The Lego Movie to be featured at Emerson Park FREE movie night – Thursday.

Event 100By Staff

June 22, 2014


Dinner is done, school is over so getting the kids to bed on time doesn’t matter all that much anymore . Taking in an outdoor movie late in the week at a local park sounds like a good idea.  The Rocca Sisters and Associates, a local real estate firm, are sponsoring what they are calling a Stars under the Stars family movie night that will take place at Emerson Park located in north east Burlington.

Lego movieIt is the first FREE outdoor movie night taking place on June 26th at 7:30pm. Several food truck operations will be on hand: SWOT (Sandwiches with a Twist) and Fro Go Xpress are confirmed.

The featured blockbuster film The Lego Movie is a sure hit – even if it has already been see.

Emerson Park is at 2390 Sutton Drive, Burlington

Funds raised through sponsorship dollars, partial proceeds through food truck sales and donations the night of the event will be going to the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

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Local stained glass artist to exhibit – she is AGOG

Event 100By Staff

June 21, 2014


Confluence poster - AGOG - SeatonWe don’t normally promote events that don’t take place in Burlington but one of the city’s very talented stained glass artists is showing at the event – she is well worth the drive to Dundas.

Teresa Seaton is one of the driving forces behind the annual Art in Action studio tour and is heavily involved in the Arts and Cultural Collective that has come into being the past 18 months and serves as the voice of the arts community.

AGOG – Artistic Group of Glass was formed to share ideas and work cooperatively to raise awareness of their original art.  As fine glass artists they strive to perfect their craftsmanship and push beyond the limitations of craft stereotypes.

It’s an art form that may not be for everyone but if you want to see what a group of artists has done with what we have all seen in our churches – you might want to put this event on your calendar.

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The provincial election from a Burlington perspective.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 12, 2014


It was a healthy crowd.  They were attentive and at Nelson High to listen to a debate between Progressive Conservative incumbent Jane McKenna, Liberal candidate Eleanor McMahon in and Janet Mowbray representing the NDP.  All want to be elected as the Burlington representative in the provincial legislature.

Other than the debate sponsored by the Canadian Federation of University Women,  debate this turned out to be the only opportunity to see the candidates debating

The audience was attentive with the focus on what each political party would do for the province in terms of education.

The lines between the policies were as clear as any citizen could possibly want them to be.  The Progressive Conservatives were blunt – they want to see 100,000 fewer civil servants on the public payroll which meant cuts at the educational, medical and public services levels.  While cutting in these sectors was to be brutal – the promise was to create 1 million new jobs in the private sector.

The issue for the PC’s was the level of debt the province is carrying.  The Liberals weren’t as constrained with debt – they saw debt as what was needed to fully recover from the 2008 recession.

The differences in the political party decisions are fundamentally clear – and we don’t hear that many people talking about a “great” program from any of them.

The New Democrats are still fighting the collective agreement battle of the 2011 election – the Liberal government  of the day certainly did themselves no favours when they tinkered with the teacher’s collective agreements.  Liberals now argue that the number of teachers needed problem has been fixed and that jobs were not lost – which the Tories say is part of the problem.   They point to declining enrollments but nothing comparable in the way of lowering of the teaching compliment.

The Liberals believe that the only way the province is going to grow the economy – we still are not fully out of the 2008 recession – is to ensure that we have the labour force with the education needed to take up the good jobs they believe will surely come if the province stays the course.

The Tory’s are obsessed with the size of the provincial deficit and are prepared to cut, slash and burn – whatever it takes to get the civil service reduced.

The Liberals argue that cutting those education, health inspector and hospital staff will significantly reduce the quality of life and the life style Ontarians have come to expect.

Three provincial candidates

If you voted the political party – these were your choices – and the differences are stark.

The campaign locally has been harder fought at the door to door level than most people realize.  The Association of University Woman held their debate during which it is reported McKenna did better than the Nelson High event.

The cancellation of the Chamber of Commerce breakfast (they said no enough tickets had been sold) was a blow to the community.  Many suspected the Tories in this town suggested the Chamber event be cancelled – McKenna wasn’t looking all that good at public meetings.

At some point during the campaign Cam Jackson was seen going door to door with McKenna.  Those must have been really old solid Tory polls.

The brilliant cover page ad the Liberals ran in the Post stunned many.  It sure looked like a real front page – but it was a paid advertorial that has McMahon sweeping the election.

Then she Toronto Star report that had Burlington going Liberal after 71 years of Tory rule- that boosted moral at the Liberal campaign office on Fairview.  Some may have been surprised that the Post sold their “front” page – but a buck is a buck – I guess.

There is a time when the quality of the candidate over rides the party choice – and on that level Eleanor McMahon was the most sensitive to the issues, the most persuasive with her arguments and the most able to listen.

McKenna has been backing away from cuts in the education sector. She is reported to have said the PC’s will not be cutting education spending however she did see a need for better allocation of resources in the educational sector.

Jane McKenna has served one term as the MPP for Burlington.  She was a close to last minute choice for the nomination in 2011 and was surely the most surprised and delighted woman in the city when Keith Strong approached her to accept the PC nomination.

The question many have about McKenna is: What has she done for Burlington?  At a city council meeting recently ward 1 councillor Rick Craven asked why they had never once seen McKenna. “We’re paying her” was Craven’s comment “she should at least appear before us.”

Where the Liberals are weakest  is with the profligate spending during the McGuinty years.  There was nothing wrong conceptually with Ornge except that the government forgot they were supposed to keep an eye on what their agencies do.  Where was the oversight?  E-health was necessary but how did the government get hornswoggled into paying the salaries they paid?

At one point during the lead up the vote it looked as if the Liberals might have squeaked through with a slim two seat majority.  That would not have been because they are the best choice – they are all disappointments and the citizens of this province deserve better.

Leadership is supposed to be about hope, promise,  a better day and a better society – having “chicken little” shout at me saying the sky was going to fall in was not something I needed – thank you.

When Wynne said again and again that she was sorry  about the gas plant decisions during the leaders debate I didn’t feel that we were in good hands.

That the gas plants were going to be cancelled was a given – all three parties knew that  -it was the way the government sent good dollars after bad out the window as they settled with the contracting companies.  The public had a right to better stewardship over public funds

At the Nelson High event candidates were given four questions prepared for the candidates taking part in the Nelson High event – they were given the questions before the event which explained why all of the candidates were reading from documents in front of them

Was it a debate?  Not really but it was certainly a chance to see where each candidate and their party stood on an issue.

Other than door to door visits most of the public had not had a chance to see two of the candidates.  The evening at Nelson High was an opportunity to see how much Jane McKenna had grown as a member of the legislature – unfortunately she hasn’t grown in either stature or a sense as to just what being the member of the legislature for a community is all about.

McKenna did however make it very clear what the Progressive Conservatives would do and many in the room felt the shudder of the Harris days.  However, there were many that recalled all too well what Bob Rae did to the province when he was the NDP Premier.

McKenna, who is usually very quick with facts and numbers, got caught up on her some of the numbers she was putting out.

The politeness and courtesy between Liberal candidate McMahon and NDP candidate Mowbray was so distinct when compared to the brashness and hard words used by McKenna.  At one point Janet Mowbray had run out of time answering a question and McMahon turned to her and said – “use some of my time.  It was noted as well that every candidate for the Burlington seat was female.

For those that went to the event as hard core partisans – McKenna did fine.  For those who were reflective and thoughtful – they would have left the room wondering what kind of a society they want and if McMahon represented that society.  The difference between McMahon and McKenna was palpable.

A speaker brought to the audience’s attention that Mowbray was once a Liberal and did not live in the riding.  McMahon was quick to point out that while she lives in Burlington her residence is about six blocks outside the constituency boundaries.

The issue for the audience was those 100,000 pink slips Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak has said he is going to hand out.  McKenna is quick to add that much of that reduction in people on the payroll will come through attrition.

The campaign is over, people are now making their way to the polling stations and by the end of the day we will know what we have in the way of a provincial government for the next four years. 

If it turns out to be Kathleen Wynne – expect her to face two different people the next time out.  Hudak’s leadership will not survive another loss – and the New Democrats will begin looking for a leader who had s a plan and a vision.

Should Tim Hudak prevail and become Premier Ontario then we have to wait and see how far he goes with his plans to significantly change the way the government provides services and support to the taxpayers and how they grow the economy of the province.

Monday of next week A Different Drummer Books and Burlington Public Library will feature a guest with both knowledge and insight on just how parliamentary democracies work.

Michael MacMillan will talk about his book: Tragedy in the Commons that documents the views of former members of parliament who speak out on Canada’s Failing Democracy.   Monday  June 16  7pm at the Central Library.

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Kite festival Sunday at Brant Hills Park – free, fun and healthy.

Event 100By Staff

May 30, 2014


Burlington’s annual Kite Festival takes place on Sunday, June 1 at Brant Hills Community Park between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Kites - kids flying Show up, join the fun and build a kite for free, while supplies last. Event attendees will be able to fly their kites in the open space at Brant Hills Park throughout the day.

The event will feature entertainment from:

• Nick’s Juggling Family

• Thompson Clarke, a competitive Rubik’s cube solver, and

• Safari Science.

Face painting, a photo booth and a balloon artist will be part of a fun day.

A variety of vendors and activity providers from the community will be on-site. Local favourites include Burlington B.G.’s and Gymnastics Club, Putting Edge, Momstown, and Health from Within.

Kite - squid lookingLocal kite experts from Hobby and Toy Central will be at the event to answer questions about kite selection and kite flying. An assortment of adult and children’s kites such as easy flyers, diamonds, deltas, stunt and parafoil kites will be available for test flights and to purchase. Hobby and Toy Central will be offering event attendees 10 per cent off all Kite Festival purchases.

Kites sqaure colourfullThe Kite Festival will take place rain or shine. Brant Hills Community Park is located at 2255 Brant St. For more information about the event, including the entertainment schedule and list of booths, visit the city web site. 

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Magnificent creatures that many thought were headed for extinction – now winter at LaSalle Park. Not a choice that sits well with everyone.

Event 100By Staff

May 28, 2014


There are few more amazing comeback stories than that of the magnificent Trumpeter Swan.

Trumpeter swan - wings wideBrought back from the brink of extinction through the dedicated, decades-long work of volunteers, 200 Trumpeter Swans now overwinter at LaSalle Park in Burlington.

But these beautiful birds also did their part to rescue their species from the ashes of extinction. Hear their remarkable tales through stories about Athena, Magic, Pig Pen and many other individual swans at Swan Stories, a free, public event sponsored by the Trumpeter Swan Coalition.

Trumpeter - skidding to a stopThe event will take place on Thursday, May 29 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Centennial Room at Burlington’s Central Library, 2331 New St.  More on the swans and the story to save their winter home.

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Champion wheel chair basket ball tournament at Haber Centre

News 100 redBy Staff

Photography by Oliver Hannak

April 4, 2014


Things didn’t get off to a great start for the Burlington Vipers – the team Brandon Wagner, Burlington’s Paralympian, plays on – but he will be back at it on Saturday taking part in the three day National Championship tournament at the Haber Recreational Centre.  The Burlington Vipers lost their first two gamesStruggling for the ball

Reaching for ballThe 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship takes place April 4-6, 2014 in Burlington and are sanctioned by Wheelchair Basketball Canada.

The event is being hosted by the Burlington Vipers in conjunction with the City of Burlington. These Championships are the first national event to take place at the Centre which was built for just this kind of thing. 

The place has eight courts where teams can play at the same time.  The building, brand new,  is squeaky clean with large plasma screen throughout the building.

Wheelchair basketball players do not have to be disabled – something I didn’t know.  When any player falls over in their chair – and with the way these men and women go at it – there are a lot of tumbles, they have to get up by themselves. Men and women do play on the same team.

Every player is ranked, which is a number assigned to a player based on their level of physical functionality.  It is basically a measure of their body trunk capability.  The players are ranked by professionals who have experience with disabled people.

There are five players on the court at any one time – and the total value of the players cannot be more than 15 points.  So a team that has some high ranking – a player is ranked between 1-5 and can be a 3.5 for example.

Woman arms raisedIf there are two players who have exceptional body trunk capability and they have ranks of 4.5 – nine of the 15 points available to the coach are taken up.

Off to a corner of the court two people sit at a table keeping a count of the points on the floor.  They know the ranking of each player and are adding up their rank values every time a new player rolls onto the court.

A players ranking can charge but that doesn’t happen very often.

The tournament runs Saturday and Sunday.  The schedule can be reached by clicking on the link.

Brandon Wagner is back on the court Saturday afternoon.

Background links:

Haber Recreational Centre deal put in place.

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The snow will all be gone – soon; time to get the bike greased and ready to use – library offers free courses.

By Staff

 March 12, 2014


 Someone hasn’t told city hall that we have at least one more solid snowfall coming our way – and there just may be another one after that as well.  No matter, the library service wants you to begin getting ready to get that bike ready for the road and is offering three programs at the Central Library on the art of bicycle use and maintenance being given by the Burlington Cycling Committee a volunteer advisory committee of Burlington City Council.

All seminars are free, pre-registration is required. Call the Central branch of Burlington Public Library at 905-639-3611, ext. 1321.

It’s time to release your bike from winter storage and get your wheels spinning with a series of free cycling seminars suggests the city.  All the classes are free and will be given at the Central Library on New Street; they begin March 20th and wrap up on May 5.

 Amazing Cycling Cities Thursday, March 20, 2014 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

 Short videos of inspirational cities from around the world that support safe cycling in innovative and creative ways.

 Women CyclistsWednesday, April 16, 2014 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

 Yes, You Can! – featuring triathlete Nancy Hastings and health and fitness motivational speaker Gail Van Egmond.

 Ever thought about riding your bike for fun or fitness? Hear inspirational stories from women cyclists, including triathlete and coach Nancy Hastings and cyclist Gail Van Egmond on how they got started in this growing sport and how you can get started as well.  All attendees will have a chance to win a door prize of a free bike tune-up from Rock and Road Cycle and Sports.

Basic maintenance is important and knowing how to get the chain back onto the sprockets is always good to know.

Bike Maintenance 101Monday, May 5, 2014 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Learn how to get your bike road-ready for spring and how to keep it maintained throughout the year with advice from the experts at Burlington’s Mountain Equipment Co-op.

 All seminars are free, pre-registration is required. Call the Central branch of Burlington Public Library at 905-639-3611, ext. 1321.


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“Business is about promotion, connection and communication. More is better. Less is not.” James Burchill

By Pepper Parr

March 11, 2014


James Burchill, a totally shameless self-promoter, has built the Burlington Social Fusion Network to 1500 people and is currently developing an additional nine – read that again, nine social networks elsewhere in the province.

Later this month – March 20th to be exact, Burchill will be holding his third mini-trade mart at the Performing Arts Centre.

Burchill doesn’t charge a dime for any of his events.  There is a fee if you want to exhibit at his events – but getting in the door is free, free, free.

He will try to convince you that a typical Chamber or Rotary networking group typically costs about $1 a day or $365 a year. It’s not uncommon for people to join multiple groups so it would be pretty easy to spend $1000 a year on networking memberships.

Quite a business card isn’t it? James Burchill, the guiding force and the energy behind the Burlington Social Fusion Network is all business.

“At the SFN we don’t charge money for membership … and believe me when I get a whiny email from someone about “too many emails” I shake my head and think maybe I should reconsider charging!

He goes on to suggest: “For instance, if I charged each Burlington member just $25 per person per month for membership, I’d be banking MORE THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS … A YEAR! And with 9 other chapters growing steadily that would be some serious money.”

“But that’s NOT why I built the network. Charging money changes the dynamic. It stifles growth and makes people treat the experience differently. It would be a short term gain for me but in the long run the network would eventual suffer the fate many “old school” networks are experiencing today. Dwindling memberships, falling revenues, lack of engagement and more. Technology has changed how we connect and network and SFN reflects that.

“So I’m not going to change the SFN model … but please remember this: The Social Fusion Network is not a charity, it operates as a business and therefore needs to cover costs and other expenses. That’s why we license the networks to smart businesses who see the marketing value of the platform and we also offer advertising … which is why occasionally you’ll get more emails.

It’s all about networking.

“Business is about promotion, connection and communication. More is better. Less is not. That’s my opinion and I know not everyone agrees, which is why I said you have choices. However I hope you’ll stay a member because I believe in the model as do thousands of other local businesses.

People do attend.  It is not uncommon to see someone pull up in front of the Ivey Bar and Kitchen and wiggle out of a pair of jeans in the front seat of their vehicle, wiggle into a shirt, fluff their hair and walk briskly into a room full of people they can network with – some they know, others they expect to get to know.  The SFN events are not a dating pool – this is business.  If you’ve not been – give it a try.

The Social Fusion Network trade show always draws a good crowd. It’s small but it is busy and clients keep returning – so something must be happening.

Back to that trade show: 517 people have registered for that Burchill calls his Business Networking and Trade Show.

Burchill has this ability to make everyone he works with feel important – because for him they are important. Graham Frampton, the Performing Arts Centre Operations Manager quickly became a critical part of the team that makes the trade show work.

Watching Burchill work with Frampton, who is his service supplier, is a lesson in customer relationship development – except in this case Burchill is the customer who goes out of his way to make Frampton’s  job easy and as a result gets  great service.  Burchill has lessons for all of us.

If you want people to be part of your team – make them feel like they are part of your team. James Burchill, on the right, drafted Mayor Goldring, centre and Performing Arts centre Operations manager Graham Frampton as part of his team. It worked very well.

Burchill wanted to add some zip to his event and gave the Mayor a call:  The Mayor responded, showed up and – well let Burchill tell that story. “Mayor Rick Goldring graciously delivered the opening remarks. I was thrilled when The Mayor publicly acknowledged our networking efforts and what they’ve done for local business. Very gratifying indeed.”

The enthusiasm is all part of what Burchill does.  What you see is what you get. “I have to say,” says Burchill, “it’s been a real thrill producing this event. When I started this project it was nothing more than a fleeting idea. It took shape and with some hard work (ok … lots of hard work!) and a little bit of luck, it all worked out in the end.”

March 20th – 5:30 at the Performing Arts Centre.  Look for James – he might be wearing a bright orange vest and matching bow tie someone gave him – I can’t believe for a second that he bought it.

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Quilt retrospective featuring work of John Willard to be shown at BAC starting February 15th.

By Staff

January 27, 2014


We have a fascination about quilts.  Long a household staple in the rural community – it gets cold out there they eventually became an art form with some very traditional patterns.

Quilt sales and exhibitions draw consistently strong audiences. In southwestern Ontario quilt designs were once painted in the sides of barns.

Over time many of those traditional patterns were challenged by new artists .  John Willard was one of those who challenged the traditional; a 40 Year Retrospective of his work will take place at the Burlington Art Centre from February 15, 2014 – March 30, 2014.  The quilts will be hung in the  Lee Chin Family Gallery

Denis Longchamps is curating this exhibit and will lead the Reception & Artist Talk on February : 23, 2-4pm at the BAC

Armed with scissors, needles, threads and fabrics John Willard has been making quilts for 40 years. Not one to follow the rules of tradition, he creates his own designs. Sometimes inspired by traditional patterns he has deconstructed, others by historical events, Willard creates quilts that are beautiful and turn the craft of quilting into an art form.

Willard working on a quilt. A 40 year retrospective of his work will be shown at the BAC in February.

John Willard is a basically self-taught quilt maker. He came to quilt making via set and costume design, photography, display and collecting, and created his first quilt in 1975 after amassing a sizeable collection of antique ones. Although his first quilts were very traditional he soon branched out into his own designs, which have evolved into bravura works of intense colour and complex patterns. He is especially noted for his daring combinations of varying and disparate fabric prints. John’s quilts have been exhibited internationally in Britain, Denmark, Japan, France, Taiwan and the West Indies as well as Canada and the US. His works are in numerous private, corporate and public collections.

There is a level of precision seen in Willard’s quilts that is not seen in some traditional patterns. This Clair de Lune, done in 2002 was well received.

John teaches the art of quilt making, specializing in contemporary design for those who wish to break away from the traditional. He and his works have been featured in many books such as A Fine Line: Studio Crafts in Ontario; Design Through Discovery: An Introduction to Art and Design and magazines including City and Country Home Magazine, Select Homes Magazine, Quilters’ Newsletter Magazine, American Quilter, Embroidery Magazine, Ontario Craft and West of the City Magazine. As a photographer he published a very successful book on Victorian houses, The Gaiety of Gables in 1974.

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Sunday – fun filled at the Lowville Winter Games. The only thing missing is a pick up game of hockey.

By Staff


January 24, 2014

It is winter – we are Canadians – we can handle it – right?

The Lowville Winter Games take place Sunday – 11 to 4 and this year there is going to be snow.

The lineup is solid; the weather is supposed to be good and the Bistro will be open with hot chocolate.

The human gyroscope

The Body Zorbs race track

A pancake-eating contest – provided by the Sunset Grill.

Log-sawing contest

Winter crafts courtesy of Momstown

Photos in the Burlington Events photo booth

Three-time Olympic gold medalist, women’s hockey champion Becky Kellar (noon to 2 p.m.) in the school house

TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games: Find out how to get involved in the games, try playing a sports activity and learn about record-holding achievements by athletes

Conservation Halton’s birds of prey exhibit

Bur Bear frisbee golf course

Horse-drawn wagon rides

Skating and tobogganing

Oliver Hannak,a Niagara College photography student came across this situation and like any good photographer pulled over, got his gear out and started taking pictures.
The hope is the Sunday weather will be sunshine and clear skies as hundreds head up to Lowville Park to enjoy the day.

Solid winter fun.  Get out and enjoy it and use the occasion to forget the really poopy weather some people have had to cope with.

Drive safely up Guelph Line – keep it between the ditches.

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What they want to take from you and how they want to spend it. Budget time in Burlington. Your Budget, Your Say

 By Staff


January 23, 2014

You write them a cheque for times a year.  It’s not exactly chump change. It’s just one of those things one does in a civilized society.  You pay taxes and expect value for money.

Joan Ford, the city’s Director of Finance knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

The city will be putting most of its Finance department people on the front line next Wednesday at the Burlington Art Centre.  No open bar but there will be coffee and cookies while you participate in a public consultation meeting and interactive workshop on the budget.

The city wants you to tell them what is important to you.  They do this each year and the turnout is not bad.   They do an overall presentation and then run small, staff-led work groups focusing on such topics as service choices, infrastructure and planning for the future.

In a nut shell this is what the 2014 budget is about:

The City of Burlington’s proposed 2014 current budget recommends a 4.13 per cent tax rate increase to the city’s portion of the property tax bill. When this is combined with the Region of Halton’s increase of zero per cent and an education increase of zero per cent, the overall result is a proposed property tax rate increase of 1.68 per cent or $15.08 for each $100,000 of residential urban value assessment. 

There are a couple of things that could be done to make this more effective.  Putting a document on-line that can be downloaded and printed that sets out the basics of the budget so that people can do some homework if they wish.  The budget is there if you want to download all 254 pages and print them out.  How about something that is say 10 pages with lots of graphs?

And why this event is always held at just the Burlington Art Centre is inexcusable.  While space is limited at Tansley Wood a public meeting could be held there and with the Alton Campus now open a public meeting could be held there as well.

The Burlington Gazette has been following the development of the budget for 2014 closely.  Links to what we’ve written appear below.

Most of the council members hold meetings in their wards to get local input. A couple of Ward 4 residents discuss a previous budget.

Members of your city council continually say that half the population of the city is north of the QEW.  City hall needs to do much more to serve the needs and interests of these people as well. This is a great opportunity for members of the public to share their insights, to learn more about the city’s proposed 2014 current and capital budgets and to discuss the impact the budget will have on property taxes.

The small workshop sessions can be quite useful, particularly if there is something you want more detail on. Every Council member is on hand and anybody that knows anything from the Finance department is in the room.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014; 7 to 9:30 p.m.; Burlington Art Centre.  Plenty of parking at the rear of the building.  They should make the parking free on budget review nights.

This is an election year – so expect members of Council to listen with bigger ears this time around.  Make your views known and let them know you will be watching.

If you can’t attend the meeting, watch the webcast on the city’s website and complete the online workbook   If you’ve really got a burr under your saddle and have to talk to someone – a real voice can be reached at: 905-335-7600, ext. 7896.

Background links:

City manager tries to get some ground rules in place.

City administration begins to negotiate with Council on 2014 tax levy.

Will the 10% over four years hold; doesn’t look that way.


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How fast can a group put $10,000 into the hands of a locl charity? This group says in under an hour.

By Staff


January 23, 2014

It sounds really simple.  It’s as direct as you’re ever going to get in terms of getting money into the hands of people.

All you have to do is care and can space a part of an evening four times a year and are willing to write a cheque for $100.  Who does your money go to – you decide, along with the other women in the room.

Sort of like mainlining a donation. 

The Burlington Chapter of 100 Women Who Care will be holding its first meeting Wednesday January 29, 2014; bringing together women who care about the community, it’s people and causes and who are committed to community service. 100 Women Who Care is a concept that’s been taking root in many communities across North America and now it’s coming to life in Burlington.

The concept is very simple – 100 women (or more),  $100 each (or more if you choose), 1 hour meetings 4 times per year. The goal is for 100 Women Who Care Burlington to collectively generate a minimum of $40,000 annually for local charitable initiatives. The impact is very powerful!

Donations from each meeting go directly to local charities.  The idea appears to be efficient.  The 100 woman meet, choose a charity, write the cheques, chit chat for a bit and go home.

In just over an hour some group that needs help has $10,000 they didn’t have an hour earlier.

Exactly how the group decides what the charity is going to be; does it all have to go to a single charity, are tax receipts generated?  That all gets worked out at the meeting.  Could be neat – could be very effective.

Meet for an hour.

Jointly select a local charitable initiative.

Each write a $100 cheque to the selected Registered Charity and watch how the group’s commitment turns into a $10,000+ donation.

Do that four times a year and witness how $40,000 improves the lives of our neighbours when placed in the hands of deserving grass-roots agencies working to serve the local community.

This Group Is Perfect For You If:  you are committed to helping others in our community but are stretched for time; you want to be part of a powerful group of local women making an immediate, direct and positive effect on the lives of our neighbours; you want 100% of your donations to go directly to local charity;

The people putting this together in Burlington are: Marion Goard; Pat Grant; Megan Teall and Laurel Hubber.  Click on their email address below if you’ve any questions.

Laurel Hubber:

Marion Goard: 

Megan Teall:

Pat Grant:


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Are you a voter or a consumer? Noted author suggests you are a consumer being manipulated and not served by your government.

By Pepper Parr


January 21, 2014

Good authors, good books and a good interviewer can make for a pleasant evening.  Burlingtonians got some of each last night at the Central Library where Susan Delacourt talked with former Liberal MP Paddy Torsney about her book – Shopping for Votes.

Torsney, who has shopped for the odd vote herself, sat with Delacourt and tossed questions to the author of four books who has been covering the federal political scene for more than 25 years. 

The keeners – those that take notes like crazy and often ask a lot of questions.

She stunned this listener when she said Question Period in the House of Commons wasn’t worth listening to – this at a time when the public is seeing some of the very best opposition questioning of the Prime Minister day after day in a relentless onslaught that has kept the hottest political topic in front of the public for more than six months.  No mean feat in this world of 24 hour news cycles.

Delacourt’s fourth title appears to have struck a chord in those who question the way politics is done in Canada.

Delacourt is however on to something significant when she talks of the way politics has changed from a discussion about vision and direction to one where the political parties treat voters the way a toothpaste company treats its customers and merchandises product to them.

Delacourt believes Canadians’ relationship with their politicians changed with the consumer boom of the 1950s.  The explosion in consumerism resulted in advertising becoming the leading source of information — even in politics.

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

But as she argues in her new book, Shopping for Votes, consumers have wants, while citizens have needs — and that creates a clash between short-term and long-term policies in the bid for votes.

Delacourt told her audience that she has found when she speaks to people about politics and elections she is asked: “Is this all there is to politics?”  It’s not much different than going to the mall she said and then added that her very first visit to a mall was here in Burlington.

The Milton native said she found that “government is done to you instead of being you” and that governing today has followed a consumer approach.  We started with Henry Ford telling us we could have any colour of car we liked as long as it was black.  He made the cars and we went to him to buy them.

That shifted Delacourt pointed out when corporation used advertising to tell people what they had and hoped that you bought it.  We are now at the point said Delacourt where political parties research and poll the public to find out what they want and then make it for them.

A healthy, just under 100 audience, took in the event on one of the colder evenings the city has experienced. An older crowd – the kind that tend to vote. Was there a future first lady for the city in the audience?

Delacourt won a  Canadian Journalism Fellowship at Massey College where she happened upon a course in “material culture”. It was essentially about our relationship to stuff, and it raised a lot of good questions about consumerism.   “I was taking the course” she said “at the same time as the 2008 election was under way, and I suddenly realized that the politics friendliest to consumers (Conservatives) was the winning formula.

Delacourt explained to her audience that the Conservative government doesn’t like data in government but they love it in politics and are relentless in digging out small pockets of support and exploiting each to the fullest.  She gave the example of the snow mobile community for which the party bought a magazine mailing list and began targeting individual households, first with research polling and then  with literature supporting ideas that had come out from the research.  Delacourt explained that the Conservatives were miles ahead of the Liberals on this type of engagement with the public.  She added that the New Democrats are pretty good at target polling as well –  they focus on consumer interest matters.

Book signings are a part of the game for authors. Delacourt, surprisingly tended to write fairly long notes in each book – not just a signature dashed off.

Delacourt brings 25 years of political reporting to her explanation that the public does no always understand that politics and government is not the same thing.

Many people want the government to operate as a business, to bring market discipline to the operation of government services – which is an interesting approach except that the public are not consumers or employees when it comes to government – and you can’t lay off voters when times are tough and revenue targets are not being met.

What the just short of 100 people at the event heard was a journalist who has been at the game for more than 25 years and has followed the current Prime Minister from the day he began to serve as an elected politician.  As an experienced observer she brings a critical eye to what she sees and is quite direct with her observations.

Book sales are what it is really all about. The event, a joint effort by the Public Library and A Different Drummer Books, was part of a series of events.

You can almost feel her ire rise when she talks of the “robo-calling” that took place in Guelph where it was a clear case of voter suppression. “We don’t know who the master mind in that situation was” she said, “ but we certainly know who the players were” and then added that that situation is not done with yet.  Elections Canada have been all over what was done.

According to Delacourt people do not get their information from news anymore – they get their information from advertising where the message is totally controlled.  Andy Frame, a Tory since the beginning of time told the audience that he had listened to Justin Trudeau at an event in Oakville and he was convinced the young man was going to be the “next Prime Minister of the country”.  That perked up Torsney’s ear and brought some comment from Delacourt who said it is too early to tell whether or not Justin is more than a flash in the pan but there is little doubt that there is something going on there.

As people were leaving the library the membership secretary of the Burlington Provincial Liberal Association approached Mr. Frame and asked if he would be interested in purchasing a membership.  Money did not exchange hands.

Is there hope asked one member of the audience?  There is according to Delacourt.  The British are finding that they don’t like being manipulated and the changes that we have seen in the United States where Barak Obama tapped into a deep yearning on the part of the black population to be at the table.

Delacourt explained that in Canada about 60% of the people vote and that 10% of that vote is really the swing vote – people who are not locked into a political party.  Every stripe and flavour of politics works at tying down their core vote and then doing whatever they feel they have to do to get more of than 10% than the other guys.

Paddy Torsney, Delacourt’s “interrogator” during the evening certainly understood what the author was saying when she declared that attack advertising certainly works.  Jacket at Joelle’s if you wanted to know.

What about those attack ads? Delacourt was asked.  “Well the certainly work” she replied.  Dionne and Ignatieff will attest to that.  And they will continue to work as long as the public gets its information from advertising.

The irony of all this for Delacourt is that at a time when there is more information available than ever before, people have less time to read and there is no one giving the public the analysis and background needed to make sense of all the noise and the clutter.

“Is it depressing” asked an audience member?  “No” replied Delacourt, but there didn’t appear to be a lot of confidence or certainty in the response.  Many feel Justin may turn out to be a “celebrity” rather than a sound political leader.

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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 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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