson Salamander
In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found in Southern Ontario in select areas of deciduous forest, mostly along the Niagara Escarpment.

Jefferson salamanders spend most of their lives underground. As the weather warms up and the spring rains begin, the salamanders emerge and migrate to breed in temporary ponds formed by run-off, laying their eggs in clumps attached to underwater vegetation. Adults leave the ponds after breeding. By late summer, the larvae lose their gills, become air-breathing juveniles and leave the pond to head into the surrounding forests.

Adult salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds during wet rainy nights. They show a strong affinity for the pond in which they hatched and can be very determined to reach it, sometimes causing them to cross busy roads.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward appears to have adopted the Jefferson salamander – referring to them as “Jeff” in her comments which we share below.

“The Jefferson Salamanders are a unique part of Burlington’s biodiversity and have become a truly beloved part of our local community. At the City of Burlington, in partnership with Conservation Halton, we’re glad to play a small role in protecting the salamanders while raising awareness about their endangered status – ‘Jeff’ also is earning an unofficial mascot status for our city. Closing off this section of King Road each year is proving to be an effective tool in supporting the survival and recovery of this rare species. I’m always grateful to our residents for being willing to inconvenience themselves for a short period of time to help ensure ‘Jeffs’ numbers flourish in the future.”

hassaan basit

Hassaan Basit, President and CEO, Conservation Halton

Hassaan Basit, President and CEO, Conservation Halton chimes in with:  “With all due respect to Wiarton Willie, here in Burlington, we look to the Jefferson Salamander to let us know that spring is on its way. As the warmer weather and rain arrive, the Jefferson Salamanders head towards breeding ponds, that without human intervention, would require some of them to make a dangerous trek across King Road. Conservation Halton is proud to partner with the City of Burlington each year to ensure that the salamanders can safely make their way to the ponds.”

The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.

Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time; up to 30 years of age.

Return to the Front page

Federal government prepared to hand out $400 million to the municipal sector for networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges

News 100 redBy Staff

March 12th, 2021



That $400 million the federal government is handing out over a five year period  – was given to every municipality in the country.

Each of those now has to put together their proposals and basically compete for the dollars.

It’s a good move – getting people outside never hurts.

The media release explained it this way:

Mountsberg - winter trails

Given the opportunity the people of Burlington get out every chance they get.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Parliamentary Secretary Andy Fillmore announced $400 million over five years to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges, as well as support for repairs and planning studies. This is the first federal fund dedicated to building active transportation through Canada – powered by people – and part of the Government of Canada’s plan to create one million jobs, fight climate change, and build a more sustainable and resilient economy.

The new $400-million fund is part of an eight-year, $14.9-billion public transit investment outlined by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister McKenna on February 10, 2021. It will support communities as they build vibrant neighborhoods where people can safely live, work and play. The fund will also help Canadians living in rural communities and places without active transportation options to unlock the potential in their communities.

This is the rural Burlington residents want to keep - walking trails and quiet countryside.

Walking trails and quiet countryside.

In concert with this new fund, Minister McKenna and Parliamentary Secretary Fillmore also launched stakeholder engagement for Canada’s first Active Transportation Strategy. The strategy will be informed by input from the public and key stakeholders including provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit organizations and businesses and will help the federal government make smarter investment decisions to:

• Support the active transportation networks of the future;
• Promote healthier, walkable communities that are environmentally sustainable and affordable; and
• Support better data collection to ensure measurable outcomes.

Watch carefully for how you community responds to this opportunity.  Burlington is currently working on a Cycling Master Plan that is going to need to need millions to be completed – this fund appears to be tailor made for the Transportation people.

Return to the Front page