The Foundation for the province we have today was put in place by a man who said: 'Bland can be Beautiful'


By Ray Rivers

August 9th, 2021



If he hadn’t been politically assassinated by his own caucus, Patrick Brown might have become the 26th premier of Ontario and perhaps formed it’s first truly Progressive Conservative government since Bill Davis.

Bill Davis: A moderate conservative in his time and what the province needs in these troubling times.

Davis, referred to himself as bland. He was a moderate conservative from all accounts. He seemed more comfortable with colleagues like Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, Pierre Trudeau, John Tory and Bob Rae, than right wingers from his own party like Mike Harris or Doug Ford, for example.

Davis was a careful master of compromise between progress and conservation. He understood that when it comes to policy, it’s more important to do what in the public interest than to defend your ideology. And he clearly believed when it came to delivering his messages that bland beat bragging and bravado hands down.

Davis will always be the education premier to me, even though he was education minister proper only during my formative years of schooling. But he was far more than the person who modernized and expanded the provincial education system. To those who remember him, he was considered one of Canada’s best loved provincial premiers, vying for that spot with Alberta’s Peter Lougheed.

The Davis decision to kill the construction of the Spadina Expressway into the downtown core of Toronto was a brilliant political stroke.

Davis also expanded health care, implemented regional government, initiated GO service, killed the Spadina Expressway, and made the Ontario civil service bilingual. Moreover Davis played a key role in repatriating Canada’s constitution while doing more than his part keeping the country together during those early years of living with Quebec’s separatist government.

Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter and Bill Davis met often. The Cardinal and the Premier, according to provincial myth decided to extend catholic schools into high school over cognac and good cigars.

Trying to please all people usually means that you displease some. Davis’ decision to enable full secondary schooling by the Catholic church upset more people than it satisfied, and his successor lost the next election because of that error in judgement. His rationalization of Ontario’s municipalities led to an unprecedented level of urban sprawl which today is choking Ontario’s roads.

Building coal-fired electrical power plants was a mistake that took several decades and a change of government to correct. And in all his 13 years in office Davis never managed to balance his budget, even during relative boom times, averaging $2 billion in dept annually as the net debt to GDP grew from 2% to 15.2% during his tenure.

But Davis’ leadership style is what perhaps made him such a respected, if not loved, premier. There was no ‘we ‘or ‘they’ in his world, and he imparted a positive vibe of optimism to us all. He showed that it is possible to govern progressively, to meet the needs of an evolving society even when you are a conservative. And for that alone we should all take a moment to remember him.

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor,  writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Remembering Davis –      Bill Davis     Big Blue –

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Artscape fund raiser for the hospital gets very close to the $37,500 target at first showing of Maple Leaf Art

By Ryan O’Dowd; Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 9th, 2021



Large crowds gathered for the Burlington Artscape Leaf Walk today to celebrate Burlington frontline workers and artists in support of the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation (JBHF).

Event-goers, of which there numbered fifty to a hundred at a time, walked among fifty-one 4 foot tall leaf canvasses on the yard. The paintings in all manner of style from realism to abstract are unified by the theme of the love of Burlington. The canvasses are available for sale for $750 per canvas, over 30 have already sold with 100% of proceeds going to JBHF.

It was a community event with art scattered all over the Grace United Church lawn. The work was done by local artists as a fund raiser for the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

Jodi Harrison, Burlington Artscape founder, said she had been working on the idea for the project prior to the pandemic but that COVID-19 created immediate demand.

Megan Hazen, new to Burlington and only beginning to discover the city, made this visual statement of how she feels about the city.

“I got a phone call from the JBHF and they said we are in dire need and we need help. And a lot of artists have found sanctuary in their paintbrush and their canvases in being able to express themselves. I thought what a great synergy, what a great way to do this. With COVID it’s natural to want to help the hospital and to get the community involved, we’re all in the same boat and all striving for the same things,” said Harrison.

Harrison spoke about the love of Burlington theme which called upon artists to create Burlington-inspired works.

“We have trails, we have the beautiful community, the wonderful downtown core. We have so much inspiration for artists and there is so much to capture so what greater gift to artists than to say ‘go ahead, paint your love of something,’” said Harrison.

Many of the local artists were in attendance and spent time speaking with the public about their leaves.

Some were long time Burlington residents, like Ron Greig who contributed “Turtle Crossing,” inspired by a unique turtle crossing sign he drives past once a day. He saw a snapping turtle on the trail one day and rendered it by the crossing in exquisite detail. “Turtle Crossing” has already sold.

One of the 50 painting created to financially support the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

Greig also provided a portrait of his daughter-in-law, who is a doctor and was assigned to work in long-term care facilities during the pandemic. Entitled “Thank You,” the painting is a tribute to frontline workers. In Greig’s note displayed by “Thank You,” he wrote about finding his inspiration when challenged by the pandemic and discovering it in the frontline workers.

“It’s been difficult not to focus on the negative. When I finally got back into my studio I wanted to paint something related to current times and if I could, help out in some way,” wrote Greig.

If “Thank You” is sold $3000 of the proceeds go to the JBHF.

Other artists such as Megan Hazen were new to Burlington and only beginning to discover the city. Hazen painted “the Garden,” (which has also sold) a vibrant and colorful visage of a fox, deer, and butterflies in a bed of flowers as a bird soars above against a blue sky. She said the wildlife was the continuity from her more rural former home that’s backyard was frequented by wildlife visitors to finding them again in Burlington’s parks, trails, and waterfalls.

“It’s great to give back to the hospital now that I’m here and meet so many other amazing artists in the community because it’s been hard the last couple of months,” said Hazen.

And just as people found Burlington in different ways with different relationships to the city so to were the artists assembled from disparate artistic backgrounds. Some of the artists were established and others were newer to the scene, some of them were contacted by Burlington Artscape, others answered online postings about the event, others found out through the grapevine of the art scene but they all call Burlington home and many have personal connections to Joseph Brant Hospital.

Student volunteers assisted with the event and musical artists from Mohawk College performed.

CIM metals, a local family-owned Burlington company, crafted the leaves.

Numerous sold pieces will remain on display, depending on the buyer’s preferences, for the subsequent leaf walks.

Harrison said while there are no concrete plans for the future of the Burlington Artscape she didn’t rule out a similar event in the future. Based on the success of the fundraiser it’s not hard to imagine a continuation.

Dwayne DiPasquale, Director of Development at JBHF, was optimistic about the prospect of working with Harrison and her team.

“They’re so committed to the hospital there will be fundraising again with them. We’re lucky, we have this incredible concept,” said DiPasquale.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward mugs for the cameras during the display of the 50 maple leaf shaped canvases that were actually made of aluminium and given to 50 local artists to put the “love for Burlington”

The remaining artwork is available for purchase now as Burlington Artscape moves towards its goal to raise $37,500. 100% of proceeds will go to support the critical needs of the hospital.

Today’s Leaf Walk ran from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, subsequent leaf walks will take place on August 15th and 22nd at Grace United Church (2111 Walkers Line).

You can view much of the artwork @burlingtonartscape on Instagram but I recommend you go out and see it yourself and experience the Leaf Walk. After 18 months of pandemic-induced Netflix marathons experiencing art, entertainment, celebration and community make for a welcome change of pace.

Mayor Meed Ward was in attendance and lauded the success the event has already had on its first of multiple August dates and praised those involved while speaking to the Gazette, adding that “Over 30 paintings have sold already and I’m sure they’ll all go by the end. It’s incredible to see people coming together.”


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On line, in person or by cell phone - which will be first for you ?

By Jeannie Longford

August 9th, 2021



You’ve been waiting all year for it, and it’s finally here. Online casinos on websites like have been the customers’ number one choice during the lockdown, but they are finally getting some well-deserved competition. They can offer hundreds of online casino games with a no deposit bonus, free spins and more. However, Ontario casinos are quickly preparing to reopen. Recently the Province surpassed the guidelines that were in phase two. They have officially moved into the third phase of their reopening procedure.

Ontario casinos spent most of the year shut down; until now, the Province has finally given them the green light to reopen. But there are a few things you should know.

What you can expect during phase three ?

Masks will be required during phase 3 in Ontario

With Ontario being in the final phase, casinos will only be open at 50% capacity. Although reservations are no longer required, some things you can expect are plexiglass barriers, contact tracing, and covid screenings. Casino staff must have Covid-19 health and safety training. While employees and customers will have to wear masks, sanitize, and use physical distancing. Signage has been increased to remind employees and customers about their health, safety and keep common areas risk-free.

The news of Covid-19 cases steadily declining is well received by people ready to return to normal. These are people who missed the vibrant and bustling environment that an in-person casino provides. Thousands of employees can return to work after months of waiting, and casino owners are hard at work getting everything prepared for the influx of people.

WhIch casinos are still closed?

Ontario casino doors were allowed to open on the 16th, and Great Canadian Gaming Corp opened 11 of its casino locations. But some are reopening slower than others. Caesar Windsor, Fallsview Casino Resort, and Casino Niagara will first open this Friday, the 23rd, while Casino Rama is set to wait until the 29th.

Fallsview Casino Resort is a very popular destination – you will never tire of looking at the falls.

A few of the casinos will close at two in the morning instead of staying open 24 hours. Other casinos are still waiting to open table games and amenities later through July as restrictions continue to loosen. You might have to wait longer for the famous casino buffets and the tracks as well. However, casinos have dining options that follow guidelines, available if you get hungry while hitting the slots.

What if you need something more?

Many people are excited to line up at their doors to try their luck at winning millions, much like the pair of best friends that recently won the Lotto Max Grand Jackpot in June of this year.

On-line is a choice many like because of how easy it is to play for a couple of hours without having to leave home.

But if you’re feeling wary about returning to the casino, you still have options. You might think the new Covid restrictions are too much or too lax. If you still want to gamble, online casinos could be an option for you. Canada allows online casino and gaming that is safe and well regulated. You can still win big prizes from the comfort of your own home. There is also a rise in using casino apps on your phone or tablet.

Whether you go to the casino, play online or on your phone, you’ll hopefully be winning.

So which are you going to play first?

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City and the Region got their clocks cleaned at the most recent Land Tribunal hearing.

By Ryan O’Dowd, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

August 8th, 2021



The Member of the Ontario Land Tribunal and the 40+ people and organizations appealing the adopted but not in force Official plan wanted to see time frames and firm commitments from the City of Burlington and Region of Halton in order tom bring the appeals to a conclusion.

How much of the Burlington that people want to keep will make it through the Ontario Land Tribunal where developers are looking for heights above the 25 storey level.

There is considerable doubt that this will happen.

Member is the title of the person presiding over a hearing. On occasion a Member may “seize” a case which means they are the presiding member every time the appeal is heard.

On most occasions the presiding member is whoever is available.

Counsel for the city and an assistant city solicitor balked at having to go through 54 pages of issues that are part of the ongoing appeals.  There are two sets of appeals; those appealing the Interim Control Bylaw that was put in place two years ago and the appeals against the new adopted but not yet in force Official Plan.

Two examples of issues are set out below:

This was an early version of the thinking coming out of the Planning department for the Waterfront Hotel site more than five years ago. A serious loss at the Tribunal might permit something like this.

Vrancorp asked:
5. Does the revised Downtown Urban Growth Centre (the “UGC”) boundary identified in the New OP conform to the direction of the provincialGrowth Plan (2019) and the mapping provided by the Province, as required by section 3(5) of the Planning Act?

6. Does the revised Downtown Burlington UGC boundary identified in the New OP conform to the direction of the Halton Region Official Plan (1995) and related mapping?

The developer offered to keep the Carriage Gate restaurant in place – believing it would be seen as a plus by the public.

Another example asked by Core FSC Lakeshore GP Incorporated, the developer who wants to put up a 25 + storey development in the football shaped space between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road.

8. Are the policies establishing maximum heights, densities, stepbacks, setbacks, view corridors, transitions, dedication requirements, environmental policies, separation distances for tall buildings, and other performance standards in the Old Lakeshore Precinct:

a. excessively rigid and contrary to the Growth Plan (2019), the Provincial Policy Statement (2020), and fail to give regard to matters of provincial interest?

b. incorporate and impose guidelines, policy and study requirements that have either not received final approval or which represent an overstep of the City’s authority to administer these requirements?

c. have appropriate regard for the amount of parkland that the City can require to be dedicated as set out in the Planning Act, and are these policies ultra vires Section 42 of the Planning Act?

d. given an adequate review or consideration by the City before adoption?

e. Is it appropriate for the City to pass off its study of these policies to applicants?

These are not minor matters – the decision that will eventually be made by the OLT will be determined by how strong the city case is.

So far the city and the Region are looking irresponsible and showing little regard for the timelines and requirement to deliver information in a reasonable amount of time.

The city has to answer the questions and there are hundreds of them.

The city and region were supposed to provide a consolidated list of issues related to the new Official Plan by July 23rd, but they failed to do so. In the Case Management Conference meeting held last Wednesday morning City and Regional staff said it simply was not possible to meet the July 23rd deadline.

The list of consolidated issues is now expected on September 8th and will be discussed at the next case management conference in October, a timeframe the Member deemed relatively expeditious – not everyone saw it that way.

The city had offered to lift portions of the Interim Control Bylaw that had been put in place – that bylaw effectively put a hard stop to any progress on the numerous development applications that had been filed with the city planning department that were within the proposed new Urban Growth centre boundary.

The bylaw froze everything for one year with the option to extend the freeze for an additional year.

The city then took the position that they could not lift the freeze until all the appeals related to that Interim by law were resolved.

At the Wednesday meeting the city said it was prepared to lift the freeze on some of the development projects.

Much of the disagreement was about the delay in bringing the ICBL before the tribunal for appeal. The current interim control by-law “freezes” development around the MTSA (Major Transit Service Area) and within the Urban Growth Centre (UGC).

The old, and currently in force, UGC was focused on the downtown core.

The new UGC is focused on the Burlington GO station area.

The profits on development around the GO station are not as rich as those in the Caroline down to Lakeshore Road part of the city.

The Urban Growth Centre boundary is now much further north than it was when the 2014-18 Council changed the Official Plan.

For their part the city’s legal counsel said they would work toward lifting the freeze on areas unaffected by the new zoning by-laws, they expected this to please the developers – this also proved unsatisfactory.

Counsel for West End Home Builders Association (WEHBA) Denise Baker said the appeals process keeps getting “punted down the road.”

Representatives challenged the city’s suggestion of lifting the freeze as vague, lacking substance and a time frame.

Baker was critical of the city failing to schedule a hearing on interim control by-laws.

The ADI Nautique development got approved when a lawyer managed make a link between a bus terminal and the kind of development that was needed.

Denise Baker, some will recall, was counsel for the ADI Development Group when they appealed the decision on the property at Lakeshore and Martha Street where a 26 storey tower is in the process of going up.

Baker was brilliant when she argued that the bus terminal on John Street was an MTSA – which is the designation it had been given even though it is a room that wouldn’t hold 10 people.

The presiding member at the hearing bought the argument and that was enough to approve the ADI development even though they were asking for height on Lakeshore the city had never seen before.

Baker argued on Wednesday that: “At some point, we have a right to have a hearing on the appeals that have now been outstanding for an extended period of time.

She added that “It is absolutely within the tribunal’s jurisdiction to schedule hearings. The “only two months” was part of the ruling on January 14th, and the “only three months” was part of the ruling on April 26th to get to the August 4th date was just not acceptable to Baker who didn’t want to settle for another “only two more months” when it will be dealt with expeditiously.

“ I don’t have a commitment from the city that they will in fact be bringing such a motion” said Baker who added: “They just said they received some instructions to lift the freeze, but no commitment on how they are going to do it or when they’re going to do it.”

The OLT met largely to determine if all the matters the ICBL and the new Official Plan would be heard together.  The best that came out of the meeting to push to get the city asnd the Region to get a wiggle on and produce a document that consolidates the 70 pages of concerns and complaints from the development community that is necessary before the actual hearings can begin.

Whenever the hearings do take place it will be quite a zoo if it has to take place virtually.

Burlington has always claimed that it seldom got a fair shake at these tribunal hearings.

The failure to meet deadlines and to move the files forward is not helping.

With Council on a six week vacation there has been no word from the Mayor, who is usually quick to make a comment through at least one of her 17 communication platforms.

One has to wonder as well  if there are conversations between the City Manager Tim Commisso and the City Solicitor on just what the problem is.

Ryan O’Dowd is a Sheridan College journalism student who is part of a federally funded Local Journalism Initiative that will have him reporting for the Gazette well into 2022.  He is a Burlington native who plays the guitar.

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Monarch butterflies and pretty girls are what made the Enchanted Tour at the RBG Rock Garden a delightful day

By Maddy Van Clieaf: Local Journalism Initiative reporter

August 8th, 2021



Folk music and magical ambiance charmed the Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Garden’s Enchanted Garden Tour this weekend.

The girl in the blue dress is named Claire, she is 5. The baby is also named Claire, she is 5months.

Parents and Grandparents watched on as the kids, clad in fairy wings and big smiles, learned about the monarch butterfly life cycle from different “magical beings.”

The Enchanted Garden Tour, a full kilometer long, leading through the Rock Gardens and hosting six different stations for kids to learn about this year’s theme, the monarch butterfly.

Five year old Dahlia reaches for a Monarch butterfly.

As described by one of the staff members, the monarch theme is meant to symbolize transformation and adaption, a fitting theme for a year of constant change.

The kids participated in interactive activities led by the “magical beings” at each station and filled in their complimentary colouring books.

Juliette is 2.

At the end of the tour, they were gifted a “Monarch Guardian” pin to signal their newfound butterfly knowledge.

The event took place in the Rock Garden on 1185 York Boulevard, Hamilton ON  where the gnomes, elves, fairies, pixies, and sprites who make the Rock Garden home couldn’t be seen – but they were there.

The historic Rock Garden is considered the birthplace of Royal Botanical Gardens. Following a significant rejuvenation, the Rock Garden reopened in 2016 to embrace sustainable trends in garden design and management while respecting the integrity of its heritage setting. Bold swaths of brilliant perennials provide sweeps of inspiring colour and texture throughout all seasons.

Maddy Van Clieaf is a second year journalism student at Carleton University.  She is with the Gazette as part of the federal governments Local Journalism initiative.






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Threat of rain cuts the Gift of Giving Back food drive short

By Max Bowder, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 8th, 2091



The Gift of Giving back food drive was cut short today after rainy weather forced the fundraiser to close early.

Jean Longfield – scale weighing in the donations lower right: figures have not been released.

“We’re doing very well,” said Gift of Giving Back founder Jean Longfield; a statement that wasn’t reflected in the flow of traffic.

The Gift of Giving back food drive was initially to run from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm but with cloudy weather approaching and not many donators coming through the food raiser was forced to stop.

The Gift of giving back had four of their beneficiaries on site at the event including Burlington Food Bank, Compassion Society, Food For Life and the Salvation Army all prepared with trucks ready to cart away whatever was donated.

“We’re very committed to help feed our kids, especially in the midst of going back to school,” said Longfield.

There were spurts of traffic – threat of rain resulted in shutting down early.

Despite the conditions, many on site workers said that they have received a satisfying amount of donations and though it might not be as much as they had hoped for, enough food was raised to donate tp families in need through the food banks.

Because of Covid a lot of families are struggling with people in the restaurant of hospitality business out of work,” Longfield continued.

There were a number of young families arriving with food donations giving  a bag or two of food. There were several local sports teams, including the Burlington Cougars hockey team on hand to help out.  They also brought donations with them.

Unloading food donations.

“I got a good life and I wanna share what I got with other people,” said donator Kathy Winter.

Several organizations have been working in order to organize the food drive by mostly working with grocery stores and knocking on doors doing their best to collect donations, it is also were the majority of the donations come from.

Ms Longfield was unable to tell the Gazette just how much food was collected.

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A slightly different look at the growth of the city downtown

By Pepper Parr

August 7th, 2021



There are public hearings taking place at the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Before a full hearing can take place what are known as Case Management Conferences are held that set up the data and sworn statements that will become part of the actual hearing.

At this point in time there are appeals to the ICBL (Interim Control Bylaw) that shut down development in parts of the city for more than two years and the Approved but not in force city Official Plan.

The creation of a new Official Plan is a big deal – the changes the council elected in 2018 put in place were hugely different than the plan the 2014-2018 Council approved.

There are major dollars on the table – opportunities for eye popping profits for the developers and buildings that will change the look, feel and character of the city for decades.

Many people don’t pay all that much attention to these matters – they often don’t understand what is really complex stuff and wonder what difference their voice would make.

Then when they see a 26 storey tower that comes right out to the property line leaving them feel like they are in downtown Toronto they ask: How did this happen?

The picture below is a look at what it at stake.

The cultural and historical heart of the city has been bought up by developers who want to put up high rise towers reach close close to 30 storeys. Each circle represents a development underway of property on which a development application has been filed.


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West Nile Virus returns to Burlington

By Staff

August 7th, 2021



The West Nile Virus has returned to the Region and chosen to make a home for itself in Burlington.

A batch of mosquitoes trapped this week in Burlington has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first batch of WNV positive mosquitoes for Halton this year.

“Halton is committed to reducing West Nile virus in our communities through both education and preventative programs like larviciding,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Until the hard frosts of fall set in, Halton residents should continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites.”

The West Nile virus is now in the Burlington area – precautions are not hard to handle.

Urban areas are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry WNV. The types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV to humans most commonly breed in urban areas such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires that hold water.

Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

  • Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
  • Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
  • Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
  • Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

Locations of standing water sites that have had larvicide applied this year are available on the West Nile Virus page on



The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 595,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at


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Chief Smith passes away quietly in lonely solitude at the Halton Centennial Manor in Milton. Burlington failed him.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

January 24th, 2015

Pic 1 Lee Smith

Lee J Smith, former Burlington Chief of Police



Lee J Smith was a “Man’s Man”, because of his father
Burlington residents respected and knew their stern but friendly Chief only as Lee J Smith, but that was not the name he was given at birth. The actual birth name was Lein Joseph Schmidt. No one ever knew that Lee was of German descent when he lived and worked in Burlington.

Pic 18A Erdmann Schmidt

Lee Smith’s father was Erdmann Karl Schmidt who was born in Prussia in 1852. In 1858 the family emigrated from Prussia for a new life in Canada.

Lein was the son of Erdmann Karl Schmidt who was born in Prussia in 1852, and in 1858 Erdmann Schmidt and his family emigrated Prussia destined for a new life in Canada. The Schmidt family started life farming in the London, Ontario area.  Lein’s mother was Elizabeth Talbot. Elizabeth was born in Upper Canada in 1846. Erdmann and Elizabeth married in London, Ontario on July 20, 1880. The marriage produced 4 daughters, Helen, Annie, Katharine, Florence and 2 sons, Adolphus and Lein. All were born between 1881 and 1892.

Pic 18 AAA Schmidt first family

Erdmann Schmidt, his second wife Elizabeth Smither and children pose all dressed up in their Sunday best outfits. Elizabeth was a very special mother. For an unknown reason she had no arms from just above her elbows. Their sons Adolphus is on the left, and Lee is on the right, both standing in the back, while the twins Annie and Katharine sit on either side of Florence. Baby Stephen was born in 1895. This was the couple’s first child.

In 1894 their mother Elizabeth died on January 7th from pneumonia. Erdmann who quickly needed a step mother for his young children remarried a few months later on July 11th 1894 to Elizabeth Smither, a young lady at 26, already a widow, who was born in England. The new couple then started another family, with 3 daughters, Jessie, Nellie, Ethel, and 4 sons, Stephen, William, George & Edmund all born between 1895 and 1909.

Pic 19 Schmidt second family

Erdmann Schmidt, Lee’s father, married a second time, and 6 of their children are in this 1903 photograph: (L-R), William & Stephen are in the back, baby George is on the lap of Florence, the youngest daughter from Erdmann’s first marriage, Mary is in the striped dress, and (L-R), are Nellie and Jessie in front. The other children had not yet been born.

What’s really amazing about this new wife for Erdmann, was she had no arms from just above her elbows and all the way down to where her hands would have been. Yet, this remarkable woman functioned well enough to mother all those children. Just incredible.  Erdmann Schmidt was a devoted family man, religious, and a hard working farmer, who was responsibly raising his 13 children. Erdmann was strict, ruled with an iron fist, but was fair and just, which helped shape the straight forward, no nonsense, tough as nails, authoritative characteristics exuded by Lee J Smith his entire life. To better assimilate into the community, Erdmann eventually changed the family surname Schmidt to Smith, and he also changed his own given name to Edmund. The children with the exception of the two boys Adolphus and Lein were given more English sounding names at birth.

Two records that are not likely to ever be broken.
Chief Lee Joseph Smith holds the distinction of two records that will never be broken in Burlington. The first unbreakable record was Lee Smith ended his career as Burlington’s longest serving Police Chief, a total of 40 years from 1916 through to his retirement in 1956. The second unbreakable record was Chief Smith served faithfully under the first 18 of Burlington’s 28 Mayors’ administrations. This is an  amazing achievement, accomplished by no one else in Canada. Anyone would need phenomenal people skills to deal with all of those diverse personalities over a period of 40 years.

The Mayors Maxwell Smith 1915-1916, Fred Ghent 1917, Charles Coleman 1918, Dr. Thomas Peart 1919, Maxwell Smith 1919, Hughes Cleaver 1920, John J. Hobson 1921-1922, Elgin Harris 1923-1924, James Allen 1925 – 1928, E. Holtby 1929 – 1930, Lloyd Dingle 1931 – 1932, J. W. Ryckman 1933, F. W. Watson 1934-1935, George Harris 1936-1939, J.G. Blair 1940-1943, E. R. Leather 1946-1947, N.R. Craig 1948-1950, & E.W. Smith 1951-1956 all had the pleasure to work with Lee Joseph Smith, their outstanding Burlington Police Chief.

An unfortunate reality
What’s really unfortunate, is this great man has received virtually no recognition for his accomplishments. Here was a man who successfully transitioned the Burlington Police Department, starting in an era when the horse & buggy was still the main form of transportation, and served faithfully right up to 1956, just one  year shy of the world launching a rocket off into space. The Chief always adapted to new methods of management, and was a firm believer in embracing all new technologies as they emerged. From buggy whips to rockets, what more could you ask from someone? Chief Lee Smith was undoubtedly, one of Burlington’s greatest leaders. It could also be argued that Lee J Smith just might be Canada’s greatest Police Chief during the 20th century.

Pic 20 Lee Smith Headstone cropped

The Lee J. smith headstone in Burlington’s historic Greenwood Cemetery where he rests beside his wife Alma Edith McKenzie.

Farewell Chief
On November 5, 1973 Lee Joseph Smith, in his 89th year, quietly passed away in lonely solitude at the Halton Centennial Manor in Milton, and after a 44 year separation, the Chief was buried alongside his beloved wife Alma Edith McKenzie in Burlington’s historic Greenwood Cemetery.   Sadly, this was a man who must have known deep inside; he had been completely forgotten by the community he so dearly loved. Chief Lee Smith had always truly believed that his Burlington was the best place to live in Canada. You didn’t fail us Chief. We failed you.

My opinion
I think as a community we have totally forgotten this man. There is more work to do to better preserve the  colourful history  and stories of  our heritage and Lee Smith. This is a sad injustice bestowed upon a local man who championed Burlington’s justice for over 40 years. His efforts to have us all live in a safe community have endured to this day.

New Halton Regional Police Headquarters

The proposed new Halton Regional Police Services headquarters on Bronte Road, should be named The Lee J Smith Building, Canada’s greatest Police Chief of the 20th century.

My recommendation to recognize The Chief
Here’s my recommendation for what I think would be appropriate for the man who laid the groundwork for what was to become our highly respected Halton Regional Police Services. I think it would be fair to state that Chief Smith was for the most part, the “Founding Father” of modern policing in Halton. Could we then not recommend that the new proposed Headquarters for the Halton Regional Police Services be named to respectfully honour this once in a lifetime great Police Chief? A bronze statue of Chief Smith proudly standing at attention right at the entrance would be a great addition to complement the building’s name.

Part 1 of a 4 part feature

Part 2 of a 4 part feature

Part 3 of a 4 part feature.


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Kids helping Feed Kids will be on hand Saturday at the Centre - they need whatever you can do to stock up the food banks

By Staff

August 5th, 2021


Robin Bailey of the Burlington Food Bank and Jean Longfield with Rick Dale  explain the importance of the Saturday event.


It happens on Saturday.

Between 11 am and 4 pm

In the parking lot at the Burlington Centre, formerly the Burlington Mall.

The Kids Feeding Kids program that is part of the Gift of Giving Back that has been so successful in the past.

The Drive By will be set up in the part of the Centre parking lot at the Fairview and Guelph Line corner – right underneath the sign

The pandemic called for a pivot which resulted in the Food Drive By on Saturday.

There are a lot of people who rely on food from those organizations that help those who need support.

A short video on just how important this event is for the welfare of the city and those who need support.

Look for the kids wearing their hockey sweaters in place to pick up whatever you bring.

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Downtown is one of the better places to be on Friday night - things are happening!

By Staff

August 5th,2021



Friday night DOWNTOWN.

There are places downtown that are just what we need at this point in our getting back to normal.

The Chocolate Jam 7pm – 10pm
Location: Miss Bailey Brown Chocolates | 433 Brock Ave.
This is a promising night of music and talent….your talent!! Open mic for covers, original songs, karaoke, musicians, poetry and spoken word. The event is free & outdoor with limited seating. We also have it on good authority that they will be serving their famous Chicken and Waffles.
Live Music 8pm till late.

The Block Co. | 395 John St.
Join The Block Co. for cheese, charcuterie, wine and LIVE MUSIC every Friday starting between 8 and 9pm and going ‘till late! Stay tuned to their social media @theblockco2016 for musician announcements. Seating is limited, please call ahead to make a reservation. 289-337-9911
Live Music 10pm till late.

The Dicken’s | 423 Elizabeth St.
Head on over to The Dicken’s for their return of live music on Friday nights kicking off at 10pm!


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Story Walks have been set up in parks through out the city: an innovative, creative program that had the Library and the Parks people collaborating -

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative reporter

April 5th, 2021



Story walks have been set up in several Burlington parks over the last few months with the expectation of giving children an enthusiasm for reading as well as allowing them to enjoy the outdoors.

Different stories in different parks; a program that will be continued into the fall.

The Story Walk was created by the Burlington Public library along with friends of the institution and the City Parks Recreation and Culture department, to create a new learning experience that allows learning to become more interactive and hands-on giving kids a more creative way to learn while also encouraging physical activity as well as literacy while children can enjoy being outside.

A Story Walk creates this fun by having a children’s story divided into a number of pieces and post each piece of the story down a walk way so that children can enjoy the outdoors while also searching for the next piece of writing in their story.

When children have a story in pieces, it encourages them to find the other pieces of the story which promotes literacy in the children while also giving them entertainment in searching out the story as a scavenger hunt while also letting children get out in nature and get exercise.

Story Walks are expected to become an effective teaching tool as it helps children in so many areas of their lives. One does not require a reservation – they can be visited any time of day.

The Walks are expected to develop children’s interests in reading stories and give them an initiative for the outdoors with it being an activity to be done with a teacher in a class or with parents on a walk.

This is the story of a giraffe and a bird that comes to life

Walks from one story sign to another are like turning pages in a book. Not quite a chapter book yet.

The Burlington public library will continue to put up more Story Walks in parks including:

• Centennial Bikeway, Longmoor Drive (Nelson Park area)
• Francis road bike trail, Francis Rd
• Central Park, 2299 New St
• Tansley woods trail, 1996 Itabashi way
• Sherwood forest park, 5270 Fairview St

Story walk locations coming soon include Lowville Park and Norton community park near the duck pond.

The stories in these parks will include:

• The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do – by Ashley Spires,
• Families love Each Other – by Marcus Logan,
• Windows – by Julia Denos,
• Giraffe and Bird – by Rebecca Bender,
• Red house, Tree house, Little Baby Brown Mouse – by Jan Godwin,
• Water Only Please, by Camilla Judge-Aviss,

The stories are intended for children starting at age 3 – there is something in the story and the pictures for every elementary school student.

Max Bowder is a second year journalism student at Sheridan College.  He is part of a team with the Gazette on the Local Journalism Initiative funded by the federal government.  Before enrolling at Sheridan Max volunteered in a community in Venezuela where he worked with young people.  He is a Burlington resident who helps out on the family farm in Milton.

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Public Art on Traffic Control Signal Boxes

By Staff

August 4th, 2021



The public art program is continuing its annual Local Artist Program this year and has commissioned local artists who have created a variety of small to medium scale artworks throughout the community.

Hannah Brown, Have a Nice Day – Location: Walkers Line & Country Club Drive. “I decided to make my theme for this “Have a Nice Day” because years ago I would pass a bridge every day on my way to work, with some very amateur spray painted on it that said “Have a nice day”, and honestly, it made me happy to pass that every day. Living in a world with a lot of hate, fear, negativity and stress, it’s nice to find positivity in unexpected places. I want people to feel happy when they pass this, whether it’s just once, or every day during their daily routines.”

The City has just installed the designs of 12 local artists on traffic control signal boxes throughout the city.

Artists were encouraged to submit artwork that focused on inspiring and uplifting the community during these challenging times.

This artwork forms an urban art gallery that can be experienced by residents while still practicing appropriate social distancing.

Artwork Locations

Intersection of traffic control box Artist

Appleby Line & Longmoor/Pinedale Teresa Seaton

Brant Street & Baldwin/Victoria Ryan Snook

Brant Street & Ghent Avenue Clover / Akuoko-Dabankah

Drury Lane at YMCA – IPS / Heather Kuzyk

Guelph Line & Prospect Street / Nicole Clouston & Quintin Teszeri

Maple Avenue & Mapleview Centre / Holly Allerellie

Lakeshore Road & Pearl Street / Jason Diesbourg

Lakeshore Road at Lakeshore Public School / Hannah Doherty

Pinedale Avenue & Bridle Wood  / Janet Horne Cozens

Upper Middle Road & Duncaster Drive/Cavendish Drive  / Tamara Kwapich

Upper Middle Road at M.M.Robinson High School  / Cody Boucher

Walkers Line & Country Club Drive  / Hannah Brown

Cody Boucher – Location: Upper Middle Road at M.M.Robinson High School. ” My design is a collection of small fragments of my recent works, scattered together to form a single new piece. Over time I developed a prominent style I use in my hand drawn art which allows me to piece different drawings together in a “collage” style. Many of these drawings were completed during the COVID-19 pandemic as I have found myself with more downtime than usual. This has been the strange new reality we all share.”

Heather Kuzyk, Urban Life – Location: Drury Lane at YMCA – IPS “The concept of “Urban life” is a whimsical, anthropomorphic view of Burlington through the lens of indigenous fauna. Using bright, saturated pops of colour, and bold black and white subject matter, the concept is to convey four seasons in one day in a playful nod to Burlington’s diverse citizens as represented by the local wildlife population. Urban Life hopes to capture the lighter side of life in our fair city in a way that is relatable to both young and the young at heart with a gentle reminder that we are stewards of this beautiful land we call home.”

Ryan Snook – Location: Brant Street & Baldwin/Victoria. “The concept behind my work is to illustrate a vibrant, cartoon world showcasing some of best things our city has to offer. Great food, sports, The Sound of Music festival, our great libraries, and the RBG. All together on a landscape similar to our wonderful paths. The design responds to the diverse activities and people that enjoy our city and reflects them back using a cartoon world that brings out a playful nature.”

CLICK HERE to see all the installations.

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An incredibly successful program gets hit by the pandemic

By Pepper Parr

August 4th, 2021



Food Bank Executive Director Robin Bailey put the situation in plain black and while.

An incredible record of performance

The damage the pandemic has done to the annual Gift of Giving Back food raising event is going to have a negative impact on what the food banks are able to do.

In the past, Jean Longfield and her team have done a superb job of rousing the team spirits of young people involved in sports and using that energy to produce tonnes of food that kept the food banks running quite well.

When Longfield came up with the idea in 2007 it just grew and grew – to the point where she was able to pass the idea along to other communities.

Jean Longfield talking to a television reporter about the success of the Gift of Giving Back program. John Tate is in the background.

This year, there will be a food drive – it won’t use the traditional Gift of Giving Back – instead they will work under the banner of xxx and work with Burlington Centre to create a location people can take food to and have it picked up from the cars parked in the lot.

It won’t be the same – the buzz that always existed around the Giving Back event was exciting; seeing student after student come into the high school gymnasium with cartons of food that other people would need was a sterling example of our young people learning to care for others.

For Jean Longfield this must be an anxious period of time. She put everything into making the program better year after year.

To be stopped in your tracks by a pandemic is understandable – but that doesn’t lessen the disappointment.

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Land Tribunal Case Management meeting is short and not very productive. City chokes on 54 pages of 'issues' - offer to lift the ICBL a bit

By Staff

August 4th, 2021



The Ontario Land Tribunal held a Case Management Conference this morning that lasted just a little over an hour.

They didn’t get all that much done.

The City and the Region were required to provide time frames and firm commitments so that the 40+ appeals of the city’s adopted but not in force Official Plan could proceed.

Representatives from the city and the Region were supposed to provide a consolidated list of issues related to the appeals to the new official plan by July 23rd, they failed to provide this.

The city’s  legal team expressed surprise at the 54 pages of issues received, adding it simply was not possible to meet the deadline.

The list of consolidated issues is now expected to be ready by the 8th of September and will be discussed at the next Case Management Conference in October;, a time-frame the Commissioner hearing the appeals said seemed relatively expeditious-  not everyone saw it that way.

Denise Baker, representing the former Hamilton Halton Home Builders Association suggested the city was “punting” this matter down the road.

The city’s legal counsel said they would work toward lifting the Interim Control Bylaw on areas unaffected by the new zoning by-laws, they expected this to content parties –  this also proved unsatisfactory.

Representatives challenged the promise to lift the freeze as vague, ambiguous, and without a time frame.

More later today on this breaking story.


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City Hall wants feedback on the Construction and Mobility Management Policy

By Staff

August 4th, 2021



When there is construction work being done within hearing distance from where you sleep – you end up being a very unhappy camper.

Some time ago the city created a policy – Construction and Mobility Management Policy, to address the issue.

In the past the city has held public meetings and asked the developer of a site to explain to the audience how they will manage the CMMP. Those stand are from the ADI Development Group.

The contractors had to submit a plan on how they were going to handle the movement of equipment and construction materials to the site and how they would manage the movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the site.

For the people on Martha Street near Lakeshore a Construction and Mobility Management plan hasn’t made much difference – what has lessened the quality of their lives is the provincial policy that lets workers start at 7 am.

Nothing the city can do about provincial policies – except to maybe write a tart letter.

The city now wants feedback to help refine the policy to address construction impacts on sidewalks, cycling facilities, parking and streets.

This aerial view of the Nautique construction site sets out the problem; the traffic limitations on a very bust road, the sound and construction dust problems.

The Construction and Mobility Management Policy, (CMMP) first approved by Council in the fall of 2019 provides guidelines to:

• Minimize impacts to sidewalks, cycling lanes, parking and streets during construction of new developments;

• Provide consistency in the City’s review and approval of proposed developments;

The Nautique: it was controversial when it was an idea. Some things never change.

• Successfully manage multiple developments, potentially in close proximity, while maintaining an active city for residents and businesses; and

• Coordinate private development with planned construction by the City, Halton Region and Utility companies on public roads.

In June 2020, staff proposed an amendment to the original Construction and Mobility Management Policy to establish additional guidelines for the approval and management of low-density residential construction activities, to minimize impacts to public health and safety, amenities, traffic and the environment in the area. Council approved this amendment on June 22, 2020.

Staff is now looking for feedback from residents about how construction has impacted them both before and after the City implemented the CMMP.

How to Participate
Residents and others interested in the Construction and Mobility Management Policy are encouraged to:

1. Visit to learn more about the policy

2. Take the survey

An online survey will be available until Aug. 27, 2021 at for residents to share input about how the policy has affected construction around Burlington to date and what the future of the policy might look like.

You might want to use the Gazette search engine to pull up past stories on construction site problems.


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Angela Coughlan Pool Closure

By Staff

August 4th, 2021



Due to an unplanned maintenance issue, Angela Coughlan Pool is closed until further notice.

Lesson Participants will be notified regarding class location changes.

For alternate Rec and Lap swimming opportunities, please visit

Was that unplanned maintenance issue someone leaving something in the water they should not have left there?

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What kind of a society parented Spencer Smith? Why was he able to give so much to the city he made home?

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

January 15, 2015


Burlington is using the month of August to celebrate local history. Sometime ago the Gazette published a series of articles by Mark Gillies, a lifelong Burlingtonian. It is appropriate to re-publish the stories about the people who built this city. This is part two of the Spencer Smith story.

Spencer Smith got to Canada as part of the immigration of British children into Canada and Australia. The children were shipped from England by well meaning people but there were some horrific abuses and I believe it is necessary to expand the Spencer Smith story and learn more about how these boys who, without their consent became indentured servants. They were referred to as “Home Children”.

The poem Spencer Smith wrote, it was included in part 1, aches with the longings of a man who missed so much of a natural childhood.

British immigrant children from Dr. Barnardo's Homes at landing stage, St. John, New Brunswick.

Home children on a dock in St. John NB – waiting for trains to take them east.

The concept of Home Children started with honourable intentions; with good people trying to salvage young children from a parent-less home, or incredible poverty. Relocate them to a better life in Canada or Australia, that’s all they had to do. What’s the problem with that?

What made the idea work, was that farmers in Canada and Australia faced a severe labour shortage. They had recently immigrated themselves from Europe, cleared their fields, and grew their crops. Only problem was, who was going to do the harvesting, tend to the fields, feed the animals, and everything else that farmers do in this difficult labour intensive profession?

They didn’t have anybody to help. Governments were perplexed as well; those in Canada and Australia were more than happy to bring in immigrants to open up land and create farms. Sometimes they even gave them free land and supplies, but governments overlooked one part of the equation. Who is going work these large farms? They desperately needed a solution, and quickly.

Gillies Boys FarmNo doubt about it, everyone at the time believed this was a “WIN-WIN” situation. Spencer Smith’s story was a perfect example of one that seemed to have a happy ending.

Featherstone Martindale & Spencer Smith.

Spencer Smith’s sponsor was Featherstone Martindale from Caledonia. If you have ever been to Caledonia, it seems that about every third person you meet has the last name Martindale. They are a fantastic local family and they show up everywhere in Caledonia. Featherstone was born in 1848 in Haldimand County. Featherstone must not have been impressed by his first name, because he always went by the name Fred. He was a good honest man and a hardworking farmer who desperately needed help on his farm. Fred over the years became a father of 8 children and had married 3 times.

The Farmer’s Wife in Spencer’s Poem
In Spencer’s poem, he speaks of the farmer’s wife who influenced him. Spencer was referring to Eliza Mary Shult, who was Fred’s second wife. His first wife Eliza Jane Anderson died in 1881 after giving birth to a daughter named Ann. Fred married Eliza Mary Shult on January 8, 1883, and the new couple proceeded to have 7 children, the first born was Frederick who died in early 1884. Then another son named Featherstone was born in late 1884, and another 5 children were born between 1886 and 1895. In 2 quick years from 1883 to 1885 Eliza had married, and brought along her own small son named Wilfred McBride who was 5 years old from her previous marriage, when her first husband John McBride died from tuberculosis in 1879.

Spencer arrived on the farm May 21st, 1885 when Eliza Mary was just 28 years old. She was quite a busy young lady herself by the time he stepped down from the carriage. This young lady seems quite remarkable to me, since she still had some extra maternal time to still dote on young Spencer, something that helped shape his life.

Pic 23 Eliza Mary Shult & Featherstone Martindale

Eliza Mary Shult, the second wife of Featherstone Martindale had a huge influence on Spencer Smith, and he fondly recalls about her in his poem written in 1911.

I’m sure old Fred would be quite crusty at times, and probably scared the lads half to death many more times, but Spencer’s poem has a softer edge to it, especially towards Eliza Mary. Eliza Mary died in 1895 from complications of the birth with her last child George Martindale. By this time, young Spencer had already left the Martindale farm. If Spencer actually stayed the full 3 years until he was 18, his servitude would come to an end in January 1888. After the death of Eliza Mary, Fred married a spinster named Margaret Anna Peart in 1907.

The Peart family in Caledonia, which is very large in number, just like the Martindale’s is somehow linked to the Peart family in Burlington, my guess is they are probably cousins. It’s only speculation, but the Jacob Peart farm in Burlington is on the land now occupied by Fortinos, Sears and Ikea, so maybe there was a connection for Spencer Smith to come to Burlington, especially if it was initiated through the Peart families in Caledonia and Burlington. The Peart farm was located directly across Plains Road from the Bell homestead. We’ll never know for sure, but we can at least think about it.

Spencer Smith was quite fortunate and did not face some of the severe hardships that other Home Children experienced. Far too many faced a certain hell of an existence.

The Truth about the British Home Children in Canada
Here’s what really happened to most of the British Home Children.
Gillies - Herbert CliffordThis became an economic issue more than anything else. It was strictly a case of supply and demand. Most of these organizations were faced with a huge demand. They had great difficulty in meeting the demand by farmers and governments in Canada and Australia. It was stated at one time that there were 10 applications for every child. So what were they going to do? The answer was simple. Start rounding up any child who potentially was wayward and lived in the area that was to be scoured for recruits. Overly simplified, absolutely, but not by much.

The fact remains, that the original concept was for orphaned children. The reality was that only 2% were orphans. The rest were children in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s true that during these times some parents had great economic problems, perhaps they were unemployed or seriously ill, and they had no choice but to hand over their children to a workhouse, or some other care facility until they could get back on their feet and then bring their children home. The truth is, these organizations to help meet the demand, decided to ship them overseas without their parents’ consent. Most of these children had no idea what was happening to them. The parents did not know either. The children never realized that they would never see their family again.

Pic 24 Dr Barnardo at Founder's Day Parade July 15 1905 x

Dr. Thomas Barnardo was a very controversial character, and was responsible for exporting thousands and thousands of British children out of England and relocating them mainly in Australia and Canada. Here he is in 1905 leading the Founder’s Day Parade shortly before his death that same year.

The largest organization was run under the management of its controversial founder Dr. Thomas Barnardo.  He somehow convinced the Canadian and Australian Governments to take these children. Once that was established, then other organizations like the Shaftesbury Homes, the Salvation Army, churches, and others also jumped on the bandwagon. Probably, none of these add on organizations realized that down the road, this program was going to spiral way out of control, and thousands and thousands of small children were going to be totally exploited in this moneymaking scheme to supply cheap child labour to Canadian and Australian farmers. You can dress it up any way you want, citing testimonial cases that turned out good, reminding people that they were paid a small amount, some orphans were adopted by loving families, but in my opinion, the bare bones reality was: Canada, Australia and England were totally involved in a repulsive child slavery program.

Whatever happened to the other 32 boys who made the trip to Hamilton?

When I researched for information on the other 32 boys that made the trip to Canada with Spencer Smith, only about 2 boys continued to surface on available records. The Flamborough Historical Society has documented one of these Home Children. That boy went on to marriage, become a father and worked as a market garden farmer in Aldershot. He turned out okay.

Spencer Smith turned out okay. The others, they completely disappeared. We know some could have been adopted and had their surnames changed. As an outsider, it is basically impossible to track them. We already know that conditions for some children were so severe that they continually ran away from the farms they were working on, and many were beaten to a pulp when they were caught and returned. We know with documentation as proof that over two thirds of all the British Home children were beaten severely. We know that many of these children were not allowed to become part of the family that was caring for them. Gillies - Ralph CheesmanThey were forced to live in exclusion on the farmer’s property, and not interact with the farmer’s own children or have any friends of their own. They were not loved or nurtured in any way. We know that they were constantly tormented and bullied by other children at local schools, and even adults participated in this human degradation of these children. We know that many just eventually disappeared. Where you ask?

My guess is some were probably murdered when they were beaten so severely by the farmers, and when authorities came around they just claimed that they ran away. Some children because of horrific living conditions probably became so ill, that they died on the farm, and were quietly buried on the property so as not to draw any suspicion. Others may have committed suicide, and became nothing more than John or Jane Does stashed away in a local morgue, waiting for no one to identify them. Whatever the reason, they’re gone, and we don’t know have explanations. Have a look at this story that appeared in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix newspaper on April 23, 1930 about a young British Home Child boy named Arthur Godsall who was savagely beaten on a farm in Campbellford by farmer William Albert Hay, age 37.

Pic 25 Saskatoon Star-PhoenixAlbert had just arrived from England with many other British Home children and they all disembarked at Halifax from the ship Albertic on March 17, 1930.

Albert made his way to the Hay’s farm in Campbellford, and less than a month after he arrived he endured this beating and was finally rescued. That’s just one tragic story, there were thousands of stories just like this. One boy was forced to live outside in the dog house with the farm dog. The farmer fed the dog table scraps, and if the dog was full and if by chance there was any dog food left over, it was for the boy to scavenge. Not to mention that this same farmer viciously beat the boy almost daily. Eventually, he was removed from the farm, and as far as I know this farmer did not face any charges. This is unbelievable, but true. This happened in Canada. If you do some basic internet research, you will find these stories and many more.

What’s really disturbing is just how low profile this tragic event in human history was, and just how little we know of it now. But, it is becoming more widely known, and just recently as victims have finally come forward. In Australia for example, the Australian Government were finally brought to their knees by a public outcry after the public learned the truth from these victims, and the government brought forth an apology for their involvement in this hair-brained scheme. Also, the British Government were totally embarrassed by previous governments’ involvement in this tragic situation also came forth with an apology offered by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And what about the Canadian Government?

Gillies - Alice SquiresWhere do we stand? Sadly, and unfortunately, the Canadian Government has essentially taken the position that this isn’t really a big deal, and no apology is warranted or forthcoming, even though they backed and encouraged this form of child slavery and abuse under the guise of helping disadvantaged children. Personally, I think that Jason Kenney the Cabinet Minister responsible for these remarks was not that well informed on the situation when confronted with the apology question, and consequently brushed it off as unimportant. I encourage you to contact Burlington’s local Federal Member of Parliament, Mr. Mike Wallace, who is a very decent man, and please voice your concern. I would like to think that Mike can champion this cause and help us get this apology from the Canadian Government. It’s long overdue, and it’s the right thing to do.

Here’s how to reach Mike Wallace, Member of Parliament: Burlington Mall Office, 777 Guelph Line, Suite 209, Burlington, Ont. L7R 3N2. T: 905-639-5757 or F: 905-639-6031
House of Commons, East Block, Suite: 115, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
T: (613) 995-0881; F: (613) 995-1091 or email,

There is an incredible website on the British Home Children.
It tells the whole story of the plight of these exploited children. It will break your heart to read and watch some of the videos made by former Home Children, these men and women who are now elderly, who have finally broken their silence to tell the real story of what happened to them. The website also has a form that can be signed. It is a petition to persuade the Canadian Government to offer an apology to these unfortunate people, many still alive in Canada, and still suffering mental anguish.

Add the website to your “Favourites”. It is quite large and takes a fair bit of time to go through it properly, so you will likely have to go back several times. The website also is constantly updated with more unbelievable stories about this shameful part of our Canadian past.


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Five Romantic Surprise Proposal Ideas for you

By Alicia Mattroni

August 3rd, 2021



Five Most Romantic Surprise Proposal Ideas for you
It all starts with a proposal. Every woman dreams of finding her prince charming, falling in love with him, and settling down eventually. Before settling down with her love, she would also want him to propose to her most romantically. She wants to have that thrilling experience of his man going down on one knee and proposing to her for marriage.

When a proposal is perfectly planned, you would hear a definite and loud yes from your ladylove.

If you were short of ideas, find below five romantic ideas to propose to your woman.

Choosing a romantic location and asking for her hand in a public place is very very romantic.

Take your woman to a romantic destination

You have been dating for some time now and are madly in love. When you decide the time is right to pop up the question, consider proposing to her most romantically. Is she a travel person? Consider taking her to a romantic destination and keep it a surprise. Make the day extremely special and buy jewelry in Burlington. Ensure that you devote the moment to her alone. Plan a trip to a romantic destination with her and discuss deeper matters with her. When you feel the moment is right, ask her the question.

The ring in a cake – never fails to surprise. And if you made that cake yourself – watch the delight.

Hiding the proposal ring in her cake
It has been the best way to propose to the woman you love for marriage. Ensure that you take her out to a nice and cozy place where the two of you could have a moment with one another. Make sure she has a great time in the place. The ambiance should be romantic enough to get her in the mood. Let her know you have a special treat for her in the form of a desert. Give her a piece of the cake where you have hidden the ring. Talk to her while she explores the ring in the cake. It would be a pleasant surprise for her when you go down on one knee asking her for marriage.

Proposing in public
Foremost, you should be sure of her feelings for you when you propose to her in public. You do not want embarrassment in a public place. Now that you have her confidence, rest assured your woman would be enthralled with your affection in public. Women love it when their man shows her public affection without caring what the world thinks. It would be highly romantic to ask her for marriage in public with a maple leaf diamond ring.

You will never go wrong if you choose a quiet romantic location to ask her to marry you. Just be sure to make it a total surprise.

The old school proposal never fails
Plan a romantic candlelight dinner where the two of you can have some quality time. Arrange some soulful music to make the evening full of romance. While she is surprised with the arrangement, pop up the question when you feel the time is right. You can go down on one knee to ask her for marriage, as it is the traditional way to do it.

Proposing with fireworks
Did your eyes sparkle when you first met? Your proposal should have glitter and fireworks to make it more romantic. Light up the sky with fireworks and as the light flashes, catch the glitter with a beautiful diamond ring.

Proposing has been an important aspect of a marriage and has been around for a significant length of time. Rest assured it holds immense value to date. It should be the most romantic thing and should be planned perfectly.

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Gift of Giving Back needs help this time: food drive is hampered by Covid social distancing and people being away.

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 3rd, 2021



The 10th anniversary was a banner year – then the pandemic took over and determined what we could do and what we couldn’t do. There is still a way to make it happen.

This Saturday the Gift of Giving Back will host Help Feed Our Kids: Drive-Thru Food Drive at the Burlington Center parking lot (777 Guelph Line, Guelph, and Fairview entrance) from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Contributions will stock the shelves of the Burlington Food Bank and ensure the community’s most vulnerable are fed.

Robin Bailey, Executive Director with the Burlington Food Bank, acknowledged the GGB as their largest food drive and cited difficulties posed by missing events during the pandemic, despite tremendous community support.

“With no school food drives, no churches, and no Gift of Giving Back (in its traditional form) it’s been a really tough summer for us,” said Bailey. “We’re hopeful that [Saturday’s event] is going to get our stocks back up.”

They brought food in by the carton. It was a superb program that got way-laid a bit by a pandemic.

The Burlington Food Bank reports that 48% of their 2020 clients were first-time food bank users in their annual report, and the food bank serviced 39% more people than they had in 2019. Even prior to COVID-19 food bank reliance was trending up, Bailey says these trends will continue as long as the cost of living and minimum wage fail to keep up with inflation, to that end he wants to remove the stigma from food bank use.

“We think it’s important for our branding and marketing to let people know that we’re here for them if they do need our assistance. There’s a bit of a stigma and we’re hoping that that stigma is getting sort of worn down that people go, ‘you know what, it’s a community support that the community is behind and wants to help us, not go hungry and be able to help pay other fees, whether it be rent or their electricity or whatever it might be,’” Bailey said.

The GGB has raised 4.6 million pounds of food since its inception, which they calculate is a community benefit exceeding $1.8 million. The GGB, founded in 2005 by Jean Longfield, has become such an integral part of the community that the City of Burlington raises its flag at city hall to usher in the period of giving and community work.

The annual GGB food drive is touted as the largest of its kind in Canada. From its inaugural 2007 event up until 2019 GGB would pack gymnasiums full of food bins with the help of community sports teams and students. COVID-19 put a halt to their traditional food collection method in 2020, but that didn’t stop the GGB.

The GGB operated out of the Burlington Center in 2020 collecting food for those quarantined. Previously their list of contributions included those to the Compassion Society, Food4Life, the Carpenter Hospice, Salvation Army, the Women’s shelter, and the Burlington Food Bank.

The Gift of Giving Back has always been a team effort. These girls are smiling when they see the chart showing the amount of food the brought in posted.

Despite their perseverance in 2020, the GGB’s donations (measured in pounds) were down 77.9 percent from the previous year’s haul and 84.3 percent from their all-time high in 2018: (a national record for food donations at the time, a feat acknowledged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

Social distancing and safety protocols will be enforced at the drive-thru.

The GGB requests contributors stay in their vehicle while volunteers unload donations for a safe contact-less drop-off. The volunteers will be wearing personal protective equipment.

They encourage young donors to wear their sports jerseys and spirit wear, decorate their cars, and make signs. Such community spirit will bring a sense of normalcy to the proceedings that in previous years would yield enough food to fill 3 high school gymnasiums.

Young athletes would work with their teams in a good-natured competition to cart in a haul of goods so vast transport trucks were required to shift them to distribution centers.

For obvious reasons that isn’t happening this year, however, young people still played a vital role at the Burlington Food Bank, Bailey explained.

“It was students that really propelled us through the first parts of COVID. They were the ones that were deemed to be a little bit safer to contribute,” Bailey said, “without them, we wouldn’t have had the ability to stabilize and serve the community as well as we have throughout 18 months of the pandemic.”

The 2021 event will be less showy than some of GGB’s memorable offerings but Bailey, Longfield, Tate and their respective teams are still there and still working, and the donations are needed, particularly in uncertain times.

Ryan O’Dowd is a Sheridan College journalism student who is part of a federally funded Local Journalism Initiative that will have him reporting for the Gazette well into 2022.  He is a Burlington native who plays the guitar.

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