Those empties - Beer store will take them off your hands and give the refund to the hospital.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 20th, 2020



There is a group in one of the downtown condos on Lakeshore Road who gather up the wine bottles and beer cans in the condo recycle room and regularly drop them off at the Beer Store. The money they get is a fund raiser for various Social Committee functions and events.

With the Beer Stores no longer taking in empties regularly the cans and bottles were beginning to become quite a pile.

beer storeA resident tells us that it was his wife’s turn to take the bottles and cans in; having checked on line she learned that the only Beer Store accepting returns was the one at Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line.

After dropping off two SUVs worth of returns (This isn’t that big a condo – impressive number of cans and bottles, but I digress.), the wife came home with an interesting story.

The Beer Store had two staff disinfecting carts outside and staff inside spraying the bins.

There were two areas to line up outside – one for those purchasing and one for those returning.

beer store - emptiesAs well, there was an ability to simply drop off returns as a donation to the Joseph Brant Hospital. This helped to cut down on social distancing and the line up! Brilliant!

“Kudos to the staff at this store on Sunday April 19th at 3 pm as they were friendly, efficient and helpful – my wife managed to break two bottles in the parking lot which they quickly came out to cleaned up.

“What started out as a daunting task – there was a four week supply to return – and usually a “ho hum” journey turned out to be actually enjoyable.

“Recycling (i.e. climate change) + Potential charity + friendly Public Service seems to me to be a win-win-win”, reports a condo resident.

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Burlington Green has a neat project for children - turning milk cartons into bird feeders

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

April 16th, 2020



At a time when parents are looking for ideas and small projects to keep their children active Burlington Green has put forward a neat idea – Put your Waste to Work.

They want to Up-Cycle cartons into bird feeders to help attract pollinators and encourage biodiversity right in your backyard.

BG milk carton projectBurlington Green will demonstrate how to create bird feeders from old juice or milk cartons on Facebook Live. This event is suitable for ages 8+.

When: Thursday, April 16th at 2:00 pm via Facebook Live. To watch, follow the event live on the Burlington Green Facebook page.

Please register for this event here.

Missed the event? Not to worry! You can view the video on our Facebook page following the event.

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The Easter egg hunt broke up a Sunday sleep-in: I'm getting to understand how my kids learn

graphic coping redBy Nicki St George

April 13, 2020


Nicki St. George is part of a team of parents who are reporting each week on how they are coping with the COVID19 virus and having the children at home.

Monday, April 6
Every morning, for the sake of my sanity, I write up a schedule on the whiteboard easel that resides in our living space. It looks something like this:
9-9:30 – get dressed, brush teeth, make bed and pull curtains
9:30-10:30 – schoolwork
10:30-11:15 – outdoor time (If you call it recess then the kids will automatically go outside and don’t question it.)
11:15-12:15 – creative time (this might be just watching a drawing tutorial on YouTube and following along, lego, play doh, etc.) or baking or something science-y.
12:30-1 – lunch (we listen to the Kidsnuz podcast while we eat)
1-2 – Reading and Dreambox math
3-4 – a walk or bike ride (weather dependent)
4 – 6 – ipad time/social time and a snack
This may seem intense; however, it keeps the requests for devices down to a minimum and I really only have to plan one thing for the day (during the creative time). My afternoons often get pretty loose and I have resorted to ‘educational TV’ as another option on occasion. I highly recommend Brain Child on Netflix! Next week I will tweak the schedule and think of something new for us to do.

Nicki Apr 13 1 Cropped

Bea – all set for the next creation.

Tuesday, April 7
I find the work on google classroom from each of my kids’ teachers easy enough to follow. I am happy to have this work as it takes a lot of pressure having to come up with my own educational activities. Today, however, Bea is completely uninterested in doing the assigned work. Instead she has decided to create her own version of Mo Willem’s “Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” and since she is completely engrossed in this project, I decide to let the school stuff go. In the afternoon, I take some bean seeds that were left on the vine and we put them into glass jars with wet paper towel so that we can watch as they germinate. We also plant some cat grass seed in an old plastic container for Clifford (our cat).

Wednesday, April 8
Today I am feeling the need to get out of the house. After providing tech support for another mum friend who is trying to navigate google classroom, we go for a drive to one of Bea’s friends’ houses. I exchange some bean seeds for a printed-out workbook for Bea. We stand far apart on the lawn and Bea says hi to her friend and her sisters. Leo asks if we can visit his friends. So, we drive around some more and find two sets of friends playing out on their front lawns. We try maintaining the required social distance from our friends, but this is sometimes challenging as the younger siblings ignore the 2-meter rule. We keep these visits short, but it is nice to see some friendly faces. Is this against the rules? On the way home, I pull into the empty parking lot at Mapleview Mall. Bea sits on my lap and steers the car around the lampposts. Leo protests in the back seat – he is a rule follower, unlike his mother.

Thursday, April 9
We do our weekly drive up to my parents’ farm in Campbellville. I am grateful for the large 45-acre section, with trails maintained by my dad, which allows for us to have long, isolated nature walks. Bea wants to hold Nana’s hand, but we keep our distance. This week my mum has given the kids a checklist of things to find. Everything is changing week by week. This week we spot a patch of yellow daffodils. I pick some to take home and this is enough to brighten up my day.

Nicki Apr 13 cropped

Leo – did he get soaked?

Friday, April 10
A teacher friend of mine posts something on Facebook that makes me realize that I am not in fact homeschooling my kids. I am not creating the content or lessons myself; I am simply administering the work and making sure that they are completing their assignments. I learn a lot about my kids and their learning styles this week. I see how easily distracted my son becomes whenever I start working with Bea. I now understand why so much of his work comes home incomplete. I also notice that Leo has excellent manners and he thanks his teacher for each assignment. Bea learns her 3D shapes this week and, in the evening, she pretends to be the teacher and teaches us all about the shapes.

Saturday, April 11
Lows for the week: Very little exercise done; my husband working so hard to meet a deadline and only emerges to read Bea a bedtime story most days; my first trip to the grocery store since the full impact of social distancing has taken effect.

Highs for the week: Leo requesting new favourite songs from the COVID-19 Spotify playlist, such as Toxic and Don’t Stand So Close to Me (a welcome departure from his usual Weird Al songs); making decoupage Easter eggs for our window with the kids, using our new firepit to make s’mores (before the new bylaw against open fires comes into effect).

Sunday, April 12
8pm (the night before): Bea writes a note to the Easter Bunny asking them to use hand sanitizer before entering our house.

4am: Bea comes into the bed and asks if she can begin the Easter egg hunt.

5am: I order Bea to go into her room and shut the door and not to emerge until it reads 6am on her fitbit watch.

5:10am: Bea calls from her bedroom, “there’s a mouse in my room.” This is not unusual for our house. I call back, “is it alive or dead?” It is alive…barely. Probably Clifford’s handiwork. A typical male, he never finishes the job he starts.

graphic coping green5:15am: Bea enters my room with the mouse in a box and tells us that it is her new pet. Dan quickly ushers her outside and gets rid of her new pet.

9am: Dan and I wake up having missed the excitement of the Easter egg hunt (for the second year in a row). Bea has eaten her body weight in chocolate and will later get herself a bowl from the kitchen to carry around with her from room to room in case she needs to throw up.
9:05am: I make us coffees (with Baileys) and scrounge around the house for the unfound eggs.

Related news stories:

The idea

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

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Food Bank takes a break to re-organize and sort what they have to put in the hampers that they deliver.

News 100 blueBy Robin Bailey

April 13th, 2020


If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help have them email us at or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at the door. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help.

Diane Gris

Diane Gris – the woman who manages the volunteers – keeps an eye on things while doing an interview.

Robin Bailey reports that: “Diane Gris was in this morning organizing our the volunteers as we prepare for the week ahead.

“Our doors are closed today however several volunteers are working in order to prepare for Tuesday.
“It’s a much-needed chance to regroup; Volunteers are busy going through the stock we have in house and doing some organization.

Jane F Food Bank

Jane Newton – all-star volunteer with more than 100 hours logged – so far.

“Jane Newton started going through the personal hygiene, cosmetics and toiletry inventory. Jane is one of our hall of fame volunteers having donated over 100 hours already. Having a long-weekend doesn’t mean the same thing as it used to but for our Food Bank it means we can relax a bit more and prepare.

“Diane mentions that it’s been three weeks since we implemented the delivery at home model and we had hoped to transition completely to delivery by now. I guess this week will tell how successful we’ve been doing that. We can’t thank our volunteers enough.

You can follow just what it is the volunteers do at the Food Bank.  Latest Today’s update


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St. Matthews United Church Annual Plant Sale still a go

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

April 7th, 2020



It is a 20-year tradition – the Annual Plant Sale at St. Matthews United Church on Plains Road.

They are not about to let a pandemic shut them down.
The event has been re-branded and is now a “Drive-through Plant Sale”

Plant sate CORRECT

As usual, they will take Pre-orders now, paid for and picked up the first part of May, when the orders will be brought out and put in the trunks for people as they drive up. “Our way of living may have changed, but people will need to be in their gardens by that time for therapy and we at St. Matthews are adaptable. However, due to maintaining distance, this year there won’t be any sales on the day of pickup.  You place your order, pay in advance and pick them up” advised Connie Price.

If you don’t have a computer or on-line access drop off your order, with a cheque please, at the Church’s outside Mail-box on dates as shown on the flyer.

Deadline for Orders is April 12th.

The response to the Pre-paid Drive-through hands off Pick-up method has been very positive.

Thank you for sharing or ordering for yourself and stay safe.

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Raw cookie dough as a bed time treat; a 'quarantini' to celebrate the end of chemotherapy

graphic coping greenBy Nicki St George

April 7th, 2020



Nicki St George is the mother of two, Leo 11 and Bea 8. She is a teacher at a private school in Oakville and in the final stages of chemotherapy.  Nicki is part of a team of parents who write about their having the children at home experience

Saturday, March 28
It is a relief to have my husband back in the mix instead of being sequestered in his makeshift basement office. Bea does her dance class over Zoom. I am so impressed with how well the teacher has adapted to this new delivery method. Later, we organize a fashion show with two of my friends and their daughters over Houseparty.

I play music in the background and we all disappear to our rooms and emerge in our finery. I rock my mermaid sequin frock – any excuse to dig that beauty out! I read an article in the Atlantic about how pandemics are bad news for feminists – I reflect on the number of conversations I have had with my female friends about the current shortage of flour and yeast.

I have my first post-chemo alcoholic drink in four months. A quarantini.

Sunday, March 29
Since I have both yeast and flour, I decide to try making cinnamon buns. I keep promising the kids and then putting it off. They turn out okay. We go for a family bike ride after our weekly Houseparty get together with the grandparents and aunts and uncles. Bea masters getting herself started on the bike. This is a game changer!

Monday, March 30

Nicki task list Apr 6

What to watch for while we are on our travels.

I like Mondays. It is a great day to start fresh and set some good intentions and goals. This week our goal (that I set) is for me and the kids to get 10,000 steps every day. I make something called phyto broth which uses up all of the vegetable scraps that I’ve been saving for the last two weeks and creates a super vitamin packed broth. I take the kids to visit the grounds of my private school so that we can walk around the large lake-side property. We collect rocks by the shore and later spend time painting them. Leo likes his rocks too much to leave them anywhere for someone to find.

Tuesday, March 31

Eager to get our steps for the day and aware that Bea is not at her best (understatement) when walking around our neighbourhood, I devise a strategy to make it more fun. I give each kid a list of different items or animals to look for as we do our walk and take a tally. It is a roaring success until Leo gets fed up and crumbles his paper up. He is disappointed that Bea can count trucks as cars while he cannot include our local arena as a brick house. Most of the walk is spent with me encouraging the kids to keep going and to not give up. Leo is in a funk today. I give him some space and do my best to cheer him up. Neither of my kids have explicitly expressed unhappiness about the social distancing but I know it is taking its toll. Bea often uses the phrase, “when the virus is over…”

Golf course closed

The joke was supposed to be on my husband.

Wednesday, April 1st

The kids are eager to see Dan succumb to our April fool’s joke which consists of loading up the laundry hamper with all the weights in the house and then asking him to take it downstairs to the laundry room. I send him an image I created on a fake headline website which says that Doug Ford is closing all the golf courses until September (scary because this actually might happen).

Thursday, April 2nd

Nature walk Nicki Apr 6

Chickadees follow us and land on our hands even though we have no seeds to feed them.

We spend a lot of time outdoors today. My mood is much better when the sun is shining. I work hard clearing all the leaves out of the front garden. I find us a nature trail for our walk and chickadees follow us and land on our hands even though we have no seeds to feed them. I have been keeping off social media and the 24-hour news cycle lately. Instead we listen to Kidsnuz podcast and watch education TV shows during our downtime. I binge watch Friends in the evening. I find the banter on the show comforting.

Friday, April 3rd

Collis note Apr 6 Nicki

Why do I have to conform to this 5-day work week paradigm?

I am in a funk today. I will not get all my steps today and I don’t even care. I have no desire to plan anything. The past three weeks of programming every activity for our family has caught up to me. I wonder how long this period of self-isolation will last. All I want to do is drink coffee, watch TV and do my puzzle. I mean why do I have to conform to this 5-day work week paradigm?

Today is my rest day. I let the kids have as much screen time as they want. I fight off the feelings of guilt. So many people have it much worse than me. I really have nothing to complain about. Think about the people on the front line risking their lives to fight this virus. I try to convince myself this newfound misery is the side-effect of the new cancer drug I started taking this week and it to some degree, it probably is.

I have no energy for daily phone call to my mum. I tell myself that tomorrow is a new day, but I know that this is more than a single day funk and that Dan will have to take over as ‘camp leader’ tomorrow. I make raw cookie dough and eat it after the kids go to bed. More guilt.

Related news stories:

The idea

Week 1

Week 2

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Music makes the difference - Koogle makes it available

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 30th, 2020



A light voice on a difficult day.

The hospital announcing that a 93 bed unit is being built for the expected COVID-19 patients; the Prime Minister warning corporations not to try and game the system.

Koogle announcementThe Koogle Theatre Group put a bunch of their students before the cameras – and well here is the result. 

We needed something to brighten the day

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One of the Coping with the kids team manages to keep the household organized and maintain her running program

graphic coping redBy Ashley Worobec

March 30th, 2020



My family has come up with a big chart system, whereby we have listed 12 items that we think are important to include in each day. Every family member has their own chart and colours in their own squares, the idea being that by the end of this, we will have a brightly-coloured symbol of what we’ve been up to.

Worobec BIG sheet RIGHT

Every family member has their own chart and colours in their own squares.

We think the 12 important points are:

1. Outside time
2. Workout time
3. Reading time
4. Build your brain time
5. Alone time
6. Creative time
7. Talk/FaceTime a friend
8. Talk/FaceTime a relative
9. An act of kindness for someone outside your home (ie. raking your neighbour’s yard, mailing a letter to someone)
10. Eating >6 fruits/veg per day
11. Drinking > 6 glasses of water per day.
12. List something that you’re grateful for.

This has been a good way for us to give a bit of structure and routine to our days, while still maintaining each person’s flexibility on how they want to spend their time.

Ashley AT Bay

Burlington Marathoner Ashley Worobec does the Around the Bay Run – she didn’t see it as a cancelled event.

One thing we did this morning was really valuable for us all. I’ve been training all Winter for the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, which was scheduled to run this morning (March 29). It’s the oldest race in all of North America, and began in 1894- as a long-distance runner in this area, it’s pretty much a staple of Spring training plans.

Of course it was cancelled, but it only occurred to me a few days ago that I could still run it solo! And that’s exactly what I did.

My family dropped me off at Dundurn Castle on York Boulevard (the race typically starts and ends at First Ontario Centre, but Dundurn Castle made it easier for me from a logistics standpoint) and I headed East through downtown Hamilton, along Beach Boulevard and the canal lift bridge, and then across Northshore Boulevard’s rolling hills, to continue onto Plains road and end up back at Dundurn Castle.

My family met me at the 10km mark and at the 20km mark with water and Gatorade and cheers and hugs. It was such a chance for me to reclaim some normalcy in this abnormal world we’re living in, and it gave me SUCH a mental boost.

My kids and husband remarked how happy it made them as well, and I even saw two other runners out there doing the same thing as me, one of them wearing a homemade race bib that said “ATB Anyway”, complete with his wife ringing a cowbell at stoppage points along the route.

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All recreation facilities, parks, playgrounds, sports fields and City administration facilities to the end of June.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 30th, 2020



Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the City of Burlington has decided to suspend all City-run spring programs and extend the closure of all recreation facilities, parks, playgrounds, sports fields and City administration facilities to the end of June.

During this time, all bookings will be cancelled, and refunds will be given. Organizations and residents are asked to please be patient as refunds may take up to two weeks to process. Questions related to rentals can be sent to For registrations, email

This decision, made by the City’s Emergency Control Group, follows the guidance of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health to prepare and plan for the months ahead.

The City of Burlington regularly plans in quarters, including Council’s 4-year strategic workplan, Vision to Focus. We need to make decisions now that affect programming weeks and months out, to provide some certainty to our community and to our many community partners.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains that: “This decision is absolutely necessary to protect the health and well-being of our employees and our community, as we plan for the best but prepare for the worst.

“COVID-19 numbers are still rising in our City through community spread. So we must continue to work towards flattening the curve through social and physical distancing and staying home. That means we can’t gather together at recreation facilities, community centres, sports fields and parks.

“We don’t know exactly how long this situation is going to last. By planning ahead, we can redirect resources where most needed, put non-essential projects on hold, and remain agile enough to open things up earlier if the situation changes. And once this is over, we will come together again as a community to celebrate. Let’s each do our part to get through this, healthy and whole.”

We are asking everyone to remember they have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19:

Please continue to keep out of park facilities including

o playgrounds,
o sports fields,
o skate parks,
o dog off-leash areas and
o community gardens.
o If you need some fresh air and activity, it’s okay to walk, cycle or jog through our parks, but please do not linger.
o Stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from everyone else in the park or on a trail.
o Please take your waste home with you to dispose of it.

During this extended closure we will continue to maintain our essential services and those services that provide direct support to keep our residents and staff safe. These include areas such as Burlington Fire, Burlington Transit including Handi-Van, Traffic Services, ByLaw Enforcement, Roads, Parks and Forestry Operations, Building Inspections and Service Burlington.

With this announcement the administration wants to assure residents that the business of the City will continue during this critical time.

“Our staff that are able, are continuing to work from home to maintain City services such as Community Planning, City Capital Works and various Corporate Services. During this unprecedented time, we are continually looking at ways for us to work more efficiently and to use taxpayer dollars wisely. We have already put in place spending restraints on all non-essential purchases during this time and will look to utilize our staff where we can instead of outsourcing.

“The majority of the City’s expenditures is paying our hard-working employees and we must continue to ensure we have the staff needed to get us through these challenging times. This means we will maintain our full-time staff workforce. They will continue to work remotely during this period or be redeployed where possible into essential service areas. We are also aware of other organizations that may need assistance, like the Region of Halton, where we may be able to redeploy staff.

“For our part-time staff, we will look at various options including evaluating government assistance programs being offered by the provincial and federal governments.

“Once we have looked at options for our staff, as a last resort we will also consider layoffs as required.

“We also know we’re not going to be back to 100 per cent on Day 1 after this pandemic has ended. We have to set the expectations for ourselves as a City and the public that it won’t be business as usual the first day we’re back from this. However, having plans in place for the next three months means we’ll be able to get back on our feet, operating at 100 per cent again that much sooner.

“This situation is evolving every hour and we are continually monitoring. The City of Burlington will continue to keep you informed.

Commisso stare

Tim Commisso, City Manager

Tim Commisso, City Manager adds that “Over the last few weeks our focus and priority has been on dealing with the immediate impacts of COVID-19 which has included meeting daily and taking specific actions based on analysis of virus spread and in partnership with public health.

“Clearly, we now need to look ahead and make decisions that are in best interests of our community and staff. We still need to do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus and continue to deliver our essential services in addition to providing certainty and stability for the next several months. We remain committed to strong financial management and ensuing we have adequate resources to meet this challenge.”

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Ok - who did it? The lovely painted rocks didn't just fall out of the sky. Do we have rock painting fairies amongst us?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 27th, 2020



We used to say we were always so busy – now hundreds of us are sitting at home and just plain bored.

There is only so much Netflix you can take. And reading those books you always wanted to read requires an approach to life that many of us have lost – just being quiet is something we find ourselves having to learn.

Yesterday, and again this morning, we were sent pictures of little painted rocks by people who were out for a walk and came across them.

Who put them there – and why?

SmileHave a look at the news story we put up this morning and then go into your Sherlock Holmes mode and see if you can discover who did this really nice thing. I personally love the one of the rock that is winking at me.

Painted rocks story HERE

We are waiting to hear what you learn?

Send whatever you find out to or put a comment at the bottom of the news story.

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Little rays of sunshine in uneasy times - sprinkled along the Centennial Trail

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 27th, 2020



Chalk work

Special Joy not GERMS – done in chalk on the Centennial Trail

Sylvia and Pat Lennon walk daily on either the Centennial Path or waterfront at Spencer Smith Park.

rocks 6They sent us a note saying “they just returned from our walk and wanted to tell everyone about the section on the Centennial trail beginning at Martha street and were delighted to find between Delaware and Guelph Line some really colourful rocks that lined each side of the path.

Were they done by children who found something interesting to do now that the schools are closed?

Jesus is youEach of the rocks had a message – usually uplifting.

There was also a chalk message with beautiful script.

The photos are a delight. Have a look. Wish we knew who did these. Can anyone add to this delightful story?

The Gazette has learned that friends of the people who sent us the pictures “discovered painted rocks along the Beach Boulevard path today about a half mile beyond the Canal Lift Bridge. Little rock fairies were hard at work planting their inspirational messages. Another surprise was that Harry’s Pub on the Beach had takeout! After our walk, we ordered delicious cheeseburgers and fries to take home. What an uplifting day!”

Rock on

Canada strongPeace


Big hug

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Marathoner is ready for the long haul with kids out of school.

graphic coping blueBy Ashley Worobec

March 26th, 2020



The Gazette has put together a team of parents who are at home taking care of their children while the province goes through school closures and the shut down of everything other than essential services.

Ashley Worobec, Amber Rohol, and Nicki St. George will write regularly on how they are coping.  We invite parents to take part in this initiative by adding comments to each Coping with COVID19 & the kids article.

Ashley Worobec is a  chiropractor  working with athletes as well as a mother with two children  11 and 8.  She completed the New York City Marathon a number of months ago.

We have a big sheet of paper where we brainstormed a bunch of ideas to do over the coming weeks.

Lots of house projects, like sorting through our closets, cleaning out the garage, raking the backyard.

Oct 1 Ashley with dog

Ashley Worobec and the family Golden Retriever who has been taught to roll over.

We have been looking on YouTube for “dog trick” videos and trying to teach our Golden Retriever some fun stuff- she just learned how to play dead, ha! Next is rolling over…..

The kids have been using a website called and that’s been helpful to improve their typing skills- there are various levels they can complete.

In the evenings, we’ve been working on a 1000-piece Harry Potter puzzle that’s on our dining room table.

We’ve also looked up a bunch of recipes that interest us, and have been making something new each day, whether that be dinner (last night was chicken parmesan from or baking a new type of muffin.

Facetime has been a lifesaver- lots of chatting with my extended family in Alberta and with the kids’ friends locally.

Ashley Worobec - hair flying H&S

Worobec on a practice run – when the weather was nicer.

My next race is the Chicago marathon in October- so far that’s not changed, but we will see how the coming months play out. All of the Major Spring marathons have either been cancelled or pushed to a Fall date…..

graphic coping redCoping with COVID & the kids is a collaborative effort between three women and the wider community.  The group will “prime the pump” with ideas from their experiences; we invite readers to use the comments section at the end of each feature to add their own ideas.

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Rivers masks up for a food run - gets mistaken for a Ninja

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 23, 2020



It is frustrating, feeling helpless as we watch the daily roll out of pandemic numbers continue to rise, with no apparent end in sight. The PM and our provincial and federal health officials conduct these daily press conferences if only to confirm that indeed, each day is worse than the day before. If only we could keep more social distance between us and wash our hands more often….

We act as if we are strangers to a pandemic, even though we’ve lived with some lesser viral epidemics, like SARS. And then there was the Spanish Flu back in 1918. My grandmother in Manitoba lost half of her children to that flu.


Apparently a “must see” movie – it’s available on line.

But if you really want to get depressed you can watch the 2011 movie Contagion, which is scarily similar to what we are experiencing today – life imitating art. It should have been required watching for our health officials. Then perhaps they would have sounded the alarm bell earlier.

On Thursday I finally did a grocery run. I had decided the crowds at Costco last week would jeopardize social distancing, so avoided that. Besides, I wasn’t sure I’d cope watching all those folks filling the back of their pick up trucks with hand sanitizer and whatever else they could get their un-sanitized hands on.

But I was bored with staying around the house and there was absolutely nothing worth watching on TV except those depressing press conferences and the re-runs of Contagion. It is a lot quieter out there in the city now.

The supermarket parking lot was half empty and customer traffic light. I had masked up before entering the store, making me only one of two customers who took that precaution. The store clerks were mostly wearing gloves and were keen to wipe down the cart handles as you entered. And some of them actually managed a smile, though nobody can be too happy these days.

This Wuhan Virus, COVID 19, is a respiratory disease so is most likely transmitted via one’s mouth or nose – sneezing, coughing or even the spray of moisture droplets as someone speaks to you. So I am always going to wear a mask when I go out to shop, especially where there are queues like in a supermarket.

When it came to pay I noticed that the cashier was easily within my one metre social space, and I couldn’t help thinking how much more comfortable I’d be if she was wearing a mask as she spat out “will that be debit or credit”. No doubt she probably would be more comfortable too. I was thankful for my mask, but wished I’d worn glasses as well.

At the height of the epidemic in Wuhan everyone in public had to wear a mask or they’d be arrested. And that, in concert with the quarantine, brought China’s epidemic to heel. Of course Asian populations are used to seeing people wearing masks. It protects them from the overwhelming pollution coming from cars and trucks and industry there.


Columnist Rivers in costume?

Western attitudes are rooted in stereotypes. Bank robbers, bandits, ninjas and storm troopers all wear masks to hide their identities. And while the courts are sorting out whether a Muslim woman can say her citizenship oath under cover of a niqāb, one pretty much has to go bare-faced to work in Quebec’s public sector. Medical, dental and industrial/construction trades mainly use face masks to protect themselves.

There is a lot of mixed messaging originating from our health experts about whether the public should be wearing face masks to help contain this new virus. They’ll tell you that it’s more important in public health for the infected person to wear one – which doesn’t explain the doctor’s mask. And some experts will tell you that an improperly fitting mask provides improper protection, which they imply is worse than no protection at all.

But more than likely they know there won’t enough masks to go around if we all start wearing them. Especially if we are all wanting to use the disposable single-use version. Ventilators, masks, gloves and hand sterilizer are all in short supply, so much so that doctors have been approaching veterinarians to raid the cupboards.

Why didn’t our health authorities anticipate this back in January, when we still had lots of time? Same reason they didn’t call for a travel ban until the virus started to be transmitted within the community, I’m guessing. Likely this is one of those compromises in public policy. Act too early and be called a panic artist or act too late and be labeled as dithering.

bus driver safe

Bus driver is protected from the passengers.

But it’s not too late to call for everyone who serves the public to be wearing face protection. Nobody should catch this virus from a store clerk or bus driver. And you can’t practice social distancing for two or even one metre on crowded subway or bus. Fortunately some stores are installing plexiglass cashier shields to protect their customers.

Still, everyone needs to ensure that they’re neither infecting nor being infected. I’ll be proudly sporting a mask every time I go out, even if it means sterilizing and re-using my limited supply. Even if a mask won’t stop me being infected, it would show that I care about the health of all the people prepared to serve in these difficult times.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking. Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington. He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject. Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa. Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Contagion –   Best and worst Cases –    Sleeping at the Switch

Masking –    Experts on Masks –    Supplies

More Supplies –    Dithering –     Better than a Mask?

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Want to get into care mongering - there is just the place to do that.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 23, 2020



It is really interesting watching how people respond to a crisis.

The innovative ideas bubble to the surface – there is a new Facebook page that you might find interesting and useful.

Care mongersThis is a place where you can reach out and ask a question – offer some help.

One Mother needed adhesive for a child’s dental brace. Minutes later a different parent happened to have some she was never going to use. Done deal.

It works, some goofy stuff – which makes it kind of fun.

Link to this one.


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Aldershot community working with St. Matthews on food collection

News 100 redBy Staff

March 21, 2020



St Matthews AldershotSt. Matthews-on-the-Plains Church, through a Partnering Aldershot, helping our neighbours have food initiative, are trying to make it easy for people to donate food safely without personal contact, while helping to keep the Aldershot food distribution agencies’ shelves from being completely depleted.

St Matthews flyer At St. Matthew’s driveway drop-off, there is also a list of needed items and a chart of a lot of the places in Burlington where those in need can get food. All the agencies have instituted ‘safe distance’ policies.

There has also been a group of volunteers formed, who are willing to deliver Food Hampers from the Aldershot distribution agencies to the front door of those in need and who can’t or shouldn’t go out.
Aldershot is a true ‘village’ pulling together to help each other.

Get Gaz yellow


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Slot machines: easy to learn - fun to play - know your limit.

News 100 blueBy Clair Nash

March 19th, 2020



Did you know that just under 20 million Canadians regularly gamble? Astonishingly that is almost half of the population.

This figure is far more than other countries like the UK where around a third of people regularly gamble. With that many people regularly gambling and almost $4 billion spent each year at offshore casinos. It is no wonder that several states including Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan have set up their own casinos to prevent this money leaving Canada.

But why have online casinos become so popular? It is fair to say that without the advances in technology of the last few years online casinos would not exist, at least in the numbers they are today. Although smartphones, tablets, and fast internet connections are what makes them possible, they are not why people use them.

casino slot machines

Slot machine casinos are a different world: lots of light and the sound of the machine whirring away. And the yelps from those who win.

There are two main reasons why online casinos have become so popular. Firstly, they are a simple and quick way to have fun. And secondly, slot games have brought a whole new group of people to online casinos. In fact, 48% of all online casino goers log on just to play slots, making slots by far the most popular casino game.

But why slots??

Easy to Learn

When we think of a casino, the first thing that comes to our minds are the well-known card and table games, such as Poker, Blackjack, and Roulette. Although these games have scores of avid fans and players, all require a certain amount of knowledge and skill to play, especially Poker. For anyone new to a casino, playing a skill game that they don’t know against experienced players is not a very attractive choice.

Because slot games are simple and easy to learn, people can be playing and doing well in just a matter of minutes. All without the need for prior knowledge, or even that much skill. It is this ease of play that makes them the best choice for all casino newcomers.

slots 7777

It is a game of chance – and there are winners.

Better Returns
Casinos are liked by so many people because they are a great place to have fun, but there is no denying that people also play for the chance to win money. It is this chance of winning that drives people when choosing which game to play. Because people want to play games that give them the best chance of winning.

All casino games have a return to player ratio. This is the percentage of money on average that is returned to the player. A 90% ratio would mean for ever $100 you bet you would expect to receive $90 back in winnings. Slot games have a return to player ratio of around 92-96%. This is higher than any other casino game. On top of this high rate, many slots games also provide all manner of different bonuses, such as free spins. Giving players even more opportunities to win.

Made for You
Games like poker or blackjack have remained the same for generations, and are not likely to change anytime soon. Therefore whether or not you play depends totally on if you like the game. This is where slot games are different. There are literally thousands of different slot games to choose from. Like with computer games, there are a multitude of different slot game development companies, releasing games in all manner of different genres, with different storylines, different gameplay, different bonuses and so on. Meaning quite literally, there is a slot game for everyone.

slots hundreds

Hundreds of different slot machine games are available.

Slot games have fast become one of the most popular ways for people to have fun. The best slot games in Canada are fun to play, easy to learn, and offer a far better chance of winning than regular casino games like blackjack and poker. In turn, whatever you like there is a slot game for you.

Clair Nash is an entertainment consultant

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Significant changes in the way the community celebrates and entertains itself on the way.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 18th, 2020



Decisions are being made in the community that give us some sense as to what we might be in for as we struggle to deal with COVID19.

Ribfest south lake side

Most of the “ribbers” may decide to just give up on this season due to COVID19

The chief medical officer of health for Ontario has recommending the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings due to COVID-19.

The Oakville Family Ribfest was not scheduled until the end of June 2020 – more than 90 days away.

Sound-of-Music-Festival-2017 large crowd

A crowd like this isn’t going to be permitted this summer. No word yet from the Sound of Music on what their plans are.

The Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar, announced today that the event will be postponed until June of 2021

The health and safety of all the families in our community are our top priority. Strong measures are required to manage the transmission of this virus and the timeline required to eliminate the risk of COVID-19 in Ontario will be prolonged so we believe it is prudent to take this preventative action.

There is much that we do not know about this virus – the biggest over-riding concern may well be how much we have to adapt to cope.

No word on the Burlington Ribfest or the Sound of Music.

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Old world courtesy goes the extra mile meeting the needs of the community

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 18th, 2020



A Different Drummer, is one of the more consistently successful book stores in the country.

Different Drummer fine line Ian Elliot, the proprietor, brings a quaint, almost old world politeness to the way he goes about running the business.

Quiet, polite, erudite and knowledgeable, Ian yesterday sent a note to the community.

Hello. This is Ian Elliot with A Different Drummer Books. Starting today, in compliance with the directives of government and health officials, we will close our physical store for the next several days.

Ian Elliott

Ian Elliot

We will continue to provide books to you via telephone and email, at 905 639 0925 and We’re always happy to share recommendations and consultations by these means.

We invite you to take advantage of the free delivery service we’re offering. We can also arrange curbside pickup outside our shop at 513 Locust Street in Burlington.

We’re reviewing news developments and the guidelines for retailers each day. We’ll announce a full reopening as soon as this is possible.

We wish everyone safety in this trying time. As always, we are honoured to be your bookstore and we remain deeply grateful for your understanding and support.

With all our very best,

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Freeman Station: Also closed for the duration of the CORVID19 pandemic

News 100 redBy Staff

March 15th, 2020



Ron Danielsen President, Friends of Freeman Station announced yesterday that : “In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and as advised by Health Authorities, Freeman Station is closed until further notice.

“All bookings, meetings, and work at the station are cancelled.

‘We will evaluate the situation again on April 15th, and decide on further action at that time.”

Freeman with stop and car in place

One of the most delightful destinations in the city. Freeman Station – it exists because citizens made it happen.

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Art Gallery joins the list of locations that will be closed to the public.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 14th, 2020



The Art Gallery of Burlington has joined with other community organizations in an effort, led by the City of Burlington, to protect the health of our community by suspending all of our programs and services and closing our facility beginning Saturday, March 14, for a minimum of three weeks.

Prepaid Nash AGB

The seven day a week operation ends during the shutdown of everything in the city.

Although we know this will be an inconvenience to many and a burden to some, we are proud and determined to do everything we possibly can in response to the challenge of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Please rest assured that we will happily provide full refunds for all of the camps, courses, tours, venue rentals, and other paid services that will be impacted by this closure, although we request your patience due to the large number of clients involved.

We will be posting all updates on our website, and a staff member will be available by telephone from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday, until the gallery reopens.

Guilds 2018 levee

Guilds will not be able to meet at the Gallery

To our colleagues in the Guilds of Arts Burlington and to our many volunteers, we regret that we will not be able to offer any use of the facility during this closure, and we also regret that all of the work we have planned together with you must be postponed throughout this time, but we ask you to please be in touch with us if you require our assistance.

At this time we are working to review and revise our plans for our programs and services, and we look forward to welcoming the whole community back into the Gallery as soon as we are able.

We are very grateful to our friends at the City of Burlington for their leadership under extraordinary circumstances, and we harbour no doubt whatsoever that together we are doing the right thing for this community.

With Hope and Confidence,

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