First of the community consultations didn't go all that well

By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2023



Heather Fenton wasn’t impressed.  After a meeting that lasted an hour and a half, Fenton, along with about 12 other people including Dr. Michael Shih, realtor Michael O’Sullican and Downtown Burlington Business Association Executive Director Brian Dean listened to a presentation about an area that was labelled Foot of Brant – Village Square for the purposes of the meeting.

One meeting participant called the map of the area under discussion an exercise in gerrymandering.

City Heritage Planner John O’Reilly was the facilitator.

Fenton saw the plans that were put forward as an attempt to gerrymander that part of the city so that the planners could locate and identify 25% of the properties in the area that would be defined as a Heritage Cultural District.  Burlington wants to create Heritage Cultural Districts which they can do if 25% of the properties in the HCD boundary if they meet two or more criteria in the regulation in order to be designated.

The fear that Fenton, and others have, is that the city is going to designate the properties and leave it to the owners to take the matter to the Ontario Land Tribunal (at the owners expense) and let them battle it out at that level.

Village Square is included as a Heritage site.

Bill 23 the Act under which all this is permitted was passed and effective January 1, 2023; it included an authority to set out processes to amend and repeal HCD bylaws in regulation; however, this regulation has not been developed yet

Those attending the meeting did not appear to have a document they could refer to when they got to the meeting.

The requirement for municipalities to make their municipal registers available on a publicly accessible website will not come into force until July 1, 2023 to provide municipalities with time to ensure compliance.

Elsewhere in the Act there is a section that states:  The ability to issue a Notice of Intention to Designate on a property subject to a prescribed event is limited to only those properties included on a municipal register.

It all appears to be a little messy – a second community consultation is scheduled for tomorrow; Heather Fenton expects to attend.

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What do people want in City-run recreation programs

By Staff

June 16th, 2023



The City of Burlington is looking for resident feedback on City-run recreation programs.

Feedback is welcome from the community as a whole – past and current participants and those that haven’t registered in our programs. Feedback from everyone will help to understand the needs of the entire community.

The survey will ask questions about what City-run recreation programs you have participated in, what programs you would be interested in and, would like to see offered. This review will help the City understand the recreation needs of our growing community.

It will also help align the programs the City offers to serve all residents and visitors for aquatics, skating, inclusion, sport, camps, adults, older adults 55+ and programming in general for years to come.

The results of the survey will be shared in a report to Council in Fall 2023.

The survey is open until Sept. 1, 2023. You can access the survey HERE

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City looking for writers & visual artists to create temporary signs along the Beachway path during Culture Days.

By Staff

June 15th, 2023



The City of Burlington needs approximately 10 writers and 10 visual artists to submit their creations to be displayed on temporary signs along the Beachway’s multi-use path during Culture Days.

This call is open to Burlington-based writers and artists. The public art program is accepting all art forms that can be presented in a sign format. This includes, but is not limited to: visual art, graphic art, photography, poetry, short story, non-fiction, etc. Submissions are due July 14 and may be from existing or newly created work.

About Culture Days
This year, Culture Days will feature three weeks of arts and culture experiences outdoors, indoors and online from Sept. 22 to Oct. 15, 2023. Culture Days is an annual celebration of arts, culture and heritage across the province. Each year, they work with organizers to host programs throughout Ontario and invite the public to participate for free.
About the location

The artwork will be installed along the Beachway’s multi-use path. The two km trail runs along Lake Ontario from Spencer Smith Park to the canal in Burlington. Beachway Park also features a natural sandy beach, an outdoor pavilion, playground and seasonal concessions. The public art signs will be located near the playground, pumphouse and pavilion.

There is an application process:  Link to that is HERE


The Beachway Trail, once the land that was used for two railway lines that went into the city at a time when it was a town. Nestled closely to the rail lines was the Pump House that drew water from the lake for the city and a small community of homes that were torn down – they were then land rented from the railway. Lot of history along that pathway – frequently used for groups celebrating an event.

Deadline Activity

July 14 Submissions due
by Aug. 4 Successful artists selected; enter into a contract with the City of Burlington
Aug. 25 Final artwork files due
Sept. 22 – Oct. 15 Culture Days – Artwork on display

Angela Paparizo, Manager of Arts and Culture:  “I am so proud of our local artist and community groups who come together for Culture Days every year. They drive the success of Burlington Culture Days year after year. The Arts and Culture team has started planning this year’s event and we are excited to invite local writers and artists to submit their work for the Beachway installation. Residents and visitors to the Beachway will be able to enjoy these pieces during the 14th annual Culture Days celebration from Sept. 22 to Oct. 15. I invite everyone to view them along the Beachway path as part of this national initiative. The City of Burlington is pleased to be a part of this project that aims to raise awareness, provide accessibility and encourage participation Burlington’s vibrant arts and culture scene.”

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Heritage is now very much on the city's radar - council has yet to reach a clear consensus

By Pepper Parr

June 11th, 2023



Heritage has become a bigger issue for the current city council than anything the Gazette has seen in the past.

There was a situation recently where owners of a house on Lotus Street found that their house was going to be designated despite some significant differences of opinion on just how important a building it is from a heritage perspective.

We will cover that story in detail in a forthcoming article

By the end of the study, Burlington City Council will be presented with information to decide if any of the properties or landscapes assessed in the study should be specially recognized, heritage designated or be subject to any conservation regulations or policies. Council will also be asked to decide if the 26 properties added to the heritage register at the July 12, 2022 City Council meeting and the September 20, 2022 Council Meeting should continue to be listed on the heritage register or removed.

John O’Riley is the lead staff member on matters related to heritage. He reports that there are now six study areas, set out below, and eight individual properties that are being studied.

The tan coloured properties are the subject a close study.



One of the six study areas.

Another of the six study areas.

On Monday, June 19th, the City is hosting an evening consultation meeting at 7PM at Burlington City Hall with property owners in the following study areas:
• Foot of Brant Street;
• Village Square; and
• Downtown East.

Three of the eight properties that will get a detailed study are shown in tan.

On Wednesday, June 21st, the City is hosting an evening consultation meeting at 7PM at Burlington City Hall with property owners in the following study areas:
• Locust Street; and
• Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road.

The meetings are an important step in terms of letting people know what the city has in mind. Up until this point property owners didn’t know very much about what the city had in mind.

The debate will be interesting. There are those that are strong proponents of property right however they may not be able to carry the vote.

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Growth is taking place everywhere - Burlington is no longer an exception

By Staff

June 9th, 2023



Rising 73 and 84 storeys in the heart of the Toronto entertainment district, Forma is defined by its twisting form and a shimmering façade, which was designed to reflect the city’s light and colour. A unique addition to the downtown core, renderings reveal stacked steel boxes soaring into the sky.

Construction has finally begun on Frank Gehry’s highly anticipated Forma condos.

The Canadian architect’s first residential towers in the country and his tallest buildings in the world, the two-tower Forma will top off well above most downtown Toronto skyscrapers.

Well, thank goodness that  isn’t Burlington.

This is Burlington.

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Plan B group want to see the Waterfront Hotel development plan go back to one of the preferred concepts

By Staff

May 30th, 2023



It’s final. Or at least the folks at Plan B think it is.  They sent the following statement.

The Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) recently reaffirmed its January 3rd, 2023 decision that the Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc.’s application was not grandfathered by ROPA 48. While no official withdrawal of the application of 30 + 35-storey towers atop a 6-storey podium development has been made, it is unlikely to proceed without its’ heavy reliance on historical downtown intensification arguments.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for Vrancor!

During the January 27th, 2023 OLT Case Management Conference, Goodmans LLP (Vrancor’s lawyers) stated that they would be reaching out to the City to see if a compromise solution could be negotiated. Our sense is that these discussions have commenced, or will soon.

Where should the City start?

The Plan B people are prepared to live with the Preferred concept that was put forward in March of 2022.

Citizens’ PLAN B strongly believes that any negotiation should begin with Preferred Concept 2022 (PC 2022), which was developed as part of the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study (WHPS) and published on March 26th, 2022. It featured 22-storey (East, tiered) + 21-storey (West) towers both with 3-storey podiums, the latter with a critical 20-meter setback from the West property line (bordering Spencer Smith Park).

PC 2022 was both a reasoned and reasonable design, based on significant input gathered over 5+ years from professional urban planners such as the Burlington Urban Development Panel, the community, and the property owner himself.

The development proposal would have brought a six level podium very close to the edge of Lakeshore Road making that part of the city feel like New York City or worse still Toronto.

You may recall that the WHPS facilitator, The Planning Partnership effectively “mothballed” this report by claiming that they had been coerced by City staff to limit tower heights (still unproven to our knowledge). This does not diminish the merit of PC 2022, in the least. At our request, Ramsay Planning Inc. subsequently & independently computed the development potential of this property with similar parameters to be exactly 21 + 22 storeys. Humm!

PC 2022 actually yields a greater measure of intensification than permitted for the Waterfront Hotel property (FSI of 6.81 versus 5.0, for those technically-minded). This provides an argument to further reduce heights, as does the elimination of a downtown rapid transit hub, and the Burlington OP 2020 permissions of 11-15 storeys on neighbouring properties just across Lakeshore Road. The More Homes Built Faster Act (Bill 23) may have another affect.

This will be a complex negotiation.

Let’s hope the City chooses a negotiator as competent, creative and motivated as the “top gun” lawyer (Osler’s Chris Barnett) they engaged to handle this application at the OLT.

We at Citizens’ PLAN B remain available to assist!

Please leave your comments on our Facebook page or visit the website!

Web site:

Facebook page:

Related news story:

What happens to the Waterfront hotel site now?


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Future vision of the Waterfront Centre

By Pepper Parr

May 23, 2023



Spencer Smith Park is over crowded – people have realized that for some time.

What to do?

Early in June Council will discuss Future vision of the Waterfront Centre and perhaps agree to:

Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to retain a consultant to provide options for the capital renewal and/or replacement of the outdoor amenities at the Waterfront; and

Authorize the Chief Financial Officer to transfer $60,000 from the Waterfront Reserve Fund to fund a study

Inside Spencer’s on the Waterfront

Spencer Smith Park is a significant focal point and landmark on the Burlington waterfront, highly sought after by visitors year-round. During winter, the park attracts many visitors who come to the ice rink and the festival of lights. In the summer months, the park experiences a significant surge in visitors, drawn in by many events, walking trails, the spray pad, reflecting pond, and beach access. The Waterfront Centre opened in 2006 and is located within Spencer Smith Park. It is home to Spencer’s at the Waterfront. The facility also supports many park amenities, parking, the reflecting pond, ice rink, spray pad, and provides public access to gathering spaces and park washrooms.

The increase in visitors and users has put a strain on the infrastructure, and demand on the park washroom that exceeds its’ capacity. Over the past number of years we have experienced more precipitation and milder winters which have resulted in a rise in the number of closures to the ice rink.

Improvements and updates to the facility, including a roof replacement to both the observatory and the restaurant along with interior renovations of the observatory, restaurant, and the lower lobby have been completed in partnership with Spencer’s. In December 2019, there was a watermain break that occurred in the lower level which resulted in a full replacement of the pond and spray pad filtration equipment.

The ice plant refrigeration equipment is operated by R-22 (freon). Environment action plans removed R-22from production in 2020 and freon equipment will be removed by 2030 and as a result, the ice plant must be replaced.

A very popular place for parents and kids who just love running in and out of the splash pads.

The outdoor components of the spray pad, such as the concrete pad and jets, are also approaching end-of-life. The artificial turf and drainage system is being repaired this spring but will require a full replacement in spring of 2024, in advance of the larger spray pad renewal.

The need for facility renewal and replacement has provided staff with the opportunity to collectively review the overall services and amenities, including the ice rink, spray pad, and park washrooms, and to improve operational efficiency and community experience resulting in short- and long-term plans.

In the short term, staff will perform life cycle maintenance on the ice plant and repair the spray pad turf to extend their lifespan.

For the long term, staff plan to conduct a comprehensive review of services, amenities, and the operating model with the assistance of a consultant who will provide different design options and Class D costings for each.

The consultant will consider service levels and standards, environmental factors, and possible synergies with other projects, such as the Civic Square Renewal, Beachway Master Plan, Parks and Recreation, Cultural Assets Master Plan (PRCAMP), and Climate Resilient Burlington. Additionally, staff have received feedback over the years, both formally and informally, indicating the need for more seating, park washrooms, and shade structures to support the community’s needs at the Waterfront.

This is what childhood is all about!

The consultant will develop options with Class D cost estimates based on the following design considerations;

1. Minimize impacts to adjacent greenspace.
2. Materials and options will consider climate impacts.
3. Options will consider community needs.
4. Options will align with the overall downtown vision and partners at the Waterfront Centre.
5. Options will consider accessibility requirements.
6. Capital and operating costs.

In 2024, staff will complete the required renewal of the existing ice plant to extend its’ life cycle to 2028 as well as the repairs to the artificial turf and drainage system that supports the spray pad. With the timelines indicated below, staff will report back to council with consultant options along with the various estimated capital and operating costs for each option in Q1 of 2024.

Following a report to council with consultant options and estimated capital costs, staff will engage with the community. The focus of this engagement phase will be to gather input from the community on the renewal and replacement options provided by the consultant to improve user experience and the efficiencies of the spray pad, pond, and ice rink.

Subsequently, a secondary phase of engagement will occur in 2026 and 2027, prior to construction on the preferred concept design based on the information collected in the first phase of community engagement.

The proposed time line.

Staff have considered a full spray pad renewal in 2025 and a synthetic ice surface for the ice rink. The synthetic ice surfaces that are currently available in the market are not
a viable solution and do not provide the customer with a comparable experience to skating on real ice. The decision to renew the spray pad will be provisional based on the outcomes of the consultant’s report.

The Waterfront Centre and the outdoor amenities have operated under a net zero model since 2016, mirroring the operating models at Paletta Mansion and LaSalle Banquet Centre. The net zero operating model allows for an annual contribution to a reserve fund which represents the revenues collected through tenant agreements offset by the operating expenses to maintain the asset.

The reserve fund was designed to financially support any future capital replacements and renewals on a like for like basis. With the rising costs of goods and services along with an unplanned replacement of the freon ice plant system, this will impact the financial forecasts previously estimated.

It is anticipated that the cost for the consultant to complete the review of the renewal and replacement options described within this report is $60,000. The balance of the reserve fund is $286,287. The consultant will investigate the options presented and provide concept drawings with Class D costing. With the options and costing provided by the consultant, staff will review the capital renewal forecast along with the operating cost for each options provided to help determine the future operating model of the Waterfront Centre.  Depending on the renewal or replacement options recommended; there may be a need to adjust both the capital and operating models accordingly.

The plan to eliminate R-22 has been initiated in phases, the most recent of which occurred on January 1st, 2020, Currently R-22 is only available from recycled and stockpiled supplies, which is very costly. The final stage is to have a complete removal all R-22 by January 1st, 2030; at this time, the government will officially ban the remaining production and import of R-22. The renewal of the ice plant will support the environmental initiatives to protecting the ozone. Future options will consider environmentally friendly replacements of the R-22.

Once staff have options for renewal and replacement that will improve efficiencies of the spray pad, pond, and ice rink, the community and stakeholders will be engaged along with improved community experience. With the council approved options staff would complete phase 1 of community and stakeholder engagement in the summer and winter of 2024 to hear from the park visitors and amenity users.

With preferred options by the community and council, a phase 2 engagement will be completed prior to construction to select a preferred concept design.

Staff will also have meaningful conversations and engagement with the tenant to discuss synergies with facility renewals and lease renewal negotiations to align with any outdoor amenity’s construction.

Given the end-of-life assets and new legislative requirements for replacing the ice plant, there is an exciting opportunity to revitalize the outdoor space as part of the renewal process. After reviewing the considerations and guiding principles, staff are eager to provide options that offer the most promising opportunities for the community. As such, staff recommend the engagement of a consultant to provide guidance on effective operations and options, as well as cost estimates for construction and maintenance.

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Art Gallery will be open Monday - 1:00 - 4:00 PM (Free Admission)

By Staff

May 21st, 2023



The Art Gallery will be open on the holiday Monday.  There is a Family Drop-In: Poetry Pantry

Monday May 22
1:00 – 4:00 PM (Free Admission)

Poetry & the Spring Pantry: What kinds of things do we bottle up? What secrets might we keep tucked away on a shelf? What memories could we store in a mason jar?

Taking inspiration from Victor Cicansky’s Spring Pantry, local artist and poet Carmella Dolmer will be here to help kids and families create their own jars from cardboard and paper mâché, which they can fill with whatever inspires them. This play-based approach is a mindful way to lay the foundation for creative writing and is a joyful reflection on one of our collection’s most iconic and beloved pieces.

The AGB is incredibly grateful to the Incite Foundation for the Arts and the Burlington Foundation (through a generous gift from the GWD Foundation for Kids) for support of all children and youth programs.

One can just imagine what the Legal people had to say when they saw this picture. Liability,liability would have been top of mind. It looked like the kids were having a great time. Might have been the one occasion when the controversial and misunderstood piece of art was relevant to them.

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Owner of a Heritage home on Lakeshore suggests the city opt for moving designated properties if they can't come to some agreement with the property owners.

By Pepper Parr

May 14th, 2023



Burlington struggles with how to save some of the heritage properties in the city.  It seems prepared to settle for some of the facade of homes built in the mid 1800’s hoping that keeping some of the streetscape will let people know what parts of Burlington looked like.

Two in particular have taken up a lot of time recently. The Ghent property at Brant and Prospect – where the developer is refusing to work with the city to find a solution to save at least some of the building and replace it with a development that doesn’t offer much.

The other is a house on Walker’s Line that is in poor condition due to neglect. The location on Walkers Line just north of New Street is a part of the city that has a number of developments in the Planning Department pipeline.

David Barker, owner of a Heritage property on Lakeshore Road and a former member of the Heritage Advisory, delegated to the group where he had the following to say:

David Barker

Good evening. Thank you Chair and members of the committee for allowing me to speak this evening.

As a very proud owner of a designated heritage property I would like to tonight pass on to you some thoughts and observations I have that you can consider at a later time in regards to

Neglect over a couple of decades have made bringing this house up to an acceptable standard would be very expensive – there is no on even interested in saving the property. Its development value is significant and the area is undergoing a number of changes.

(1) A rated registry properties to be prioritized for designation consideration;

(2) designated locations where developers are already seeking to demolish (such as those on Brant Street and Walkers Line); and

(3) approaching owners of properties which are to be considered for designation.

At its last meeting in April, this committee determined that it would prioritize residential properties for consideration for designation ahead of properties such as churches, cemeteries and schools. I would suggest that the committee might wish to reevaluate this position bearing in mind the legislation tabled in the Ontario Legislature as Bill 98 The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act.

The bill contains a feature that provides the Minister with the authority to make regulations prescribing the circumstances under which a sale or disposition of a school site or property may occur, including to whom the school site or property must be offered;”

The minister has said:-

“If a different board needs the property it would be sold to them, but if it is not needed in the education sector, the property would be considered for other provincial needs such as affordable housing or long-term care”.

With this in mind, I would respectfully suggest the committee reappraise its decision to exclude school properties from its designation consideration. Burlington Central and Lakeshore Public are both A rated properties on the heritage registry. The lands of both those schools are immensely valuable and would be a target for developers to build either homes or long-term care, which would require the demolition of the structures. We already know the direction the Ford government is going and does not hold heritage in the same high regard as it does developers. You will recall I’m sure that in the recent past both these schools have been considered for closure by HDSB. I suggest therefore the committee seek to have these school properties designated.

The oldest heritage structure on Brant at Prospect was once part of a 50 + acre farm.

I turn now to the topic of designated properties that sit on sites that an owner wishes to develop, such as 795 Brant St and 496 Walkers Line. Council will only consider options put to it by staff. The staff report on 795 Brant Street gave Council the stark options to either grant or not grant the demolition permit application.

A third option exists which rarely seems to get discussed. That option is to relocate the heritage building. During my time as a member of this committee the relocation option was put forward as something staff and the applicant might consider in relation to a property on Plains Road.

Regrettably in that instance the Committee Chair determined not to bring the option to staff’s attention. Relocation has occurred a few times and is a viable solution to preserve a heritage property. Some will say taking the property from its historic geographic location detracts from its heritage value. That might be so. But demolition detracts considerably more.

There exists a vacant land property for sale on Burlington Avenue, listed at about $800,000. Maybe the developer might be persuaded to buy the vacant land, cover the cost to move and install the structure there. In doing so the developer 50 + likely would be able to sell that property at a profit. It would allow the developer to develop the site as it would like. The City might show it’s appreciation by granting the developer some considerations in its zoning application. It’s a win for all parties. One can be pretty sure that should the matter get adjudicated by the OLT, the City and Heritage will lose. Has this option been discussed with these developers? I know the answer to that question is “no”. My question is “why not?”.

Lastly I turn to the Committee’s initiative to seek designation of certain A rated registry properties. Designation generally has a negative connotation with those unfamiliar with its ins and outs. As an owner of a designated heritage property for 30 years I can honestly say I have yet to find any negative aspects. I would like to suggest the committee engage owners of designated properties to be a part of the communication process with owners of properties being considered for designation. Goodwill Ambassadors maybe.

Related news stories:

A facade is all that will be left of the former Pearl Street Cafe

City can’t find a way to work the developer of a 28 storey tower on Brant Street

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All Guilds Show at the Art Gallery Opens May 6th

By Staff

May 4th, 2023


This annual exhibition celebrates the guilds who make, learn, share, and teach at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Arts Burlington includes

Burlington Fine Arts Association,

Burlington Handweavers and Spinners Guild,

Latow Photographers Guild,

Burlington Potters Guild,

Burlington Rug Hooking Craft Guild,

Burlington Sculptors and Carvers.

Opening Reception: Saturday May 6, 1 – 4pm

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SOLO will be on stage in Burlington December 7th at the Performing Arts Centre doing Seasonal numbers with a 50 member chorus.

By Staff

December 5th, 2022



A big big sound.

On stage at the Performing Arts Centre on December 7th

The Southern Ontario Lyric Opera company will be featuring Seasonal music along with two short classic operettas by Measha Brueggergosman-Lee

Seldom does Burlington get an opportunity to exceptional voices supported by a very large orchestra.  For those who want to nibble at opera – this is an event worth the time.


In May La Traviata (The Fallen Woman) an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave will be presented.

It is based on La dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas.



Tickets at the Box Office

The event is produced by the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera



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Applications to run an outdoor neighbourhood ice rink now available

By Staff

October 4th, 2022



There was a layer of frost on the windshield this morning. Winter weather is getting close and that means ice rinks.

The city today announced that applications to run an outdoor neighbourhood ice rink now available

If you want a local rink – be in touch with Parks and Recreation.

Neighbours are encouraged to come together to maintain outdoor community ice rinks this winter at select locations throughout the city. Applications for the Neighbourhood Rink program are available now at and are due by Oct. 31, 2022.

Groups looking to organize a neighbourhood rink at pre-approved locations will need a minimum of six people from their community to maintain the rink. Volunteers who are approved to move forward with their rink will need to agree to the terms and conditions set out in the Neighbourhood Rinks program, agree to complete training and agree to keep maintenance records of the rink and provide their own water source.

City staff will install rink boards, hoses and tarps in each location and provide a training manual with tips on ice maintenance. As the colder weather arrives, each neighbourhood group will flood the rinks to get them ready for a first skate and then maintain them throughout the winter.

Neighbourhood rinks are open to all community members to skate for free.

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By Anne Marsden

October 3rd, 2022



Click  Let’s End the MMW Era   

December 19, 2016 will be a Council meeting my husband Dave and I will never forget for two reasons.

1. The misrepresentation in the December 14, 2016 Audit Committee Minutes of what really happened at the Audit Committee regarding an audit of the 2014 Election Nomination Papers, was approved by all Council members regardless of having an understanding that the minutes were incorrect.

2. A without notice removal of the definitions of accountability and transparency from the 2014 Procedure By-laws proposed by a group that included Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and a representative of the Clerk’s Office, was unanimously approved by Council.

It took five months for the definitions referenced in paragraph 2 above to form the core of an approved corporate policy covering the accountability and transparency definitions that Council unanimously removed from the Procedure. By-law.

Fast forward to the opening of nominations for the 2022 election when we heard commitments by at least one candidate and multiple members of the electorate, to end the MMW (Mayor My Way) era 2010-2022. The Burlington DownTowners in particular announced in the comments section of the Burlington Gazette, this election for the first time Anne Marsden had their vote for Mayor and offered to put up her signs if available.

After 2022 nominations opened, a better way of communicating by the City through the website was announced and implemented without any warning. The new website had huge gaps in information including committee and council webcasts and minutes of the December 14, 2016 Audit Committee and December 19, 2016 Council meeting. Further, the 2018 financial reports of incumbent members of council all running for re-election were missing.

Lisa Kearns the Marsdens Ward 2 councillor refused to address this sudden dearth of information that affected voters becoming fully informed. She claimed it was a Clerk/Marsden issue and announced to numerous email recipients that she had withdrawn from the email conversation on this matter. Strange as it seems what was not missing was the Corporate Policies which is not something the electorate would normally be checking for to determine who would get their vote.

A cursory review showed a dejavue situation the Marsdens had addressed with Council in the past. “Many corporate policies had passed their due date for review some of them expiring years earlier.”

The 2022 posted Corporate policies identifies the Council Code of Conduct was scheduled for review in October 2022 – a time known, when the date was set, that Council would not be meeting. Although requested in the past no-one has volunteered the information as to what it means when review dates of corporate policies have expired, or what the liability is attached to such expiration.

We all know however, what is behind these expiries – sheer incompetence and lack of accountability. This incompetence in my professional career world would have resulted in an immediate removal of this responsibility from my job description and a much lower salary for me to take home, at the very least.

The biggest shocker to the Marsdens, however, post nominations opening was the Review Date on the Corporate Policy headed ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY. The date was April, 2022 and the person responsible? “The City Clerk”! If the Burlington City Clerks over the past decade, two of them, have been unable to handle a simple follow up file to keep a check on such review dates, what can we expect from someone who is responsible for all the policies, legislative requirements etc. that are a part of oversight of a municipal election. An election that gives the winners the right to decide how they spend a $287 million operating budget. Further, how we undertake our responsibilities to all those we serve who put the money in the city’s budget accounts. Let’s also not forget the Clerk is responsible for the Burlington tender process and accurately recording Committee and Council meetings.

The Council approved definitions of accountability and transparency removed from the 2014 Procedure By-law state:

1.1 “Accountability” means the principle that the City of Burlington will be responsible to its stakeholders for decisions made and policies implemented, as well as its actions or inactions.

1.38 “Transparency” means the principle that the City of Burlington actively encourages and fosters stakeholder participation and openness in its decision-making processes. Additionally, transparency means that the City of Burlington’s decision making process is open and clear to the public.

My September 28, 2022 Gazette opinion piece advises my first priority is a full and thorough review of the Procedure By-law. These definitions that should never have been removed will go back into the Procedure By-law through this review with I am sure, a unanimous vote by the elected council. This will then ensure regardless of corporate policy expiry dates that these two definitions are respected as they must be.

The definitions that the MMW (Mayor My Way) era council saw fit to remove from their reference handbook that should be considered their “bible” is now, as far as anyone knows, not a legitimate part of City of Burlington corporate policies.

No wonder those we talk to on the campaign trail have the highest discontent rate Dave and I have ever heard beginning 1997. The discontent is related to lack of: integrity, accountability, transparency, public engagement, public safety, accessibility and much more! October 11 – October 24 we all have an opportunity to state at the ballot box the MMW era must come an end.

Anne Marsden is a candidate for the Office of Mayor

Content paid for by the Committee to elect Anne Marsden Mayor Burlington

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Water Festival returned to Kelso for the grade 5 students - it was a virtual event for grades two students.

By Staff

October 3, 2022



While the new normal has a few iffy spots to it – the closing of two sections of the Joseph Brant Hospital where Covid19 outbreaks were declared – the Region is slowly finding its way to whatever normal is going to be as we head into that time of year where we spend more time indoors.

Conservation Halton decided it was possible for the Halton Children’s Water Festival to return to Kelso Conservation Area and welcome back over 800 students this year for an in-person program focused on protecting water in our community.

This is the fifteenth year for the festival which has educated over 50,000 elementary school students with the support of over 6,000 high school students over the years.

The objective was to step though each of the tires and keep whatever was in the bucket – in the bucket.

“Today, I’ve learned about water and the correct bins the garbage goes in,” said James, a Grade 5 student from St. Anne Elementary School, Burlington. “Right now, we’re playing a game and it’s really fun!”

The festival offered the Grade 5 students curriculum-linked environmental education programming, over three days, that gave students the opportunity to learn about water and society, water conservation and protection, water health and safety and water science and technology. Fun, themed learning activity centres such as Waterfront Quest, Garbage Juice, What’s That?, the Great pH Challenge and Beneficial Bugs allowed for hands-on learning outdoors where students could enjoy the views of Kelso Reservoir on one side and the Niagara Escarpment on the other.

“The water festival gives our students the opportunity to be stewards of the earth by investigating and participating in real-life, hands-on activities that are designed and lead with the Ontario Science and Technology expectations,” said Clare Slaven, Grade 5 teacher, St. Timothy’s Catholic Elementary School, Burlington. “It is a wonderful fun-filled day where we can  show what we value and celebrate in Halton and the environment.”

The grade 5 students were kept busy – learning how their environment works and the role water plays in everything they do.

A virtual Water Festival Program will continue again this year. Since launching in April 2022  more than 1,600 students have participated in the online field trips.

The Halton Children’s Water Festival is presented by Conservation Halton and Halton Region in partnership with Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board and Conservation Halton Foundation, with the support of the Town of Oakville, Geo Morphix, City of Burlington and the Town of Halton Hills.

Conservation Halton is the community based environmental agency that protects, restores, and manages the natural resources in its watershed. The organization has staff that includes ecologists, land use planners, engineers, foresters and educators, along with a network of volunteers, who are guided by a Board of Directors comprised of municipally elected and appointed citizens. Conservation Halton is recognized for its stewardship of creeks, forests and Niagara Escarpment lands through science-based programs and services. Learn more at


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National Reconciliation event will include a ceremonial - reflective walk from the Pier to the Canal

By Katelyn Goodwin

September 29th, 2022



Friday afternoon, from 4-7 PM, residents, indigenous or otherwise, will be gathering in  Spencer Smith Park to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Phyllis Webstad (nee Jack) is Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). She comes from mixed Secwepemc and Irish/French heritage and was born in Dog Creek but now lives in Williams Lake, British Columbia.

Also recognized as Orange Shirt Day, Truth and Reconciliation Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative event inspired by the story of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad who travels the country raising awareness about the impacts of Canada’s residential school system while talking about her experiences when she was  at a residential school.

Both local Indigenous people and support groups will have public displays set up, interactive events, information booths, and a ceremonial gathering will take place in the park.

People are encouraged to come to the park to learn and participate in these events and displays. Participants wishing to join are encouraged to wear orange shirts.

The path leading to the canal and the lighthouse was once a rail bed that had two tracks that brought steam engines into Burlington where they were loaded with produce that was shipped around the world. The canal is also the border between Burlington and Hamilton.

An event of significance will be a reflective walk which will start at the pier at 4 p.m. and end at the Lift Bridge lighthouse where a ceremony will take place before attendees’ head back to Spencer Smith Park.

City of Burlington administration buildings will be closed. .

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Canadian and Russian online casino legislation: How does it compare?  

By Dan Prefman

September 30th, 2022



Anyone who lives in Burlington knows what a great place it is and what a fabulous country Canada is. With so much natural beauty and so many interesting things to do in your spare time, it is a fabulous place to call home. While playing sports and meeting up with friends is something people all over Burlington love to do, playing online casino games is also popular with many now. This is true across many parts of Canada, where lots of people love to relax with exciting games online.

Of course, online casino gaming is loved in many other parts of the world and Russia is a prime example. Although there might be a shared love for casino gaming online between Canada and Russia, it is fair to say that the legislation both countries have in this area can differ.

But how does Canadian and Russian online casino legislation compare?

Russia has platforms that offer awesome games alongside generous bonuses. And a no nonsense leader keeping an eye on things.

 Russia – What is their online casino legislation?

 The situation around iGaming is a little muddled in Russia – despite it having some very clear-cut laws around online gambling! It is without doubt that legislation passed in 2006 banned online gambling across Russia and further legislation passed in 2009 banned all forms of gambling in the country apart from in four special gambling zones.

This all seems pretty straightforward until you learn that the iGaming sector in Russia remains popular and many people there gamble at online casinos regularly. There are in fact some top online casinos to game at for Russians now and platforms which offer awesome games alongside generous bonuses.

But just how can this be possible with the legislation from 2006 and 2009 in place? It all comes down to many Russians bypassing legislation by playing at offshore casino platforms. Although this is something of a grey area, there is little risk involved for players and plenty of foreign sites who accept Russian users. Of course, it is key to stay updated with any future changes to online casino legislation in Russia which could impact people’s ability to play at offshore sites.

Where does Canada stand on online casino gaming?

 The Canadian online casino market is an interesting one and one that is in a period of change right now. It is estimated that up to 20 million Canadians love to game online and the local online gambling sector pulls in around $1.2bn in revenue.

While regulation from the 1970s paved the way for the first land-based casino in Winnipeg during 1989, updates to laws around online gambling have been a bit slower to emerge. This is because Canada leaves it up to each province to set their own rules around online casino gambling.

As a result, some provinces have been slow to react to the rise of online gaming across the country and slow to pass legislation which could enable people to gamble at online casinos legally in certain provinces. In places like this, many follow the lead of Russia and play at offshore casino sites instead.

Despite this, there have been recent movements in some provinces in terms of legalizing online casino gaming. Ontario’s online gambling market was launched in April 2022 for example, after legislation was passed to make this achievable. This means it is now possible for internet casinos to operate within Ontario provided they have been issued the relevant license by provincial officials.

Ontario is professionally and responsibly regulated. One of the safest environments for on-lime gamblers.

This move by Ontario has led many people to speculate whether other Canadian provinces could follow suit and pass legislation moving forward to launch legal online gambling within their borders. This could soon see Canada fully open for top casino brands to operate legally within the country and see it breaking the glass ceiling around iGaming in the country.

Canada vs Russia – How do they compare?

 In essence, it is clear to see the similarities when comparing online casino legislation between the two countries. Both for example have a nation of people who love to play online casino games, and both turn something of a blind eye to people who game at offshore platforms.

There are also some clear differences between the two though. Russia for example has not passed any recent legislation in this area, while Canada seems to be in a period of change. Russia seems to have set out its stall to be completely against online gambling, whereas Canada’s stance is seeming to soften. Russia also takes a more central, federal approach to setting iGaming laws, while Canada is happy to leave it up to individual provinces.


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Library celebrates 150 years  - celebration this Saturday

By Staff

September 15th, 2022



This is a little short on the notice side but …

On Saturday, September 17th, Burlington Public Library will celebrate 150 years of service to the community.

The Library is marking its sesquicentennial with a big birthday bash at its Central Branch on New St.

“We are so excited to be able to celebrate with the community,” says CEO, Lita Barrie. “The pandemic put so many things on hold, and we are grateful that we get a chance to acknowledge this incredible milestone with a great big party.”

Designed by Hamilton architect Charles Mills and built in 1906-1907 on the west side of Brant Street, south of Ontario Street. Its construction was funded by a $1000 donation by John Waldie, Burlington’s first Reeve and former Member of Parliament. Waldie had moved to Toronto after the death in 1884 of his wife Mary Ann (and the mother of their 13 children), following childbirth. As the founder of the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company, Waldie became immensely wealthy, building a Rosedale mansion for his family, but he did not forget Burlington. On opening day, the new library was stocked with 6,000 books, purchased by Waldie.  The Library was demolished for the construction of a new Town Hall in 1964., 

150 years of history

The library was founded in 1872 when villagers and public-school trustees joined forces to establish a public library service.

It began in a Central Public School hallway, where villagers could stop by for an hour every Friday afternoon to borrow a book.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the townspeople, the growing collection soon became too big for its location. For many years, local folks took turns hosting over 2,000 books in their homes and businesses until the first permanent library site opened in 1907.

Since then, the system has grown to seven branches across the city and offers programs, books, and community space to more than 100,000 members.

Bring the whole family

The celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Saturday. It will feature live music, games, treats, and more. Formal remarks will take place at 11 a.m.

Attendees will also have a chance to contribute to a community art project that will be installed on the third floor of Central Branch later this year.


Where and when:

2331 New St. Burlington

Saturday, September 17th

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.




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Library extends hours - an increase of almost 20% since 2018

By Staff

September 12th, 2022



Burlington Public Library (BPL) is extending its hours. This change takes effect Monday September 12th.

Since 2018, BPL has been able to extend its open hours by nearly 20 per cent.

Some branches, including New Appleby and Aldershot, have seen a 60 per cent increase in open hours since 2018.

Hours have increased – readership as well?

Where and When You Can Visit Starting September 12

Central and Tansley Woods
Monday to Thursday: 9am to 9pm
Friday to Sunday: 9am to 5pm

New Appleby, Aldershot, Brant Hills, Alton
Monday to Thursday: 9am to 9pm
Friday & Saturday: 9am to 5pm
Sunday: Noon to 5pm

Tuesday & Thursday: 5pm to 8pm
Saturday: 9am to 2pm

Burlington Librarian CEO, Lita Barrie.

This change happened because of feedback from our customers. “After receiving customer feedback about a need for increased branch access, included this goal in our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan,” says CEO, Lita Barrie. “We have been gradually increasing service hours since then. Our 2020 and 2022 customer surveys reaffirmed this direction.”

These moderate increases to service hours have not increased the library’s staffing budget, but they have made the library accessible to more people with diverse needs and schedules, and expanded access to BPL’s collection, programs, and spaces.

Customer Feedback and Data Driven Decisions
“We have had great feedback so far about our expanded hours,” adds Barrie. “We are keeping a close eye on our community’s needs by analyzing usage data.”

Weeknight usage from Monday to Thursday significantly increased this spring—192 per cent—during the library’s closing hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Borrowing also went up during this period.

This data helped BPL decide how to adjust its open hours to best serve the community.

Library users also told BPL they would like 24/7 access to WiFi so they could use the internet outside branches or in their vehicles during closed hours. This change will also take effect September 12th.

Library Use is the Best Feedback
The library is always looking for feedback. You can share your opinion simply by using your local branch. “We monitor activity at all our locations to help guide decisions about many things, including open hours,” says Barrie. When you visit the library, you are helping us understand trends and needs in our community.

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Foxcroft remembers his time with Queen Elizabeth II - mourns the loss

By Staff

September 8th, 2022



Flags were at half staff throughout the world when news of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II was announced today

He is one of the few people in Burlington who met her, had a conversation with her and remembers her fondly.

Ron Foxcroft was at the time the Honorary Colonel-in-Chief of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada,  When Nathan Cirillo was killed while on duty at the Cenotaph in Ottawa it fell to Ron to preside at the parade held in Hamilton to commentate and honour the young man.

As a result of that event, Foxcroft was presented to Queen Elizabeth II, usually for formal stiff occasion. Ron’s time with the Queen not was stiff or formal.

At one point the Queen, who was the Colonel of the Regiment,  made mention of what the Canadian Geese were doing to her garden and pulled back the drapes in the room and pointed to the garden which was the size of a couple of football fields.

There was a small John Deere mower on the property and the Queen told Foxcroft that she used to to shoo away the geese.

Queen Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, receives Colonel Ronald Foxcroft (Honorary Colonel) at Buckingham Palace in London.

That’s when Foxcroft did what no one is ever permitted to do: h e reached into his pocket and pulled out a Fox40 whistle and told the Queen one blow on the whistle and the geese would be gone.

This afternoon, during a short conversation with Foxcroft who was in Calgary, he commented on the woman he had met who had passed away earlier in the day.

“She was one of the most remarkable women this world has seen, She loved Canada, she loved the military – she was probably the greatest monarch the world has experienced in some time.

“She will be missed – I will miss her.”

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Port Nelson United Church to host an event sponsored by five Burlington churches - a three-part oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard,

By Staff

September 8th, 2022



At a time when hate crimes are on the rise in Halton Region, five local churches are cooperating to host Considering Matthew Shepard – a performance based on the life and diaries of a young gay man who suffered and was killed in a hate crime.

This moving event will contribute to the ongoing awareness around issues and concerns facing LGBTQ+ youth. It will provide an opportunity for healing and reconciliation between and among marginalized groups and the wider community.

Port Nelson United Church

This event is being offered to the public free of charge by the combined sponsorship of five welcoming, affirming and inclusive local churches who believe in an open community of faith, that welcome everyone. Together, these congregations strive to make Halton a community that embraces diversity – differences of age, mental and physical health and ability, religious background, marital status, family structure, sexual orientation, gender and its expression, racial and cultural identity, educational and socioeconomic status, and more. All are always welcome at Port Nelson United Church, Burlington Baptist Church, St. Christopher’s Anglican, Grace United Church and St. Paul’s United Church!

About Considering Matthew Shepard
Craig Hella Johnson’s three-part oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard, will be performed in Burlington by the renowned Elora Singers, one of the finest chamber choirs in Canada. It is a fusion of musical styles, of poetry and prose, drawing from the events, the rural Wyoming setting, and from Matthew’s own notebooks.

• DATE: Friday September 23rd, 2022
• PLACE: Port Nelson United Church, 3132 South Drive, Burlington, ON
• TIME: 7:30 p.m.
• COST: Free admission. If you are able, donations are accepted in advance or at the event in support of the Pflag Canada.

“…strung on a fence outside of town in Laramie, Wyoming,”

About Matthew Shepard
On a cold night, October 6, 1998, in a hateful homophobic act, 21-year-old gay university student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, and strung on a fence outside of town in Laramie, Wyoming, a place he had lived and loved. He was found by a cyclist the next morning and died of his injuries several days later. The public outpouring of grief for the tragic end to Matthew’s life was scarred by the sickening protests of hate group, Westboro Baptist Church. Years later, Matthew’s name would be associated with changes to U.S. laws concerning hate crimes associated with homophobia.

Some 20 years after the event, Matthew’s life, death, and the questions of humanity they evoke inspired composer Craig Hella Johnson to compose a three-part oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard. It is a fusion of musical styles, of poetry and prose, drawing from the events, the rural Wyoming setting, and from Matthew’s own notebooks.  It merges the personal with the universal, life with death, ugliness with beauty, and seeks hope from what was a tragedy without redemptive purpose.


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