There will be a Chili Half Marathon in 2022 - normal is expected by then

By Max Bowder

August 3rd, 2021



Speculation, due to the rise in covid cases, that the Chili Half marathon might have some problems with scheduling, Kelly Arnott, the race organizer, announced that they expect to proceed as planned and that as of now the Chili Half Marathon is on for March 6th, 2022.

The Chili Marathon’s organizer Kelly Arnott has taken all precautions to ensure the safety of all those competing in the marathon.

“We follow the rules and regulations that Athletics Ontario has set out for safe road races,” said Arnott.

Krista Duchene and Kelly Arnott

As a part of her safety policies, every runner competing in the race will need to be fully vaccinated in order to assure public safety, other policies include no big line ups at the start of the race (having runners show up at the time they are seated), having one racer start every 10 seconds and participants needing to bring their own water as there will be no water stations.

Runners must wear a mask at the start of the race and are allowed to take it off while running, putting it back on as they approach the finish line.

Arnott has said if the marathon approaches during a Covid spike, the marathon will be done virtually or even cancelled.

Virtual marathons allow anybody to compete in the marathon by having everyone run from where they choose such as in their neighborhood or even on a treadmill and record what their distance was, how long they ran for and what pace they ran at.

Arnott also has the experience of knowing how to run a marathon in a pandemic as she organized one of her marathons in the middle of the SARS outbreak.

Winners of the marathon usually win cash prizes (up to $500) as well as free future entries and free hotel rooms.

Krista Duchene – ran in Burlington and grew to become an Olympian qualifier.

Prominent Canadian Olympians have competed in and won in the Chili Marathon including Krista Duchene and Reid Coolsaet.

Duchene competed in the Chili Marathon as her first run after breaking her femur in the Banque Scotia 21k De Montreal Marathon which required rehabilitation after her injury.

Duchene winning the Chili Marathon had qualified her to run in the Dusseldorf Marathon which qualified her for the Olympics.

Arnott will also be hosting a garage/bake sale as a fundraiser for the Holy Cross church at 3455 Lakeshore Road, west of Walkers Line on Saturday August 7th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

The Chili Half Marathon has raised $200,000 for Joseph Brant hospital and continues to raise money today, people are encouraged to donate on the Chili Marathon home page 

Arnott was approached some time ago by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to host the first “CIBC run for the cure” marathon in 1992 and continued to host the event for the next five years during which they raised more than $1 million.

The Chili Marathon has been happening for over 20 years with the first being hosted in 1999 (back then called the Millennium Marathon).

Arnott started her long marathon organizing career when she opened her first store in Village Square called the Village Runner after working in her dad’s shoe business.

The Village Runner was a high end fashion shoe store before financial circumstances compelled her into selling running shoes, which then evolved to running programs.

If there is a good reason for a race – Kelly Arnott will do everything she can to organize one. The Canada Day event in 2016 was an example.

It was there she decided to put on races and programs to teach people how to run for marathons.

Arnott has remained active in her community for over 25 years; she ran for a City Council seat in 2014 coming in second of 4 candidates.

That election was “an eye opener … its not really a 60% effort it, it’s either 100% or nothing,” said Arnott

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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Ten pieces of Advice for Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor

By Albert Meditorino

August 3rd, 2021



The best ways to choose roofing contractors would be to talk to them on the phone or schedule a meeting in person and ask several questions.

To locate the best roofing contractor, consider conducting an online search, asking for referrals from your family and friends. Use any sources to get the information you need – google maps, directories, friends reviews. It would be worth your time and effort to check the website of potential roofing contractors near you.

Do your research – ask questions.

Start researching about the best roofing contractors near you. It could be time-consuming, but worth every minute spent. If you were skeptical about finding a suitable roofing contractor near you, consider these ten pieces of advice to help you find the one meeting your needs. Roofing directory websites have been made available to help you find a roofing contractor in your region.


Hire a licensed roofing contractor
Your potential roofing contractor should be licensed to practice in your region. It would also be important to hire a roofing contractor who is a dedicated professional. He should have undergone continuous education training in the arena.

Ensure their business is permanent
You should be confident about your potential roofing contractor being able to handle and complete the project they promised to do. The best way to gain confidence in a roofing contractor would be to choose the one who could commit financially to finishing the project.

Find a roofing contractor with insurance coverage
Hire a contractor having an insurance certificate. The contractor should get an insurance certificate showing dates of coverage dates and limits to the policy offered by the insurance carrier. It would also be important that your roofing contractor have workers’ compensation insurance. Consider looking for insurance coverage information on

No safety plan – take a pass.

This is a roofer with a safety plan that they ensure is followed.


Contractors should have a safety plan
Your potential roofing contractor should have a safety plan. It would be important for ensuring that the project is completed within the stipulated time.

How long does the warranty of the contractor work
Consider finding out how long the warranty of the contractors works. Their work should be long lasting, at least for a year. Ensure to talk to your contractor about the manufacturer specifications that are essential for product warranty.

Contractor to discuss the home improvement project
Your contractor should discuss the home improvement project thoroughly with you. It should be inclusive of color and type of products you intend to use, seeking the requisite permission, daily cleaning up procedure, and how the work would be paid for.

Ensure that your contractor talks to you and shows you the plans.

How long the contractor has been in business
Consider the length of time the contractor has been in business. The more time he has been in business, the more experience he has of the work.

Ask for pictures of contractors work
Inquire about providing pictures of previous work by the contractor. Seek references from the previous customers.

How good is he with complaints
Your potential contractor should be good at handling various complaints. He should be competent in handling complaints in the best possible way.

Choose the best from at least three contractors
It would be important that you compare at least three shortlisted contractors before finalizing the one suitable for your work.

Be thorough in your search and do not be complacent with your roofing contractor hiring needs.

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Child pulled from a pool on July 25th died yesterday in hospital.

By Staff

August 3rd, 2021



Follow up on a tragic story.

On July 25th police responded to a call from a household about a child drowning in a backyard pool.

The child was rushed to hospital.

We learned today that the child died.

Halton police say an 18-month-old girl, who last week was pulled from a backyard swimming pool in Burlington, has died in hospital.

The youngster was found in critical condition during an emergency call on July 25 tied to a reported drowning at a home on Kevin Crescent and Folkway Drive just before 2 p.m.

“Tragically, the young girl was pronounced deceased on Saturday morning at the hospital,”

Global News has been on top of this story. Const. Steve Elms told Global News through an e-mail.

“The incident is now a coroner’s investigation.”

Police did not reveal how long the girl was in the pool but said the child’s mother was home at the time of the incident at her residence.

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Scammers are getting creative and using the technolofy we need to steal from us

Pepper Parr

August 3rd, 2021



They are getting craftier.

The scammers – those people who use the internet to get information you do not want them to have – then they try to steal your money or data that is sensitive

Got this earlier today:

Dear Customer,

Our data isn’t really in “a cloud”. The word became popular as a way to describe how many organizations are using locations where thousands of computer servers are used to store data where any number of people, with permissions, can access the data and add to it.

Your Apple ID was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser.
Date and Time: 03 August 2021, 07:49 PDT
IP Address, Country:, China – Shanghai

If the information above looks familiar, you can disregard this email.

If you have not signed in to iCloud recently and believe someone may have accessed your account, go to My Apple ID and change your password as soon as possible.
Apple Support

The problem with this notice is that we don’t have a CLOUD account – we have plans to set things up so that people can access some of our data.

These guys want to streak it before we are operating in the Cloud as a client.
Brazen bunch aren’t they.

There is a point here – as you make more use of the tools available – be really careful how you set things up.

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Conservation Authority seeing huge increases of people in their parks.

By Pepper Parr

August 3rd, 2021



Hassaan Basit, President and CEO of Conservation Halton

Hassaan Basit, President and CEO of Conservation Halton said last week that from January until now, their parks have seen around 850,000 visitors, which is a 30 to 40 per cent increase from last year.

Someone is doing great business. People are getting out; something that is beginning to look like normal seems to be on the horizon.

The line up of cars at some of the Conservation Authority parks takes space outside the grounds.

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Rogue cow on the loose: a 900 lb black and white beauty

By Pepper Parr

August 3rd, 2021



Reference is often made about the agricultural sector by the people who live in the Region. For most, the closest they get to any live stock is at the Royal Winter Fair.

For those in the Milton area there was an experience waiting for them.

A rogue cow had gotten loose.

Let the Regional Police tell that story:

This is not a photo of the Halton Regional Police trying to coax a cow into getting back on the truck. It is a photo of what the police will be trying to do when they find the cow – not something they were taught at the police academy.

Police are issuing a caution to motorists travelling in the south end of the Town of Milton. Late Friday night, livestock were being unloaded from a trailer when a rogue cow escaped handlers. She is described as a black 900 lb. cow. The handlers and officers are currently trying to locate the animal.

The loose animal is not contained and has access to open roadways. Extreme vigilance should be exercised if travelling in south rural Milton overnight and into Saturday morning.

Police caution drivers to be careful driving in the areas of Highway 25 (Regional Road 25) between Lower Base Line and Britannia Road, and on Britannia Road between First Line and Thompson Road.

You will know it if you bump into it.

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So, who was Spencer Smith?

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

January 12, 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. Today we retell the story about the man the lake side park is named after – Spencer Smith.

Here is Spencer Smith Park as it looks today; a park enjoyed by thousands of residents annually, all thanks to the vision of a single man. .

One of the most recognized names in Burlington is Spencer Smith. We have named Burlington’s most scenic park in his honour. Spencer Smith Park, located on the shores of Lake Ontario, is used for many events that attract thousands of visitors annually.

We know the park; we really don’t know who Spencer Smith was, and just what it was that made him so significant to Burlington?

Pic 2 Spencer Smith & Edith Bell

Spencer and Edith Smith a happy couple who enjoyed living and working in Burlington.

If you read last week’s column on Edith Hodge, one of Burlington’s earliest settlers, you would have discovered that Spencer Smith was Edith’s son-in-law.  Spencer married Edith and William Bell’s youngest daughter Edith Bell.

The Spencer Smith Story
Just how did Spencer Smith end up in Burlington, where did he come from, and what did he accomplish that made his name a Burlington household word?

Pic 3 Mount Street Bethnal Green

Spencer Smith was born at 7 Mount Street. This illustration shows what housing looked like on Mount Street around the time of Spencer’s birth in 1870.

Spencer George Smith was born on January 18, 1870 at 7 Mount Street in Bethnal Green, East London, England to George Spencer Smith 26, and Mary Ann Mears 24. Spencer was the youngest of three children. He had two older sisters, Mary Ann who was born in 1866 and Sarah born in 1868. Spencer’s father worked as a labourer at a local wharf on the Thames River. Mary Ann was also employed, and most likely worked at or near the wharf and was responsible for folding the sails for ships, or as it was referred to in 1870, she was a furl server. Their residence may have been a tri-plex, as two other families lived at the same address. Edward Dwyer, a bricklayer and his wife Isabella, a tailoress, and their 4 children; plus George Scales, a cooper, and his wife Sarah and their 3 children all lived at 7 Mount Street.

Life in Bethnal Green during the 19th Century
Bethnal Green was a very poor neighbourhood, often referred to as a slum area. It was rundown, disease ridden, rat infested, everyone was exposed to raw sewage, the neighbourhood had a gut wrenching bad smell to it, and it was full of sickness, drug addicts, prostitutes, and uncontrollable crime. Bethnal Green was not the best place to raise your family. Bethnal Green was not unlike many other urban communities in England at that time.  Pic 4 Bethnal Green

The Industrial Revolution had driven many people from their agricultural backgrounds into the towns and cities looking for work. These areas quickly became overcrowded, and living conditions seriously declined. Times were very bad.

For reasons that we do not know something happened to the Smith family. They basically vanished from the census records for 1880 and everything afterwards.

Death records have not been located proving conclusively that Spencer’s parents or sisters died, or moved elsewhere. Some have claimed that Mary became a widow, and that she had no choice but to give up her children, but this is just hearsay. It could be true. The only person we conclusively know about is Spencer Smith.

For whatever reason, perhaps to escape an imminent transfer to the local workhouse, which was a hideous institution located just down the street at 103 Mount Street. It was a derelict building having been in existence for over 120 year. Perhaps Spencer was to be turned over to an orphanage, we just do not know, but life for Spencer definitely changed. Did you know that workhouses were often the last destination for families that could no longer support their children, and parents were forced to turn them over to the authorities? Even orphanages were overcrowded and poorly run. Many parents died from disease, starvation, alcoholism, murder, suicide, or work related injuries. They left their children destitute, and there was no other recourse, but for these little people to end up in any one of these deplorable institutions.

Pic 5 SS Corean

Spencer Smith and 32 other boys were sent to Canada on the SS Corean in May of 1885. This is the actual ship that Spencer made the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on.

Spencer in 1885 at 15 years of age was forced to leave his home and friends, board a steam ship named the SS Corean, along with 32 other boys all about his same age, and set off for Canada.  The ship arrived in Montreal on May 14, 1885, and the boys made their way to Hamilton. They travelled on the Grand Trunk Railway, stopping all along the way, including Burlington, and finally on to Hamilton. Who knows, maybe Spencer looked out of the train car window when the boys pulled into the Freeman train station, and thought to himself, “This looks like a nice place. Maybe one day I will live here. Where am I anyway?”

Spencer and the other boys were sent by the Shaftesbury Homes organization based out of London, England. This organization and many others were operating in England, taking on the responsibility of relocating disadvantaged youth to Canada, and also Australia. The largest organization was run by Dr. Thomas Barnardo. It has been written that Spencer Smith was a “Barnardo Boy”, but that information is incorrect. This was a common error made by most people when they referred to the “British Home Children” shipped to Canada. The Barnardo organization was much larger than the other British organizations, the name ended up as generic terminology and just about all were referred to as Barnardo children regardless of the organization that sent them over.

It was believed at this time some British children would have a better life if they were removed from their local environment in their overcrowded communities and sent to Canada and Australia to live and work on farms. The concept was developed mainly for orphans, but over time this evolved into destitute children becoming included as well.

Pic 6 GTR Hamilton Station

When Spencer arrived by train destined for Hamilton, he disembarked at this Grand Trunk Railway Station located along the southern shores of Burlington Bay.

When the Grand Trunk Railway train arrived in Hamilton, the Shaftesbury boys were sent to live temporarily at a location called a “Receiving Home”.

In Hamilton it was called, “The National Children’s Home & Orphanage” which opened in 1884. This home was located on Main Street, in the east end of Hamilton on the grounds of present day Gage Park.

Pic 7 National Children's Home & Orphanage

Spencer and the 32 other boys were sent to this “Receiving Home”. It was called the “National Children’s Home & Orphanage”, located on the grounds of present day Gage Park.

When the boys arrived, farmers in the Niagara area who had sent in an application to be a sponsor for these children were notified that the children had made it to Hamilton, and they were now ready to be picked up and taken to their new home. Not all children were sponsored before they arrived, it depended on the circumstances that brought them to the “Receiving Home”. In some situations children had to wait for someone to come along and claim them. “The National Children’s Home & Orphanage” over time evolved into Canada’s Children’s Aid Society. Shaftesbury Homes in London, at a later date, became the cornerstone of the London Children’s Aid Society.

Pic 8 Featherstone Martindale

Featherstone Martindale was the farmer from Caledonia who sponsored Spencer Smith taking him back to his farm to begin work as an indentured farm labourer.

For Spencer Smith, a farmer named Featherstone Martindale from Caledonia was coming to pick up him and probably a couple more boys too. We know that other boys also went to Caledonia to work on the Martindale farm, but we do not know how many. Most likely it was no more than 2 more boys. They met, and all got to know each other a bit better, and eventually Featherstone, the other boys, and Spencer left “The National Children’s Home & Orphanage”.

Pic 9 Hamilton Street Railway

Before the Hamilton Street Railway streetcars became electrified, they were horse drawn. Featherstone Martindale and Spencer Smith and the other boys made their way to the King Street train station on a streetcar just like this one, for the train trip to Caledonia.

The group travelled west along King Street in Hamilton on a horse drawn Hamilton Street Railway streetcar to the King Street train station at Ferguson Avenue, embarked on to the train and made the trip to Caledonia.  That day was Thursday, May 21, 1885.  When they arrived at the Caledonia station, Featherstone, the other boys, and Spencer travelled again for 6 miles, this time in the Martindale’s fancy carriage and on out to the Martindale farm in rural Caledonia.

Pic 12 Lindley Farm 1871

The farms along Maple Avenue provided the country with some of the most fantastic fruit grown anywhere in the world. If you look closely on this map, you can see the Lindley farm where Spencer worked, and also in the lower left corner you can see the William Bell homestead where he worked following his employment with the Lindley family.

Spencer Smith’s new Canadian life was about to get underway.
The usual arrangement was to keep a British child on the farm, as indentured servants until they became 18 years of age. These children were to be paid a small wage, fed, clothed, schooled and provide room and board. According to Spencer, he agreed to stay at the Martindale farm for one year. This could be true, or not. We’re not certain if Spencer stayed with the Martindale’s for up to 3 years, or if he went to another farm. We do know that Spencer in 1889 was working as a farm labourer on the Lindley farm in Burlington when he was 19 years old. The Lindley family operated a very successful orchard farm on Maple Avenue. It was located just north of Water Street, now called Lakeshore Road, and it ran north up to about the south side of Mapleview Mall.

The Lindley’s were smart farmers and during the Great Depression, just to stay in business, negotiated a deal with Dominion Stores and supplied the grocery store chain with produce, an agreement so good that it lasted for over 40 years. For many years, the Lindleys and other local farmers hauled their crops by wagon up to the Freeman Train Station, and loaded up the boxcars with their products for transport to markets across Ontario, Canada, England, and even South Africa. The Freeman Station (now under restoration on Fairview Street and in need of more private funding) was the focal point of Burlington’s emerging agricultural market. It was Burlington’s “Window to the World”.

Pic 13 Bell Homestead

Here’s the Bell Homestead where Spencer Smith worked and met his future wife, Edith Bell. The homestead is still here today, although it looks somewhat different. You could call it, “The Home of the Strawberry Social”.

One day, Spencer Smith left the Lindley family farm and moved up Maple Avenue to the William & Edith Bell farm located at the southwest corner of Plains Road and Maple Avenue, and he began working as a farm labourer for the Bell family.  It was here at the Bell homestead that Spencer Smith met Edith Bell, the youngest daughter of William and Edith Bell. Spencer courted the farmer’s daughter, and before you knew it, they were engaged and then the young couple married on May 9 1900.

At that time, Maple Avenue went north and more westerly emerging at the Union Burial Ground, the historic pioneer cemetery located in front of the Sears, Fortinos & Ikea stores. It has been reported that Spencer Smith went to work on a farm in Penetang. Again, this is hearsay, and not proven. It is possible, but if Spencer did work on a farm in that area, it would have most likely been after his servitude was completed at the Martindale farm, and before he began work on the Lindley farm by 1889, or Spencer may have left the Lindley farm, went to Penetang and returned to begin working with the Bell family. We’re not certain.

Pic 14 Spencer Smith's store

These two young ladies are standing outside Spencer Smith’s green grocery store on Brant Street, just north of Pine Street. The young lass on the right just may be holding a candy stick that was given to her by Spencer Smith. This rare photograph taken around 1914 shows the last part of the name Spencer Smith on the awning’s edge. Many thanks to local genealogist Russell Hunsperger for digging up this picture from his family’s photo archives.

Spencer eventually became a green grocer, and opened a store in Toronto, but this did not last long and the couple returned to Burlington, where Spencer opened another green grocer store. This time it was on Brant Street, just 4 doors north of Pine Street, on the east side.

Pic 15 Alfie

Spencer Smith’s grocery store attracted pleasure boat shoppers just like these passengers on the boat “Alfie” which set out from a dock in Dundas.

The store was very successful, and eventually Spencer and Edith became quite affluent. Spencer Smith was a clever marketing man. Whenever children came into his store, they were treated with candy. There were other grocery store competitors in town, but Spencer usually won the day over the other stores. When the children in the neighbourhood persuaded their parents to go shop at Mr. Smith’s store, the parents usually agreed, not quite realizing why the children were so insistent. The other grocers in town probably couldn’t figure out why Spencer Smith’s store continually had so many customers. Spencer and Edith Smith were very good at business, and skilled as retailing entrepreneurs.
In fact, the store was so popular, that passengers travelling on recreational pleasure boats from Hamilton, Dundas, Grimsby, Bronte, Oakville, and other local towns often docked at the wharf located at the foot of Brant Street, just to shop at Spencer Smith’s store.  Today, we call this shopping at “Destination stores”.

Spencer was a member of the Burlington Horticultural Society for 36 years, from 1919 up until he died in 1955, where he served as the Society’s President from 1931 – 1936. Other well-known local names served as President when the Society was started for a second time in 1919. The first President was Rev. George W. Tebbs, Rector of St. Luke’s Anglican Church who served in 1919-1920. William Arthur Emory, was Spencer’s brother-in-law and he served in 1925-1926. Paul Fisher served in 1921.

The Fisher family owned the orchard farm where Burlington Mall is located. Fred Ghent served in 1922. Richard Jerome “RJ” Alton served in 1949. The first Burlington Horticultural Society actually started in 1889 by the local market gardeners as more of an agricultural group interested in how to better grow market garden products. The second Society focused more on the beautification of Burlington. It was this latter Society that had the Rose selected as Burlington’s official flower, and to this day, area residents compete for the annual Rose Awards in recognition for residents’ beautiful home gardens.

Pic 16 Lakeside Park

The Lakeside Park was starting to look more like a park. Over the years it continued to develop into a beautiful scenic park. The canning plant can be seen in the upper left as well as the dock that was at the foot of Brant Street.

In 1933, Spencer Smith as President embarked on an ambitious project to beautify the land at the foot of Brant Street in Lakeside Park.  During the Great Depression the canning plant employees located next door to the park were on strike, and Spencer utilized the strikers to help clean up the new park. It has been reported that Spencer Smith hired these strikers, but more realistically these were probably just volunteers who were quite bored being on strike. There certainly wasn’t much money available at the time, and Spencer was always looking for free assistance, wherever and whenever he could find it. Spencer himself, devoted countless hours of volunteer labour at the park.

Pic 17 Spencer Park

The new Department of Recreation after 1950 decided to add more fill to the water and expand the size of the park. The breakwater is clearly in place.

Harold McGrath owned a local trucking company, and Spencer even enticed Harold to drop off any excess loads of rock or topsoil at the park, also probably done at no cost. Spencer had a clear vision for this park, and he was bound and determined to make it happen. The spectacular willow trees growing in Spencer Smith Park are not there by accident. Dorothy Angus the town’s librarian and friend to Spencer, lived on Ontario Street and had willow trees growing on her property. Spencer carefully removed willow tree cuttings and transplanted them to the park. Today, we can see the results of this undertaking. The park was an ongoing project for many years, and in 1942, the Town of Burlington finally recognized Spencer Smith’s accomplishments and named the park “Spencer Park”.

In 1950, the town created a Department of Recreation, and this department took over the management of Spencer Park. One of the first projects undertaken by this new department, was to expand the park with more landfill at the eastern end.

When the Town of Burlington, under the leadership of Mayor Lloyd Berryman, was looking for their own unique Centennial project for 1967, a decision was made that Spencer Park would an ideal choice for an upgrade. The plan was to fill in the entire water area out to the breakwater, and over to the Brant Inn on the far western side, once all of the boats sheltered behind the breakwater were evicted. The Burlington Centennial Committee was created and received the go-ahead for the creation of the new park, and when the park was completed in 1967, they made one very serious error in judgment and attempted to recommend a completely different name for Spencer Park, which was abruptly objected to by The Burlington Horticultural Society and many other concerned local residents who were extremely upset that Burlington’s heritage was once again facing erosion, and quite possibly Spencer Smith’s hard work, commitment, and dedication to his park were about to be permanently removed. The Burlington Centennial Committee reluctantly realized their error, and eventually backed down giving way to a new name, mutually agreed to by everyone on both sides, it was to be called Spencer Smith Park, a name that still stands to this day.

Pic 18 Vicki Gudgeon

The great grand niece of Spencer Smith was the former Victoria Emery, and after marriage we knew her as Vicki Gudgeon, a local historian and a past President of the Burlington Historical Society personally knew Spencer Smith very well.

Spencer didn’t stop at his park. Many of the streetscape trees growing in downtown Burlington were planted by The Burlington Horticultural Society. Burlington didn’t become so scenic and beautiful by itself. Credit should go to those dedicated members of The Burlington Horticultural Society. The property next to Central School was a seedling centre, and the Society grew new plants there which were eventually transplanted throughout Burlington. Spencer Smith’s great grand niece, Vicki Emery Gudgeon, who served as President of the Burlington Historical Society in 1975 -1976 recalled in an interview on the life of Spencer Smith for The Hamilton Spectator in 1989, that all of the trees planted by Spencer Smith and the Horticultural Society on Brant Street were removed when street lights were installed. Vicki stated back then, “I don’t think it was a fair exchange,” I think we can all agree that street lights on a treeless road are not as beautiful as a tree lined road. Vicki had the pleasure to really know her great grand uncle and described him as, “a very kind gentle man, and a gentleman.” She went on to say, “he looked a bit like Charlie Chaplin, because he had the same kind of moustache.”

Pic 19 Strawberry Social at Willowbank

The Strawberry Social was an event that Spencer Smith, his wife Edith, the Bell family, and just about everybody else in Burlington looked forward to every year in town. Here’s Spencer serving up some more treats at the historic Willowbank on King Road.

Over the years that Spencer Smith lived in Burlington, things changed, sometimes unexpectantly. Even though Spencer and Edith never had children, they still devoted much of their time to the betterment of Burlington. For example, Spencer and Edith both loved the Strawberry Socials, an event developed by the Bell family, and participated wholeheartedly in making them a rousing annual success in Burlington.

In 1924, after a beautiful 24 year marriage, the blissful happy couple faced a very serious challenge. Edith was not well, and soon became extremely sick. Edith developed pancreatic cancer which eventually spread into her liver, and this lovely, petite, gentle lady died a painful and tragic death on March 21, 1924, in the prime of her life at 54 years of age. The shocked and devastated Spencer buried his beloved Edith in historic Greenwood Cemetery on March 24, 1924. Spencer’s world of new found joy and happiness had ended with pain, and he proceeded to mourn his loss alone, and live a life that seemed to have no purpose.

Spencer continued to operate his grocery store on Brant Street for two more years, he was just putting in time; Then he met a middle aged lady who would become his next wife. She was known as Lillie, but her birth name was Elizabeth Anna Smith. Lillie was born June 7, 1870 in Whitby, Ontario to Thomas Henry Smith and Sarah Smith, a pioneer farm family who lived in the Whitby area for many years. It is not known where and when Spencer met Lillie, but we do know that this was the first marriage for Spencer’s new wife, and it seems a little bit humourous to me that Lillie changed her maiden name from Smith to her new married name Smith. It’s not too often that couples wed each other with the same surname, but it happened here.

Lillie’s new home was to be at 40 Locust Street. I am not certain as to when Spencer purchased this home. We do believe that Spencer and Edith had lived over top of their Brant Street store for a few years.

Pic 20 A&P

This photograph shows the A & P store that replaced Spencer Smith’s store in the same location. The photograph was taken in 1947 before the A & P moved farther north up Brant Street later that same year. The “modern” looking car in the photo is a 1947 Buick. This vehicle establishes the year of the photograph.

It has been reported that Spencer Smith retired from work in 1950 when he would have been 80 years of age. I disagree, but I could be wrong. Although, I do not know exactly when he retired, it was most likely when Spencer was around 65 – 70 years of age in 1935 to 1940.  I say that because Spencer Smith sold his store to the A&P Food Store company. A&P came to Burlington around that time, and Spencer was ready to call it a day. A&P took over his location and stayed there until they relocated farther north to a new store on Brant Street which opened in 1947. There are no records that we can locate of Spencer working elsewhere after that time, but he did continue to volunteer his time.

Pic 21 Spencer Smith Death Notice November 9 1955 P14, C3

Spencer Smith’s Death Notice appeared in the Burlington Gazette newspaper on November 9, 1955 on page 14, column 3. The town was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of Burlington’s greatest citizens.

Pic 22 Smith Headstone

Spencer Smith, his first wife Edith, and his second wife Lillie are buried in historic Greenwood Cemetery.

On November 8, 1955 Spencer Smith peacefully passed away at his residence at 40 Locust Street.  He was buried alongside his cherished wife Edith in historic Greenwood Cemetery. The following year in 1956, Lillie, Spencer’s second wife passed away at 85 years of age, and was interred with Spencer and Edith in Greenwood Cemetery.

The full life and times of Spencer Smith was now over, but not forgotten.
Spencer Smith left us with a poem that he composed in 1911. He called it “Reminiscences”. In poetic phrasing Spencer captures some of his memories that changed his life.


‘Twas six and twenty years ago,
And perhaps a little bit more,
When I, a lad of fifteen years,
Lit on this fair Canadian Shore.

Fate led the way to Hamilton,
And there a man I met,
Who said a likely boy to do the chores
I certainly must get.

I don’t think I looked likely,
For the voyage had been rough,
And leaving home and friends behind,
I felt most mighty tough.

But the farmer thought I’d suit him,
If I’d try and do what’s fair;
So we came to an agreement,
And I hired for a year.

We boarded the train at King Street-
I’ll never forget that day;
It was in the spring of eighty-five,
On the twenty-first of May.

My thoughts were busy all the way,
On the new life I was now to begin;
To me the prospect seemed gloomy,
And my future loomed very dim.

We arrived at Caledonia,
And the farmer’s old bay mare
Soon took us down the river road
To the farm, six miles from there.

The buggy we rode in was classy,
The roads none I’d seen could compare-
We took so much on the wheels as we went
It’s a wonder there’s any there.

My boy courage rose as I entered the house,
And I saw the farmer’s wife.
I’ll never forget her as long as I live;
And bless her all my life.

I had my tea and went to bed,
And slept as sound as a trout.
And the first thing I heard in the morning
Was: “Come, boys, it’s time to get out.”

I put in that day in a hazy way;
For a lonesome boy was I,
And as I drove the cows to the fields
I heaved many a deep, deep sigh.

Each day was filled with surprises,
And, Oh, the mistakes I did make!
Were the things I broke put together
They’d be worth all the wages I’d take.

The farmer was often impatient;
And often discouraged was I,
But one thing that kept up my courage
Was the farmer’s good wife and her pie.

The cows and the horses, the sheep and the pigs,
Were ever a worry and care;
But since I have left them I think of them still,
And in my dreams fancy I’m there.

The lessons I learned on the farm are worth more
To me than mere dollars and cents;
And if I were privileged to start over again,
It’s life on the farm I’d commence.

The farmer’s wife has gone to her rest,
But her influence lives in me still:-
She helped lift the load along life’s rough road,
And save me a start up the hill.

Spencer Smith Signature




Part two of the Spencer Smith story will be published later this week.

My next article will be on Police Chief Lee J Smith, Burlington’s longest serving Chief. He was  a no nonsense, tough as nails, compassionate man who faithfully served our community from 1916 to 1956. He saw it all over those 40 colourful years.


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Gillies believes Freeman Station most historic structure in the city: it was a battle to save it from the wrecking ball.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

February 2, 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.

Would you like to know who I think was one of Burlington’s great business leaders of the early 20th century? Many great people who lived here before us, sacrificed much to help shape Burlington; in order for us to benefit from our beautiful surroundings today. As a local society, we have in far too many cases, turned our backs on these great citizens of Burlington. This is a real shame, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

As in my previous articles, most of the people I write about will be names that you do not recognize, and are now reading for the first time. These outstanding citizens of Burlington accomplished much locally, but have never been properly recognized. One such person is Henry “Harry” Lorimer.

Harry Lorimer moves up the ladder with The Grand Trunk Railway
Harry was born on the family farm in Norfolk County, February 8, 1861. By 1891, Harry left the family business and pursued a career with the Grand Trunk Railway in Norfolk County. Harry’s first job was a telegraph operator, then he became a Railway Agent assigned to a station in Norfolk County, where he perfected his skills, before receiving a promotion that was about to relocate Harry and his family to a more fast paced location, the Burlington Junction Station in Freeman.

Pic 1

Harry Lorimer was the Burlington Junction Station Master in 1906 when it opened after fire destroyed the previous station in 1904.

By 1897, Harry, his wife Seba, and daughter Gertrude were living in Freeman, and Harry was working as the Grand Trunk Railway Agent. It was very prestigious to be assigned as a Railway Agent to a Junction station. There was so much activity all of the time. Burlington Junction had double track lines running from Montreal right through to Chicago. Trains were travelling both ways. Then, the Grand Trunk Railway had another track running from the Niagara Region, across the Beach, through town, and up to Freeman where it crossed over the double tracks, continuing up to Georgetown, and then up to Allandale.

Burlington Junction also had freight warehouses, which were always busy with boxcars being loaded or unloaded. The responsibility and stress levels were extremely high for Harry Lorimer. The complicated schedules and logistics were unbelievable. Harry was lucky to have a telephone, some needed high tech assistance. The Station Master’s number was easy to remember. Who could forget “2”? Harry was the only Station Master for two different Freeman Stations. One burnt to the ground in 1904, and was replaced by another GTR station in 1906.

Pic 2

After a fire destroyed the original Great Western Railway train station in 1883, this second station was built by the Grand Trunk Railway, which also succumbed to a fire and was destroyed in 1904. Harry Lorimer was Station Master for both railway stations.

Pic 3

This is the historic 1906 Grand Trunk Railway Station photographed just after it had been built. The GTR identified the station as “Burlington Junction”. Our historic station was one of the busiest Junction stations in all of Canada. Now, thanks to the financial generosity of local citizens and businesses, this 109 year old historic building, owned by the City of Burlington, is in the process of restoration and has been permanently relocated to Fairview Street, west of Brant Street.

The city owned 1906 historic station is now under restoration in a new location on Fairview Street, solely at the expense of private citizens and local businesses, who have come forward to save the station from demolition, as recommended by The City of Burlington. The City of Burlington at one time was to receive close to $1,000,000 in stimulus money to finance the relocation and restoration, but Burlington City Council, several years ago, were unsuccessful in agreement on a new suitable location. Subsequently the City of Burlington lost access to all of this stimulus money. Then, their solution to solve the problem on what to do with this magnificent old building, was a decision to have our heritage rich Freeman Station demolished, despite this being one of Burlington’s most historic buildings, and a huge part of Burlington’s colourful heritage. The citizens of Burlington were outraged at their thinking. Some on City Council still continued to fight to save our beloved Freeman Station and have been officially recognized for their outstanding efforts by the citizen organization, Friends of Freeman Station.

The Station Master was a highly respected citizen
The Station Master or Railway Agent in any town with a railway station was always a very influential and prominent citizen in their community. Railway Agents were very well respected, much like the clergy, police officers, doctors or lawyers. One of the reasons for this high level of respect was due to the fact that new families moving to Canada from Europe, arrived on the scene, and knew no one, often standing on the railway platform, suitcases in hand, and not knowing what to do, or where to go. The first person they saw and who offered to help them was the local Railway Agent. From meeting their first friend in Canada, new arrivals, one day, responded in kind. Often times, throughout Canada, the town’s highly respected Railway Agent also became the local Reeve or Mayor.

In 1901, Harry and his family were well entrenched into Burlington’s local community. Some of their good friends and neighbours were John Thomas Tuck and his family, plus the Ghent family, two very prominent local families. We’re all familiar with John T Tuck School on Spruce Avenue, and we all know where Ghent Avenue is located in Burlington. These two families have been recognized locally, but not so for Harry Lorimer.

Pic 4

James S. Allen was the proprietor of Allen’s Hardware at the time it was sold to Harry Lorimer and Gordon Colton in 1912. James S. Allen was the nephew of George Allen, the previous owner, who then moved on to build prestigious homes in the core area of Burlington. James S. Allen, later became the Mayor of Burlington from 1925-1928.

Harry Lorimer changes careers and Burlington wins again
In 1912, Harry, who was just 51 years old, made a career change. He became a hardware merchant and bought into an established business with his son-in-law, Gordon Colton. Together, they bought the hardware store, Allen’s Hardware, from James S. Allen, who at one time served as Mayor from 1925-1928. James Allen had previously purchased the business from his uncle George Allen in 1901.  George had become Burlington’s most prominent home builder at the time, and was responsible for the building of many of Burlington’s historic homes in the downtown core, which was referred to as the Wellington Park area. The former Allen’s Hardware, was now called Colton & Lorimer Hardware store, and was located at the northeast corner of Brant Street and Pine Street. Their retail neighbour 2 doors north, was Spencer Smith’s green grocery store. I wrote about the remarkable Spencer Smith and his accomplishments in my article on January 12th. The hardware store, from the same location, operated as a thriving business well into the 1970s when it was owned by Keith Dale from Aldershot, and Keith operated it as Dale’s Hardware. Keith Dale purchased the store from the Mills family who had operated it as Mills Hardware, after they purchased it from Harry Lorimer.

Pic 5

The Allen’s Hardware name was removed and the Colton & Lorimer name was added to the outside of the building in 1912. The historic building was located at the northeast corner of Pine & Brant Streets. This historic building met a fate all too familiar in Burlington, and was demolished.

The retailing skills of Harry and Gordon were outstanding, as they both realized Burlington was growing quickly. Harry and Gordon understood that they needed to supply all of the local market gardeners with proper farm supplies, implements, and chemicals, plus they were also aware that new housing starts, and new building construction would provide incremental retail sales. To have everything in stock for both farmers and homeowners, and at the same time was a massive retailing nightmare. Big “Box stores” were not in Burlington yet, close to 100 years into the future, but Harry and Gordon knew exactly what would sell and what to stock in their store. Burlington was their market, and their shrewd retailing skills made Harry and Gordon very successful businessmen.

The Colton & Lorimer Hardware store was extremely successful, undoubtedly the most successful retail location on Brant Street, and most residents in Burlington shopped there. If you were lucky enough to have a telephone in Burlington, you could call Colton & Lorimer. Their number was “9”. If Colton & Lorimer didn’t have what you wanted, then you really didn’t need it. Colton & Lorimer had fine-tuned hardware retailing to a science.

Pic 6

Harry Lorimer proved to be a superior retailer, and as a result the Lorimer’s attained substantial affluence. Along with the purchase of a custom made house, built by Burlington’s most prominent builder, George Allen; Harry & Seba also acquired a luxurious automobile and were driven about town by Bob, their chauffeur.

With hard work, comes the spoils, Burlington’s on a roll
Harry and Seba finally decided to purchase a new home. They also decided to buy an automobile, and hire a chauffeur to drive them around.  The hardware business was doing that well. The beautiful home they chose was built by Burlington’s most prominent home builder George Allen. Many of George Allen’s beautiful homes have now been designated as historical. The Lorimer residence was built in 1914 on a lot to the north of George Allen’s own historic house at 1391 Ontario Street. George Allen did not disappoint the Lorimer family. Their new home was stunning. The historic Lorimer family is at 504 Burlington Avenue, and the house just had its 100th birthday.

Pic 7

George Allen built this beautiful home for the Lorimer family, and they moved here in 1914. The house at one time was recognized as historical, but in 2013 it was removed from the Registry by the City of Burlington for alleged lack of historical significance.

City of Burlington insults Harry Lorimer’s legacy 50 years later
This beautiful home was lived in by the prominent Lorimer family for 50 years, from 1914 until 1964, and at one time was recognized as historical and added to the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources, then was officially removed from the Register in 2013 for what was said the be a lack of historical, architectural, or contextual value. (I know what you’re thinking, I’m not making this up, it really happened). The City of Burlington defends its heritage reasoning found on their website as follows:

What is Heritage Conservation?
“Heritage conservation involves identifying, protecting and promoting the elements that our society values. Heritage conservation has traditionally been associated with protecting the physical or built environment (buildings, structures, landscapes, facts etc.). More recently, the term has also come to be associated with safeguarding the non-physical associations between people and a place (associations linked to use, meanings and cultural or spiritual values).”Taken from Parks Canada Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada

Why is Conservation Planning Important?
The conservation of built heritage is an integral part of the land use planning process at the City of Burlington. It entails planning for the identification, protection and promotion of the heritage resources that our community values. Burlington’s heritage is a living legacy that helps us understand our past, provides us context for the present and influences our future.

Why Conserve our Heritage?
The conservation of cultural and heritage properties is vital to a community’s overall cultural and economic development and it can enrich our lives, inspire us and create a sense of community that can sustain generations. The Heritage planning process in Burlington is overseen by staff in consultation with the Heritage Burlington Committee.

The Passing of Harry Lorimer and his Family
Harry lived to be 99 years old, and passed away peacefully in 1960. His beloved wife Seba died 10 years earlier at 85 years of age in 1950. Gertrude, their daughter died at 76 years of age in 1964, and her husband Gordon tragically died at 31 years of age in 1918 as a result of the great influenza epidemic. They are all buried together as family, in Aldershot’s historic Greenwood Cemetery. All residents of Burlington owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Lorimer and Colton families. These two dynamic families were true genuine pillars of the community and did far more than their fair share in helping to build, shape and drive Burlington’s economic engine so efficiently into the 20th century

Plan to Attend Heritage Days

On Saturday, February 7th at Burlington Central Library, Heritage Days will be in full swing with many wonderful displays of Burlington’s local heritage featured for the public to view. Plan to take the children or grandchildren. It’s free to everyone. There will also be several guest speakers throughout the event. Heritage Days will be from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM. One display you will not want to miss, will be the Burlington Junction Train Station 1:24 scale model. This beautiful model was handcrafted by Burlington resident, Mr. Bob Chambers. Thanks to Bob’s talents, you will get to see what life was like in 1906 when the historic train station opened, and Harry Lorimer was its first Station Master.

Pic 8

Councillors Marianne Meed Ward and Blair Lancaster, both heritage preservation advocates were recognized by the citizen group “Friends of Freeman Station” for their perseverance and leadership in convincing the others on City Council that the Freeman Station was worth saving.

Pic 9

Mayor Rick Goldring was recognized by “Friends of Freeman Station” for his personal involvement in helping to save the Freeman Station from demolition, as recommended by the City of Burlington. Mayor Goldring received a Lifetime Membership to Friends of Freeman Station from Brian Aasgaard, President of Friends of Freeman Station.

The Friends of Freeman Station will be there to answer all of your questions. Please plan to donate generously to help these exceptional volunteers complete the restoration of this magnificent historical building, something the City of Burlington could not accomplish. Without private financial support, this Burlington Junction restoration cannot be completed. There is no local, provincial, or federal government funding.

My next article on February 9th will be on the Burlington Junction Station, or as it is so often called, the Freeman Station. Find out why I believe Burlington Junction Station is Burlington’s most historical building,  and why we need to make sure this part of our local heritage is preserved for future generations.

Related article:

What the Freeman Station really meant to the growth of the city; it was the key link in the transition of the city

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Mark Gillies writes about families that built the Burlington we have today. Strawberries as a delicacy were made popular here.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

Originally published January 5, 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. The pictures are fascinating.


I chose Edith Hodge for my first venture into writing about Burlington’s fascinating historical roots.

Edith Hodge

Edith Hodge, 1829 – 1925, a true local pioneer.

Most Burlington residents have never heard of Edith Hodge, but by the end of this article, you will become much more familiar with this wonderful lady, and just how she has positively impacted Burlington.  Edith is the perfect example of how life changed for many people of this era, who for whatever reason, left their homeland, and ventured into the New World as a pioneer, rooted themselves to their new environment, and provided future generations with the foundations of progress for a new society.

Edith Hodge came to Burlington in 1843 when she was only 14 years old, on a sailing ship that set sail from England and arrived in Montreal, Quebec. The voyage across the Atlantic Ocean lasted 7 long weeks. What’s unique about this voyage was Edith actually recalled her travel experiences and had them documented when she was in her 95th year in 1923, when she related the story to Marion North Blodgett (1891 – 1966).

There are not many first hand recorded recollections of life on these ships from immigrants sailing from Europe and settling in the New World. To have such information available from one of Burlington’s earliest residences is indeed quite rare and should be cherished for its historical content.

Weymouth Harbour

Edith, her mother & father, brothers and sisters were born and raised in Weymouth, England. This illustration shows how the village of Weymouth looked around the time the Hodge family decided to leave and relocate in Upper Canada.

Martha Bartlett

Martha Bartlett was Edith Hodge’s mother. Martha and her daughters made all of the preparations for the long and dangerous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, then upon arrival in Montreal after a 7 week voyage made their way to Hamilton.

Edith was born in Weymouth, England in 1829.  With her mother Martha (1794 -1881), and 3 sisters Susan (1821- 1915), Mary (1825 -1899), & Emma (1834 – 1895) they travelled by themselves on this incredible journey.  Edith’s father William Hodge (1790 – 1870), and her 3 brothers William (1827 -1899), James (1828 – 1897) & John (1837 – 1891) had already travelled the treacherous Atlantic Ocean much earlier, in order to set up a home, find a job, send money back home, and do everything necessary to bring the rest of the family over to a more comfortable lifestyle. It was not uncommon for families to split up like this, in order to better establish themselves in their new homeland.

Edith recalls the sailing ship had 3 masts, and had bricks as ballast. Ships on their return voyage to Europe were basically void of passengers, but were changed into freight ships loaded with lumber and grain, usually wheat, destined for the European market.

Burlington Junction Station 1906

Historic Burlington Junction Station in 1906.

As a matter of local interest, the historic 1906 Freeman Grand Trunk Railway Station now under restoration on Fairview Street has ship’s ballast as decorative stone work on the outside of the building. These are called “Whinstones”, which were quarried in the Midlands area of Scotland. To raise funds for the restoration work, 1,000 Whinstones can be sponsored with a tax deductible receipt for $100.00 each. To find out about sponsoring a Whinstone, just go to the Friends of Freeman Station website

Travelling by ship in 1843 was not anything like a cruise ship of today. It was not “All Inclusive”. The whole trip was extremely uncomfortable and very dangerous. Sickness and death were rampant. The ships were often called “Coffin Ships”. Burials at sea were an almost daily event. If you arrived alive, it was miraculous.
To travel, passengers had to bring their own food. Edith recalls the preparations that she and her mother and sisters made for the voyage. “We lived near a baker who supplied loaves of bread, which we cut and toasted before starting; also Mother cooked hams and prepared preserved fruits.” This information is quite insightful, as most of us have absolutely no knowledge of how these new settlers sustained themselves on a trip like this which lasted about 2 months.

Pic 5 Cabin 1

This illustration and the one to the right, show some of the horrific living conditions endured by passengers aboard a sailing ship travelling across the Atlantic Ocean, often in perilous weather.

Pic 5 Cabin 3Another family from Weymouth, England were the Judds. They became the travelling companions of the Hodge family, and shared a compartment on the ship below deck. There was a low partition between the 2 families, and bunk beds for both. Edith recalls being mischievous on the long trip. “They used to call me down for everything.” Edith tells of the 2 families reading aloud to each other, often praying and singing.
During a huge Atlantic storm, when water was lashing over the bulwarks, passengers had to be fastened down below deck. The fierceness of the ocean tossed passengers violently on the ship. One of Edith’s sisters became so ill, that she removed her restraints and ventured onto the deck during this fierce storm. This was probably not the best of decisions, since sailing in oceanic storms can be very dangerous.

It was common to exchange food amongst passengers. The captain had fresh meat tied to the mast and sometimes would give the Hodge and Judd families some. The Hodge family had brought salted meat, and this was a welcomed change.

The Hodge and Judd families were very religious and took exception to some passengers playing cards. Edith said, “We didn’t have anything to do with them.”

Aaron Dunham Emory

Aaron Dunham Emory was the man who loaned the money to the Hodge family which allowed them to purchase their farm in present day Burlington. According to Edith Hodge, Aaron Emory was “a real decent chap”.

When the ship arrived in Montreal, the passengers had to stay in quarantine for 4 days, and once they cleared inspection, they were allowed to proceed. The Hodge family then travelled on a small boat which was pulled by a team of horses along the shoreline whenever they encountered rapids on the St. Lawrence River.   Finally, this small boat made its way to Hamilton, and the Hodge women reunited with the Hodge men. William Hodge had already rented a home with a big garden. He began work as a gunsmith. The Hodge family stayed at this home for a short time, just long enough to figure out how to buy their own property. William and Edith then borrowed enough funds from Aaron Dunham Emory (1808 – 1892), to buy some farmland.

The Hodge’s had to remove tree stumps with oxen hitched to chains that were wrapped around the stumps. Edith stated, “You’d think it was a mountain coming up when the stumps gave way.” The cost to remove all of the tree stumps was $300.00, which was a huge amount of money in those days. The first crop planted was blackberries. The Hodge farm also had 2 cows. The family raised money by selling butter and blackberries at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market, which was used to pay off the interest on Aaron Emory’s loan. Edith recalled, “It was a great thing when we could pay off the borrowed money.” She called, Mr. Emory, “a real decent old chap”.

So how does Edith Hodge become more familiar to the rest of us in Burlington?

William Bell

William Bell married Edith Hodge around 1850 and they proceeded to have 10 children . They lived a very good life at their homestead in Burlington.

Around 1848, Edith met a man named William Bell (1826 – 1895) who she fancied very much, and the couple married around 1850.   William Bell was born in England, and made his way to present day Burlington as a young man, and he then became a local farmer. His father Robert Bell and two of his brothers were shoemakers in Hamilton, and William was not interested in pursuing that career. Together, William & Edith Bell had 10 children. They are: James (1851 – 1935), Frederick (1853 – 1939), Elizabeth (1855 – 1936), William (1856 – 1942), Martha (1857 – 1932), John (1861 – 1947), Mary (1863 – 1962), Rhoda (1866 – 1957), Edith (1868 – 1871) & Edith (1873 – 1924).

William & Edith built the Bell homestead, which is still standing in Burlington. Thankfully, it has not been demolished, as so many properties of local historical relevance have been.

Bell Homestead

This photo shows the original Bell homestead photographed about 100 years ago. It is still in existence. This is the home of Canada’s “Strawberry Social”.

What’s extremely important about the Bell homestead, is that William Bell introduced strawberries as a commercial agricultural product to Canada. Previously, people would usually have strawberries growing in a small container, maybe located on their verandah, and as people went by, they would pick one or two to eat.

Bellview House

The Bell homestead is now called Bellview House. Today it is a conference centre. Look for the house when you exit the Ikea & Fortinos parking lot. When you turn left on Plains Road heading towards Brant Street, just look right as soon as you turn.

It was William Bell, who had the vision of much more, and realized that this product could be grown in the fields, especially along Maple Avenue where the sandy soil was perfect for strawberry production, and then harvested, sold locally and also shipped to distant markets. William and Edith Bell were agricultural entrepreneurs who realized you could make a lot of money, just by growing strawberries.

Strawberry Social

Here’s the “Strawberry Social” in full swing in 1916. The three  ladies in front (L-R) are Mary, Martha and Rhoda Bell, three  daughters of Edith Hodge. If you look closely at the photograph you can see a young dashing Spencer Smith in the background.

The Bell family also were instrumental in using the “Strawberry Social”, as a very clever marketing tool to increase the sale of their strawberries.   It became very fashionable to eat strawberries in Burlington, and around the country, thanks to William & Edith Bell.

Some of the Bell children married into many early local pioneer families. James, the eldest son married Jennie Fonger, (David Fonger was one of Aldershot’s first residents), Elizabeth, the eldest daughter married William Arthur Emery, (the Emery/Emory family are United Empire Loyalists), William married Frances Alton, (the Alton name is well recognized in Burlington), and Edith, the youngest child married Spencer Smith, a name known by everyone in Burlington.

Elizabeth Bell

Another daughter of Edith Hodge was Elizabeth Bell. Elizabeth married William Arthur Emery, a successful market gardener in Aldershot.

William Emery

William Arthur Emery who married Elizabeth Bell was the son of Aaron Dunham Emory. Aaron Dunham Emory was born in New Jersey and came to the area as a United Empire Loyalist.

Marion North Blodgett (1)

Marion North Blodgett was the lady responsible for documenting the recollections in 1923 of Edith Hodge and her experiences travelling across the Atlantic Ocean in 1843. This was not an easy task as Edith Hodge died of senility shortly thereafter. Today we know this as dementia.

Ethel Victoria Emery

Ethel Victoria Emery is the daughter of Victor and Marion Emery. Today, we know her better as Vicki Gudgeon, a local historian and past President of the Burlington Historical Society.

Elizabeth Bell and William Arthur Emery had 5 children.   One son was Victor Harold Emery (1883 – 1966).   Victor married Marion North Blodgett.   One of their daughters is Ethel Victoria Emery.   Many will better recognize this lady as Vicki Gudgeon, a former past President of The Burlington Historical Society, and a noted local historian.

Who knew?

My next article will be on Monday January 12, 2015. It will be on Spencer Smith, the son-in-law of Elizabeth Hodge.  We all recognize the man who has his name attached to Spencer Smith Park, a park used and enjoyed by thousands of residents, but very few of us know anything about this very special man. Spencer Smith had an extraordinary life. Find out next week.

Mark Gillies is a lifelong resident of Burlington,  grew up in Aldershot and developed as a local historian, researcher, master genealogist and writer who has a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of the many early pioneer families.  Mark will write a regular column Who Knew?,  about colourful local history introducing Burlingtonians to the people that made this city what it is today.


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Burlington Jays fans get delayed on GO train: violent altercation between passengers.

By Max Bowder

July 31st, 2021



Burlington Blue Jays fans were so excited to finally be able to watch their  team play at home after a 670 day delay.

Police officers investigating fight on the GO train heading for the Blue Jays ball game.

Their patience got extended Friday night due to a violent altercation between fellow passengers on the 17:48 train at Appleby Go station.

Witnesses say it began with yelling and light altercations before more people got involved which resulted in one man being taken off the train by paramedics with serious but none life threatening injuries.

As a result of the fight the train was cancelled and all had to wait for the 18:07 train to arrive which caused them to miss the beginning of the game.

Some of the boys waiting it out while the police investigation end. Their train was delayed and they missed the opening – but the Jays brought it home and kept everyone happy.

Despite the delay, the Blue Jay fans maintained their excitement and  watched as the Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 6-4.

One of the Jays home runs brought the crowd to their feet – something they had not been able to do for a long time.

Jays pitcher, Ross Stripling sat down for an interview with MLB news, saying “… I hope we do it big because that’s what we wanna do and I’m sure that’s what the fans want to do.”

Roger Stadium had been closed since 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and the Canada – United States Border being closed.

The Blue Jays were forced to relocate to Sahlen Field in Buffalo temporarily for the season before being given a National Interest Travel Exception by the Federal Government.

It took quite a bit of patience but getting the game was worthwhile – Jays to Kansas City Royal 6-4

When you are in the stands you want to be showing your colours.

Several fans were not concerned about Covid at this large event even with the Delta variant spreading. The dome of the Roger Centre was kept open during the game.

“We are double vaxed and relaxed,” said blue jays’ fan, Mike Hamilton.

Many lifelong Jays’ fans were among the passengers on the go train with one man I talked to telling me he has been buying tickets and watching every year since 1985.

Many fans did not have any expectations from any of the players on the Jay’s team but were all hoping that they would win.

Fans enjoyed watching The Blue Jays play in Buffalo during the extent of the Covid pandemic

Fans were also willing to point out that some areas of the Jays game needed to be improved, particularly with their pitchers, calling out Ross Stripling.

Other fans gave enthusiasm for other players such as Teoscar Hernández saying he is “underrated and doesn’t get enough press.”
Many fathers who had been avid Blue Jays fans since childhood brought their young sons out to the game with the intention of making them fans as well.

“I’m very excited!” said one fans son Mickey.

“I think he’s more excited about the food,” Mickey’s father quickly added.

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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Race for the Liberal Provincial nomination was a messy affair.

By Pepper Parr

July 30th, 2021



Politics can be a cruel mistress.

A number of months ago Andrea Grebenc thought she had grown to the point where she decided she would like to try something bigger in the world of politics.

She was chair of the Halton District School Board. The Burlington Provincial Liberal Association was going to have to nominate a candidate soon and Grebenc thought she could do that job.

The process to the actual nomination of a candidate for the Liberals was messy – sloppy is perhaps a better word.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns was coy about seeking the Liberal nomination. She announced; shortly afterwards Andrea Grebenc announced she was also running for the nomination. Kearns withdrew.

The Liberals invited ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns to seek the nomination. After a month or so of saying maybe yes – maybe no publicly, she finally came out and said she would seek the nomination.

A few days later Grebenc announced her intention to see the nomination.

Within 48 hours Kearns withdrew.

By that time there was a third candidate seeking the nomination.

Mariam Manaa announced she would seek the nomination. Ms Manaa, a young Muslim woman had been recruiting new members for the Burlington Provincial Liberal Party since January.

Grebenc chose to wait until May 27th to file her papers. The Provincial Liberals set June 6 as the date for the nomination meeting.

Andrea Grebenc, chair of the Halton District School Board – lost the nomination contest.

Grebenc explained to the Gazette at the time that she was working regularly with Jane McKenna, the MPP for Burlington and felt that it would be rather awkward to be working with McKenna and at the same time preparing to run against her.

Thus the wait until May 27th.

With just 10 days to sign up new members there wasn’t much of a chance to overcome the new membership lead that Ms Manaa had.

“I can tell you that the Manaa supporters were very loyal. I called many of them – they weren’t budging.”

Ms Manaa is the Liberal candidate – she won fair and square – the problem was that the rules didn’t allow those who had been Liberal supporters with Party experience to make a choice.

Anybody could become an instant Liberal.  All you had to do was live in the city and be able to prove it.

The process turned out to be a race to see who could recruit new members – Manaa recruited more than anyone else and won.

The nomination process was unfair to both Grebenc and Manaa – they were limited to a 10 minute speech with nothing in the way of debate between the two women.

Mariam Manaa – Liberal candidate .

Manaa has some very credible experience in the community. Her work for the Member of Parliament was much appreciated by the Minister and the community that she was able to help.

We were indeed in the middle of a pandemic and there were stiff restrictions. But not so many that a debate could not have taken place and streamed live.

Neither candidate was given a chance to show their stuff.

The blame for this rests in the hands of the Burlington Provincial Liberal party executive. They failed the party; they failed the candidates, and they failed the people of Burlington.

Hopefully Ms Manaa will create an election team and keep her distance from the Burlington Provincial Liberal Association – they have proven to be incompetent.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Public school board chair faces several challenges: waiting for the province to provide direction

By Pepper Parr

July 30th, 2021



Andrea Grebenc: a very expressive trustee who grew to become the Chair

Andrea Grebenc, Chair of the Halton District School Board Trustees, has become the go-to person for much of the media when it comes to comments on what the provincial government is doing about opening schools in September.

At this point teachers are back in the classroom on September 1; the students start back on September 7th.

Grebenc said she really does not know what the province plans – other than that the Premier will be making an announcement immediately after the holiday.

In a CBC radio broadcast Grebenc said she believed it was vital that the Directors of Education be at the table so they can give some immediate feedback on what the consequences and impacts are going to be to any of the decisions made.

What if they decide to go for fewer students in each classrooms – that means the Boards of Education have to scramble to get the teachers that will be needed in place.

She believes that if the front line education people had been at the table students would not have lost as much time last year.

Grebenc and Director of Education (now retired) Stuart Miller had a very good working relationship. Both listened to each other and crafted a collaborative approach to the challenges. Everyone benefited.

The switch into virtual teaching had a huge impact on everyone said Grebenc. There were teachers who found it very difficult to make the switch. Halton’s Director of Education said that there were some teachers who decided they could no longer teach adding that everyone in the system believe that the best education takes place in a classroom in a school.

There is a place for virtual learning but it is not as replacement.

Grebenc says we are now in a vacuum with information coming out in dribs and drabs. “I am at the point where I don’t know what I don’t know”. It is very tough to do what has to be done without a clear idea of what the rules are going to be.

“We are running out of time” she said. “All of our senior people usually take some vacation in the summer – they have certainly earned it – but they are holding back until they are certain as to what the playing field is going to be like come September.”

The Board isn’t broke but they have had to dip into their reserves for the past two years. “Those funds were set aside for a specific purpose, said Grebenc. “We are hoping that the province will make good on the money we had to take out of the reserve accounts.”

On August 11th last year the province changed all the rules and we had to scramble to be ready. “We don’t want a repeat of last school year.”

Halton is also in a situation where a new Director of Education starts August 6th.  Stuart Miller retired at the end of July after 35 years as an educator starting in a classroom and growing through every rung of the ladder that led him to the top job.

Newly appointed Director of Education for the Halton District School Board – Curtis Ennis

Chair Grebenc and her vice chair will be meeting with Curtis Ennis right after the holidays to brief him on the status of the multi-year plan the Board has in place and talking through the goal setting the trustees will put in place for the new Director.

“We have no idea what the extracurricular requirement is going to be; will the rules be the same for every District School Board? Grebenc takes the view that the trustees have the pulse of the community and can bring Curtis Ennis onside quite quickly.

The Multi Year plan is reviewed and revised every year – the time line for that will change a bit while Curtis Ennis gets up to speed.

Grebenc believes the trustees now have a much more collaborative working relationship with staff. It wasn’t always that way.

Staff are now much more in touch with the trustees and there are conversations and some cross pollination in terms of ideas.

They are working much better and differently than they did in the past.

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Former city Councillor stirs the pot - still barking away at the Mayor

By Pepper Parr

July 30th, 2021


Rick Craven’s opinion piece was sent to a number of close associates and to other media in the area.  The Gazette is not on his media list

Former Ward 1 Councilor Rick Craven put out a small piece earlier today – it may have appeared in the local website he writes for.

Craven takes the position that: “Mayor Marianne Meed Ward’s claim that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has already approved a boundary change for the Downtown Urban Growth Centre (UGC) may be wrong.

At a press conference on June 15th the Minister did say that he supported the change.

In his article Craven wrote: “The Mayor then publicly claimed victory. “The Province has approved our request to adjust the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre.”
Not so fast.

“In an oral ruling during an appeal this month, an Ontario Land Tribunal Hearings Officer (OLT) concluded that until the Minister actually signs off on the new boundary, the existing boundary remains in place and would be used to adjudicate the case before him, possibly creating an advantage for the developer.”

Not so fast yourself, Rick.

The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing doesn’t just stand up and say – ‘this is the way it is’. He did indeed make a statement on June 15th saying he supported the change in the Urban Growth Boundary.

What he was doing in June was telegraphing what his position was going to be.

Last week the Regional government passed their ROPA 48 (Regional Official Plan Amendment). That document approved the change to the Burlington Urban Growth Boundary and took away that ridiculous MTSA designation given to the John Street bus terminal; a structure that couldn’t hold ten people standing up.

That MTSA (Major Transit Service Area) was let stand during the period of time that Craven was a Councillor – put that burning rubber tire around his neck. It was the existence of the designation that let the ADI Development Group get (what was then) OMB approval for the 26 story Nautique structure on Lakeshore Road.

Craven writes: “The City’s lawyer tried to convince the Hearings Officer otherwise, but without success.

The existing UGC boundary includes areas on both sides of Brant Street to the waterfront. It was set up years ago by the Province to encourage significant intensification.”

Existing UGC Boundary

Craven is totally correct on the province being the people who created the original UGC boundary – where they blew it is in not asking the province to move it.

It was the demand that the UGC boundary be moved that won the election for Meed Ward – something Rick Craven has never been able to come to terms with.

Craven wrote: “Local developers have used this boundary to justify tall building proposals at or near the waterfront including the twenty-nine storey proposal discussed at the Hearing.

The existing UGC boundary includes areas on both sides of Brant Street all the way down to the waterfront.

“Burlington politicians never liked the Province’s UGC boundary. Reacting to downtown opposition to tall buildings, City Council proposed re-drawing the boundary to move it farther north, away from the waterfront. They knew that it would still require Provincial approval.

“It appears now that approval of Council’s change remains somewhere in the wilderness of the Provincial government, contrary to Meed Ward’s public pronouncement.

“Local developers are salivating at what the Hearing Officer’s ruling might mean. Since the City’s proposed boundary is tied to an amendment of the Region’s Official Plan, some believe it may be a long time before it is actually approved.

“The City meanwhile faces a number of appeals and prospective appeals by developers who could potentially benefit from still being located within the Urban Growth Centre. There are outstanding proposals for new buildings as high as thirty-five storeys along the waterfront.

“Developers are also speculating about exactly what the Minister may eventually approve. Will he approve what City Council wants or tweak it, and will his decision be retroactive?

City’s Proposed New UGC Boundary

“In spite of the Hearing Officer’s ruling Meed Ward remains confident.
“We will continue every effort to ensure reasonable growth that accords with community, council and staff vision for the downtown”.
Downtown Councillor Lisa Kearns remains calm amid the uncertainty.

“It would be premature to speculate on the implications of the Tribunal’s oral ruling, or its implications for other downtown proposals, as the details of the reasons reflected in the written decision will need to be considered by the City.”

“The Hearing, during which the ruling occurred, is scheduled to wrap up today. It was about the Carriage Gate Homes proposal for a twenty-nine storey tower at the corner of Pearl Street and Lakeshore.

“In a surprising development the City indicated during the Hearing that it was willing to accept twenty-two storeys, which would be contrary to its own Official Plan and may upset some constituents.

Site of the Carriage Gate development – asking for 29 storeys – city seems prepared to live with 22. Used to be the site of the Pearl Street Cafe.

“If you were hoping for the Mayor and Council to control the growth of new high rises downtown, their position at the OLT to support 22 storeys at Pearl and Lakeshore will be quite a shock”, according to one Facebook comment.

“It may still be months before a final OLT decision on the Carriage Gate matter is announced.

Former city Councillor Rick Craven

“All this may prove particularly uncomfortable for Mayor Meed Ward who has promised for over a decade to “SAVE OUR WATERFRONT” and ran in the 2018 election advocating lower heights in the downtown.”

Craven is out there stirring the pot – exactly what any journalist should do. But he chose to forget the process. What he seems to want is for a judge to make a decision in the middle of the trial – it doesn’t work that way, Rick – and you know that.

Related news story:

Councillor dumps on Meed Ward

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City website to get an upgrade - badly needed

By Pepper Parr

July 30th, 2021



The current city websites were launched in 2015. Since that time there have been significant changes in technology and it’s important that the City update their website to stay current and ensure that what they are offering is the type of online services residents have come to expect in 2021.

Certain functions are outdated and may not be supported by the vendor in the future.

That part is certainly right!

It might have been a good idea to ask people what they didn’t like with the current website and what they would like to see changed.

For our part we would like to see a date on every document that pops up and load them in chronological order.

Through surveys and polls, residents continue to tell us that our website is one of the top channels they use to find out about city programs, services and initiatives.

The multi-phased redesign will continue into 2022. The process will be guided by feedback received from residents and visitors to the site.

In the statement that appears on the Get Involved page there is the following:

(The people writing this information need a copy editor and a proof reader.  Gazette readers snap at our heels when we get it wrong.)

This project will occur in 3 phases. The initial stage is scheduled throughout the fall of 2021 and will include consultation with the public, staff, and members of Council. It is expected that public engagement will occur in the fall of 2021.

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Travel to South Korea is now possible

By David Pringle

July 29, 2021



South Korea is a solid economic country that is fully Independent and has very well managed. If we considered the coronavirus situation and its management, the government has been successfully placed under the lower level coronavirus effect that made its travel and economic corridor easier in times of pandemic. South Korea visa for Canadian citizens is not very easy to obtain because of the language barrier, of course, and the Korean district supervision for the security and safety of its own country.

The wave of South Korean pop culture around the world hasn’t happened by accident – it was a deliberate government plan.

But that doesn’t stop the economy and trade with travel from flowing into Korea because everyone is curious about its culture and, of course, Korean pop culture.

Applying for Visa and resident ship in South Korea has been currently closed due to coronavirus and pandemic situation. Still, travel to the country with a low risk of coronavirus Transmission has been allowed under the general guidance of coronavirus safety.

You will need to have a permit of K-ETA for any business travel or tourism for six months.

What Is K-ETA? Why Is It Required?

A South Korean visa for Canadian citizens is straightforward, and Canadian only require a passport to enter South Korea for 180 days without any permission. But still, they need every document and identification to stay inside the country. From September 2021, it is announced that South Korea will also require a K-ETA permit for Canadians.

It is a kind of visa and a permit that will ensure that you are a green permit for you to visit South Korea and concerning all rules and regulations in South Korea concerning all Covid safety for the citizens of Korea and the safety of foreigners.

Vibrant cities with majestic mountains.

South Korea – a country with a deeply rooted culture

As per the notice archives of 2013 on the Canadian Embassy website about South Korea, it is mentioned that all the visas have been cancelled, and it is entirely liable for 180 days to travel without a Visa permit on the only basis of a passport. South Korea visas for Canadian citizens will now be Korean ETA from September 21.

Briefing Regarding K-ETA

• To gain the permit, you have to fill a form online concerning the Korean Government, and it is 100% convenient and can be transferred within 15 days.
• It has a validity of two years and will be liable with your passport when the tourist is willing to go to South Korea.
• You will need a South Korea visa for Canadian citizens if the staycation is for more than 180 days.
• South Korea visas for Canadian citizens can be counted as K-ETA for short-short stays such as business and tourism and meets.

What Respective Documents are needed for South Korea Entry?

The documents that you need to enter South Korea are straightforward, and the process of entering South Korea for Canadian citizens is also very convenient.

• You will only need a valid Canadian passport, and to make the Canadian passport, you will require your identity proof and all the other regular documents with residential warranty etc.
• You will need your standard email id and credit card or debit card number to pay the fee for making a Korea ETA.
• And you will need a recent photograph when you fill up the form for Korean ETA.
• The process will be done within seven days, and you can have everything online conveniently arranged for you.
• South Korea visa for Canadian citizens is made very convenient for European to promote trade, culture and tourism of Asia.

Covid Norms and Rules for Travelling To South Korea

• As we all know, South Korea is very well managed under the pressure of Covid situation the country has been counted in lower-level risk in terms of covid-19 for transmitting disease.

• Hence, Travel and the staycation for 180 days with Korean ETA has been allowed under general covid-19 with a mask and proper sanitization with providing a negative report in every Check Point within 72 hours of landing into Korea.

• If someone wants to travel to Korea and was Covid affected recently, they are not allowed to enter Korean boundaries without having and providing a negative report within 24 hours of landing in Korea.

• Proper social distancing, face mask, and sanitization with cooperation to Korea medical are required while testing negative. Not providing a negative report of covid-19 within 72 or 24 hours will lead to heavy fines and Quarantine for 14 days.

• If you were a victim of yellow fever, then also it is necessary to have your check-up done within 72 hours in Korean checkpoints according to Korean Government norms.

• South Korea has been managing the covid-19 very regularly, and the government is very apt about the transmission of disease from other foreigners. Hence, people visiting Korea should be very much clear about the rules and the norms even the disease transmission has been counted there low.

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Terry Fox: 'Anything is possible if you try'.

By Staff

July 29th, 2021



Burlington is going to do it again.

If you haven’t yet registered for this year’s Terry Fox Run, register online by August 10 for exclusive access to a special virtual after-show experience of Terry Fox: The Power of One.

Enjoy never-before-seen content and extended footage of incredible musical performances! Everyone who registers for the Terry Fox Run by August 10 will be sent a backstage pass link to this special virtual after-show on August 12, following the premiere of Terry Fox: The Power of One on Monday, August 9 at 8 pm (8:30 NT) on CBC. Register TODAY!

Terry Fox running along LAkeshore yards away from the monument that commemorates the event.

During his Marathon of Hope 41 years ago, Terry Fox said, “Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.”

You are being invited to help keep Terry’s dream alive by joining us for the annual Terry Fox Run on September 19, 2021.

Be part of a powerful movement and get involved in a way that feels right for you! Whether you run, walk, bike or wheel—any way you choose to participate will make a meaningful difference and help us fund critical cancer research.

You can take part wherever you are—around your neighbourhood, backyard, down the street, or around the block. We will unite in spirit across the country and collectively raise funds for cancer research in honour of Terry’s enduring legacy.


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Rivers offers: A Post Mortem for the Green Party

“I’ve always been fond of dogs, and they are the one animal that knows the proper treatment to give to poles (polls).” (Former PM – John Diefenbaker)

By Ray Rivers

July 29, 2021



We are expecting a federal election call anytime soon. Most Canadians think we don’t need one yet. But the Liberals are stuck in a minority situation and beholden to the other centre-left or left-of-centre parties to bring their agenda forward. So with the polls moving in their favour they will do what political parties do.

The opposition parties are complaining that it has only been two years since the last election and we’re still not out of the pandemic. But the real issue is that they don’t like what the polls are telling them. After all this would not be the first election during COVID. If we can believe the polls, an election today would mean that the ruling Liberals would improve their seat position and possibly even garner a majority.

The Greens are still polling around their traditional 5%, which means they may not do as poorly as they should this time. After all, the party has shown that it can’t even manage itself, let alone the nation.

Greens have always been a fringe party. Their raison d’être has been protection of the environment and mitigating climate change, which today, to their credit, is one of the most important priorities for Canadians. Still, Elizabeth May, try as she did, never got anyone to take their social and economic policies seriously.

Annamie Paul, current leader of the Green Party

In fact, when new leader, Annamie Paul, decided to venture into middle eastern politics, even with a seemingly balanced position, all hell broke loose. The party ended up losing a third of its elected members to the Liberals, falling back to only two seats. As a result, Paul came within a hair of being turfed out as leader and her Green Party membership revoked. An arbitration process saved her skin, though that in itself is now the subject of even more discord.

The Greens need to shake their collective heads. They are supposed to be a party which preaches social harmony, tolerance and understanding. Yet racism, mud slinging, conspiracy and cronyism are in the makings of this internal war. The party executive has even held back funding Paul’s personal election campaign, in what can only be described as a desperate attempt to get rid of her.

Paul is hoping that the existing executive will be replaced at the upcoming party convention, which may end up coinciding with the federal election. But who knows? And with party executive at war with their leader, why would anyone vote for these folks? Unless Paul can pull a rabbit out of a hat they are another political entity on a road to extinction.

Though it’s not certain, the Greens may at least hope to hang onto Elizabeth May’s traditional B.C. riding. Beyond that, no one should be betting on them. Their future is not likely bright. Besides, the NDP and Liberals have already stolen most Green policies, making the Greens more of a postscript rather than a viable electoral option.

From the perspective of the Conservative Party the Greens are, in fact, a political ally. They and the NDP represent votes which, thanks to our first past the post electoral system (FPP), won’t otherwise go to the Liberals. It is little wonder then that the Conservatives have always rejected changing the electoral system.

But a proportional electoral system, as is commonplace in most democracies (94), might even enable the Greens to become a part of a governing coalition, as they have in other countries. So it was unsurprising that some Green voters supported Mr. Trudeau and voted Liberal when he first promised electoral reform in his first election campaign.

Elizabeth May and Annamie Paul.  May was the leader of the Green Party – she was replaced by Annamie Paul.

At best, the Green Party of Canada, which was formed back in 1983, is unlikely to win enough seats to form even a minority government in the foreseeable future, even if Canada changes its electoral system. And, given the internal strife the Green Party is now experiencing, no one would be surprised to see it go the way of Social Credit, Natural Levitation, the Communists and Marxists, the Reform Party, and very likely the People’s party.

The Liberals, to their credit, have seen the writing on the wall, borrowed environmental policies mostly scripted by the Greens, and is undertaking the most massive restructuring of the Canadian economy and society in our lifetimes, in order for this country to become a global leader in carbon freedom. For that the Green Party needs to be recognized for their prescience and forbearance, anyway.

Annaimie Paul has been remarkably self-restrained and controlled through all that is going on, including personal attacks. She deserves better.

As for Paul, who has been remarkably self-restrained and controlled through all that is going on, including personal attacks, she deserves better. One can only hope there is a future for her to bring her qualities and strengths to work in some other way, or with some other political party, for the benefit of us all. But if her party membership really has a point about her leadership failings, perhaps there is some other kind of career opportunity waiting for her.

Next time we’ll take a look at the federal NDP.

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:

Election Polls –  Green Party –    Climate Change Polls

Paul –   Green’s Dispute –    More Discord

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Local artists adding some colour to drab looking telephone connection boxes

By Staff

July 28th, 2021


Bell Canada is paying local artists to decorate the connection boxes that are spread throughout the city.

No idea yet how many there will eventually be – the photograph sent us by a Gazette reader is being installed in front of the Performing Arts Centre



This a one is across from BPAC on Locust St. The artist has been working away on this for several days now.

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Regional Public Health Unit begins to wind down clinics

By Staff

July 28, 2021



In a release to media Halton Region reports on the tremendous success they have achieved vaccinating residents at its community clinics.

Halton’s vaccination rate for residents 12 years and older continues to exceed the Provincial average. With more Halton residents now fully vaccinated, Halton Region will begin consolidating its community clinics in August to focus on targeted community outreach and school-based immunization programs.

Effective August 16, the COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) and Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) will be closed. This decision was made in collaboration with Joseph Brant Hospital and Halton Healthcare.

Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr.

“We have reached a significant milestone in our COVID-19 vaccine rollout, with 81 per cent of residents having received one dose and 65 per cent of residents fully vaccinated,” said  “Thanks to the commitment of Halton residents to get vaccinated and the tremendous work of our clinic staff. Over 250,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered at our hospital clinics, and I am extremely grateful for our hospital partners for their dedication and contributions to the vaccine rollout over the past several months to get us to this pivotal point.”

Residents who had vaccine appointments scheduled at Joseph Brant Hospital and Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital on or after August 16 are being notified that their appointments will be cancelled, with options to reschedule at another Halton clinic, pharmacy or primary care provider.

Halton Region is working on a plan to also begin consolidating community vaccination clinics by the end of the summer. Coupled with expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines through pharmacy and primary care offices, Halton Region Public Health will continue to deliver and expand its targeted community outreach to support anyone who may experience barriers to vaccination and ensure no one is left behind.

In addition, several clinic locations will transition to immunization clinics that will offer non-COVID vaccines to students in Grade 7, 8 and 9 as part of the school immunization program. This will provide Halton with an opportunity to catch-up eligible students who were not able to get vaccinated with these important vaccines due to the pandemic.

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health.

“I am grateful for our hospital partners who have been instrumental in the Halton vaccine rollout and provided high quality care to our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “While this is an important step to return to normal, it’s critical that more residents get fully vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and our community. Each and every dose counts, and getting your second dose will give you better protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. #RollUpYourSleevesHalton and let’s make it a two dose summer so we can avoid a fourth wave in the Fall.”

“It was a privilege to be the first Vaccination Centre in Halton Region and to be part of the largest immunization rollout in a generation,” said Denise Hardenne, President & CEO, Halton Healthcare. “By August 15 we expect to have administered 200,000 vaccines at the OTMH Vaccination Centre. With community clinics now well established and the demand for vaccines decreasing, the closing of hospital vaccination centres will provide us with the opportunity to focus on our recovery plan. I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of our staff and physicians for their dedication and tremendous efforts in the fight against COVID-19.”

“Since opening in March, over 58,000 vaccinations were administered at the Joseph Brant Hospital vaccination clinic,” said Eric Vandewall, President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital. “I would like to thank our hard-working staff, physicians and volunteers who helped make this clinic a success, and for their ongoing commitment to meet the needs of our community during the pandemic. I also would like to thank the residents of Halton Region for their overwhelming support of our clinic, our people and our hospital – we are so grateful and honoured by your kind and encouraging words, emails, social media posts, lawn signs and letters.”
Important information & instructions

• Effective August 16, vaccination clinics at Joseph Brant Hospital and Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital will be closed. Residents 12 years of age and older can reschedule their appointments at any of Halton’s seven Community Vaccination Clinics through the online booking system.

o Bookings for Halton residents are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be redirected back to Halton’s system.
o Walk-in appointments are currently available at some Halton Region Vaccination Clinics on a first come, first served basis and dependent on supply. Learn more about current walk-in locations and times.
o To maintain physical distancing and safety measures, please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment (not earlier) and remember to wear a mask. Please note: you will be required to bring proof of age to your appointment, and are asked to complete a wellness check before attending a clinic, using Halton’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Screening Tool.
o Residents are asked to attend their appointments alone if possible in order to limit the amount of individuals in our clinics and maintain adequate physical distancing. You may bring one support person, if required (for example, a caregiver or interpreter).
o There are also more than 100 pharmacies in Halton are offering walk-in or booked appointments and select primary care offices offering booked appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine. Please contact the pharmacy or primary care office directly to learn more.

• The quickest and easiest way to schedule or reschedule an appointment is online. Residents who require booking support can also call 311.

o Residents should cancel their appointments as soon as possible if they find earlier appointments through a pharmacy. By cancelling your appointment, this ensures that someone else who is eligible can get the vaccine.

• Residents have the option to book same-day (“last minute”) vaccine appointments through our online booking system. These appointments will become available when there are last minute cancellations at a vaccination clinic. This option is only available to those who are currently eligible and residents must arrive at the selected clinic within 45 minutes of booking.

• Residents who need assistance with transportation (if transportation is a barrier to getting to the appointment) can contact 311. Halton Region continues to offer transportation services to and from appointments for residents who require support, free of charge.

The infection numbers for the Region and Burlington are manageable.  Of the 46 active cases in the Region as of July 28th 22 were in Burlington.

The concern at this point is the anti-vaxers.  There is work to be done on that cohort.  The solution for those of us who understand the need for vaccinations to continually correct the information that is out there.



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Artists use maple leaf design cut out of aluminum on which artists will paint to raise funds hospital: target is $375,000

By Ryan O’Dowd

July 28th,2021



Throughout August the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation (JBHF) will showcase local artists to raise funds with a big boost from Burlington Artscape.

The initiative features fifty local artists who have painted 4 foot leaf-shaped canvases with a unifying theme of the love of Burlington.

Ashley Davison, the Chief Development Officer with the JBHF, spoke about the love of Burlington theme, at a time when a celebration of city and community seems particularly poignant.

“Bringing people together to create beauty out of a time when things have been so challenging might be a nice way to celebrate nearing the end of the pandemic and to start to bring life and beauty back to the community through the installation.

“Many local artists have a connection to the hospital and Burlington.  Burlington Artscape marries the art with the beauty of Burlington, as well as the pivotal role the hospital has played over the last 18 months, meeting the needs of our community at a time when they’ve never been needed more.”

Burlington artist Jodi Harrison founded Burlington Artscape in 2021 to support the hospital with the help of the art community.  August 8th,15th and 22nd are dates for an outdoor showing of all the completed leaves. It will run from 10am to 4pm at Grace United Church located at 2111 Walkers Line, Burlington. Leaves will be available to order August 7th, 2021 at 8 a.m. Orders will be available online or at the outdoor art shows.

Although COVID-19 added considerable pressure to the hospital, Annisa Hilborn, the president of the JBHF, pointed out that the need for corporate and community support is constant – taxes don’t cover everything.

Annisa Hilborn, President of the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation

“If we all come together to support our public health care system it’s only going to get better,” said Hilborn. “The pandemic reminded our community of the need and urgency to support these important foundational elements of our society, to ensure we are a healthy society and get through things like the pandemic…and when it’s not the pandemic it’s something else that’s coming.”

“The theme resonates with the feeling of the last 18 months,” Hilborn added, “there’s a greater appreciation of the community getting together because we wouldn’t have been able to get through what we’ve gone through unless everyone participated. We say at the hospital, ‘we’re here in the moments that matter’ and we ask that the community be there for us too.”

Cathy Lorraway with the leaf shaped canvas she will paint on.

The 50 leaf-shaped canvases will be on display on the 8th, 15th, and 22nd of August at Grace United Church. The artwork is available for purchase now for $750 which will go toward Burlington Artscape’s goal of $37,500. 100% of proceeds will go to support the critical needs of the hospital.

COVID-19 safety precautions have been taken for the event.

Hilborn and Davidson praised community support throughout the pandemic but are looking forward to future events in person as restrictions loosen.

“We’re on our toes about it, responding as the regulations and guidelines change,” Davidson said, “seeing where we can, safely and responsibly, have people interacting in person because I think the community will be ready for that.”

The featured paintings can be viewed now on Burlington Artscape’s website and their Instagram account.

Many paintings depict lively visions of Burlington, a bustling Spencer Smith Park, the Burlington Teen Tour Band marching, a crowded beach, distantly familiar after 18 months of the pandemic.

As the city opens and Burlington Artscape calls upon the community to celebrate and be celebrated perhaps the city has turned over a new leaf.

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