Two local politicians have revived the traditional New Year's levy in Burlington - Sunday at the Art Gallery

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2017



This Sunday the two women who represent the political leadership at the federal and provincial levels will hold their second New Year’s levy.

Levies were once significant municipal events at one end of the political scale and the event put on by the Lieutenant Governor of the province at the other end.

Remembrance McMahon + Gould

MPP Eleanor McMahon and MP Karina Gould at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Burlington.

Karina Gould and Eleanor McMahon decided they would jointly hold the event this year – the Mayor in his six years as the man with the chain of office showed no interest in holding the event.  That left the oppor-tunity for the two woman to revive what looks as if it is going to become a regular annual event.  Good on them.

The civic celebration of a New Year is an oppor-tunity to look at how well the federal government and the provincial government have done in serving the public interest.

Provincially the province struggles with hydro rates – the increases are hurting. The story behind those increases is complex and not all the fault of the current Premier Katherine Wynne. However she is the one wearing this issue.

In the year we are now into the opposition and the third party will beaver away at what they will call the failures of the current provincial government. They failures are easy to point to – but there were some significant positive moves.

A Premier that was once close to being addicted to the cash for access practice managed to shut down the practice and hardly a word has been heard about hat issue in a number of months.

Levee - McMahon at loom - I did that

During the 2016 New Year levy held at the Art Gallery of Burlington, MPP Eleanor McMahon took a turn at a weaving loom – that led to her becoming a member of the provincial cabinet.

The province has some serious infrastructure deficits and getting us out of our cars without providing an acceptable and convenient alternative is proving very difficult.

What comes across however, is a Premier who is going to do whatever it takes to bring about the changes needed to accept the fact that our climate has changed and we need to change if we are going to continue to exist on this planet.

Much ado was made about the Premier’s attempt to create a provincial pension program – which was shut down once the federal government decided to make changes in the pension program at that level. The federal changes would not have come about had Wynne not had the courage of her convictions to force the federal government to change. Don’t thank Justin Trudeau for the improvements in the federal pension program – than Wynne for pushing him into it.

When the next provincial election rolls around the provincial Liberals will have been in office for 15 years – they are being called a tired, worn out government.

Trite comment from the political pundits. How many years were John Robarts and Bill Davis in office – and were they tired and worn out? The Conservatives in this province let Mike Harris in the hen house – he turned out to be a wolf not a fox.

Wynne has her hands full – when one looks at what is out there to replace her – one feels confident with her hands on the wheel. Perfect she isn’t but better than the alternative she certainly is.

Levee Gould welcoming a new Canadian

Burlington member of parliament Karina Gould celebrating with a couple expecting a child during the 2017 levy.

Federally – the bloom has managed to stay on the rose that Justin’s father used to wear in his lapel. We love the guy, the world loves the guy. But there are serious issues that are not getting the kind of attention they need.

We are fortunate in Burlington to have a woman who is not yet 30 serving as our Member of Parliament. She has a lot of growing to do but there appears to be little doubt that she will go through those growth curves in fine fashion.

Now if we had a finance minister who would stop growing the deficit and spending like a drunken sailor there would be reason for an optimistic financial future.

We have young people for whom the opportunities in the work of work required the creation of a new word: precarious employment. They deserve better than that.

We talk in terms of those under 30 never being able to buy a home. Who then is going to buy those outrageously expensive bungalows north of the QEW when the current owners want to move on?

We have newspaper headlines that report on federal “deficits that will run into 2050”.

If there is a phrase that described financial irresponsibility that just about covers it.

As popular as he is – the Prime Minister sets the tones and those he is currently using are tone deaf but they are not falling on deaf ears.

We are going to spend $1 billion on sesquicentennial celebrations this year. What’s to celebrate? Fiscal imprudence?

We just may need the time between this anniversary and the second centennial – assuming we dodge the climate change bullet heading our way, to get out of the deficits that are being accumulated. The money we borrow does have to be paid back

What Burlington has going for it is a remarkable young woman doing a fine job at the federal level and a well-seasoned woman serving at the provincial level who happens to be one of the best campaigners this reporter has seen in some time. Her campaign ability and her genuine empathy for her constituents serve both her and the community well.

There were solid reasons for making her a Minister and a member of the Treasury Board.

Now if she can spend a little less time in the “golly, gee-whiz local booster” mode she frequently falls into she will be with us after the next provincial election.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion piece.  The Gazette invites others with opinions they feel will advance the level of civility in the city to be in touch with the publisher. getting new - yellow

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Lowville school house seeing more in the way of students - adults this time around. Film and poetry to be featured.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2017



It’s one of those old one-room school houses that so many of our grand-parents went to. They had pot belly stoves and an outhouse back behind the building.

Built in the 1870’s the school was closed in 1952.


The Lowville school house – Built in the 1870’s the school was closed in 1952.

Few of them survived but the one in Lowville is still standing, structurally in pretty good shape actually but sort of languishing as a venue. It doesn’t get used all that often.

That appears to be changing.

The Lowville Festival has used the building for each of its events the past two years and plans on using it again this year.

ThinkSpot, a small consulting form that located in Lowville a number of years ago, works at “shifting the way people think and the way they work together. They connect all the various intricate pieces of the puzzle – the people, the process, and the place and create a place where people collaborate, think creatively, and find solutions to complex problems.

Debra Pickfield, the ThinkSpot principle, entered into a lease with the city that allows her to use the space when her own premises are not large enough to handle the size of the group she is working with.

And from there it sort of grew.


Gillian Anderson – known to most as “Scully” – the female lead in the X files. Her film performance as Lily Bart in the film House of Mirth was a surprise to many. That film will be the premiere of the Lowville School House film series.

This winter there is going to be a small Lowville Schoolhouse film series – seating is limited to 40 people. That series of events starts in early February.


Robbie Burns

More immediate is the salute to poetry on the occasion of Robbie Burns’ birthday featuring Canada’s finest spoken word poet, Robert Priest. That event takes place Saturday January 21st. Nothing yet on whether or not there will be a piper and if the haggis will be shared.

The Lowville Festival people are now pretty sure they have an event they can grow and are looking at some long term plans that will see the Lowville Park location used more.

These two events, the film series and the poetry reading are events that came out of the minds of the people in the community – they usually know what works best.

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Burlington's Best nominations - an opportunity for the community to recognize those who have served.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2017



As a concept it is a really good idea.

Nominations for Burlington’s Best Awards come from the community and there have been some much deserved awards given in the past. There have some unfortunate choices when a husband nominated a wife or a Mother a son. The purpose was to have a community nominate one of their own.

For the most part the awards have been free from any political influence but there are political influencers on the committee that makes the choices. In the past there have been categories that didn’t draw much in the way of nominations.


The recipient of an award gets a unique plaque from the city along with a piece of art.

What the nominations committee has not done in our experience was decide not to make an award in a category and we don’t recall them ever retiring a category.  Accessibility was added as a category this year.

The ticket price could be a little lower; if not then give value for money and don’t let the buffet tables empty quite as quickly.

This is a social event where people who quietly serve their fellow citizens are recognized. There have been some who in the past were thickening their resumes for political purposes.

Nominations opened December 1 in eight award categories, including the new Accessibility Award. The winners in all categories are revealed at a celebration held in May each year.

There are eight award categories:

burlingtonbest-logoCitizen of the Year: A person whose volunteer activity has made a significant and sustained contribution to the vibrancy and wellbeing of the Burlington community.

Junior Citizen of the year: A high school student 18 years or younger who has made a significant contribution to the Burlington community.

Senior Person of the year: A person 55 years or older who has advocated on behalf of seniors and/or made a significant contribution to the Burlington community.

Environmental Award: An individual or group that improved and/or protects Burlington’s environment.

Arts Person of the Year: An individual who has contributed to the arts in Burlington as an artist, patron or advocate including but not limited to, visual arts, media arts, musical arts, performing arts and literary arts.

Community Service Award: An individual or group whose volunteer activity has contributed to the betterment of the Burlington community.

Heritage Award: An individual who has demonstrated a commitment to the preservation of Burlington’s heritage, and has volunteered their time in an effort to support the preservation of Burlington’s heritage.

Accessibility Award (new category): An individual, organization or business that has made significant contributions to increase access and participation of people with disabilities in the Burlington community.


Winners of the 2015 Burlington Best awards

Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 17, 2017.

Nomination forms can be completed online at or by picking up a form at the clerks department at City Hall, 426 Brant St.


Mary Kay Aird, Chair; Burlington Best.

Members of the committee that evaluate the nominations are: Mary Kay Aird, Chair; Calah Brooks, vice chair; Keith Strong; Victor Lesnicki; Adam Smith; Ann Coburn; Matthew Cocklin; Sarah Dunsford and Vicki Singh.

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Three years ago - do you remember? The ice storm - that was in 2013 - the flood was in 2014

backgrounder 100By Staff

December 29th, 2016



Three years ago – do you remember?

The snow storm that turned into an ice storm hit the city a few days before Christmas 2013 and just wouldn’t stop.

ICE STORM Millar road closed

This was a public road. The ice storm closed Millar |Road along with driveways throughout North Burlington

The weather people at the time were predicting winds of 20 kmh – which in the world Gerry Smallegange, President of Burlington Hydro was not good news

The temperature hadn’t risen enough for enough of the ice on the trees in north Burlington to melt. If those tree branches start swaying in the wind they could come down on all those hydro lines he has had to re-build.

It was close to impossible to keep up with the demand for help Smallegange knew that he had thousands of homes in the city without power. Situations like this are not new to the people who supply homes with electricity – it was the sheer volume that came close to crippling the hydro people.

North Burlington wasn’t being ignored by any stretch – the scope and scale of the problem up there was brutal. Smallegange knew that he had a very significant problem on his hands and needed all the help he could get. He also needed a break in the weather – and that wasn’t happening.


A hydro wire down – waiting for crews to discover it and get it restrung. This was one of many that hydro had to deal with.

The ice that had built upon the hydro wires needed to melt – and the temperatures were staying at a stubborn six to ten degrees below zero.

The city’s Emergency Coordinating Committee was almost in constant session and doing their best to maintain a constant flow of information to city residents. The difficulty was that with no power radio and television were useless as was the internet and social media.

What worked best was neighbour telling neighbour and in the north – community meetings. The city held its first community meeting in Kilbride where hundreds showed up with questions. The city did its best – but at times that wasn’t good enough.

ICE storm 2 - room crowd

Hydro president Gerry Smallegange explaining to Kilbride residents where the crews were and when he hoped power could be returned to the community.

The lack of information was frustrating for the residents without power. Information, like energy, has to have lines it can flow through – and the available lines weren’t working all that well when it came to keeping people informed.

For reasons that are not clear at the time, the city’s communications department didn’t seem to have strong working relationships with the radio stations – which meant the people needing the information weren’t getting it from the radio stations – apparently because information wasn’t getting from the city to that media.

It all happened three years ago – we survived.

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The paths students heading for high school can take; which high schools will be open is a different question.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 28th, 2016



While parents with students in high schools worry about just which high schools are going to be open in the years ahead – those parents with children getting ready to move on to high schools have to begin having the conversation with their children about which educational path they want to take.

The Halton District School Board is hosting several Pathways Planning Information Evenings in January that will allow parents and Grades 7-12 students to explore program opportunities that high schools have to offer in Halton.

hdsb-pathways-all_programsPathways is a collaborative program between the Halton District school Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board and was created by the Ministry of Education as one of the four pillars of the Student Success Initiative

Literacy, Numeracy and Community, Culture and Caring are the other pillars. The primary purpose of Pathways is to develop learning opportunities and programs and to re-culture our education system to value all learners, all choices, and all destinations.

The goal of Pathways K-12 is to provide learners with a variety of engaging learning opportunities (including Pathways Programs, contextualized learning experiences that incorporate real world situations, curriculum integration, and cross-curricular literacy and numeracy) and to facilitate the development of learners who know themselves (including the ability to identify strengths, accomplishments, and competencies) and are able to create a Pathways Plan to work towards their goals and future education and career opportunities.

Pathways Planning

Through Pathways we encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities provided in elementary and secondary school to know themselves, identify strengths, set educational and career goals and create a Pathways Plan to achieve them.

hdsb-oyap_programsThe Board offers more than 70 programs geared to meet individual needs, helping more students succeed in their chosen pathway after high school, whether they are pursuing apprenticeship, college, community, university or the workplace. The meetings provide information on how to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world, at the same time receiving a relevant and engaging education.

Registration to attend is not required and all are welcome.

The 6-8 p.m. meetings will be held at the following locations:

• Thursday January 12, 2017: Abbey Park High School, 1455 Glen Abbey Gate, Oakville
• Tuesday January 17, 2017: Georgetown District High School, 70 Guelph Street, Georgetown
• Thursday January 19, 2017: Milton District High School, 396 Williams Avenue, Milton
• Tuesday January 24, 2017: M.M. Robinson High School, 2425 Upper Middle Road, Burlington

Pathways programs include the

Specialist High Skills Major programs,

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs,

Specialty School to Career programs,

the Employ-ability Skills Certificate program,

Dual Credit college programs,

Grade 8-9 Transition programs.

Agenda for each night:

6:00-6:30 p.m. – Pathways displays and meet the Pathways Program teachers
6:30-7:15 p.m. – Pathways presentation (Programs & planning for post-secondary)
7:15-8 p.m. – Pathways displays and specific workshops.


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The bike lane debate really can wait.

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 26th, 2016



It has come to this:

On Dec 24, 2016, at 11:06 AM, philip waggett wrote:
Mr. Goldring & Mr. Dennison,

Back in August, I commented that the data collection along New Street was a “sham”, this was not a “test” but a fait accompli in which the bike lanes were now permanent. In fact two comments from the recent minutes of the Cycling Committee support this view.

In October, the Cycling Committee minutes reported “…Phase Two will look at the possibility of physcial separation of the bike lanes and car lanes…”; in November, the minutes reported, “Report that New Street will be going next fall”. Both of these comments indicate that the Cycling Committee believe that the New Street Bike Lanes are a permanent fixture–despite the widespread opposition of thousands of residents!!!!!

Further, the October minutes of this special interest lobby group reveal that $1800 of valuable taxpayers money was approved to buy “free(?) giveaways” at the inspire burlington event in November. The giveaways apparently promoted that “cycling is delightful”.

Why are valuable taxpayers resources being used for this purpose?

At 7:14 am Christmas Day Ward 4 city Councillor |Jack Dennison wrote

We will get input from Dan Ozimkovic traffic engineering when he returns from Christmas break. He has the details.

The new street bike lanes are absolutely not a done deal, it will depend on if there is a reduction in accidents in that stretch and not a significant increase in travel times, all of which will be reported on.

Phil, Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and yours

Our hope is that Jack was up at that hour with those that matter in his life. The bike lanes on New Street can just wait until the New Year,

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Lowville crowd celebrate the Winter Solstice

eventspink 100x100By Staff

December 24th, 2016



Before there can be a Christmas – there has to be a Winter Solstice; the day with the shortest number of daylight hours… or the longest number of darkness hours – totally your preference.

For the past four years Debra Pickfield’s Thinkspot in Lowville has celebrated both the Winter and Summer Solstice.


Getting ready to launch a sky lantern

On Wednesday, a surprisingly large crowd of 150+ gathered for a meal together, some activities for children, or simply decorating a sky lantern which they released at just after 8:30pm as a way of honouring what they were grateful for in 2016 and also what they wanted to release from 2016.


Launching the sky lanterns to celebrate the Winter Solstice

Watching those sky lanterns fill with warm air from a candle and they ascended majestically into the night sky was something to watch.


A sky lantern reaching for the winter sky.

People were asked to bring a donation of new socks and underwear that will be provided to individuals experiencing homelessness at shelters in our communities.

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Hours for city administrative, recreational and transit services.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 22, 2016



Most of us are rushing to get tasks done that just have to be done before we ease up for a few days away from what usually occupies us Monday to Friday,

City of Burlington administrative services will be closed from Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 until Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Parks and Recreation Programs and Facilities: Activities and customer service hours at city pools, arenas and community centres vary over the holidays.

For a complete listing of program times visit

For a complete listing of  service hours and customer service locations visit

Burlington Transit and Handi-Van Service Hours:

The Downtown Transit Terminal will be closed Dec. 25 and 26, 2016 as well as Jan. 1, 2017. It will be closed early (2 p.m.) on Dec. 24 and 31.

Date Service schedule/hours

Dec. 24 Service ends early at approximately 8 p.m.

Dec. 25 No service

Dec. 26 Saturday service hours

Dec. 27 to Dec. 30 Regular service

Dec. 31 Saturday service extended until approximately 2 a.m.

Jan. 1 No service

Roads and Parks Maintenance: The administrative office will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. Only winter control and emergency services will be provided.
Halton Court Services: Provincial Offences Courts in Milton and Burlington will be closed Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Parking: Free parking is available in the downtown core at all meters, municipal lots and the parking garage during the month of December and on Jan. 1, 2017.

NOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.

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Free contemporary dance workshop - January - mark it down.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 21, 2016



We need to get through Christmas – but when that is done – and if you have an appreciation for modern dance and would like to take part in a class – mark the date Tuesday, January 3 from 5:30pm – 7:00pm at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre

form-danceFORM Contemporary Dance is putting on a free workshop that will flow through various exercises to find avenues to access confidence, explore and express creative range and physicality.

Tuning awareness to the sensations, feelings, emotions and ideas that are naturally present and allowing them to blossom into breathtaking movement.

The people at FORM are remarkably creative – if dance is your thing they are as good as it gets.

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Residential construction just roaring ahead - commercial not as good.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 17, 2106



Call it intensification.

Call it developers knowing what a hot market looks like.

Call it money looking for a place to grow.

Whichever, the city is just a hustle and a bustle with residential building.


First of the five towers going up on Fairview next to the GO station and across the driveway from Walmart. This building is sold out.

There is the Paradigm on Fairview next to the GO station and across a driveway from Walmart that will definitely undergo an upgrade once the Paradigm condo owners start moving in. Expect to see Sushi in the coolers.


The Berkeley – first of three phase project.


Back hoes deepening the site for concrete pouring.

Just a bit south at the intersection of John and Caroline the first phase of the Berkeley has broken ground.

The 20 storey condominium is digging the hole in the ground and will begin pouring concrete doping the form work to be able to pour concrete.

This project consists of three buildings – the upscale 20 storey structure made up of three storey columned stone and precast podium from which will rise a 17-storey glass tower condominium. The residential building will front on to Pine Street. On Caroline, the northern boundary of the development plans are for a multi-storey building to be known as MedicaOne. In between the two here will be an eight floor parking garage that will have a grass roof.

It has taken some time to get this project to the point where construction could begin. One of the issues was getting hydro to the site. The developer was expected to pay for the full cost of hauling the necessary power lines from the substation on Lakeshore Road up to the project. Anyone building between the development at John and Caroline and Lakeshore was going to be able to tap into the lines the Carriage Gate people had paid for – which wasn’t quite the way Nick Carnacelli saw it. He stood his ground.


Parking levels for the Bridgewater are being completed – a single garage will serve all three buildings with the entrance off the bottom of Elizabeth street.

Moving further south – the parking levels that will serve the three buildings that will make up the Bridgewater development are now well under way. The parking levels will be four at the north end and three closer to the lake.

Bridgewater from lake on the east

An architect’s rendering of the Bridgewater project – seen from the lake.

Bridgewater is another three structure development all attached to each other with a shared underground parking arrangement.

The 22 story condominium that will set a record for height in this city. It was defied as a “legacy” site when it was approved in the mid 90’s. No one has ever explained what it means to be a legacy; some think it was the crack that opens the door to really high – high rise.

All this got done when then Mayor Walter Mulkewich wore the chain of office.

The assembly of the land with the related zoning changes began in 1985. One needs to be patient to develop in Burlington.

Bridgewater Aerial-rendering-1024x758

The public portion of the Bridgewater project seen in the center

There will be an eight storey Marriott hotel and a seven storey condominium south of the hotel. The entrance to the hotel will be on Elizabeth Street.

There will be an opening on Lakeshore Road between the hotel and the condominium that will give the public access to open space that will lead right to the water’s edge.

The 22 storey’s did catch the attention of other developers who are pushing for 26 storeys across the street and other developers who talk privately about 40 storey structures along Lakeshore – there are after all those wonderful views of the Lake. How high up do they have to go to be able to see Niagara Falls?


On a cold Friday the only people working on construction sites were those doing back hoe work. Here shale is being broken up on the Saxony site.

Head west where the Saxony is also digging away. They are chipping through shale for the three levels of parking that will be put in for the five storey structure.

Saxony early version - classical

The Saxony was one of those project that went through with hardly a hitch – and sold out without even opening up a sales office.

To get a sense as to just how hot the Burlington market is – the Saxony rented space in the Sims building – kitty corner from the construction site, for a sales office. They didn’t even have to open up a sales office – the units were sold out before they could get any furniture in.

The Saxony has done a superb job of creating a high end property that includes a small theatre. Residents will be able to reserve the theatre to show a recent release movie to friends. Can’t you just see a bunch of the guys gathering to watch the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs – again, in what will be a private theatre?

This is probably not one of the measure s used to make Burlington the Best mid-sized city in the country. It is a hop skip and a small jump from the Pier that we paid twice the price that we expected to pay.

With the city well into the first week of winter, which doesn’t begin officially until Wednesday of next week – there wasn’t any concrete pouring being done on any of the sites.

Just too darn cold.


It was a Friday and it was cold. The men who build the forms and direct the pouring of concrete didn’t want to work – so they didn’t. The Paradigm has sold out on two of the first three towers going up on this five tower site.

The city is probably ahead of the intensification target it was given – what we aren’t seeing are office towers where people who live in the city can work.

Construction is going great guns – economic development – not nearly as well. Has the Economic Development Corporation got any announcements in the pipeline?

The vinyl record pressing operation that is about to be fully operational certainly wasn’t impressed with what the city did for them.

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Burchill: growing strong relationships takes time so relax, take a deep breath and smile.

marketingmoneymojoBBy James Burchill

December 16, 2016



As odd as it sounds, some people would rather die than walk into a room of strangers and talk to them! It makes no logical sense to me, but deep in the shadow of my childhood fears, I can still hear my mother’s warning, “Don’t talk to strangers!”

Decades later that modern “monster under the bed” still grabs our feet making us recoil horrified at the prospect of speaking to a room full of strangers. Instead we slip quietly into the room. Avoiding eye-contact, we slink toward the back of the room, anywhere but out in the open where the people are!

We fiddle with our phones, we pretend we’re busy. We distract ourselves, all the while feeling frustrated at our weakness. Our lack of courage. Our inaction. If we’re not careful that feeling will chase us from the room, once again confirming our belief “networking isn’t for us.” It’s a vicious cycle and something to avoid.

Firstly you need to give your head a shake. People don’t bite – unless you’re at a “special party” and the bartender is wearing rubber … in which case you’ve lost me and I suggest you move along – there’s nothing to see here.


When the finish with their texting – they might manage to network.

But if you’re at a B2B networking event where people are clothed in business attire, chatting in small groups to other people of similar dress, then you’re definitely in the right place and there are some things you need to remember.

(1) People go to networking events to talk to other people. They want to connect. They want to know each other. They want to discover commonalities – that’s how it works.

(2) Everyone gets nervous. It’s normal, it means you give a damn – you care. You want to do good, to make a positive impression. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs. That’s good. Just don’t let the “nerves” stop you. Slowly take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then slowly exhale. Smile as you do it. Now put one foot in front of the other and walk into the room.

(3) Its’ NOT about selling. People get too hung up on the idea you’re supposed to be some super salesman. That’s all wrong, it’s about connecting not convincing. It’s about finding common ground, not working the room. When you meet people you simply smile, extend your hand and say, “Hello, my name is James, what do you do?” Of course I recommend you use your own name …

(4) You’re not interrupting. When you walk up to a small group of people pay attention to their body language and facial expressions. If the group seems ‘open,’ stand at the edge and listen. Smile. Wait for it … Someone will invite you in. Then you do the whole ‘stick out your hand, smile and say “Hello, my name is …”‘ and take if from there. If the group is closed or it’s only two people with their feet pointing toward each other then smile and move on. Basically it’s all about manners – don’t intrude and don’t be rude. Simple.

(5) Make it about them. If you forget everything else, remember this: MAKE IT ABOUT THEM. Because soon enough they’ll make it about you if you ask good questions. Be curious. Find out what they do. Listen. Pay a genuine compliment when you can. Avoid the touchy topics like looks, clothing, sex, politics and religion. Try to compliment their work. For instance, I love it when people figure out how much time I spend writing and say something nice about how I make it look easy.


It’s about making the connections – there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.

Remember, at the end of the day networking isn’t about working the room, it’s about turning a roomful of strangers into friends … one person at a time. And be patient, growing strong relationships takes time so relax, take a deep breath and smile.

Oh, and one parting thought for you … I’m not an extrovert, I’m introverted. Introverts aren’t incapable of networking – we just do it differently. It’s not all about the wow, it’s about the now – being present and truly connecting with people. Many extroverts draw their energy and enthusiasm from the room (which is often why it’s not as hard for them to network.) Most introverts draw their energy from within – which is why it’s often so draining afterwards but equally rewarding.


Some of the best small business networking done in Burlington is at the SFN – Social Fusion Networking that Gazette columnist James Burchill sponsors. He packs a pretty good crowd in the Performing Arts Centre

I guess what I want you take away is that you’ve probably been thinking about networking in the wrong way. Forget the sales pitches. Make friends. Take is easy. Take a breath. Smile. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert doesn’t matter … I’m a Gemini – so what right? Precisely. Have some fun and for the umpteenth time … SMILE, they won’t bite … unless the bartender is wearing rubber in which case you’re own your own bucko!

burchill-jamesJames Burchill is the founder of Social Fusion Network – an organization that helps local business connect and network.  He also writes about digital marketing, entrepreneurship and technology and when he’s not consulting, he teaches people to start their own ‘side hustle.’

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Christmas Collage - at the Rotary Pond in Spencer Smith Park - 7:30 Friday

eventspink 100x100By Staff

December 15, 2017



Mercedes-Benz Burlington presents a Christmas Collage Ice Show that will be performed at the Rotary Centennial Pond at Spencer Smith Park Burlington.


The Christmas Collage is becoming a popular event in Burlington

The event is scheduled for Friday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m.

An ice performance showcasing local youth talent. The one hour choreographed ice show encompasses 7 ice sports; figure skating, synchronized skating, speed skating, ringette, hockey, sledge hockey and curling.


Great time to tour the Festival of Lights set up throughout Spencer Smith Park.

This is the third year the ‘Christmas Collage’ has featured by local youth at the Rotary Centennial Pond in Burlington.

This is a great opportunity to walk through all the Festival of Lights decorations spread throughout Spencer Smith Park

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Glad Tidings feeds 350 +; a real community dinner.

Event 100By Pepper Parr

December 15th 2016



They do it every year – and each year it has grown to the point where there are very few seats available.

The event caters to part of the North West part of the city from Brant over to Guelph Line and north of the QEW the Glad Tidings Christmas dinner.

A community organizer working out of the Community Development Halton offices has built a support system that engages young people and watches out for single parents, people at risk and those who need a different kind of care.


Part of the more than 350 people who enjoyed a Christmas dinner at Glad Tidings church.

Luke who lives just off Palmer Drive and takes great pleasure in pushing the traffic light button for people is in the room. He recognizes people but is quite shy – until you reach out to give him a hug and he returns an embrace that is as real as they get.


Risha Burke

It took the organizing energy and genius of Risha Burke to create a network of churches and community groups that hadn’t worked all that well before.

There isn’t an event that comes anywhere near what this group gets done.


The food just kept on coming – so did the people.

Several years ago, when funds were being sought from the city to maintain the staffing that was in place – other council members (no need to name them) objected to this kind of work being paid for by the city. Social welfare was a Regional responsibility they said.

What Burke does amounts to building “social capacity” a structure that lets people help themselves and look out for each other. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the city.

There are churches that have good programs – St Luke’s Anglican is one – that tend to cater to the needs of the congregation. Glad Tiding, the church that hots the event, has a large congregation they also have one of the largest community halls in the city.

What they do works – other communities have picked up on parts of what Burke does but none of have created the reach and the depth.

The Christmas Dinner is just one event.

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Central high parents hold a big silent auction, listen to some really good vocals and generally enjoy themselves. And they raised $14,000

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 14, 2016



They are doing the best they can. Lawn signs are being handed out; T-shirts are being sold, petitions signed and last night they held a Silent Auction at Joe Dogs – these people want to keep Central high school open.


Dania Thurman, singing up a storm at the Central high Silent Auction at Joe Dogs.

They have handed out 850 signs and placed an order for another 500.

The Silent Auction raised $14,000


There was a very impressive Silent Auction offering – they raised $14,000 Is that a war chest?

Many just cannot understand why the school board has targeted their school for possible closure. For many this is their first time they have put their toe into the waters of local politics – some are finding it intimidating other think they might like to run for public office.

There are small splinter groups doing research and looking for answers to the questions raised by the Director of Education – what does he do about the 1800 empty classroom seats in the city’s seven high schools.

The #central strong crowd appreciates that the problem and thinks it exists because the boards planning department botched the job they are supposed to have done.


Reconsidering a bid during th Silent Auction

Those 1800 empty seats didn’t just pop up – the demographics of the city have been pretty stable, if anything there has been an increase in the number of people in the Alton community that were not predicted – the result of several families living in the same house. That pushed the Hayden high school numbers to 115% of the OTG – which is the number of seats a school was built to accommodate.

They have a problem with the way the process has gone so far. These parents have questions and feel that they have yet to have a real opportunity to have it out with the senior staff in a public setting. And, the senior people at the board have been ducking the occasions when they could be upfront and out-front with the parents.

The process has become a phrase that sticks in the craw of many parents – they feel they are being manipulated and want to be heard.


Lynn Crosby on the left looking over an item on the Silent auction tables.

There are all kinds of solutions being tossed around – change the boundaries – realign the elementary schools that feed into the different high schools are just a few of the solutions parents are talking about. Many, and these are people with first class professional credentials, think there is a solution that is better for the board of education and a better solution for the city and the parents in the community.

There are those who are close to flaming mad but the community seems to have managed to keep them under control.

With data from the first meeting in hand the parents from Central high are able to dig in and start crafting the solutions that will get sent to the PARC.

And where do the trustees stand in all this? There are some of the Burlington trustees who are way in over their heads – the voters in Burlington are going to think a lot differently about who they elect as school board trustees in 2018. Turns out it is an important job – most people have not seen it that way.

Some are wondering just how their ideas are going to get to the PARC and how the PARC is going to respond. Will there be a dialogue between the PARC and the parents or will it be up to the school representatives to discuss ideas with the parents.


Members of the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) committee holding a quickie meeting after the first public meeting last week.

The PARC committee meetings are open to the public – no delegations apparently – but given who Central high has representing them – expect ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward to come up with some innovative thoughts on a better way to work through the issues.

Interesting political gambit here as well. Meed Ward was chosen by the parents to represent their interests.
The city was invited to send a representative and chose the city manager.

Should Meed Ward run for the Office of the Mayor and win – she will then work with James Ridge on a day to day basis running the city. And should Med Ward win – it will be run a lot differently than it has in the past 10 years. Is the current city manager up to that task?

It will be interesting to see how that works out.

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Centennial pool to close for maintenance January 1 to 8

notices100x100By Staff

December 14th, 2106



Centennial Pool will be closed for maintenance starting Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017 and will re-open on Sunday, Jan. 8.

To find other swim locations and times, please visit

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The Bandits have been sold, re-branded and are now the Herd. They will play at the Barn - which is the Nelson sports field.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 13th, 2016



They came to town as the Twins, were sold and became the Bandits.

The Intercounty Baseball League team has been sold again and is now to be known as the Burlington Herd.
After five seasons as the Burlington Bandits, the 2017 season will mark the beginning of a new era for Intercounty baseball in the Halton Region with the renamed Burlington Herd, the team announced on Tuesday morning.

Herd was selected to pay homage to the Burlington Organized Minor Baseball Associations 60th anniversary and their premier rep program nicknamed the Bulls.


Will new ownership and a new name make a difference in the box score? The new owners intend to give it all they’ve got.

Along with a new nickname and logo, the Intercounty Baseball Club has announced a transfer of ownership from Scott Robinson to local Burlington residents Ryan Harrison, Jason McKay and Dan Pokoradi.

“Our group is very excited to continue IBL baseball in Burlington” said new IBL Burlington President Ryan Harrison. “Myself along with our board member have a passion for baseball in the city and believe with continued support from the City of Burlington, BOMBA and other local baseball organizations, we can build this team as a destination on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons.”

A tribute to the history of baseball in Burlington, the “Herd” signifies the unification of two current baseball entities within the city. The new identity encompasses the Bulls theme, starting with the team colors of navy blue, yellow and white and continuing with the familiar Bull logo.

“Our goal was to give the baseball fans of Burlington a team and identity they can call their own,” said Herd President Ryan Harrison. “Burlington is full of traditions woven into the fabric of the city, and this new tradition will be something local and iconic and celebrate what makes Burlington and Minor League Baseball so great: family and fun.”

The new on-field cap will feature a stylized “B” for Burlington on a navy and yellow hat.

Bandits - Gould opening pitch

Burlington MP Karina Gould throwing out the first pitch. She will need a new jersey next season.

“We wanted to create a name and a brand that allowed the heart of this city to shine through it,” said Harrison. “While we take our responsibility to provide affordable family entertainment very seriously, we also want to embrace the fun which permeates through Burlington. We will continue to create a festive atmosphere with great partners in a clean, immaculate environment where you can bring your family.”

The Herd take the field for the first time on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the Barn (Nelson Park). Season tickets and group packages are now on sale by calling (905) 630-9036 or by visiting the team’s new website, The Herd can be followed on social media platforms (“iblherd”), including

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School board releases data on parent's views about school closings

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

December 13, 2016



Somebody changed their mind – and that is healthy.  The school board has released the data gathered at the public meeting last Thursday.

The Gazette attended the first really public meeting of the PARC Program Accommodation Review Committee that was created to provide comment on the Boards decision to close two of the city’s high schools.

Lester B. Pearson and Central high school were marked for closure because the city had more than 1800 seats that were not occupied.

The meeting was boisterous but serious questions were asked and the audience of more than 350 dutifully clicked the devices they were given to record the answers.

Given the number of parents from Central, 58.6%  of those who voted on the questions asked, the data is going to be somewhat skewed but a close read of all the data suggests that parents from the other high schools could feel much the same way.

Bateman sign smallerWith 2 votes from Robinson; 7 from Aldershot and 5 from Bateman- it is difficult to get a sense as to what they think or feel.

That they don’t feel they are at risk and that the problem doesn’t impact them is not the smartest position to take.

All the data is now publicly available and parents can begin to do their own analysis.

The Gazette wants to thank the school board for making the data available.

It can be found at LINK.

Related articles:
Why the board didn’t want to release the data.


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Joe Dogs is going to let Central high school parents gas up

Event 100By Staff

December 13th, 2106



If you live in the downtown core.

And if you are at all concerned about what happens to Burlington’s Central high school – scoot on to Joe Dogs Gas Bar and take part in some fine entertainment and a Silent auction.

Marianne Meed Ward, the council member for ward 2 and a member of the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) that will be giving the Director of Education some advice will probably not make the event – she will be stuck in council chamber listening to the 27 people expected to delegate at city hall.

She could make it for the last round.


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Parks and Recreation wants public input before it sends it final report to city council - have your say on-line.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 12, 2016



The City of Burlington is asking residents to share their input on a proposed event strategy for the city through an online survey. A link to that survey is at the end of this article.

Last March, hundreds of residents and event organizers shared their ideas and feedback with the Parks and Recreation department through stakeholder meetings and an online survey, about how to shape a future approach to festivals and events in Burlington, They fashioned an early sage strategy and now want feedback from the public to learn if the proposed strategy reflects their thoughts and ideas.

Current experience poster

The meeting facilitator used a much different approach to recording the data gathered.

The proposed strategy touches on many aspects of the delivery of festivals and events in the community, including:

• The types of events held in the city
• The location of events in the city
• Funding for events.

The proposed event strategy will be presented to Burlington City Council in early 2017.

The city’s 25 year Strategic Plan supports festivals and events of all sizes and annually hosts three Top 100 Festivals and Events in Ontario. Burlington directly delivers a small number of events with the majority of events being delivered by the community for the community. Festival and event organizers are supported by the city as they enrich our community, create a sense of belonging and support our strategic goals of A City that Grows, A City that Moves, A Healthy and Greener City and An Engaging City.

A number of factors including the city’s natural beauty make Burlington a desirable location to host events. All stakeholders in the city have an expectation that the city’s assets and resources are used responsibly and reflect the best interests for the greater good. A number of trends have highlighted the importance of having an event strategy including:

Interest in a variety of events
Increased attendance at events
Concerns with profit events on public land
Safety and legislative requirements for event organizers
Community consultation for new events
Concerns with events in Burlington requiring admission fees

There is a historical approach applied to the acceptance of events hosted within Spencer Smith Park; is it time or that to change. Spencer Smith Park and some downtown roads have reached capacity and there is now a desire for a balanced approached to potentially expand events to other areas in our city.


The decision to turn the Beachway into a very different Regional Park that will be managed by the city will impact what Parks and Recreation decides how it is going to manage its budget. The planned park is massive in size.

Assuming all the planning being done to create a totally different Beachway the city will have a lot more space to locate events. It will be sometime before the public sees anything really new – but the plans to gut what currently exists in the Beachway and turn it into something significantly different are in place.

Coming up with a longer term plan and then a strategy to put that plan work is something Parks and Recreation has been working on for some time.

Event Strat table group - Sean Kenney

Despite a pretty decent turn out the participants in the workshop type setting didn’t come up with very much in the way of ideas.

The event held in March showed a lot of initiative and innovation on the part of the Parks and Recreation staff – but they got very little from the audience they had invited to take part.

The “legacy stake holders” were in the room to ensure that the way things were working for them didn’t get changed – when it was change that the city wanted.

Ribfest has been in Spencer Smith Park for more than 20 years – there are people at city hall think that might be due for a change. Ribfest is a Rotary event and one doesn’t advance a career at city hall going against the Rotary flow – Burlington has four different Rotary organizations in this city.

Sound of Music has been around for a long time – it is one of the best festivals in the province and consistently takes awards – which are usually handed out by the organizations that run awards across the province – a little on the self-serving side.

However, it is a stunning event and draws very well. Parks and recreation wants to know if it can be better.

They also want to see what they can do to organize events that are not in Spencer Smith Park. So far they haven’t come up with much in the way of new ideas and that meeting in March didn’t add anything useful.

Beard studious

Denise Beard, one of the managers within Parks and Recreation is one of the best thinkers in the department. She organized the event.

Parks and Recreation does have a challenge – the survey is one of the ways they are looking for reaction from the public on some ideas they are developing.

What doesn’t appear to have occurred to Parks and Recreation is looking for ways to partner with community groups that are developing a market for events.

The Lowville Festival – heading into its third year has shown that there is a market for what they have developed – now they need some facilities support and some early stage financial support – just the way the Sound of Music did when it started as a city run event.

Link to the survey

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The good ship Burlington Tory Blue is leaking like a sieve - not a word from McKenna the former MPP who won the nomination by 41 votes

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 10th, 2016



More on that Progressive Conservative nomination scandal

“Despite the party announcing on October 3rd the nomination meeting in Burlington would be before Dec 31st, they tweeted out on Oct 17th that McKenna would be acclaimed.

“Despite multiple attempts for an interview, the party did not agree to interview Jane Michael until Nov 22nd (4 days before the scheduled nomination meeting), and didn’t actually approve her until Nov 25th at 6pm- 16 hours before voting started. She sold 900 memberships which meant she only had 16 hours (including sleeping hours) to call all her members.

Cam Jackson: Election night 2010

Would this nomination scandal have taken place on Cam Jackson’s watch?

Jane McKenna did not need to have an interview, she was a former MPP. Many of Jane Michael’s supporters called her complaining they received a call from Jane McKenna indicating that she received access to the membership list after November 11 (the membership sales cut-off date for the nomination). Michael’s did not receive a copy of the membership list.

We learn that before the nomination election was called the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association has just 200 members on its list but that they have very close to $20,000 in the bank.

For an association that once owned the Burlington constituency there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of a local organization. Nothing lean or healthy about it.

The request that the nomination race be re-done is embarrassing and leaves mud on the shoes of the organization no matter what the party decision.


Patrick Brown will be working the telephones next week – got a mess to clean up in Burlington.

It is going to take some time to clean up that mess, fortunately or the Tory’s the Liberal government has got its hands full with some sticky issues. Time for the Blues to quietly re-build and then bring Patrick Brown into town and showcase the man.

But clean up the mess first.  The video that came out of the nomination meeting was all too telling.  It came from a card carrying member of the association – there are people who want to clean it up.

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