Public School Registration Now Open for Fall 2024 Kindergarten Classes

By Staff

January 15th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) is now accepting registrations for Junior (Year 1) and Senior (Year 2) Kindergarten for September 2024.

Registration can be completed online or in-person. Parents/guardians are asked to register their child for school by Feb. 1, 2024 or as soon as possible.

Learning to read: a skill that will be with them for the rest of their life. Imagine not being able to read – it happens.

Families can learn about Kindergarten in the HDSB by visiting the Registering for Kindergarten page on the HDSB website (hdsb.ca). Parents/guardians can pre-register their child online through the Register My Child for School page. To register for school in-person, use the Find My Local School tool on the HDSB website to determine your child’s home school and contact the school for additional information.

If you are new and/or returning to Ontario, please use the Where Do I Register Tool to guide you to where to begin your registration process (e.g. your home school OR at the HDSB Welcome Centre).

Please have the following original documents when registering:

  • Proof of address (any two of the following current documents): lease or deed, car registration, utility bill, residential telephone bill, moving bill, property tax bill, bank statement, credit card statement, correspondence with a government agency
  • Proof of age: birth certificate or passport or baptismal/faith record for your child
  • Proof of citizenship: birth certificate or passport, Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or Permanent Resident card
  • If you are not the child’s parent, or if you have sole custody, please bring proof of custody (court order).

To register to begin school in Fall 2024, Junior Kindergarten (Year 1) children must be four years old by Dec. 31, 2024, and Senior Kindergarten (Year 2) children must be five years old by Dec. 31, 2024.

She just can’t wait to get into her classroom.

Parents/guardians who require language assistance to register their child for school can contact the Halton Multicultural Council at (905) 842-2486.

Parents/guardians who require accessibility accommodations to register their child for school can contact the Principal/Vice Principal of the school.

Background resources

Kindergarten

Registering for Kindergarten

Calling All Three-Year Olds

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Chief Librarian reports that 1,255,000 books have been borrowed from the libraries

By Staff

January 7th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

If you have a library card- this article will not be new to you – the Chief Librarian Lita Barrie will have sent it to you.

Chief Librarian Lita Barrie reports to members

With our new year just a few days old, I’d like to share some highlights from this past year at Burlington Public Library. We wouldn’t be the library we are without your ongoing use and support, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who visits the library, in person or online, as part of your routine.

So, how did you use your public library in 2023? Here’s a quick look!

How You Used Your Library in 2023

BPL members borrowed over whopping 1,225,000 books in 2023! One family of eager readers saved over $27,000 by using the library in 2023! You can view your estimated annual savings at the bottom of your printed receipt when you check out books. We added this feature to our receipts this year and it has been a great way for customers to see what they are saving by using their library.

The most popular non-book items borrowed were MiFi Hotspots, Chromebooks, and iPads. When introduced in June, jigsaw puzzles were a huge and immediate hit with library members. This new collection will grow again in early 2024. Watch the shelves!

This year’s most popular event was Burlington Literary Festival’s riveting evening with R.H. Thomson, author of By the Ghost Light. And thousands of kids also came to the library to shake their sillies out at 1,367 storytimes this year—with some regularly attracting crowds of 80-plus children and their grown-ups!

Burlington Public Library’s Commitment to Accessibility

The library belongs to everyone in our community, and we are committed to making our services and collections accessible to all. With that in mind, we worked with various partners to launch new offerings this year.

Visitors to the library can now pick up sensory kits to use in any of our branches. These were developed in collaboration with Autism Ontario.

We also expanded our collection of supportive reading materials to include decodable books geared to people with dyslexia, and WonderBooks and Vox Books that read aloud while you turn the pages.

Our staff are ready to welcome and support you no matter your needs—our 2023 Staff Development Day centred on training all staff to provide accessibility support and resources.

New Library Services Launched in 2023

What else were we up to? We opened our new Reading Garden at Central Branch where you can enjoy a good book in the fresh air during warmer months. Your local history is now just a click away with the Burlington Digital Archive—an online trove of maps, photos, and historical documents. This digital portal went live in the fall thanks to the incredible work of our Digital Resources & Collections team.  And, for Burlington readers looking for a good book recommendation—and we know there are lots of you—give Handpicked For You a try. We launched this service to give customers personalized picks from our expert library staff.

It was an outstanding year for Burlington Public Library, and we couldn’t have done it without the continued enthusiastic support of our community and our dedicated and talented staff, who work hard to deliver the best library service possible every day. Thank you for making BPL part of your story in 2023.

We look forward to seeing you at the library in 2024! To get a jump start on your reading list for the new year, check out my favourite reads of 2023.

Happy reading!

 

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Libraries have been more than books for a long time - friendly faces all over the place

By Pepper Parr

December 20th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A couple more days and we can put our feet up, relax knowing that we have done everything we could to prepare for the holidays.

The younger children will be excited, close to unable to wait for Christmas day

The Burlington Library has expanded their seasonal offering from books and videos to some advice on how to handle the holidays.  Keep it in mind when you are thinking about others in the days ahead.

Let’s face it. Despite the twinkling lights, peppermint drinks, and supercharged cheerfulness, this time of year can be tough to cope with—especially if you feel alone. During the pandemic lockdowns, we embraced changes such as takeout meals, online shopping, streaming movies, and reading eBooks. These are now conveniences that keep us comfortably at home. But as a result of having fewer interactions or meaningful connections with others, loneliness is on the rise.

This person is just a phone call away.

Last month, the World Health Organization announced loneliness and social isolation may soon reach epidemic proportions. They identified serious health risks linked to loneliness, such as dementia, stroke, and heart disease. But along with this dire news, the WHO’s leading health experts also suggested a simple prescription to combat loneliness—getting in touch with others by phone, online, and in-person; doing things you enjoy; and reaching out to local services that can connect you with others.

Connect With Others in a Third Place

 Your local public library is a great place to start.

Last year, Burlington Public Library took part in a research project based out of McMaster University about how libraries can support connections and successful aging. This ongoing project explores the role public libraries play in strengthening social inclusion for older adults in the community. While this study focuses on older adults, the library offers opportunities for connection to people of all ages.

“We want everyone to feel welcome and included when they visit Burlington Public Library in person and online,” says David Quezada, Manager of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Burlington Public Library (BPL). “We care deeply about providing an accessible communal space for all.”

Libraries are sometimes called a third place.” This sociology term refers to familiar and welcoming surroundings separate from the two places where most people spend most of their time—work and home. Spending time in a “third place” can increase your social connections and sense of belonging.

Whether visiting for a few minutes or lingering for hours—you’re always welcome at Burlington Public Library. Pop in to chat with staff while you browse the displays. Or, if you’re looking to socialize and meet people with similar interests, perhaps you’d enjoy attending an interactive program such as Knit ‘n’ Natter or BPL Book Club. And don’t forget about the library’s comfy seats where you can read newspapers and magazines in a friendly space away from home.

Get the Jump on Seasonal Affective Disorder

The Library also offers a chance to brighten up your day, quite literally. A form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may cause changes in your feeling of well-being during the late fall and winter months when daylight hours are shorter.

If you’re experiencing mild, temporary “winter blues,” increasing your exposure to natural or artificial daylight can help reduce seasonal doldrums. Come into BPL’s branches for a mood boost under a light therapy floor lamp. The Library offers these at all locations except for Kilbride. The lamp’s bright UV-filtered light mimics natural sunlight. (Sorry, tropical heat is not included!)

Talk to Local Support Services

While simply getting out of the house can be enough to kick a mild case of loneliness, some folks need more support.

If you’re not sure where to turn, caring library staff can refer you to people and places in the community that can support you. You can call 905.639.3611 during library open hours to speak to a staff member or reach out by email to infoburlington@bpl.on.ca.

Is this leading by example?

“Connecting people with community resources is an important part of what we do at the library,” says Quezada. “We can provide guidance to help you find the services you need.”

The Library also hosts free drop-in sessions where you can talk to specialists from local support organizations.

You Have a Friendly Face to Turn To

The Library is open every day, except statutory holidays so you always have somewhere to turn. If you’re ever feeling lonely, know that you can find a friendly face and a warm hello at your local library.

People who need a helping hand often don’t know how to reach out.

Those who have a supporting family and a great circle of friends have the most to give – reach out and invite people to share what you have.

 

 

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Signatures on wine bottles shown to influence Ontario shoppers: Brock research  

By Staff

December 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

New research from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute indicates a winemaker’s label signature can supercharge sales and impart value to consumers.

And we thought sniffing the wine was how you learned where the value was!

And we thought sniffing the wine was how you learned where the value was!

Brock Professor of Marketing and Consumer Psychology Antonia Mantonakis

Brock Professor of Marketing and Consumer Psychology Antonia Mantonakis and University of Ottawa’s Keri Kettle recently published “Look for the Signature: Using Personal Signatures as Extrinsic Cues Promotes Identity-Congruent Behaviour in the Journal of Business Research.

Understanding that humans use signatures when committing themselves to significant obligations such as marriages or mortgages, Mantonakis and Kettle explored whether that same perceived value is reflected in consumer products boasting a signature.

The researchers conducted a series of seven studies that looked at how adding a personal signature to in-store signage and product labels affects product evaluations and sales, and examined the identities, affiliations, causal relationships and associations (or disassociations) between consumers and products.

“It is an exciting area of study that can be a windfall for businesses, especially winemakers, marketers, advocacy groups and even curious or savvy shoppers,” said Mantonakis. “One of the great factors we found was that businesses needed a strong understanding of their target audiences when making the decision about whether or not to include a signature on their product.”

The studies involved monitoring wine sales that highlighted a winemaker signature and sales of the same bottle of wine without the signature. Results demonstrated the presence of a signature can boost sales as much as 500 per cent if an Ontarian is purchasing an Ontario wine.

Taylor MaGee, of Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, examines a wine bottle label.

Moreover, bottles of wine with a signature were found to have a higher value in terms of quality compared to the same bottle of wine without a signature.

“The signature has its limits though,” Mantonakis said. “While we might see that a signature on a bottle of Ontario Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wine can drive retail sales for local consumers in Ontario and create positive value associations between consumer and product, it won’t happen for everyone, especially those who are travelling here from elsewhere and may not have a shared identity of being ‘from Ontario.’”

The results of the studies help define the relationship between consumers, the value associated with a signature, awareness of product and how a signature can establish or modify value of a product.

“Ultimately, our research indicates the effect of adding personal signatures depends more on the identity of the target consumers rather than the identity of the signer,” Mantonakis said, adding businesses should first consider their audience before introducing a signature to any label.

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Ontario in Top Ten Ranking of Math Students. Report says 'student well-being and academic rigour often go together.'

By Pepper Parr

December 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While Canadian teenagers score well on international math, reading and science tests — scores in all three subjects have declined over the past two decades, according to a new global ranking released Tuesday.

“While it is evident that some countries and economies are performing very well in education, the overall picture is more worrying,” wrote  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ( OECD) Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher in a report about the PISA 2022 test, which focused on math.

“In more than two decades of global PISA tests, the OECD average score has not changed drastically between consecutive assessments. But this cycle saw an unprecedented drop in performance.”

OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher

In media interviews Schleicher said while COVID-19 played a role, the downward trend in some countries, including Canada, started before the pandemic. Factors include a general decline in perceived teacher support and the “extensive use of technology for leisure.”

This is the first large-scale study to collect data on student performance, well-being and equity since the pandemic-related disruptions resulted in school closures and the pivot to online learning. The tests also reveal how Canadian teens fared in each province. Ontarians performed above the national average in reading and science, but not math. Alberta was the only province to score above the national average in all three subjects.

Canada was above the OECD average in all subjects, ranking fourth in science and fifth in math and reading. When compared with all participants, Canada ranked in the top 10 in all subjects. Singapore was number one in all areas.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, who is the chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, said “overall, it’s a very positive reflection” of what’s going on in classrooms across the country.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Ontario, he added, is in the top 10 internationally, which shows the province’s back-to-basics strategy is working, along with investments in literacy and numeracy supports such as a math lead in every school board and early reading screening for primary schoolchildren starting in senior kindergarten.

“All of this, together, leads us to a better outcome,” Lecce said at Queen’s Park. “So it’s promising, but a recognition that we’ve got obviously more work to do to get these kids back on track.”

Although Canada ranked high, its scores have trended downward, as have other countries’ around the globe. Compared with 2012, the proportion of students here scoring below baseline proficiency (Level 2) increased by seven percentage points in math, seven percentage points in reading, and four percentage points in science.

“If you do not reverse that, it’s just going to continue,” warned Schleicher, pointing out that Finland took top spot in 2000 and everyone looked to it as a model education system. “Now, (Finland) is an average performer. They have been very complacent.”

Schleicher  added Canada could do better with “a curriculum that is more ambitious and has high expectations for students,” adding there has been a tendency in recent years to “sacrifice rigour” in order to please students. But he notes that “student well-being and academic rigour often go together.”

We have to just teach fewer things at greater depths,” he said. “In Canada, students often are good at the first layer of a problem, but they do not have the deep conceptual understanding” to get at the heart of a math problem.

Schleicher also recommended that teachers invest more time in their relationships with students so they feel supported. He was “surprised” that when kids switched to online learning due to school closures, just 13 per cent of Canadians reported being asked daily, by someone from the school, how they were feeling.

“That’s a striking number,” he said. “During the pandemic, caring for your students was perhaps even more important than giving them homework.”

Ontario students were out of class and learning online, about 27 weeks, which was more than many students around the world.

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Halton District School Board hosts Human Rights Symposium on Monday, December 11

By Staff

December 3rd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board will host the fifth annual Human Rights Symposium on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023 to engage in vital conversations and challenge thinking.

The theme of this year’s event is Holistic Health: Our voices, our stories, our calls to action, and centres around holistic health (including physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social) as a human right regardless of age, background or socio-economic status. This year the symposium has been designed by students for students.

The Human Rights Symposium will feature a speaking panel of students and will be a virtual event for HDSB students (Grade 7-12) and staff. Registration is not required and information on how to access the event will be shared with students and staff.

Throughout the week, students and staff are encouraged to share what they are learning on social media with the hashtag: #HDSBsymposium.

The HDSB Human Rights Symposium (Dec. 11, 2023) aligns with Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, which is observed annually to recognize the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The principles originally enshrined in the Declaration are still relevant today.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the HDSB explains: The Human Rights Symposium supports the HDSB’s Equity and Inclusion and Mental Health and Well-Being areas of focus in the HDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and our Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan: The Way Forward, The annual Human Rights Symposium unites diverse voices in a shared commitment to addressing common issues. It is a standing reminder of the value of coming together to engage in collaborative dialogue and collective action.”

Amy Collard

Amy Collard, Chair of the HDSB asks students and staff to to engage, question and reflect on our traditional thinking regarding health and well-being.”

 

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Museum has Winter Break Camp - January 2 - 5: Sailing the Seven Seas

By Staff

November 28th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Winter Break Camp | Jan. 2 – 5

Camp runs January 2 – 5, from 9am – 4pm at Joseph Brant Museum.

The cost is $55/day, or $200 for the week. Museum members receive 10% off. Camp is designed for children between 5 – 12 years old. The theme is “Sailing the Seven Seas”. Campers will venture to classical civilizations, the Viking era, and the Polynesian islands!

Program list:  Registration link below;

Click HERE to register

 

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Teens sought for study on kindness and well-being

By Staff

August 10th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A new Brock University study aiming to learn more about how youth think about kindness is calling on teens to share their thoughts and experiences.

Sandra Bosacki, Professor in the Faculty of Education and Director of Brock’s Theory of Mind in Education.

The Mentalization, Kindness and Well-being Teen Study is part of a larger five-year research project led by Sandra Bosacki, Professor in the Faculty of Education and Director of Brock’s Theory of Mind in Education (ToME) Lab.

Funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant awarded to Bosacki and co-primary investigator Victoria Talwar at McGill University, the research is focused on adolescents’ mentalization skills, identity and well-being.

Bosacki and the research team are particularly interested in learning what comes to a teenager’s mind when thinking about kindness.

“It is of utmost importance to listen to the voices of youth about what they think the word ‘kindness’ means, how they think and feel about it, and how they express kindness to themselves and others,” she said.

Previous research from Bosacki’s ToME lab showed that some adolescents may tend to show more kindness and compassion to others versus showing it to themselves.

By allowing young people to describe their perceptions and experiences of kindness and compassion, the researchers hope to determine how educational programs can incorporate aspects of mentalization in the secondary school curriculum to promote overall well-being and emotional health as well as behaviour that benefits others.

Victoria Talwar, McGill University, co-primary investigator

“The first of its kind in Canada, the study will give researchers in Brock’s Department of Educational Studies a chance to explore how kindness plays a role in the links between mentalization and prosocial acts in young people,” Bosacki said.

Adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18 years old are invited to participate in the study. Each participant is required to have a personal email address and informed consent provided by one parent.

Participants will complete an online survey, which takes place using Qualtrics and over Microsoft Teams, lasts about 60 minutes, and involves watching short video clips and filling out questionnaires.

After the session is completed, participants’ parents will be sent a digital gift card and will have the opportunity to participate in a follow-up study next year.

Anyone interested in taking part can contact the Theory of Mind in Education lab by email at tomelab@brocku.ca

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Who got Neighbourhood Community Matching Funds

By Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City announced the 2023 recipients of the Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund (NCMF).

It was a number of years ago but these four lads, working with their parents got funding to improve the ball diamond at the park next to their school.

The fund was created to inspire Burlington residents to actively champion projects in the community to improve, build and strengthen the social contract and enhance the quality of life for everyone.

Bringing neighbourhoods and communities together to make new connections and create a sense of belonging is just as important as the project itself.

The funds objectives are:

  • Improve, build and strengthen Burlington neighbourhoods
  • Create a greater sense of belonging
  • Foster individual well-being and community pride
  • Inspire residents to become more actively involved in the community
  • Build stronger relationships

Public Pollinator Garden ($3,640)

This project aims to create a public pollinator garden at Port Nelson United Church. The pollinator garden will provide a safe and nurturing environment for pollinators while enhancing the beauty of the area.

Burlington Tennis Club ($5,000)

This project aims to install and provide outdoor public Wi-Fi and web cameras in the west end of Central Park, near the Burlington Tennis Club.

Sycamore Park Neighbours ($9,981)

This project aims to build a bumping space within Sycamore Park in the Palmer community. Bumping spaces are places where people can “bump” into neighbours. It allows informal interactions with community members, meet-ups with friends and forming friendships and connections. The project includes three round metal picnic tables, one of which will be accessible for those who use wheelchairs, and a sensory garden. Sensory gardens are intended to stimulate sight, sound and touch.

On balance this is a good program.  On occasion a bit too much goes to well established community groups but on occasation the department takes a chance on something different – the bumping stations could be interesting.

For more information on the Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund, visit burlington.ca/matchingfund.

 

 

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Stroller Tours of Art Gallery offered each Thursday - from 10 - 10:30 Just show up

By Staff

July 13th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Are they having fun?

If you’re looking for some summer fun but aren’t part of a summer camp this year, the Art Gallery of Burlington is offering Stroller Tours each Thursday from 10 – 10:30 AM.

They meet inside the doors of the Lakeshore Roads entrance and for the first ten minutes of touring, ten minutes of story time, then ten more minutes of exploring.

For those who have not yet had an opportunity to introduce their children ti an art gallery – this is a nice way to get them started.

A special way to experience art together.

 

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Gregory Blount shares first place in the 18+ Library writing contest for Cooper Falls

By Staff

July 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Write Here. Write Now contest received an incredible number of entries this year—they doubled last year’s total!  The creators ranged in age from 10 all the way up to 93.

The Gazette is publishing the two winners in the short story 18+ category.  The first is below, the other will follow later in the week.

The winners in each category are:

Poetry

10-12: Kayla Gareau, Dream experts, Dream catchers, Dream chasers

13-17: Griffin Dekker, Beginning of an End

18+: Denny Williams, Reflections on pet ownership

Short Stories

10-12: Avery Parkes, Ali in Winterland

13-17: Mia Greene, Nefelibata

18+: Jennifer Filipowicz, The Swan and Gregory Blount, Cooper Falls

Comics

10-12: Brody Hanks, Muffinhead and Bagel-Brain

13-17: Ali Thompson, The Duck

18+: Dominique Bowler-Brown, Elephant Bones

Gregory Blount proves to be imaginative and quite a story teller.

Well worth a read.

Chief Librarian Lita Barrie explained that two of the short stories were so good they decided to make both winners.

The were certainly right.  The story reminds me of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Enjoy

It was a sunny June day. Russell Stewart and I were cutting through Memorial Park on our way home from the falls. As usual, I wasn’t feeling very sunny myself. There were two spots up at the river where a kid could test their courage, Chicken Run and Dead Man’s Bluff. Chicken Run was about ten feet over the water, and Dead Man’s Bluff, at the top of the falls, was about twenty-five feet high. Russell, a freckle faced redhead, wasn’t the only boy in town brave enough to run right off Dead Man’s Bluff, but he was the only one who could do it blindfolded. I, on the other hand, had never progressed past Chicken Run with my eyes wide open. I would sometimes crawl out along the slippery rocks of Dead Man’s Bluff, but one look into that dark green water far, far below with the roar of the falls drowning out all other sounds and I would start shaking so bad I’d have to crawl right back away from the edge. Russell was always pushing me to try things. Life was easy for him and he saw no good reason why it shouldn’t be easy for me too. We were opposites, but we were also best friends.

On our way home we passed the old cannon near the gazebo in the centre of Memorial park.

Russell stopped and made an announcement, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, for our final performance this afternoon we proudly present Sam Cooper, the Human Cannonball! He will astound you with his amazing 500-foot flight into this glass of water.’ He held out a pretend glass of water. ‘Sam, do you have any last words?’

‘Russell, this is silly, come on?’

‘Come on yourself! Need I remind you this is not Dead Man’s Bluff, Sam. Do you have any last words?’
I knew when I was beat and announced, ‘I would like to dedicate this feat to Mary-Anne McCovey the prettiest girl in the universe!’
Russell and I both had a major crush on Mary-Anne McCovey.

‘Dream on,’ said Russell, ‘and now observe ladies and gentlemen as the fearless Human Cannonball enters the cannon. Get in the cannon Sam.’

‘Come on Russell.’

‘Come on yourself Sam! Need I remind you that … ‘
‘ … this is not Dead Man’s Bluff,’ I finished. Okay.’

And I lowered myself into the cannon feet first.

And Russell pulled the lever.

Now one fact that neither of us was aware of at the time was that the park caretaker, Elroy Stubbs, had made no mistakes in his job these 25 years. Two days earlier, he was loading that very cannon for a 21-gun salute for Flag Day. Elroy carefully placed the charges in the cannon, ‘1, 2, 3,’ he counted; I want you to remember that last number, 3.
At that very moment, the Mayor of Cooper Falls, a round and soft young man by the name of Junior Follows (who incidentally was up for re-election that year) ceremoniously marched out to the cannon where Elroy was working to present him with his Error-Free Certificate.

“Elroy Stubbs,” the Mayor interrupted, “For 25 years of error-free service I hereby present you with this lovely certificate. I hope I can count on your vote, Elroy.” Whereupon, he handed the certificate over to the astonished Elroy, shook his hand and marched back to City Hall.

Elroy folded up the certificate, shoved it into his pocket, spit, and with a puzzled look on his face, resumed loading the cannon, ‘3, 4, 5, 6,’ etcetera.
The upshot of this was that after the ceremony was over, there was still one charge left in the cannon. And as I climbed in, and Russell pulled the lever to “pretend” fire the cannon there was an ear-shattering … BOOM!

Several things happened very quickly at this point. The dinner plate sized circle of blue sky that I was looking at out the end of the cannon was instantly replaced by a scenic view of Cooper Falls from about 300 feet up. My body was going quite a bit faster than my brain at this point. In fact my brain was still trying to work out how I could be seeing all this from inside a cannon.

As my body exited the muzzle of the cannon there was a loud THWACK as my clothing exploded. Singed articles of clothing drifted to the ground not more than ten feet from the end of the cannon, shirt, socks, sneakers, bathing suit.

Deafened, Russell froze on the spot with his hand on the lever, his mouth hanging open, and his red hair standing straight up. Then he looked into the barrel and saw nothing but a bit of smoke. He must have thought the clothes were all that was left of me. Then he high-tailed it, screaming, across the park to the police station where he commenced to blubbering something about shooting his friend. When it was obvious no one there understood a word he was saying, he grabbed one of the deputies, and with superhuman strength carried him kicking and screaming into the park.

By an extraordinary coincidence, three blocks away, the beautiful Mary-Anne McCovey was having a pool party. There were a dozen girls from our class sitting along the edge of her pool with their hands carefully placed on their thighs and stomachs, and so on, marking the furthest splash up to that point in the cannonball contest. Mary-Anne McCovey was standing on the diving board about to take her turn.

At about 500 feet, I felt a queasy sense of weightlessness. Time itself seemed to slow down. I began to fall.

That was when I learned something about myself that I hold dear to this very day. I did not scream hysterically, and my life did not pass before my eyes. The screamers and those whose lives pass before their eyes do not often survive the predicaments they are in. It is the people who spend this short time planning who, on occasion, survive. I found out that I was a planner.

I looked down and saw a tiny rectangle of blue in front of me. Could it possibly be a swimming pool? And could it possibly be directly in line with the cannon in Memorial Park? Was there any chance that I might land in a swimming pool? I began to move my body as I had seen stunt men in the movie serials do, head down, feet up, slow tumble to land flat on my back.

But as I picked up speed, I realized that even if I was lucky enough to land in water, I had better not land flat on my back so at the last moment brought my knees up and held them in my arms … SPLOOSH!”

The resulting splash blew all twelve girls flat against the fence, and Mary-Anne who you will recall was on the diving board at the time found herself looking down from her neighbour’s roof. I couldn’t climb out of the pool on account of the new water level, and had to be rescued by Mary-Anne McCovey and her friends, which they did shortly after they rescued Mary-Anne from her neighbour’s roof. I would have been out quite a bit quicker if the girls had been able to control their laughter.

Around this time, the town’s three deputies were dragging Russell to jail for his own protection. And old Abraham Johansen, a farmer on the outskirts of town, who had been scanning the horizon and wishing for rain for more than five weeks, was burning his copy of the Farmer’s Almanac. He thought he heard thunder, and ventured out onto his porch. Several drops of water splashed his face. He looked up at the clear blue sky, and grumbled, ‘Very funny.’

I won the cannonball contest, although the girl who was ahead at that point challenged it briefly on a technicality, and for several weeks my rear end swelled up to four times its usual size.

You see, in the end, that trip to the falls changed Russell and me forever. About a month later I went up to the falls and easily leaped off of Dead Man’s Bluff.
Russell was never the same again. Although we remained friends, he never again went near the cannon in Memorial Park. He never even went near the park if he could avoid it. However every now and then down at the gas station where he works, a car backfires, and he loses about a week of his lifespan.

I was fortunate enough to marry Mary-Anne McCovey, and periodically, whenever I get too serious about things, she’s kind enough to lean up close and whisper into my ear …BOOM!

“Oh yeah, and Elroy Stubbs had to return his certificate to the Mayor

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Chamber decision resonates with other organizations that create scholarships

By Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The decision on the part of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce to mention the politicians who took part in the Scholarship Breakfast and neglect to name and recognize the students has resonated with a number of organizations that create scholarships for students.

A member of one of those organizations brought to our attention that “many scholarships are handed out at this time of year by service organizations, private foundations, etc.  One organization recently awarded eight High Schools (cash scholarships for students taking further education –  as we have done for many years) and about thirty elementary schools (a brand new program – modest achievement awards to grade 8 graduates heading into high school) for a total of about $16,000.

Sitting in the front row: Burlington High School students recognized during a Scholarship Breakfast.

“Nothing wrong with an additional recognition event for the youth at the Chamber, but it does look a bit strange with all the big shots in a photo op.

“It should be acknowledged that other organizations and people in Burlington do the same without much fanfare.”

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Guest Speakers sponsored by Burlington Green to focus on Youth

By Staff

July 8th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Monday, July 10th from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm the BGYN will be hosting a panel of incredible Guest Speakers from A Greener Future.

We will welcome Nicole, Maddi and Paige to share their journeys with us. Plus, event guests will learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities right here in Burlington.

Check out our IG page for more info about each individual speaker.

Visit the link in our IG bio or check out our Youth Network webpage for the Zoom link.

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School registration can be done during the summer

By Staff

June 29th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Schools are closed in July and the first three weeks of August. The Halton District School Board is offering families of elementary students the opportunity to register their child(ren) for school this summer for the start of school in September. Registering at this time helps the HDSB prepare for the upcoming school year and provides students more time to become familiar with their new school.

The following elementary schools are open to families to register their child(ren) starting Kindergarten – Grade 8 in Halton:

In-person registration for all elementary schools in Oakville is available at Oodenawi Public School (385 Sixteen Mile Dr, Oakville) July 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

In-person registration for all elementary schools in Milton is available at Rattlesnake Point Public School (1385 Kovachik Blvd, Milton) July 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

In-person registration for all elementary schools in Burlington is available at John William Boich Public School (2474 Sutton Dr, Burlington) July 11, 12, 18 and 19 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Preschool and eager

Families can find their local school by visiting the HDSB’s Find My Local School webpage. For more information, visit the Register for School in the Summer webpage on the HDSB website.

Secondary students (Grade 9-12) new to the HDSB can register for school when all secondary school offices reopen on Monday, Aug. 21.

All HDSB school offices will reopen the week of Aug. 21. The first day of school for students is Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023.

Families are asked to bring the following original documents when registering:
• Proof of age: birth certificate, passport, or baptismal/faith record for your child.
• Proof of address (any two of the following documents): lease or deed, car registration, utility bill, residential telephone bill, moving bill, property tax bill, bank statement, credit card statement, correspondence with a government agency. Note: A driver’s license will not be accepted as documentation for “proof of address”.
• Proof of citizenship: birth certificate, passport, Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or Permanent Resident Card.
• If you are not the parent and your child is under 18 you must provide proof of custody (court order).

For more information, visit the Register My Child for School webpage on the HDSB website.

Ready for the start of a school year

Welcome Newcomer Families
Newcomer families ready to begin the school registration process must complete the Welcome Centre Intake Form for Registration. Families new to Ontario and who speak an additional language other than English are asked to complete the Where Do I Register My Child? Form to determine where the registration process begins.

The Welcome Centre will follow regular office hours (8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday to Friday) for the week of July 3. The office will be closed July 3. From July 10 to Aug. 10 inclusive, the operating hours will be 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Thursday, with the Centre closed on Fridays.

The Welcome Centre is open to visitors and can offer assessments on an appointment basis. Beginning Aug. 21, 2023, the Welcome Centre will return to regular office hours: Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. To book an appointment, email welcomecentre@hdsb.ca or call 905-335-3665 ext. 3440.

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Four Regional High School Students awarded prestigious scholarships - none from Burlington.

By Staff

June 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board is proud to announce that four students are recipients of the Schulich Leader Scholarships:

Evie Bouganim, Grade 12 student at Oakville Trafalgar High School
Ella Chow, Grade 12 student at Milton District High School
Caroline Huang, Grade 12 student at Abbey Park High School
Manasva Katyal, Grade 12 student at White Oaks Secondary School

The scholarships total $440,000 to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in their post-secondary education.

Selected for their outstanding academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular activities, Bouganim, Chow, Huang and Katyal are among 100 recipients to receive this scholarship in Canada.

Schulich Leader Scholarships are Canada’s most coveted undergraduate STEM scholarships. One hundred are awarded to entrepreneurial-minded high school graduates enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math program at 20 partner universities across Canada.

Half are valued at $120,000 for engineering scholarships and half are valued at $100,000* for science and math scholarships. Every high school in Canada can nominate one graduating student each year to apply for the scholarship.

The STEM program in the Halton District School Board got its start at the Aldershot High School – none of the scholarship recipients were from Burlington High Schools.

“On behalf of the Halton District School Board, we are so proud of the accomplishments of these four exceptional students, they represent a shining example of the excellence that permeates our Board, ” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We wish them all the best in their future endeavours and look forward to seeing all that they accomplish in their postsecondary careers.”

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Library offering summer programs for kids and adults: registration required for many

By Staff

June 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Summer Reading Club
Free to join, and open to everyone, including adults.

The Burlington Library kicked this off with two launch parties.

What’s missing in this picture ? No one is glued to a cell phone.

For those who didn’t take part – you can still register online or at any library.

The Summer program for kids is something the kids should really like – the challenge is to get them there. Be a dinosaur detective or help out the turtles. Stretch like a lion, then watch a fun puppet show.

There’s so much to do at BPL this summer. Many of the programs require registration and will fill up fast, so secure your spot now!

Registration page is HERE

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The PRIDE statement - some understand why it matters - some don't

June 23, 2023
BURLINGTON, ON

Where in the city of Burlington is a bunch of balloons like this be put on display ?

Not the Catholic School Board.

Lobby of the Joseph Brant Hospital.

Why do two different organizations – both very important to the city – have such different approaches the the PRIDE statement ?

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Joyce Family Foundation contributes to YMCA program for the 14th year

By Staff

June 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Joyce Family Foundation has provided continuous support of YMCA Beyond the Bell™ for the past 14 years. The 2023 contribution amounted to $370,000 that will help vulnerable children get the help they need to reach their full potential.

Students in Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Six Nations and other Indigenous communities, will have better access to academic help through YMCA Beyond the Bell™ to provide programming at its current locations and will look to expand into other priority communities and neighbourhoods.

YMCA Summer camp programs.

Children from low-income backgrounds, family trauma and other social determinants of health, are faced with an academic disadvantage compared to their middle-class counterparts before even starting school. Reading at grade level by Grade 3 is a crucial milestone that predicts future school success.

Three quarters of children from low-income neighbourhoods fail to meet this milestone.

The pandemic had a considerable impact on the communities where YMCA Beyond the Bell™ delivers programs, while also changing the way the program traditionally operated. Between 2020 and 2022, the program was delivered through a hybrid model of virtual programming and in-class programming in fewer schools. Right now, the program is being offered virtually as well as in-person with the goal of returning to predominantly in-person delivery of YMCA Beyond the Bell™ at 10 schools by September 2023.

“Now more than ever, students need our help. The pandemic has caused significant disruptions in academic learning, but it has also hampered our children’s social development,” says Manny Figueiredo, President & CEO, YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford.

“In YMCA Beyond the Bell™, we found an impactful program academically, that provides support and personal relationships in the lives of young people,” says Michele Thornley, Trustee of

“Mentors and role models are so important in the development of young people. It is transformative for a young person to have consistent support in their educational path.”

The Joyce Family Foundation is a private, family foundation created by Canadian entrepreneur Ronald V. Joyce. His philanthropy reflects a deep-rooted sense of responsibility to give back to his community. The Foundation’s primary focus is to provide access to education for children and youth with significant financial need or facing other socio-economic barriers to success.

YMCA programs help break the cycle of poverty and closing the achievement gap.

The YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford has delivered the YMCA Beyond the Bell™ program for more than 20 years. The objective has been to help break the cycle of poverty and closing the achievement gap experienced by low-income children compared to their higher income peers through a highly unique after-school and summer program. YMCA Beyond the Bell™ features a unique blend of literacy, numeracy, nutrition and recreation elements.

The four key goals of the program are to realize academic achievement, improve health and wellness, explore culture and creativity and develop social skills.

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Intimate Partner Violence: Ending the epidemic can start with men saying to men: You cannot do that

By Pepper Parr

June 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Jeff Hill is a Deputy Chief with the Halton Regional Police Service.

Jeff Hill: Deputy Chief of Regional Operations Halton Regional Police Service where he oversees Regional Investigative Services (including Intimate Partner Violence, Frauds, Victim Services Unit, Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit, Intelligence, Forensic Identification, Drugs and Human Trafficking, Tech Crime, and Homicide)

He was one of several people who delegated at City Council recently on the Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) incidents in Burlington.

He reported that last year the police responded to 3500 calls, 1346 of them came from Burlington. 341 arrests were made.

As of last week the police attended on 544 incidents so far this year.

It was numbers like this that brought the problem to council where they passed a resolution declaring that Intimate Partner Violence had reached epidemic levels.

Deputy Chief took the issue several steps further.

He said “the police alone are not the solution to this issue and we will not arrest our way out of this epidemic. If we don’t do something different, the problem will continue to grow.

“Intimate partner violence cannot be a private issue. We cannot be silent about the violence that is occurring. The resolution before you is a start but we must do something to raise community awareness and education on the surveillance of the issue with the necessity for a holistic approach from the community as a whole; one entity cannot do this alone.”

Hill made an additional comment that was chilling. After saying he was not a big social media participant he then said that whenever he tweeted about IPV, the number of people tuning in dropped.  “People don’t want to hear about the issue.”

Hill closed his delegation saying in “the last 40 years the Region alone has seen 22 women murdered at the hands of their partner, a woman was murdered every other year in our region alone. This absolutely has to stop.”

The Region has a 24 member intimate partner violence unit that responds to every call. The victims are supported and charges are laid. The police believe that they hear from about 30% of the women who are victims. The others live in fear believing that they will not be believed or supported.

The victims are one part of the issue – the men who beat their partners are the other side. Sending them to jail isn’t going to change the behaviour – that is not what jails do.

There has to be programs that work with men to change their behaviour. Having groups of men walk in women’s high heeled shoes does a little bit to bring the issue to public attention. I doubt very much that it changes behaviour.

Research has to be done to understand why men feel they can beat their partners. It is certainly an anger management problem – but I suspect there is much more than that to it.

Hill came close when he said there had to be “a holistic approach from the community”.

The shape and form that approach takes has yet to be determined. It can start with men saying to men: You cannot do that and then helping those that do get the help they need.

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

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Intimate partner violence has killed 22 women in the last 40 years in the Halton Region

By Pepper Parr

June 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

This is a story about delegations that were made at city council recently. It was about an epidemic – something the delegations referred to as IPV.

It is a long article – that was edited for brevity.

IPV is intimate partner violence – domestic abuse.

Halton Deputy Police Chief Jeff Hill told Council that police make an arrest a day in Burlington alone.

There were four delegations on the issue.

Jennifer Kagan, a physician and advocate against gender based violence in all its forms, delegated to council on the resolution that proposed Burlington declare intimate partner violence an epidemic in the city. .

Jennifer Kagan, a physician and advocate against gender based violence.

Kagan said “this recommendation stems from the 2022 Renfrew County inquest into the deaths of Carol Collington Anastasia Cusick and Nathalie Warmerdam. (A link to a seperate article on what happened in Renfrew Councty is included at the end of this article.)

“It is something I hear about from women in the Region every single day. Women who fear for their lives and their children’s lives. Women with nowhere to turn because systems that are supposed to protect them are failing. Women who are fearful to engage with many systems because this can often make things worse for them and their children. The numbers are staggering.

“We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the need for domestic violence related services. This has only been exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic; this dovetails with my perspective on the ground as an advocate for survivors of violence and with my own experience.

“I was a victim of domestic violence and coercive control in a previous relationship. While I was able to leave the relationship fleeing with only a few essential items, I sought protection for our nine month old daughter, Keira via the courts. Keira was failed by many judges, child protection services and was ultimately killed at the age of four by her father in February 2020.

Dr. Kagan’s experience resulted in the passing of Kiera’s Law

According to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, a woman is killed somewhere in Canada every other day on average; 30 to 40 children a year in Canada are killed by a violent parent.

“One is too many. Those who work with survivors of violence see the impact that lack of resources has on the lives of women and children fleeing violence. I commonly hear from colleagues looking to find shelter space for abused women; they cannot find it and that police cannot meet the unprecedented demand for services.

“By declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic it will ensure the city can better meet the needs of women and children fleeing violence. It will also raise awareness about the scourge of domestic violence so that survivors and children living with violence and escaping violence know that they are not alone. Passing this resolution will save many lives and I am in strong support of it.”

Councillor Nissan asked Dr. Kagan if she had anything “on a wish list for us at the municipal level? W hat are the next steps after this resolution comes forward?

Kagan: “Training is a very large focus of our advocacy. Educating the students and teachers as well would be two items if I could think just off the top of my head.”

Halton Police Service Deputy Chief Jeff Hill

Deputy Chief Jeff Hill of the Halton Police Service spoke virtually regarding the same item saying “I very much wanted to be a part of this discussion and humbly submit is of the utmost importance, and needed desperately to help combat and intimate partner violence.

“I’m going to be concise, and paint the picture from a policing perspective of the surveillance of intimate partner violence in the city of Burlington. Regionally speaking to the rise, in intimate partner violence in 2015 we responded to 2757 calls and laid 1145 charges.

“Last year we responded to 3500 calls and doubled our charges, laying 2141 charges.

“That’s effectively responding to 10 incidents of intimate partner violence a day. Specifically speaking to the city of Burlington, of those 3500 occurrences 1346 of them were in the city of Burlington.  Stemming from those occurrences we made 341 arrests; that’s basically an arrest a day.

“As of last week, we have already attended 544 incidents of IPV in Burlington.

“I’ve seen the statistics and I’m aware that this largely an under reported crime.  We believe that only 30% is actually reported to us.

“Halton police has a dedicated 24 members, intimate partner violence unit, that partners with such entities as Women’s  Place and the mentoring  members of the Halton Violence Prevention Council. We’re doing everything we can in the areas of risk intervention, incident response prevention and social disorder, social development. Our Victim Support Unit reaches out to every victim of intimate partner violence that is reported to us. Even with all those resources being dedicated, the number of incidents that we respond to has remained steady since 2020, with a number of arrests rising year after year.

“Let me be clear, however, that the police alone are not the solution to this issue and we will not arrest our way out of this epidemic. If we don’t do something different, the  problem will continue to grow. Intimate partner violence cannot be a private issue. We cannot be silent about the violence that is occurring. The resolution before you is a start but we must do something to raise community awareness and education on the surveillance of the issue with the necessity for a holistic approach from the community as a whole; one entity cannot do this alone. As you heard from Dr. Kagan, every six days in Canada, a woman is murdered by her partner.

“I want to leave you with this final statistic, the last 40 years the Region alone has seen 22 women murdered at the hands of their partner, a woman murdered every other year in our region alone. This absolutely has to stop.”

Councillor Bentivegna asked the Deputy Chief:  “Is there something that you can share with residents throughout the region of things that as neighbours we could be doing. Are there  signs out there that you can share that say hey, you know, this doesn’t look right. I don’t know whether we should approach the individual or maybe make a call to halt and say, you know, here’s what I’ve seen, or are there clues out there?

Deputy Chief Hill: “I think it’s just the awareness that this is happening around us. I think it’s the need for people to know, and not be willing to turn a blind eye to it. I’ve often made the comment,  I’m not a social media person, but what ironically happens is what I even alone advocate for, you know, violence against women –  to speak to it – I actually tend to lose followers. It’s like people don’t want to speak about it. And it’s something that we have to bring to the forefront, the entire community has to bring it to the forefront. We have to watch out for our neighbours.

“The reality is by the time a lot of these issues get to the police they are at the point of crisis in the cycle of violence. So we need people to intervene earlier – we need to help talk about it. We need funding for the people that we are going to speak to next. I think the very beginning of it is just a recognition that we’re all in this together. This is not a women’s issue. This is not an individual issue. This is a community issue.

Lori Hepburn Executive Director of Halton Women’s Place was one of the several delegations. Speaking  about the intimate partner domestic abuse crisis in Burlington.

Laurie Hepburn Executive Director of Halton Women’s Place

She said the Halton Violence Prevention Council plays a leading role in supporting and empowering survivors of intimate partner violence and domestic violence. “I stand before you to discuss a pressing matter that requires our collective attention  – declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic within our community to emphasize the urgency and significance of this declaration to examine the findings of the Renfrew County inquest, a recent and notable case that sheds light on the severity of the issue.

“The inquest was conducted following the tragic deaths of three women who were victims of domestic violence. Its findings revealed a series of system failures, missed opportunities and service provision gaps that could have saved these women’s lives. The number one recommendation of the inquest is for the province of Ontario to declare intimate partner violence as an epidemic. Women’s Place provides refuge and support for several hundreds of women and children each year who are escaping abusive situations.

“Last year in our community, Halton Woman’s Place supported 126 women and children through safe shelter, and over 6061 women through our community outreach programs, and we received over 2200 crisis calls to our support line, approximately 25% of the women who access our services identified coming from the City of Burlington.

“These are alarming statistics. And they aren’t just numbers, but they translate into the lives of real women and children whose lives are being derailed by intimate partner violence. The Renfrew County inquest serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of intimate partner violence and the need for comprehensive proactive measures to address this epidemic.

“IPv is no longer an issue that can be ignored, kept behind closed doors.  Declaring intimate partner violence as an epidemic the City of Burlington can signal its commitment to implementing these measures that prevent similar tragedies from occurring within our community.

Seating area just inside the doors of the Halton Women’s Place located in Burlington.

“In March 2023, Mayor Mead Ward stated that the city of Burlington must stand by and be prepared to provide the services needed that reflect our community’s commitment. Stand by one another, come together in collaboration to ensure every single Burlington resident feels respected, safe and supportive, in alignment with the values upheld by the City of Burlington.

“Last year, the Halton Regional Police responded to over 3500 intimate partner violence calls, which translate to approximately 10 calls a day. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Many survivors suffer in silence and do not seek assistance due to fear, stigma or lack of resources. It is the under reported violent crime that makes this problem an epidemic. The City of Burlington acknowledges the harsh reality faced by survivors in our community, recognizes that this issue extends beyond isolated incidents – it is deeply ingrained in our society.

“This declaration acts as a call to action demanding that we come together as a community to address the root causes of violence and support survivors and their journey towards protection, healing and safety. Furthermore, this declaration demonstrates our commitment to data driven decision making.

“By acknowledging the prevalence of intimate partner violence we can more effectively allocate resources and implement evidence based strategies to prevent further harm. By intentionally changing our actions, we shift the narrative of dismissiveness towards IPv and step into the messiness and say to the individuals facing intimate partner violence, we see you, we hear you and we are driven by the courage, resilience and bravery of our survivors to fight for change in our local community.

“For the City of Burlington to declare intimate partner violence as an epidemic within our community, together, we can break the cycle of violence, support survivors, foster community that prioritizes safety, respect and equality for all.”

Councillor Nissan asked: “Laurie do you have suggestions for how the city of Burlington can follow up on this declaration and work with both yourself as well as the Halton Violence Prevention Council ? I see Halton Region as one of the partners which is really important, but how can the City of Burlington fit in to the to the plans?”

Hepburn: “I think Burlington can fit into the plans –  helping with community awareness. That’s part of the biggest piece that’s missing with domestic violence is it’s typically been something that has been hidden. There’s so much fear and stigma around speaking about domestic violence, and that’s part of the cycle of control. Having somebody who feels powerless and doesn’t feel that they can share what’s happening to them –  there’s so much judgment out there. We need to make sure that we’re normalizing these conversations about domestic violence adding that Councillor Bentivegna shared a really great point – let us know the signs about domestic violence.

“These things are happening to our neighbours, friends and families in the community. Hepburn added that “We’ve applied for a grant to have an educator getting the word out to the community; the goal is to have 20 presentations – lunch and learns – for businesses in North Halton because we know there’s a need out there. Creating awareness and making sure our communities are educated – we cannot do the work alone, we need our entire community to be talking about domestic violence and have a zero tolerance for domestic violence.

“We are looking at putting purple benches throughout the Region to signal to survivors of domestic violence that we see, we hear and we believe you and want you to know we are going to be here for you if you need support.”

Kirk and Sonya Robinson sat in the public gallery of the Senate when Kiera’s Law was passed.

Kirk and Sonya Robinson were the final delegation.  It was not easy to hear what they had to say.

Kirk started by saying “my wife Sonia and I sat in the Senate public gallery and listened while Kiera’s Law was passed. It is now a federal and provincial law. Relatives of IPV played a significant part in this with along with the unwavering support of our mayor and council here in Burlington. Our family and most likely 1000s of families will benefit from your support. We’re thankful for the opportunity today to delegate and tell our story with the hope of increasing awareness of intimate partner of domestic abuse.

“In April we were in Ottawa for the final reading and vote in the Senate for Kiera’s Law. Sonya and I met many survivors of intimate partner domestic abuse. We shared stories back and forth. When I met and spoke with them, I was overcome with many emotions ranging from grief to guilt, thinking about how we as a society can sit back and allow this to happen. We have great respect for the courage of survivors to continue to fight for change.

“One of the survivors I met was beaten by her husband so many times that she feared she would die. If she did she feared he would take her baby. She devised a plan to make a hiding spot for the baby under the stairs and put a note in her pocket so the police could find her baby when they found her body.

“Another survivor I met was there with her daughter. I learned that her husband had attempted to put one of their  daughters in human trafficking, and she fought to save her. I learned that some of her encounters with law enforcement tended to favour her husband.

“I sat next to the daughter while listening to the Senators debate the bill that was before them.  I could not help but wonder what this girl had seen or had been exposed to or how sad it was that someone was not there to help her when she needed it most.  I learned recently of a suicide attempt in her family and I have no idea if it was her sister.

“Another survivor of child exploitation, drug use and drug sales by the father told of being interviewed by Child Protective Services  worker  and told that she had to wait for clarification on some issues that would take weeks, if not months. In the meantime the mother had to answer her seven year old daughter’s question. ” I thought the lady was here to help me. Why didn’t she help me?

Kirk said he had many more stories adding “you get the point. It has been my experience that the police services do not have the resources they need to get ahead of this and save those that fall through the cracks. Burlington has led the resolution supporting Kiera’s Law – let’s be a leader again supporting our police services who work tirelessly to save us from intimate partner domestic abuse.”

Mayor Med Ward followed with: “It’s important for us to listen – it is very very hard to hear those things. Thank you for all that you do, on behalf of all my colleagues. We are deeply grateful for your efforts.

Background links:

The Renfrew County Inquest

Kiera’s Law

 

 

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