Just Ask! A travel service:Getting to the Montreal area – do we fly or should we drive?

September 23, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON.  Traveling can be fun.  Cruises are great, bus tours can be an adventure but most travel takes some planning.  Ask your questions before you travel and don’t find yourself saying: “I didn’t know that.”  Gordana Liddell a season travel veteran is here to answer travel questions: Just Ask.

My family is planning a trip to Montreal to see my husband’s grandmother in Vaudreuil.  He wants to drive but I want to fly because I think driving is too long for me and my two small kids.  The flight is short.  Can you convince him?


Hi Kate,

This is a discussion we have had in my own family many times, and having done both with kids, I have definite ideas about which is better.

Let’s examine the flying option:

At first glance a 70 minute flight seems like a short trip.  But that’s only the gate-to-gate time…not the entire journey.

Here’s the breakdown in a best case scenario:

-Travel time from Burlington to Toronto airport:  45 minutes

-Parking:  if you park on site the time added is minimal, but most of us would probably explore the many off-site options. These require a shuttle bus ride to the terminal as well as waiting for said bus.  Add 45 minutes.

Check – at times this can be an “experience”. Allow for the time needed if you are flying.

-Check-in:  Even if you did an online check-in at home, you still need to be at the airport with enough time to check in your bags, (assuming you have bags since you are travelling with children…advice on travelling extremely light in an upcoming article), get through security and get to the gate at least 30 minutes before departure time.  Add at least one hour.

-Boarding, flight time and deplaning:  Add two  hours.

-Getting picked up at the airport or taking a taxi?  Add 45 minutes for drive time to Vaudreuil.  (Renting a car?  You will need to add considerably more time).

Total travel time from Burlington to Vaudreuil by way of flying is about five hours.  And all of this is assuming the fact that you will experience no traffic on the way to or from either airport, that your flight is on time and that your baggage arrives on the same flight you do.

Now let’s look at the cost.  If you get extremely lucky, you can score seat sale prices for only $250-$300 per person.  More realistically, though, $500 per person is what you should expect.  I’ll do the math for you…for a family of four, this adds up to…a lot.

The case for driving.

Travel time should take about six hours in a car.  This, of course, does not factor in traffic or stops.  The best…the very best time to go…is in the wee hours, when traffic has not yet started and ideally you can just transfer your kids from their beds to the car, and they can spend a good part of the journey asleep. 

Weather can be a tough obstacle when driving, especially in the winter.  But it can be an even tougher obstacle when flying.  Winter weather causes flight delays and even cancellations due to storms not only in your own city but in others.  Your plane may be stuck somewhere where the weather is nasty and your own city is sunny and mild.  At least when you are driving to your destination, you have much more control over the entire situation.

If you drive – plan for ways to keep the kids occupied. If the weather is right a picnic is a great idea.

The drive is an easy one but it’s not an overly exciting one so you will need to think of amusement for the kids.  Again, keep them asleep for as long as you can, and as for when they are awake, I’m sure you are already an expert on finding things to keep them occupied on a daily basis anyway.  Plus, you will definitely need to make at least one “refreshment” stop which will kill some time, and at the same time add time to your travel.  So try and keep it…efficient.

And when you get to Vaudreuil, you will arrive at the front door of your husband’s grandmother’s house, AND you will have a car to get around in, AND you will have your luggage with you guaranteed.

Cost:  Yes, gas is expensive.  But you can get there and back and have a full tank of driving around gas by filling up four times.  This should not cost you more than $400.  That’s a huge difference from the cost of flying.

And, probably most importantly, it costs the same for one person to make the drive as it does four.

In the end, Kate, I don’t think I can convince your husband that he is wrong.  But those are the main points you can look over, compare and decide together.

(Do the drive).

Gordana Liddell is our resident travel writer. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, a travel industry veteran of nearly two decades, freelance writer, and most recently book editor. She is fortunate enough to live right here in Burlington with her family.  If you have a travel question you can reach her at: send us an email



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Winner of BurlingtonGreen bike contest turns out to be a New Brunswicker who has a sister in Burlington.

September 22, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  What was that line – it takes a village to raise the child?  What does it take to create a community that is more than the “vibrant community” line that city hall spouts?  How do you develop a caring, compassionate community that sees beyond galas?

Brenda Richards, a resident of New Brunswick was the winner of the bike that was donated by Mountain Equipment Coop – now known as MEC. Ms Richards got pulled into the contest by her sister, a Burlington resident.

BurlingtonGreen was named as one of five organizations in Canada to participate and compete in the Jamieson Vitamins Call for the Wild contest that would see $100,000 in prize money shared by the five organizations based on the number of people each was able to get to vote for them.

BurlingtonGreen was the smallest organization in terms of the community it represented and they were up against some pretty impressive organizations; the Vancouver Aquarium had a large audience to draw on and the McGill University Bird Sanctuary had an international reputation. 

But Burlington was up to the challenge and, as Amy Schnurr, Executive Director of BurlingtonGreen  commented “we beat Calgary which is five times bigger than we are”.  On a day by day basis the race soon settled into Burlington fighting to keep its third place spot.

Mountain Equipment Coop, now known as MEC got behind the Burlington effort with the donation of an MEC bike that was won – wait for it – by a resident of New Brunswick.  How did that happen?  Well, Brenda Richard, the winner of the bike draw, has a sister who lives in Burlington.  The sister spread the word to the family and as a result there were votes from outside the city that allowed us to literally inch ahead of Calgary by xx votes.

The winner picked up her bike from the MEC shop in Halifax.  Perhaps we will see her on the bike testing herself on Guelph Line one summer afternoon.

It was a good race for the cause and a good run for Burlington Green.  It will be interesting to hear what BurlingtonGreen decides to do with the funds they earned.  Will they take us beyond that “vibrant community” line coming out of city hall and perhaps get us to the point where we are a city with a responsible tree preservation program?

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Predicted rainfall has the potential to flood – caution advised. We can never tell what weather is going to do anymore – can we?

September 20th, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  These days you just never know – do you?  Conservation Halton issued the following Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook today at 3:30 p.m.

Environment Canada is advising a period of extended rainfall over the next 24 hours due to the train of a slow-moving cold front. The rain is expected to begin this evening and continue overnight and into tomorrow morning. Rainfall accumulations of 15 to 25 mm are expected across the watershed along with the potential for some isolated thunderstorms which could increase the rainfall values.

One of the several reservoirs in the Region:

15 to 25 mm are expected across the watershed along with the potential for some isolated thunderstorms which could increase the rainfall values.As a result of the rainfall our rivers and streams will result in higher than normal water levels and flows, creating dangerous conditions. Widespread flooding is not currently anticipated. Our reservoirs are still in range of our seasonal levels and have storage capacity available. 

 Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to stay away from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts and dams.  Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous.  Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream and weather conditions and will issue further messages as necessary.

This Watershed Condition Statement will be in effect through to Sunday September 22, 2013.

 Note: A Watershed Safety Statement – Flood Outlook is an early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.

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The cod fishery – gone; just gone. Left to whither to nothing while 30,000 workers lost their jobs.

September 20, 2013

By Ray Rivers.

BURLINGTON, ON.  They are romantic little fishing villages dotting the coastline of this Island province, the last to join Canada.  The quaint, brightly painted houses and boat shacks are all well maintained and clean.  It is as if the clock had been turned back a half century or more – except for the quiet.  An eerie silence pervades, almost like being in an episode of the Twilight Zone.  Perhaps it just seems that way because the sea is empty.  There are no boats in the harbours; nobody selling their catch-of-the-day on the docks; no seagulls dodging and diving for discarded fish guts; and nobody fishing off an island that was founded on the cod fish.

The cod almost jumped out of the water and into the boats. It was a phenomenal resource that sustained  a province – until the bureaucrats got the numbers wrong.

The almighty cod fish which attracted settlers and fishers from all around the world; which led to the discovery of Newfoundland; and that provided the income and livelihood for its inhabitants… is gone.  The cod fishery collapsed in the late 1980‘s, though it took the federal government until 1992 to actually declare a total moratorium.  Thirty thousand workers lost their jobs overnight and now Newfoundlanders are allowed only a three-week window to catch a few lonely cod for their own tables.

 The expert government scientists really blew this one. They over-estimated the cod stock, underestimated the impact of the fishing vacuum cleaners, called factory trawlers, and then nodded politely as their masters applied political pressure to keep the fishery open, long after it should have been closed.  Now, over two decades later the stock has still not recovered.  Locals do express hope for the cod, some optimism, unlike they do for the wild Atlantic salmon which is truly gone forever.

 Thank God we have agriculture.  But now we have more expert scientists guiding our policy makers, as they support Monsanto and other companies creating the new and exciting genetically modified organisms (GMO).  It was only1994, less than two decades ago, when the first commercially available GMO food, a tomato, was approved by the US FDA.  Yet today there are 25 GMO plants being grown around the world, and almost all of the corn and soybeans (90%) grown in the US are GMO.  Canada is not far behind this trend. 

 Some of the genetic material spliced into these foods simply allows the plants to defend themselves against pesticides like Monsanto’s Round-up, which does such a deadly job of cleaning up the weeds.  Some GMOs have altered biological processes, such as the tomato, which now ripens slower than nature had intended – keeping it fresher-looking on the grocer’s shelf.  And the latest GMO being developed claims to enhance the nutritional value of food (golden rice), thus offering the promise of feeding the masses being born into hunger in the less developed nations of the world.

...they are missing something and haven’t grasped the bigger picture - and that we should be moving slower and more cautiously.  The remaining category of GMO foods actually contain pesticides within their DNA, such as bt corn and bt potatoes Every time we eat these foods we intake the same pesticide DNA that kills or wards off predatory insects, fungal diseases, etc.  Now the agriculture and health agencies and their scientists tell us that these products are safe.  But I worry that, like the fisheries experts, they are missing something and haven’t grasped the bigger picture – and that we should be moving slower and more cautiously.   GMOs have been critically labelled ‘franken foods’ by the organic industry because their process of gene splicing is unlike anything which occurs in nature.

 I confess, I used to be an organic producer and I managed an organic certification agency here in Ontario – so that is my bias.  Like others, committed to organic foods, I am concerned about how much testing has gone into these GMO products, given how soon after development we move these foods into production, the market place and our stomachs.  What if we discover a problem in due course, will we have enough non-GMO seeds to change back?  I am annoyed that there is no labeling where we purchase food, informing us whether we are getting GMO, thus purposely blocking us from exercising our rights to choice as consumers.  And I do worry about the cumulative effect of eating foods with poison in their genetic make-up. 

  I know our agricultural scientists are well-educated and have our best interests at heart when they tell us they believe that GMOs are safe - and time may well prove them to be right.  But then I think ...Once, I ran out of soybean seeds for some garden-variety edamame I was planting.  Rushed, I inquired about organic seeds at my local farmers’ supply store.  But the only kind they had were ‘Round-up Ready’ by Monsanto.  These seeds came with a contract I needed to sign confirming that, though I bought and grew them, they were Monsanto property into perpetuity.  I just shook my head and contacted an organic grower to help me out.

There was nothing modified about this natural resource. All we had to do was responsibly preserve and wisely harvest. We failed to do that.

I know our agricultural scientists are well-educated and have our best interests at heart when they tell us they believe that GMOs are safe – and time may well prove them to be right.  But then I think back to those meetings with the well-respected federal fisheries biologists, when we used to finalize and allocate fishing quotas.  They were convinced that the northern cod stock was strong and growing, and that despite all the fishing pressure it was facing, would never collapse. 

 Ray Rivers was born in Ontario; earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and earned a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  Rivers is active in his community; has run for municipal and provincial office and  held executive positions with Liberal Party  riding associations.  He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

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It was one of the shortest cultural events the city has ever seen. Quite an impact. Watch for it again next year.

September 19, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was like one of those small things that you come across.  An object you see in a store window, a restaurant menu that delights the palate, a sunset or a cloud formation that deserves the word – awesome.

If you were there – and you could have been there – the No Vacancy event held at the Waterfront Hotel Thursday evening was certainly a one of a kind.  Held in a part of the hotel where the hallways were narrow and left people feeling a little crowded which turned out to be part of the charm of the evening.

The images, some thirty of them were just hanging from the ceiling by a piece of nylon – twisting from time to time. It was simple, almost austere until you looked closely at the work and saw immense detail. People kept wanting to go back to the room and look again.

Ten artists either in their room doing their work or standing outside the room assigned to them welcoming you and in a couple of cases handing out a small memento to remember the experience.  And there were experiences.

Ten area artists were each given a room and asked to do whatever they wanted with the space.  They were to be open to the public for just three hours.

The space couldn’t handle all that many people and the hallways were plugged solid at times; people bumping into friends and chatting away.  There were a couple of “slam poets” that brought energy and life to the hallways.

Kyle Tonkens stepped way outside his comfort zone and stretched the imaginations of most of those who looked at his installation.  It was a bold, brave move.

It wasn’t the kind of thing that could be reviewed.  Some of the artists had a large collection of their work on the walls of the room.  Another went way, way WAY outside his artistic comfort zone and put on one of the most stunning displays.  Two people in a room, one standing, and the other stretched out face down on the bed.  If you were there – you hopefully understood the significance and the strength of the installation.

Another artist had a small table of small flashlights that you needed to work your way through her display – the room was close to totally dark.  I didn’t get the significance of the ironing board in the bathtub but the room was fun to experience.

Selina Jane Eckersall is to be credited for getting the event off the ground.  Too early to tell if all the work was worth the outcome.  The sense I got was  that everyone wanted more.

What Burlington is beginning to see is a cultural layer that was below the surface and not seen by very many people.  When Jeremy Freiburger turned in his Cultural Directions document to the city – he was commissioned to do the report – then  watched it sit on a desk for more than six months before the city finally got moving on public consultations the artists in the city decided they needed to do something.

The formed a collective; held a meeting.  Twenty people came to the first, sixty to the second and there is now a group of 220 + people who chatter away on the Facebook page they created.

And they do chatter and in the process the public gets to learn more about just how much there is going on in this city.  It is amazing – few people knew about much of it.

Everyone knows that Canadian authors by definition are non-profit operations.One author complained about not being able to put up any literature on the Bulletin Board at the library – the space is apparently only for non-profit organization; something we will look into.  Everyone knows that Canadian authors by definition are non-profit operations.

The Arts and Cultural Collective may not move the yard stick very much at city hall but they have broken that hard surface and people now know more about the events taking place.

Mayor Goldring is certainly onside.  He attended the first Public Consultation and was close to overwhelmed with the energy and the talent he saw.  Translating that enthusiasm into policy with funds attached to it is going to be the challenge.

There wasn’t a dime of public money spent on the event.

There are some very interesting art and cultural events going on in this city – it is out there – you just have to dig to find it.

Don’t expect to see anything on the library bulletin boards however.

Will  Selina Jane Eckersall do another show next year?  She should.

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Late football season fundraiser at the new Wendell Clark’s on Brant Street – I was there for the food.

September 17, 2013

By Piper  King

Wendel Clarke opened up his new shop on Brant Street last week with a nod to the football season and looking for a way to raise some coin for the Critical Care Unit at the hospital

Hot buttered soul – the band. You can almost taste music like that.

The franchise owner slapped a $10 cover charge on everyone who walked through the door and then gave them a swag bag of goodies that far exceed the $10. The “donation” provided every attendant with unlimited access to a delicious pulled pork entrée (fresh off the roasted pig), hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, bean salad and coleslaw, as well as live performance from band Hot Buttered Soul playing out on the main level patio. 

It got better – two drink tickets and a chance at a 50/50 draw.  More yet – Prizes included in the draw were a barbeque hibachi, a wine tour, three $50 gift certificates to Canyon Creek, dinner for two at Paradiso, dinner for two at Montana’s. 

The grand prize was a Wendel Clark jersey which Clark will sign when he is next in town..

Wendel Clark’s opened in June 2013 by franchise operator Merlin Webbe.  Kristina Frizell set up the fundraiser.  Hubby Chris Frizell pulled food serving duty.

Staffer takes the first dunking – all in the name of a good cause; Critical Care at JBH

The band swung between light jazz, blues and jazz cover titles.  Management didn’t like the way donations were going in so they hoisted some of the staff onto the dunk tank platform and for a reasonable sum – down they went.  Leah, a staffer took the first dive.

Guests chose between the spread on the patio or off the menu.  I went for the traditional poutine and apple blossom (Wendell’s fresh twist on the classic Apple Pie).

Our Foodie isn’t recommending the poutine; too salty and the coverage of the gravy left something to be desired.

From a foodie’s point of view, and I am a foodie – I was there for the food – the poutine was tasty, but a little bit salty, some of the fries were untouched by the gravy and a few of the cheese curds were not melted. 

The Apple Blossom worked for our Foodie. “I’ll be going back for more of that” she advised.

The Apple Blossom on the other hand was a hit! The innards of a delicious apple pie was wrapped in a blossom-shaped pastry, but exposed! To the left of the blossom was a line of whipped cream and to the left of that a scoop of vanilla ice cream. When I took a scoop of ice cream and a scoop of the blossom, it was a phenomenal sensation when hot met cold in my mouth!

I need to go back again –  just so I can try another comfort food and dessert off the menu.

Most of the crowd was there for a good meal and not for the football kick off.  With it being football pre-season, the only sports viewable on the television was mainly hockey.  Golf doesn’t count as a sport – it’s what hockey players do when they are not on the ice.

 It was a decent event was fairly decent, but it did not draw as much of a crowd as anticipated. The upside was that those $10 donations will work their way to the hospital.

Wendel Clark’s – Burlington

380 Brant Street, Burlington, Ontario L7R 2E8
Phone: 905-633-9217 


Piper King will be writing about food for the Burlington Gazette.

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Does the left hand know what right hand is doing? Enbridge donates $7,500 to Fire Department as city questions pipeline expansion.

September 17, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. Enbridge Pipelines turned over a cheque for $7500 to the Burlington Fire Department as part of the corporations Safe Community Program. The funds will be used to equip a new simulation lab, which will be accessible by all of the regional departments including emergency planning crews. Some of the new equipment includes computers, software and training gear. 

Fire department accepts a donation from the company whose pipeline plans the city opposes. How did that happen?

“We are pleased to support the fire department in Burlington because they help keep our community safe,” said Ken Hall, Senior Advisor, Community Relations, Enbridge. “The new simulation lab will help firefighters and emergency planning crews be better prepared to respond to urgent situations.”  

The Enbridge pipeline cuts across the rural part of Burlington. Should there be a leak or a break in that line – which is more than 40 years old – much of the water that runs off the escarpment would be threatened.

One of those urgent situations could be a break or a leak in Enbridge’s Line 9 which cuts right across Burlington between Side roads 1 and 2.

In her day my Mother called statements like that whoppers.In a statement Enbridge said: “The safety of the people who live and work in communities where Enbridge operates remains the company’s highest priority. That’s why Enbridge is proud to support organizations that are focused on community safety.”  In her day my Mother called statements like that “whoppers”.

In November 2012, Enbridge filed an application with the National Energy Board asking the board to approve the reversal of the segment of Line 9 between North Westover, Ont. and Montreal, Qué. in addition to requesting an expansion of the entire Line 9 capacity from Sarnia, Ont. to Montreal and a revision to the Line 9 Rules and Regulations Tariff to allow transportation of heavy crude.

Enbridge has already obtained approval to reverse the pipeline’s flow for the section running between Sarnia and North Westover, in south-western Ontario.

“Upon review of Enbridge’s application the city continues to be concerned that the issues we have previously raised are not adequately addressed,” At its April 8 meeting, City Council passed a resolution directing staff to request participation rights in Enbridge Pipelines Inc. Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project application was passed. 

The city  was granted permission from the National Energy Board to submit a letter of comment, which the city did on Aug. 6, 2013.

Burlington, along with just about every other community the pipeline passes through, opposes the Enbridge plans.  In its comments to the National Energy Board that will be holding hearings on the application Enbridge has made to reverse the flow of Line 9 and to increase the volume of Alberta bitumen through the line Burlington said: “Upon review of Enbridge’s application the city continues to be concerned that the issues we have previously raised are not adequately addressed,” said Scott Stewart, general manager of development and infrastructure. “We want more than just assurances that our residents and natural environment will be protected.”

The city’s letter of comment requests that further analysis and review is done in the following areas:

Enbridge’s overall approach to minimizing the likelihood of a release

In the event of a release, that an effective and coordinated response plan is in place  This plan must leverage the capabilities of local emergency response teams

Enbridge’s accountability, both financially and operationally, for any event.

 As part of the City of Burlington’s letter of comment, resolutions from Halton Regional Council and the Town of Oakville were submitted. Also included in the submission were the notes from a community meeting held in February.  “The community raised a number of concerns at this meeting with Enbridge, and we felt it was important to share them with the NEB as they review Enbridge’s application,” said Scott Stewart.

Right through the Escarpment. Will the fire department use the Enbridge donation to figure out how they will get onto this land to soak up the oil if there is a leak or a break in a line that is 40 years old?

Has Burlington harmed its credibility in accepting the Enbridge donation?  Some municipalities chose not to accept donations which Enbridge is apparently handing out to anyone with an outstretched hand.  Is Enbridge doing to Burlington what colonial Canadians did to the native population – got a lot of land for some coloured beads and cases of whiskey?

Are we in 40 pieces of silver territory?

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City that claims to be the #1 place to live in the country wants you to vote to get the third place prize.



September 14, 2015

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. You could never say she was shy and this morning Michelle Bennett, BurlingtonGreen’s Program Coordinator, Go Local Food Network let everyone know what she wanted.

In a statement she sent out to her vast email list she asked our MPP and our MP to pull up their email lists and get the word out to their people to go on-line and vote for BurlingtonGreen in the Jamieson Call for the Wild contest that has $100,000 to be shared by five organizations based on the number of votes they pull.

“Today, with 2 days left of the contest, it is time to pull in the ringers, said Bennett.  “Would Burlington’s MP and MPP give a final push this weekend via your communications, media and personal contact lists, to encourage people to vote for BurlingtonGreen and support a template urban organization that supports the green space restoration and protection that benefits urban wildlife and habitat for our mutual enjoyment and conservation principles?”

Describing the slim lead Burlington has over Calgary in the contest for a portion of the $100,00 prize as “precarious” would be about right.

“The battle for 1st or 2nd has been won by either McGill in Montreal, or the large Hope For the Wild organization in Nova Scotia.  The battle for a respectable 3rd is very achievable against Calgary even though it is 5 x larger in population size than Burlington.  We are the underdog, but we really want to win this national distinction for Burlington and as of this morning, hold the precarious lead. 

Michelle Bennett, who has her own political capital, has called upon MP Mike Wallace and MPP Jane McKenna to use their political capital to drive up the Burlington numbers in the Jamieson $100,000 contest. Do the two politicians who represent the city even know about the event? The House of Commons is on its latest Tory version of the NDP Ray Days so Wallace has nothing to do for the next month.

“Please don your sporting hats, join our competitive spirit, vote and spread the voting link (below) to your constituents, media and personal contacts. There is a large environmentally conscious population in Burlington that BurlingtonGreen is well tapped into, and we will remember and thank you for any efforts to this cause that you can provide this weekend.

BurlingtonGreen uses social media and will be at the Terry Fox Run gathering votes at the Beachway Rentals shop on Sunday.  It would be awesome to see you there to encourage people to vote.

BurlingtonGreen added a bicycle with a retail value of $1,000 as something to be won by one of those who voted.

To enter the contest – get over to the Jamieson Facebook page to vote, You can vote once for each email address you have.

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Sunday will be a bright sunny day with a very good reason to get out for a RUN or a walk. Annual Terry Fox event.



September 14, 2015

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It wasn’t particularly good weather when Terry Fox dipped the end of his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland in 1980,  but Burlington seems to get good weather for its annual Terry Fox RUN – during which hundreds of people just walk the course that begins at the Pump House in Beachway Park and circles from the Canal to the Waterfront Hotel.

In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over $500 million has been raised in his name.

Last year Don Carmichael, chair of the run this year, as well as last year, reports there were 1200+ participants who raised just over $80,000. Best ever year was the 25th anniversary year, raising over $100,000. Burlington has had a run every year for the past 33 years and in that time has raised $1.5 million for cancer research.

Carmichael noted that in 2012 “we had a group running with more than 200 members.  That was very, very significant and is a large part of what the Burlington Terry Fox run is all about.”

Giving it all you’ve got. A 2012 runner.

The local Terry Fox organization is delighted when large crowds of people turn out – but adds that the event is a fund raiser.  Without the funds – cancer research just doesn’t take place and without the research – we lose people that we do not have to lose.

$84,000 was raised in 2011 while just $70,000 was raised in 2012.

Commemoration boards were set up on the site for people to write a few words on. What few know is that the organizing committee has kept every board ever set up and written on. They are set up each year in a quiet corner where people can go and read what they wrote in the past.

Exhausting – but she felt great once she’d caught her breath.

Every dollar raised in Burlington goes to cancer research and while the run doesn’t have an official sponsor there are organizations in Burlington that come forward to meet the needs that range from water to food.  This level of support is hugely appreciated by not only the people who organize the run but by the community at large.

Cancer is a foul disease.  We all know someone that has been lost to the disease and far too many of us have lost a member of our family to the disease.  It can be beaten – we are beating it – but it takes research and advances in medicine to continue to save lives.

Last year a large crowd of supporters showed up with sweaters that had the letters COZ on them.  These people were running for the Casey – Casey Cosgrove who has been battling cancer for a number of years.  He is currently involved in a program at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto where he goes in once every week or so for the next step in his trial program.

Casey has a web site in which he posts some of his thoughts about this part of his journey.  Let me share a most recent one with you:

It was a LONG 8-hour day in PMH yesterday.  There at 7am, left at 3 to the usual lousy traffic…blood work, then an x-ray, then a meeting with my oncologist and study nurse, then a CT, then chemo.  Long day, then raced back for a hockey game with Evans team, the team I coach.

There were there in droves last year and grateful that they are running again this year. Casey will be with them.

No results yet.  They have told me to expect some “inflammation” in the affected areas that it is almost standard with this anti PD1 drug I am taking now.  They will call me if anything out of the ordinary appears in my test results.  I still feel fine, but one never knows – there is not always a direct correlation between how you feel and look vs. what’s going on inside one’s body – I think I’m living proof of that.

Bryna is going to be mad that I forgot to tell her this – I got the call the other day and forgot frankly. You may recall another study I did where they took a part of my tumour to see if its ‘markers’ may give them information about a drug or such that may be a good match for me.  No such luck – my tumour didn’t show yield any particular unique information that gave them much more to go on.  I was told that there was a ‘marker’ that was very unique, but what that means they don’t know.  They simply scientifically don’t know what it may mean.  So, no harm no foul on that one. It didn’t tell me anything really but they had to call and let me know.

All else is good here.  Hockey has begun. School is in.

People like this define courage – Now you know why you need to be out there on Sunday – starts at 11 – and walk with hundreds of others.



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Tree huggers are not prepared to fold their tents yet; want to do a survey to get YOUR opinion.

September 13, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  Burlington’s Development & Infrastructure Committee meeting rejected the pursuit of a private property tree bylaw for city but that doesn’t mean those who fervently believe this is what the city needs are going to give up.

Committee reports go to city council meetings for ratification and final decision.  On Monday, the 23rd the committee decision will come up and there will be a delegation with an independent survey setting out how the public feels about this issue.

At the committee meeting the advocates of a private tree bylaw argued that the survey work done for the city in the past was flawed and that the question was never really put to the public.  Council members were arguing about the 22% of the 54% – or something to that effect – and it all got a little silly.

What was clear is that this Council just does not have the will to even try to put forward a private tree by law nor are they prepared to direct staff to try some alternatives that would give the city some data on what is being cut down on private property and where trees are being cut down.

David Auger, fingers behind the Burlington Beat, a tweet site, thought it might be worthwhile to do an independent survey online to see how people in Burlington feel about such a bylaw. Auger is “concerned that the City does not appear to have actually asked that question.”

So, a survey has been developed by BurlingtonBeat with the counsel of a veteran market research professional who has worked in, but doesn’t live in Burlington. No other individual or group had influence on its content.

The survey will be conducted online over the next ten days and the complete findings will be sent to and presented to City Council September 23rd.

Here’s the link to the survey:  – will this be the final question on this issue.  If the results indicate that people just do not care or if the response is tepid, – will the matter be left to rest?  If the results are crystal clear will this city pause and listen?

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How about eliminating this remaining anachronistic vestige of post colonial rule and amalgamating the various school boards?



September 13, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  Over a decade ago, Newfoundland and Quebec, the most Catholic provinces in Canada, moved to a single public education system and eliminated separate school funding, leaving only Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Ontario in the dark ages. 

The UN human rights commission has weighed-in, as well, determining that Ontario is discriminating against other religions and demanding either an end to separate school funding or that the province publicly fund all other religious schools.   We may recall from the election of 2007 how Ontario voters overwhelmingly rejected the full-funding option advanced by Tory leader John Tory.

It’s true that there are constitutional guaranties for separate schools in Canada, a legacy of provincial deal-making in the days leading to the formation of the nation.  But the provinces have absolute authority over education and Ontario could reduce its sprawling systems of education, 73 in total, with the stroke of pen, as Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland have done.  There are 29 English Catholic, 8 French Catholic, one Protestant, (Penetanguishene) 31 English public and 4 French public school boards that operate in Ontario, more than twice as many as would be needed for a secular-only public school system.

The Manitoba Act creating that province in 1870, included a provision for a separate school system.  Manitoba’s history is intensely complicated but this issue, became one of the biggest in the province’s history and one which nearly tore the new nation apart.  However, Manitoba persisted in its efforts to eliminate funding for separate schools and two years after Manitoba the North-West Territories essentially followed suit.   More people in Quebec (over 80%) identify as Catholic than in any other province, yet the province also decided to abandon public funding for the Catholic education system and received constitutional authority to proceed in in the late 1990’s.

Solid Catholic classrooms were once a part of Newfoundland educational system. That province is now totally integrated.

I have been visiting the Rock this week.  It’s earliest residents included the Beothuk aboriginal people (now extinct), and the Vikings.  Newfoundland was accidentally discovered by a Portuguese fisherman, landing some twenty years ahead of Columbus.  The Rock was later re-discovered and its modern history started with John Cabot and English and French settlers before being invaded by Irish immigrants seeking relief from their potato famine and English oppression.  By 1840 Irish Catholics made up half the population of the Island, but it was closer to the turn of that century that formal education was initiated with the Anglicans, Methodists and Catholics each running their own religious schools.   

 As Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, the protestant schools  evolved into a secular public school system but under terms of joining the confederation, Catholic schools had also been given funding.   It took a half-century and two referenda for Liberal Premier Brian Tobin to eliminate funding for all but the secular public system.  So only the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario still fund Catholic schools. 

And what could be easier than eliminating this remaining anachronistic vestige of post colonial rule, amalgamating the various school boards and shutting down those redundant to the educational needs of the province?  Dalton McGuinty’s government transformed Ontario’s education system  from one of the worst to the very best in Canada over his time in office, but was somehow uninterested in further cutting costs by reducing duplication among school boards.  Even as he charged the Drummond Commission to explore ways of reducing duplication and eliminating the deficit, he and they left the secular public schooling option on the table. 

After health, education is the largest expenditure for the provincial government, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Drummond’s report can be found mostly on a shelf gathering dust.  Now Dalton has left the room leaving a new Ontario premier to chart a new course, including doing something serious about the province’s expenditures and deficit.  And what could be easier than eliminating this remaining anachronistic vestige of post colonial rule, amalgamating the various school boards and shutting down those redundant to the educational needs of the province? 

When I lived in rural Ottawa, years ago, I used to watch four half-empty buses from four different school boards parade one after each other, and wonder.  I haven’t seen the math on this, don’t have the numbers, but moving to a single school system should be a win-win for the people of Ontario just as it has been for Newfoundland, and Quebec.  And speaking of Quebec, the irony of it all is that funding for separate schools was only ever put in the constitution because of the insistence of Quebec.  And that province has now eliminated it’s own separate school system. 



Ray Rivers was born in Ontario; earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and earned a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  He completed his first historical novel The End of September in 2012. Rivers is active in his community. He has run for municipal and provincial government offices and  held executive positions with Liberal Party  riding associations.  He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.



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Police chief tells reporter he is there to change behavior as he hands out speeding tickets.



September 12, 2013

By Milla Pickfield

BURLINGTON, ON.  Bad driving… We all hate it, and yet it is still a problem. Last Tuesday Halton Regional Police Service Chief Stephen Tanner and other Senior Command Officers were outside the Hayden High School to enforce safe driving in the school zone.

Gazette reporter interview Halton Regional Police Services Chief  Stephen Tanner, while police officer in the background hands out a speeding ticket.

Their being there was part of the “All Hands on Deck” program; officers were actively handing out tickets to anyone driving recklessly. The real question is why do we drive recklessly?

We did not learn these habits in driver’s school yet drivers still speed, text, refuse to wear seat belts, ignore school bus signs and crossing guards, and drive in an aggressive manner. So why do we do all of the above? We get annoyed when others perform those tasks and turn around and do them ourselves.

Chief aims his radar gun – didn`t get a speeder this time.

Many of us, at the age of sixteen, were ecstatic to get our G1 driver’s license. We welcomed the freedom that came along with the ability to drive. A year later we finally got the G2 license allowing us to drive without an adult present in the car. Finally, after what felt like forever, we achieve our G license. But what we may forget is that a license is a privilege. In an interview  Chief Tanner told me: “A driver’s license can be taken away.”

After all that hard work and tests to finally get our driver’s license why do we forget to be cautious? I mean on one hand YES! We’re done but on the other, we now don’t have anyone telling us not to cut in front of that other driver or stick up one of our fingers because we are frustrated. “I think it’s because we think of our car as our own personal space and we can do whatever we want in it”, suggested one Burlington citizen I talked with.  It is true. We feel infinite and almost untouchable until we get a speeding ticket. Then we’re just annoyed. 

It is rushing to get somewhere that results in what the police call reckless driving. People don’t want to be late and start to panic while driving, and we all know we wouldn’t be so panicked if we left five minutes earlier. The more panicked and impatient we are the more reckless our driving becomes.  So why not just leave earlier?   Is it because we want to spend as much time at home with our devices?

Our devices… What would we do without them? I know one thing we would do without them, be better drivers!  I’ve sat in the backseat of my car and watched my parents’ text, email, or call while driving and let me tell you it does not help their driving at all!  They don’t see the light when it turns green; they don’t pay attention to the other drivers on the road; and they do this weird head thing where they look down at their phone and then quickly back up to the road, they look about as panicked as I feel just watching them. I mean the fact that they look at their phone longer than the road does not reassure me at ALL!

“Texting has become such a cultural thing that you don’t think about it.” Chief Tanner said.  He’s right,  I know when I hear that buzz from my phone,  I drop everything and check the message. I suppose it’s because we think that the message that just came in could potentially save the world and hold all the answers to life itself… but it really doesn’t and is it worth putting yourself in danger?

 Chief Tanner explained to me that texting when you drive “ you put others and yourself at risk”

 That also raises a good argument that we’ve all heard a thousand times. How many times have you heard someone say; “Don’t text and drive! You put yourself at risk as well as others.” I’ve heard it close to a thousand. It’s almost as common now as; “Don’t drink and drive.” The funny thing is that we don’t think about the consequences until we are facing them.


Speed limit sign is clear – so are those radar guns in the hands of two police officers waiting for someone to break that speed limit. It was an All Hands on Deck day in Burlington earlier this week as police were out in force making the point that driving carelessly in school zones was not going to be tolerated.

“Often people feel invincible and they think they aren’t going to get caught.” Chief Tanner explained. I know that’s how I feel when I do something I’m not supposed to. For example passing notes, or as teenagers refer to it, texting in class. When we do get caught it comes as a shock because we have done it so many times before that we think it is acceptable and we can get away with it. But we can’t because eventually we do get caught.

 That is the most prominent point of the police task. While I was interviewing the chief, other police officers were writing up tickets for people they had pulled over for driving 50 to 60 kmh in a 40 kmh zone.

The police are out there trying to make the roads safer by trying to get us out of old habits that have become instincts.







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Some think you are what you eat – others say you’re what you wear. Burchill has some thoughts on what you might wear.

 September 12, 2013

By James Burchill

BURLINGTON, ON.   Many in the tech industry believe that the next generation of smart devices will be “wearable.” Remember watches? Ya, those things that are going out of style may be making a comeback when your iPhone and Android becomes wrist wear.

Is that a Dick Tracy wrist watch? What do you mean – you don’t know who Dick Tracy was – where have you been?

There are several designs in the works and Sony has already released a beta test on a wearable smart phone that works very much like your current phone in downsized form. This, of course, will change as these become more prolific and new ideas and the ergonomics of the devices are studied. Expect wrist flicking and hand flexing to replace finger gestures, for example.

Techies are seeing a future in which we are the device – in other words, apps and software, are made for the user, not the device. Whether we have a smart watch, a phone, in-car computers, or a desktop in or all of the above, the apps will work the same throughout with perhaps some differences because one device may be capable of more than another. 

A good example of how this works is Google’s Gmail.

Gmail works differently on your desktop than it does on your smart phone, for example. Imagine that across half a dozen or more devices.  Some will be “hands free” devices (such as the car), which will have interaction through voice commands and hand waving or eye gestures (all things being worked on right now).  Others will be hand-intense, like your smart phone, while still others will be a mix of the two.

A technological future in which devices automatically detect who is using them and load the apps (from the cloud, of course) based on that knowledge is not far off. Imagine checking the time on your watch and being notified that you have a new email. Instead of bringing it up there, you turn to the television and say “pause and show me email.”  It complies by pausing the show you’re watching and bringing up your email screen.  You see it’s important and you’ll need to reply, so instead of using the TV, you pick up your tablet and bring up the email app and finger in a response. Once you do so, you close the email app and the TV asks if you want to resume your show.

This future isn’t so far-fetched and is fast becoming the present.

Is this what’s on the horizon?

This means  app developers are beginning to (finally) think in terms of “screens” and “users” instead of “pop-ups” and “square boxes.” Recently, Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, said that the transition from mobile to wearables is a far bigger deal than was the change from computer-centric apps to mobile devices.  If you think about it, your notebook and your cell phone have a lot more in common than would a cell phone and a watch or Google Glass, simply because the “screen” is very, very different.

In short, the screen and how you interact with it is changing radically. With heads up and similar options, the old “open a box, then open another one” thing doesn’t work anymore. Things have to be both more fluid and less intrusive. And again, people who use these wearable devices are not likely to have it as their only device and they’ll expect apps to work on all of their mobile machines (at the very least).

Things are about to get even more interesting.



James Burchill creates communities and helps businesses convert conversations into cash.  He’s also an author, speaker, trainer and creator of the Social Fusion Network™ an evolutionary free b2b networking group with chapters across southern Ontario.  He blogs at JamesBurchill.com and can be found at the SocialFusionNetwork.com or behind the wheel of his recently acquired SMART car.


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‘Safe Start’ a police back-to-school safety initiative had cops with radar guns in Hayden High parking lot – they caught a couple.



September 10, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  Safe Start – getting the kids back to school safely was started in 2006 and focuses on education, awareness and enforcement.  Tuesday morning was enforcement – and half a dozen police officer gathered on the street with radar guns in hand waiting for some poor luckless driver to come around the curve.

The Chief of police aims – but the driver in his sights was driving below the speed limit. Better luck next time Chief!

Stephen Tanner, Regional Chief of police was on hand as part of the All Hands on Deck part of a program to change established driver behaviour.  Officers focus their efforts on speeding and aggressive drivers, proper use of seatbelts and laws relating to the use of hand-held communication devices.

Early in the campaign police stopped a vehicle travelling on Louis St. Laurent Avenue in the area by Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Milton.  The driver was captured on radar travelling at 103 km/hr. in a posted 50 km/hr. zone.  The vehicle was impounded and driver’s license suspended for a period of 7 days.  The driver was charged with speeding and racing under the Highway Traffic Act.

Nothing like this happened in Alton Tuesday morning – but it is behaviour like this the police struggle to change.  The speeding tickets help as does the notice from your insurance company that the rates are going up until you get all your points back.


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BurlingtonGreen holds third spot in a national contest with $100,000 available.



September 10th, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  BurlingtonGreen got themselves selected as one of five organizations that would be part of the Jamieson Vitamins  Call for the Wild contest that had  a fund of $100,000 that would be distributed to the five contestants based on the number of people they could get to vote for them on a Facebook page Jamieson had set up.

BurlingtonGreen Executive Director Amy Schnurr with the bike Mountain Equipment Coop donated to the drive to get votes to win as much of the Jamieson Vitamins Call for the Wild Contest. There was $100,000 to be divided between five organizations.

The objective was to get people – anyone and everyone –  to go to the web site and vote.  The organization that pushed the most people to vote for them – would walk away with most of the prize money.

This is where BurlingtonGreen stood early September 10th.

Despite adding a $1000 bike as an additional draw, courtesy of Mountain Equipment Coop, it looks at this point as if BurlingtonGreen is going to place third and see about $12,000 – which in itself is not bad.

I think the city felt BurlingtonGreen would soar to the top of the list and stay there because of its membership base.  Heck this is the city that shuts down roads so the Jefferson Salamander can cross during its breeding season.

This is the city that spent $2 million in legal fees to prevent the expansion of the Nelson Aggregate quarry on Colling Road.  We were a natural to come out on top of a contest that would put funds into an organization that everyone believes is a great group of people – doing the right thing.


The numbers shown so far don’t reflect that perception.

BurlingtonGreen is up against some pretty impressive groups.  The Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia, the Calgary Wild Life Rehab organization, the McGill University Bird Observatory and the Nova Scotia   Hope For Wildlife

BurlingtonGreen, on its website urge their members to get out their vote saying “we are currently in third place in Jamieson’s Call for the Wild! contest.  However, we are barely holding onto this position and we know we need a big surge of votes every day this week if we are going to hang onto this spot .

The number of votes in the early days was pretty low but BG Executive Director Amy Schnurr felt that once the students were back in school there would be a significant uptick – there wasn’t.

Students are a large part of the BurlingtonGreen operation. They do the grunt work during their CleanUp-GreenUp campaign and they are on site for many city festivals cleaning up. Has this students cohort translated into clout for Burlington Green – both at city hall and within the community?

Burlington Green has a strong presence in the schools of this city – and one would have hoped those students would take the message home and get the Moms and Dads and the extended family at the keyboard.

The Burlington Lions Optimists Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA) got into one of these contests and they pulled in $20,000 for their organization on the Kraft Game Goes on contest.  BLOMHA had kids voting while in vans on the way to hockey games.  They passed out flyers and turned over every stone they could find to get the vote out.

Is hockey a bigger draw than the environment?  For the sake of the planet we hope not.

This was the contest – it looks like BurlingtonGreen can hold third.

Contest begins 12:01 a.m. Monday August 19th,  2013 and closes 11:59 p.m. September 15, 2013.

Voting is a two part process that is clearly explained on the BurlingtonGreen website.

You can vote once every day – more than once if you use different email addresses when you register your vote.

Jamieson Vitamins is a vitamin and natural health product company that has been in business since 1922.


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Jealous Nelson grad tours Hayden High – eye-popping is her first response.



September 8, 2013

By Milla Pickfield


BURLINGTON, ON.  I’m so jealous. I fell asleep in the middle of my math exam in June of 2012. Why did I fall asleep? No air conditioning. Well at Dr. Frank J. Hayden High School they won’t have that problem. They have air-conditioning and I’ve heard it’s absolutely gorgeous. The whole school is new; and new is spectacular! This huge high school located in the Alton Village opened last week and now houses grades nine and ten students from the surrounding area. 

Alton is one of the last undeveloped residential lands in Burlington and it could be assumed that they recognized the potential growth of the community would exceed the capacity of existing high schools.

Hayden High, Burlington’s newest high school built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park right across the street.

If I had to sum up the new school in one word I would use impressive. Built as one part of the community center -. Hayden High School is huge. The complex has eight competition-sized gyms and a library, and a skate park just outside the school!

Just imagine – you’re in grade ten and you’ve been moved to a brand new high school. Your first day of school – wake up, get dressed, brush your teeth – normal routine in the morning. But this is anything but a normal morning. Today, you get to sleep in a little later than the year before because your new school opens a little later. This morning you don’t have to rush out the door to catch the bus because your school is just a short walk away. This year… at least half of your school friends will not be waiting in front of the school doors to greet you… they go to a different school across town.

One student commented on how he felt when he first entered the school, “Being at a brand new school is very exciting, and it’s also really interesting to be the first ones to see the school to its full extent.” But when asked about what it felt like to be going to school without some of his friends he said; “Having only half of my friends around simply doesn’t feel right. I made at least three good friends last year who had to stay at Nelson, and it feels very unusual without them around.”

The complex from the rear with the high school cafeteria on the left overlooking the sports field. The Haber Recreational is at the end on the right.

Those students who were at Nelson and going into grade 11 stayed at Nelson because Hayden was offering just grades nine and ten. Transition from old to new can be difficult but at the same time exciting. On one hand you miss those old run-down specialties that made your school feel like home… but then again, look at those perks! Everything is new. New computers, up-to-date software that actually works and aligns with the software on your home computer, air-conditioning (remember I’m jealous), internet that operates all the time, a new sound system throughout the school so it doesn’t sound like people speaking underwater … the list could go on and on.

Okay, I am going to go on and on: it’s the food. Since it’s a high school and a community center, rumour has it that a big name food provider will be opening its doors. Did I tell you I’m jealous? Oh, right, I did. 



But there is a downside. While the new eye-popping catchy attractions may make you jealous (maybe that’s just me) you lose a sense of tradition. As many know, a lot of the excitement that surrounds school is knowing that you aren’t the first ones there; your parents may have gone to that school when they were younger. Sometimes just knowing that gives you a sense of comfort and familiarity.   Remember in the movie The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock when Michael Oher is being questioned on why he chose the University of Mississippi? Michael simply responds with “Because it’s where my family goes to school. It’s where they’ve always gone to school.”


Michael chose the University of Mississippi because the sense of unity and pride,  knowing that he will follow in his parents and their parent’s footsteps. Going to a new high school breaks that tradition. You are not walking the halls your parents walked before you: instead you are walking halls that no one has ever walked before. You are creating new tradition and perhaps walking the halls your children may walk someday.

For the next couple of months I will be exploring what it is like being at a new school – from the perspective of teachers, administration, the architects, parents, but most importantly from the students – the individuals who walk the halls every day trying to navigate education and relationships – no mean feat.

Milla Pickfield is a Nelson High graduate who is taking a year off before going to university to do community work and gain experience with people and places that are well outside her past experience and comfort zone.  She expects to follow the creation of the legend that will become Hayden High School in the Alton Village.

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In Ontario, naturopathic doctors are considered primary care physicians.

Jeremy Hayman, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) will be writing a regular column for the Burlington Gazette.  ND is a professional medical designation earned following an undergraduate pre-medical degree and four years of post-graduate medical training at a fully accredited (CNME) naturopathic medical college. All licensed Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Ontario have been fully regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act.Upon completion of regulatory board examinations, Naturopathic Doctors, as primary health care providers, are required to maintain their competency by meeting continuing education requirements as well upholding naturopathic medical association standings.

In comparison to a Medical Doctor designation (MD), a Naturopathic Medical designation (ND) is comprised of an equivalency in term of basic science education hours.  Where an MD focuses more time on pharmaceutical medicine, NDs also study pharmacology and its drugs, however extensive training in natural medicine (such as botanical, Oriental, nutritional, physical, and homeopathic medicine as well as lifestyle, counseling and herb-drug interactions) is adjunctively studied as well. In Ontario, a naturopathic doctors is considered a primary care physicians. NDs cannot prescribe pharmaceutical medications in Ontario as MDs are able to, and are only covered under extended health plans and not OHIP billing, however they are able to employ conventional laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging as necessary.

September 5, 2013

By Dr. Jeremy Hayman

 BURLINGTON, ON.  September 5, 2013  When it comes to understanding the meaning of the popular phrase “too much of a good thing”, we all too often overdo our ideal balance by taking this idiom to the extreme. It’s common practice to believe that if something is healthy, then more is better. We have all experienced, in one way or another, too much of something we believe is “good” often times turns out not to be as “good” or as pleasant as we first thought.

There are limits – or at least there should be some limits we observe.

How many of you have ever basked under the healthful vitamin D filled sunrays on a warm summer day only to regretfully suffer the agonizing (and burning) result of “too much of a good thing”? Ok, so we agree, in our own unique and sometimes retrospective way, too much of a “good thing” may in fact result in the complete opposite of what we originally thought. This consideration has forced us to accommodate moderation into our daily lives, correct?

  Well, not always in reality, but the true meaning and moral does allow us to consider the wise choice that everything in life should be experienced in balance. Although, when it comes to natural health and contributions to natural health, I sometimes, beg to differ. When it comes to balance and happiness within our children’s mental health, I beg to differ without question.

  The mental health status of children constitutes a need for balance, however the more happiness, balance and support toward a child’s mental health, argument cannot be justified that too much of a good thing is ultimately “too much”. Mental health of children is of utmost value, and the more support that can be provided naturally, the better. So let’s talk mental health within our most impressionable population, and let’s learn what it takes to naturally keep the mental health of our children balanced.

  According to Health Canada, one in  five Canadians will experience some type of mental illness over the course of their lifetime, many of whom will never fully recover. The other four will have a friend, family member, or colleague who will experience a mental health issue. Children, within this statistic, are sadly, not excluded. So what is sound mental health as it pertains to our children and how can the balance toward such a “good thing” be realized? Mental health in children refers to the mental state of how one thinks about, feels, associates, and responds to the world within and around him/her. Depression, anxiety, general stress, attention deficit, autism, panic, and bi polar are mental health states but to name a few. Achieving consistent happiness, positive adaptation, awareness and balanced thought and feeling is what exemplifies mental health to its ultimate degree. When mind and body become occupied and clouded with an ongoing interference of thoughts and feeling, mental health state begins to decline.  Once it acclimatizes to this state of mal-adaptation, psychiatric “disorder” may inevitably ensue. Continued psychiatric distress does nothing more than lend itself to a continued spiraling of ill-health, physically, mentally and otherwise.

  One in  five Canadians will experience some type of mental illness over the course of their lifetime.Interestingly enough, many children affected are being diagnosed simply as an illness due to genetics, “chemical imbalance”, or “predisposition” (which by the way isn’t necessarily an accurate preceding diagnosis at all). It is, however, becoming more and more striking, yet accepted, that mental health issues can also arise from psychosocial stress, unhealthy diets and food production, environmental and toxin influences, as well as from the use (and overuse) of pharmacological medications. Although the contributing source which underlies how a child feels mentally and emotionally may not always be undeniably determined, we do know that focusing on the basics will help make a child feel better.

  When a mental predisposition or illness in a child is typically diagnosed, there is a tendency not to turn to creative solutions for support, but rather to quickly medicate our children. Medication does have its place, however, from a natural and primary care perspective, what should be done is to address a child’s environment, parental stress, nutrition, lifestyle, and an overall comprehensive evaluating view of a child’s life. As stated, medication does have its place (pending individual circumstances, no doubt), however by simply medicating our children as first line treatment, in all circumstances, what’s being done is simply disempowering children, inducing a biochemical imbalance in the brain (not altering or fixing one) and simply guiding children into believing that coping and self-regulating cannot be accomplished without drugs. If all aspects of a child’s life is addressed, medication may still be required, but potentially at a later date, a lower dose, for a shorter time, and may in fact create a better result, given all other supporting aspects have been addressed.

  So how exactly do we treat a mental illness in a child? First and foremost, a professional medical assessment needs to be performed in order to determine where along the “spectrum” a child’s mental state rests. Many diagnostics are determined using a firm array of clinical signs and symptoms, depending of course on the mental state in question. With anxiety for example, a child’s anxiety and worry state would need to be associated with at least three of seven symptoms (sleep disturbance, easy fatigue, and being “on edge” for example). And more importantly to note, just because a child “displays possible symptoms”, doesn’t automatically conclude a mental illness is at hand, however, it also does it mean that there is not.  A whole picture approach would need to be considered, as many symptoms of mental health illness can very well be generalized symptoms in and amongst themselves. Yet, a single symptom can also be a key clue that an initial mental illness may be at play. So rather than diagnosing or treating a mental illness based on a limited clinical picture, a comprehensive and total life picture of the child, as a person, needs to be considered and sought out (as addressing a person and not just an illness, is truly what medicine and its management should be all about).

  Once a mental status has been determined, natural support in the way of botanical medicine, correction of nutritional deficiencies and a therapeutic approach to diet, stress, and environment, in conjunction with primary health care can be successfully accomplished. Vast approaches to mental health can be employed, however utilizing a comprehensive medical approach, encompassing natural sound and evidenced based medicine, combined with primary care practice often works best. Once a mental status has been determined, natural support in the way of botanical medicine, correction of nutritional deficiencies and a therapeutic approach to diet, stress, and environment, in conjunction with primary health care can be successfully accomplished. Realizing and diagnosing a mental illness in a child at any age is not something that sits well with anyone. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a life sentence of unhappiness, instability or illness either. The evidence is there, that natural medicine works, and by incorporating the essentials in terms of what makes our children better, success with mental illness can be realized.

  Functioning of a child to the degree which satisfies society’s expectations alone is not the element to success. Fundamentally supporting a child’s mental health issue(s) at its root IS the only management tool to propel mental and emotional stability from a life of uncertainty to that of making “too much of a good thing” worth living.

 Dr Jeremy Hayman is an Ontario and Board licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, practicing at Back On Track Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in Burlington Ontario where he maintains a General Family Practice with special interest in Psychiatric as well as Pediatric health. Dr Hayman can be contacted at drjeremynd@gmail.com

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Where Should I Go On My Next Trip? Travel writer can help – Just Ask!



September 5, 2013

By Gordana Liddell

BURLINGTON, ON.  Where should I go?  Good Question. Actually, while this is one of the most common travel inquiries I get, it’s a terrible question. It’s far too general and can’t possibly be answered until you answer some questions yourself:

Let’s use the W5 approach, shall we?

The world is your stage – what part of that stage do you want to walk on?

WHO are you? Are you the type of traveller that wants to go to a popular destination; one that is deemed to be the most current and hip – where you are most likely to spot celebrities who go to the most fashionable spots in order to be spotted? Or do you want to travel to a place a little more out of the ordinary? Do you enjoy telling people where you have been in order to get the reaction…”where”? Would you prefer to see a destination in its genuine form or would you prefer to hit the parties and the crowds? You get my drift, I’m sure.

Your budget is also a tremendous factor in determining exactly where you will be able to go. Are you a prince? Or are you a pauper? The amount you wish to spend will not only help to determine your destination, it can also limit how you get there as well as the time of year you can afford to go. But there is usually a solution for everyone, as long as the limits are reasonable and the minds are open. Everyone should be able to get a way – your budget will help to define your parameters.

WHAT do you want to do when you get there? Lie down and not get up for a week, apart from getting yourself a fresh drink? Do you prefer to be active and, oh I don’t know…climb a mountain, or go horseback riding, or climb a mountain on horseback? Are you interested in history and architecture? Or is an endless coastline just about all you need to study?

WHERE do you see this all taking place? Before you choose the country you need to choose the setting. Beach? City? Ranch? Countryside? A combination of the above? There are many destinations that are blessed with more than one attribute. Would you like to focus on your favourite or do you like a little variety?

Nature travel is always interesting and can be quite adventuresome as well. Is it expensive?

WHEN do you plan to go? If you have decided that you wish to go on a beach vacation in the South of India and you have time off work in the beginning of July…I would advise you that it is monsoon season and it may dampen your experience. Time of year is very often a factor with regards to destination. It is also a huge factor in the price of tickets; these go hand in hand. Understandably so, higher fares are often directly related to the more “desirable” time of year.

WHY are you traveling? Because it’s awesome! Still, there are many reasons that people plan to take that plane/train/bus/boat/car out-of-town. Business, family vacation, girls’ getaway, some much-needed r&r, a-soul-searching-just-like-in-the-movies-journey, etc. ( I would never advise that last one to pack her bags and head to Vegas. ) Determine your motives and you are another step closer to nailing down that perfect location.

If you can answer at least some of the above questions I’m sure I can help you figure out some good options as to where you should go on your next trip.

Venice has always been a favourite – do you go direct or as part of a tour?

There are truly endless possibilities for travel in the world; there is always someplace we have not been and a unique way for us to experience it. Ask a million people who have gone to New York City and you will get a million different variations of how they experienced it. This is part of what makes traveling so wonderful and why we can never be “finished”.

There are countless questions related to travel; questions about the planning, booking, the journey and the destination. Have you got one? I would love to help make your next trip a little simpler, a little more enjoyable and perhaps even a little less stressful. Please send your questions to JustAsk@bgzt.ca and I will be happy to help.

Gordana Liddell is our resident travel writer and Art Centre guru. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, a travel industry veteran of nearly two decades, freelance writer, and most recently book editor. She is fortunate enough to live right here in Burlington with her family.

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Regional back-to-school road safety initiative in place till September 13th – some stupid drivers out there.

September 4, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  It’s those first few days of the back to school period; when the kids are not thinking about traffic – their minds are on getting to school and meeting their friends.  And the drivers aren’t used to all those kids at the cross-walks and wandering across the street without looking both ways – and those buds in their ears don’t help.

Back in 2006, the Regional Police realized that some educating was necessary and created a multi-faceted campaign that focused on both awareness and enforcement as key components in changing established driver behaviour. 

During those early days of school each September police officers focus their efforts on speeding and aggressive drivers, proper use of seat belts and laws relating to the use of hand-held communication devices.

 Earlier today a Milton District Response Officers stopped a transport truck with a float trailer passing P.L. Robertson Public School on Scott Boulevard.  The driver was not wearing a seat belt and had a large piece of machinery on the trailer that was not secured.  The driver was issued three provincial offences notices for Highway Traffic Act violations.

Another vehicle stop was conducted involving an overloaded dump-style truck pulling a large two-axle trailer, as it passed by Our Lady Victory School Catholic Elementary School on Derry Road and Commercial Street.   The vehicle was found to have improper brakes, overweight and a multitude of administrative offences.  Both the truck and trailer were taken out of service and the driver was issued 12 provincial offences notices.

 This year’s campaign will run until September 13th and serves to enhance overall safety within our communities.

Keep your eyes on the road, pay attention and stay off that cell phone.



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The 10 Most Controversial Topics on Wikipedia; Jesus was a natural but George W. Bush and circumcision?

September 4, 2012

By James Burchill.

 BURLINGTON, ON. Ever wonder what the most controversial topics on Wikipedia are? The crowd-sourced and edited online encyclopedia is home to a lot of contention. Entries on the site can change in seconds, especially in the more controversial subjects, while others may be horribly written and stay that way for months because it’s not a topic of interest to most editors on the site. 

So what are the subjects most likely to be controversial and see the most changes by the most editors? What are the topics that suffer the most revision as points of view clash?

Controversial? Worth getting more information on?

Well, I wasn’t the only one to wonder that. Some students and faculty at the University of Oxford (yes, that Oxford) wondered too. Lead by Taha Yasseri, the team decided to analyze Wikipedia to find out which topics were most controversial based on the intensity of their “editing wars.”

Not as easy as it sounds, though. Wikipedia is home to about 22 million articles in 285 languages with about 77,000 contributors working on it on any given day. Not happy with just the four million English version articles, though, Yasseri and his team decided to break down the controversies by language as well, looking at all 22 million articles to do it.

First, they had to define “controversial” as it applies to Wikipedia. Going by edits alone wouldn’t indicate contention as it could also mean that it’s a “live” subject that is rapidly changing or evolving, such as a current news event (e.g. a current television series or a current legal trial). So they focused on “reverts” instead, which are edits which are made by one person and then undone or removed by another. These are relatively common, though, but “mutual reverts” where an editor restores an earlier edition and then another editor (often the one who made the new changes that got reverted) changes it back to the new version again. These “edit wars” can go on for days in a back-and-forth struggle as editors duke it out over how things on the site are worded.

That definition works well for what the Oxford team wanted to measure. Using that, they were able to analyze Wikipedia and, after separating articles by language, create a “Top 10” list for them. The ten most controversial topics in English are:

1. George W. Bush

2. Anarchism

3. Muhammad

4. List of World Wrestling Entertainment

5. Global Warming

6. Circumcision

7. United States

8. Jesus

9. Race and intelligence

10. Christianity

At least people are asking questions: still far too many people saying it’s bunk.

Some of those are not surprising, of course, but others come out of nowhere. The top entry is a real surprise, since Bush has been out of office for over five years and is now relatively ignored by the news media. The second is a contentious but not often considered political philosophy that most of us might not even know exists. The third makes sense, as does the fifth, but who would have known that the WWE was so controversial?

Go figure on this one: wrestlers?

Indeed, this is a very interesting list. The team says that in every language, topics of religion are nearly always represented in the top five, as are topics like Israel, Adolf Hitler, and God. For the most part, though, these commonalities are overshadowed by the vast differences in what’s controversial in one language versus another. This often involves controversial war topics or native cultural topics, but can also be celebrity topics specific to the region the language is most commonly associated with.

You can read Yasseri et al’s work on Wikipedia measurements here.

James Burchill creates communities and helps businesses convert conversations into cash.  He’s also an author, speaker, trainer and creator of the Social Fusion Network™ an evolutionary free b2b networking group with chapters across southern Ontario.  He blogs at JamesBurchill.com and can be found at the SocialFusionNetwork.com or behind the wheel of his recently acquired SMART car.

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