Five more Burlington public schools to have Core French in grade 1

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

March 9, 2015


The Halton District School Board voted to expand the Core French program in September. The expansion was to be for not less than twelve additional schools but not more than fifteen.

Tecumseh Public school

Tecumseh is one of five Burlington Public Schools to get Core French in September

The Board announced that the following Burlington schools will have the Core French program in September.

King’s Road Public School
Paul A. Fisher Public School
Ryerson Public School
Tecumseh Public School
Alexander Public School

This will create a total of 39 elementary schools that will now carry this program as of September 2015. This represents slightly more than half of all elementary schools in Halton. The remaining schools should have the program, pending its success, within the next two years.

Ryerson public school

Ryerson will have Core French for grade 1 students in September.

These students will receive 40 minutes a week of Core French instruction starting in Grade 1 with instruction expanding to 200 minutes in grades 6-7-8.

The program will continue to be monitored and an interim report will be brought to the trustees in November 2015.

If this program continues to grow and is deemed to be successful, what pressure will it bring to the current French Immersion program and how will it affect schools that are both single and dual track French Immersion schools? Time will tell.

The expansion has five schools in the western part of the Region; five 5 in the east and five in the north providing core French in grade one.

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Beaudoin stuffed; sex ed curriculum could be controversial and core french being extended across the board

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

March 9, 2015


It didn’t take long for the Halton District School Board to decide how it was going to handle the proposed new curriculum on sex education. They unanimously approved the motion by trustee Gray (Halton Hills) that the board send correspondence to the ministry requesting both funding and appropriate training for elementary and secondary teachers in reference to the new Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Halton District School Board wants funding and training before it gets into the new sex education curriculum.The trustees acknowledged this could be a controversial bill and wanted assurance that the teachers in Halton have the resources and knowledge to teach the curriculum appropriately. Trustee Collard (Burlington) stressed that all teachers should be consistent in their training; this was echoed by the student trustee Sophie Schneider. There was no disapproval of the new curriculum by any of the trustees although they did acknowledge that it could be controversial. There are rumblings in the community – a lot of people are not comfortable with this change.

The board also approved the motion that the primary Core French program be extended with for September 2015 with a minimum of 12 new schools and no more than 15.

Although all trustees were impressed with the program to date, there was some question as to the continuation of the program to all schools in the board. Not so said trustee Harvey Hope (Oakville). This is not a pilot project, it is a go. This was reiterated by Associate Director of Education Miller. “Staff does not see this as a pilot program” he said. We are currently cautious only due to staffing issues.

This is not a pilot project, it is a go.If an additional 15 schools are added this year, more than half of the schools would have the program this September with all schools on board within two years. The board will be forwarded the list of new schools for their review by Friday of this week.

The board then faced the issue of filling two current vacancies. Superintendent of Education Yaw Obeng is leaving for a higher position in Burlington, Vermont while David Eaule, Director of Education, announced his retirement effective August of this year.

Although hiring committees will be formed for both positions, both trustee Danielli (Milton) and Collard (Burlington) wanted as many trustees as possible involved in the hiring of the new Director of Education. This is a very detailed and complicated procedure and any experience gained through this process would prove to be beneficial in future hiring’s. The initial step would be to hire a search firm and this should be done by April.

With the upcoming elections of two student trustees by April 30th of this year, the current student trustees, Schneider and Sahi, forwarded a motion that the voting procedure should change.

They didn’t want to see voting become a popularity contest. The board will work with the student trustees to draft a new procedure by the next meeting.

Beaudoin school

Beaudoin Public school is stuffed – no room left.

Beaudoin stuffed - Ryerson has six emply classrooms - changes coming.The Board is struggling with a situation where some schools are filled to capacity while others have room to spare. This is apparent at Charles R. Beaudoin public school; it is a triple track school – dual track English and French Immersion along with gifted self contained classes and is exceeding capacity.

Ryerson public school

Ryerson Public school has six empty classrooms

Ryerson has six classrooms available. Superintendent of Education Zonneveld proposed that self-contained gifted classes include grades 3 to 8 at Charles R. Beaudoin while Ryerson would include grades 1 to 2. The self-contained classes would continue to expand over the coming years to include grades one to four while Beaudoin would have classes from five to eight.

Trustees expressed concern about students having to transition schools after grades four. There are parents who will express that concern as well.
Beaudoin has had problems with the size of its student population for some time.

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John Waldie had two wives and thirteen children: all were brought back to Burlington where they were buried.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

March 9, 2015


Part three of a four part feature.

Waldie John  & Mary Waldie with their children part 3

This picture of the 13 Waldie children, Agnes, Marion, James, John, Lillian, Ida, Ernest, Frederick, Robert, Walter, Jessica, Charles and Mary was photographed around 1886 or 1887, after their mother had died in 1884. On the top left is John Waldie, the father, at about 52 years of age; and below John, is the children’s mother Mary Thompson Waldie at about 40 years of age.

One of Canada’s greatest business leaders at the turn of the 20th century was John Waldie; a man with humble beginnings and amassed unbelievable wealth, and became one of Canada’s most powerful lumber barons was also a true philanthropist, a refined gentleman, and a man who was passionate about calling Burlington, his home.

John Waldie married twice. His first wife was Mary Ann Thompson. Mary was born in 1841, but died at the age of 43 in January 1884, just three weeks after giving birth to her 13th child Mollie. John’s second wife was Sarah Ann Jarvis from Milton, a young lady of 29, who married the 53 year old widower in December 1885. Sarah Ann, at the age of 61, suffered a stroke and died June 6, 1918.

Waldie - Sarah Ann Jarvis 3

Sarah Ann Jarvis was a remarkable young lady. At 29 years of age, she entered into marriage with John Waldie who was 52 years of age; and then Sarah became a stepmother to John’s 13 children.

John Waldie had 13 children, and their lives continued on with much diversity after John Waldie’s death in 1907. Some children had tragic endings, while some had successful careers, some married into wealthy families, while others played and lived the life of the rich and famous.

From eldest to youngest, the first born was in 1862, and the last born was in 1884; their names are in chronological order; Agnes, Marion, James, John, Lillian, Ida, Ernest, Frederick, Robert, Walter, Jessica, Charles and Mary.

Agnes Waldie was born in 1862. On June 22, 1882, Agnes married into the affluent Marlatt family of Oakville. Her husband was Cecil Gustavus Marlatt, a dashing young man, a yachting enthusiast, an industrialist, and one of Oakville’s favourite sons. The Marlatt family owned the local tannery which at the time was the largest employer with over 200 employees.

The couple had two children. Roy Waldie Marlatt died in 1885 from cholera, at the age of 5 months. Their second son Kenneth Dean Marlatt was born in 1888 and passed away in 1942. One month after Kenneth’s birth in November, Agnes died on December 22, 1888 from spinal meningitis.

Gillies - Agnes Waldie

Agnes Waldie (L) married into one of Oakville’s wealthiest families. In 1882 Agnes married Cecil Gustavus Marlatt. It was Agnes who laid the cornerstone for the new Knox Presbyterian Church in Oakville (C), a building mainly financed by the Marlatt family.

Agnes and Cecil were members of Knox Presbyterian Church located on Lakeshore Road in downtown Oakville. It was Agnes who laid the cornerstone for the church in 1884. The Marlatt family financed the construction of Knox Presbyterian Church.

Gillies Marion Waldie Combo 1 & 2

Marion never married, preferring a life of world travel and high class living.

Marion Waldie was born in 1864 in Wellington Square. Marion, the second eldest daughter never married. Preferring the single life, Marion lived most of her affluent life travelling around the world. On Aug 29, 1949 Marion passed away at the age of 85, in Toronto.

Gillies -  John Edward Waldie

John Edward Waldie’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 26 when he drowned in a canoeing accident on the French River.

James William Waldie was the eldest son. William, as he was known, was born in 1867, at their home in Wellington Square. William followed in his father’s footsteps and became involved in the lumber business.

Gillies - James William Waldie

William Waldie was the first son to follow in his father’s footsteps. William moved his own family to Castlegar, British Columbia, and began the west coast operation of the family’s massive lumber business.

The Waldie’s expanded their business across Canada, and William went to Castlegar, British Columbia, and set up the William Waldie & Sons Lumber Company. This west coast business was highly successful and operated until 1961.

John Edward Waldie was born in 1868 in Wellington Square. John also followed his father and older brother into the lumber business, but in 1894, the family was devastated at the news of the sudden death of John Edward Waldie. At the age of 26, John drowned in a canoeing accident on the French River.

Gillies - Eliza Lillian Waldie

Lillie, like her older sister Marion, never married. Lillie travelled the world and lived the life of luxury. At her Toronto home, she suffered a heart attack and died when she was only 68 years old

.Eliza Lillian Waldie was born in 1870 in Wellington Square. Lillian, just like her older sister, never married. She too, preferred to travel around the world, living the life of the rich and famous. Two days after Christmas in 1938, Lillian suffered a heart attack at the age of 68, and died in her Toronto home.

Gillies - Ida Waldie

Fanny married Dr. Charles Temple. The wealthy Temple family were prominent surgeons in Toronto.

Ida Frances Waldie was born in 1871 in Wellington Square. Ida was known as Fanny. In 1895, Fanny married Dr. Charles Algernon Deveser Temple, a surgeon. The Temple family were prominent Toronto doctors. In February of 1940, Ida Waldie Temple at the age of 69, died.

Ernest Tasker Waldie was born in 1873. Ernest had a difficult life. Apparently, he was dropped on his head as a baby, and suffered his entire life with mental disorders. Ernest lived most of his life at the “Orillia Asylum for Idiots”, tnhat was the original name of the institution. This same institution is now involved in a $2 billion dollar class action lawsuit with the Province of Ontario for alleged mistreatment of patients, which is scheduled for court in September 2015.

Gillies - Ernest Tasker Waldie

Ernest Waldie suffered from medical conditions and spent most of his life at an institution once called the “Orillia Asylum for Idiots”, now called the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia.

Heading up the class action, are two former residents from the psychiatric facility, who told how they had been beaten, sexually abused, held upside down in ice-cold water and medicated against their will at the Huronia Regional Centre (Orillia Asylum for Idiots). Ernest at 58, died from pneumonia and heart failure in 1931 while he was a patient at this same institution. There was a contributory cause of Ernest’s death listed on the Death Certificate. It was recorded as “Idiocy”.

Frederick Norval Waldie was the fourth eldest son of John Waldie. Fred was born in Burlington in 1875. After his father’s death in 1907, Fred became president of the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company. At the age of 52, Fred died from heart disease in Shanty Bay, Ontario.

Gillies - Robert Stanley Waldie

Robert pursued law as a career and did not go into the lumber business. Robert Waldie became the President of the Imperial Bank of Canada, and also held the position of Vice-President with the Canada Bread Company.

The fifth son was Robert Stanley Waldie, who was born in Burlington in 1877. Robert did not follow in his father’s footsteps and venture into the lumber business. Robert chose law as a profession. As a lawyer, Robert was successful in the business world, and rose to become the president of the Imperial Bank of Canada. The Imperial Bank merged with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1961; the largest merger of two chartered banks in Canadian history. Robert Waldie was also the vice-president of the Canada Bread Company. Robert Stanley Waldie died in 1966.

Gillies - Walter Scott Waldie

Walter left the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company to join the military at the beginning of World War 1. While overseas, Walter died from influenza in 1919. His father-in-law was Sir Albert Edward Kemp (L), the Minister of Militia and Defence for Canada, in Sir Robert Borden’s Government

Walter Scott Waldie was born in 1879 in Burlington. Walter like most of his brothers went into the lumber business. When World War 1 broke out, Walter enlisted into the military and went overseas. In 1919, while still in the service and located in Wales, Walter died from influenza on February 2, 1919. He left behind his wife Alice and 3 young children John, Alice and Ian. Mrs. Walter Waldie was the daughter of Sir Albert Edward Kemp. During World War 1, Sir Albert was the Minister of Militia and Defence, and the Minister of the Overseas Military Forces for Canada.

Jessica Waldie was the eleventh child born to Burlington’s Waldie family in 1880. Jessie had more of an ordinary married life, and one not so much wrapped around all of the wealth that the Waldie family enjoyed. In 1905 Jessie married Godfrey Edward Spragge. The Spragge family had four children, John, Edward, Elizabeth and Peter. John Godfrey Spragge, the eldest son born in 1907 chose a military career and rose in rank to become a Brigadier-General in World War II.

Gillies Charles Percival Waldie

Percy was the youngest son of John and Mary Waldie. He joined the war effort and died in battle, with the rank of Lieutenant, at Hulloch Village, Loos, France. Percy was just 33 years old.

Charles Percival Waldie was John Waldie’s youngest son. Percy was born in 1882. When World War 1 came along, young Percy enlisted. The Great War was to claim his life, and on September 26, 1915 at the battle of Loos near Hulloch Village, France; 2nd Lieutenant Waldie was killed in action.

Gillies - Waldie Family Plot in Greenwood Cemetery

John Waldie and his family all returned home to Burlington and are buried in the family plot in historic Greenwood Cemetery.

The youngest child of John Waldie was Mary Waldie, and the family called her Mollie. Mollie was born in Burlington in 1884. Mollie enjoyed a privileged life. At the age of 21 in 1905, young Mollie married Robert Cecil Hamilton Cassels. The Cassels family were prominent lawyers in Toronto. Today, Cassels, Brock and Blackwell is one of the largest law firms in Canada, and has been established for over 125 years. Mollie at the age of 75, passed away June 16, 1959.

My next article, Part 4 of a 4 Part series, will be what the City of Burlington has done to recognize this great Canadian philanthropist, a one of a kind business leader, who was a distinguished local and federal politician, and was the “Father of Burlington”, plus the “Father of the Burlington Public Library”.

Mark Gillies is a lifelong resident of Burlington, who grew up in Aldershot and developed as a local historian, researcher, master genealogist and writer who has a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of the many early pioneer families.
Mark will write a regular column about colourful local history introducing Burlingtonians to the people that made this city what it is today.



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Five flicks to be screened by BurlingtonGreen this year - first on March 25th - worth your time.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 7, 2015


While a larger community is gearing up for the review of the provinces ecologically parts of our environment BurlingtonGreen has announced its 2015 line up of award winning films for their 2015 Eco-film Festival which will start later this month – on March 25th.

The screenings will be at the Burlington Central Library (2331 New Street), followed by take action initiatives, guest speakers, and audience discussion on how individual and collective action can help the planet locally.

Doors open at 6:30pm with the film beginning at 7:00pm – $5.00 donations are welcome upon arrival to support event costs.

The eco-film festival line up includes:

Watermark (March 25th) An extraordinary awarding winning documentary by Canadian filmmakers that examines our relationship with water and how it shapes humanity.

Surviving progressSurviving Progress (April 29th) Martin Scorsese’s provocative documentary that delves into concepts of progress focusing on technological advancement, economic development, and population increase in the modern world.

Chasing IceChasing Ice (June 3rd) An Academy Award winning film that details the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet.

Dirt! (September 23rd) An astonishing look at the glorious and unappreciated ground beneath our feet.

Journey of the Universe (November 4th) An epic story of cosmic, earth and human transformation from the Big Bang to today.

Complimentary refreshments will be available along with free eco-prize raffle draws at each event. BurlingtonGreen aims to host green events and asks that all guests walk, cycle, carpool or use public transit whenever possible, and bring their own mug for refreshments.

BurlingtonGreen is very grateful to local Burlington company O. C. Tanner for their continued support of the Eco-Film Festival. Event refreshments provided courtesy of Whole Foods Market.

Together they make a difference when we think global and act local

For those who may be new to Burlington and haven’t heard about BurlingtonGreen it was established in 2007. It is a citizen-led, not-for-profit environmental agency. Their mission is to protect the diversity of nature and to create a healthier environment, now and for the future. Through awareness, advocacy, and action they collaborate with all sectors of the community to protect the natural environment and to make Burlington a cleaner, greener, more environmentally responsible city.


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Police media releases now using Latin? Project Viocurus - Collision Reduction Initiative Pays Off

News 100 redBy Staff
March 6, 2015



The results of Project Viocurus (Latin for Master of the Roads) are in and they point to a significant reduction in personal injury and damage collisions within the Towns of Milton and Halton Hills.

Between February 5th and March 5th officers from 1 District proactively targeted the major east west commuter routes and collision “Hot Spots” within both Townships targeting the “Big 4” bad driving behaviours; aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving and failure to wear seat belts.
For the same period last year there were a total of 22 injury collisions. This year there were 11 injury collisions. The project had the same positive impact on property damage collisions with 186 being reported last year compared to 81 this year.

Officers continued to target those drivers who present a significant risk to the motoring community, focussing especially on those who are prohibited from driving and driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. During the project a total of 10 drivers were arrested and charged for impaired driving and 38 drivers were charged with driving while under a suspension.

Officers continued to target those drivers who present a significant risk to the motoring community.During the project a total of 1130 Provincial Offence Notices were issued compared to 949 for the same period last year.

Halton Police would like to remind the public that we take traffic safety and enforcement extremely seriously and remain committed to working with our community partners to make our roads as safe as possible. If you suspect that a driver is impaired please treat this as a crime in progress and call 911.

If any member of the public wishes to report an incident involving dangerous and/or aggressive driving they can visit our website and file a Road Watch report.

The mission of the Halton Community ROAD WATCH Program is to reduce aggressive driving on the streets and highways of Halton Region. The Halton Community ROAD WATCH Program encourages the community to take responsibility for their driving behavior and attitudes.

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The Victoria Harbour Lumber Company; the source of the Waldie wealth.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

March 5, 2015


Part two of a four part feature

Gillies - Waldie John Waldie, Father of BurlingtonJohn Waldie spent most of his time in Toronto during 1886 preparing to create his biggest business venture to date.

Gillies Waldie Erin Residence

The historic home called “Erin” was purchased as a wedding present for his second wife, Sarah Ann Jarvis. Sarah was to become the stepmother to John’s 13 children. While John Waldie was in Toronto, the family stayed in Burlington until John was ready to move his family into “Glenhurst”, the first mansion built in Rosedale.

John, a widower for one year, had just remarried December 16, 1885 to Sarah Ann Jarvis, and almost immediately, he went to Toronto by himself to start his new company leaving Sarah in Burlington with his 13 children. As a wedding present, John had purchased “Erin”, a home for Sarah at 3265 Mayfair Place in Burlington. Sarah was to care for the children at this home until it was time to have them all move to Toronto.

On November 20, 1886, the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company was incorporated. John had purchased a failing sawmill in Victoria Harbour named Kean, Fowlie and Company. The former company had gone through rough times and were unable to continue.

The Victoria Harbour Lumber Company grew and prospered under the management of John Waldie. In order to make the business successful, it was necessary to create a village for the employees. The area was fairly remote at the time. Streets were laid out, and in 1888 construction began on buildings and houses.

Gillies Waldie Victoria Harbour General Store

To make the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company successful, John Waldie built most of the town, enabling his employees to live and work locally. The general store was a company store, owned and operated by the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company.

Gillies Waldie Victoria Harbour GTR Train Station

Fortunately for John Waldie, the Grand Trunk Railway built a train station in Victoria Harbour. The location was ideal, as it was right across the road from his sawmills. The station was used to transport logs into Victoria Harbour, and to ship finished cut lumber out of the community.

The Grand Trunk Railway had arrived and built their own train station. John Waldie built a general store. He had more than enough experience on how to build and run a successful general store, having purchased his first in Wellington Square when he was just 22 years of age. John had a second store built in Wellington Square, and it is still there to this day, at the northeast corner of Lakeshore and John Street.

Gillies Waldie 1916 Victoria Harbour Library

John Waldie built a library for the residents of Victoria Harbour and furnished it with books, just as he had done for Burlington. Pic: St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church

John, always an avid believer in reading made sure that they built a library for the residences of Victoria Harbour. It was a beautiful facility, and is still in the village to this day, as well as the general store.

Gillies  Waldie St Paul's Presbyterian Church

John Waldie was a Presbyterian. He financed the construction of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Victoria Harbour. The church opened in 1906.

Waldie, a devout religious man, built St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in 1906 for this little hamlet. The church is still functional to this day.

Gillies Waldie Victoria Harbour 1920

This rare aerial view of Victoria Harbour was how the village looked around 1920. The intersection of William & Albert Streets is at the top and in the middle of the photograph. In the background, you can see the three mills, the log booms in the bay, the Grand Trunk Railway station to the upper left, railway box cars are to the upper right, the General Store and Library are across the street from each other on either side of the main intersection.

If you’re going to have all these buildings for your employees, then you better have houses for them. John set out to build most of the houses in Victoria Harbour. They were small, but efficient. The houses had an early nickname, and were called “saltboxes”, but that went by the wayside when John had the houses painted in the company’s colours of white and yellow. The trim was white and the exterior walls were yellow. The new nickname was “canary houses”, and many are still referred by that name today.

Gillies Waladie Victoria Harbour Planer Mill

Once the logs had been cut, they were transferred to the planing mill. Here they were prepared into a finished product.

Gillies - Waldie Victoria Harbour Lumber Mill 1

Victoria Harbour Lumber Company consisted of three sawmills: Mill #1 & planing mill; Mill #2, and Mill l#3. Workers poured in from all over Canada, the United States and Europe eager to work at the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company.

There were three mills at the water’s edge, and they were kept busy, sawing and planing lumber. Timber was brought to the mills from all around the Muskoka area, even as far north as Sudbury and North Bay. The railway brought some logs and so did the ships. Logs were also floated to the mills from many different locations. Upon arrival to the mills logs were kept in the water with huge booms, and were dragged to the mills when ready to cut. The finished lumber was then loaded in to railway boxcars or ships and sent to their destination.

Gillies Walddiw  Victoria Harbour Sailing Ship

Ships provided a second option to transport logs and finished lumber. The Victoria Harbour Lumber Company utilized both ships and rail for their products.

The tiny hamlet of Victoria Harbour with about 200 dedicated workers at the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company had made John Waldie the second wealthiest lumber baron in Canada by the turn of the 20th century, in just over 20 years.

My next article will be a continuation on the wealthy philanthropist, John Waldie and his family. Whatever happened to his 13 children, some lives ending in tragedy? What happened to John’s two wives? Find out next time.

Mark Gillies is a lifelong resident of Burlington, who grew up in Aldershot and developed as a local historian, researcher, master genealogist and writer who has a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of the many early pioneer families.
Mark will write a regular column about colourful local history introducing Burlingtonians to the people that made this city what it is today.


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Developing talent, discovering opportunities; techies under 20 to strut their stuff at the AGB

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 3, 2015


Employers need to continuously develop new talent, acquire new skills, and be open to fresh insights and ideas.

Tech Under 20’s need hands-on work experience that will strengthen their resumes and take their skills and careers to the next level.

These two groups need to meet each other – which is part of what Silicon Halton is trying to do with their Meet Up at the Art Gallery of Burlington March 10  at 7 in the evening.

A team of teens and adult mentors are working together on this meet up, inviting local Employers and Tech Under 20’s to present ideas and discuss the importance of Tech Internships to the ongoing growth and success of all types of businesses in the region.


The technically trained students are showing us a different world. There are forms are as different as their thinking.

On the agenda are:

Tech-focused students who have recently completed internships and are looking for new opportunities’
Employers who have recently offered (or are looking to fill) tech-focused internships in Halton’
Government program representatives with information about funding (for employers) and opportunities (for students / grads).
Discussion after the presentations on helping Silicon Halton develop a new Tech Internship Program for the region.


Oleg L.
Grade 12 student, Oakville
Sofware developer
INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE: Recently completed a semester-long co-op with a software company that led to a full time summer job offer.
TOPIC: Oleg will discuss how demonstrating a high level of skill and commitment during a short term co-op can lead to extended opportunities with an employer.

Amanda R.
1st year UWaterloo
Honors Mechatronics program
Schulich Leader scholarship winner
INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE: After competing in robotics competitions for 6 years and volunteering in Lego robotics since 2011, she is currently working on her first co-op placement as an Automation Engineer at Camcor Manufacturing, Linamar
TOPIC: Amanda will discuss the importance of networking before, during and after internships and co-op programs.

Ella R.
Grade 12 student, Oakville
Competitive robotics software developer, autonomous programmer & on-field strategist
INTERSHIP EXPERIENCE: Completed a Thermal and Nuclear Internship with Hatch Inc. last summer.
TOPIC: Ella will discuss how her internship opened her eyes to the variety of roles available on engineering teams in a large company setting.

Eddie S.
Grade 12 student, Milton
Competitive robot designer, build team leader & on-field strategist
INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE: Eddie hasn’t taken part in an internship program yet, but want to learn more about opportunities related to engineering and design.
TOPIC: Eddie has advanced skills in design, engineering and robot fabrication, but he is unsure of where to turn for information on internships that would suit his interests and future career development.

Sam R.
1st year student at OCAD University
Majoring in Graphic Design
INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE: Completed a communications internship with Appleby College two years ago that led to a paid, full time position with their communications team the following summer.
TOPIC: Sam will discuss how his technical and creative skills in graphic design and digital photography were expanded while meeting the needs of the internship, and how he benefited from the responsibility and creative freedom provided by both the internship and full-time summer positions.
LOOKING FOR: Sam is interested in working with organizations that will stretch his technical and creative skills further, while providing opportunities to continuing developing his portfolio of graphic design, photography, videography and motion graphics work.

Tom Murad – Ph.D., P.Eng., F.E.C., SM.IEEE; Head of Siemens Engineering & Technology Academy, Siemens Canada Limited

Vincent Hamel; Manager, Electro-Optical Engineering, L-3 Wescan

Ian Small; General Manager, AudioBooks

Mark Arteaga; President, RedBit Development
Mark will discuss “what we look for when we hire”.

Government organizations that have funding available will also be on hand.

Sandra Nuhn: Manager, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Halton Region
Sandra will highlight two young entrepreneur programs that the Halton Region Small Business Centre is delivering in the Region.
Summer Company: Provides hands-one business training and mentorship, with awards of up to $3,000 to help enterprising students between the ages of 15 – 29 start and run their own summer business.
Starter Company: provides training, mentorship and the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to youth between the ages of 18 – 29 to start, grow or buy a small business.

Kimberly Neale
Integrated Job Developer, Employment Services, Halton Region
Kimberly will highlight free employment services, programs and training incentives available to employers & job seekers in Halton Region. She will provide information / updates on Ontario’s Youth Employment Program, the Youth Job Strategy and Canada-Ontario Jobs Grant.

Sabrina Essner
Program Lead, Halton E-Mentoring & Newcomer Strategy, Halton Region
Halton Region is a welcoming, inclusive and supportive community. Sabrina will discuss the launch of Halton Region’s E-Mentoring program, community value and how to participate.

Registration can be done at Eventbrite


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John Waldie “The Father of Burlington” paid for the library and created the Greenwood cemetery.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

March 2, 2015


Part oneof a four part feature.

John Waldie was born in Scotland in 1833 to James and Jessie Waldie. The family immigrated to Upper Canada in 1842 when John was nine years old. The family settled in Wellington Square, a village of about 400 residents. Nearby Port Nelson located at the foot of Guelph Line had about 60 residents.

Gillies - Waldie John Waldie, Father of Burlington

John Waldie was an incredible businessman and philanthropist. He was “The Father of Burlington” & “The Father of the Burlington Library”.

James Waldie was a tailor,  one of four tailors working in Wellington Square until 1852. In that same year James, Jessie and their young daughter Agnes moved to Huron County and purchased 100 acres of farmland. Their son John, then 19 decided to stay in Wellington Square. Little did John Waldie know in 1852; that one day he would amass a great fortune and his decisions would affect so many people.

Gillies - Waldie John Waldie's General Store in colour

John Waldie’s general store located on the northeast corner of Lakeshore Road and John Street was the place to shop in Burlington for clothing and home furnishings. The store employed 12 clerks, and everyone was kept busy serving a large clientele.

John had been employed as a store clerk for one year at the dry goods store of local businessman William Bunton. John was adept at business, and at 22 years of age in 1855, he purchased the business from Mr. Bunton. Not long after, John Waldie built a new store at the northeast corner of Lakeshore Road and John Street. The building is still there, with most of the historic features not visible to most.

Gillies - Waldie Azov 4

The “Azov” was a freight sailing ship that transported both wheat and timber. The vessel was owned by John Waldie and William Bunton.

Gillies - Waldie Sweepstakes 3

In 1885, John Waldie’s sailing ship “Sweepstakes” sank in Big Tub Harbour at Tobermory. Today, this is Canada’s most famous dive site for ship wrecks.

William Bunton and John Waldie continued working together in other business partnerships. Both men entered into the shipping business and owned two sailing vessels. They were called the “Azov” and the “Sweepstakes”. Bunton already owned one of the three wharves located at the foot of Brant Street, and these two ships transported local timber and wheat. The name “Sweepstakes” may be familiar to diving enthusiasts.

The ship was built at Wellington Square in 1867 and sank in Big Tub Harbour at Tobermory around September 3,1885. Today the ship is the most visited dive wreck in Canada.

Gillies - Waldie - William Kerns

John Waldie and William Kerns were good friends, business partners and political foes. John was a Liberal, and William was a Liberal-Conservative. Both represented Halton County at different times.

From 1866 to 1885 John had been in partnership with William Kerns. The store was sold to Kerns when John Waldie moved to Toronto and began the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company. In 1887 Waldie decided to enter federal politics as a Liberal candidate, and represent Halton County. The riding was held by William McCraney, a Liberal, and a wealthy lumber merchant, who won the seat in 1882 when Sir William McDougall, a Father of Confederation, decided to run in another riding. When McCraney decided not to run for a second term, his friend John Waldie decided to run for office in the 1887 election.

Waldie’s Conservative opponent was local merchant David Henderson. The vote was close, Waldie 2,222 votes; Henderson 2,213 votes. Up to this election, John Waldie had been very active in the local community.

For two years, John had been the Reeve of Nelson Township and was elected to become the first Reeve of the Village of Burlington in 1873

Burlington was the name selected to replace the names Wellington Square and Port Nelson.

It was John Waldie who was the “architect” for combining the two communities together. In 1877, it was reported, “Whether for good or evil, the fact of incorporation is due to Mr. Waldie”. I think it is quite fair to say, John Waldie is the “Father of Burlington”. In 1877 John Waldie then moved on politically and became the Warden of Halton County for two years, a forerunner of today’s Regional Chairman.

Gillies - Waldie David Henderson

David Henderson and John Waldie had a mutual respect for each other. Both men battled for the same federal riding of Halton County several times.

John Waldie represented Halton County federally several times. His 1887 win was short lived, lasting only one year. Amidst allegations of bribery, a by-election was called, and David Henderson, a Conservative in 1888 won Halton County. John Waldie did not contest the seat. But Henderson also faced similar allegations of corruption, and another by-election was held, just six months into office.

This time Waldie and Henderson faced off for a second time. The election was close. Waldie 2,042 votes; Henderson 2,018 votes. The next election was in 1891, and the two were at it again. The vote was close, Henderson 2,441 votes; Waldie, 2,337 votes. Another by-election was called in 1892 and David Henderson was acclaimed. In the 1896 election, the two men squared off for the last time. The election was close, Henderson 2,460 votes; Waldie 2,376 votes.

Gillies - Waladie  Sir Wilfred Laurier

John Waldie while serving in Ottawa as the Liberal representative from Halton County, developed a close friendship with Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier. This friendship helped Waldie after he left office. John Waldie was also President of the powerful Lumbermen’s Association, and he lobbied on behalf of the lumber industry, fighting against unfair trading practices by the Americans.

John Waldie’s political career had come to its conclusion. While in Ottawa, he did manage to make some great connections. One of his closest friends was Sir Wilfred Laurier.

John Waldie and his family moved from Burlington to Toronto in 1885, however they still regarded Burlington as home. It’s not that they wanted to move away; they had to move in order to properly develop his new Victoria Harbour Lumber Company.

Gillies - Waladie - Knox Presbyterian Church Burlington

Historic Knox Presbyterian Church on Elizabeth Street was the recipient of custom made imported stained glass windows; a gift from philanthropist, John Waldie.

John Waldie was a Presbyterian, and a member of historic Knox Presbyterian Church on Elizabeth Street. When you drive by the church, have a look at the beautiful stained glass windows. John Waldie had them manufactured in Scotland and brought them over as a gift for Knox Presbyterian Church.

John Waldie believed in reading as the best means to develop your learning capacity. In the very early 1900s, the Village of Burlington was having difficulty with establishing any kind of a library system. At the time, various residents would keep a small selection of books in their own homes, and area residents would drop by and borrow one or two books. The system was not working  and in danger of closing. On hearing of this situation, John Waldie proposed a solution.

Gillies - Waldie Burlington Library

The new Burlington Public Library opened its doors in 1906. The building and books were donated by philanthropist, John Waldie. The Public Library was located on Brant Street, where the City Hall is today.

If the Village of Burlington could find some land,  Waldie would build the library building, and donate it to the village. When the new facility opened in 1906, Mr. Waldie also stocked it with a donation of 6,000 books. I think it would also be accurate to call John Waldie, “The Father of the Burlington Library”.

By a deed dated 30 September 1888, The Greenwood Cemetery Company of Burlington purchased eight acres for $2,000. The Greenwood Cemetery Company was owned by John Waldie and they purchased the land from local market gardener James C. Filman for the purpose of establishing a cemetery. Block 50, a large block near the centre of the cemetery was purchased by John Waldie on 2 December 1889.  Waldie’s parents, both Presbyterians, died in 1864 and 1868 and were buried in St. Luke’s Anglican Cemetery. Knox Presbyterian Church did not have a cemetery. These two burials motivated John Waldie into creating the Greenwood Cemetery Company.

Gillies - Waldie Sarah Ann Jarvis

Sarah Ann Jarvis was just 29 years old when she married the widower John Waldie, who was 52 years of age. Sarah was to become a stepmother, since John was the father of 13 motherless children.

On September 18, 1885, John Waldie, a widower married for a second time. The new bride was Sarah Ann Jarvis, who at 29 years of age was 23 years younger than John.   Waldie’s wedding gift to his new wife, Sarah was a home located at 3265 Mayfair Place in Burlington.

Gillies Waldie - Erin Residence

John Waldie purchased 3265 Mayfair Place as a wedding present in 1885 for his new bride Sarah Ann Jarvis. The residence was called “Erin” and the home still retains this name today.

It was called “Erin”. Originally built in 1845 by Henry Sovereign, a United Empire Loyalist descendent, owned later by Moses Wilkins, then owned by John Waldie, this historic home has undergone several cosmetic alterations. The residence is located behind the Water Treatment plant on Lakeshore Road, but at one time the home sitting on a small hilltop commanded a beautiful view of Lake Ontario. The Henry Sovereign residence “Erin” is very similar to “Sovereign House” in Bronte; another historic home that was built in stages by fellow relative Charles Sovereign between 1825 and 1846. Today, the home is operated by the Bronte Historical Society and is used as a museum.

John Waldie died at 3:00 PM, June 12, 1907 at his residence “Glenhurst” located in the prestigious Rosedale area of Toronto. A week prior to his death Waldie suffered from bouts of violent coughing. Waldie, already in ill health, had a weakened heart and was unable to survive.

The funeral procession for John Waldie originated in Toronto. The Grand Trunk Railway with a special funeral train transported the mourners and coffin from Toronto to Burlington’s historic Freeman Train Station. The coffin was removed and transferred to a hearse provided by the Edgar Williamson Funeral Home on Brant Street.

Gilliies Waldie - Edgar Williamson Funeral Hearse

Edgar Williamson operated the local funeral home in Burlington. Today, we know it as Smith’s Funeral Homes. Mr. Williamson provided the horse-drawn hearse to carry the late Mr. Waldie from the Freeman Train Station to his final resting place in Greenwood Cemetery.

The procession slowly made its way to Greenwood Cemetery traveling south on Brant Street, and turning right on to Water Street. Brant Street was lined with mourners as they paid  their final respects to a favourite son. It wasn’t a state funeral, but it was visually overwhelming.  At Mr. Waldie’s funeral, one of the many in attendance to pay respects to this great man was David Henderson, John Waldie’s political adversary. John Waldie, a self-made man, had returned home to his beloved Burlington for the last time.

My next article will be about John Waldie’s Victoria Harbour Lumber Company. This company made John Waldie one of Canada’s wealthiest men, and the second most powerful lumber baron in Canada.

Mark Gillies is a lifelong resident of Burlington, who grew up in Aldershot and developed as a local historian, researcher, master genealogist and writer who has a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of the many early pioneer families.
Mark will write a regular column about colourful local history introducing Burlingtonians to the people that made this city what it is today.

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Local public school part of 50th flag anniversary celebration

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 28, 2015


Burlington has thousands of people who remember all too well the public debate over the adoption of a new flag for the country. Lester B.. Pearson, the Prime Minister at the time was giving a speech at a Legion gathering – they came close to booing him off the stage.

Canadian flag first time raised

Noon of February 15th, 1965 – the \red \maple leaf was flown from Parliament for the first time.

But at noon on February 15, 1965 the red maple leaf went up the flag pole on Parliament hill – and at locations across the country – and has been there ever since. That flag had a very difficult early childhood.

The flag that is raised each day and taken down each evening on Parliament Hill is donated to some organization where it is proudly flown. The list for flag requests stretches four years into the future.

Now that it is part of who we are there are groups across the country who want to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the red maple leaf.

A massive Canadian flag was passed hand over hand amongst a huge crowd in Montreal days before the citizens of Quebec voted in their referendum to remain a part of Canada.

A massive Canadian flag was passed hand over hand amongst a huge crowd in Montreal days before the citizens of Quebec voted in their referendum to remain a part of Canada.

Hometown Proud, a unique national program, that is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Flag of Canada is doing a cross country recording session tour and will be in Burlington March 10th to record the students at Pauline Johnson public school taking part in a national version of O Canada.

This unique program commemorates and aims to educate students on the history of Canada’s national flag, as well as unite students in what may be the largest recording of O Canada.

Getting to the point where Canada could celebrate the 50th anniversary was not an easy process. The link below is a CBC clip on the raising of the new flag. It is lengthy – 20 minutes – but if you want to fully appreciate what we went through – take the time. Watch for that Canadian hero Georges Vanier who was Governor General at the time. Stooped and looking every day his 70 |+ years Vanier watches as a flag he loved and fought under – losing a leg in the process – is brought down.

The film footage is HERE

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A crusty Burlington salt will show a short feature film on the Beach Canal lighthouse.

Event 100By Pepper Parr

February 27, 2015


If you can get yourself over to the Central Library on Sunday the 8th of March you will have a chance to meet one of those old timers who has done it all but doesn’t know quite how to hang up his spurs.


Sandy Thomson recalling some history for Burlington |Gazette reporter Walter Byj

Sandy Thomson, the great-great grandson of Captain George Thomson, a Berwick, England native who was the Burlington Beach Canal’s lighthouse keeper and diarist for 29 years in the 1800’s has produced a short film on the lighthouse.

The diaries became the base documents for the short film that Sandy and his small film crew have completed.

The diaries were preserved and are at the Brant Museum along with the lenses from the lighthouse.

Sandy Thomson still drives a motorcycle and has a small film operation – Cine 16 that keeps him busy.

Burlington canal light house

The Burlington canal lighthouse

The original Burlington Canal Lighthouse and Light station were built in 1838 to guide ships into Hamilton Harbour. The current stone structure as it stands today was built in 1858 and sits adjacent to the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge under the Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway.

The Burlington Canal Lighthouse Group (BCLG) is a non-profit organization formed by Hamilton and Burlington community members to preserve the Burlington Canal Lighthouse and Lightstation. Current member of the BCLG, Sandy Thomson says, “It is important to preserve the lighthouse that has both historical and educational importance. Other lighthouses have been restored on the Great Lakes and this is the only one left to be restored on Lake Ontario.”


Captain Sandy Thomson at the wheel of a Russian tug

Thomson is the owner of marine-parts manufacturer, Thordon Bearings, in Burlington. He provides innovative products to the marine industry around the world. While building a market for his propeller shaft bearings, Thomson captained a Russian steam tugboat, Rudokop, and toured all the major ports in Europe in the 1990-2000’s promoting Thordon’s propeller shaft and rudder bearings to ship owners and shipyards in the Baltic, North, Mediterranean and Black Seas.
“My great-great grandfather maintained the lighthouse for those vessels entering Hamilton Harbour on those dark and stormy nights, and as a former sea-captain, I can appreciate what a welcome sight that light is”.

The video will be shown during the BCLG’s general meeting at the Burlington Central Library on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 2:00pm. The public and new members are welcome!

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Mental health leader talks to female high school students about the importance of getting the right mentor.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 27, 2015


This was the 19th time former MP and Member of the Privy Council Paddy Tourney held her event for younger woman in Burlington. It was a sold out – not the first time that has happened.

Each year Torsney sponsors a breakfast and brings in a speaker to talk about woman’s issues.

There are men in the room – but they are vastly outnumbered. The room – usually at the Holiday Inn – always has a buzz to it. The buzz at a women’s event is always quite different than when it is mostly men gathered.

Torsney - hands out

Burlington’s Paddy Torsney being Paddy Torsney

While Torsney would like the ticket price to cover all the costs – it never quite works out that way. What she does is look for corporations or individuals who will take a table and cover the cost for young woman to attend the event.

Torsney is currently the International Parliamentary Union Permanent representative at the United Nations in New York – where she advocates for the IPU and comes to terms with living in New York City.

Zahn with students

Dr. Catherine Zahn talks to students about the importance of completing their education.

These high school students attending this annual event are at that stage in life when values and choices are being formed. This year Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, spoke about the importance of mentoring and the changing view the public is developing about mental health.

Dr. Zahn is advocates strongly for making mental health part of the health system. “The divisiveness between communities and hospitals is not doing anything for anyone” she asserted and pointed out that it is time for more in the way of both resources and an understanding of the needs of people with mental health issues.

Elizabeth Small and Sydney MPP office

Elizabeth Small, on the left, was recognized for her success in being trained as a construction worker.

Zhan shifted back and forth between the importance of young women finding the mentors they need and the changing public view of mental health issues.

There was a time she said that literally and metaphorically people with mental health issues were shut away and we knew nothing about them.
That day is gone – but Zahn doesn’t believe that we are yet at the point where mental health is understood and appreciated for what it is across the public health spectrum.

Corpus Christi table

Students from Corpus Christ attend the women’s breakfast.

She seemed to feel that we are much further along with women experiencing the equality they are entitled to – however she is quick to point to the huge income disparity between men and women.

Zahn suggested that the solution to getting a stronger understanding and acceptance of mental health issues is to treat it the way the fight to beat cancer was waged. “Make it an issue and focus on the impact mental health has on not just the individual but the families involved and the larger community” she said.

There is a shortage of professional’s in the mental health field – without the investment in these professionals we will not make any advances” said Zahn.
“I am very optimistic both about the changes taking place in the opportunities for young woman today and the advances we can make in the treatment of There is a shortage of professional’s in the mental health field – without the investment in these professionals we will not make any advances”.mental health” she added.

Torsney made the point with her comment to the younger audience when she said: “You are a different generation; things that are obvious to you were not obvious to us”.

You could almost feel the torch being passed from one generation to the next.

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Province opens up it student summer job program - it's all on-line.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 26, 2015


The province has announced that youth in Ontario can now apply for summer jobs.

Student - sumkmer jobOntario’s Summer Jobs programs, in place since 2004, has helped almost 1,100,000 students find summer jobs, start businesses and access employment services. Each year, the programs help more than 100,000 students and youth:

• Find a summer job through Employment Ontario or community agencies.
• Get help with résumé writing and preparing for interviews.
• Apply for funding to start their own summer businesses.
• Gain experience working with the Ontario government.

For more information click HERE.  for details on year-round programs to help youth under 30 build skills, start a business, or find a job.

Helping young people get work experience is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Ontario is offering employers a $2-per-hour hiring incentive to hire summer students.

In the media release the province provides two additional websites with additional information.  They seem to be saying the same thing – but do you research and learn as much as you can.  There are some very interesting jobs – got get em!

Employment for people under 30

General government employment information


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Extreme cold weather results in cancellation of talk on cyber crime at the library.

Newsflash 100By Staff

February 23, 2015


The good people at The Different Drummer bring you this news with their apologies.

As a result of the extreme cold weather alert, our event planned for this evening at the Central Library with Paula Todd will be rescheduled. We will be in touch when we have all the details.

Todd was going to give a talk on her most recent book: Cyber Mean

Ian Elliot is very sorry for any inconvenience and will refund all ticket purchases.

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French being taught at 12 Burlington schools. more to follow. Director of Education David Eaule announces retirement.

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

February 19, 2015


It was a class that was half an hour late – technology got the blame.

School board meetings are now projected onto a screen that is behind the chair facing the trustees.  Some had difficulty speaking and watching themselves in real time.

Votes will no longer be a simple show of hands – the vote count is taken electronically and projected onto the screen.  A lesson here for Burlington city council.

There was just the one delegation: Christian Dragnea of Oakville who thanked the board for their efforts in determining the boundaries for the new elementary school in Neyawagaya/Dundas Street area in Oakville. Recognizing that no decision is perfect, the recommendation brought forward was easily the best. The new boundaries for both the new schools in Oakville and Milton were passed unanimously. Kudos to the board.

Next was an item that will most certainly be quite controversial, not only for Halton, but also for the entire province. With the new Health and Physical Education curriculum to be released shortly, trustee Gray, Halton Hills, presented to the board the following recommendation.

“Based on the need to ensure common understanding and consistent messages about the curriculum expectations associated with the new Health and Physical Health Education Curriculum, be it resolved that the Chair of the Halton District Board be directed to write a letter to the Ministry of Education to insist the following:

-the time frame of the full implementation of the new Health and Physical Curriculum ensures professional training sessions for both elementary and secondary teachers and members of school admin teams take place prior to implantation to ensure a fulsome understanding of the knowledge and skills students are expected to demonstrate at each grade level.

-full funding and resources are provided to support Board training and curriculum implementation.

This was passed unanimously by all the trustees. No doubt this will occupy much of their time and efforts in the near future.

In September of 2014, the HDSB introduced a program whereby 40 minutes a week of Primary Core French teaching for grade one students began in 24 Halton elementary schools; 12 of those schools were located in Burlington.

Although a full year has not been completed, the feedback to date has been positive and the initial 24 schools will expand the program to grade two in the 2015/2016 school year. Along with the grade one students, they too will receive 40 minutes of French on a weekly basis. This program is to expand to an additional 12 schools next year with the hope of all schools being on board by 2018.

The additional schools for next year are yet to be determined. Chair Amos wanted more schools in the program as soon as possible.  Associate Director Miller explained that getting proper staffing would be difficult in the short term and that they were following the original plan to be completed by 2018.

Trustee Grebenc (Burlington) asked if a search outside the province was being conducted to locate additional French staffing. Miller responded that due to limited funding resources, recruiting was limited within Ontario. Robert Hamilton, Principal of French Programs, confirmed that New Brunswick would be a primary source of new teachers as the program expands and that they would plan to do some recruiting in that province.

Trustee Pappin (Burlington) asked where the time comes from to teach French. She was assured that it is not taken from literacy or numeracy but rather during arts or phys ed time periods. It should be noted that the Ministry of Education does not provide a primary Core program in French and that it is the HDSB staff that is developing the program.

The board will continue to monitor the program and seek additional parent input to determine its success. If fully implemented, the timetable will be as following,

Grades 1 to 3 40 minutes weekly
Grade 4 120 minutes weekly
Grade 5 160 minutes weekly
Grades 6 to 8 200 minutes weekly

Eaule David

David Eaule retires after 40 years in education – he has been with the Halton Board for five years.

The board was also told that a JK program will not be not be offered at Pineland this coming school as the target of 15 student was not reached. Only 12 students were enrolled as of February 15th. Superintendent of Education Eatough stated that all parents have been advised and are in the process of making alternate plans.

The evening concluded with Chair Amos emotionally reading a letter from Director of Education, David Eaule, announcing his retirement effective August 31st 2015. Eaule has been an educator for 41 years and decided it was time to retire. Euale said that during his five years with the Halton board he has worked with 25 trustees.  He has no current plans.

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Police crackdown on intersection safety begins Thursday - runs till the end of 2015.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 18, 2015


The Halton Regional Police Service will be initiating a traffic safety campaign throughout the City of Burlington in efforts to reduce motor vehicle collisions.

Operation RISC (Reducing Intersection Safety Concerns) will run throughout 2015. The intention is to maximize police visibility and increase the public’s perception of safety while driving.

Last year there were 3,789 collisions in the City of Burlington Collisions at intersections have a high risk potential of serious injuries or even death, making intersection safety a priority for the Halton Regional Police Service. The most common contributing factors are inattentiveness, distracted driving (cell phone use), failing to yield, driving too fast for road conditions, following too closely and disobeying traffic lights signals.

The mission of Operation RISC (Reducing Intersection Safety Concerns) is to proactively reduce the amount of collisions occurring within traffic intersections throughout the City of Burlington.

Operation RISC will be supported by the 30 Division District Response Unit and Uniform Patrol and will implement a variety of strategic response options at these intersections. Police will utilize education and enforcement strategies in order to deter collisions from occurring within targeted intersections and to also promote safe driving habits.

The goal of this initiative is twofold: To deter drivers from committing the types of offences that increase the probability of a collision at or near an intersection. To educate drivers and promote safe driving habits.

Last year there were 3,789 collisions in the City of Burlington which equals an average of 10 motor vehicle collisions per day. The Halton Regional Police is committed to reducing motor vehicle collisions in an effort to providing a safer community.
Operation RISC will kick off Thursday February 19, 2015.

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Community gardens are a success – city hall wants to know where the fourth one should be located.

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 18, 2015


Burlington has had community gardens ever since Michelle Bennett and Amy Schnurr delegated to city council for support in creating a garden back in behind the library and the Seniors’ Centre on New Street.

BurlingtonGreen's Michelle Bennett pacing off the size of each lot in the Community Garden that will open this Saturday.

Michelle Bennett pacing off the size of each lot in the Community Garden that opened in WHEN

The garden was a hit from the Get Go – every politician that wanted to get their picture taken was there.
The public seemed to want them and so the city began spending some of the tax dollars it collects asking people where they would like to see community gardens set up.

There are currently three community gardens in the city: Amherst Park Community GardenFeatures: 28 ground based plots, two wheelchair-accessible plots, water, street parking, full sun, storage shed, security fence, proximity to playground.


Amy Schnurr proselytizing for community gardens.

Central Park Community Garden; Features: 28 ground plots, two wheelchair accessible plots, parking, washrooms, water, full sun, storage shed, security fence, proximity to playground.

Francis Road Bikeway Community Garden; Features: 20 ground based plots, two wheelchair accessible plots, street parking on Warwick Drive, water, full sun, storage shed, security fence.   There are no public washroom facilities at this garden location.

The City did one of their online survey to help gather input from the public about the location of the city’s next community garden.
“The city currently has three community gardens, which have been very well received by gardeners and the surrounding neighbours,” said Rob Peachey, manager of parks and open spaces. “The city is now seeking input about the location of a fourth garden which will be ready for planting in the spring of 2016. We want to hear from residents about where in the city they’d like to see the newest community garden.”

The short online survey is available at . It will remain open until Sunday, Feb. 22.

The information collected from the survey will help inform city staff with their final recommendation to City Council at a meeting of the Development and Infrastructure Committee in June.

This year’s Burlington Seedy Saturday (community seed exchange event) is happening as part of the Burlington Public Library Eco Fair on Saturday,  April 18. Contact their marketing department or event coordinator Craig Logue for more info.


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Planners to take a close look at parts of the Shoreacres community; Council fears that everyone will want the same treatment.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

February 17, 2015


Two oddities: the word neighbourhood does not appear in the current Official Plan and Shoreacres Blvd is not within the boundaries of the Shoreacres Community Study.

What isn’t at all odd is that the people who live in the community want some say over the rate at which their community undergoes a change.
The Community and Corporate Services Standing Committee was reviewing a report from the Director of Planning on the the option of a Character Area Study for Shoreacres as part of the Official Plan Review.

Survey click hereNeighborhood character studies have taken on a bit or a social cachet in Burlington. Two years ago there were two of the things launched; one at Indian Point, which went nowhere and the residents want to get out of what they started.

A second community character study was launched in Roseland where small developer/contractors were roaming the streets looking for property they could purchase and divide into two lots or build what have come to be called monster homes.

In the spring of 2014, the demolition and rebuild of a dwelling in the Shoreacres Community led to a grassroots community discussion about a growing trend of redevelopment and its related impacts in the area. This community discussion took place through informal gatherings, petitions and conversations with media.

The Director of Planning was instructed to report back to Development and Infrastructure Committee in Fall 2014 on whether to conduct the study based on the following:

scope and timing of the study and the impact on the completion of the Official Plan Review Process
additional resource requirements
preliminary policy directions, zoning and design guidelines.

Shore - Goodram - new development

Selling the dream. The house proposed is seen as so out of design and proportion from the house behind the hoarding by the residents – they fear the character o their neighbourhood will be changed too quickly,

The planners organized a preliminary community meeting to consult with residents regarding the primary issues facing the neighbourhood. Staff concluded that the built form and housing stock in a section of Shoreacres is relatively homogeneous. While redevelopment has been occurring in the larger neighbourhood that comprises Shoreacres (generally described as south of New Street, west of Walkers Line and east of Appleby Line), there is a particular area within Shoreacres that has similar characteristics that distinguish it from other areas of Shoreacres.
This area can generally be described as those properties located south of Spruce Street and north of Lakeshore Road, on both sides of Goodram Drive on the west and on both sides of Juniper Avenue on the east. Common features within this area are, most notably, the predominance of bungalows and absence of two-storey dwellings, low pitch rooflines, mature trees, the absence of sidewalks on some streets and the usage of siding as a common cladding material.

Shore - Application for consent Goodram

This resident seeks consent from neighbours to sever their property

Staff, in consultation with the Ward Councillor, established an initial boundary for this area comprising approximately 185 homes and mailed out meeting notices and questionnaires to these addresses.

A community meeting to discuss recent development in the Shoreacres Community took place last July – 65 people attended, which some residents pointed out later amounted to one third of the residents in the study area – more than the percentage that voted in the municipal election.
Staff took the residents through the basics of planning and gave them an update on the Character Area Study for Roseland and Indian Point.

The primary issues that were raised at the meeting and through questionnaires, phone calls and emails can be summarized into the following topics:

a) There is inadequate public notification for demolitions, rebuilds and minor variance applications
b) There is inadequate protection of existing mature trees on both public and private property
c) The size of the study area as shown on the meeting invitation is too scoped
d) The architectural style of new homes (modern architecture, flat roofs) is incompatible with the existing neighbourhood
e) Redevelopment has adverse impacts on the privacy of adjacent property owners
f) The permitted building height (10 m for peaked roof residential dwellings) is incompatible with existing dwellings
g) The permitted number of storeys (2 storeys maximum) is incompatible with existing dwellings
h) The applicable Zoning By-law provisions for corner lots are inappropriate for the neighbourhood

At the community meeting, staff provided several responses regarding the above concerns as summarized:

a) Public notification requirements for development applications are established in the Ontario Building Code and the Planning Act and, for Ontario municipalities, there are no legal notice requirements that accompany the issuance of site plan approval, demolition permits and/or building permits. The public notification requirements for minor variance applications are set out in the Planning Act and implemented by the City. Specifically, a sign is posted on the subject property and notice is mailed to all property owners within 60 m of the subject application.
While the various act set out what is required there is no reason why the planning department can’t do more than the acts call for

b) The City of Burlington does not have a private tree by-law that can protect trees on private property. The City recently considered the implementation of a Private Tree By-law in July of 2013, but did not proceed with this initiative. The protection of trees on public property is managed through the site plan process and the protection of boundary vegetation is protected through the Forestry Act and reviewed during the site plan process.

c) The study area shown on the meeting invitation is a preliminary study boundary and is still subject to change.

d) Architectural style cannot be regulated through the Planning and Building Department, but the Urban Design Guidelines for Low Density Residential Zones and the site plan process allow for review of architectural elevations and an opportunity to influence architectural style with the objective of ensuring compatible development.

e) (e-h) The concerns relating to privacy impacts, building height, number of storeys and corner lot zoning provisions all relate to the existing Zoning By-law requirements that apply to this area. During the meeting, staff noted that a zoning review could be conducted by City staff to determine whether or not changes to the Zoning By-law would assist in managing some of the changes being experienced by the neighbourhood. Based on the comments that have been received to date, staff is of the opinion that a zoning review, including additional public consultation, in this area is warranted.

Shore - Yellow house - developes dream

Another large, spacious corner lot.

Mayor asked what the average size of these houses was – between 1200 and 2200 sq. ft. but Faccenda said the neighbourhood was not yet ready for significant development.  Albert Faccenda said a neighborhood will look like what the people who live there want it to look like.  People sell their property and get the best price they can and developers build on the property they bought.  We build what the market wants he said.  He added that the present bylaw would allow 7 to 8 thousand sq. ft. homes; that sent a shudder through the council chamber.

Councillor Meed Ward asked what Faccenda wanted to see changed – the lot coverage could be more generous he replied.  A bungalow get 35% lot coverage; a 1 1/2 storey can have up to 30% coverage and a two storey gets 25%

The city is currently conducting a Character Area Study for Roseland and Indian Point as part of the Official Plan Review. Significant insight has been gained as a result of the consulting team’s work and staff is recommending a study for the Shoreacres neighbourhood with narrower scope.
Subject to Council approval of the Terms of Reference, the scope of the Shoreacres Study would identify the compatibility impacts of recent development within the neighbourhood, and determine what, if any, measures should be taken to modify policy, zoning and development application process (e.g. minor variance or site plan applications).

The proposed study will be lead independently of the Official Plan Review. Any Official Plan policy amendments that may arise from this study would be conducted as a City- initiated Official Plan Amendment. This project could be instructive to the upcoming Zoning By-law Review, particularly for residential neighbourhoods south of the Queen Elizabeth Way

The Shoreacres community, as defined in the reports is certainly very distinct. |Mary Alice St. James said there were more than 40 corner lots in the area which gives developer/contractors opportunities to put much larger houses into the community and fundamentally changing the look and feel of the streets.
The community is one of the most desirable and priciest in the city. Ken Crew, who delegated, said he and his wife needed ten years to put together the money needed to buy a house.

They like their community just the way it is and while they say they are not opposed to development they don’t want to see all that much in the way of change. The developer/contractors love the area – they can sell almost anything they build at a very pretty price.

The question really comes down to – how much say do the people in a community get to say about what is permitted in the way of new construction.
The houses are not small; the lots are not small, however most are not large enough to be divided.

At what point do the homes in place now become outdated and no longer meet the needs of new families?

Is the character of a neighbouhood something municipal bureaucrats should be protecting or should the market determine what can be built and sold for a profit?

Director of Planning Bruce Krushelnicki is very sympathetic to the interests of the residents of the community. His planner Rosa Bustamante thinks it is more of a zoning exercise – the residents see their community being chewed up by economic interests.

Aldershot has much the same kind of housing on the water side of Plains Road west of King Road.

Shore - Street of bungalows

This is the community the residents want to conserve – their hope is that a neighbourhood character study will result in zoning or bylaws that keep that exists.

Niagara on the Lake has zoning and bylaws that determine what the look and feel of the streets in the commercial core of that city will look like – and they keep a very tight rein on what gets done. That community is a destination and is good business.

Does a small neighbourhood deserve the same kind of attention? The third of the community that showed up for the meeting, in the middle of July when many people were on vacation.

What do the residents of the community want? There were just two delegations. Ken Crew, a long time resident who was joined by his neighbour Ron Fleming

“To our neighbourhood, your approval of a City-funded and timely Character Study is of incredible importance he said.

“We have followed with great interest and support the development of the Character Study for Roseland and Indian Point. However, we are not Roseland or Indian Point. Our values and needs, while sharing some commonality with the Roseland study, are specific and unique to our mature neighbourhood.
The vast majority of the homes are smaller bungalows, with some 1 ½ storey homes and more recently a few bungalofts. There is also a very strong sense of community within this group of taxpaying homeowners.

“More recently however, our area, like others in Burlington, is under constant attack from developers with no ties to the local area or its residents, who are simply buying up the existing mature homes, demolishing them, and replacing them with the largest monster homes the city will allow under the current bylaws and regulations – or buying up corner lots and severing them for multiple large or monster homes. Their sole interest is profit, not the residents.

“A prime example is the new home recently erected on Oak Crescent, approximately 3 times the size of all other homes in the area, dwarfing its neighbours, with wrap-around large balconies, ruining the privacy of all homes surrounding it. It totally destroys neighbourhood character and streetscape and has reduced the existing tree canopy.

Shore - New house with porta potty

Residents in the community don’t see how this new home fits in with the bungalows in place now. And that porta potty has to go.

“The footprint of the original corner house was changed and flipped 90 degrees in the opposite direction, while all of the plans and changes were done without the existing residents being aware of the changes, and without having any opportunity to provide input or discussion on this new monster home.
As well as being highly passionate about the character of the area we live in, we are also quite aware that change in our neighbourhood is inevitable, and in fact we have no serious opposition to change. We are very open to the proper, controlled, and measured changes that can be done without compromising the values we hold so dear. We know the City needs an effective and enforceable set of rules to control development and we want to work with, not against city planners to develop the appropriate set of rules to retain our unique community character. That is why this study is so critical.

“Burlington is a great place to live as recent studies have shown, and we are proud to be citizens of this excellent community. BUT, if City management does not recognize the rapidly increasing levels of citizen concern and involvement, particularly in the housing sector – whether it is the demand for Character Studies, the plans to build 28 story buildings in the wrong areas, or building large developments in areas where we already have major unresolved problems, like sewage and drainage, then we run the risk of allowing the destruction of some of the very core principles and characteristics that so many resident taxpayers find so vital to their continued happiness and desire to stay here as long term residents. The uniqueness of these neighbourhoods is a large part of what makes Burlington such a great place to live.”

Shore - For sale

Another corner lot – this one on Lakeshore Road. The owner wants you to call them.

“Time is of the essence. We have little time left to save this truly unique neighbourhood. Our earlier attempts to obtain an interim by-law to restrict monster homes in our area were unsuccessful, so we recognize this timely Character Study is our only option. “

Albert Faccenda a developer/contractor who has built eight homes in the community said there is no market for bungalows in Shoreacres; that he built one and lost his shirt. The Faccenda statements were in direct contract to what everyone else was saying. Faccenda finds that to be the case on most of the occasions he speaks. He told the residents of Roseland that their 100 foot lots were ’dinosaurs’ or more correctly, properties he would like to purchase and redevelop. He told Indian |Point residents that the Character Study being done in that neighbourhood was going to devalue their property.

Mary Alice St. James, an elementary school principal and a community resident gave a polished presentation extemporaneously – and made all the points that had to be made. She stressed that people want to move into the community and she doesn’t believe they want to move in and build homes that are out of character with what is already in place. “They wanted our neighbourhood” she said. “The situation we are faced with now is not nice” she added.
Councillor Craven said that while he appreciated the St. James passion “it is exactly what we saw at Indian Point but “once people got into the issues they got a better sense as to what could be done and at Indian Point they decided they didn’t want this study to go any further.”

Shore - Dog walkers

On one of the coldest winter days – the people in the community still get out with their dogs for what is a brisk walk.

Craven said he thought “this issue may become less clear than you think it is now” referring to the Shoreacres residents.

Councillor Sharman was curious to see the outcome and added that he “was not comfortable with the way we are going about this”.

But they are going to “go about it”. The decision to proceed with the study will be made at a city council meeting before the end of the month.

Right now this Council has to determine just what the 2015 budget is going to look like.

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Regional health staff report a case of measles in Halton: 30 year old male.

element_healthservices-74x74By Staff

February 16, 2015


The Halton Region Health Department reports a confirmed case of measles. The Halton resident is a male in his thirties. During his period of infectiousness, the case did not spend any time in Halton.

“The Halton Region Health Department is working in coordination with other local public health units to ensure any potentially exposed persons are notified in a timely manner,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region.

Measles - male

This is not a photograph of the 30 year old male Halton resident; it is a picture of what measles looks like on an older person.

Measles starts with a cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and fever, and after about four days a rash begins on the face and moves down the body. There also may be white spots inside the mouth. Measles spreads easily to those who are not immune. Infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles. Complications of measles can include middle ear infections, pneumonia, croup and inflammation of the brain. Learn more at

“Measles is preventable through immunization with two doses of the measles vaccine,” explained Dr. Meghani. “People who have measles need to isolate themselves while they are ill and for four full days after the rash first appears.”

If you think you may have measles and need to see a doctor, you must call ahead to the doctor’s office, walk-in clinic or public health clinic. This will allow health care staff to prepare for your visit, give you a mask to wear when you arrive and take you straight to a room in which you can be isolated to reduce the risk of exposure to others.

Since measles is now circulating in southwestern Ontario and easily spreads from person to person, the Halton Region Health Department is urging all residents to have their vaccination up to date. Adults born before 1970 are generally presumed to have acquired natural immunity to measles; however, some of these individuals may be susceptible. All Ontarians, regardless of date of birth, are eligible for two doses of MMR vaccine. For individuals born in 1970 or after, two doses of the MMR vaccination is required to be considered adequately protected.


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Canada moved to a war footing; the King and his Queen came to rally the population and a very popular hotel was turned into a hospital for injured returning veterans.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

February 12, 2015


Part 2 of a 3 part feature

Their last farewells were at Freeman Station

Pic 4 H Kearse & Son

Private H. Kearse who lived on Brant Avenue died in World War 1. He left his wife and 3 young children in Burlington, so he could fight in France with the 86th Machine Gun Battalion. His death was reported in the newspaper before Private Kearse’s widow was officially notified. The last time this hero saw his family, was when he waved goodbye to them at the Freeman Station. When our boys left, there was not a dry eye to be found anywhere.

When Canada answered the call to go to war, Burlington did its part. One hundred years ago, as World War 1 began, with a population that was less than 2,000, Burlington sent 300 sons. We responded in World War 2, and sent even more. The boys went to defend our freedom, and the town proudly marched them up Brant Street and onto the train cars at the Freeman Station. Some did not return. Their names are remembered at the Cenotaph on the grounds of City Hall.

Before Los Vegas, there was Burlington!
Most people do not know that in the 1890s and for another 30 years, Burlington was regarded as one of North America’s hot vacation playgrounds, especially for wealthy Americans. One of Burlington’s favourite sons, A.B. Coleman, who built and lived in the “Gingerbread House” on Ontario Street, was a wealthy entrepreneur who among other business endeavours, built and owned the Hotel Brant, the Brant Inn, Burlington’s first golf course on Francis Road, and developed most of the homes at historic Indian Point, mainly for the benefit of wealthy Americans and Europeans.

Pic 5 Hotel Brant

The Hotel Brant was a beautiful 5 Star hotel that overlooked Lake Ontario. The developer and proprietor, Burlington’s A. B. Coleman was the man responsible for stimulating the tourist industry in Burlington. He advertised the Hotel Brant all over North America and Europe, as the perfect summer vacation destination. Tourists flocked to Burlington. Most arrived by the Grand Trunk Railway and stepped off at the Freeman Station.

The Hotel Brant, in the Garden of Canada, was advertised all across North America, and even Europe, as the perfect summer vacation destination. The 200 room hotel offered beautiful cool summer breezes, a roof garden, fishing, bathing, bowling greens, ping pong, billiards, boating, canoeing, golf, tennis, swimming, even furnished bungalows.

Pic 6 Hotel Brant Advertisement

Wealthy Americans and Europeans were lured to the Hotel Brant by an intensive advertising campaign. This advertisement appeared in the Washington Post on July 17, 1904.

Tourists from the United States, Europe and from across Canada flocked to the Hotel Brant. How did they get here? Most came by train and disembarked at the Freeman Station. Burlington at one time, with only a population of about 1500 people had 4 train stations. One was in Tansley, one in Aldershot, and the 4th, the Burlington station, not to be confused with the Burlington Junction station, was across the street from the Brant Inn and Hotel Brant and it too received many tourists destined for the Hotel Brant. Sadly, we have demolished the Tansley station, the Aldershot station, and the Burlington station downtown, leaving only the Freeman Station for us to enjoy today.

The Hotel Brant came to its demise when the Government of Canada expropriated the building in 1917 and converted it into the Brant Military Hospital, as a facility to care for our injured soldiers returning from overseas after World War One. The Brant Military Hospital was eventually demolished. Today, it is the site of the Joseph Brant Hospital.

The Brant Inn, a world famous entertainment mecca

Pic 7 Brant Inn 1937

The Brant Inn was known all over North America and parts of Europe as a great entertainment destination. The owner A. B. Coleman brought in world class singers and musicians to entertain the patrons. If you wanted to see these performers in person, most arrived by train. Even the performers came by train to the Freeman Station.

Undaunted by the loss of the Hotel Brant, A.B. Coleman turned his attention to his other moneymaker, the Brant Inn, which was located just across the street. The historic Brant Inn which was demolished in 1969 was to become one of North America’s greatest venues for entertainment. Almost every single major musician and singer from the 1920s up to the big band era and beyond, played the Brant Inn. The Brant Inn was advertised all across North America as the place to be to see the world’s greatest entertainers perform in person. If you couldn’t get to Burlington to see your favourite entertainer live, you could always hear them on radio. Their performances were broadcast live right across North America. For those that travelled to Burlington from somewhere across North America or Europe, you usually arrived by train and stepped off at the Freeman station.

Pic 8 Brant Inn & Ella Fitzgerald

The Brant Inn received continuous publicity all over North America and Europe. This story about Ella Fitzgerald appeared in the Pittsburgh Courier on August 2, 1947.

Burlington was a famous tourist town, as well as being an agricultural community. With a population just like a village, Burlington responded to the tourist trade and had several hotels ready for weary guests. Outside of the Hotel Brant, Burlington had three more on Brant Street. You could stay at the Hotel Raymond, or the Queen’s Hotel, and if they were full, you could find accommodation at the Burlington Hotel. These were the earliest hotels, and later on, many more were built.

Pic 10 King George & Queen Elizabeth

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stopped at the Freeman Station in June 1939, as part of their cross Canada tour. It was the only time British Royalty had ever been to Burlington.

The Royal Family stopped to visit Burlington at the Freeman Station
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth arrived in Canada in 1939. The Royal family were invited to tour right across Canada and into the United States. This was the first time British Royalty had ever been to either country. The Royal couple in the month of June stopped in Burlington to say hello to the thousands of residents who showed up to catch a glimpse of the two as they waved to everyone while visiting at the Freeman Station. The King and Queen were on their way to St. Catharines to officially open the Queen Elizabeth Highway. For local residents, this was to be their only time to see Royalty in Burlington. The British Royal family have never returned to Burlington. It was an historic moment at Freeman Station 76 years ago.

Pic 11 Peter C Newman with Bob & Joe

World famous author Peter C Newman arrived with his family from Austria to the Freeman Station after World War 2 to start all over again. The ravages of war had left the family with nothing. Their new life began on a local farm in Freeman. This photo from around 1946 shows Peter in Freeman with his favourite farm horses Bob & Joe.

Welcome to Canada, your new home
Canada was founded on immigration. Burlington received not a few, but thousands of new residents over the decades. They came for many different reasons. Economic hardships in Europe, the ravages of war, new war brides, a chance to start a new life in a new land, were all catalysts that brought us these inspirational people. Most came with nothing, except the clothes they were wearing, and maybe a suitcase, and that was it. When they stepped off the train at Freeman Station, and looked around with some fear in their eyes, little did they know what was in store for them in Burlington. But, every single new immigrant will always remember the Freeman Station, where their new life began in Canada.

Tomorrow, find out what the Freeman Station symbolizes, and why it is historical.

Mark Gillies is a lifelong resident of Burlington, who grew up in Aldershot and developed as a local historian, researcher, master genealogist and writer who has a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of the many early pioneer families.  Mark writes  a regular column about colourful local history introducing Burlingtonians to the people that made this city what it is today.

Part 1

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A building that we almost lost was the gateway through which fresh local produce left the community and created significant wealth.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

February 11, 2015

If you’re like me, you really enjoy living in Burlington. We live in one of Canada’s wealthiest communities. We are also fortunate to live in a community that has a rich historical past. No doubt about it, this city has a lot going for it, yet at the same time, there is still much more room for improvement. As an historian, I have never seen so many in one community so determined to obliterate its historical past. What a shock! Over the years our local demolitionists have done a good job, there is not much remaining from the 19th century. Many Burlington buildings from the early 20th century now appear to be targeted too, even if they have historical recognition. The demolitionists continue to win most battles. The preservationists continue to lose most battles. Future generations will be denied the right to much of their heritage.

Pic 1 Garden of Canada poster - train bckgrnd

Burlington was put on the map with the combined efforts of the Grand Trunk Railway and our market gardeners, with both moving us quickly into the 20th century. This extremely rare full colour advertisement (only 1 remains) was inserted into European newspapers at the turn of the century, as an enticement to stimulate European immigration to the Garden of Canada.

There was a point in the recent past when the city of Burlington was prepared t sell the Freeman station for kindling to anyone who would cart it away.  A city engineer stood before Council and said the build was structurally unsound and could literally fall apart any day.  What that engineer did not know was this: much of Burlington’s current wealth is due in no small measure to the existence of the railway station at the Burlington Junction.

But hey! Who cares about historical buildings?

We have to give credit to local organizations like the Burlington Historical Society who work hard at documenting some of Burlington’s rich historical past, and they must become completely frustrated when there is nothing available to fill in the missing parts of our local heritage. Without their efforts, few of us would know anything at all about some of our glorious history. There are a couple on City Council who try their best to keep some of Burlington’s historical buildings relevant, and free of a wrecker’s ball. They can only do so much.

There are a few local citizens and businesses who thankfully come forward and voice their concerns in opposition to historical buildings facing demolition, and there are those who operate our two museums doing their best to showcase our past. There are some dedicated homeowners of historical residences who do their best to preserve the historical aspects of their property. Outside of these few, there seems to be an overwhelming desire to rid the landscape of anything that is old, and replace it with something else. This could be a new hi-rise condo, a hotel, a plaza, a factory, an oversized house, or anything else that may generate new tax revenues.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-progress; I’m really pro-heritage. I believe that as a society we have to do much better to harmonize the two together. The answer is to not always knock old buildings down, that’s too easy, and it’s cowardly. The intelligent and correct answer is to work with our historical properties and responsibly integrate them into today’s world.

Why is this desire to destroy everything old happening in Burlington? I believe it can be summed up in one word, “ignorance”. There are those from within the general public, some members of our own City Council, some employees at the City of Burlington, some in our educational system, some local developers, some in our own Heritage Burlington, even some departments within the provincial and federal governments who haven’t a clue about what is historical and what is worth saving in Burlington. What’s worse, many of them just don’t care.

Pic 2 Freeman Station 1906

Residents are so fortunate to have the 1906 Freeman Station in Burlington. At 109 years of age, this building has outlived all of us. It is recognized provincially and federally as historical, but this city owned property lacks the will of our local government for any financial support.

The Burlington Junction Train Station, or as it’s more commonly called, the Freeman Station, is a perfect example of how ignorance almost destroyed Burlington’s most historically significant building EVER.

The Garden of Canada made Burlington world famous
The Freeman Station represents the focal point of our community. Our whole local society and lifestyle, over several generations, can be worked around our local train station. Without the presence of the Grand Trunk Railway which ran their double tracks through Burlington, stretching from Montreal to Chicago, and with their other track running across the Beach Strip into Hamilton, the Niagara Region and into the United States, Burlington would probably not exist, as we know it today. Prior to the establishment of the predecessor railway through Burlington by the Great Western Railway, co-founded by Hamilton’s Sir Allan Napier MacNab, and Peter Carroll from Aldershot, goods were shipped by sailing vessels.

In the 1850s era, it was not uncommon to see wagons loaded with lumber lined up for over a mile waiting to be unloaded at the wharf located at the bottom of Guelph Line, and during the same period, they even backed up Waterdown Road at Brown’s Wharf in Aldershot. Over time, roughly 2-3 decades, when the timber had all been harvested, and the lands cleared for farming, the second local economic base became wheat, shipped first by sailing vessels, then by rail. When the Canadian west opened up in the 1870s & 1880s with free land available to new settlers, many of our local wheat farmers moved to the prairies, and wheat ceased to be a local crop. This left Burlington and surrounding areas looking for a third economic base.

Established farmers and even new settlers decided they would try other agricultural products. Their choices were fruit and vegetables. As it turned out, this was just about the most perfect location in all of North America for a wide variety of food production. The soil conditions, the temperature, the growing season, everything was perfect for great harvests. In short order, Burlington had thousands of acres of flourishing apple, pear, peach, plum, and cherry trees, plus strawberries, melons, tomatoes, beans, celery, cucumbers, and countless other fruits and vegetables under cultivation producing vast quantities.

There were market garden farms covering Aldershot, Freeman, Nelson, Appleby, Port Nelson, Kilbride, Lowville, Campbellville, Tansley, Zimmerman, all villages surrounding Burlington, with the Freeman Station at the heart of the whole area. Our area was a market gardening mecca, so much so, that Burlington became known around the world as “The Garden of Canada”. The harvests were so bountiful, that Burlington shipped produce to Hamilton and Toronto, and when we saturated those two  markets, the market gardeners expanded some more, and shipped all over Ontario, and then it was all across Canada, followed by Europe, and then it was South Africa. Burlington was helping to feed many parts of the world. The name “Aldershot melon” became just as famous internationally as the well known “Idaho potato”.

Just in time delivery started with the GTR at Freeman Station.

Pic 3 Freeman Station 1920 baskets on platform

What made Burlington wealthy in the early part of the 20th century was the ability of the local market gardeners to get their high grade produce to the Grand Trunk Railway’s Freeman Station and have it shipped across the country and around the world, arriving just as fresh as when it was picked.

How did our market gardeners get this fragile produce to these destinations? The 1906 Freeman Station which is now being restored and re-located to Fairview Street, was the focal point for most of this growth. Previously, there were two other train stations in Freeman which were destroyed by fire, one in 1883 and the other in 1904. They also played a part in this new economy. If it wasn’t for the railways in Burlington, the local wealth generated would not have happened. Burlington became very affluent at the turn of the 20th century, due to the efforts of the Grand Trunk Railway to quickly move the product, the local development of refrigerated boxcars, and also, our market gardeners who comprehended the science of agriculture, and maximized their yields. But, this was just one part of the Freeman station’s significance to Burlington. There were many more.

Tomorrow, find out how the Freeman Station played different roles in Burlington during the early part of the 20th century.

Mark Gillies is a lifelong resident of Burlington, who grew up in Aldershot and developed as a local historian, researcher, master genealogist and writer who has a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of the many early pioneer families.

Mark writes a regular column about colourful local history introducing Burlingtonians to the people that made this city what it is today.


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