Burlington Mayor unable to take part in the Cabaret he created; maintains there is still a place for local MP Wallace.

 By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 14, 2011  –  With 18 acts already in the vetting pipeline for the Mayors Cabaret, Our Burlington asked Mayor Goldring: “ Will you be submitting your talent for consideration to the vetting committee that is in place to select the talent for the Mayor’s Cabaret?”  We followed that up by asking: “ Would you expand on which of the many artistic skills you happen to possess?

Mayor Goldring advised Our Burlington that: “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to perform at the Mayor’s Cabaret. Since my debut at the Blue Jeans Gala, I have been inundated with requests for my services. I have had to turn down a request to be the opening act for Burton Cummings at Massey Hall, the very evening of the Cabaret. The city comes first however and Burton Cummings has rescheduled.

Our Burlington also asked the Mayor, “is it true that you have instructed the vetting committee for the Mayor’s Cabaret not to accept an application from the Member of the House of Commons for Burlington to take part in the event and further – is it true that this decision is based on the experience at the Blue Jeans Festival ?”

Belting it out for a good cause. The Mayor and some of his staff along with people from the Sound of Music and the Theatre Burlington Board ham it up a bit while promoting the Mayor's Cabaret.Performing Arts Centre Board

“Completely untrue” the Mayor told Our Burlington in an exclusive interview.  The Mayor added that “Our MP will be most welcome to audition for the Mayor’s Cabaret- we are an inclusive city, after all. I am still coaching him daily via Skype, on his song and dance routine timing.  He has had a bit of trouble coming out of his shell. He is pretty conservative so it will likely require a lot more effort to help him change his old habits and realize his potential. After all, the poor guy works in the House of Commons.

The Cabaret, scheduled for February of 2012 has a closing date of January 6th.   The focus for this fund raising initiative of the Mayors, which hopes to raise $80,000 that will go to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, is Burlington talent.

It was evident during the Blue Jeans Gala when The Spoons and Silverstein took to the stage that Burlington has home grown some very significant musical talent.  The Sound of Music Festival has made Burlington one of THE destination events for those who want to take in summer concerts.

The idea for a Cabaret came out of Mayor Goldring’s office before the Blue Jeans Gala took place but what few people knew before the Gala was that the Mayor had legs of his own that he wanted to strut on stage.  The Cabaret idea seems to have brought to the surface a part of his hidden personality that has not been seen before during this first year in office and it certainly wasn’t evident during the election campaign.  Had former Mayor Cam Jackson known of this talent he would never have run against Goldring.

The Cabaret is a partnership between the Mayor and the BPAC along with the Sound of Music people and what the Mayor hopes will be a significant number of corporate sponsors.

The event is open to submissions from entertainers with a preference being given to local artists.  There doesn’t appear to be any limitation.  Mine, acrobats, jugglers singers, bands – whatever you think is entertaining.  More detail is available at:  www.burlington.ca/cabaret

For details on how to participate give noted attorney Gerry Murphy a call at 905-541-0582 or reach out to him at gerardmurphy@bellnet.ca

Tickets to the event are $100.00 which includes a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions and souvenir sales.  The only thing that is not confirmed at this point is if our local MP will take to the stage again. We hope not.


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Artists manage to convince the city to refund some of the licensing fees. Looking now for a by-law change.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 9, 2011  The Artists and the Bureaucrats met – and the Artists won the more important part of the battle.  With any luck the matter will get to city Council and a stupid rule will get re-written or set aside.

The Background.  Arts in Action, a collective of artists that hold a Studio Tour once a year that gives the public a chance to see what artists in the city have been doing and an opportunity as well to show and sell what they do.

Burlington stained glass artists Teresa Seaton, took her skills to city halland tried to get the bureaucrats to cut up the bill they had to pay for a license to sell their art. She thinks the Art in Action group might manage to get half the fee they paid back.

The city’s Building Department decided to require the artists to apply for a Transient Traders Licence  and charge them fees that amounted to more than $1000.   The artists gulped but felt they didn’t have a choice and ponied up the money. Artists, who don’t have a pay cheque never mind the fat pensions that city hall doles out – felt they had no choice.

Artists in Action (and they were certainly in action on this file) complained and after a suitable delay they got their meeting with the bureaucrats.  Teresa Seaton, co-chair of the Artists in Action, reports that the bureaucrats had decided before the meeting  that “because we were a not-for-profit organization we will have to submit a Transient Trader Licence application two weeks before the event but  we will be exempt from fees.  Now that the city has the Artists in Action “on file” they get goodies.

Seaton further reports: “As far as being reimbursed the fees paid for the 2011 Studio tour that have already been paid – it will be looked into”.  “We came away from the meeting with the impression that we will receive at least half of the $1000. + back.  The rest will apparently get kept by the city for “paper work costs”.   Someone has to pay for all that paper work and the artists learned that this time they get to pick up that tab.

Don Graves, Burlington artist, helped to get the city to look at the plight of a starving artist a little differently. He got half a loaf.

Seaton reports that she and “her wingman” Don Graves, who attended the meeting with her, chose not to argue that point We did go on to argue that we felt forced by the city to obtain these licences under threat of fines being levied against us.

“It was an interesting discussion with the supervisor at city hall. They are now more aware of the plight of us poor struggling artists trying to “Make a profit”.  It is our understanding that a Bylaw review will be done in the next couple years of which we will be advised. As well, they have us on file as an organization that will be consulted as the bylaws are amended.

Seaton adds that:  “We fought the cause for every artist with a showing studio in their own residence. According to the city, these artists would still have to pay this licensing fee since they are not known to have a not-for-profit status.

“Basically”, said Seaton  “we were left with the impression that what the city doesn’t know can’t hurt you. Although this is not the most advantageous solution it will do until the bylaw reviews proceeds. Seaton promises to argue the case of the poor starving artist more strenuously then. She might push for a full refund of the fees they paid for 2011 as well.

The Artists in Action now feel they won’t have to increase their membership fees and are now going forward with their end of December call for the 2012 show.



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A chance to take in the Performing Arts Centre Red Carpet Opening on Cogeco cable.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  December 8, 2011  If you missed the Opening Gala of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre last Saturday – and if your allowance was on the small side, the $400. ticket was beyond you – there is still a chance for you to see the swishy folks tippling fine wine and schmoozing like crazy.

Cogeco Cable was all over the Burlington Performing Arts Centre Red Carpet opening. They will rebroadcast for those who missed the live event.

It was a wonderful evening – the Family Room had a blue glow and there was the buzz of a crowd that is having fun and enjoying themselves.

Cogeco Cable television has five cameras on site and a staff of 14 manning the equipment with their mobile parked outside the building to take the event live.

If you want to watch the event – here are the re-broadcast dates:

December 18, 5:30pm

December 25, 5:30pm

December 27, 10pm

December 29, 8:30pm

Worth taking in – the folks at the Centre really know how to put on a show.  All they need to do now is to develop the audience; they certainly got off to a good start.  And with several SOLD OUT shows in the schedule all the ingredients seem to be in place for a successful operation.  Take that Hamilton!

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Santa’s helpers – and we’re not talking about a bunch of little elves; big guys who know how to give back.


The Ho Ho man himself - didn't let the consistent drizzle lighten even one of his laughs.


By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 6, 2011  Santa Claus has been coming to town for more than 45 years as part of the annual Burlington Christmas Parade.

The event is the result of the efforts of a community based committee that liaises with the city but is not a city committee.  These guys don’t get as much as a dime from the city.

Message carriers for a gymnastics group - they loved their wigs - so did the crowd.

The city’s Festivals and Events office has two of their people who sit in the seven member committee as liaison but that’s it.

The parade that has more than 65 floats is run by a team of seven people.  They are: Gunther Kaschuba, who has been involved for the past nine years; Don Basingdale, Allan Hale; John Thomblinson; Louise LeBel; Rob Henderson and Robin Kimberley.

Henderson was one of the truck drivers and when the committee member who used to handle the getting of the trucks from different trucking companies around the city – Henderson got the tap on the shoulder and he now handles the trucking stuff.  King Paving has been providing trucks for the parade for a number of years.

Applause is always welcome - you just know this Dad is watching one of his kids or a club he volunteers with -pass by.

Cogeco Cable always does a show on the FYI to promote the parade and then they provide on the street camera coverage of the event.

Kaschuba, who comes across as a chair that is wide open with his committee members – each knows what they have to do – and they just do their jobs, he said.

We get a big boost from Burlington Transit who let us use their transit barn to decorate the floats and get the displays up and in place.

The parade has that warm, fuzzy small town feel to it with people always turning out – even in the light drizzle we had this year.  Kaschubba did say that one of the bands dropped out a few days before the parade – the threat of heavy rain wasn’t something they wanted to deal with.

“We get people who do the same thing every year.  Don Warwick has been coming out for as long as I can remember in that suit of armour” said Kaschuba.  The kids love it.  This year there was a little girl in pink sitting on the curb, totally transfixed by the man in a suit of armour striding down the street.

Hoofing it!

Patiently waiting.

The parade operated on a budget of between $12 and $15 thousand with funds coming in from sponsorships, parade entry fees.  “We have two fee levels; one for community groups and another for the commercial community” explained Kaschuba.

And he added, the project is a Rotary Club initiative as well with all four Burlington Rotary Clubs taking part.

But the parade committee has to pay for the garbage pickup after the parade and the setting up and taking down of the traffic barricades.  The Burlington Teen Tour Band participation doesn’t cost the parade group anything.  “We were particularly grateful for their participation this year – those people went home just a little on the damp side this.

The Santa sleigh is rented from people in Hamilton.

If you’ve a hanker to help or think your organization could sponsor a float or your group take part in the parade – make a note that applications have to be in before early November and space is made available on a first come, first served basis.

For an application package and further details, visit www.burlington.ca. Go to the Events and Promotions section, Major Events and click on the Christmas Parade. The cost to enter the parade is $35 for not-for-profit organizations and $100 for businesses.

Bruce Marsh of the Burlington Old Timers Hockey Club manages those guys who walk along the edge of the parade with old socks attached to the ends of hockey sticks asking for loonies or twoonies to help defray the cost of the parade.

Community service at its very best.

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Santa didn’t need snow to do his thing; he didn’t want the rain, but that didn’t dampen spirits.


The Sea Cadets know all about water and they dealt with the light drizzle the way everyone else did - they just put up with it and continued to march smartly.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 5, 2011  –  It was a drizzly day but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from lining Guelph Line and New Street as the Santa Clause parade worked its way through the city with wide eyed little boys and girls taking in all the sights.  And sights there were.

It's a Christmas message that often gets forgotten as we hustle and bustle through the malls. "and he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!

The only thing that wasn’t there was a camel with three wise men walking behind the thing.

Hearing Jingle Bell then Silent night on steel drums - was a pure delight.

All the usual suspects – The Lions, the Rotary, Crime Stoppers, Regional Police and representation from half a dozen religious groups and bands from the high schools as well.

The Burlington Teen Tour Band, a little soggy and bedraggled by the end of the parade were placed just in front of the Big Guy with the red suit who brought it all to a close.

While it was "cap in hand" the Mayor was out there with a hockey stick and a sock raising funds. Thought to be the only member of Council in the parade.

The Mayor was spotted walking along with a hockey stick that had a sock attached to the end of it – a fund raiser.

The Burlington Gymnastic Club put their talent out on the street and did things with their bodies that made many parents look on in amazement as they watched what these well trained young girls could do.

Residents lined the streets to watch the floats pass by and use the time to chat with their neighbours.

And, typical of Burlington, parents and neighbours gathered in small groups at the end of those streets that accessed New Street and sipped coffee and held their umbrellas in place.  One street had a small BBQ set up with a propane tank in place.

Clogging up the Woodward and Guelph Line intersection - this band was just great.

The Mayor seemed to be the only politician taking part – but we didn’t catch every float – so perhaps they were at the front of the line.

A little worse for the drizzling rain, the Burlington Teen Tour Band colour party kept the flags flying as they escorted Santa and his sleigh through the streets of the city

That suit of armour has the little girl in pink to the left absolutely amazed

Robinson High School band - beat a nice military sound and certainly enjoyed themselves.

The Bayhawks Soccer Club played a bit of a pick up game as they worked their way down Guelph Line.





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Burlington Performing Arts Centre does it up right with a Gala to be remembered.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 5, 2010  Whew! – That’s the sound from the staff at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre as they recover from a hectic week that saw Gordie Tapp take to the stage and the Prime Minister of Canada meet with the Burlington Teen Tour Band. Then have his picture taken with more than 50 dignitaries and on Saturday evening, pull off a Gala event with international class entertainment on the Main Theatre stage.  The Family Room turned into an enchanting place wrapped in a blue glow that saw not only Sarah McLaughlin rule the stage, but a pair of acrobats come out of nowhere to delight the close to 700 people in the place.  The really neat Jazz Quartet sounded great but most of the audience didn’t seem to take to them all that well.

It was the last of the “soft opening” schedule the Centre put on to get the $40 million place opened up, operational and running smoothly.

Cogeco Cable treated the event as a major community special and had their two lead Burlington reporters on hand for the event. Deb Tymstra and Mark Carr did basically end to end coverage. Here Mayor Goldring waits to go "on camera".

Cogeco Cable made it a big event with five camera crews, 14 people and the mobile at the back of the building broadcasting the whole event live.

This was an event that was perhaps as big an event as the Centre will see in the next 12 to 18 months.  Sarah McLaughlin cost close to a King’s ransom and the two acts that were put on during the lead up time in the Family Room were not cheap but it did show that the people who run the Centre know how to do it right.  The Prime Minister in his remarks on the Friday talked of culture and the arts being a vital part of every growing community and something the federal government supports with funding programs.

Burlington has opened a new centre while Toronto is looking for a way to get rid of several city owned entertainment venues that are seen there as an expense rather than a revenue generator for the city.

Few restaurants in the city have yet to take up the idea of putting together packages that allow guests to get in for dinner and still make it to a performance and then serve as a spot where people gather after an event.  One restaurant, literally across the street from the Centre, didn’t appear to even be open on Saturday.

The net worth of the people in the Centre Saturday was more than it cost to build the place and they were certainly making the best of the opportunity to meet and greet one another.  Our Mayor was out there meeting new people, chatting up those he already knew.  City Council was not out in full force.  Marianne Meed Ward was there as was Rick Craven of Ward 2 accompanying his daughter who looked absolutely lovely.

BPAC executive Director Brenda Heatherington would make the cover of Vogue magazine with this dress. This was her night which she celebrated with 700 of the most important people in town.

Executive Director Brenda Heatherington was divine in a full length emerald green gown with her hair swept up giving her a Vogue magazine look many would envy.

The Family Room at the BPAC had a bit of a Winter Wonderlude look to it as 700 people congregated to socialize and get caught up with friends before watching Sarah McLaughlin take to the stage.

Burlington is one of a number of cities that have built cultural venues in their downtown cores and now need to find the right formula to operate the buildings with a subsidy their city coffers can afford.  Hamilton has lost millions on their HECFI operation which recently went through a brutal management shakeup.  Burlington expects a much better experience than Hamilton has had and most believe the city has the right staff team in place to make it all come together financially and at the same time put on events that work for the people who live here.

The Christmas Nut Cracker Suite is sold out – they probably could have added an additional performance.  The Vinyl Café (that CBC program that takes to the road with Stuart Maclean telling the ups and down of Dave, his wife Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie and assorted friends and neighbours) – added a performance to the schedule and is still sold out.

Small cultural groups in the city rent the space and they are finding that the appetite for their offerings is strong.  Jacob Moon, who has a big following, is back for a second performance in the Community Studio Theatre.

While Toronto and its Mayor create a task force to look into a fire sale of three city-owned theatres, officials in at least six municipalities in the province have opened or will soon open theatres they hope will improve the economic prospects of their downtown’s and provide a cultural rejuvenation as well.

Brampton, Richmond Hill, Barrie, Cambridge and St. Catharine’s have either approved new projects or are, like Burlington, now in full operational mode.

This flow of public money created jobs and, as the Globe and Mail put it, provided comfortable seats for the comfortable classes.  The $400 price tag for the Burlington Gala certainly proved that statement.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring says studies indicated local and regional economies would see significant economic spin-off,  with the expected money spent on transportation, dining, drinking, accommodation, shopping and nearby attractions. Locating the theatre downtown and within walking distance of other businesses was always central to the plan, he says.

While the dollars and cents part of the Centre is critical what so far seems to be working for Burlington is a certain buzz about the place. As Goldring said to a reporter: “We are competing with the whole of the GTA as a place to live, work and locate businesses. It’s been proven that businesses are attracted to communities where people want to live. Culture, health care and education are the three most important factors for people deciding where to live”.

Deb Tymstra, entertainment and arts reporter for Cogeco Cable looks out over the Family Room with Allan Pearson, Chair of the BPAC Board. It was an especially big night for Tymstra who was involved with the development of the Centre since its very beginning.

In the past 18 months Burlington has added the McMaster DeGroote School of Business and now the Performing Arts Centre to the horizon.  Serious thinking is about to be given to finding some way to build prime office space above the parking lots on lower Brant and John Streets.

Gary McCluskie, a principal at Toronto’s Diamond and Schmitt Architects designed the theatres in Burlington, Cambridge and St. Catharines, and had a hand in Toronto’s own Four Seasons opera house, says each of the new halls strives to both add to and draw from street life on the sidewalk by featuring expansive windows that try to bring large lobbies out onto the sidewalk, and vice versa. “The arts are about building and binding communities, so we made the buildings engaging and inviting,” said  McCluskie in a news report.

By using windows instead of walls, McCluskie hopes to open up events that have had a reputation for exclusivity since Europe’s grand opera houses went up, brick by brick. “We have highlighted the sense of occasion, and used it as a draw,” says McCluskie.

The firm Diamond and Schmitt Architects, has done a lot of work in Burlington.  They were heavily involved in the development of the Spencer Smith Park and have put together many of the ideas for the development of rejuvenation of the Beachway Park that is now back in the limelight.

Burlington’s  performing arts centre staff hope they can create the kind of business that Richmond Hill is experiencing where Michael Grit has been theatre manager at that city’s Centre for the Performing Arts since it opened on Yonge Street in 2009. Grit says: “Our schedule is insane. I turn away more business than I book. We have only twelve dark days for the first six months of 2012. I’m already booking dates in 2016.”

BPAC staff must surely like words like that.



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They had a ball – it was noisy, it was serene, the Mayor was TERRIBLE but it was a fun night.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 2, 2011 – It was an interesting evening.

Here is what we know.

The Mayor cannot play the piano but Rob Preuss plays the piano very, very well.

We know that Iranians wear red socks.

We know that while Mike Wallace, our Member of Parliament, can dance better than most people expected, but he can’t sing.

We know that Gordie Tapp has still got it.

We know that the Spoons can still do it.

We know that the Silverstein’s, a band that has a sound that isn’t to my particular taste (that’s my age showing) but man do they ever have energy.

Sandy Horne seemed to own the stage as she prowled around with her guitar and signature hat - the Spoons were back in town doing what they started out doing in 1979. Great stuff!

Where did all this knowledge come from?  It was the second to last show of the several month long opening of the brand spanking new Burlington Performing Arts Centre – and the community has certainly taken to the place.

It was “home town” hokey night with several exceptional pieces, as well as a couple that we can forget about.  Robert Stephen, performist with the National Ballet, did a short but touching dance piece that he choreographed himself, accompanied by a woman playing the violin that was close to divine – that would apply to the woman and the violin.

Jian Ghomeshi, CBC  personality and host of Q got convinced to MC the event when he saw the line up and he did his best to let Burlingtonians know that Farsi is the language Persians use and that there are some very nice Persians who come from Iran.  Burlington didn’t care – we are still working our way into diversity – we were just happy to see him up there introducing act after act of our own people.

The male lead in “Billie Elliott”, Miles Erlick, was on the stage with a young local dancer Addison Holley  – he can certainly dance.

And right in there with anything that happens in Burlington was the BTTB – the Burlington Teen Tour Band. They marched through the place as if they owned it – and perhaps they do.

Remember that smile - Gordie Tapp was on the stage in the town he has called home since 1952. He was at his best.

But it was when the man who got a standing ovation from the audience, just by looking at them, came on the stage that the evening took on a different tone and feel.  Everyone knew they were watching one of the great Canadian entertainers.  Gordie Tapp is right up there with Wayne and Shuster

Tapp, who is a consummate pro, still doing the show business circuit, was clearly the star of the evening in, as he informed us, his 90th year.  What I think most people didn’t know was that the hat he wore for years on his television program Hee Haw, was given to him by the late Jimmy Durante – and if you don’t know who he was – well you missed out on another great one.

Tapp told jokes that only he could get away with and the audience lapped up every second of it.

The evening started with that riveting cardinal red stage curtain opening – this was big time – then out popped – to our surprise – the Mayor and the MP.  Not another political speech about how great Burlington was and what a great building we had – please.  Nope – not this time.  These two clowns had gone into show business and they were there to perform for us – and, well let’s just say they are not going to give up their day jobs.

Rick Goldring, our Mayor had taken piano lessons, and in the second half, very innocently asked if he could play something for us – and decent people that we are – we said – sure.  JQ summed it up as well as it could be summed up – it was TERRIBLE.  Mike Wallace, our Member of Parliament didn’t help with his rendition of Gene Kelly doing that classic piece “Singing in the Rain”  It should have rained on that parade, but it was all in family fun – for that’s kind of what it worked out to be.  A community, that got together as a family  recognizing and celebrating its own, in a building that Gordie Tapp said he first heard about when he came to Burlington in 1952.

There were a number of people who just couldn’t make it to the event – so we used technology to pipe them in through an overhead screen – and there they were – talking to us.  One musician who had grown up in Burlington and plied his trade in small bar after small bar said “we would have killed for a place like this”

The Silverstein's changed the perception of music and still ROCK for their solid fan base.

Two groups, the Spoons and Silverstein deserve special mention.  The Spoons were as good as they were 10 years ago.  Sandy Horne, the female lead, prowled around the stage in one of the most evocative performances I’ve seen.  Her movements were the equal of  Robert Stephen the ballet dancer.  And their music – well when they had everyone, including Ghomeshi, sitting on the piano bench, doing a sing along – you just knew they had taken everyone back to a time when the band was at its peak.

The Spoons, formed in Burlington in 1979 grew and went on to become one of those groups that shaped popular music in North America.  They were a delight to hear.

Silverstein – well they were different.  Man, did those guys ever have energy.  The backup guys on the guitars were close to violent with the way they poked at those strings and the lead male did great things with that microphone.

For both the Spoons and Silverstein, the emotions must have been something they savoured.  The Burlington they grew up in and struggled to get a foot hold in the music business is not the Burlington they performed in last night.  They must have wondered how the city got to the point where it actually had a Centre with a great stage and a sound system that still has a little work to be done on it – but one that was miles ahead of what they have had to work with.

For the performers it was a welcome home, for the audience it was also a welcome home – and for Gordie Tapp, who sang – it was good to be home.  And it was good!


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This sort of makes it official but a little snow would help the Ho, Ho, Ho to settle in for a couple of weeks.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, December 1, 2011 – They are going to do it again – the streets are going to be lit up and a line of soldiers is going to guard the entrance to Spencer Smith Park in Downtown Burlington.  And that will be the signal that Christmas is about to come upon us.

The folks that make this event work expect something in the order of 500 people will show up on Sunday, December 4th, as the 16th Annual Burlington Lakeside Festival of Lights begins.  This year more than 500 excited people are expected to be in attendance for the Opening Ceremony, which will take place in Spencer Smith Park following the Burlington Santa Claus Parade.

Lynne Snider hoists a device that will help him drive a stake into the ground to support the Festival of Lights piece he is installing in Spencer Smith Park

The Burlington Welsh Male Chorus will be on hand, hot chocolate, compliments of Coffee Culture Café & Eatery will be served by the Burlington Civitan Club.  The chorus will begin at approximately 4:45 p.m. until the traditional procession of the Burlington Teen Tour Band begins their march from City Hall to Spencer Smith Park at 5:00pm.  Visitors at the Opening Ceremony will also enjoy the lighting of the CHML Tree of Hope.  Festival of Lights Chairwoman, Michele Allan will bring greeting to all with special guests, Honourary Chair Mayor Rick Goldring, M.P Mike Wallace and of course Santa Claus.

The Burlington Lakeside Festival of Lights will glow from dawn to dusk through the Season to January 11th, 2012.







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BPAC Board fails to understand what transparency means and the basics of good governance.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 30, 2011  –  There is nothing nicer than a love story.  We, as people, want to be happy and want the people around us to be happy.  Being “with” someone” makes life that much richer; having been without someone for a considerable length of time I know whereof I speak. But I digress

So when we hear that someone has married or remarried we are happy for them and secure in the knowledge that good things do happen.

The story I want to tell you today is about the prince and the showgirl – well she thinks he’s a prince and she is a showgirl – or is in show business.

Brenda Heatherington, Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre brought a sterling reputation to her job. She deserves a Board that is just as top notch – she doesn’t appear to have one..

Brenda Heatherington came to Burlington from St. Albert, Alberta.  She came with an exceptionally strong reputation and was hired by the Theatre Board to serve as Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.  We were lucky to get her.  I’ve no idea what we are paying her, no idea how long a contract she has – all I know is that she is deliberate, committed and good at her job.

She loves new ideas.  She likes to look for the edge of the envelope and pushes it just a little.  And, oh – she loves shoes.  When you meet her, smile back – for she will give you a dynamite smile – and then glance down and I can almost guarantee you – she will be wearing great shoes.  But again, I digress.

Someone took an idea to Brenda Heatherington.  “Why don’t we” said this producer, “do a show that features the talent that Burlington has exported to New York, Hollywood and dozens of markets in between.”  It was a great idea – and so off they went to rough out the numbers and figure out what it would cost and how it could be marketed.

Keith Strong, member of the BPAC Board. Tough guy who should have been able to ask tough questions and then have the political smarts to get in front of a possible public perception of a conflict of interest. Asleep at the switch

One can imagine how excited theses two must have been – a smart idea focused on local talent that was international in stature.  Both the producer and the Executive Director had settled into a city new to both of them; both with a show business background.  Her with a brand new Performing Arts Centre to develop and him with a beautiful new bride.  Derek Scott, the producer with the idea and Brenda Heatherington had married each other earlier in the year. They had an idea and developed it together.  Man, if that isn’t the stuff of real romance – then my friends you’re all cynics

Heatherington took the idea to her Board and then explained that the producer of what came to be called the Blue Jeans Gala, was the man she was married to: Derek Scott, a man with a very impressive bio of his own.  Nothing wrong with that. Hetherington’s husband and the nature of their relationship is none of the public’s business.  I’m sure everyone wished her the best when the marriage was announced.

Heatherington is a professional and her personal life is kept away from the office – difficult to do however when the producer of a significant show is also her husband.  But these things can be managed – providing everyone knows what’s going on – but in this instance the public in general didn’t know anything until there was a major piece in the Spectator telling the story behind the man who is producing the show.

Allan Pearson, Chair of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre with his Executive Director Brenda Heatherington. Is he going to take lessons on transparency?

And that is when reasonable people begin to ask questions.  How was this vetted by the Board?  What measures were put in place to manage the potential conflicts of interest.  This isn’t done because there is no trust – this is what every lawyer and accountant advises their clients to do every day.  It’s just a basic business practice, transparency and good corporate governance, which we assume the BPAC Board put in place..

However, the BPAC is funded significantly by the public – to the tune of half a million dollars a year and that isn’t chump change.  There are still those who think the whole idea of a Performing Arts Centre was a mistake and can’t wait for a chance to say ‘told ya so’.  And when the numbers are bad – and at some point the numbers will be bad – it’s the nature of show business and entertainment, the BPAC will need all the public support and good will it can find.

When we became aware that Derek Scott, the producer of the Blue Jeans Gala was married to Heatherington we placed a call to Allan Pearson and followed that up with an email.  No response so we followed up with a second phone call asking if a press release had been sent out.  The response to our questions is set out below:

There was no press release announcing the nature of the relationship between Brenda and Derek Scott.  Brenda brought the topic and potential conflict of interest to the Board. It was discussed and the decision was made at the Board level to carry on with Derek, as he is certainly qualified for the job. There was no discussion of a “press release” as, quite frankly, I don’t see this as “news”.

BPAC Chair Allan Pearson. When is it news and when is it not news? When you use public money what you do is news.

Well Mr. Pearson: It may not be news but it is good governance and you are a Board spending public funds.  Also, the day the story appeared in the Spectator – it was news.

In an Open Letter to the members of the Board for the Performing Arts Centre we said:


November 30th, 2011

Open Letter to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre Board of Directors.

TO: Allan Pearson, Chairman, Rick Burgess, Vice-Chair, Peter Ashmore, Rick Craven, Ilene Elkaim, Mayor Rick Goldring (Ex-Officio), Ed Hannah, Mary-Ellen Heiman, Dominic Mercuri, Philippe Pango, Keith Strong, Denise Walker and City of Burlington Acting General Manager of Development and Infrastructure Steve Zorbas

You have let your Executive Director down.  There was an opportunity for this Board to show the public, the people who provide the half a million dollar subsidy you get,  that you are totally transparent and that you keep the books wide open

Close to a year ago your Executive Director came to you with an idea for an event that would feature entertainment talent that came from Burlington.  The event would feature talent the city had exported to New York, Hollywood, London and Los Angeles.   The idea brought to the Board was a good one and Heatherington did the right thing in advising her Board. (Does Heatherington have to take every idea to the Board?  That would take the Executive out of Executive Director wouldn’t it?)  They approved the budget and apparently approved the hiring of the producer.

Brenda Heatherington, Executive Director of the BPAC explained that it was a good idea, the budget was more than reasonable and she believed in the person producing the program – and well she should, she is married to Derek Scott.

That in itself is not a problem.  Yes, there is a real potential for a conflict of interest but if it is declared beforehand it can be acceptable.  In going to her Board on the conflict possibilities Heatherington did what she was supposed to do.  Good on her.

Her Board however failed her.  They in turn should have advised the community of the possibility of a conflict and report that they have looked into the matter and are comfortable with it going forward.

The Blue Jeans Gala is a really good idea guys – but you’ve queered it by not informing the people that have to put up the half a million dollar subsidy they give you to run the place, that the man producing one of your significant shows is married to the Executive Director.  You just tell people – they will understand.  It is when you deliberately don’t tell that people begin to get suspicious.  And neither Brenda Heatherington or her husband deserve to be treated like that.

What is wrong is a Board with a significant amount of legal talent on it – with at least one lawyer who should know better – and you all decide to sit on it. The second lawyer on the Board, Rick Burgess has served as legal counsel for Our Burlington Inc..  He did the incorporation of the not for profit structure we have and was more than patient in getting his invoices paid – which by the way were very reasonable.   Burgess knows better.

The BPAC needs the financial support and good will of the community and  you don’t get that (nay you don’t deserve it) when you hide things. Particularly in matters of trust. Every opportunity to build that trust has to be taken.  It means you are always transparent and on the front edge of good corporate governance practices.

What’s really bothersome is that this had the potential to be a really beautiful story.  Heatherington is a wonderful person.  I don’t know Derek Scott,  but I can say he is a very fortunate man.  The two were married early in the year and I’m sure all their friends are delighted for both of them.

There was an opportunity to tell the story of this woman, new to Burlington, who meets a man in the same field and they marry – and then they go on to take a really cracker jack idea and develop it  into a program that highlights the city and its talent in a way that no one has ever done before – and if the web site is telling the ticket sales story fully – the show is going to do very well.

Those are called win, win, wins – and you let it get away on you.  The BPAC needs every ounce of public support it can get

Now you’ve got a situation where you are vulnerable.  At some point someone who didn’t want the BPAC in the first place will ask “how much did you pay her husband to do the show and why wasn’t it put out to a public tender”.  You’ve read the comments on the Orchids on Upper Middle Road and the $100,000 the city spent on some bloke from Ireland.  “Should have gone to a local artist”, was a comment made publicly by more than one person.  This you do not need.

In a conversation with BPAC Chair Allan Pearson, I outlined the concern and asked if the BPAC had sent out a press release.  I may have missed it.  Nope – there was no press release sent out.  Your chair didn’t think it was necessary.  He didn’t think there was any conflict of interest – and there most certainly was a conflict.  The Board had an opportunity and I would argue a responsibility to get out in front of it and tell the story – which is a great story.

“Pearson said: “it’s not the public’s business”, and he didn’t think some comment from the Board was needed.  Really!

Pearson added that he was disappointed we were asking questions – he should be disappointed if we hadn’t asked questions.  Sitting on information that the people paying the bills have a right to know smacks of small town cronyism; that ‘we know what’s best for the community’ attitude

I have concerns with a Board that decides it can determine what the public needs to know and question the political savvy of a group that would let this slide.  Particularly disappointing is Ed Hannah’s going along with the idea of letting it slide.  (Maybe he was absent and wasn’t part of the decision?)

Hannah has degrees from Harvard Law School. Osgoode Hall Law School, York University where he did an MBA and before all that Yale where he earned a degree summa cum laude, in economics and political science.  That’s what you call a gold plated collection of degrees – but the decision not to go public with the potential for the conflict of interest was a mistake politically and a mistake of corporate governance – and Hannah of all people should know better. 

Let me however be perfectly clear, all there was, was the potential for some conflict.  You declare it – and get it out of the way. The Board  didn’t do that and now they have an Executive Director who is left hanging out in the wind with people snickering about the great deal she got for her husband.   She deserves better.

The Blue Jeans Gala should be a good show – we expect to attend and review it.  Been a long, long time since we’ve seen and heard Jimmy  Tapp.  We’ll let you know how he does.


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Local artists report strong sales results; announce an art scholarship and begin planning for the next season

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 28, 2011 That Art in Action studio tour held the first weekend in November – they made some money and the turnout at the individual studios was very good.  Total sales at the 8 studios totaled more than $12,000.  Which is very good – because we saw a very nice, small painting being sold to a young lady for $40.00 – would have been priced at about $100.+ in Toronto.

The number of visitors to all the studios seemed a little low (they reported 480), based on our experience –  we covered all eight locations and took in the Burlington Art Centre Wearable Art show as well.

The artists are happy and setting out to put out the Call for Submissions for the next show.  The Call will be open from January to March 16th – forms will be available on the web site: at www.artinaction.ca

Don Graves, on the right, showing a canvas to a perspective buyer (she bought) will head up the Art Discussions program for the Art in Action crowd.

In June the artists will hold a Silent Auction and then as fall of 2012 rolls around they will announce their Pre-Tour and Gallery Show.

Also on the agenda for this group is an Art Scholarship offering to each High school graduating class in the community. The artisans hope to finalize this before the end of June.  Darlene Throop is the point person on the art scholarship initiative. She can be reached at  (darlene.throop@gmail.com)

Art in Action Discussion Sessions on subjects such as; the best way to photograph your art for promotion; How to entice a patron and the tax implications to both the artist and the patron, and how to best secure an on-line presence; applying for grants, and what is actually available, are parts of this program. This will be headed up by Don Graves  (d.graves@cogeco.ca).

Also on the agenda for the Art in Action people is some jabber, jabber with people at city hall about the fees they were charged to hold the Studio Tours.  Someone at city hall appears to have experienced a brain wave and charged the artists $65. Per day for each of the eight locations – which took a little more than $1000. out of their coffers.

The artists got lumped in with the people who go door-to-door selling aluminum siding and magazines.  There are reported to be more than one council member, who wants to see this little bit of regulation done away with.



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The quiet of a house decorated for the Christmas, lit by candles with the scents of the Season everywhere.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  – November 25, 2011   Christmas is a hustle and bustle time of year – and some of us just collapse late in the afternoon of Christmas Eve hoping we`ve gotten it all done.  It has not always been this way.  There was a time, here in Burlington, when families gathered in the quiet of their homes, which may not have had electricity, to share the Season and the Joy.

And when they said “family” they meant all 12 boys who farmed the more than 1000 acre farm now just a fragment of what it once was at Guelph Line north of Upper Middle Road.

A sleigh, that many Christmases ago was drawn along Guelph Line through drifts of snow, getting passengers and packages back home for the holiday.

Ireland House takes on a very special feel when it is illuminated with candles.  On December 9th, between 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm (just the one date) take a break from the fast pace of the season and experience the unique charm and history of a historic time and place. Guests can prepare to ignite their senses as Ireland House opens its doors to take groups on a captivating guided tour of the site illuminated by candlelight. Outside follow the special path to Santa’s Cabin and visit with Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus in their historic cottage decorated for the holidays…

The Ireland House will be filled with the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional Christmas. There will be beautiful seasonal greenery and displays. As heritage educators perform, grab a cup of hot cider and have Father Christmas greet you! Enjoy historic cooking demonstrations and sampling by the fire; plenty of period style refreshments and beverages and a unique keepsake craft will allow you to take home your memories for years to come!

There is a limited amount of space, so book now.  Tickets are now available and include activities and refreshments.  $12.00 adults, $8.00 children.   Tickets for Candlelight Tours must be purchased in advance. Reserve with credit card by phone.

And don’t forget the Holiday Gourmet Gift Basket Raffle!

Valued at over $450.00! Tickets are only $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00. Draw is December 9th, 2011, the evening of Candlelight Tours.



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Seeing Christmas through different eyes and a great history lesson an added bonus at Ireland House.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  November 25, 2011  It might seem just a tad early to plan for Christmas Season events – but if you’re a busy household – then you need to plan and the Ireland House  Heritage Holiday event is something that deserves a second look.

If you take the time to spend part of a day at Ireland House you will experience a much different Christmas spirit.  The Ireland House goes back to the early to mid-1800s.   It is an historic jewel.

Tracy VanderVliet, an educator at Ireland House stands with the gift basket that is part of the Christmas Season holiday. It will be given to one of the free draw winners for all those who attend.

The Heritage Holiday event is every Sunday in November and December up to and including Sunday, December 17, 2011 An Old-Fashioned Christmas & Santa’s Cabin.  Ireland House is at Oakridge Farm, 2168 Guelph Line, just north of Upper Middle Road  If you’ve got questions try calling them –  905-634-3556

The Sunday events started  November 20, 11:00am to 4:00pm, and will be held every Sunday thereafter through to and including  December 17th.   There is a chance to see the historic home decorated as it would have been decorated in the mid 1800s  Children can then scoot across to Santa’s Cabin and make a Christmas toy if they wish.  There is a small fee for the toy making.

The day gives you and your children a chance to see the Christmas Season in a simpler setting to  discover and celebrate the season while seeing the traditions and customs that shaped many of the Christmas celebrations around the world today…  It’s a day away from the hustle and bustle back to a simpler time and enjoy the smells, sights, sounds and tastes of Christmas on a historic Farm!

The young ones get to make their own holiday arrangement,  make a decorative wood snowman, make and stamp your own Christmas card,  punch your own tin ornament!

Additional charges apply to some activities.

Ireland House is a city of Burlington initiative run by Burlington Museums.


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We get to see just how glamorous this city can be at the Celebration opening of Performing Arts Centre.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 23, 2011  – Will it be tails and white ties?  Probably not; but it will be as fancy as dress gets in Burlington with the Celebration opening of the Burlington Performance Arts Centre (BPAC) on Saturday December 3rd.  For those women who don’t have a hair dresser appointment – get a wiggle on.

People in the BPAC marketing department are predicting a SOLD OUT of the 700 seats that are going for $400. A pop.  And there are no freebies for this one.  You buy a ticket and you get a seat.

Sarah McLachlan has an ability to "caress" a microphone and will enchant the audience at the $400. a seat "Celebration" event.

There are, reportedly, a couple of Council members who are not planning on attending.  The Mayor will be there – and a few other council members have said they will be in the building – but not all of them.

BPAC reports that they will break even on this event:  “It wasn’t designed as a money maker but rather as a ‘celebratory’ event for both the city and the Centre”.

Sarah McLaughlin who does not come cheap and if you want to get a sense of just what she is going to cost multiply the $400 per seat price by the 700 seats and you’ve got revenue of $280,000 – and if it’s a break-even – well you can figure out how much McLaughlin is going to cost.

This event is part of what former chairman of the Theatre Board, Keith Strong said would be a ‘soft opening’.  The policy was not to rush into the opening and make all kinds of mistakes.  The decision was to take small steps as they worked out the kinks in the building and in the operating procedures.  So far, there have been very few significant problems with the building and staff is developing quite well.

Small things, like the look of the web site are getting attention. “They are just little things” explained Marketing manager Hillary Sadler “but they make a difference in to the user experience”.


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Empty nesters, Golden Years operatives, Seniors, recently retired – all have a new place to hang out – it isn’t a Tim Hortons.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  November 22, 2011  Carole Ward, Burlington’s 2010 Civic Recognition Award winner for community service once said that Canada is about to experience a tsunami of seniors and doesn’t think the community is at all prepared for the services and support they will need. “There will come a point”, she said, “ where seniors will need help dressing and feeding themselves and many will want to stay in their homes for as long as they can”, and Ward doesn’t believe the community is at all prepared for the number of people who will need care and support.

This generation of people, known ever since they were born as the Baby Boomers have changed every aspect of society as the moved from pre-school, to elementary, high school and on to university.  Now that they are seniors there is no reason to suggest they aren’t going to continue to make waves which Ward calls a tsunami because she believes we are not at all prepared for the demands they are going to make on society.  And if this crowd doesn’t get what it wants from its government – they will elect one that will give them what they want.

Keeping active and mentally alert is a part of getting older but there are only so many books you can read and most of the stuff on television is hardly worth the time.

Third Age Learning, Burlington (3ALB) is a new community organization dedicated to offering lecture series to the 55+ community.  The inaugural series, An Introduction to Third Age Learning, begins Jan 19, 2012.

Keeping mentally alert once you're into retirement and away from a job isn't always easy and television isn't going to cut it. A lecture series designed for seniors might be just the ticket for you.

We increasingly live in a sound-bite world. The Third Age Learning model, however, offers the opportunity to delve into a topic in breadth and depth.  Once the program is underway there will be as many as 8 expert speakers presenting differing perspectives on a single subject.  Series 1 is an introduction.  Going forward, each series will focus on a single theme.

Registrations for Series 1 is going well, although there are still have a few seats available. 3ALB is a registered non-profit, entirely run by volunteers who are seniors.  Third Age Learning, Burlington – 3ALB – is the newest Canadian member of the Third Age Learning movement established in France in 1973. The movement rapidly spread throughout Europe and arrived in Canada, in Sherbrooke PQ, in the late 1970’s.

The audience 3ALB proposes to serve is the 55+ community. Multiple research studies indicate that for this community, preventing cognitive decline is perhaps the best strategy for aging well.

Each presentation series consists of 8 lectures offered over a period of 8 weeks. We plan our inaugural series to run from Thursday January 19 to Thursday March 8, 2012. When the project is fully implemented we anticipate offering two Fall and two Winter series, for a yearly total of 32 lectures.

Each weekly meeting consists of:  An information-rich, entertaining, 45-minute presentation delivered by a subject matter expert – a respected economist, for example, or a working actor, a heritage gardener, or a professional historian – typically accompanied by PowerPoint slides or some other visual augmentation

A 15-minute break for coffee, chat, and the opportunity to write a question for the presenter that they hope will result in a lively, often provocative, and always informative Q&A session

Participants should leave with enough information and contacts to follow up on their own, or with friends and family, if they find themselves fascinated by a brand new interest. There are Three Age Learning groups in Guelph, Kitchener that have, for more than twenty years, consistently delivered sold out series to audiences of upwards of 200 members.

Registration fee is $40. For each 8 lecture series – five bucks apiece, less than a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

For registration and more information click here.

For more detail on the program click here.

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Four scotches in five minutes – not bad for a retired bookstore owner who set council straight on the designated homes registry.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 21, 2011 –  When someone appears before Council to speak to an issue they are given five minutes to make their point.  Jane Irwin, retired book store owner and a one time member of the Heritage Committee told council way back in April,  she was there to scotch some rumours and false information about the Heritage Property Registry .

“Watching the recent streamed Community Development Committee meeting,” said Irwin,  “I seemed to hear certain misstatements of fact about the Heritage Property Registry  – – which I had heard before, and which I hope to set right tonight.

I want to speak to you before your Workshop because untruthful rumors, whatever their sources, can be very difficult to correct, especially if they circulate unchallenged.

This is a Burlington home on Walkers line that is on the housing inventory and has been given a grade which tells something about the house. That's all the grade does. There is much confusion about the inventory grades and what they mean.

Councillors hear a lot from spokesmen claiming to represent about 1/5 of owners of properties on the heritage register.  Spokesmen, she added are “not sworn to speak the truth to Council”  Luther Holton, Ms Irwin advised, “speaks very well for himself and his mother and needs no spokesman”.

I’d like to scotch 4 of them” said Irwin.

1:   Registry was not produced by the Heritage Committee, but by Burlington’s Planning staff, initially professional Planner Marilyn Lagzdins.  The Director of Planning at the time was Gary Goodman.

2:  Inventory was never produced by summer students. That statement is completely and utterly false.  It implies that irresponsible students with no experience, no mature judgment for the job put homes on a list.  Not true.

3: There is the belief that the Grades A B C D that were assigned to homes were subjective or impressionistic.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The grade assignment criteria were the result of objective evaluations based on meticulously responsible criteria.  There were 20 criteria in 5 different categories with a ceiling that could be given in each category.  A grade of C represented “ordinary” standard and a grade of D was given to properties for which there was no information.   We made an annual presentation of the revised Inventory to Council every year from 1992 until 2001

One of the references used for the development of the criteria was Harold Kalman’s    The Evaluation of Historic Buildings  and the 1970 Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings   Parks Canada.  Click on the link to learn what grades A,B,C and D mean.

The Council Committee meeting was told that the Burlington Historical Society has data on some 80 First Class buildings in the city that are more than 100 years old and there are almost 30 Century Farms in Burlington  — living history.  Irwin also pointed out that in 1992 the Lakehurst Villa, the La Salle Pavilion and Shore Acres (now Paletta) Mansion were not on the Inventory.

4:  There is the hint that Heritage Committee members were unpaid volunteers, amateurs or worse, dilettantes.  Heritage Committee members in my experience were lawyers, architects, designers / builders, engineers and planners. People whose ancestors came to Burlington more than 200 years ago.

A Burlington farm house - thought to be of historical significance and given a grade on the inventory the city keeps of such properties.

To describe the people who sat on that committee the way they have been described is a dis-courtesy to the members of your other volunteer advisory committees

Irwin added that: “Professionals working in Toronto for the Government of Ontario, including one whose responsibility it was to revise the Ontario legislation that has been the most troublesome to property owners, and which has gravely disrespected their right do what they like with their own properties”.

Council got its first primer on what the issues were behind the squabbles over buildings that are on a Heritage Registry. Mayor Goldring was so impressed with her performance that he asked Ms Irwin if she would take part in the workshop session planned to fully brief Council members before a second workshop session takes place with the owners of the homes that are on the Registry.  She didn’t take him up on the offer.



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It took longer than expected and it will take even longer to get to like them but the orchids have been planted.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 14, 20111  Have you ever had one of those days where you were probably better off just staying in bed?  That was sort of the situation with the unveiling of the “orchids” that were set up on Upper Middle Road immediately to the west of the railway underpass west of Appleby, which is a part of Burlington that is coming together quite nicely with all kinds of construction on Appleby Line.

There was to be a formal setting up of three large metal orchards which were part of a “public art” program.  These three orchards had a price tag of just over $100,000.  But that wasn’t the funny part.

Orchids being `planted`on Upper Middle Road west of Appleby Line.

They were originally to go up on November 9, but that date got pushed back to the 14th – Media were told there were some “transportation” issues.  These things happens.  The event was to take place at 1:00 pm and a collection of city councillors and staff were on hand to have their pictures taken with these three six-metre tall bronze and stainless steel sculptured orchids. Interesting bit of art and a lot more understandable than whatever it is they call it outside the Burlington Art Centre.

Councillor Sharman, with wrench in hand looks at the bolt holes - which weren`t quite large enough for the bolts. Ooops!

On November 14th, the “orchids” were carefully taken off the trucks that were transporting them.  The city had placed concrete pads in the ground with sturdy bolds that would keep the pieces upright and in place.  We were told later that the bolts were 25 mm wide and that there were eight of the things for each orchid.  It all looked pretty solid – however, when it came time to set the orchids on their bases – guess what? The holes in the base of the orchid that the bolts were to go through was only 20 mm wide.  Ooops!

Someone had to get a drill real fast and make those hole bigger – easier said than done.  The plates at the base of the orchids were more than an inch of steel thick.  This was not going to be easy.  But whoever was doing the actual work got it done – not all of it – but enough for the pictures to be taken and the first of the orchids went up and the photo-op types went back to their offices.

The three six-metre tall bronze and stainless steel orchids, painted in bright colours are installed near the underpass on Upper Middle Road.  One can understand the intention, but the orchids are just a little difficult to appreciate by people driving their cars and there isn’t much in the way of pedestrian traffic in that part of town.  A driver is on a road that dips down to go under the rail line and there really isn’t time to look up and appreciate the public art.

The intention was good – the placement of the art – not so good.  Getting the art from Cork Ireland, where they were made, was almost as awkward as installing the art on Upper Middle Road.

Art and a community is never easy.  There are still people in Toronto who don’t like the Moore sculptures in their city hall square.  Art is very personal – it soothes or challenges your sense of taste – and is often confrontational and challenging; that’s what art is supposed to do.

Burlington engaged a company in London Ontario to handle the selection of an artist, thus getting the decision out of local hands, where there would have been all kinds of pressure for someone local.  That was a good move and some informed, sophisticated people were involved in that process which went very well.

Burlington did all the right things with this project.  They went international when looking for artists, and when the jury selected someone from Ireland, there was the expected noise from local people about not giving our own people a chance.  Our own people do quite well internationally, thank you.

The work, done by Alex Pentek of Cork Ireland who won the competition over 50 other entrants, was more than a year in the making.

In 2010, artists from across Canada and other countries submitted Expressions of Interest to design public art to complement the Upper Middle Road median between Appleby and Walker’s lines.

Proposals were reviewed by an independent public art jury — which included practicing arts professionals and representatives from the local community. The city allocated $100,000, plus consulting fees, for the city’s first public art project meant to complement the Upper Middle Road grade separation — a $15.4 million project completed earlier this year.

This design was shortlisted in an international competition for a landmark public sculpture overlooking Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Australia. While not selected, this idea gained an underground following with its own anonymous web site: www.roozilla.com

The Expression of Interest, or the call to artists, was advertised in several forums, including: the Community Planners, Inc.’s and City of Burlington’s websites; an e-mail sent by the Burlington Art Centre to all of its members; paid advertisements in Akimbo, a professional artists website, and the Burlington Post; requests to other Burlington arts organizations and Oakville’s and Mississauga’s arts councils to notify artists; as well as word of mouth.

One can understand why the jury looking into the work of the 50 artists that sent in submission to the Expression of Interest were excited when they saw the work of Alex Pentek.   The artist has an international following and has done some hugely imaginative work that is quite exciting.  Burlington just might become one of the few places in the world that has a “Pentek” .

The city budgeted $100,000 for the public artwork — which included the artist’s travel and accommodation in Burlington — is part of the $15.8-million project budget for the construction of the Upper Middle Road underpass.   The commissioning of public art for Upper Middle Road is part of the city’s Public Art Master Plan of which the rather smart looking bicycle racks scattered throughout the city are also a part.  Mostly local people did that work.

Beating out nearly 50 artists in Canada and internationally in a city-run art contest, the Cork, Ireland resident says he came across the project on the professional artist website Akimbo while in the process for looking for work internationally.

Pentek has been making large-scale and site-specific sculptures for 15 years and his works have ranged from a six-metre tall illuminated sculpture of a dandelion made from bronze and fibre optic cable to a 12-ton steel hedgehog — Orchids is his first Canadian-featured piece.

Once the pieces were completed and ready (earlier in October), they were transported in shipping crates from Cork to Antwerp in Belgium and then to Halifax, N.S. From there, they were sent to Brampton by train and eventually Burlington by truck, arriving last Friday (Nov. 11).  Needing a day to inspect the pieces, Pentek oversaw the final installation of the three orchids..

When asked what he thought of Burlington, Pentek said he was happy to see a level of art appreciation in the community.  “Coming from the outside, I see a very interesting community keen on preserving cultural heritage and encouraging the arts,” he said.

When news of the orchid sculptures was first released by the city last year and its selection of an international artist, several residents sent letters and comments to the Post explaining their frustration over the city not featuring a local artist for the project.

But Riley says residents have it all wrong. “I like the piece for its concept and its historical and geographical significance,” said Riley. “It goes beyond the mundane and it’s an excellent piece for Burlington.”

“It’s important to not only have local artists featured in our city, but we need to bring international artists here too,” he explained. “Not only will it diversify our culture, but it will also encourage our artists to go outside of our area and be recognized internationally — this is a key point our community doesn’t understand. It’s important for our artists to expand.”

Andrea Halwa, vice-president and cultural manager of the London, Ont.-based firm Community Planners Inc., was hired by the city to plan and implement the underpass art project  as well as oversee the artist selection process.  She has been the executive director for the London Arts Council for more than eight years, overseeing the administration of London’s community arts investments and public art programs.

The Photo Op - Artist Alex Pentek on the left, displays a portion of the Orchid to Councillors Sharman and Lancaster

She lists her extensive arts experience to include being “a professional member” of Americans for Arts and its National Public Art Network, as well as a loose knit group of public art managers across Canada.  Halwa also has a teaching position within the arts management program at the University of Western Ontario.

It was this experience, Halwa says, that drew the interest of the Burlington-based Carrie Brooks-Joiner and Associates to contact her to act as an associate for developing the Burlington Public Arts Master Plan — and eventually why the city selected her to oversee the jury and artist selection process.

The jury consisted of Wayne Moore and Deborah Pearce, Ward 6 resident Scott Arbuckle and Brian Meehan, executive director and chief curator of Museum London in London, Ont.

When asked how the process worked, Director of Burlington  Parks and Recreation, Chris Glenn,  explained that “in this case Community Planners Inc., would have been charged with the selection process, which would have used a level of consultation from our staff, a member who was connected (to the project) at that time… they have since moved on,” Glenn said. “They would have had a dialogue with respect to number and type of person/artist that we would need with a certain skill set to align with the type of work in mind and… a bit of knowledge base of Burlington. They would then start to go through a process, to find some people and ask them to volunteer on the jury… in this case we were looking for someone with experience in bigger structures.”

We have cribbed extensively from the Burlington Post for this piece and want to include portions of an editorial they ran.


There was a lot of noise about the delays and the process that was used to select the artist – that’s all part of what a community is.  Not possible to keep everyone happy.  One of the local media certainly wasn’t happy with the choice of artist and let their provincialism show when in an editorial they said:

Surely we had a skilled sculptor living in Burlington who could have produced something as equally spectacular. If no one in Burlington was capable of taking up the challenge are we to believe that Canada does not have an artist talented enough to spearhead a special creation? But, no, our tax money was spent outside of the country.

Heck, we apparently don’t even have the expertise to set the art selection process in motion. That $20,000 job went to a London, Ont. company.

We know that art has no geographic boundaries. However, the city could have stressed the artwork must be made in Canada. What’s wrong with that?

Well just what is wrong with that?  It is a very provincial outlook and not what the art world is all about.  A number of Burlington artists are recognized world-wide and Burlington has, with the installation of the orchids recognized a world class artist.

Halwa made an important point when she said of the kerfuffle in local media: “It’s interesting, we have a very good working relationship with the media and our process for these types of programs is really transparent; I really hope that Burlington has adopted the approach for other public art projects as every project is going to have an artist that feels it should have been “his” project or “her” project or they could have done a better job, etc. The process we use has the jury making the decision and the jury is a mix of community folks, artists, arts administrators, etc. so it is not a process that can really be tampered with. Alas, ‘can’t win ’em all’ really applies here.”

The public got to here from the artist when Pentek spoke at the Burlington Art Centre about his work where he explained the importance of having public art that is unique and meaningful to Burlington during a recent meet-and-greet at the city’s art centre last Sunday.

“With a practice focused on making large-scale commissioned work over the past 15 years, as well as temporary gallery-based work, I’m very excited to work on a project that can create a sense of community through a legacy of shared experience,” Pentek said in an interview at the Burlington Art Centre, where he presented his design of three six-metre tall bronze and stainless steel orchid sculptures.

During his presentation to a room of nearly 20 people, the Irish artist did admit coming up with a design for the project had challenged him a bit.

Pentek, the winner of the Burlington public art competition has always focused on outdoor work. An example of one of his pieces is shown above.

“For one I couldn’t get great images of the site and number two, I have to admit, the site really didn’t inspire me,” he said. “The infrastructure was fully functional, but something had to go in here to lift it up.”

That’s why Pentek says he decided to go for a more colourful and realistic look to his orchids as opposed to a more metallic design.

“It would have been easier to work in monochrome, single-tone structures, but I felt that given where it’s going and the concrete around, the pieces needed to lift the area with vibrant colours,” he said.

The design for Pentek’s Orchids was loosely based on his previous successful work on the illuminated dandelion he did in Cork, he says, which used bronze and fibre optic cables.

Pentek researched various orchids from Burlington’s horticultural history and during a 2010-trip to Burlington, Pentek met with a Royal Botanical Gardens team to view pressed and refrigerated samples of flowers, as well as meet artist Georgian Guenther to view her smaller representations of orchids.

He finally settled on three orchids that were once native to Burlington, including the Cypripedium acaule, commonly known as Pink Lady’s Slipper, Arethusa bulbosa (Dragon’s Mouth), and Triphora trianthophora (Three Birds).

“It has been my aim to create this site specific work by celebrating the rich natural heritage of the local area through the diversity and delicacy of these wild orchids whose stillness and organic forms will visually complement the surrounding rail and road traffic infrastructure in an uplifting and light-hearted way,” Pentek said.

Civic officials and politicians gather around the $100,000 piece of public art. Can you name all of the usual suspects. The artist in the center holds the large wrench used to tighten the nuts on the bolts once the holes for the bolts were enlarged.

Totaling six pieces, the orchid structures are made up of three bronze stems sealed with beeswax and three bulbs/flower tops.

Although the pieces are weather protected, Pentek says the stems may have to be touched up every year or so. The flower tops are painted with urethane paint, a strong, robust outdoor paint — which have been supplied to the city by the artist for any future touch-ups — and covered with a polyurea protective coating that Pentek says should withhold Canadian winters.

“I did not want to have them lacquered (a clear or coloured varnish) because if there was the slightest bit of movement, the paint on the pieces would crack,” he explained.

Pentek went on to assure his audience that the fibre optic and low-cost, low-maintenance LED lighting worked into the construction of the orchids will be more a subtle accent to the surrounding street lighting at night, rather than a distraction to drivers.

“It won’t be strong enough to illuminate the street on its own,” he said. “As you’re walking you’ll clearly see them lit, but you won’t be dazzled by them when driving.”

Pentek has been practicing as a full time artist both nationally and internationally since he graduated from the Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork, Ireland in 1996. He has focused on creating large scale site specific work, and has also made temporary gallery based works in paper and sound performances.


Public art can be astonishingly attractive. This piece, done by Pentek is an example of his work. Burlington`s Orchids, will in time become part of the local scene.

“I like to stay abreast of current scientific and mathematical theories, and elements of these inform my working practice on a practical and philosophical level. The study of light through Holography is an area of particular interest to me where information about the ‘whole’ is contained within each smaller ’part’ encoded by laser light interference patterns.  I am also interested in the question of the emergence of life in Earth‘s early oceans, where complex systems achieved order not through top down commands but through a bottom up grass roots level of interaction. (Similar ‘passive dynamic’ systems can also be found working in today’s communities in the natural world, from ant colonies to the formation of modern cities).  I enjoy exploring these holistic and interactive ideas, which are relevant to the relationship between ‘self’ and the surrounding ‘community’ and World in which we live.

“While the ideas behind each work vary greatly, the work is interpreted just as differently and validly by all who experience it. It is my aim to create openly challenging and engaging work that not only explores different themes and ideas but that also communicates on a more primary visual level.”

The key word there is “challenging”; that is what art is all about.  Artists bring what is possible to us; they force us to look at things differently and while that may make us a bit uncomfortable it also enriches the mind and the spirit.

Not all of Pentek`s work is displayed outdoors. This paper mobile has an evocative look and feel to it.

“As I mainly make large scale permanent work, the processes behind realizing any project are an important part of the work.  Using my own set of skills as an artist where possible (such as drawing and sculpting / casting in various materials); I enjoy the challenge of working to a large scale by drawing on the skills and expertise of architects, engineers and fabricators to realize a project. Also, often introducing an idea to the local community through public consultation, communication and people skills become important to the success of a project as well as expertise in the finished material of the work itself.”

Our Mayor, in his press release said: “Burlington is an innovative and progressive community, built upon a strong sense of community pride. Public art projects like Orchids help give shape to that pride. We’re excited to see such an impressive art project come to life.”

The public chatter overt the Orchids just might move The Pier off the front pages for the Pier will eventually get built band it will be loved by all – but those orchids will stick in the craw of many for a long time.  Fortunately the artist lives in Ireland and he won’t have to put up with all the noise.  The Mayor makes an important point when he says public art helps give shape to who we are – it also draws out comment that – well perhaps the words were better left unsaid.

Are the Orchids good art?  That’s for you to decide.  They just might grow on you.






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An immigrant and a refugee became our Governor General – talks at RBG of her experiences.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 13, 2011  For former Governor General Adrianne Clarkson there was no such thing as a short answer and if you were into great detail from an informed and knowledgeable speaker who was there right on the front lines, then you would have enjoyed the talk given by Clarkson at the Royal Botanical Gardens last Sunday afternoon.  Some 150 people were on hand to hear what she had to say about the ten people she wrote of in her most recent publication, Room for all of us, which is the story of ten people who immigrated to Canada and the contribution those ten have made to the welfare of the country.

Clarkson argues that we are a richer and at the same time more complex country because of our approach to immigration, which, she pointed out is, significantly different than that of other countries.  In Canada` she explained `we expect the people who arrive as landed immigrant to become citizens and some 80% of them do, which is the highest percentage in the world.  The Australians percentage is about 75%  while in the United States around 55% of those who arrive as immigrants eventually become citizens.

In Europe, added Clarkson, landed immigrants cannot become citizens.  They are in a country as workers and when they are no longer needed they are forced to return to the country of origin.  Clarkson told of a housekeeper she had in Paris where she served as Agent General for Ontario.   The woman had been in France for more than 30 years but could have been told to leave the country with just 24 hours’ notice.

The former host of CBC programs the Fifth Estate and Take 30 certainly knew her subject and she entertained her audience for well over an hour before she sat to autograph copies of her book.

Burlingtonians line up to have their books autographed by former Governor General Adrianne Clarkson.

Clarkson, whose  family immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong and settled in Ottawa knew what it was to be an immigrant and told her audience of the less than honourable  past of Canada`s immigration policy `We were no better than many of the others when we interned our Japanese citizens during the Second World War or turned back a ship loaded with Jews during that time as well.

Clarkson at RBG book signing where she spoke of her immigrant experience and the contribution immigrants make to Canadian society.

Canada has changed significantly since that time and the waves of recent immigrants included men who did not want to serve in the Vietnam War and the thousands of Vietnamese Boat people who came to this country.  Tamils have come to this country as well, and each time a wave of immigrants arrives this county accepts them and they integrate and become a part of who we are today.  Clarkson believes we are a stronger and better country because of our immigration policies.

It was the story of these people that Clarkson wanted to tell.  Of the ten people in the book she knew five personally and two others were friends. Ì had to find the other three ‘explained Clarkson.

Clarkson passed on an interesting fact that few probably realized about the Boat People.  The federal government at the time agreed to admit 25,000 people and local church groups clamored to be able to bring in more.  The government agreed and said that if Canadians were prepared to sponsor more and put up $2500. per person then more could be admitted – and Canada eventually brought in 150, 000 boat people who quickly became part of the Canadian fabric.

Her audience learned more about what immigrants have done to and for Canada than most knew when they walked into the room.   In the very early 1900`s we brought in 20,000 new people and we know bring in 300,000 every year and they all eventually fit into the country and add to what we are.

Former Governor General Adrianne Clarkson spoke about her book at an RBG event on the weekend.

The Canada we are today explained Clarkson is much, much different than the Canada she came to in 1942.  Clarkson is the first immigrant and refugee to become Governor General of this country.  We have indeed come along way and after listening to Clarkson one can begin to realize, understand and appreciate the contribution immigrants have made to our country.

Upon leaving the Office of Governor General Clarkson, along with her husband formed the Institute for Canadian Citizenship that engages Canadians in citizenship through innovative programs, campaigns and partnerships designed to ensure new citizens are welcomed and included as equals, to create meaningful connections among all Canadian citizens, to foster a culture of active, engaged citizens and to celebrate what it means to be Canadian.

And that is exactly what Adrianne Clarkson was doing on a Saturday afternoon in Burlington at an event sponsored by A Different Drummer, a Burlington bookstore.




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Mayor snags honoured speaker for Inspire series; Andre Picard to speak November 23.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  November 12, 2011

Going out on a high note is the best way to leave the stage – which is what Mayor Goldring is doing with his Inspire series when, Andre Picard, Health reporter and columnist for the Globe and Mail will be the featured speaker at the last of the 2011 series the Mayor instituted during his first year in office.

Attendance has been good and it will grow as people get used the idea of speakers coming to Burlington with new ideas that stimulate and offer new and different perspectives and begin to recognize the quality of the speakers the Mayor is bringing to the city.

The series started with Christopher Hume, Architectural reporter and columnist for the Toronto Star who told his audience that McMaster University`s behavior in the way they handled building of their Burlington campus on the South Service Rd., was a moral outrage.  There was no doubt in his mind where he stood on all this.

Gil Penalosa was the second featured speaker in the Mayor's Inspired series.

That was followed by  Gil Penalosa, a passionate advocate for improving quality of life through the promotion of walking and bicycling, and of parks, trails and other public spaces as great places which foster vibrant cities with healthier communities and happier residents.

Penalosa earned a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from UCLA’s Management School. Following years of private and public sector senior managerial experience, the Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia (pop. 7 m), appointed him Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the city.

Penalosa led his team to design and build over 200 parks, of which the best known is the Simón Bolívar (360 hectares). They were also successful in opening 91 kilometres of car-free city roads on Sundays, the Ciclovia, where over 1.3 m. people come out weekly to walk, run, skate and bike. They also created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending and since the first year has become the main recreational event in the country.

Tom Rand, author of Kick was the third speaker in the Inspire series. He advocated ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

Penalosa was followed by Kick author Tom Rand, a successful software entrepreneur who survived the dot com bubble in 2000. Rand now focuses his efforts on carbon mitigation and is active in Cleantech venture capital, technology incubation and commercialization plus public advocacy. Rand is the Cleantech Practice, Lead Advisor at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto and sits on the board of a number of clean energy companies and organizations, including Morgan Solar.

One speaker was on the platform the night of an NHL playoff game – but the crowd was still good – in the 150 + range.

The series have in the past been held at the Ron Joyce Centre of the McMaster DeGroote School of Business on the South Service Road.  The Mayor has decided to keep the business in the family and this last event for the 2011 series will take place in the Community Theatre of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.  The event starts at 7 pm – the Mayor`s office likes to get a handle on possible attendance – the room holds just over 200 people.

Now – the speaker – Andre Picard.

Picard is the Globe and Mail’s public health reporter and columnist who was recently named the Conference Board of Canada’s CIBC scholar-in-residence.

The program has funded scholars since 2005, enabling them to carry out research on issues that resonate throughout Canada. Picard’s research topic is The Path to Health Care Reform: Policy and Politics.

“He’s the top health journalist in the country,” said Anne Golden, president and CEO of the Conference Board of Canada. “He’s able to cover both the policy issues and the politics because he’s been so engaged on the whole range of issues around all our health-care systems.”

The College of Family Physicians of Canada named Picard a recipient of its 2011 CFPC/Scotiabank Family Medicine Lectureship Award.

Mr. Picard has been recognized for years as one of the country’s top public policy writers. His books, Critical Care: Canadian Nurses Speak for Change and The Gift of Death: Confronting Canada’s Tainted-Blood Tragedy, were best-sellers.

Among Mr. Picard’s previous awards are the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism, the Canadian Policy Research Award, the Atkinson fellowship for public policy research and the Centennial Prize of the Pan American Organization. He was named Canada’s first Public Health Hero by the Canadian Public Health Association and was honoured as a champion of mental health. He is a four-time finalist for the National Newspaper Awards.

Picard said being named the CIBC scholar-in-residence at the Conference Board will give him new opportunities and called it “a nice challenge.”  “This one allows me to do some journalism – some long-form journalism,” he said. “It allows you to do the work that you usually do but in a different way and more in-depth.”

In a recent column Picard had this to say:

Andre Picard, Globe and Mail columnist and perhaps the most prominent speaker the Mayor has brought to Burlington. His views on our health system may include some comments on the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital. He will be a very direct speaker.

One of the fundamental structural problems in Canada’s health system is the lack of a clearly identified front door.

Put another way, there is no place where patients can routinely go to access the care they need promptly and efficiently and that tracks them throughout the health-care “journey.”

Traditionally, we have depended on family physicians to serve as that home base. Almost 30 million Canadians have a family doctor, but roughly four million others have none. Still, even for those with a regular caregiver, prompt appointments are hard to come by and same-day access – the gold standard – is a rarity.

So the de facto entry point into the system all too often becomes the emergency room (where patching and dispatching, and long waits, are the norm) or walk-in clinics (tremendous money-wasters that specialize in passing the buck back to ERs or family doctors).

Using these inappropriate points of access is the equivalent of entering your home by clambering up the fire escape or crawling in through a basement window, only to find that the door into the main floor is locked and you have to start over again.

It’s a terribly inefficient and expensive way to deliver health care. Among other things, when there is no front door, there is no real gatekeeper and, with the proliferation of ever-more-expensive drugs and technologies, the gatekeeper function has become more essential than ever.

Worse yet, regardless of what door patients use to enter the health system, there is little continuity in their care.

One of the principal reasons for this disjointedness is the lack of electronic health records. If someone has a heart attack and ends up in the ER, or is prescribed antibiotics at a walk-in clinic, or gets to see a specialist, his or her family doctor is unlikely to know.

This situation is not new.

The Inspire Series is one of the best things the Mayor has done for the city. It ranks right up there with his decision to tough it out and continue with the building of The Pier.

Primary health reform has been talked about for decades. In fact, with the publication of the Lalonde report, a ground-breaking document prepared by health minister Marc Lalonde in 1974, Canada became a world leader in the concept of primary care (but sadly not in the practice.) Every one of the dozens of health commissions since has dedicated a good chunk of its recommendations to the need for primary-care reform.

In the 2004 Health Accord, the provinces received $800-million to bolster primary care, but it was overshadowed by the politically motivated focus on reducing surgical wait times, where billions were invested to produce modest results.

The good news is that there has been a lot of progress of late on the notion that every Canadian should have a clearly identifiable primary-care provider for preventive care, sickness care, and some quarterbacking and follow-up when a patient needs acute care.

In the 21st century, this kind of care can’t be provided by a single physician à la Marcus Welby.

Today’s patients require episodic care occasionally, but mostly they need chronic care. Consider that 81 per cent of people over the age of 65 have at least one chronic health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc. For the most part, they need a team to provide health care, not a single physician.

Thankfully, in recent years, there has been a significant shift to providing primary care using interdisciplinary teams. Alberta has Primary Care Networks; Ontario has Family Health Teams; Quebec has Family Medicine Groups and; most other provinces have variations on these names with similar philosophies.

We shouldn’t forget either that excellent primary care has been offered for decades by CLSCs (community health clinics) in Quebec and Community Health Centres in Ontario, but these pioneering initiatives have always been chronically underfunded.

But the process needs to be accelerated and valued. And, practically, that means shifting resources from acute-care hospitals to community-based primary-care practice.

Picard is a prolific writer who works from his home in Montreal as the Globe and Mails Health columnist. He has been given some very significant awards for his work.

The notion of creating a clear front door into the health system got a significant boost recently in a report from the College of Family Physicians of Canada, which represents the country’s 35,000 family doctors. (Canada has another 34,000 physicians in specialties other than family medicine.)

The CFPC calls for a model that has as its foundation a concept called the “Patient’s Medical Home.” The PMH is described as a family practice that serves as the “central hub for timely provision and co-ordination of a comprehensive menu of health and medical services patients need.”

The PMH is, naturally enough, centered around the family doctor (after all that’s who the CFPC represents), but, to its credit, the group fully embraces the need for interdisciplinary care, the belief that a patient requires a team or network of caregivers, including nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, and other health professionals, located in the same physical site or linked virtually from different practice sites throughout the community.

The report also makes some key points that are not emphasized nearly enough in our continuing discussions about health-care reform. To wit:

The foundation of good healthcare is good relationships between providers and patients, and among providers;

Timely access to both prevention and treatment is an essential component of good health care, and Canada’s waits are among the worst in the world;

Patients themselves need to be active participants in their care. They need to take responsibility, not just be passive recipients of care;

Continuity of care has to be a priority because it is in the transitions – from the family doctor to the specialist, from the ER to the ward, from hospital to home, etc. – where all the bad things happen.

In Canada, we have a terribly knee-jerk reflex when responding to problems: We throw more money and bodies into doing more of the same, no matter how inefficient.

With primary care, the opportunity for reform lies in actually doing things differently and ensuring that patients have access to the right care, at the right time, from the right professional.

That can’t even begin to happen if there is no front door, no medical home for them to call their own.

Burlington is in for a treat.  The Community Room at the Performing Arts Centre has seating for just over 200 people – this could be a SOLD OUT event, which by the way is free.

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SOLD OUT ! Big words and delightful news for the Burlington Art Centre Soup Bowl event. Just two days available now

Wearable Art event a success at Burlington Art Centre.

By Staff

After a very successful Wearable Art event the Burlington Art Centre now moves into its Christmas Season and will begin with the always popular Soup Bowl event and the annual Christmas Sale.

Wearable art attendance held up – basically the same as last year according to Sandra Baker Director Marketing and Development for the BAC,  and artists were generally pleased with their individual sales.  It was certainly a colourful event.

The Soup Bowl, an always very popular event – so much so that the Thursday and Friday, 17th and 18th  noon events,  are SOLD OUT – and when we make that statement said Baker – we mean it.  Those days are sold out.

The selection was excellent and the buyers were curious - and sales were good.

Saturday and Sunday still has some room – but move quickly if you want to participate in this event where you choose a fabulous handcrafted bowl, fill it with a choice of gourmet soups made by local restaurants. Add delicious salad, a roll, coffee and dessert for a great meal! The bowl you choose is yours to keep! All sittings have a cash bar. $35 BAC Members; $40 non-members; Reserved Table of 8: $275; Tickets and information: at the BAC; online: theBAC.ca/soup or 905-632-7796, ext 326    Remember – just Saturday and Sunday are open.

The Annual Christmas Sale event will have 95 artisans taking part this year. The event runs from

November 17, 11 am – 3 pm;

November 18, 11 am – 9 pm;

November 19 and 20, 11 am – 4 pm

Free admission and parking.


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Dutch Highlanders visit the city. Pipe and drum band performs military music at city hall.

 By Staff

Veteran watches Dutch Highlanders remember at city hall cenotaph.

BURLINGTON, ON  November 9, 2011  As the city gets ready to celebrate Remembrance Day it hosted the Dutch Highlanders who performed a remembrance service at the cenotaph and performed a short military music program in the plaza outside city hall and hoisted the colours for Burlington’s sister city, Apeldoorn, on the flag staffs..

The Dutch Highlanders are from Apeldoorn, Burlington’s partner city in Holland.  That city was liberated from the German army during the Second World War by the Royal Canadian Regiment.  The liberation of Apeldoorn was that Regiment’s final Second World War battle honour.  The 48th Highlanders were part of that battle.

The Dutch Highlanders were on tour in Canada where they performed in Toronto and ended their visit to Canada in Burlington.

The Dutch Band was founded in The Netherlands, in 1991, as a “living memorial” honouring the liberation of the Dutch city Apeldoorn and its surroundings by Canadian forces in April 1945 in which the leading role was played by the 48th Highlanders of Canada. This was a liberation in which so many young Canadians lost their lives. The Dutch Band has dedicated itself to honouring the memory of all soldiers who perished in the struggle to rid Europe of the Nazi regime between 1939 and 1945.  Their motto is “We do remember”.


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