BEDC operates FreshInsights - a source for help to those emerging entrepreuners - a good news story.

Private Sector  100By Staff

August 25, 2015


An interesting piece of news drifted in over the news wire. The Burlington Economic Development Corporation wants to be one of the top five cities in Canada for start-ups and innovation.

Now there is something that is bold, direct and the results of the effort are measureable.

The Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) has entered into a partnership with Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to support Ontario start-ups through their career accelerator, FreshInsights Consulting.

That seems like several layers of bureaucracy but Frank McKeown, BEDC’s Executive Director explains that the partnership is rooted in OCE’s SmartStart Seed Fund, a program that offers young entrepreneurs in Ontario the opportunity to access seed funding and skills training to grow their companies. In addition to the grant, successful SmartStart applicants are awarded $5,000 to spend on training or consulting services.

Mayor Rick Goldring

Mayor Rick Goldring

The BEDC will be involved in that training – which they will deliver through FreshInsights Consulting, a corporation formed by the city – the early thinking apparently came out of the office of the Mayor – and has been housed within BEDC.

The $5000 grant emerging entrepreneurs will be given will get spent with FreshInsights – meaning that organization has some revenue –that gives that win-win-win phrase a whole new dimension, doesn’t it?

Most people know there are clusters of young people out there with what on the surface look like great ideas. Most of them need a good dose of number crunching to determine if the ideas have some sustainability to them.

As one of OCE’s official training partners, FreshInsights Consulting has become one of the most sought after training partners. During the most recent application approval process, more than ten SmartStart companies opted to spend their grant dollars on consulting services with FreshInsights – that ten worked out to 40% of the applications – not bad when seen in terms of market share.

FreshInsights will be working through the balance of 2015 to provide these start-ups with market research and business plan development.

Economic Development graphic“The opportunity to work with more start-ups through SmartStart is a fantastic opportunity for FreshInsights,” said Claire Morrison, Program Director at FreshInsights Consulting. “We are working with such a diverse range of companies, including retail, food and beverage, software and technology industries. Not only does the partnership allow us to support even more recent graduates through our unique consulting model, we also get to support so many talented entrepreneurs who are choosing to grow their business in Ontario.”

What no one is saying is that by being involved in these emerging corporations Burlington is in a position to help them make the city home – we get first dibs at these young people.

McKeown added that, “The partnership between OCE and the BEDC operated career accelerator,  FreshInsights,  is only going to help Burlington get closer to achieving its goal of becoming one of the top five cities in Canada for startups and innovation. It is a step in the right direction for creating an innovation space that fosters collaboration, mentorship, and business growth right here in Burlington.”

Frank McKeough, former Chief of Staff to MAyor Rick Goldring asked about how politicians can handle complex issues when voters tend not to be informed and don't have the background needed to arrive at decisions.

Frank McKeown, former Chief of Staff to Mayor Rick Goldring and now the Executive Director of the BEDC has taken on the direction of an interesting training program.

Developed under the BEDC in 2011, FreshInsights Consulting was established as a way to retain top talent working in Burlington, while providing professional, cost-effective consulting services in market research, strategic marketing, and business planning to local companies. The program has seen more than 25 recent graduates through the program, and they plan to continue expanding their client base across Southern Ontario.

Learn more about FreshInsights Consulting at and BEDC at You can also follow them on Twitter @FreshInsigtsCo and @BurlingtonEcDev.

This is a good news story – let’s see where they are in a year.


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Development of a Strategic Plan has a big research hurdle to get over - some think we don't need the data or that we should already have it.

element_strategic_planBy Pepper Parr

August 24, 2015


City council has decided that the completion of the Official Plan Review (OPR) will not get done until the Strategic Plan has been completed – the rub with that decision is that at the rate the Strategic Plan is going it may not be seen until sometime in 2016.

Council has some critical issues it must make decisions on – the budget has to get done, there are some key hiring decisions to be made and the significant seven that lead the city have to decide if they are going to manage to get along any better now that they have all had a vacation. Don’t bet on the latter.

The Committee of the Whole, which is the Standing Committee that is shepherding the Strategic Plan to its completion, isn’t going to meet until sometime in the middle of October – and the amount of data that the consultants hired to help with the creation of the plan are going to dump on the table could choke a horse.

The amount of research is staggering. We will get into that in a paragraph or two – what is disturbing is that when Council approved the research assignment the man charged with the responsibility of bringing jobs to the city wasn’t in the room.

McKeowen and Sharman

Frank McKeown, on the left explains a concept to Councillor Paul Sharman during the creation of the Strategic Plan in 2011.

Frank McKeown, executive director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation, (EDC) didn’t learn of the meeting date until a few days before it was to take place and he didn’t have a copy of the agenda – he had no idea how much research work the city had asked for. A lot of what was being asked for had already been done by McKeon and his organization.

McKeown intends to eventually scrub the data he has collected and post it on the EDC web site for anyone to see and use. Any self-respecting economic development department would do that. Quite why Burlington has hired someone to ask all these questions boggles the mind a bit – don’t we already have that information?

The left pocket clearly wasn’t talking to the right pocket – odd because everyone at city hall knows who McKeown is and have a high regard for the quality of his thinking and the manner in which he closes files and gets things done.

McKeown was the Mayor’s Chief of Staff for two years. He threw in that towel when he found that city hall wasn’t the kind of place where a lot of real work got done. Not because of the people doing the work – it was a leadership issue for McKeown – there wasn’t all that much of it.

There are several who are asking if all this work being done to put a Strategic Plan in place makes any sense. Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven thinks that what was created in 2011 is just fine – he’d go with that – but his view apparently isn’t shared by the rest of council.

Meed Ward + Taylor Water Street vote

Councillors Meed Ward and Taylor tend to ask a lot of questions and are open to making the process more open. Taylor once threatened to walk out of Council and talk publicly about a report the majority of Council wanted to keep confidential.

Councillor Meed Ward finds herself asking if the Strategic Plan needs just a refresh or does the city need a full reboot on what they created in 2011.

The ward two councilor was in an auto accident and was not able to take part in a number of standing committee meetings – including two that were critical – the first look at the draft of a Master Transportation Plan and the meeting at which the KPMG Strategic Plan assignment was threshed out and agreed upon.

The auto accident resulted in some serious concussion damage from which Meed Ward says she is recovering nicely and expects to be in fine form when Council resumes its work in September.

The research assignment sets out five major hypothesis: one labelled Economic, then 2 – Land Use Planning and the Built Environment, 3 – Demographics, Growth and Health, 4 – City Operations, Governance and Powers and 5 – Culture

A Primary hypothesis is examined along with several subsidiary hypothesis and the question the researchers would focus on. There were some pretty heavy duty questions asked.

Two concerns jump out: why is this level of work being done at this stage – should have been done at least six months ago – and when you look at the questions one is moved to ask: Don’t we already know the answers to these questions.

The KPMG approach argues that 1 – Trade-offs shape strategy, 2 – Strategy involves choosing among incompatible alternatives, each of which is attractive, 3 – Failure to choose puts the organization in a situation of becoming “stuck in the middle” and 4 – Straddling problems stymie the success of a clear strategy.

Five motherhood statements

The city hired consultants to take a deep (which means expensive) look into five areas: The economy; Land Use Planning and the |Built environment, demographics and Growth, City operations, governance and Powers and Culture.

The KPMG approach to problem solving includes:

1. Focus analysis around key hypotheses
2. Triangulate around difficult problems to identify the right strategic levers
3. Keep analytical priorities aligned with key hypotheses
4. Manage precision of analysis to account for economies of effort.

Here is the Economic: Principal Hypothesis:  The City of Burlington can transform its economy.
Q: What are the principal economic trends of the City of Burlington?
Q: What are the principal economic trends in the region?
Q: What are the relative economic attributes of the City of Burlington?
Q: What are the key policy levers that can be deployed and the materiality of their effect on economic outcomes?

Subsidiary Hypothesis: The City of Burlington can repatriate jobs and careers to within the City boundaries.
Q: What is the geography of employment for residents of the city?
Q: What is the current labor force composition of the city?
Q: What are the policy levers that can change the location of careers and jobs in the context of the regional economy?

Subsidiary Hypothesis: The City of Burlington can create more good paying jobs for Burlington youth
Q: What are the policy levers that can promote jobs and careers that keep younger residents in the City of Burlington?
Q: What is the current employment profile of ‘youth’ in the City of Burlington?
Q: What is the job trajectory for GTA youth over the short, medium and long-term?

It was about 15 months ago that rural Burlington began the discusion about what it wanted to be.  Some things were clear - others not as clear.  The early draft of a vision got put on a huge board and for the most part the communuty liked the look of what they had said to each other.

It was about 15 months ago that rural Burlington began the discussion about what it wanted to be. Some things were clear – others not as clear. The early draft of a vision got put on a huge board and for the most part the community liked the look of what they had said to each other.  Will this kind of data find its way into the hands of the consultants helping the city work up its Strategic Plan.

Subsidiary Hypothesis: The City of Burlington can promote and integrate the rural economy within its boundaries.
Q: What are the current characteristics of the rural economy?
Q: What is the likely trajectory of the rural economy in this region in the short, medium and long-term.
Q: What are the key regional institutions that could play a role in developing the City’s regional rural economy?
Q: What are the key policy levers the can affect the rural economy?

Subsidiary Hypothesis: The City of Burlington can help create an “innovation economy”
Q: How have other municipal jurisdictions created the conditions for an innovation based economy?
Q: What are the key characteristics of an innovation based economy?
Q: What are the policy levers that Burlington can deploy to create such an economy?

Principle hypothesis: City Operations, Governance and Powers:
The City of Burlington can reform is governance, operations and increase its powers to better implement its strategic vision,
Q: What are the key areas where the City of Burlington does not have the appropriate discretion to implement policies?
Q: How does, and in which areas does provincial policy constrain the City of Burlington?
Q: How does relationship with neighboring municipalities enhance or constrain the City’s ability to deliver services for its population?

Subsidiary Hypothesis: The City can deliver services in a more efficient and effective manner.
Q: What are the current challenges of service delivery?
Q: What are the different models that could be used to administer the city and deliver services more effectively?

A rapt audience listened to an overview of the 2014 budget.  What they have yet to have explained to them is the desperate situation the city will be in ten years from now if something isn't done in the next few years to figure out how we are going to pay for the maintenance of the roads we have.

A rapt audience listened to an overview of a city budget. What they did was listen to what the city had already decided to do. Is there a better way to involve the public.

Subsidiary Hypothesis: The City can incorporate its citizen’s into decision making and program delivery in a more effective manner.
Q: How have other jurisdictions incorporated citizens better into government decision making and policy delivery?

Subsidiary hypothesis: The city can increase its financial capacity to deliver services invest in infrastructure or cut taxes
Q: How much of the City of Burlington’s spending is discretionary in the short, medium and long-term?
Q: What is the revenue mix of the City over the short, medium and long-term?
Q: What are the current revenue levers?
Q: Are there innovative ways to fund, finance and deliver services being deployed in other jurisdictions that could be used by the City?

Subsidiary Hypothesis: The City can find innovative ways to fund, finance and deliver infrastructure.
Q: What are the infrastructure challenge that are not matched with the correct infrastructure financing, funding, delivery and maintenance tools?
Q: What are the key infrastructure needs that are not being addressed in the short, medium and long-term?
Q: The current provincial planning regime is impeding economic growth in the province?
Q: Value can be unlocked from municipal assets to fund strategic priorities?

Besides mapping data participants in the Cultural Conversations were asked to contribute their thoughts and ideas.

A lot of research has been done on how to make culture a more vital part of the community. Research not withstanding there are still some really stupid cultural decisions being made.

Principal Hypothesis: Culture – The City of Burlington can develop cultural institutions and attractions that enhance the quality of life of its citizens.
Q: What are the current cultural institutions and their level of popularity?
Q: What are the current and nascent cultural endowments of the City?
Q: What are the mechanisms through which the City can support and grow an impactful cultural community?

There are three other areas that were to be given the KPMG research treatment. McKeown will be meeting with that crew in February – expect to see some changes.

McKeown should have been in the room for that June meeting. Who slipped up on telling him about the meeting?

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Has some of the vitality gone out of the Arts Collective?; what might that mean to culture in this city?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2015


When the Arts and Cultural Collective of Burlington was created it was unique and became the place to go to if you wanted to know what was happening in the arts community which had become of age in this city. Their Facebook page became a source of information that pulled the community together – and it worked

Collective masthead

The Arts Collective had a presence – they were making a difference – now their Facebook page is being used to sell high end sun glasses and Point of Sale equipment for restaurants.

It was refreshing – they kept the membership limited – at one point you had to be referred by an existing member to get on the list.  They were effective – they convinced the city to take another look at how artists were going to be treated with their contributions to the new web site – the city wanted to use picture – not pay for them and not even give a photo credit. That got changed.

The Cultural Action Plan that was researched by Jeremy Freiburger and his team over at the Cobalt Connection was a strong starting point. The Arts Collective liked what they saw but they wanted more involvement in the detail part of the cultural plans and also in the roll out in whatever was decided upon. They also wanted the final Culture Plan to include an Arts Council that would make grants available to artists.

A couple of months ago they began talking about how many members they had – and the size of the list became more important that the quality of the content.


The younger, feistier set knew what they needed – they had done their homework – their challenge was to find their voice and make it hard.

It was a moderated information source – which meant that messages that weren’t appropriate did not get posted.  The person doing the moderation must have been asleep at the switch the past couple of months – there have been advertisements for high end sun glasses and then something for travel and now someone wants to sell a Point of Sale cash register system. “Perfect for any restaurant or retail business, …” using the Collective site as the advertising vehicle

This isn’t what the Collective was created to do. When it got off the ground a couple of years ago there was all kinds of really positive energy and they came up with very good ideas. They took possession of the agenda and pushed city hall to add resources to the cultural file.

They wanted to see culture moved out of the jock mentality many people saw dominating the Parks and Recreation department and they wanted to see more dollars put into the cultural field.

The province then got into the Cultural business with the promotion of Culture Week that was a decently done during its first year.

Noack interview - city culture days 014

Civic square buzzed during Culture week last year – with the increased involvement on the part of the cultural manager Angela Paparizo we may see even more activity.

There are apparently all kinds of plans for Culture Week this year but there hasn’t been much coming out of city hall yet – the individual artists are promoting the events they have taking place – there is a Ping Pong and Poetry event that will take place at the new HiVe now located on Guelph Line. Local artist Margaret Lindsay Halton is running that event.

The organizational structure of the Arts Collective has always been a little undefined – personalities and ego began to take up too much space and the purpose began to get lost.

There is still time for the Arts Collective to recover – but they don’t take too much time doing it. They could and should play an important role.

There is still some very good energy within the citizen side of the arts. The Guilds at the Art Gallery of Burlington are becoming more active – management over there is expecting the guilds to be more visible and they are living up to the expectation.

Performing Arts Centre Brian McCurdy makes a point with the Mayor.  He is making points all over the city as he brings about a different working relationship with the Centre and the city.

Retiring Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre Brian McCurdy stabilized the Centre – losing him is going to hurt for awhile.  A new leader will need some time to get a sense as to how the Centre and the city work.  In this photograph McCurdy is briefing the Mayor on parts of his thinking

The No Vacancy people will be putting on their third event in September – this time on Old Lakeshore Road basically outside Emma’s. September 17th from 7 pm to midnight.

Last year they recorded 3500 + visitors. This year the event will be called SuperNova and they think they will double last year’s attendance. They have put on the event for two years with nowhere near the funding available to Culture Week and have in the past produced much stronger more vital programs. This year, for the first time they got some funding from the city – courtesy of Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who advocated for the small grant they got.

One of the hurdles that few people see coming is the wallop the Gazette thinks the taxpayers are going to face when the real costs of the flood are going to have on the 2016 budget. Reports that have been given to Council point out a number of close to pressing amounts that are going to have to be spent real soon.

It is going to amount to millions with an expected new line on the tax bill for the management of storm water.

The cultural file just might take a hit – more money is going to have to go into infrastructure; council has been told that transit needs a lot more attention, especially when looked at through an intensification lens and the city is still salting away money to pay for our share of the hospital redevelopment.

Some tough work ahead of this Council – which is going to be difficult because all the members of this Council don’t sing from the same page in the hymnal.

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The Issue - a Cogeco Cable broadcast will be back in September and taking live tweets for the panel members.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 21, 2015


Mark Carr got word that the program he moderates on Cogeco Cable “The Issue” was good to go for the fall.

Cogeco - The Issue crew

Cogeco’s The Issue panel: Mark Carr, host on the left with Casey Cosgrove, a guest, then former Mayor Walter Mulkewich and then Brian Heagle

First show for this season of The Issue is Tuesday September 15th 8pm LIVE.

The show is interactive – twitter them at # The Issue.

The Issue is broadcast on channel 23 and channel 700 for high definition.

Carr monitors the twitter feed and bounces comments tweeted in with the panel made up of former Burlington Mayor Walter Mulkewich, lawyer and former Burlington council candidate Brian Heagle, and Deb Tymstra who has reported for Cogeco on a number of issues.

The intention is to have a guest on the panel as well. The publisher of the Gazette has been asked to take part in the panel from time to time.

Those watching the program can tweet comments and see how the panel responds.

You can agree or disagree with the panel of community/political experts live” said Carr “ and then watch to see how they respond to what you had to say.”

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Part 2 - Conservation report on The Flood: There was no data available the day of the flood - all the gauges were outside the storm area.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

August 20, 2015


Part two of a two part feature on how the Conservation Authority explains The Flood.

There are no streamflow gauges located along Roseland Creek, Tuck Creek, Shoreacres Creek, and Appleby Creek. Flow rates for the event were estimated by comparing high water marks that resulted from the storm event with other data.

Crews from Conservation Halton conducted field investigations during the week following the storm. They identified locations of high water marks and debris lines at the upstream and downstream sides of culvert and bridge crossings, through parks and other public lands, and on private properties where permission had been provided.

Flood presentation - 407 flooded

The 407 became a catch basin for the water cascading down from the Escarpment creeks.

The rainfall totals are higher in the sections of the watersheds upstream of the QEW than rainfall totals downstream of the QEW. This generated a trend of decreasing flow rates relative to return period flows where considerable storage and flow attenuation was available within creek and valley areas upstream of road and railway crossings.

Runoff rates generated by the storm are a function of both total rainfall, and rainfall intensities. Generally, average watershed rainfall totals are higher than 100 year values used in the computer simulation models, and less than the Regional (Hurricane Hazel)
August 4th, 2014 rainfall intensities, for short durations, are approximately equal to the 100 year event.

Generally, estimated flow rates are less than the computer simulated and higher than or equal to the 100 year simulated values.

The areas of most significant impacts associated with riverine/flood plain flooding are located in portions of the City of Burlington that were developed prior to the application of Provincial and Conservation Authority flood plain planning policies. Areas in which these policies were applied as part of the development process experienced significantly less erosion and flood damages demonstrating their effectiveness.

Tuck Creek and 6 story structure 001

Tuck Creek days after the rain had stopped.

The Hager-Rambo Diversion Channel afforded a significant level of protection during the event for those portions of the City below the channel, south of Fairview Street and east of QEW Niagara to Drury Lane. Conservation Halton staff received reports that the diversion channel was flowing near capacity. Staff also received reports of the Upper East Rambo Creek spilling along the CNR (Halton) tracks from the East Rambo Pond (north of the QEW/403) and flooding several properties along Plains Road.

Conservation Halton sign - angleThe Conservation Authority says:

An investigation should be conducted in partnership with the City of Burlington to determine what mitigation measures can be implemented to reduce future riverine flood damages along Tuck Creek upstream and downstream of New Street.

An investigation should be conducted in partnership with the City of Burlington to determine the extent of runoff diverted from Shoreacres Creek into Tuck Creek at Highway 407 during the August 4th, 2014 storm event. Also, the investigation should determine what mitigation measures could be constructed to prevent or reduce any future spills from Shoreacres Creek into Tuck Creek in this location.

An assessment should be conducted in partnership with the Regional Municipality of Halton and the City of Burlington to inventory the number and location of telemetered rainfall and streamflow gauges within their respective networks to identify potential gaps.

Expansions to the networks should be undertaken in a collaborative and coordinated manner to facilitate data sharing and enhance flood forecasting and emergency response capabilities within the City of Burlington. These improvements will help to better equip all agencies to respond to similar events in the future as more frequent short intense storms are expected as a result of a changing climate.

Consideration should be given to updating the watershed studies for Roseland, Tuck, Shoreacres, Appleby and Sheldon Creeks in an effort to explore opportunities to reduce storm runoff rates and volumes.

To the absolute amazement of the Conservation people was the fact that the storm, which was in fact three separate storms, came in from the northj west and hovered over three different creeks from approximately 1:15 pm to about 9:00 pm.

The two closest water depth collectors were to the east and the west of the storm – the data from those two devices normally tell the environmental staff at Conservation Halton what is going on but there wasn’t any significant rainfall outside the narrow SIZE band of the storm.

From a data point of view – there was nothing abnormal – which wasn’t the way people south of the 407 who were experiencing the storm saw things.

The data from the collectors basically said – there was no rainfall here.

Part one of a two part feature on how the Conservation Authority explains The Flood

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Part 1: The Flood - It was small in area and it hovered in the one place and just kept pouring - dropping almost as much rain as Hurricane Hazel in 1954

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

August 20, 2015


Part one of a two part feature on how the Conservation Authority explains The Flood.

All most people have are memories of the flood we had more than a year ago. Any claims that were made for financial support under the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) have been paid – although no one has yet been able to say just why the provincial government held back 10% of the money it put up for what they called “risk mitigation”.

MPP Eleanor McMahon has made it a practice to continue to call on some of the people who were badly flooded to see how they are doing. The province has announced major changes to ODRAP that will be ready sometime in 2016.

The only thing ahead is the celebration of the $5,000 + donours and the placing of a plaque, that will take place September 15th at the Performing Arts Centre where a documentary done by Cogeco will be screened.

Reports on what actually happened have been prepared and while they are public – they haven’t been given all that much attention. Those reports have costs buried in them – the flood is going to cost taxpayers millions.

City hall seems to have forgotten that there is a public out there that does want to be informed.

Flood presentation - map showing area of rainfall

The rain clouds settled over Tuck Creek and remained there for seven and a half hours flooding the basements of more than 3500 homes in the eastern side of the city.

The centre of the August 4th, storm occurred just downstream of Highway 407 along Tuck Creek. The rainfall that occurred at the storm centre was approximately 190 mm, and is similar in total to the Regional Storm. That Regional storm is a benchmark used for comparative purposes – the public knows it as Hurricane Hazel which took place in 1954

The Halton Conservation Authority released its report in which they set out what happened based on the data that was available; they also provided a number of recommendations.

The Conservation Authority is responsible for what they call the riverines and how the water moves through them.

Their report sets out the bigger picture and some of the reasons why the flood did the damage it did –– they make it very clear that global warming is something very real and something we have to accept as part of how we plan for adverse weather.

Heavy rain fell on Burlington during the afternoon and evening of August 4th, 2014. The storm extended from roughly Mountsberg Road in the north to Lake Ontario in the south, Burloak Drive in the east, and Brant Street in the west. A band of thunderstorms continued to develop and intensify during the day over the area.

The eastern part of Burlington was about to be engulfed by a storm that would cause havoc, significant financial loss and change for decades the lives of some families.

The part of the city that was deluged with rain came from a storm aligned in a northwest to southeast direction. The area was elliptically shaped with a length of approximately 25 km and a width of approximately 9 km. The area of the storm was approximately 200 square km.

The storm was centred over the middle and upper portions of Roseland Creek, and Tuck Creek just east of Highway 407.

Its intensity is seen in the videos taken that day.  Dundas looking north on Guelph Line, and Palmer Drive.

The watercourses most impacted were Tuck Creek, Shoreacres Creek, and Appleby Creek.

An additional feature of the storm was that it hovered in place from about 1:30 pm through till just before 9:00 pm.  There were actually three storms separated by short periods of time; never more than 45 minutes. The significant runoff in a short period of time, basically a flash flood, hit homes, businesses and parks. The flow of water overtopped watercourse crossings, closed roads, and flooded motor vehicles.

Homes were flooded by runoff that entered the buildings through the sanitary/storm sewer system, and from runoff that overflowed watercourse banks.

Incorrectly installed downspouts added to the problem.

Reports were released by both Conservation Halton and the city of Burlington. The Conservation report deals solely with runoff that overflowed watercourse banks (riverine flooding).

The Region of Halton and the City of Burlington have the task of assessing flood damages from storm and sanitary sewer systems which they did through separate studies.

It is the city report that sets out the extent of the damage to property and homes and sets out where changes need to be made – including the need to remove some homes that are now at risk.

An additional financial result for the people of Burlington is going to be a Storm Water Management tax that is going to hit the malls with those large parking lots quite heavily. Think in terms of at least a 4% tax increase each year for perhaps two years.

Basement flooded BSB Coalition

More than a handful of weather elements combined to create a very small in area storm that flooded thousands of basements.

Approximately 6000 properties were flooded within the City; roughly 3500 of which reported basement flooding.

On August 4, 2014 the atmosphere over south central Ontario in the afternoon was very moist and unsettled making it favourable for storm development.

People were out and about enjoying the holiday. Joseph Brant day was being celebrated at LaSalle Park, which turned out to be well outside the part of the city that got drenched. There were strong winds but not much more than that.

The winds aloft were generally light and from the west, meaning that if storms were to form, they would drift slowly from west to east allowing notable amounts of rain to fall on the areas they passed over.  The general light wind pattern also made it a day where a lake breeze circulation could set up and, by early afternoon, the surface winds began to blow inland from Lake Ontario. As the afternoon progressed, these factors came together to generate shower and thunderstorm activity.  The lake breeze circulation combined with outflow winds from other nearby storms resulted in a series of storms over the Burlington area.

There was a repeated development of storm cells to the west of Burlington which the weak winds aloft caused to drift continually over the eastern part of the city. When the storm arrived it just hung in the one rather narrow area and didn’t move.

The Conservation Authority measures storm activity using data from approximately 34 rainfall gauges and two radar stations.
The gauges are owned and operated by various agencies.

The Region of Halton had 11 gauges
Conservation Halton had 7 gauges
Burlington had 1 gauge at the Mainway arena

There were only three gauges close to the storm centre. Due to the narrow width of the storm cell, most of the rainfall gauges within the Burlington area didn’t catch any of the rainfall.

Radar data was used to refine the rainfall distribution across Burlington. NexRAD radar data was obtained for the Buffalo station through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Radar data was also obtained from the King City (Environment Canada) station.

A storm that did very significant damage to property on the eastern side of the city was so small in area that it slipped through the gauges that were in place to record and report on the rainfall. The only people who were aware of the storm and its intensity were the people in the middle of it.

Water began to accumulate along the side of the escarpment and worked its way into the creeks and came cascading into the city using creeks that could not handle the volume which meant water was pushed over the creek banks, flooding into streets and lawns that could not absorb all the water in such a short period of time.

This video was taken at Eaglesfield Drive south of Dundas .     This footage taken at  UpperMiddle Road – Headon – Centennial is almost entertaining; they both show just how much water there was on the streets.

Rain from the roofs of housing poured through downspouts – with thousands of them draining into the waste water system that was not built to handle that kind of volume.

The rainfall that started at approximately 1:30 pm and ended by 9:00 pm was measured at approximately 196 mm – it all came down in a seven and a half hour time frame.

Rain as measured at Mainway

The bars show the time that the three main storms hovered over the city and their intensity. The line is the measurement of the rain that fell in the Mainway arena tipping bucket.

The data collected revealed that there were in fact three separate storms – all three hovered over the same areas and each had its own intensity.

It was the accumulation of the three storms that the creeks and the water run off could not handle.

The closest rain gauge to the centre of the storm that recorded the distribution of rainfall was located at the Mainway Arena. The maximum rainfall recorded at the Mainway gauge was approximately 124 mm.

The device at Mainway was a “tipping bucket” design – something that when it is full tips over and empties. “The rain was coming down so heavily that the bucket filled very quickly and would tip over and empty – making it difficult to get really solid data.

Huricane Hazel and Aug 4-2015

This chart compares the rainfall during hurricane Hazel with the August 2014 storm that Burlington experienced.

Conservation has a benchmark they call a Regional storm (Hurricane Hazel which hit Etobicoke in 1954) that is used for comparative purposes.

Average rainfall for each watershed was:

Roseland Creek 120mm
Tuck Creek 150 mm
Shoreacres Creek 140 mm
Appleby Creek 130 mm
Sheldon Creek 100 mm

That rainfall tore through the creeks which is some cases had a lot of vegetation and tree limbs that should have been cleared out regularly.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reported that the preliminary estimate for insured damage caused by heavy rains and flooding in Burlington was just over $90 million.

Insurance did not cover the cost of all damages. Some owners received full coverage while others were only partially covered or not covered at all. Approximately 6,000 properties were reported to have experienced flooding, some caused by overland flow roughly 3,500 from basement flooding (storm water or sanitary sewer backup).

The Conservation Authority was focused on damages as a result of floodwaters overtopping the banks of watercourses. Specifically, the Conservation observed and/or reported riverine (creek-based) flood damages for each watercourse. This list does not include flooding associated with storm water (from roadways, ditches, etc.) or sanitary sewer backup as these flood impacts are being assessed by others.

Roseland Creek: Two (2) commercial buildings flooded; approximately two watercourse crossings overtopped; QEW closed; and Watercourse scour and erosion.

Tuck Creek: Approximately 65 residences flooded; One commercial building flooded; approximately 13 watercourse crossings overtopped; Highway 407 ETR closed;
Natural gas main broken upstream of Upper Middle Road; Sidewalk collapse on south side of New Street;
Rural ditch erosion repairs; driveway culvert repairs/replacements at washout locations; landscaping damages – parks, high schools; and Watercourse scour and erosion.

The data available places the centre of the storm downstream of Highway 407 along Tuck Creek. The rainfall that occurred at the storm centre was approximately 190 mm, and is similar in total to the Regional Storm.

Estimated flow rates upstream of Upper Middle Road are slightly greater than the Regional Storm while flow rates downstream are roughly equal to the 100 year simulated event. Flow rates decreased substantially downstream of Upper Middle Road. This is likely due to the availability of flood storage within the wider and more defined natural valley features along the upper portions of Tuck Creek.

Shoreacres Creek: Approximately 2 residences flooded; One industrial building flooded; approximately 5 watercourse crossings overtopped; Rural ditch erosion repairs; driveway culvert repairs/replacements at washout locations; QEW closed; pumping Station flooded; underpass flooded; and Watercourse scour and erosion.
The flow rates within the Shoreacres Creek watershed were estimated to range between a 50 year design event and the Regional Storm (Hurricane Hazel). There is a good possibility that runoff was diverted (spilled) into Tuck Creek from Shoreacres Creek along the north side of Highway 407.
Estimated flow rates increase in a downstream direction and are approximately equal to or slightly above simulated 100 year values for the lower two thirds of the watershed.

Appleby Creek: Approximately 3 watercourse crossings overtopped; Underpass flooded; trails and pedestrian crossings flooded; and Watercourse scour and erosion.
On the west tributary of Appleby Creek, estimated flow rates are approximately equal to the Regional Storm values. On the east tributary estimated flow rates are approximately equal to the 10 year storm simulated flow rates. Estimated flow rates downstream of the QEW are roughly equal to the 50 year storm simulated flow rates.

Several debris jams were identified during field investigations after the storm. These occurred in the following locations:

Section of Tuck Creek between New Street and Regal Road
Private bridge upstream of Shoreacres Road along Shoreacres Creek
Section of Shoreacres Creek downstream of Heritage Road

Flood presentation - damage to the creeks - water flow

As the water roared through the creeks it pushed everything in front of it – including vegetation and tree limbs which did much of the damage to pedestrian bridges.

While the debris jams were not the cause of flooding in these highlighted areas (given the significant flows within creek systems during the storm), their impacts may have contributed to localised flood levels on adjacent properties.

Given the unprecedented nature of the storm event and the significant flows generated, a substantial amount of woody debris and creek substrate was mobilized during the storm. This was particularly pronounced in the older portions of Burlington in which the creek widths were narrowed by historic development and flood plain/overbank areas were not readily accessible to flood flows.

This configuration caused flood depths in the creeks to be higher and erosive forces to be more damaging.

Part two of a two part feature on how the Conservation Authority explains The Flood

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Burlington man riding an electrically powered bicycle charged following collision

News 100 redBy Staff

August 20, 2015


It took a while but the Halton Regional Police determined that a 40-year old Burlington man is to be charged with a number of offences following a serious collision in Burlington on Saturday August 1st 2015.

e bikeThe male was operating an electrically-powered bicycle on Fairview Street, close to the Burlington Mall, when his vehicle was in collision with an SUV that was turning into the parking lot outside the Canadian Tire store.

The male sustained serious injuries in the collision, which was witnessed by a number of passers-by.  As a result of the subsequent investigation by the Halton Regional Police Collision Reconstruction Unit, Edward LEE of Burlington has been charged with

Driving while Disqualified, contrary to the Criminal Code, along with Careless Driving, Red Light-Fail to Stop, and Failing to Wear a Proper Helmet on a Motorcycle, all contrary to the Highway Traffic Act.

Halton Regional Police wish to remind all users of power-assisted bicycles that it is their responsibility to ensure that their vehicle, and the manner in which it is used, conforms with all legal requirements

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Burlington youth invite federal candidates to speak to them; the event is seen as a kind act.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 19, 2015


Youth from across the Burlington have been invited by the 3 Things for Burlington team to hear what the Federal Election Candidates have to say about issues related to young people and to learn how a federal election works.

There will be an interactive discussion designed to ensure the politicians hear the voice of youth and understand that youth issues are important.

The event takes place Monday, 31 August 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Burlington Public Library – Central Branch Centennial Hall.

The event is being put on by 3 Things for Burlington, a youth led initiative that wants to inspire others, initiate change, and impact our community.

Free tickets can be had by clicking on the link to the left

3 things for BurlingtonTheir core activity is to encourage everyone in the city to take part in three kind acts each day and share your story with the group.  These young people believe Burlingtonians will feel more connected to their community and to others.

When two members of the group, Bryan Giron and Chris Choi, delegated before city council they got a very enthusiastic response – didn’t see any kind act in the days that followed – maybe the concept doesn’t apply to elected officials.

Randi Minaker is the project lead with a group of teens that sit on a Steering Committee who plan all of the events, and discuss how they could better spread the word about the project.

These teens encourage every citizen in the City of Burlington, no matter age or ability, to take part in 3 random acts of kindness. Once people complete a kind act we ask that they either check out our website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to share their story with us.

By sharing your story with us we believe that it will inspire others to take part in this initiative. After all, 3 Things for Burlington is all about inspiring others, initiating change, and impacting community.

3 Things for Burlington has been around since early 2015, their official launch party was in July. A youth committee came up with the idea for the election related event and they were able to get funding for the project through the Laidlaw Foundation.

Election signs - many

Some of Burlington’s youth will be taking part in an event where candidates for federal office will be speaking directly to youth and there issues.

The 3 Things for Burlington Steering Committee decided that they wanted to host a Federal Candidate Discussion for youth as one of their 3 Things. They noted that young people tend not to vote when they come of age because they are not educated enough on what their candidates stand for.

At this event, which all candidates from all parties have been invited, youth will be educated on the political platforms of our candidates, and have the opportunity to ask any questions. They will be learning about issues that directly impact youth, and how an election works.

This event is politically neutral, none of our team is a part of any political party; they have made sure that all candidates were invited.

The format will have each candidate addressing the people who show up followed by time for questions as well. They will also have a welcome package with information about the upcoming election, how it works, and other important info.

Minaker helped the teens set up the event.  She works for Community Development Halton.

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Riley reviews Kyle Tonkens’ AGB Exhibition; evolving as an emerging professional.

opinionandcommentBy Jim Riley

August 20, 2015


Kyle Tonkens uses approaches of both Performance Art and Installation Art in his most recent artwork, entitled “The Funeral Procession of the Beloved Departed”.

Performance Art is a non-traditional art form that uses two or more arts: these could be acting, painting, poetry, dance, music, etc. My own perspective focuses on the visual impact of the performance.

Funeral Henrietta M

Family and friends were invited to the funeral of the Dearly departed Henrietta Markham.

Performance Art often uses symbolism and concepts that are difficult for some to comprehend without supplementary information. It can be like trying to read a foreign language without translation notes.

2 kyle carry procession

The funeral cortege proceeded along John Street on its way to the Art Gallery of Burlington.

“The Funeral Procession for the Beloved Departed” started on John Street, Burlington. People gathered in celebration of a person’s life, and participants were encouraged to recall their own loved ones. Tonkens referred to the procession being for all our beloved departed, but referred specifically to a woman named Henrietta Markham, and quoted her poetry. Henrietta was Tonkens’ grandmother. During a recent interview, Tonkens disclosed that he used Henrietta’s “voice” in presenting his own poetry. This is in accord with his belief that all things in life and death are interconnected – which is a key concept of the exhibition.

In the middle of the John Street room there was a mound of what the artist had previously referred to as “hand-bound wood rosebuds constructed of gathered sticks and bound together by jute twine and wire”. The rosebuds are painted in solid bright colours creating a colourful mound. Some guests were given neon-coloured rosebuds, or a painted parasol, to carry in the cortege.

Aaron Zukewich played music on his soulful saxophone in the room, and during the procession.

They bore the funerary mound down John Street and along Lakeshore Road to the Art Gallery of Burlington. Once at the RBC Community Gallery, the mound was gently placed with five other mounds on the floor. Those who had carried painted rosebuds and parasols from John Street placed them on one of the six funeral mounds.

Some of the mounds had darker painted rosebuds or natural wood, symbolizing those separated from us some time ago. The contrast between the brightly coloured rosebuds and the earth-toned rosebuds gave the impression of after-life energy that was still within the mound and had not yet departed.

7 gallery shot showing windows

The mandala-like, neon-coloured wall paintings are partly mirrored by the lines on the parasols.

The artist refers to the painted walls as incorporating “the flower of life pattern”. This resembles Hindu mandala symbols — geometric and very spiritual. The three mandala-like, neon-coloured wall paintings are partly mirrored by the lines on the parasols. Umbrellas with a similar appearance are suspended from the ceiling: they represent the spirits, after release from life, connected to the mounds.

The Performance Art drew a crowd of participants. Tonkens did not venture too deep into the non-traditional inter-art practices of performance art. It was intriguing how he straddled non-traditional and traditional art and their approaches to the subject. Conceptually, Tonkens is exploring complex issues that might not easily be communicated to many of those present. The cortege was somewhat like a New Orleans funeral procession, but the music played was more solemn and mournful. It felt ritualistic, in a metaphysical way.

At the AGB, the artist continued his performance by greeting and thanking the participants as one might at a funeral. Tonkens’ belief is that we should be truly grateful. What makes Tonkens’ performance differ from other memorial services is that he gave some of the audience members a gift of a small, square acrylic painting, signed by Henrietta Markham, but done in his style.

Tonkens’ giving of gifts has a sacred aspect. His use of this concept dates back to his 2013 “The Spirit of Death Watching…” performance during his No Vacancy installation. This gift-giving is reminiscent of northwest indigenous potlatch ceremonies. The purposes are similar, in emphasizing the grateful acknowledgement of major life changes such as birth, marriage and death. Tonkens’ ritualistic gift-giving emerges as the strongest element of his performance art practice.

Installation art is sculpture, but the audience is inside the artwork rather than observing from outside. The entire space of the room defines the sculpture’s boundaries. The placement of objects or people within the room is significant to the 3D composition of the work. Each person entering the gallery becomes another part of the sculpture as they walk through the installation of materials, light and colours – not intended to be explored passively from the outside edge, but actively from within.

How successful has Tonkens been with his installation?

Funeral Henrietts M + guitar player

The parasols were carried from John Street and placed on one of the six funeral mounds at the AGB

Tonkens’ suspended painted parasols with curved lines are symbiotic with the wall paintings. The suspended umbrellas integrate successfully the visually awkward ceiling fan into the installation. They break up the aerial space, adding unity to the entire experience. The installation might have been stronger if the ceiling parasols and mounds had been varied more within the room. Changing the scale and location of some of the mounds might have had more visual impact for the viewers, and easier access for closer examination of the mounds.

The RBG Community Gallery’s physical limitation makes it a challenge for installation art. It is a former café, and there are too many windows, plus a drop-tile ceiling and fans.

This installation might have been more successful if the artist had closed the blinds and used a more dramatic lighting technique on the mounds and wall paintings. The existing lighting does not adequately support the concepts. However, it might be argued that these options were beyond the artist’s control. I suspect that the AGB is working on improving this new community space, but labours under budgetary limitations and physical restrictions such as concrete walls.

The quality of art presented in the new AGB Community gallery has varied in the past from very professional works to child art, focusing on thematic community-based exhibitions. Kyle Tonkens is evolving as an emerging professional. I look forward to seeing his future presentations, as he is unique among the members of Burlington’s arts community.

Kyle Tonkens most recent performance art installation is on view at the Art Gallery of Burlington until September 13, 2015.

Jim RileyJim Riley is a Burlington-based video artist, independent curator and arts writer.

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Deer Clan longhouse at Crawford lake the setting for series of workshops on aboriginal teachings.

Event 100By Staff

August 19, 2015


What do the aboriginal people have to teach us? Is there something in their teachings that can be applied to the world we live in today?\
The Conservation Halton Crawford Lake Conservation Area will be holding a series of workshops led by Anishinaabe artist, musician, activist and educator, Eddy Robinson.

Deer Clan longhouse

Inside the Deer Clan Longhouse – this is not the kind of dwelling the aboriginal tribes lived in.

The event will take place in the Deer Clan Longhouse, a stunning modern space located within a reconstructed 15th century Iroquoian Village.

The three workshops are on: how traditional ways can be practiced in an urban world; the importance of the teachings of the drum and song in building strength and community for Anishinaabe people.

Choose from three workshop themes; Anishinaabe Drum Teachings, Anishinaabe Songs, or Urban Indigenous Ways of Knowing, or join us for all three.

These workshops offer the opportunity spend an evening learning about our collective history while joining in on music and traditions that enrich the soul.

“Through stories and song, Eddy works towards a day when the power of knowledge, inclusiveness and sharing of First Nations cultures helps our nation and all its’ people become connected and stronger.”
~ Wab Kinew (Canadian hip hop musician, broadcaster, and university administrator)

Saturday, August 22
• Anishinaabe Drum Teachings, 4 to 6 p.m.
• Urban Indigenous Ways of Knowing, 7 to 9 p.m.

Saturday, August 29
• Anishinaabe Songs, 4 to 6 p.m.
• Urban Indigenous Ways of Knowing, 7 to 9 p.m.

Workshops tickets are $25 per person (+HST). For more information or to register visit

Eddy Robinson is Anishinabe (Ojibway/Cree) and a member of the Crane Clan, a leadership clan for the Anishinabek. Born and raised in Toronto, he is a First Nation citizen of the Missanabie Cree First Nation. It was in the city that he found his cultural identity and got in touch with his spirituality through spending time with Traditional Healers and Elders visiting Toronto.

Over the past 20 years, Eddy has worked in Indigenous communities throughout Ontario, striving to improve the quality of life for his people. Eddy has evolved into a noted Anishinaabe artist, musician, activist and educator, and is a member of the National Speakers Bureau.

About Crawford Lake Conservation Area
Crawford Lake is located at the corner of Guelph Line and Conservation Road (formerly Steeles Avenue) 15 km north of the QEW, and 5 km south of the 401 in Milton. The pristine waters of Crawford Lake have drawn people to its shores for hundreds of years. The rare lake, with surrounding boardwalk, is nestled in lush forests atop the stunning Niagara Escarpment where visitors can watch soaring turkey vultures glide through the Nassagaweya Canyon.

Conservation Halton sign - angle

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

You can step back in time and explore the 15th century Iroquoian Village that has been reconstructed on its original site at Crawford Lake. The spirits still sing in the longhouses where tools, animal hides and the smell of smoke let you experience the rich history of Ontario’s First Peoples.


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Burlington high school student takes top award in rifle range competition; tours Vimy Ridge as well

News 100 redBy Staff

August 17, 2015


An MM Robinson grade 12 student has just completed a three week training program and taken part in a very prestigious rifle contest in Bisley, England.

Aaron Kurd, proudly represented Burlington and his army cadet corps as a part of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet National Rifle Team (RCAC NRT) competing in the Imperial Meeting at Bisley, England. This is the largest shooting festival in the nation, held annually since 1868, that attracts top marksman from all across the globe.

“The training and the potential opportunity to parachute is the reason I joined Army Cadets.” He said, “But shooting turned out to be what I really wanted to do.”

Congratulations to Aaron Kurd!

Aaron Kurd accepting the Gold Highest Possible Score Cross presented by Major Bezanson, Officer Commanding National Rifle Team.

As part of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet National Rifle Team, Aaron’s score in this competition counted towards the Highest Possible Score award, an award only given to those who earned perfect scores. Over the past 8 weeks, he scored 10 Highest Possible Score, earning the Gold Highest Possible Score Cross presented by Major Bezanson, Officer Commanding National Rifle Team.
“Being able to represent Canada, and tour around places like Vimy Ridge in France is just exactly why I joined cadets.”

Kurd, a Grade 12 student at M.M. Robinson High School, spent 3 weeks at Bisley, England competing in the Imperial Meeting hosted by the National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom. Upon his return to Ottawa, he also competed in the Ontario Rifle Association (ORA) matches and the National Cadet Full-bore Championship (NCFC).

The cadet program includes international exchanges to  England, Wales, and Scotland is a free program designed to develop strong citizenship and leadership qualities for youth between the ages of 12-18. The program also aims to promote physical fitness, and stimulate interest in the activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.

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Extreme heat warning for Sunday and the following two days issued by Environment Canada.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 15th. 2015


Environment Canada reports that extreme heat and humidity expected to start Sunday, August 16 will result in temperatures that will reach at least 31 degrees Celsius with overnight temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius for two days along with a humidex of 40 or higher is expected for two days.

Even short periods of exposure to these weather conditions can cause serious health problems. This warning is intended to inform the general public and community agencies, to keep residents safe and healthy during the heat and to recommend that precautions are taken when temperatures are high.

extreme heatAnyone can be affected by extreme heat-related weather conditions. Those especially at risk include: older adults (over the age of 65), infants and young children, people who work and exercise in the heat, people without adequate housing and those without air conditioning. People who have breathing difficulties, heart problems, kidney problems or take heat-sensitive medications are also especially at risk of preventable heat illness. If you or someone in your care experiences rapid breathing, headache, confusion, weakness or fainting, seek medical attention right away.

You can prevent heat-related illness by staying cool; avoiding strenuous outdoor activities; seeking shade from the sun; spending time in air-conditioned places, such as shopping malls and community centres; and drinking plenty of cool liquids, especially water. Call or visit friends and neighbours who may be at risk and never leave people or pets in your care unattended in a car.

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Three Burlington girls from two different dance schools to take part in CNE talent event

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 12th, 2015


Being a kid can be fun, if you have the friends you want and really interesting things to do.

For hundreds of young girls in Burlington that fun and those friends are in the dance classes they take.

The city seems to have dozens of dance schools that have these girls burning off energy and keeping very fit.

For some the classes are recreational and for others there is a long term goal and for other it is quite competitive which leads to some travel and for three Burlington girls from two different dance schools the competition takes them to the Canadian National Exhibition’s Talent event that has taken place for the last 29 years.

CNE Poppy on pole

Poppy Munro will dance with her friend Olivia at the CNE Talent contest

CNE Olivia

Olivia Koren will be a contestant at the CNE Talent event

Poppy and Olivia practice at Creative Dance and Lauren works out at The Dance Station where Mindy Mosey and her sister Melissa run the program at a school that has been in operation for ten years.

Lauren, a grade 7 student at St. Christopher Elementary School spends about 15 hour a week at The Dance Station where the core of just about every program is ballet. Mandy, who once danced professionally sees ballet as the core for all dance.

Olivia Koren and Poppy Munro, who will be doing a Hip Hop piece at the CNE attend different schools; one is at Tuck and the other at Central.

They are at that point in life where they believe they will be in dance for the rest of their lives.

CNE dance Lauren Salt

Lauren Salt on the parallel bar with her instructor Mandy Mosey

Both girls seem remarkably at ease over the upcoming competition – something for which they have been putting in months of practice.

Tomorrow we will tell you more about the actual competition they will be taking part in.

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Amazing Things To Do Before You’re 12 at Crawford Lake and Mountsburg this weekend.

Event 100By Staff

August 11, 2015


We called them the good old days – when life was simpler, everything was cheaper and it seem like a “better time” or so we tell ourselves.
One of things that was different a couple of decades ago was that we were more self-sufficient – because we had to be.

You made your own fun – you used your imagination because the stuff kids play with today wasn’t in the stores several decades ago.

The Halton Conservation organization, besides overseeing the watersheds and regulating many of the environmental rules they also run a number of educational programs; they work with schools getting into classrooms and passing along some of the environment fundamentals.

From time to time they put on a program that is just plain fun. “Hey kids”, they ask “have you ever wondered what your parents or your grand-parents did for play when they were your age? They probably spent a lot of time outdoors. They probably went exploring, or built a fort, or skipped stones on a lake, or climbed a tree.”

Crawford lake with wooden trail

Crawford Lake – an environmental gem with an incredible story.

A program taking place at both the Mountsberg and Crawford Lake Conservation Areas on Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will give kids time for fun activities that are not only lots of fun but will get them outside and active, at Amazing Things To Do Before You’re 12 event.
Regular park admission applies and Halton Parks members can show their pass for admission.

compass - kid using

Orienteering – a skill that every young person should know something about – they learn to “box a compass”.

Conservation Halton staff will help you to learn how to use a compass, make pottery, hold a snake, start a fire without matches or to skip a stone on the lake, and much more. It will be a great day full of family fun, and who knows, maybe you can prove you are the greatest stone skipper of all time!

All the activities engage children and their families with nature in a way that is sure to create long term family memories.


Will your children ever get a chance to skip a stone over water?

The program came out of the 2005 book by author Richard Louv who introduced us all to the dilemma of the disconnect between children and nature in his ground-breaking book “Last Child in the Woods”. He coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder which aptly describes the poor physical and emotional health of children and adults due to the lack of direct exposure to the outdoors.

Take your kids out for the day – they will sleep soundly when they get home.

About Mountsberg Conservation Area
Mountsberg Conservation Area is located on Milburough Line, five km west of Campbellville, ON, between Highway 6 South and the Guelph Line. This 472 hectare park includes extensive wetlands, forests, fields, and a reservoir. Mountsberg hosts many family friendly events which are sure to become family traditions for many in the community. It is also well known for the Mountsberg Raptor Centre, which is home to 15 different species of native birds of prey. Many of the Raptor Centre’s resident birds of prey have permanent injuries that have left them incapable of surviving on their own in the wild.

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Rebuild of the Freeman station is coming along nicely - they still need help with a lot of the work. Get in on it now - when this thing is done it will be something to be able to say you were a part of.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 5, 2015


Dates for people who know how to handle a hammer or are comfortable just tidying up a small construction site and have some time to pitch in and take the Freeman Station to the next level are Saturdays August 8th 15th & 22nd from 8 am to 2pm

The volunteers will get a personally guided tour of the station and a close up view of some of the artifacts that have been donated.
Activities (no special skills required)

• Paint scraping and sanding
• Old wood floor boards restoration
• Site cleanup
• Rubbish and scrub removal
• And the list goes on

If you decide to show up – wear sturdy shoes and bring work gloves and a hat. It could be hot!  This is a construction site so please do NOT bring children under 14 and NO pets.

FoF station master office + mural wall

This is the windows in the Station Master’s office which was also the ticket selling room. The space at the far end is where the mural will be done.

What’s New and Exciting!
It has been a very busy winter and spring. Interior restoration went on throughout the winter months and both interior and exterior work resumed this spring. The Burlington Public Art Council has selected the Freeman Station for a mural that will be installed on the east end of the wall facing Fairview Street. It will depict a scene from the station, circa 1906. We are extremely honored to have been chosen and we are looking forward to a late fall unveiling.

FoF ceiling - 2

The ceiling in the waiting room is the kind of thing they don’t build anymore. It will be restored to what it looked like in 1906.

We are delighted to announce that Darren Sanger-Smith of Structured Creations has volunteered his expertise to help us complete this project. He will assist in selecting the materials and finishes to replicate the original station to the best of our abilities.

Some of the highlights of our accomplishments to date are:

• the station now has new shingles; the roof and the entire roof deck have been repaired as well as the soffit and fascia. Roofing was installed by Desi’s Roofing
• electrical service has finally reached the station and we are currently installing the wiring under the guidance of L. Potvin Electrical with supplies from Gerrie Electric
• roughed in plumbing has been installed and the main floor handicapped accessible washroom has been framed. Plumbing was installed by KP&H Mechanical
• new entrance doors have been installed at both the north and south sides of the waiting room

But there is still a lot of work to be done – and work gets done by workers.

Looks like a good deal as fire wood.

The station sat on wooden pilings for the longest time – it wasn’t until Ashland, a company right next door stepped up and made space available.

It took the Friends of Freeman station a couple of years to actually save the station – the city wasn’t able to use the federal funds they were given to move the building, the then Burlington Art Centre didn’t want it; an idea to set it up along Lakeshore Road in the downtown core wouldn’t fly.

The sense many people had was city council just didn’t want the thing. The engineering department staff said the thing was going to just fall over real soon.

It took joint efforts by Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster to convince council to give the volunteer committees a little more time to find a home.

The sign will tell you where the station is going to sit - and that's a step forward.  Next step - getting the Joint Venture Agreement with the city in place.

Ashland made the space available – then the company got bought by a large conglomerate – the deal is still in place – but it isn’t a twenty year lease. The Friends of Freeman will have to develop a really strong bond with the new owners.

While the building really belongs in the Beachway Park that wasn’t on – but a home was found on a piece of property next to the fire station on Fairview.

The building was moved the coupled of hundred yards to its new location, a foundation was put under the building and work on the roof and the outside walls began.

What you see today – while far from complete – is some distance from what was in place two years ago when it was a pile of rotting wood sitting on wooden pilings.

FoF station masters office

The grill for the ticket counter has been found – it wasn’t part of the original station but does come from the same period.

FoF basement

The floor for the basement will be poured very soon. The hope is that negotiations with a model railway club will work out and that there will something for people to watch. That would make the Freeman Station a very attractive destination

Help to complete the restoration of this beautiful old 1906 Grand Trunk Railway Station is now needed.  The vision is to develop an interactive railway display depicting the impact the railway had on the development of Burlington. The Station will also house a model railway and meeting room for public use.

The Friends of Freeman have raised about $250,000 dollars to date and will need about the same amount to complete the project. Over 1700 volunteer hours have been donated to the actual restoration. More than 2400 hours of administrative, planning, and fundraising have also been donated by our members.

We are looking for volunteers in the following areas and there are many opportunities to participate!

• Fundraising
• Research
• Newsletter
• Artifact recording
• Audio Visual and Interactive display planning
• Artwork
• Copywriting and Advertising
• Finance
• Carpentry
• Painting
• General Help with both administration and on site.

Interested in Becoming a Member?
Annual Membership is $10.00, a Life Time Membership $100.00 Please contact us at:  Our website

You can send a cheque to; Friends of Freeman Station, P.O. Box 91536 Roseland Plaza, 3025 New Street, Burlington ON L7R 4L6

There are still naming rights opportunities. Wiser commercial WORDS will realize that the Friends of Freeman Station are actually going to pull this off – and when the place is officially opened – all the politicians that failed to help make it happen will be there to cut the ribbon.

FoF Mello with stone

John Mello wants to see you one of those stones – and he will tell you why they are worth the $100 asking price.

Naming Rights
Put your name, a relative, a friend’s on one of the many items available for sponsorship. Sponsor a Whinstone (What is a Whinstone? Drop by and you can touch one and find out where they came from).

Sponsorships start at $100.00 and you can go right on up to $15,000 for the waiting room. Please contact me for sponsorship opportunities.

If you decide you want to show up on either the 8thj, the 15th or the 22nd – the address is 1285 Fairview Street – next to the fire station which is undergoing a major renovation. Use driveway on east side of the Burlington Fire Department Headquarters

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Canada Post provides a public statement regarding postcards in Burlington mailboxes - not a word from our political leaders.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 1, 2015


The City of Burlington has received complaints from a number of residents regarding what they believe to be disturbing material delivered to their mailboxes.

In a statement from the city, it is not attributed to a specific person, the city said it is not in a position to affect the distribution of these materials and add that they have received the following statement from Canada Post:

“We are responsible for the physical delivery of all mail in Canada. We do not have the legal right to refuse delivery of a mail item because we or other people object to its content. Anyone who has concerns about the content should either contact the publisher or simply dispose of it.”

And that’s it – not another word. The Gazette has received dozens of complaints and comments on this repugnant literature.

Stand up and speak outSome of the comments on social media:

“You know what really sucks about this all? The images are very painful reminders for many parents who never had a choice. This organization is obviously run by a group of uneducated, immature kids with too much money to blow on junk mail.”

“Well that was nice. My 13 year old just handed me the flyer during dinner. She fished it out from behind a desk because she was worried her 9 year old brother would see it and be scared. Disgusting.”

“Us too. Beyond disgusting and obviously oblivious to the fact that this government just legalized the pill version of said procedure.”

GhandiThere are thousands of comments like this being made on social media. What we haven’t seen or heard are public statements from the office of the Mayor expressing concern over what can only be described as vile.

There is such a thing as community values that are put forward by our leaders be they political, pastoral or prominent people who have earned the respect of the community.

This is the time for these men and woman to stand up and express the dismay, disgust and inappropriateness of this kind of stuff on behalf of the community.

Most people have a view on abortion; many people discuss this subject amongst themselves and arrive at a moral decision they are comfortable with. My own view is that life is the biggest gift mankind has been given and when it is forsaken – let us not demean it with photographs that can only harm.

To attach the face of a person running for the leadership of the country to this smut is as low as one can get. This is not what political debate is about.

Councillor Sharman did have conversations with the police who told him there was nothing they could do. Councillor Sharman could have said publicly that the distribution of this kind of material was unacceptable and that he wanted the public to know it was beneath the values of the community he represents.

When we do not stand up for our values – we lose them.

Related articles:

Is it hate mail? It is certainly disgusting.

Sick minds that sink below common decency.

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Would transit picking you up at the door and getting you to GO on time be enough to get you out of your car?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 31st, 2015


Once we have a well-deserved summer, if albeit a hot one at times, behind us and the kids are back in school – hopefully there won’t be a teachers strike, the city will settle down to the business of becoming what it wants to become.

The agenda for the fall is pretty thick.

In the months ahead the public is going to read about “complete streets”; different “modes” of transportation and transit. Lots about transit and behavioural change.

The city has to get you out of your car. The city has to add thousands of people to its current population which means intensification.

More people, more residential development – and traditionally more cars. But more cars on the streets means more congestion and Burlington doesn’t have much in the way of tolerance for traffic congestion.

City council is going to have to buckle down and bite the transit bullet and slowly lead the public to using transit.

It is not going to be easy.

The current city council isn’t all that good on leading when it comes to hard issues. During the briefing council was given recently on the draft Transportation Master Plan there wasn’t much in the way of comment from Council members.

To his credit ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven lectured that a change is necessary even if the public doesn’t like the idea.

What are the options? How do we get people out of their cars?

GO parking wide view

Some of these cars sit in this parking lost most of the day – they are used to get a driver to the GO station in the morning and back home at night. Reliable transit would work better for everyone.

A look at the GO station parking lots offers a major opportunity. Why do people drive their car to the GO station and leave it sitting there most of the day?
Because for the bulk of these people transit is not a viable option – bus service has to be convenient if you want people to use it. And there is nothing convenient about the bus service and GO Stations.

A colleague who works at scheduling the delivery of products to retail locations explained to me that there is software out there being used by tens of thousands of organizations every day.

They know what the traffic patterns are and they know when their clients are open – they take all that data and work out a route for every truck they have on the road. If there is a disruption in traffic flow the software will tell them and the truck drivers are alerted.

So why couldn’t the transit people hire a couple of students to spend part of a day going through the GO station parking lots and noting the license numbers on the cars.

The city would then ask the Ministry of Transportation for the address of the owners of the cars and then send each of the car owners a letter asking them if they would use a service that drove by their house, picked them up and dropped them off at the GO station in time to catch the train they wanted to use.

This kind of thing is not rocket science – it is done all the time by the companies that delivery potato chips and soft drinks to convenience stores. They do it because they are motivated to do it – their profits and their jobs depend on their ensuring that products are on the shelves.

The city could easily instruct Burlington Transit to do a pilot study in one part of the city – The Orchard would a very good place to do a pilot.

GO parking with BURL sign

A combination of reliable transit service and parking fees to leave a car at the GO station might be the only way the city can bring about a behaviour change when it comes to how we use cars.

The city would use smaller buses that would take whatever route was needed to pick up people in front of their house. When the bus was full or it was time to head for the GO station to catch the GO train the bus would end the trip.

How would people get the bus? They would use an app on their cell phone that would call up a screen. Their address would have already been entered into the app as well as the GO station they traditionally use.

The user would click on one of the icons on the screen and request the service would go to the transit company and back would come a message saying what time the bus would bet at the door.

Easy ? probably I’m prepared to bet that the province would put up a large chunk of the cash to pay for the development of such an application – they have to get people out of their cars and transit is the best option.

I can’t see the “suits” driving their bikes to the GO station.

To make using transit more compelling – parking fees at the GO stations could be imposed.

Drastic – probably, but it is clear to the transportation experts and the planners that Burlington has to find a way to cut down the traffic.

If residents found that the service was priced decently and proved to be reliable they will use it – better to have a bus pick you up and get you to the GO station on time without you having to battle traffic congestion.

There is going to be a change in traffic – how the city goes about making it happen is something you want to make sure your opinion is voiced.

Related articles:

A transportation master plan

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Police Service Dog Arrow arrives in Burlington for his training

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 30, 2015


There is a new recruit on the Halton Regional Police Force.


Police Service Dog Arrow

Police Service Dog Arrow arrived for training yesterday.

He will begin his training with K9 officer Cst. Tara McLorn but is anxiously awaiting the start of his new partner, Cst Kyle Gibson.

Cst. Gibson and PSD Arrow will begin training together in September, a period that usually takes about four months.

PSD Arrow was imported from the Czech Republic and is 14 months old and like all police service dogs, is very eager to get started.

Follow the @HRPSK9 Twitter account to see what the Police Service Dogs are doing and you will catch a glimpse of Arrow as he begins his journey.

Cst Matt Lawless and Storm will head into retirement once Arrow has completed his training.

Brookville school + police dog

The Milton Brookville |School grade 4 class that chose the name for the newest police service dog to join the Halton Regional Police Force

In September Arrow will visit with the student at Brookville Public School in the Town of Milton. They were the students who came up with the name and pulled in the most votes.

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Swan Supporters to have Input on LaSalle Marina Expansion; Marina doesn't mention any involvement in their media release. Trouble in paradise.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 28, 2015


The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change announced last week they will not seek further environmental assessments at this stage for a controversial LaSalle Park Marina expansion proposal that includes building a permanent breakwall and doubling the marina’s boat capacity.

The report, released July 21, does not rule out potential harm to the recovering Trumpeter Swan population that overwinters in the area and imposes tighter protection measures for the project.

Trumpeter swan - wings wide

The Trumpeter Swan has always had a strong emotional tie to the public – they are beautiful birds.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray required the City of Burlington and the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) to include Trumpeter Swan supporters in the design process if the project does go forward.

The advisory committee is proposed to include representatives from Conservation Halton, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, and the Trumpeter Swan Coalition, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan Stakeholder Group, Environment Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The much-anticipated report is the response to calls for an advanced Part II Environmental Assessment that would have further examined the proposed breakwall’s impact on wildlife who call LaSalle home – including the Trumpeter Swans, a bird that had previously been completely wiped out in Ontario.

LaSalle Park MArina

Sun shining on boats at the LaSalle Marina

Three requests for deeper study were made in the summer of 2013 including submissions by Conservation Halton and the Trumpeter Swan Coalition, of which BurlingtonGreen is a member. The requests cited concerns for the Trumpeter Swans’ survival and numerous flaws and unanswered questions in the proposal’s initial environmental review.

Despite the Part II study denial, the Ministry decision orders the creation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee that would include representatives from the environmental watchdogs who first raised the concerns.

The expansion initiative can only move forward with the committee’s participation in the creation of what the Minister called an Aquatic and Terrestrial Environmental Monitoring and Mitigation Plan to “address any potential impacts from the project on the aquatic environment and/or overwintering Trumpeter Swans in the vicinity.”

The imposed conditions do not exclude the possibility of denying further environmental approvals if the project does prove harmful to the swan population and their habitat. The committee’s involvement will be crucial in highlighting those potential issues and ensuring appropriate actions are taken.

BurlingtonGreen is pleased the Environmental Ministry is insisting on the inclusion of a Stakeholders Advisory Committee to provide input on habitat and wildlife protection and believe we are an important voice in that process.

However, some concerns remain about the effectiveness of even the best- intended mitigation efforts at the LaSalle site. As an organization, we are committed to protecting natural habitats.

Trumpeter Swans are native to North America and are the largest swans in the world. The birds were wiped out in Ontario in the late 1800’s; by 1935, there were only an estimated 69 Trumpeter Swans left in all of North America.

LaSalle Marina - baots lined up

The LaSalle members with their boats up on blocks.

In 1982, retired Ministry of Natural Resources biologist Harry Lumsden made it his mission to bring them back. After 30 years of efforts, there are close to 900 Trumpeter Swans in Ontario – roughly one quarter of the entire provincial flock calls LaSalle Park home.
The Trumpeters first chose LaSalle as their wintering grounds in 1993, making it an established habitat for more than 20 years. Habitat loss, especially of wintering areas, has a significant negative impact on recovery efforts

In kits media release the LaSalle Marina Association had the following to say:

“The Board of Directors of the LaSalle Park Marina Association are pleased to announce that the Hon Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment & Climate Change, after due and careful consideration of the City of Burlington’s LaSalle Park Marina Wavebreaker Environmental Assessment / Environmental Study Report (ESR) tabled July of 2013, has on Tuesday (July 21, 2015) made a decision with respect to the Study Report and the Part II Order Requests for an even more detailed Environmental Assessment.

LaSalle Park Marina Blue Flag ECO Award Flag Photo Floyd Doctor - June 6 2015

The LaSalle Park Marina is using its own environmental creds – they earned Blue Flag ECO Award. Sown is John Birch on the left of the flag along with Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven and Floyd Doctor

“The Minister has signed off on the LaSalle Park Marina Wavebreaker Environmental Assessment / Environmental Study Report (ESR), declined the Part II Order Requests for a more extensive Environmental Assessment, and issued workable conditions which will allow the proposed project to move forward to the detailed construction level engineered design phase.

“As we go forward, LPMA is committed to working with agencies and stakeholders to ensure compliance with the Minister’s wishes in furtherance of the goal of a true Safe Harbour for Burlington, boaters, the community, fish, birds, wildlife and the environment.

“We thank the Minister for his learned decision, Eleanor McMahon MPP, Ward Councilor Rick Craven, the City of Burlington staff and council, the consultants, agencies and stakeholders involved as well as those who have expressed concerns.

“The proposed project will bring benefit to all. We are committed to following process.”

Trouble in paradise for sure.

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Brant Day at LaSalle Park will have a strong Americas theme this year and a tie in to the Pan Am Para Pan games plus an interesting Food Truck Rally.

Event 100By Staff

July 29th, 2015


Poor old Joseph Brant – at least he will be at the day we celebrate his name and what he did for the city in spirit. And there will be WORDS

This year, the Joseph Brant Day Festival is an official partner of the Toronto 2015 PanAm / Parapan Am Games and is taking on a significantly different tone.

It will be a lively day at LaSalle Park where events start at 11 am and run through to 5 pm.

The captivating Beshano Bike Trials will be featured Burlington Soccer Club field games and a slew of music, art and cultural performances of the “Americas” will be featured.

The day will have an Americas flavour to it recognizing the diversity that the PanAm games brought to the Region.

Beshano Bike Trials

The Beshano Bike Trials will be something to watch – expect crowds larger than those in this picture.

Beshano Bike Trials – 3 shows complete with incredible bicycle stuntmanship!

Musicians from the official band of the Toronto FC Major League Soccer accompanying dancers choreographed by the dance instructor and performer who opens the Mas Band launches for Carnival!

Saul Torres

Saúl Torres has emerged as one of the most singular talents of Spanish Rock on the continent, capable of seamlessly tying together Latin, Funk, Rock, and Flamenco!

Saúl Torres has emerged as one of the most singular talents of Spanish Rock on the continent, capable of seamlessly tying together Latin, Funk, Rock, and Flamenco!

Dan Secord native dancer in full dress

White Pine First Nations Drum and Dance participant Dan Secord.

White Pine First Nations Drum and Dance!

Dancescapes Studio with Salsa and Latin dance demonstrations and lessons!

ilaria-spada- Laura Spada

Laura Spada

Farrucas – a Latin Fusion Duo of Laura Spada and Jorge Cuama hailing from Ecuador!

Throughout the day the Children’s Area, Museum Educational Crafts & Activities, Giveaways, PanAm Sports Challenges, Games and Obstacles, Interactive participant events including: Crossfit Altitude, Oakville Fencing Academy, Burlington Youth Soccer Club, Monkeynastic Gymnastics, Bradbury, Splitsville Entertainment & Better State Crew! Splash Park for Kids available, Hands-on Activities, Artisans and Vendors, the Famous Brant Day Silent Auction will be part of an event filled day.

And this year the food offering will be going far beyond the traditional hot dogs and burgers. Sylvia Hentz, Special Events Programmer has arranged for a food truck rally with delicious offerings from gourmet food trucks!

Food truck LUCHADOR

Taste buds will be in for a real treat given the selection of Food Trucks that are being brought in for the Brant Day Festival at LaSalle Park

The rally includes

LUCHADOR – Mexican Fusion / International Cuisine
DOBRO JESTI – Slovenian / German-inspired Cuisine
NUDULZ – Italian Food
URBAN EXPRESS- North American & European-style Steakery
CAFE DU MONDE – French-Parisian & International Crepes
TROPICAL TEMPTATIONS –Premium drinks & desserts

Burlington’s taste buds are in for a treat.

Parking is always a challenge at LaSalle Park on Brant Day. Shuttle buses will be available to transport visitors from Aldershot GO Station once limited onsite parking at LaSalle Park is filled.

First shuttle bus run leaves the Aldershot Go Station at 10:00 a.m. Last bus will leave La Salle Park at 5:00 p.m.

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