Rivers forsakes his keyboard and takes to the stage – performs in Modern Times.

November 28, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  Ray Rivers will not be with us this week.  He will be on stage at The Pearl Theatre in Hamilton as part of the crew performing Modern Times, Almost a Musical.

The production is described as – these are their words not ours – Lost souls, smart phones, unattended packages. Saints, sinners, and an angel on call. Original music performed by Charly Chiarelli and Venesio De Salvo. Drama provided by Ray Rivers, Mike Queripel, John Darling, and Kaime Woody Sherman. Written and directed by David Laing Dawson. Produced by Gallery on the Bay.

A play that asks the question, “Is it possible to love Rob Ford and Mike Duffy at the same time, and, if not, well, who wants that last piece of pumpkin pie?”

Sounds like a bit of a lark for sure.  If you’re a Rivers fan – and there are a lot of them – attend.  If you’re not a fan and there are a lot of those as well, attend and throw buns on the stage.  It’s all happening at The Pearl in Hamilton

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Atwood to speak at RBG evening of November 28th She will focus on her “enthralling dystopian trilogy.”

November 16, 2013

By  Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  This is what you would call a `”coup” The Different Drummer is bringing Margaret Atwood to town.  The Drummer along with, Bryan Prince Bookseller and Random House of Canada will have Atwood at  Royal Botanical Gardens on Thursday, November 28  7pm


Margaret Atwood; one of the country’s finest writers.

Ian Elliott, the guy behind the counter at the Drummer is “deeply honoured” to announce what is a  rare local appearance by an international, leading literary figure.

Atwood will discuss her work and the issues at the heart of the final volume in her enthralling dystopian trilogy, MaddAddam.

Tickets are $10.  Please contact us at (905) 639 0925 or diffdrum@mac.com to reserve. 


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Business is meeting people – meeting people is good business – both happening Thursday at BPAC

October 6th, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   Do you know where you are going to be at about 5:00 pm on Thursday October 10th?  You might want to be at the Business Week – Social Fusion Networking & Trade Show and mix with some 500 odd avid networkers at the Performing Arts Centre.

Who will you have the opportunity to meet with?  Small business people, trades and services people for the most part.  There are the regulars who use the occasion to keep in touch with a large group of people at one location.  There isn’t a bar in town where you are going to be able to network with hundreds – and all of them sober.

Social Fusion Network’s first trade show and meet up at the performing Arts Centre – well attended.

Run by James Burchill, the Social Fusion Networking group is for people and businesses doing business in Burlington Ontario. SFN Burlington (aka BiB – Business in Burlington) is not the Chamber of Commerce. There are no memberships, no fees, no agenda – just show up and you’re in.

Burchill, a shameless promoter, defines himself as Marketing Strategist • Author • Trainer • Speaker. He has done what a lot of independent people set out to do and that is find a niche he can work and grow.  On occasion he has had a flashy red Ferrari parked outside the location he is using; some lucky person will get a chance to drive the thing.

Burchill – regularly in the Gazette

Burchill also writes a column for the Gazette where he tends to assuage his technical bent.  Type the word Mojo into the search box – and you get to see everything the man has written for us.  His take on Tweet going public was interesting and his background on wearable devices are both worth a read.

For the Business Week event the marketing angle is a cool $500 cash gift.  You have to be in the room to personally take that cash home.

Many people wonder – are these events worth the time?  There are just under 2000 people who have registered with the Network and show up on an infrequent basis.  Originally held at the Waterfront Hotel Burchill had to find a venue with more room and is now at the Ivy Kitchen and Bar on the South Service Road.

Burchill probably has the best collection of relevant business cards in the city.

Finding the metric that tells if the event worked or not isn’t as simple as counting the number of people who came through the door.  There is nothing for people to actually buy – other than a drink at one of the most impressive bars in the city, so there are no sales numbers.  How any people return – something in the range of 250 – 350 each month; on occasion it climbs higher.

One of the indicators that says a lot is the number of people who commented on the event on the web site – there were 321 feedbacks for the first trade show.  I didn’t see anything negative when I scrolled through.

This “trade show” is the second Burchill has held.  The take up on this event has been better than that of the first – so he is on to something.  The Gazette met a woman at one of the MeetUps who now writes a regular column for us – and we didn’t even have to buy a ticket to get in.  So for us, networking clearly works.

Burchill has taken to calling his operation the Social Fusion Network – it works and the five $100 bills he is waving in the air may turn out to be the enticement that moves his numbers up.

Is the event worth the time – yeah it is something you want to take in.  Don’t break a great dinner date opportunity to get there but if you’re looking for a place to relax a bit and have a cool one as James would say – drop in.  Starts just after 5 pm – runs till 7:30. Bring your wallet – you might need a place to stash the cash.

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Some of the most imaginative and amazing beds raced up Brant Street last Sunday.

September 22, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was the 4th Annual.  They shut down the lower part of Brant Street to let it happen and happen it did.  The Amazing Bed Race, a fund-raiser for the Joseph Brant Hospital’s redevelopment saw a number of new entrants.  Smith Funeral Homes took the Best Entry prize for an imaginative entry.

They called themselves the Overtakers and along with earning the Best Entry prize they got into the quarter finals as well. The knocked off the Mike Wallace Tories in an elimination race only to be knocked off by the Jane McKenna Tory’s in the next elimination. Great fun.

Not only did the “vehicle” tell the corporate story but it made it to the quarter finals as well.  Calling it a bed was a bit of a stretch though.

The crowd for this event – well it could have been bigger because it was good entertainment.  The teams push and they push hard.  As the elimination races began to take place there was a run off between “beds” from two landscaping outfits – and they were competing in every sense of the word.

The event is a fund-raiser but one got the impression there was a lot of corporate image on the line.  The Tories were all over this event as well.  MP Mike Wallace, looking very trim, lead his team while Jane McKenna, who was away at a Tory provincial convention, was led by a team done up in major blue costumes.

There wasn’t a Liberal or a New Democrat to be seen.  The Greens weren’t to be seen either.

The McKenna Tory team, in their sleek blue costumes, edged out the Smith Funeral Overtakers in the elimination races.

This one wasn’t a race – it was more of a route. The patient looks pretty concerned about the runner

Leggat Mazda had to push past the 007’s to get themselves to the finals – which they did.

The BayHawks Soccer Team beat out the team from the hospital and went on to give the automotive people who were eventually the two finalists a very good run.

Mike Wallace has probably never run as hard in his life. Valiant effort but the Overtakers laid the Wallace team to rest.

That looks like a tie – but it didn’t end that way. The bank lost out the hospital team.

The tone for the event was set by the judges who apparently didn’t take themselves all that seriously.

If you pushed a stroller – you were a winner.

Good clean starts

The finalists getting out of the starting gate. Acura on Brant beat Leggat Mazda in a well run race.

The races begin with time trials.  Each “bed” runs the short course twice, which then sets them up for the races that lead to one final event which for Burlington this year came down to two automotive dealers racing against each other.  The McKenna bed and the Smith Funeral bed hung in right to the end.

Good clean fun – with a camera crew coming uncomfortably close to being wiped out on more than one occasion.

The rules require each bed to stay in its lane, which, given the steering mechanism on these “beds”, made that somewhat difficult.

With four years’ experience behind then – this could become an even more significant event, with the high schools running against each other, the political parties fighting for supremacy and the city’s corporate sector out there in force.

Could city hall challenge the Region?  Could Roseland challenge Aldershot?  Could some of the golf clubs challenge one another.  Lots of room for growth on this one.

The Stroller races were a delight – there was one girl who figured out quickly how to get her stroller up that course quick,quick, quick.  She tilted her stroller back onto the rear wheels and let it fly.

For the 2013 Amazing Bed Race it came down to Acura on Brant beating LeggatMazda in the final race.

The event is presented by Scotiabank and organized by the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation and the Rotary Club of Burlington North. In its first three years the event raised over $272,000.

Teams are formed and either makes their own bed or rents a bed from the organization then they get out and do their fund raising.

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Competition for the book audience at the end of the month. Local author Turpin Myers launches “Nightswimming”.

September 21, 21013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  Sunday the 29th is going to be a busy day for the book lovers.  A Different Drummer Books has author Shelly Sanders in their shop  celebrating the publication of a new entry in her superb historical fiction series for young people, The Rachel Trilogy.

Rachel’s Promise, taking place in Shanghai and St. Petersburg in the early 20th century, continues the vivid saga begun last year with Rachel’s Secret, drawing upon Shelly’s own extraordinary family history.

Rachel’s Promise on Sunday, September 29 at 2pm, right in the bookshop.  Admission is free, everyone is welcome, refreshments will be served.  

Janet Turpin Myers, local author launches her first title at the end of the month.

Local author Janet Turpin Myers will be holding the local launch of her first title “Nightswimming” on the same date and at the same time.  It’s a private event but if you know Janet – pop her a note and she will find a way to squeeze you in.

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A slam and ten rooms – or is it ten rooms and a slam? Apparently there is No Vacancy. Culture in Burlington.

September 17, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Last July the Burlington Slam Project celebrated five years of monthly poetry slams in this city.   That’s an impressive number and impressive enough to convince the Canada Council to send some coin their way.

This month, with the generous support of our favourite local pub, The Black Bull; we are able to offer the winner of our first slam of the season a $100 CASH PRIZE.   Second prize is a  generous gift certificate to the Black Bull Neighborhood Pub itself.

Poets read and the audience judges. If you like what you hear – you clap loudly. And if you think you have something to say – sign up and take the mike.

What’s a Poetry Slam?  It’s a competition judged by the audience.  They are held in cities all over the world – San Francisco, New York, Dallas, Madrid, New Zealand, Hamilton and Burlington.

It’s the kind of thing you’ve gotta be in the room to fully appreciate.  You never know who is going to say what.  Every month there is Open Mic – anyone can sign up and share anything for 5 minutes.  There is usually a feature artist to really rock the show.

Thursday evening the event will be The P.O.E. (Poetically Organized Entity); Hatched: 1981, on planet Aggression; Parents: Sarcasm, Spite; Occupation: Articulation; Special Skills: Speed, rhymes and rage.  Points of Note: Beaten, ship full of hip hop awards.  Quote: “I’m just some weirdo whose axis is off kilter, whose half assed practice has enough skill to kill ya“

Raw, straight from the heart performances – some are exceptionally good.

The Poetically Organized Entity (P.O.E.) is James Owen Brown. A slam poet from Hamilton Ontario, he has competed nationally at the Canadian Festival of Spoken word twice and been a semi-finalist. He has been a finalist at the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam and was the first ever winner of Last Poet Standing. In 2012 P.O.E. won the title of Grand Slam Champion of Toronto as well as the first ever Champion of Champions Cup. He has released a chapbook of poems called “More Poetiker Than Ever”. Typically P.O.E.’s style is very intense and aggressive. His hip hop background comes through in most pieces and his use of pop culture references to help clarify the abstract has made him a southern Ontario favourite.

If you’ve a taste for an appreciation of the English language – give it a try.

Thursday is a full night – but you can cover the No Vacancy in the ten rooms event at the Waterfront, runs from 6 to 9, and then scoot up Guelph Line and take in the Slam at the Black Bull

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Terry Fox Run exceeds both participation and financial goals met last year.

September 16, 2013

By Staff

The Burlington Terry Fox Run took in over $72,000 which slightly ahead of last year. The final tally, won’t be known for several weeks but there were more than 1000 participants and 140 volunteer.

Casey Cosgrove talks with Deb Tymstra about the crowd he brought with him to the 2013 Terry Fox Run.

Run Warriors – it is this age group that shows up year after year.

When they burn up the energy – the need to refill those tanks. Hot dog stand was where most people ended up.

when you cross that finish line – a cup of water is real welcome. The Terry Fox organization in Burlington covers all the bases.

The Run done – this family re-groups and gets ready to head home – a good job done and some lessons learned.

The Remembering Board tells a large part of what the Terry Fox Run is all about.

A really special team – Casey Cosgrove and his supporters.

Don Carmichael, chair of the 2013 Run said he thought the atmosphere was great and operations were smooth.

The changes to the course and parking seemed to have worked well. “We disappointed a few people” said Carmichael, “when we eliminated bikes but the big crowd just makes it impossible to have them.” The organization is already thinking about how to keep growing and improving the Run Day experience. We are looking forward to next year as we build toward the 35th anniversary in 2015.

The organization added a feature this year that many found touching.  Deb Tymstra did live interviews with people on the Beachway Park grounds giving them an opportunity to tell their story; why they were taking part in the Run and what it meant to them.

In July 1980 Terry Fox ran through Burlington. He left deep foot prints and every year, for a little while, we get to follow those foot prints and run with him again. Sunday morning more than 1000 Burlingtonians followed those footsteps and raised more than $72,000 for Cancer Research, slightly ahead of last year. 

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Farm Day: It’s a small farm that is no longer operational but a good opportunity to give kids a chance to see what farming was like.



September 4, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The whole idea of a farm – that place where the food is grown and the livestock cared for is something many of today’s young people just don’t get.

For today’s kids – food comes from the supermarket or more basically – it’s in the fridge isn’t it?

There was a time when Burlington was the fruit basket for the city.  All of what we know today as Maple Avenue was fruit farms; there is a reason for calling part of Burlington The Orchard and Pepper Drive wasn’t after me – it was a place where peppers, red, green and yellow were grown.

Burlington Mall was farm land where fruit was grown.

All those farms were in time bought up by developers and either commercial operations or housing was constructed.  The “old money” in Burlington is in the pockets of those farmers who suddenly found themselves wealthy beyond their wildest imaginings when the developers came calling.

This is what Burlington was once all about.

All the farmers put their produce on wagons and, before they all had tractors,  the fruit and some vegetables were taken by horse-drawn equipment to what we today call Freeman Station but what was then the Burlington Junction station located right beside the large Freeman property.

How do you teach people what farming was all about?  It was hard work and the crop you took in depended totally on the weather, which didn’t always cooperate.

The Region has saved a couple of locations that were once very prosperous farms. The Regional Museum is built into what was once a barn.

The  Alexander Family Farm takes place each year just after school goes back. Takes place Sunday, September 8, 2013 – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Halton Region Museum.

There was a time when much of Burlington was orchards or fields of vegetables. The orchard is on the north side of Dundas, west of Guelph Line.

Admission: Children – Free; Adults (18 & older) $5.00

What will they do when they get there? Create – Play – Explore – Dance

There will be a   “Nose-to-Beak” Birds of Prey show. Kids will get a chance to help create the Museum’s piece of the Quilt Trail.  There will be a Geocache Challenge, a Discovery Hunt, a Farm Game challenges.


What was once a family farm is now the location of the Regional Museum and where Halton’s  annual farm day takes place.

A chance to do some “Pioneer Chores” – no live stock at the museum so there won’t be any mucking out of stalls and there are no chickens so hen houses don’t have to be cleaned out.

A chance to do some farm crafts and a visit to the Blacksmith Shop – and if they don’t know what that is – explain that it has nothing to do with face painting.

And finally there will be a Pond Study

Food and beverages are being provided by the Rotary Club of Milton.  Food & beverage subject to additional charges/fees.

There will be dancing and singing along to tunes of:   Groovin’ Toons, original & familiar kid’s tunes with a groove and Turkey Rhubarb.

If you’re one of those that gets to events like this early in the day you will see the start of the a mass-participation cycling event that  is expected to bring 3,000 recreational cyclists to Halton Region for its inaugural event.

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