Self-realization and the meditative state – all you ever wanted to know at a free class at Burlington Hills this Saturday.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  December 4, 2012   If you’ve ever wondered what meditation is; what a Yoga class is  really like but you don’t want to join anything – you just want to sit in and see if there is something there for you – then an event this Saturday, December 8 from 3-5 pm at the Brant Hills Community Centre may be of interest.

If you do go – what are you in for?

Here is what is on the agenda:

There will be a talk by two academics on the Restorative Effects of Sahaja Meditation techniques. There will be testimonials, some guided mediation, live music and  Indian Kuchipudi dance

The group putting on the event has been doing this for more than seven years in Burlington.

Their Sahaja meditation classes take place Wednesday evenings at Brant Hills.

The event this Saturday will be tied into an event taking place in Paris,  France.

Mediation and Yoga are different, millions swear by it, but it isn’t for everybody – it’s a matter of personal taste and the way you feel life should be lived.  If you’re curious – give it a try.

More on the agenda:

A video introduction  to Self-Realization & R/Evolution (video)

Experience Spontaneous Meditation & ‘Yoga State’ on Live Indian Drum Music (Ahilan)

Kuchipudi Dance Performance (Hema)

Chakra Workshop & Joyful Indian Music Performance

Practitioners of meditation will talk about the benefits.

You get a chance to find your “Yogi Buddy”.

The event is free – these people are serious and committed about what they do.

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When do we reach our 50% level? Soon said Torsney, soon. Dig deeper today and we could be there tomorrow.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 1, 2012   The United Way campaign for Burlington and Greater Hamilton has reached that first wonderful number of 50% – at least for those on the other side of the Bay.  Half way is a nice place to be with any objective and the Hamilton crew is doing very well.

Burlington does have a bit of catch up to do – they are at 50 % of their $2.1 million target.

Combined Burlington and Hamilton are at 50% of the 2012 goal of $7.1 million.

Paddy Torsney assures us that the lower Burlington number is due to the slower start of the campaigns at some companies – “start later/numbers come in later”, commented Torsney who is more than confident that the Burlington target will not only be reached but exceeded.

Torsney plans to exceed the $2.1 million that was to come from the Burlington community.  That is going to mean an extra push but if the Christmas decorations on Burlington homes are any indication as to where the economy is going – then there are dollars in those pockets that could make their way to the United Way.

Chair of the Burlington side of the Burlington/Greater Hamilton United Way campaign Paddy Torsney frowns when she sees the total for Burlington’s $2.1 target being at just the 50% point. She wants to exceed her target.

“We are seeing an increased demand for services that is putting incredible pressure on our programs,” said the Hon. Paddy Torsney, 2012 Burlington United Way Campaign Chair. “Many of these programs rely on United Way funding, which means now more than ever we need our citizens to step forward and support the United Way campaign. We have people in this community facing homelessness, children going to school hungry, seniors in isolation and families in crisis. If individuals and businesses in Burlington and Hamilton donate today, we can reach our goal and we can provide the vital funding necessary to help people in-need, right here in our community.”

There is still time to donate and it has never been easier. Visit the United Way website where you can donate online, or contact the United Way by phone (905-527-4543 or 905-635-3138) if you would like more information on donating in person, through your workplace or at the leadership level.

The funds raised by the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton support 131 programs and services in the community, assisting seniors, individuals, families and children in-need – many of whom live below the poverty line.

Bringing the money in is a large part of the job; figuring out where it should go is another part of what United Way does.  The organization itself doesn’t run programs – it funds agencies that run program in each community.

One of the more innovative programs that has been around for some time is the Halton Food for Thought program It has been operational for more than 15 years.  Their focus is ensuring that students in school do not go hungry.

Ask anyone who works for or volunteers with an organization committed to helping feed those in need and they will tell you the same thing: people simply don’t realize the level of poverty and hunger in Halton Region, and even if they do, they don’t appreciate how many children are affected.

Ask Gayle Cruickshank, Executive Director of Halton Food for Thought, if there is a hunger issue with children and she’ll let the statistics speak for themselves: Halton Food for Thought runs 146 food programs at 104 different schools; there are 16,000 students in need; and they serve two million meals every school year. Depending on the neighbourhood, somewhere between five and twenty-five per cent  of children go to school hungry.

With that enormous challenge at hand, Cruickshank is extremely grateful to the many partnerships she has developed, including a very important one with ReFresh Foods and Food for Life.

We talked with Gayle Cruikshank a few days before her AGM and got some of the background on just what Food for Thought does and how it interacts with the United Way.  Food for Thought is one of the many not-for-profit organizations that receives funding from the United Way. They receive just 11% of their funding from threeUnitedWays. Or if you want just Burlington it is 7%

Getting a number of Food Trucks to congregate in the one place was a really brilliant idea that Food for Thoughtusedto raise funds with other agencies for the United Way

Getting a number of Food Trucks to congregate in the one place was a really brilliant idea that Food for Thought used to raise funds but also to tell the United Way story.

They have to raise the rest of the money themselves which at times means getting creative.  Cruikshank came up with the idea of arranging for a number of Food Trucks to congregate at the one location in the commercial/industrial part of the city where there are few places to get a quick lunch. She convinced the Cup cake Diner, Gorilla Cheese and HankDaddy BBQ to show at a parking lot on Harvester Road outside the Burlington United Way office. .  To everyone’s surprise and delight – the Cup cake truck sold out in less than half an hour while the other two had line up sixty people long.  Expect to see more of that kind of fund raising next year.   Food for Thought raised $800 with the one Food Truck event; enough to feed  five students for one year.

While ensuring that a student is properly fed is vital – it’s a bit more than just feeding them.  It’s an opportunity to teach students solid nutritional lessons and to form up the link between the Public Health nurses and the social workers.

While ensuring that a student is properly fed is vital – it’s a bit more than just feeding them.  It’s an opportunity to teach students solid nutritional lessons and to form up the link between the Public Health nurses and the social workers.

Students that aren’t eating properly usually have social and or health issues.  Add to that. The shame that some feel when they need help getting by.  These students often live in assisted housing and have just the one parent in the house.  The pattern is the same time and again.  Hard for the student and depressing for the Food for Thought volunteers because they know the cycle can be broken.

Gayle Cruikshank got her first look at Food for Thought in 1997

Cruikshank’s first look at Food for Thought was when she attended an event at her daughter’s elementary school in 1997 when Darlene Edmonds was running the program.  It didn’t take long for something to happen: Cruikshank was invited to sit on an Advisory Board and that led to her taking over the running of the organization when Edmonds moved on in 2001.

The focus then, and still very much the focus now was to ensure that every student was eating nutritious meals every school day.  The link between decently fed students and good grades plus good social behaviour is what justifies everything Cruikshank and those running the Food for Thought program do each day.

It costs about $180 per student per school year to ensure they are fed through a healthy breakfast.

At their AGM, held at Robert Bateman high school where Murray Zehr did the honours and got things set up. The Food for Thought team was on hand which included: Carrie Baillie, Oakville Program Manager; Julie Bertoia, Burlington Program Manager; Chantal Ingram, Director of Programs; Maureen McLaughlin, Halton North Program Manager; Maria Moutsatsos, Edible Garden Coordinator and Kelly Stronach, Manager of Program Development

Kelly Stronach , Manager of Program Development works closely with Gayle Cruikshank, Executive Director of the not for profit Food for Thought.

During 2012 the organization started ten new programs while 17 schools increased service days to ensure students had access to healthy foods every day.  They expanded their Farm to school program to 13 schools involved and started five new edible school gardens. It was a busy year.

“G”, a student who participates in the meal card program sent in her thanks for the help she gets. Properly fed she has seen an improvement in her concentration and thus her academic performance. She will graduate with enough credits to continue her education.

“M” also sent his thanks.  His teacher had said there were behavioural issues. “M” used to go home for lunch often eating only a pop tart. Since the healthy snack program started he has been enjoying the healthy food and behaving much better. He now stays at school for lunch instead of eating at home alone, his social skills have also improved.

A 16 year old student who had been referred to the social worker at high school for continually  skipping classes and at times missing full days of school. The social worker discovered that he was parented by a single mom, lives in low income housing, and was diagnosed ADHD and depression. After much discussion about future goals the student and the social worker talked about engaging him in a co-op placement to gain work experience.

The student was given meal cards to ensure he was having at least one meal a day. When asked to fill in the career ideas booklet he placed very high in create arts and because he enjoys food so much he did the coop in the school cafeteria which he enjoyed immensely. He attended this placement daily without fail and was seen in the cafeteria preparing delicious lunches for students and staff. He has applied to the Culinary Skills, Chef Training – at George Brown College.

Gayle Cruikshank, Executive Director, seated and Kelly Stronach, Manager of Program Development: two of the seven member team that make Food for Thought work day in and day out as one of the United Way funded agencies in Burlington.

These are just three stories from the hundreds of schools involved; these are stories of United Way funds supporting local agencies deliver support where it is needed.

This is an organization that serves us all and especially those students who don’t have the support most of us grew up with.  Gayle Cruikshank and her team of volunteers do that work on your behalf – let’s continue to make sure they have the funds they need – at this point Burlington is at the  half way point to a very modest goal.

The theme the United Way works under is: Change Starts Here.  That could be your loose change; see what you’ve got in your pocket right now and commit to giving that each week throughout the year.

Beth Deazeley, Neil Oliver, and Patty Pelekis joined the Food for Thought Board of Directors this year for two year terms.  They join Maria Nancy Thornton, Chair; Cheri Chevalier, Vice Chair; Nicki Glowacki, Treasurer; Margaret Maronese, Chris McNamara, Jessica MacKay, Reg Farnand and Phil Simeon.


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Help the environment and the 200,000 people who make use of a United Way service in Burlington/Greater Hamilton.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 22, 2012  The United Way campaign isn’t going to go away – unless of course, we go right over the top and reach the $2.1 million Burlington target.  But if we do that – you know what’s going to happen: Paddy Torsney will want to set a new record for the city.  This is a very competitive woman.

The next opportunity to be part of a campaign that is easy for those of us that have a decent job, live in a secure setting and are amongst people who love and care for us; we are able to contribute.  There is an electronics collection taking place at Best Buy on Brant Street.

The United Way has partnered with Greentec’s E-Waste Collection program, which collects unwanted electronics that clutter up our offices, drawers, basements and garages – and recycles them responsibly, diverting it from local and international landfill sites.

Most of these would get dumped into a landfill or shipped to some African country where desperately poor people would scavenge to collect scrap they could sell. The Burlington United Way has arranged for electronic waste to be collected with funds then going to the United Way campaign.

On Saturday, November 24 from 10am to 4pm,  the public is invited to recycle their unwanted electronics including, desktop and laptop computers, cell phones, ink/toner cartridges, printers, stereo equipment and display devices up to 29”.

Here’s how the program works:

You take your stuff to the location in your community – in Burlington that’s Best Buy, 1200 Brant Street, Burlington.  They weigh it and based on the kind of stuff you are giving them a price is determined and the funds donated to the United Way.

GreenTec is in the waste collection business and recycling is a very large part of what they do.  They’ve involved themselves with the United Way with a program that has the amount they pay for your stuff going to the United Way.

GreenTec is an approved primary processor with the Ontario electronic Stewardship Program.  They have a number of programs one of which has them paying for the planting of trees based on what they process in the way of electronic waste.  It’s an interesting marketing model and if  it gives us a place to take electronic equipment we don’t want and put some money in the hands of people who know how to care for people in need – why not.

You were going to throw the stuff out anyway and hope the Regional garbage collection people would take it away.  All you have to do is drive to Best Buy and give it to the GreenTec people.

United Way gets the cash; we keep a couple of tone of stuff out of landfill sites and you’ve got more space to use at home – one of those everybody wins.

Now, if Best Buy offered you a 5% discount once you have done your environmental thing and you could sign that 5% over to the United Way – we would be well on our way to reaching that target.  Back in 2010 we had to give the Burlington United Way campaign a bit of a boost to reach the top.

Couple of conditions – easy ones to work within.  Display devices can’t be more than 29 inches.  Other than that – well here is what they will take:  desktop and laptop computers, cell phones, ink/toner cartridges, printers, stereo equipment and display devices.

I recently returned a dozen laser toner cartridges to a supplier I was very unhappy with – not mentioning any names but they are located close to the Walkers Line – Dundas intersection; I could have given them to GreenTec.

Millions of cell phones get dumped by users – they can be recycled. Keep the things out of landfills where they don’t do anyone any good.

GreenTec could not exist at a better time. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream worldwide and each year, for example, more than 300 million empty printer cartridges are generated in North America alone. GreenTec is responsible for diverting millions of pounds of electronics from landfills, in turn providing nearly $5 million in fundraising to its members in exchange for the e-waste they collect.

In addition to giving monetary rewards to its members for their efforts, Think Recycle donates funds to have one tree planted through American Forests or Tree Canada, for every 24 Qualifying Products collected by United Way. To date, Think Recycle is responsible for the planting of more than 57,000 trees effectively removing 8,700 tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

GreenTec has placed a huge bin on the Best Buy parking lot and advise that they can get 10,000 lbs into the thing – 12,000 if they squeeze.  Let’s see what we can do to fill that bin – Best Buy parking lot – Saturday 10-4 pm.


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They are going to have their hands deeper into your pockets forever and ever. Hospital levy will not end.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 14, 2012   Mayor Rick Goldring got the surprise of his life, when he learned that the province expected him to come up with $60 million to pay for a portion of the re-build of the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.  In the old days, when Goldring was getting his tonsils taken out at JBMH, health care was a provincial matter.

Paid for by 2018 – they promise you that. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to end the hospital levy in 2018. Taxpayers are going to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Times do change.  The city sucked it up and looked at its taxpayers and said: we have to hit you for $60 million, but we are going to have a great hospital, when this is all said and done.  The fact that the new Family Medical centre and the parking garage are being built on a flood plain, doesn’t seem to factor into how “great” that hospital is going to be.

Those numbers above are your dollars.  It represents the amount the city gives to the hospital to pay for building the additions. While the city is collecting a special hospital levy from you now – they tuck that into a bank account and earn interest.  At some point the city has to borrow money to make the payments.

No matter – the good people of Burlington sucked it up and told every polling organization that chose to ask them that the hospital was THE top priority.  That the JBMH Foundation also had to come up with their $60 million seemed to make it all a little easier to bear.

Here is what this means – the number that matters is on the far right.  For every $100,000 of assessment value on your home you will pay an amount ranging from $4.28 to as high as $14.98.  That’s just what it is going to cost to re-build the hospital that everyone says they want. Continuing to take what started out as hospital levy money after the hospital is built and paid for is what might seem unfair or misleading to taxpayers.  The tax levy column, second from the right, isn’t as clear as it might have been.  It should read – Tax levy in millions.

Learning too that the cost came down to a paltry $3.99  for every $100,000 of assessment on your house made it sound like easy credit.  That $3.99 does balloon to $7.49 then to $11.24 and up as high as $14.98 –  but those are just details.  By the year 2028, when we are assured the Pier will be finished, the hospital will be paid for and we can all visit our family members who are being cared for in a state of the art medical facility.

Not so fast, my Mother used to say as I was scooting out the door to find some mischief.

Do you know why they’re smiling? It isn’t because Santa Claus is coming soon. They figured out a way to continue taking the special hospital construction levy out of your pockets. If you managed to pull off a stunt like that you too would be smiling.

Turns out that the Significant Seven that serve as your Council are not going to lift that hospital levy come 2028.  It will just get rolled over and become part of what you pay in taxes every year.

Call it a sneaky tax grab if you want.  Call it misleading the taxpayers, which is what at least one Council member thought of the plan.  Councillor Sharman, who positions himself as one of the better financial minds on Council did say that “rather than give it back (the hospital levy) we are going to re-assign it.

Say what you wish.  By the time 2028 rolls around none of the rascals who put their hands even deeper into your pockets will be on this earth and with one exception, probably not even on Council.  They expect to be able to get away with it.

Is it fair?  No – they should be telling you or even better they should be asking you if this is the way you want to be taxed.  They won’t ask you directly but, come the next election – you might want to ask a question or two as to how they think they can pull this one off.


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He can tell you more than you want to know about Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz – and he knows what poverty does to a community.

By Pepper Parr

HAMILTON, ON  November 11, 2012  For Len Lifchus, this time of year tends to be all about the numbers – are the giving’s where we need them to be?  Are the various teams on top of their targets?  Are we going to be able to raise what we need?

Len Lifchus would like to be in the business of giving people fishing rods and teaching them how to fish and feed themselves but as often as not he is giving them fish because they cannot feed themselves.

With more than 35 years in the volunteer sector, Len Lifchus guides the Burlington/Greater Hamilton United Way towards raising the $7 million + needed to fund the agencies that provide services needed in the community.

For the Burlington/Greater Hamilton United Way, 44%  of the 2012 target has been reached.  Burlington is a little behind its target.  The community has raised $746,834 of the $2.1 million it needs.

Combined Hamilton and Burlington have reached the 44% level but Burlington is lagging and in our part of that pumpkin patch we are at 36% – got more work to do – so if you’ve gotten this far and have not made a pledge – think about what you can give and make the pledge – we will be here when you get back.

Burlington is a very affluent community but there are significant pockets of poverty and Burlington is a more expensive place to live in.  Lifchus, who recently moved to Burlington, will tell you “gasoline is more expensive, LINK  laundry is more expensive, food costs more”.

Immigrants need help getting settled; there are no major industries in Burlington that need workers.  Nutrition is an ongoing problem that comes back to plaque is later when poor health issues become the problem.

The face of poverty isn’t as visible in Burlington; you don’t see it between all the cars parked at the malls.  “The faith community is very strong in Burlington” explains Lifchus, but there is only so much they can do.  Our food banks are not a fact of life – they were put in place to meet a crisis and the crisis stayed and became a part of life for the poor and now the working poor.

Len Lifchus has been employed by the voluntary sector for over 35 years – more than 16  years with the Canadian Red Cross Society Blood Program and the last 18 years with the United Way.

Born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. and a graduate in political science from the University of British Columbia, Len has spent his adult life on a career path of serving others.

Len joined the United Way in 1995 as the Executive Director of the United Way of the Central & South Okanagan Similkameen and moved to Peterborough, Ontario in 1999 to become the CEO of the United Way of Peterborough & District.  After a 10 ½ year career in Peterborough he moved on to become the CEO of the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton – Canada’s 12th largest United Way.

He has watched changes take place in the way we care of those who are not able to take care of themselves.  “Food banks were a stop gap measure during a difficult economic phase – now they are full time operations” says Lifchus.  “We aren’t geared to run this type of operation the way we have to but without food banks we would have very serious social problems to deal with.

One of the agencies the United Way funds is a program that makes food available to students who are not getting the nutrition they need at home.

The United Way doesn’t run programs; it funds agencies that run programs and each year at the end of the fund raising driver the really hard work of deciding who is going to be funded and who isn’t going to be funded begin.

Part of the Burlington campaign cabinet – a group that meets under the direction of the Paddy Torsney, the Burlington campaign chair who co-ordinates with Len Lifchus on a weekly basis.

The Burlington/Greater Hamilton United Way funds 133 programs and Lifchus is the first to tell you that the issue of poverty is not going away.  He will also tell you that people are giving differently.  There is much more one-on-one donor solicitation; that is organizations approaching a donour and soliciting funds.  When those individual appeals succeed there is less money available to organizations like the United Way that are not tightly focused.

Also, there are more Family Trusts, financial structures that wealthy people use to channel their funds to specific targets – again lessening the funds available to un-targeted organizations like the United Way.

What the United Way does, and can do because it is much closer to the daily grind that is poverty, is recognize evolving needs and fund agencies that are focused on those new needs.

Teen suicide is a growing concern; one that is growing far too fast and no one is quite sure how to address the problem.  Community groups, often started by families that have lost a family member to suicide get formed and as they grow the find they need more in the way of support – the United Way is there to help them create the infrastructure they need to effectively develop these agencies.

Managing the fund raising and then managing the disbursement of the funds raised is the day to day part of what Len Lifchus does.  He also teaches in the evenings and sits on more boards than there are on a Monopoly game.

Everyone looks for distractions from the daily grind and for Lifchus it is musicals.  He can recite lines from some of his favourites.  Les Cages aux Folles  is at the top of his list along with Hair and Les Miz – and don’t forget Ragtime, all amongst his favourites.

He has been following the selection of “Dorothy” for the next production of  The Wizard of Oz– “of course” declares Lifchus, “there is never going to be another Judy Garland”. Lifchus actually gets a little misty eyed when he talks about the musical productions.

Fun and relaxation only take him so far.  The Halton Regional Poverty Roundtable is an think group that the United Way is both funding to some degree and providing some of the administrative support.  Lifchus fully understands the need to think about the problem of poverty and take a long, deep hard look at the root causes and begin the search for better solutions.  “Change” Lifchus will tell you, “starts here.”

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Test smoke alarms when changing clocks this weekend. Did you know that failing to comply with smoke alarm rules can result in a fine?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON November 2, 2012    It’s one of those things you know you should do – some of us used to do it New Year’s Day – but there were first day’s of the year when the idea of climbing up on a ladder was not such a good idea.

Then a fire chief somewhere came up with a really neat idea – he said “why not remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms on the Sunday that the clocks go forward or backward?

That was a really good idea and it seems to have become the practice at least in Canada.

They work – but only if they have fresh batteries.

Every year, we read stories of apartments or houses that catch fire and often, all too often there is some loss of life and we hear a despondent fire chief explaining to a television camera that the smoke alarms did not work because the batteries were dead.

There may be some juice in the batteries you have in that smoke alarm now – but why take the chance.  Figure out what size of battery you need and climb up on that ladder and make the change.

This is fall so the clocks go back an hour Saturday night and you get an extra hour of sleep

“Smoke alarms can only do what they are designed to do if they are working,” explained Public Education Officer Lisa Cockerill. “At least once a year, replace the batteries in your smoke alarm with new batteries and test all smoke alarms once a month.”

Push the test button for 10 seconds. If you hear the alarm it means its working. No alarm? It’s time to replace the battery or the unit.  Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years.

It’s the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. For added protection, it is recommended to also install smoke alarms inside all bedrooms. In order to survive a fire, you need to be provided with an early warning and know what to do when the smoke alarms sound. Have a fire escape plan with a meeting place that everyone in your family knows.

Assistance is available for seniors and persons with disabilities in the community who are unable to replace batteries or test their smoke alarms on their own. For more information or request assistance with your smoke alarm or for fire safety information please call 905 333-0772, ext. 6333.

Tampering with, or removing the batteries from your smoke alarm is against the law. Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000. For further information visit


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United Way using events to draw people in and raise funds to meet the $2.1 million Burlington target. Is your company involved?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 30th, 2012  Last week was a great week for the United Way in Burlington, announcing that they had reached the 25% level of the $2.1 million they need to raise – and we are not about to stop at that level are we?  One of the United Way agencies put on an event in the parking lot of the United Way offices on Harvester Road that had three Food Trucks on the property selling lunches.

Cup Cake Diner had to pull out at the 25 minute mark – they were sold out.  Gorilla Cheese and HankDaddy BBQ each had line ups of more than 50 people in front of their trucks.  That is called a SELL OUT!

Then on Sunday there was a Fashion Shoe at the Rude Native on Brant.  $25 got you a light lunch and a look at some new fashion pieces.

Check out the apparel that was on display.  Burlington United Way Chair Paddy Torsney and one of her side kicks Kendra Mullen took to the runway – sorry, we don’t have the names of the other models.

Our reports are that it was a fun event that everyone enjoyed.

The city of Burlington held their annual truck pulling event outside city hall which was a successful event.  Kim Phillips, one of the city’s two General Managers is working on the rest of the public sector to increase the giving at that level – that being the federal and provincial governments and agencies.

What really works for the United Way – and for you the citizen, is the payroll deduction plan.  It can be as little as a dollar a paycheque – choose the number that reflects what you can manage.  And if you need to bow out for a period of time – all that takes is a phone call.

Here’s what happens when you go the payroll deduction route.  You see the gross payroll figure and then you see the CPP deductions (you will retire at some point) and then you see the EI deduction and hope you never have to make a claim.  Then you see the United Way deduction and you can pause for a second, smile and know that you’re helping.  It may not be much but when Len Loftus, chief cheese of the United Way operation for Burlington and Hamilton sees those combined numbers he is one happy camper – because he is the guy that has to figure out how much he can make available to the Food for Thought people – they are the ones who make meals available to kids who leave the house in the morning without a breakfast in their tummies.  Or how much he is going to send to the Nelson Youth Centre that provides group based treatment intervention which supports and strengthens  the ability of children and youth to develop more effective social and emotional skills.  This program includes a mandatory parental program.

Why do people line up like this to buy lunch? Because they know a portion of the proceeds are going to the United Way.  The Food Truck program was such as success that plans are already being made for a repeat performance next year.

The agencies that get the funds the United Way collects came up with the idea for the Food Truck event.  It went so well that Gayle Cruikshank said the agencies want to make this a yearly event with proceeds going to the UW.

They all matter, they all need help and there is never enough to cover all the bases.  Loftus has to wiggle and jiggle his numbers and hope that there is at least enough to cover those bases.

When you sign that payroll deduction card you are doing two things – helping in a real, measurable way and cutting down on the amount of wiggling and jiggling that Len Loftus has to do each year.

The theme for the United Way this year is Change starts here – it really starts at your pay cheque and being prepared to give some of it to those who need help.

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Seniors begin to get a break on health care; Pharmacists can now give flu shots, renew prescriptions as well.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON October 10, 2012  – In what they are describing as a program to bring expanded healthcare services closer to home the provincial government has announced a new program that allows the delivery of some services from pharmacists including the publicly funded flu shot and getting their prescriptions renewed.

In addition to giving the flu shot, pharmacists can now also:

Renew or adapt existing prescriptions

Prescribe medication to help people quit smoking

Demonstrate how to use an asthma inhaler or inject insulin

Support patients who have a chronic disease, such as diabetes, monitor their condition

There are some people who never get used to a flu shot. These can now be given at a pharmacy – don’t need to go to the doctors office

Expanding the role of highly trained pharmacists is part of the McGuinty government’s Action Plan for Health Care. The plan gives Ontarians better access to family doctors, nurse practitioners and other health care providers, to ensure that health care dollars are spent most efficiently.

This will be the 13th year the flu shot has been offered in Ontario.

People (over the age of five) can visit participating local pharmacies starting Oct. 22 where specially trained pharmacists will give them the flu shot as part of Ontario’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program.

Hopefully the line up at the drug store will be less than the waiting time in a doctors office.

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Former Mayor Cam Jackson works with the food bank team to ensure those without don’t go without. Good on you Cam!

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 5, 2012  He may be a former Mayor and a former MPP – but he is still very much a citizen of Burlington and when the call comes Cam Jackson is there to do his bit.

Food banks are where Jackson likes to be – he sees the need and he just plain likes being around people.  He is Chair of the Burlington Food Share that benefits the Salvation Army and others through their seasonal food drives.

Jackson has been part of this program for a number of years.

You should have gotten one of these bags in your mail box. Fill it up and drop it off – there are people who aren’t able to shop for food this weekend.

Earlier this week most households in the city had a brown paper shopping bag with the Burlington Food Share logo on the front listing all the places we could drop off the bag once we had filled it with groceries.  It’s an impressive list – and hopefully all that donated food will meet the need this Thanksgiving weekend.

What many may not have seen was the line at the very bottom of the bag – Thanks for Sharing,Cam Jackson, Chair, Burlington Food Share.

The Burlington Community Foundation Vital Signs report released earlier this week said that 63% of the people who used a food bank this year have used food banks for more than three years.  That is not an impressive number.  It’s people like Jackson who keep Food Share going.

You may not have voted for Jackson – but let him know that he did have an impact and that we appreciate what he does for the community he represented and led.



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The JBMH site is in the process of becoming a medical campus. Shovels should be in the ground in less than 100 days.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 3, 2012  Well we now know what the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital campus is going to look like and Councillor John Taylor knows what the parking garage he didn’t want to pay for looks like as well.  It’s all pretty nice actually and it is certainly going to change the Lakeshore Road that we have today into something very, very different.

The unfortunate part of this story is that the news was delivered to about 25 people from Ward 1 who happened to hear of the meeting.

This is what the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital “campus” is going to look like when all the construction is completed in 2017-18 The front entrance will be oriented to the lake.  That red circle on the lower right, near the number 4 will become the new entrance.  There will be several entrances to the hospital.  The emergency entrance will remain where it is. The Family Medicine clinic and the parking garage are at the bottom # 2  There will be a roadway through the “campus” – that’s where the number 8’s are.

The hospital is far too important an institution for this news to be delivered to such a small crowd.  Councillor Craven sold the city short when he limited the distribution of this news.  This event should have taken place in the Family room of the Performing Arts Centre or in one of the rooms at the Art Centre.

The story is here for your viewing pleasure.

The garage is going to be four stories with a structure that will take an additional three stories if needed in the future.

The garage is at the western end of what the hospital is now calling a “campus” – which is a nice name for the place.  At the front of the garage, facing Lakeshore Road, the new Halton McMaster Family Clinic will be placed.  There will be an elevated, climate controlled walkway from the parking garage directly into the new addition to the hospital that will be built once the garage/Family Clinic is completed.

This structure, a combination of a Family Clinic at the front – on the left – and a four level garage, with the capacity to be grown to seven levels, is Phase 1 of the JBMH renovation. The walkway, shown on the right, will allow people to walk through a climate controlled passageway right into the new addition to the hospital when it is completed in 2017-8

The building of this structure is Phase 1 of the renovation of a hospital that was built in 1961 and has had few fixes to the structure since then.  The upgrade,  which is going to cost something in the order of $300 million,  will be complete sometime in either 2017 or the year after.

Taxpayers are contributing $60 million, the Hospital Foundation is contributing an additional $60 million with the balance of the money coming from the province.

What are we getting for our money?  A very different community medical service.

Site Planning co-coordinator Jamie Tellier explains what is going to be built where on the JBMH campus.

The Family Clinic, which will be a teaching hospital, will have six family physicians and ten residents.  All the family practitioners will have privileges at JBMH and those doctors who have privileges at the current JBMH will be able to apply for privileges at the new Halton McMaster Family Health Centre.

Eric Vandewall added a very positive note when he explained that doctors who train at a hospital often stay in the community once they have completed their training – a nice way of saying that we are going to have new doctors.  The plan is to have them in place by the end of 2014.

Henry Decker, the hospital official who is overseeing the building of Phase 1 explained at the meeting that he expects to have a building permit in hand by the end of the year and shovels in the ground very early in January, which was a concern to people who live at the Maple-Lakeshore Road intersection where there will be some construction traffic for a number of years.  Councillor Craven who hosted the event assured residents that his office would do everything it could to “mitigate” the traffic problems.

There is much more to tell you about what is being built but we want to get these pictures posted – we will come back with more detail.


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Vital signs – interesting numbers that highlight some very disturbing problems to which we don’t have the answers right now.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 3, 2012   A robust crowd gathered early in the morning at the First Credit Union branch to be taken through some “vital signs” about our city – it was not a pretty picture.

The research report, launched by the Burlington Community Foundation,  measures the city across ten areas of focus, including health and wellness, environment, youth, and newcomers.

Burlington Community Foundation Tim Dobbie confers with Executive Director Colleen Mulholland about the research report with some stunning data that was made public on Tuesday.

“As a public foundation created by and for the people of Burlington, we help people, corporations and agencies accomplish their charitable goals and address our city’s most pressing needs,” said Colleen Mulholland, Executive Director of Burlington Community Foundation.  “To accomplish our mission, we first need to deeply understand the community: our strengths as well as areas of need. This is why we have created our first-ever Vital Signs report, a community check-up that evaluates Burlington as a place to live, work, learn and grow by identifying trends that are critical to our quality of life.”

Burlington is a prosperous and affluent community where its individual, household and family median income is 20% higher than Ontario as a whole. This means it is sometimes harder to see the gaps that exist between rich and poor and the rise in mental health issues among youth. .

We are growing,  but not at the rate we have grown in the past and in a direction that brings a lot of problems with it.   More than 80,000 of the 174,000 people in Burlington are over 45 years of age and 1 in 5 of us come from some other country.

To fully appreciate just how wealthy we are as a city – look at that field in the middle of the stadium. Burlington’s parks equal 3,303  of those football fields.

Burlington has 1463 hectares of parkland – which is the equivalent of 3,303 football fields.  That is a lot of parkland.

In a telephone survey to 300 people done by an outside research firm, more than 91% of the people called in Burlington said they donate money to others who are less fortunate.

More than 33% of the people in Burlington volunteer some of their time to helping others make the city a better, nicer place to live.

That’s the plus side – we are, on paper at least, a caring, giving community.

More than 42% of the people in Burlington earn more than $100,000 a year.

The value of the average home in Burlington is $466,000.

We are a rich community as well but we aren’t all rich.

The bad news is very painful.  The vacancy rate for apartments is 1.3% which means the market is very tight and that drives up prices.  Nice for the landlords but very, very hard for those living below the poverty line – and Burlington has a lot of people living below that poverty line.

The researchers tell us that within a decade we will see 24% of the population living below the poverty line.

Day care in Burlington costs $60 a day.  It isn’t possible for low income people to afford day care at that price,which means they don’t work and require social assistance.

We know who does the bullying and we know for the most part where it is being done. Why aren’t we able to bring an almost immediate halt to this kind of behavior. Is the problem with the children who do the bullying or with the parents of those children. That wasn’t a polite question.

31% of newcomers live in poverty – given that 1 in 5 of us were not born here – that is not a nice number.

24% of the minorities live in poverty.

24% of those who are unattached – a polite word for single mothers, live in poverty.  That poverty just grinds these women down and their children suffer.

63% of the people using food banks have been doing so for more than three years.  Many thought food banks were a top gap measure.  For far too many their  trip to the food bank is your trip to the supermarket.

This is what poverty looks like – bleak, cold, few prospects and little hope.

What does poverty look like?  Living on $20,778 a year with one in three living in extreme poverty – getting buy on less than $10,389 a year.

In her remarks Colleen Mulholland told of a woman who said she has to steal to care for her family.  Why is this happening?

31% of newcomers in Burlington live under the poverty line and tend to earn 50 cents for every dollar other people earn.

Our social problems are not limited to the newcomers.  Our youth are suffering from problems they see as staggering. Four out of every 12 young people between the ages of 12 and 15 experience bullying.  We know who is doing the bullying – why have we not managed to have it stopped?

Between 10% and 15% of the teenagers have thought of harming themselves.

Between 19% and 27% of teenagers feel they have too many problems.

Between 6% and 11% of teens have thought of committing suicide.

This is a part of the rosy picture we paint of the city we call the nicest place to live in Canada.

When the data was delivered to a room of more than 60 people, BCF chair Tim Dobbie, with a dazed look on his face said “Wow”!  It was not a happy wow.  He followed that up with a “so what do we do now?”

And indeed that is the question – what do we do now?

Why do we have these problems?  Is it all the result in an unequal distribution of the wealth we have?  Is it because parents are too busy to do their job of raising their children?  Are the schools failing us?  Is this happening because we are no longer much of a faith based society?

Len Lifchus, CEO of the Burlington/Hamilton United Way, the organization that raises funds which are delivered to agencies that deliver support services, listens to data he is all too familiar with.

These aren’t polite questions – but when a parent is called to the hospital to talk to the emergency staff about their child having harmed themselves or worse, and this is happening now; when the police knock at your door to tell you that your child has committed suicide, being polite just doesn’t matter anymore.

This report comes out as we get into the 2012 United Way campaign where we need to raise $2.1 million to take care of those who live under that $20,778 poverty line and especially for those that have to try and get by on $10,389.

Do we see the link between the drug use and the social problems?  Our Burlington covers the police stories and note that the police are kept very busy tracking down the drug dealers.  Having been offered a “joint” as I was coming out of the library a number of months ago I can attest to the size of the problem – the kid was less than 20, taking a break and inhaling that funny smelling cigarette.  We all recognize the smell – do we recognize the problem?

It was a tough report that we had to hear and the BCF people deserve full credit for seeing the need and the courage to put the facts before us.  Hopefully we will have the courage and the concern to do something about those facts.

Vital Signs is a community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada that measures the vitality of our communities and identifies significant trends in a range of areas critical to quality of life. The check up is coordinated nationally by Community Foundations of Canada.

The Burlington Community Foundation was established in 1999 by a passionate group of local volunteers and philanthropists to improve the quality of life in Burlington.  Several of the city’s  former Mayors were instrumental in getting the organization off the ground.

The initial funding came from a Mayor’s Gala sponsored by Rob MacIsaac; the first meeting of the Foundation was chaired by former Mayor Walter Mulkewich.

The Foundation helps people create funds and support meaningful local causes. The Foundation’s experts understand the community and help donors respond to vital needs by providing grants to charities.

The Masquerade Ball, the Foundation’s annual fund raising event tries  to sell 600 tickets to the event.  They have a lot of fun and the expensive tickets raise the money for the Foundation to operate.

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Participation up, more than 1100 people ran but funds raised was down in 2012 for the Terry Fox Run.

By Pepper Parr

The people numbers were up – the money numbers were down, but the Terry Fox run was a major success nevertheless.

It was the 31st  time the event took place in Burlington. To date the community has raised $1,470,000 and countless numbers of Burlingtonians have run for Terry Fox and for those who found themselves facing cancer.

Don Carmichael, chair of the 2012 run, and expected to chair the 2013 run as well, noted that this year “we had a group running with more than 200 members.  That was very, very significant and is a large part of what the Burlington Terry Fox run is all about.”

More than 1,100 people participated in the run this year.  “We printed up 1000 ribbons for people to wear and ran out”, said Carmichael. “It was a very good crowd this year”, he added.

The fund raising didn’t do as well.  $84,000 was raised in 2011 while just $70,000 was raised in 2012, bringing the total raised by the Burlington Terry Fox Run since its inception to more than $1,470,000  That is a very significant sum of money.

Commemoration boards were set up on the site for people to write a few ords on. What few know is that the organizing committee has kept every board ever set up and written on. They are set up each year in a quiet corner where pople can go and read what they wrote in the past.

Every dollar raised in Burlington goes to cancer research and while the run doesn’t have an official sponsor there are organizations in Burlington that come forward to meet the needs that range from water to food.  This level of support is hugely appreciated by not only the people who organize the run but by the community at large.

More than 100 volunteers make the Terry Fox Run happen.

Carmichael noted that they were seeing more “teams” groups of people running to remember someone or support someone fighting cancer.  “In the past” said Carmichael, “we have had smaller groups running – three or four, sometimes a dozen or more.  The team running for Casey Cosgrove this year exceeded 200 which is a big change for the run.”

Many people find that the run is a way to commemorate a person and to use the time those who walk the route need to think about, celebrate or miss the person they are “running” for.

Many people see the Terry Fox run as a unique thing that happened in Canada and was the result of one Canadian’s supreme effort. The Canadian flag just seems to be a part of the event – and there were plenty of them handed out.

The event is as much a community event as it is a single person running,  with each person having their own personal reasons for being there, but everyone on the site for the same reason – they want to see cancer beaten.

Great strides have been made in research and many forms of cancer are treatable and cured if caught early enough. Carmichael expects to see more groups being formed to take part in the event.



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Burlington students to take part in Regional Water Festival at Kelso Conservation – 4000 from Region expected to attend.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 22, 2012  In the week we are going into more than 4,000 Halton students will spend a part of a day taking part in the seventh annual Halton Children’s Water Festival (HCWF) being held from September 25 to 28, 2012.

Students from grades two to five registered to participate in the festival taking place outdoors at the picturesque Kelso Conservation Area in Milton.

He really wants you to look at the bullfrog he is holding.

Students at the Festival will experience a unique opportunity to learn about water in a fun and interactive way at activity centres which cover Ontario curriculum requirements. New this year, French language activity centres will be piloted with grade five French Immersion students on Thursday, September 27.  The HCWF features nearly 60 activity centres that incorporate four main water related themes:

Kids + water = fun and noise – all part of the Halton Children’s Water Festival. A full day of fun at a cost of $5 per student.

“Since the Halton Children’s Water Festival began in 2006, more than 25,000 children have participated which shows the demand and interest for high quality environmental education in our community,” said Conservation Halton Chairman John Vice. ”The Festival’s success is due to the enthusiastic participation by volunteers, teachers and students backed by the commitment of partner organizations as well as tremendous support from individuals and businesses in the community.  We thank everyone who has participated and contributed to the Water Festival over the past seven years.”

The Festival is co-hosted by Conservation Halton and Halton Region in partnership with, the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic District School Board, the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville.  This partnership has created a successful and financially sustainable water festival in Halton. Conservation Halton Chairman John Vice and Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr serve as the Festival’s honorary co-chairs.

It isn’t all classroom stuff – just look at the way this girl rounds the bale of hay. A winner for sure.

The Festival is a community partnership dependent on more than 150 volunteers each day to help with various activities. Halton high school students and community volunteers are once again generously offering their time and gaining experience in community outreach, public speaking, teaching and time management.

The Festival is offered to Halton schools at a cost of just $5 per child, which includes a full day at the Festival as well as transportation to and from the event. Schools seeking Ontario EcoSchools certification can count their attendance at the HCWF as a field trip in the Curriculum category.

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A drizzle that turned into a real rainfall wasn’t enough to stop two chef’s from their shootout.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 21, 2012  It would have been great – as it was it was very good.  The rain spoiled the public participation but it didn’t stop two chef’s from Spencer’s on the Waterfront from showing a small crowd that huddled under umbrellas as Chris Hayworth and Andy McLean put together two really fine meals at an outdoor location in what the Farmer’s Market called Street Fight # 1 with Hayworth vs McLeod.  The knives were out.

You don’t see hand drawn type like this very often

It was promoted as a Street Fight # 1, indicating that this would become an ongoing event. The first pitted two experienced chef’s from one of the better, if not the best, restaurant in the downtown area.

While the rain certainly dampened the public attendance the event was clearly something that could be done fairly frequently next season.  If promoted effectively it could become an event to which day tourists travel to Burlington to take in.

The crowd that was on hand last Friday certainly enjoyed themselves even if they had to huddle in the rain under umbrellas tasting the results.  Hayworth’s cauliflower soup was especially nice.

While the competition was to have two chef’s competing the event turned out to be a battle with the elements.  With just drizzle, one umbrella was enough; but when it turned into real rain – Barry Imber went looking for as many umbrellas as he could find.  His finds and what others had on hand kept most of the rain off the audience.

Chef Hayworth on the left and Chef McLean next to him take their recipes through the final stages of preparation before letting the crowd taste the meal – and it most certainly was a meal.

Chef Chris Hayworth on the left with chef Andy McLean to his left prepare food for individual tastings.  There wasn’t nearly enough to go around.  The original plan was to have people sitting on benches observing; but the rain had people huddling around the cooking tables, while the chefs worked in very cramped quarters constantly hoping the electrical cables wouldn’t short out.

The Farmer’s Market will shut down sometime in October and has to be seen as a success – not a raging success but a very positive addition to life in the downtown core.

Our Burlington supported the event from its very beginning and we will be reminding you about its return in the Spring.

Barry Imber is the driving force behind the concept and the guy who did much of the hands on work to make it happen.  He was the guy who made the phone calls to get people to take part; he was the guy who chased down umbrellas and put them up as the rain moved from a drizzle to a real rainfall.  He was the guy who went looking for additional electrical extension so the chef’s could continue cooking.

One of the vendors teaches children at the Farmer’s Market some hand clapping dances

There were different vendors throughout the year with Featherstone and Plan B on hand consistently.   Some vendors were on the site when they had product – Gibson’s Honey who sold out every time he was there.

There were people from the Tourism office watching the event which many thought could be something done several times during the season and promoted as a destination event.  There people who would love to make a day trip to Burlington to attend an event likes this, stay for the day and drive up into the Escarpment.  As an event – it has potential.

The market is intended for those people who are purely organic.  If you want pure food with nothing added, no preservatives or colouring to make the food look nicer.

What many wondered as the two chef’s worked away was – who was doing the cooking at Spencer’s while Hayworth and Mclean were at the market.

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It was for the COZ – they were all members of Team Casey, walking their talk and being there as part of his extended family.

Part 4 of a 4 part Terry Fox Run photo essay.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 17, 2012  It was for the COZ – there were close to 200 people wearing the small piece of paper that read Team Casey.

There were T-shirts, several handmade creations that said they were there to support Casey Cosgrove as he battles cancer.

Parts of Team Cosgrove

As Deb Tymstra was having the walkers get into the line in front of the starting gate – someone had Team Casey at the other side of the starting gate.  There were so many Team Casey people that the walkers couldn’t get started until the Team Casey people were out of the way.  So Deb Tymstra put them through a warm up exercise given by the Cedar spring ladies.  Eventually, the photo shoot was done and the Team Casey people worked themselves into the walking line and Don Pace did the –  Get Ready, Get Set and Go call.

The Team Casey members were easily recognized. Besides being the biggest group they were probably the noisiest as well. There was never any doubt when a team member crossed the finish line.

They were walking for Casey Cosgrove and along the way appreciating who he was and what he has done for his community.  They thought about the really funny stuff that pops up on his Facebook page and they wondered as well about how much Terry Fox has done for cancer research.

It is cancer research breakthroughs that offer Casey the hope and the opportunity to beat the cancer he battles.  Casey is quite open about his struggle.  He has good days and bad days – but he has hundreds of friends to support him.

Part of bearing the load. Top two members of Team Cosgrove

Terry Fox brought the same robust attitude to his situation: he refused to regard himself as disabled, and would not allow anyone to pity him, telling a Toronto radio station that he found life more “rewarding and challenging” since he had lost his leg.  His feat helped redefine Canadian views of disability and the inclusion of the disabled in society. Fox’s actions increased the visibility of people with disabilities, and in addition influenced the attitudes of those with disabilities, by showing them disability portrayed in a positive light.  Rick Hansen commented that the run challenged society to focus on ability rather than disability. “What was perceived as a limitation became a great opportunity. People with disabilities started looking at things differently. They came away with huge pride”, he wrote.

Two members of Team Casey giving it that final push.

Casey Cosgrove has taught thousands how to deal with health adversity.  Some disabled people are made to feel like failures if they haven’t done something extraordinary.  Casey is just an ordinary guy doing his best and giving just as much as he is getting.

One of Fox’s earliest supporters was Isadore Sharp, founder of the Four Seasons Hotels. Sharp had lost his own son to cancer and offered Fox and his companions free accommodation at his hotels.  He donated $10,000 and challenged 999 other businesses to do the same.   Sharp also proposed an annual fundraising run in Fox’s name. Fox agreed, but insisted that the runs be non-competitive. There were to be no winners or losers, and anyone who participated could run, walk or ride.  Sharp faced opposition to the project. The Cancer Society feared that a fall run would detract from its traditional April campaigns, while other charities believed that an additional fundraiser would leave less money for their causes.  Sharp persisted, and he, the Four Seasons Hotels and the Fox family organized the first Terry Fox Run on September 13, 1981.

Some members of Team Cosgrove made their own sweaters. One of those has to be used in the Spiral submission for the Performing arts Centre if that submission is chosen.

Over 300,000 people took part and raised $3.5 million in the first Terry Fox Run.  4000 of those dollars came from Burlington.

Schools across Canada were urged to join the second run, held on September 19, 1982, and now have their own   National School Run Day.  The runs, which raised over $20 million in its first six years, grew into an international event as over one million people in 60 countries took part in 1999, raising $15 million that year alone.

Last Sunday, in Burlington, more than 1000 people did the run – and 200 of them were there for Casey Cosgrove and the COZ.

Part 1 of 4

Part 2 of 4

Part 3 of 4


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Terry Fox runners come out in droves to raise funds for cancer research. Part 2 of a 4 part photo essay.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 17, 2012  After months of organizational work. Hours of committee meetings – the day had arrived.  The weather was great.  Just a little nippy at the start of the day when the Terry Fox Run team began to gather on site.  A sign that the weather was going to be perfect.

With everyone in place; security checked out; the starting gate filled with air and the food and snack tables getting set up and the ladies getting into place at the registration tables – the day was getting close to starting.

The crowd was coming together – you could feel the buzz in the air.

Runners were lined up at the starting gate – but not quite yet.  The exercise girls from Cedar Springs had to take them through a short warm up.

Starting gate is readied for the runners.

And then they were off.  Carrying on a 32 year tradition in Burlington that has seen more than $1.4 million raised.  We will let you know what the amount raised was this year.

The warm up ladies from Cedar Springs took the runners through a series of exercises before getting them through the start up gate.

The tradition began back in 1980 when the first Terry Fox run took place and raised $4000  It`s been a steady grow upwards since then.

In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, Terry Fox embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over $500 million has been raised in his name.

And they were off. There are parents out there who wonder why these lads don’t move quite as fast in getting ready for school or doing their homework.  Look for the Tweeters getting out the word.

Fox was a distance runner and basketball player for his Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, high school and Simon Fraser University. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, though he continued to run using an artificial leg. He also played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships.

They just kept pouring through the starting gate.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada’s 24 million people. He began with little fanfare from St. John’s, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day.

Good start and setting a nice pace.

Pumping away on the backstretch going east from the canal on the way to the Waterfront Hotel. Nice 5k run

Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario; he made numerous public appearances with businessmen, athletes, and politicians in his efforts to raise money. He was forced to end his run outside of Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation’s top sportsman and was named Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.


Doing the first half of the Burlington Terry Fox 5k run

These ladies are in the homestretch of the Terry Fox 5k run.

Each runner sets their own pace. The backstretch of the run is easy going and well shaded.

Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Rolland “Rolly” Fox and Betty Fox. Rolly was a switchman for the Canadian National Railway. Terry had an elder brother, Fred, a younger brother, Darrell and a younger sister, Judith.  His family moved to Surrey, British Columbia, in 1966, then settled in Port Coquitlam in 1968.  His parents were dedicated to their family, and his mother was especially protective of her children; it was through her that Fox developed his stubborn dedication to whatever task he committed to do.  His father recalled that he was extremely competitive, noting that Terry hated to lose so much that he would continue at any activity until he succeeded.

One of the younger runners enters the home stretch of the Terry Fox 5k run. Many his age did a second go around to make it a 10k run.


The runners working the back stretch of the 5k run. You name it and that kind of runner was out doing their part.

He was an enthusiastic athlete, playing soccer, rugby and baseball as a child.  His passion was for basketball and though he stood only five feet tall and was a poor player at the time, Fox sought to make his school team in grade eight.

That finishing line looks good to everyone that sees it. Some used it as an opportunity to make a final dash.

His physical education teacher and basketball coach at Mary Hill Junior High School felt he was better suited to be a distance runner and encouraged him to take up the sport. Fox had no desire for cross-country running, but took it up because he respected and wanted to please his coach.[6] He was determined to continue playing basketball, even if he was the last substitute on the team. Fox played only one minute in his grade eight season but dedicated his summers to improving his play. He became a regular player in grade nine and earned a starting position in grade ten.  In grade 12, he won his high school’s athlete of the year award jointly with his best friend Doug Alward.

Though he was initially unsure if he wanted to go to university, Fox’s mother convinced him to enrol at Simon Fraser University, where he studied kinesiology as a stepping stone to becoming a physical education teacher.  He tried out for the junior varsity basketball team, earning a spot ahead of more talented players due to his determination.

Part 1 of a four part photo essay on the Terry Fox Run

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Brilliant sunny day with more than 1000 doing the Terry Fox walk. Great community stuff – loads of pictures.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 12, 2012  The first run was in 1980 when the city raised $4000 for the Terry Fox Research Foundation and a cure for cancer.

More than 1000 people were out on the pathways at Beachway Park and running through Spencer Smith Park.More than 100 volunteers helped people with massages, warm up exercises, giving directions and handing out glasses of water.

These are the ladies that collected the funds raised. One family came in with more than $1600 raised in their community. We will have the final count later in the week.

We will know later in the week how much was raised in 2012.  The total raised since 1980 in Burlington is now over $1.4 million.

Who would have thought that 32 years after Terry Fox had to abandon his run across the country using an artificial leg, that we would have hundreds of people coming out every year to run for a cause.

Don Carmichael, chair of the Terry Fox run in 2012, meets with part of his team to go over the final check ins before the event gets serious and the crowds begin to show up.

Many, perhaps even most of the people who ran today were not alive when Terry Fox did his run.  I heard about a one legged man declaring that he was going to run across the country when he dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic ocean and headed west.  It seemed like a bit of a stunt to me – I knew nothing about the man.

It was a little nippy in the morning, the kind of weather that helps the leaves turn colour and keeps people shivering just a bit. That changes when they begin their run.

I was sitting in an office window watching Terry Fox run with that half limp,  half trot of his as he headed south and into Nathan Phillips Square where more than 100,000 people were on hand to greet him.  This was no stunt.

The fund raising drive, which hadn’t done all that well when it worked its way through the Maritimes and Quebec, picked up momentum as the national media picked up the story in Ontario and from that point it just took off.  There were close to nightly news reports with a summary at the end of each week.  The country was mesmerized by what this man was doing.

Eight years earlier Canada came together as a country when a Canadian Team beat the Russians in a closely fought hockey series.  We had a sense of who we were after that and when Terry Fox caught our imaginations we had no trouble getting behind to help.

The country almost automatically  made the project theirs and we’ve been doing that ever since we lost Terry Fox in 1981

He was born Terrance Stanley “Terry” Fox, on July 28, 1958 and was made a Member of the Order of Canada.  There is much more to the Terry Fox story than this.  Follow the Burlington event and the young man`s story.

Part 2 of the Terry Fox story and the Terry Fox run; a photo feature.

Deb Tymstra MC’d the event – her second year doing that job. Here she goes over her notes to prepare for an event that almost got out of hand when the Casey Cosgrove supporters were gathered to have pictures taken. That crowd was so large that it held up the Bikers and the Walkers who Tymstra wanted to get started. She managed the chaos.

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Chef’s to duel it out at the organic only Farmer’s Market in the downtown core.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 13, 2012  Two Spencer’s Restaurant Chef’s will duel it out at the Farmer’s Market on Friday.  Chris Hayworth and Andrew McLeod will shop from the different vendors at the market and then cook up a meal, using what they bought at the market – all organic, that visitors to the market can sample at the tables Barry Imber, the driving force behind the idea of an organic market in downtown Burlington,  plans to set out for people to use.

It’s not a crowded market but it does have a consistent flow of traffic during the two hours it is open. Great produce, pork offerings are very good and each week someone else shows up with a new product. We got great sour-dough there last week.

Fresh bread – straight from the ovens – but you had to get there while the basket still had something in it.

The Farmer’s Market, located off John Street just north of James back in behind Centro Gardens, focuses on local organically grown produce, meat and dairy.

It started up during the early summer and while traffic has not been overwhelming, it is consistent with people drifting in and out during the noon to 2:00 pm window they are open.

Chef Chris Hayworth shows how he will use his knife at the Chef’s Duel scheduled for Friday just after noon at the Farmer’s All Organic market on John Street.

Imber decided to give the location a bit of a promotional boost and challenged the two Spencer’s chef’s to duel it out over their stoves using just the produce available at the market.

Candace Ivezich, sales agent with LeavoyRowe, purveyors of fine meats just might be Chef Hayworth’s secret weapon.

Hayworth plans to play it by ear and see what is on sale- and then use his creative imagination to pull together a meal he is sure will win the day for him.

Hayworth is a full range chef but he tends to like to focus on the appetizer part of the menu – and where he can he goes local.

Could be fun – certainly will be tasty.

Chef Hayworth has a bit of an advantage – he has a supplier that wants him to win; that might tip the scales.

At press time we had not heard from Chef McLeod – maybe he has decided to concede and won’t show.

You be the judge – and see what they serve up.

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Suicide is a community problem – the solutions and the healing have to come from the community.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 8, 2012  –  This is a dodgy subject; what do you say when you learn that someone you know took their own life or that a member of a family you know well committed suicide.  You’re stunned and you wonder if there was something you should have done, could have done.  And what do you do now?

Society is at least talking about suicide. The Region of Halton is partnering with the Talking about Addictions and Mental Illness (TAMI) program to offer two community forums to help break the stigma associated with suicide, help people to talk openly about suicide, and show how everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention

Personally I’ve never understood the stigma sometimes attached to suicide – these are family tragedies that need the help, compassion, understanding and support of the community to be part of the healing.

There is a point where utter desolation becomes more than a person can handle.

An understanding of what depression is; what it does and how best to cope with it is part of the process.  Ignoring it or even worse stigmatizing it socially just drives this very real problem underground where we can’t deal with it .

Monday, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition (HSPC) is partnering with the Talking about Addictions and Mental Illness (TAMI) program to offer two community forums.

Both events will be running from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

September 10: Holy Trinity High School – Theatre, 2420 Sixth Line, Oakville

September 13: Craig Kielburger Secondary School – Auditorium, 1151 Ferguson Drive, Milton

Suicide can be a difficult subject to talk about and that often stops individuals and families from reaching out for support. Regional chair Gary Carr adds: “That’s why I think it’s wonderful that both the Coalition and the TAMI program are coming together to help reduce the stigma and use World Suicide Prevention Day as an opportunity to open the dialogue.”

“I am sure the event will be powerful as those who attend will hear from both a professional from the HSPC and a speaker sharing his personal experience with suicide. I’m also looking forward to attending the Coalition’s annual general meeting (AGM) on November 9 where Mr. Bob Rae, Member of Parliament, Toronto-Centre will be the keynote speaker detailing Canada’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy. I hope Halton residents will take the time to attend either the community forums or the coming AGM.”

Halton Region plays a key role in both the Coalition and TAMI. Funding is provided by Halton Regional Council. Professional staff from the Health Department work directly with community partners sharing their expertise and experience. Those partners include: Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Halton Branch, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO), the Phoenix Program, ADAPT (Halton Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Assessment, Prevention and Treatment Services), the Halton District School Board, the hospital sector and individuals affected by suicide.

Mental health needs the same attention and resources as physical health.  One is no less important than the other.

For anyone who is suffering from depression, having suicidal thoughts, or is a survivor of suicide, help is available in Halton. Visit HSPC’s website for more information about suicide prevention and resources.

For information about services available to those struggling with mental health issues, visit Halton Region’s website, or call the Family Health Information Line and speak directly with a public health nurse.

Chairman Carr puts this perfectly when he says: “Together, we can break the silence and reduce the stigma to help save someone’s life.”  The key word is ‘together’.



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Two Chef’s from Spencer’s on the Waterfront to duke it out at Centro Gardens in a Chef’s Street fight.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 6, 2012   Next Friday September 14, Centro Market is hosting special guest chefs Chris Haworth and Andrew McLeod with their mobile demonstration kitchen – aka “the pen”.

The Dueling Chef’s from Spencer’s on the Waterfront will choose produce from a stand like this and whip up a meal on the spot at the Farmer’s Market on John Street – behind Centro Gardens. Stick around and you could get to taste the results.

The match-up — these two local chefs will pick from the Centro Farm Market’s fresh ingredients to create an amazing dish — live, in gritty real time. They’ll have 1 hour to select ingredients and then duke it out to prepare their dish ready to serve to the lucky visitors of the market.

Market goers will sample their amazing food and judge who’s the victor of the Chef Street Fight. That simple but oh so fun.

The market will be set up with theatre seating and tables to enjoy the food. So come down to shop the market, support your local farmers and stay for the entertainment and a bite for lunch.

So –  are we seeing some raza mataz in the downtown core?   Barry Imber the driving force behind the idea of a Farmer’s Market in the downtown core is hoping that the “duel” will attract people that didn’t even know the market existed.

The market runs from noon to 2:00 pm on Friday.   A not  to be  missed event.

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