Bandits will open their season in Toronto May 4th – home opener against the Hamilton Cadinals May 10th

By Staff

February 19, 2014


We won’t know until next Spring if these four are true heavy hitters but the Burlington Bandits who have been on a bit of a roll when it comes to signing up players announced that Jordan Boston, Kyle Bolton, Dylan Perego and Evan DiMichele have been signed to the team for the 23014 season.

Part of the 2014 lineup for the Burlington Bandits: from left to right Kyle Bolton, Dylan Perego, Evan DiMichele and Jordan Boston

Boston comes into his first season with the Bandits after a collegiate career with Alcorn State in Alabama. The 6’2”, 205 pound player from Brampton, ON previously played with the Ontario Blue Jays and Team Ontario in the Premier Baseball League on Ontario. Most impressive was his time with the prestigious Junior National Team in 2009 and 2010.

Bolton, a right-handed pitcher from Burlington, ON is returning for his fourth season with the Bandits. In 2013 with the Bandits, Bolton had an ERA of 8.62 in 14 games.

Perego, a right-handed pitcher from Waterdown, ON will join the Bandits for his second season. In his debut season with the Bandits in 2013, Perego had an ERA of 4.54 in 14 games.

DiMichele, also a right-handed pitcher from Oakville, ON returns for his second season with the Bandits after joining the team in 2013. Last season, DiMichele had an ERA of 5.79 in 16 games.

The Burlington Bandits season opens on the road when they visit Toronto on May 4th.

The club will then return home the following weekend for their home opener on Saturday, May 10th versus the Hamilton Cardinals; game time 1:00pm.

Season and individual tickets are on sale now! For more information about these signings or how to purchase tickets, contact the Bandits at or 905-634-3725.

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Dennison finds an easy $12 million – Mayor says its a cash grab. Is the golf course a city asset in play?

By Pepper Parr

February 19, 2014


You can`t fault Councillor Jack Dennison for trying – and try he does.  During a Standing Committee last week when discussions on the capital projects the city will take on in 2014 as they spend the $67 million plus that council is expected to approve Tuesday evening, Dennison felt there were opportunities that were being missed and wanted the city to consider selling the Tyandaga Golf course property.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison always has an eye open for an economic opportunity – sees a great one for the city: sell the golf course.

“This isn’t a business we should be in” Dennison commented, echoing remarks city manager Jeff Fielding had made more than a year ago.  While Tyandaga is currently running at a bit of a profit that was not the case a couple of years ago.  At that time the golf course juggled its business model and tightened up its management practices and the profit and loss statement began to look better.

Dennison just doesn`t think the city should be in the golf course business and pointed to the “40 golf courses” in the surrounding communities – that number might be a stretch, but Burlington certainly has its share of golf clubs that are a 15 minute drive from the downtown core.  Should the city be in a losing business when there are plenty of very good private golf clubs in the community?

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison sees 200 homes on the Tyandaga golf course property and thinks the Catholic Diocese property that front on Brant Street could be made a part of the project as well.

Dennison saw the 110 acre Tyandaga property as prime residential development land and talked of being able to get something between $12 and $18 million for the land alone.  He added to that the immense development charges that would accrue to the city and then the tax assessment which he pegged at $200 million.

Dennison told his colleagues that the property had 33 acres of land that could be developed and because of the location he saw at least six houses on each acre getting pretty close to 200 homes on a prime site that would have 76 acres of parkland.

Before we knew it Dennison had $1.6 million in additional tax revenue in the city’s coffers.

Councillor Dennison saw an easy $1.6 million in taxes from golf course- will he be on Council to see it happen?The golf course wants to spend $150,000 this year on upgrading parts of the golf course – Dennison wanted to defer that spending while the city took a closer look at the property and the opportunity he felt it offered.

The rest of Council wasn’t as gung-ho as Dennison.  They Mayor said it looked like a “cash grab” to him but didn’t explain what was wrong with wringing cash out of an underperforming asset.

The rest of Council didn’t get very excited either.  Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven was delayed in getting to the Standing Committee meeting and missed a discussion that would have taken a major public recreational service off his plate.

Councillor Sharman took the high road and said the selling of the golf course had to be looked at in a “broader context” but didn’t elaborate on what that meant other than to say that the city was “not ready for the discussion”.

Councillor Meed Ward piped in with her view that adding residential assessment isn’t always a good deal for the city.  “For every dollar of tax revenue we pull from residential properties we end up, over time, spending a $1.40  Dennison came back with “that argument doesn’t really hold all that well”.

Council needed some input on just what the planned spending on the golf course was for and called Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn to the podium.  Odd as it may sound Glenn wasn’t able to say just how many golf courses there were in Burlington, nor could a member of his staff come up with a solid number.

Parks and Recreation department not sure just how many golf courses the city has.Were anyone to ask a privately operated golf course what their competition was you would expect them to tell you exactly how many competitors they had and be able to tell you which were their closest competitors in terms of course usage and revenue.  The mindset of the private sector is a lot different from the mindset of the public sector where the renewal of an asset is based on a chart or a schedule that dictates when an asset has to be renewed.  The private sector operator would wring every possible nickel out of a piece of equipment.  Any expenditure comes out of the bottom line which tends to be the owners pockets.

Glenn explained what the $150,000 was going to be used for – and added that it wasn’t really a capital expenditure from the city’s point of view – the expenditures were going to come out of reserves the golf course had in place.

For Dennison it was an opportunity that was being missed; he wanted to see the asset being used in a much different way.  He didn’t manage to convince his colleagues to go along with him – the motion to defer the item was lost on a 4-2 vote.  But Dennison did manage to plant a seed – the city manager is way ahead of him on this one. When city council decides what businesses it wants to be in – the golf course business is not likely to be one of them.

Another question is: will Jack Dennison be on Council to see this kind of development take place.

At the Tuesday evening Council meeting the Capital budget was approved for 2014.  There are loads of items in the longer term capital budget that will be getting a much different look during the year.  City hall will begin the process of totally recasting capital expenditures as it reorients itself to its new financial reality.  Among the projects in that capital budget that will be getting a closer look are the railway underpasses on Mainway and Burloak – neither is going anywhere in 2014 – both will be getting a closer look as the longer term capital budget gets its remake.

On the books for the 2015 to 2023 capital spending is a massive $494,012,195 in capital spending.  City manager Jeff Fielding looked at the cookie jar and knew pretty quickly that the number wasn’t possible – thus the decision to totally recast what we want to do, what we have to do and what we can do in the way of capital spending for the next 15 years.  

Lori Jivan, on the right, Acting coordinator budget and policy with the city explains the 2014 budget at a public meeting.

With the capital budget of $67,973,902 nailed down – let’s look at where the money is going to come from:  Lori Jivan, Acting coordinator budget and policy  explains:

External other: These are monies the city gets from other place, could be the provincial government, the Region or some other municipality we are doing a joint project with.  If  Tremaine Road was having work done on it – because it is our border with Oakville they might be paying part of the cost.  We pick up $10,089,000 from this source.

Debt:  We sometimes decide to borrow money to pay for a capital project.  This year the city projects they will borrow $6,903,000

Cash from the current budget:  This is tax revenue – money the city collects as taxes.  A portion of the tax money gets pushed into the Capital account.  For 2014 they are moving $16,684,000 into capital expenditures

IRRF – this is the Infrastructure Recover Fund which amount to $2.000.000 the city gets from Burlington Hydro.  It comes to the city from Hydro as a dividend which the city places in the Infrastructure Recovery account.  $2,000,000

SCD: Special Circumstances Debt.  This is an estimate of the amount of debt the city will have to take on for special project – one time situations that might get taken on.  The Performing Arts Centre is an example of a one time Special debt.

FGT:  Federal Gas Tax. The portion of the federal gas tax that the city receives.  For 2014 that is set at $4.774,000

Provincial Gas Tax  PGT: The portion of the provincial gas tax the city receives.  For 2014 that is set as $850,000.

Reserve funds will be used with $20,648,000 coming from the development charge reserve and $5,027,00 coming from what the city calls “other”.

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7 parks – 7 perks; no Hoopla New Years Eve: Conservation closes everything except Glen Eden – they lower some prices.

December 29, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.   Darn – it was a good idea – it’s still a good idea but it isn’t going to happen for 2014

The New Year’s Eve Hoopla held at the Mountsberg Conservation Area has been cancelled.

All Conservation area parks – except for Glen Eden – are closed until January 2 due to damage from the ice storm.

Time to look for something else to do on the eve of the New Year.

Silent solitude – snow on snow. Why would anyone want to leave this for Florida?

The good news from the Conservation people is that the fees for 2014 which includes annual memberships, daily fees, group camping and picnic rentals and fees for education programs at Crawford Lake and Mountsberg Conservation Areas.

The price of a Halton Parks individual membership is being reduced from $90 to $50; while the Halton Parks family membership remains at $115 (plus HST).

The other notable fee change will see Daily Entrance fees at the recreation parks (Hilton Falls, Kelso, Mt. Nemo and Rattlesnake Point Conservation Areas) increase by 25 cents across all categories.

The rates at the Education Parks, Crawford Lake and Mountsberg, are staying the same – $7.50 Adult, $6.50 Seniors and $5 for Children.

The Conservation Authority has taken on some marketing expertise and come up with a catchy new marketing name: 7 Parks, 7 Perks

There are two types of Halton Parks Memberships available, individual and family, with discounted pricing of 15 per cent off the rates available for Seniors age 65 years and over. A family membership will admit all the people in the vehicle who are traveling with the family membership holder. Your Halton Parks Membership includes the following perks:

  1. Special member-only invitations and discounts for select Conservation Halton lectures, workshops, and events
  2. One complimentary Friends and Neighbours special day pass for you to share
  3. 15% discount at Mountsberg and Crawford Lake gift shops
  4. 15% discount for rentals, including boats, skis, snowboards, and snowshoes
  5. 15% discount for camping and picnicking sites
  6. Monthly eNewsletter and eBlasts
  7. One complimentary 2-for-1 lift ticket to Glen Eden.

It’s there – out at the edge of the horizon – the CN Tower.

And that is about as much as you ever wanted to know about the parks the Conservation Authority operates.  For people new to Burlington – a trip to Mt. Nemo and a walk up to the lookout where you gaze east and realize that you are higher off the ground that the top of the CN Tower which can be clearly seen.  It’s worth the couple of bucks the ask for at the gate.

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Burlington to host 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League National Championship April 4-6 at Haber Recreational

December 25, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  When the Alton Campus was planned one of the intentions was to make the recreation portion of the campus a place where major sports events would be played.  With the site officially open less than a month there are already two events booked that are either province wide in focus or national events.

The Burlington Vipers, in conjunction with the city announced earlier this week that they will host the 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship April 4-6, 2014 at the Haber Recreation Centre.

The tournament features competitive club teams from across Canada as they compete for the title of national champion and includes past, present, and future athletes with the Canadian National Team program.

Burlington will host the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Championships at the Haber Recreational Centre in April

Mayor Rick Goldring said he hopes “this is the first of many tournaments we host in partnership with Wheelchair Basketball Canada, and we’re proud that they chose Burlington as the host city for this prestigious event.”

Spectators will have the opportunity to witness all of the skill and athleticism that make wheelchair basketball one of the most popular sports for athletes with a disability in the world.

The Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) was founded in 1986 and has two primary divisions: the open division and the women’s division. The league features wheelchair basketball club teams from across Canada and culminates each season with a national championship for each division.

The league is fully integrated as both divisions welcome athletes with a disability as well as able-bodied athletes to play in the spirit of competition. It often features some of the country’s best wheelchair basketball players, including past, present and future members of Team Canada.

Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport that has emerged as one of the most competitive and athletic sports played at the Paralympic Games. Our senior national teams are held in high esteem around the world for the elite skill and control that placed them on the podium with a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last six Paralympic Games.

Brendan Wagner, an Aldershot resident, played in the 2012 Paralympic Games.

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Leblovic’s manage to get at least a part the hearing they’ve wanted on the Chilly Half Marathon route.

December 12, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  They weren’t exactly made welcome at the city council Monday night. At one point it looked as if it was going to be just the one person speaking about the Chilly Half Marathon that is run on Lakeshore Road  every March.

Diane Leblovic was before city council to follow up on her Standing Committee delegation over the route used for the Chilly Half Marathon that runs along Lakeshore Road every March – some 4000+ strong.

A popular race that brings thousands to the city; Unpopular to some of those who live south of Lakeshore Road.

Ms Leblovic had asked if the Marathon portion of the Festivals and Events could be deferred to a date she was available and Council agreed to do so.  Last night was to be her opportunity to deliver some additional “significant” information.  It wasn’t going to be quite that easy for Ms Leblovic.

The list of delegations had three names of people who were to speak about the Marathon which is not the way Councillor Dennison saw things playing out.  He took the position that it was Diane Leblovic who asked for the deferral and it was Diane and Diane alone that was to speak.

That brought out the liberal in John Taylor who was close too aghast that a city council would limit the right of a person to delegate to their city council.

Much toing and froing on that issue with the Clerk being brought in to read through the various pieces of correspondence and the decisions made at previous council and Standing Committee meetings.  Taylor managed to get in several Points of Order and told Council he was going to challenge the Clerk’s decision.   Mayor Goldring finally brought the matter to a close: Diane Leblovic, her husband Nick and Donald Belch  were to each get their five minutes at the podium.

It was worth listening to; both the Leblovic’s dumped on just about everyone.

Diane was there to tell Council that the concerns they had raised were valid and that changes to the marathon race were both possible and reasonable without affecting the integrity of the event..

Ms Leblovic reminded council that on May 21st, Council, without prior notice or discussion, reneged on its earlier commitment to hold a public consultation on this event.

Ms Leblovic explained that their group needed to clearly understand the reason for this unexpected reversal of position.  She asked the Mayor to meet wither and he did so along with Councillor Dennison on May 28th.

As race directors, the VR Pro people are good at their job. Working with difficult situations – perhaps not as good.

At that meeting Mayor Goldring said he had been told by Kelly Arnott, a principle in VRPro, the company that organizes the race that they were about to get a new name sponsor for the event and that the sponsor, who turned out to be Trillium College, would not sign on if there was going to be a public meeting or any controversy relating to the race.

It was at that point that an offer was made, according to Diane Leblovic, for another meeting which would involve the Mayor, Councillor Dennison, Kelly Arnott and Peter Peebles, a staff member who knows the most about setting up this kind of race event.

Ms Leblovic said she had two concerns with any ‘next’ meeting.  She apparently didn’t like the idea of an “open agenda which would permit consideration and discussion of all aspects of the race”.  Ms Leblovic sent the Mayor a list of proposed agenda items and the Mayor provided a detailed response in which “he either rejected or put limitations on many of our suggested agenda items”.

The second issue was to determine the reason for Trillium’s sensitivity over a public consultation about the race.  Ms Leblovic explained that her husband Nick, who was to delegate later, called the president of Trillium College and learned that the College had never heard of the Leblovic group and their efforts to have a public meeting held and denied ever putting pressure on VRPro.

The cat was now out of the bag.

Ms Leblovic explained that the working group was “very unhappy with the outcome of these two events  and “concluded that any meeting would be a waste of time” – it would allow the Mayor to “check the box” saying he had met with the group and “that would be the end of the discussion”.

Ms Leblovic wasn’t done yet.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Mayor and four members of Council and city staff supported a process that was flawed and unfair and that there was an appearance of favouritism to a for profit private business over the legitimate concerns of residents which Leblovic  underlined by telling Council that Kelly Arnott was the first name on the list of delegations and should have been the first person to speak at the Standing Committee meeting but “I have it on good authority” she said “that Councillor Sharman who chaired the meeting directed the Clerk’s office to move Arnott’s name to the bottom of the delegation list thus giving her an unfair, tactical advantage to listen to and rebut the presentations of prior delegations.”

Ms Leblovic still had more arrows in her quiver.  She advised the Council meeting that Councillor Dennison sponsors the Chilly Half Marathon and that his place of business is used for another VR Pro event.

More yet:  Ms Leblovic told Council that VR Pro sponsors the Healing for Woman’s Cancers of which Kelly Arnott is the race director.  The race, according to Ms Leblovic benefits Breast Cancer Support Services whose Chief Executive Officer is Blair Lancaster.  Councillor Lancaster had advised the Mayor at the beginning of the Council meeting that while she did not believe she had a conflict of interest she was nevertheless not going to take part in the debate and would not be voting on the matter.  And she didn’t.

Wow! Diane Leblovic had done her homework and did a very impressive scorched earth exercise.  Council had yet to hear from her husband Nick.

Nick and Diane Leblovic have been “players” in the political life of the city for some time.  Diane served on the school board of trustees and Nick was the chair of the Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee created by former Mayor Cam Jackson as the city was heading into the 2010 municipal election.

That committee had its life cut short when city council sunset the thing in December of last year.  At the time it didn’t look as if that committee, which many felt wasn’t all that effective, was going to have anything in the way of a legacy.  Some of the material they pulled together on possible uses for the Beachway Park and the excellent work that was done by Les Armstrong and his sub-committee on public access to the lake and the Windows on the Lake program, proved to be useful during the debate on the waterfront property on Lakeshore Road between St. Paul and Market streets.  The city has not heard the last of that matter.

Of the two, Diane Leblovic is the better speaker but the lawyer in Nick Leblovic came across strongly when he pointed to what he called a fundamental flaw in a report put out in 2009 when the race was being proposed.  At that time, according to Nick, the report had the eastbound lane of Lakeshore Road closed for 90 minutes – from 10 am to 11:30 am. while the race was run. Leblovic released email that confirmed this information and added “as we all know now the eastbound Lakeshore road has been closed each year since 2010 for between  4 and 4.5 hours” – which Leblovic maintained was not some kind of a “rounding error” but it  almost 300% longer than estimated.

Leblovic wanted to know: “How did this occur?”  Was it incompetence? Or was there a subsequent change to the event that required a significantly longer closure period? Or was the time intentionally underestimated in order to get the new route by Council?

“Given the size of the discrepancy” asked  Nick “one would have thought this issue would have been raised in the post-race evaluations…”.  Nick Leblovic could find nothing in any of the documents he was able to read.

Leblovic asked some leading questions: “Would you have approved the route change in 2009 if the report had contained an estimated closure of Lakeshore Road east of over 4 hours rather than 1.5 hours?”

Nick wanted Council to do two things.  Find out why the 1.5 hour race time grew to 4 hours and require than in future Lakeshore be closed for no more than the 1.5 hours in the original plan.

The length of time Lakeshore Rod as closed is not the only issue for the Leblovic`s and their working group.  The Community Care access organization (CCAC) people who meet the care needs of people who are unable to get out f their homes for the care they need,  work to very tight schedules.  They drive from location to location with next to no wiggle room in the schedule.  Nick Leblovic pointed out that there are people who have to go without the care they need for a full day because the CCAC people are not able to double back to drop in on a person just because the road id closed.

Leblovic maintained the one situation they brought forward was not an isolated one and that there is a high concentration of seniors in retirement homes and multi-residential buildings in the east end.  Like most lawyers Nick was able to see the potential liability to the city were someone to suffer an injury because their care givers were not able to get to their residence. “You are now on notice of this problem and cannot ignore it” he intoned.

Nick had one last suggestion for Council: “One obvious solution would be to eliminate the back and forth aspect of the race which would permit a normal traffic flow along Lakeshore during the race.”

They come by the thousands.

Well that didn’t happen.  Council which had approved all the other Festivals and events at a previous meeting – they had agreed to defer a decision on the Chilly Half Marathon to meet the interest of the Leblovic’s – voted to proceed with the race based on the route used in the past.  Councillor Lancaster had advised earlier that she would not be voting on the matter.  Mayor Goldring, Councillors Sharman, Dennis and Craven voted to follow the Staff recommendation and keep the race route for 2015.   Meed Ward and Taylor voted against the Staff recommendation. It was a recorded vote – expect Meed Ward to use that as she campaigns for re-election in Ward 2 and sets herself up for a run as Mayor in 2018. 

In comments made before the vote Meed Ward was passionate about what the Leblovic’s had had to put up with and applauded them for having the courage to come back to Council again and again to argue their concerns.

What we did learn was that the Ms Leblovic met with City Manager Jeff Fielding who is apparently going to arrange a meeting with Arnott and Ms Leblovic – that should be fun after the mudslinging Ms Leblovic did in her delegation.

Why this issue has ended up on the City Managers desk does raise several serious questions.  The Lakeshore residents had real issues that needed to be dealt with.  One cannot hold people hostage in their homes while several thousand people run a race.

Yes, the date of the race is known well in advance, and the average person should be able to make other arrangements but there are people who are not average in that part of the city; there are people who have special needs.

Imagine for a moment there were e death that a Coroner’s Inquest decided was preventable if a care giver had been able to get to a residence.  Do you want to guess how fast that race would be cancelled forever and would you like to guestimate what the lawsuit might be?

The city has general managers who have direct oversight over how the various departments work.  It does not require a degree in rocket science to figure out ways to get help to people who cannot leave their homes or who have other sound reasons for being able to get out of their streets that are on the south side of Lakeshore Road.

Someone at city hall hasn’t been doing their job on this one.  The race is a hugely popular event, brings in thousands of visitors who spend their money in the city and has to be hugely profitable for the race organizers.  Good for business and good for the city – now find a way to manage the problems of a small group of people.  It’s just a matter of better communication and being sensitive to the real needs of people who need help. .

At the same time let us not see a situation where the genuine needs of a few people are used as a ruse to bring to an end an event that benefits thousands because a neighbourhood does not want to give up a portion of one day in the year.

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Burlington’s Fareen Samji and Stephen Lowe major contributors in long ball drive competition.

November 27, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. You know the feeling when you hit a great drive, that smooth effortless “ping” sound of the ball hitting the centre of the club face and it felt so easy.  Well there is nothing effortless in the world of long drive. These hitters put everything they have into each drive and live for the thrill of the long ball, searching for that rush of hitting a 400 yard drive. Some call the world of long drive the extreme of golf and with music blaring as hitters blast drives the conventional notion of “quiet please on the tee” is counter productive to the adrenaline wave the hitters are riding.

Fareen Samji  experiencing the smooth effortless “ping” sound of the ball hitting the centre of the club face.

A contingent of 40 long drivers from all over the world including USA and South Africa descended upon Mazatlan, Mexico for the 2013 ILDC International long drive championships at the Marina Mazatlan golf course. Burlington residents Fareen Samji and Stephen Lowe were part of the contingent of Team Canada hitters. Samji, 39 and a Pedorthist at Burlington Orthotic Centre in the current ILDC Canadian women’s champion and Lowe, 46 a sales manager with PPG paints is the current ILDC Canadian Senior men’s champion.

Not many driving ranges can accommodate the length of these hitters so the hitting “grid” was the 18th hole, a relatively flat 420 yard long by 49 yard wide fairway marked up like a football field.

The hitters competed in the individual events (men’s, women’s and seniors ) as well as a team event. “In a traditionally solo sport, the team element makes this championship truly unique” say directors of the ILDC, Rick Benoit and Bill Stark. “Long drive is intense and action packed and delivers that element of awesome that every golfer searches for when hitting a drive,” says Gerhart Cotzee, captain of Team South Africa who brought a strong contingent with them to Mazatlan.

In the individual event, 2012 World Champion, Ryan Winther of the US awed the crowd with drives of 394 yards beating Niilo Schonfeld, of Toronto and Henry Roodt of South Africa won out over Bill Stark from Port Rowan, Ontario. In the women’s event current women’s World Champion Heather LeMaster of the US defeated Fareen Samji of Burlington, ON in the women’s final by 4 yards. “Losing is never fun, but being able to keep pace with the world champion and coming short by 4 yards makes me very proud. I hit the ball really well all week, and had a few equipment changes just prior to going down to Mexico and it paid off big time, “says Samji.

But the story of the week belonged to Team Canada in the Team Finals. Each team comprises of 5 hitters. Three men hit first, then the women hit against each other and then one senior hitter rounds out the team. Team Canada hitters were Ryan Hawkins (captain ) of Woodville, Chris Mason, Etobicoke, Nilo Schonfeld, Toronto, Jason Davies , London (alternate) Fareen Samji and Stephen Lowe of Burlington. Each hitter hits a set of 6 balls and the longest ball that comes to rest inside the 49 yard wide grid is counted. The team score is the cumulative total of the longest ball of the five hitters.

The US team were favourites to win with their key hitters being current REMAX women’s World Champion Heather LeMaster and 2012 men’s world champion Ryan Winther both of whom had won their individual titles earlier in the day.  However, Team Canada showed focus and grit as they hit their way to the championships. Due to the double knockout format of the tournament, Team Canada had to beat Team USA twice in the championship round as the US Team had advanced to the finals undefeated. Team Canada had suffered a loss at the hands of the Americans in the preliminary rounds by a margin of 6 feet. “Losing by 6 feet after a total of five hitters really hurt and we wanted another shot at them” said Stephen Lowe of Burlington and current ILDC Canadian senior men’s champion.

Stephen Lowe, Ryan Hawkins ( captain ), Fareen Samji, Jason Davies, Nilo Schonfeld, Chris Mason drove the long ball to win the International Long Ball Championships in Mexico.

But the road was not smooth for Team Canada. Team captain Ryan Hawkins and the current ILDC Men’s champion suffered a neck injury on the range and had to withdraw after the third round. Alternate, Jason Davies of London, Ontario stepped in as a substitute. “I’m an athlete and we always push through the pain” said Hawkins, a firefighter in Georgina, On. “But I had to do what’s best for the team and I knew that Jason could step up at any given time and get the job done.” Davies, a seasoned athlete, London Knights and Western Mustang alumni was ready for the challenge. “Once the first ball flew off the club perfectly I relaxed and got into my groove.” Davies answered the call handsomely and delivered incredible 350 yard drives under pressure.

“Knowing we had to beat Team USA twice was stressful, but we were pumped up and knew we had it in us. They had only beaten us by 6 feet the first time and we wanted it more than they did” said Chris Mason of Etobicoke, On. Mason. “Chris was on fire and we have such a good camaraderie that he helped push me to find my best swing” said Nilo Schonfeld of Toronto as he delivered blistering drives of 369 yards. “Nilo’s job was to stay close to Winther and he was clutch for us all week. He stayed calm and consistent in every round and peaked at the finals,” says Team captain Hawkins.

When the women went up against each other it was Burlington’s Fareen Samji who shined in the first final with a 295 yard drive out hitting current world champion Heather LeMaster. Samji had earlier finished second in the women’s final after losing to LeMaster by 4 yards. “I wanted another chance to hit against her and I got it. You don’t get to hit against a world champion many times and I was stoked. I was pumped up and full of adrenaline and totally focused. It felt really really good to win,” says Samji.

Ultimately, anchor hitter, Burlington’s Stephen Lowe sealed the deal as he hit the final ball to win the championship.


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This is the way it is supposed to work; United Way at the really local level.

September 17, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  At every game you would see him walking through the stands selling 50/50 tickets.  There weren’t a lot of takers but that didn’t matter – week after week Ryan Harrison, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Burlington Bandits did the job – which earlier this week paid off.

The season needed a lot of improvement – but the community spirit is certainly evident.

The Bandits turned over $1062.00 to the Burlington Hamilton United Way 2013 campaign.  The day of the $7 million target for the campaign ArcelorMittal Dofasco announced a really big donation – for which everyone was grateful.

Ryan Harrison, Director of Sales and marketing for the Burlington Bandits in their traditional red sweaters.

But for the United Way to be really successful – the giving has to happen at the small operations – in the places where someone will take on the task of bringing in those small amounts which grow into big amounts when there are enough of them.

Last year Burlington missed its target by $90,000 – and that kind of a shortfall really hurts the organizations that end up getting less than they had budgeted for.  To the Bandits – Good on You for the idea and for the effort.

Last game of the season for the bandits. They made it really exciting in the closing innings.

For those of you who take in a Bandits game next season – they will do better next year; they’re building, when you see Ryan – buy one of those 50/50 tickets.


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BurlingtonGreen holds on to keep third place; Calgary threatened every day of the last week.

September 16, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  It boiled down to a battle for third place and BurlingtonGreen did everything they could to hold that position.

The Jamieson Vitamins Call for the Wild was a race between five organizations for a share of the $100,000 prize.

Early in the contest the Vancouver team was racing ahead but Burlington and Calgary caught up and battled for third place while Nova Scotia and Quebec went on to take the top two spots.

Burlington Green looked at the competition and at first thought the Vancouver Aquarium was going to be the stiffest group to go up against but as it turned out Nova Scotia’s Hope for Wild Life, and McGill Universities Bird Sanctuary began to show as the clear leaders about a third of the way into the month-long contest.

It was a stiff battle between Burlington and Calgary for the third spot in the $100,000 contest.

The last week was a back and forth between Burlington and Calgary’s Wildlife Rehabilitation for that third spot.

Burlington put their membership out into the Terry Fox Run on Sunday where they were able to collect the name and email addresses of about 100 people who they then entered into the contest Facebook page and that basically did it for Burlington who racked up 11,042 votes to pull in $12, 576.

Calgary had 10,980 votes and took $12,505

Michelle Bennett of Burlington Green called it an amazing last day response from a very supportive community and we are so thankful to them.”

BurlingtonGreen added a local incentive and put a bicycle from Mountain Equipment Coop into the draw.  Anyone who voted was able to slide over to the Burlington Green website and enter their name into the draw for the bike.  The winner of that draw will be announced later this week.

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The Terry Fox Run – the guy that started the event in Burlington watches quietly from the sidelines, pleased that this is its 33rd year.

September 15, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  He will stand there quietly, chat with some of his many friends as he looks over the crowd.  Many lined up at the registration table while others do their stretching exercises to get ready for the Run – The Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research.

It was 33 years ago when Greg Pace organized the first run. “I was all gung-ho at the time – everyone was.  Terry Fox had run his Marathon of Hope and had to give up – but what a lot of people didn’t fully realize was the kid was running the equivalent of a 26 mile marathon every day.  That was a phenomenal achievement and he did it with just the one good leg.”

There isn’t a Canadian alive today who saw that young man work his way from the east coast and through hundreds of Ontario cities, who will ever forget that little hop Terry Fox used to propel himself forward.

Greg Pace with one of the Iron Maidens.

And for Greg Pace, who lost his wife Kim to cancer, that is what it is all about – propelling ourselves forward.  The Terry Fox Run started out at Sherwood Forest  Park back in the 80’s where all we could set up was a 10k run” explained Pace.  “We moved the event downtown but that didn’t work out – the priests at the downtown churches asked us to try and keep it quiet and not use the megaphones – they wanted to be able to finish their church services.”

“I started out by calling the Canadian Cancer Society but they didn’t seem to have their act together so we just organized the event and it took place.  It was a really small committee; Fran Agnew who was working with Rob MacIsaac at the time and Chuck Dooley who is now teaching Phys Ed at Notre dame High school.

We ran the event for seven or eight years until others were able to take it over – and we now watch as young people grow the event.  It`s great to see it continue.

Pace who has been around fitness all his life spent a couple of years at the Cedar Spring Health Club, was the man who opened up the Goodlife Health Club at Burlington Mall.  Worked for a while at the Fitness Institute – one of the first operations totally committed to fitness improvement when it wasn’t seen as a business opportunity.

After working for others Greg decided to strike out on his own and formed Pace Performance where he has settled into working with people who want to prepare for endurance events – Triathlons and Iron Man events.  He formed the Iron Maids that his wife was part of when she was an active athlete.

Doing better than you expected with children there – every step of the way.

When asked what he thinks now as he watches people doing the Run, Pace said it was hard to pin that thought down. “There is nothing better than watching someone do something that is better than they thought they could do” and “nobody thinks the run was a bad idea when they are doing that last 50 metres” he said.  “Everyone comes away with a sense of accomplishment”, he added.

“In the beginning some people thought the Run was part of a wave; something that would peter out over time but today it is bigger and better than it ever was – it certainly has staying power – but then that’s what Terry Fox brought to the Run that he did wasn’t it, said Pace.

The Mayor of a city has the privilege of selecting individuals for special recognition. Rick Goldring recently presented Greg Pace with The Civic Recognition Award.

Greg, said the Mayor, “has been involved and donating his skills and time for various charitable and fitness organizations for over 30 years. Most notably, the Moon in June Road Race which in the last 20 years has raised over $450,000 for local charities and brings thousands of participants and spectators to the Burlington downtown core.”

“For the past four years the Halton Trauma Centre has received the proceeds from this race, raising over $100,000 to help provide assessment and treatment to children and adolescents who have suffered from abuse or neglect.”

Add the Terry Fox Run to that and you have quite a set of accomplishments.  Think about that as you take part in the Terry Fox Run later today.

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Sunday will be a bright sunny day with a very good reason to get out for a RUN or a walk. Annual Terry Fox event.



September 14, 2015

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It wasn’t particularly good weather when Terry Fox dipped the end of his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland in 1980,  but Burlington seems to get good weather for its annual Terry Fox RUN – during which hundreds of people just walk the course that begins at the Pump House in Beachway Park and circles from the Canal to the Waterfront Hotel.

In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he 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, first held in 1981, 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.

Last year Don Carmichael, chair of the run this year, as well as last year, reports there were 1200+ participants who raised just over $80,000. Best ever year was the 25th anniversary year, raising over $100,000. Burlington has had a run every year for the past 33 years and in that time has raised $1.5 million for cancer research.

Carmichael noted that in 2012 “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.”

Giving it all you’ve got. A 2012 runner.

The local Terry Fox organization is delighted when large crowds of people turn out – but adds that the event is a fund raiser.  Without the funds – cancer research just doesn’t take place and without the research – we lose people that we do not have to lose.

$84,000 was raised in 2011 while just $70,000 was raised in 2012.

Commemoration boards were set up on the site for people to write a few words 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 people can go and read what they wrote in the past.

Exhausting – but she felt great once she’d caught her breath.

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.

Cancer is a foul disease.  We all know someone that has been lost to the disease and far too many of us have lost a member of our family to the disease.  It can be beaten – we are beating it – but it takes research and advances in medicine to continue to save lives.

Last year a large crowd of supporters showed up with sweaters that had the letters COZ on them.  These people were running for the Casey – Casey Cosgrove who has been battling cancer for a number of years.  He is currently involved in a program at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto where he goes in once every week or so for the next step in his trial program.

Casey has a web site in which he posts some of his thoughts about this part of his journey.  Let me share a most recent one with you:

It was a LONG 8-hour day in PMH yesterday.  There at 7am, left at 3 to the usual lousy traffic…blood work, then an x-ray, then a meeting with my oncologist and study nurse, then a CT, then chemo.  Long day, then raced back for a hockey game with Evans team, the team I coach.

There were there in droves last year and grateful that they are running again this year. Casey will be with them.

No results yet.  They have told me to expect some “inflammation” in the affected areas that it is almost standard with this anti PD1 drug I am taking now.  They will call me if anything out of the ordinary appears in my test results.  I still feel fine, but one never knows – there is not always a direct correlation between how you feel and look vs. what’s going on inside one’s body – I think I’m living proof of that.

Bryna is going to be mad that I forgot to tell her this – I got the call the other day and forgot frankly. You may recall another study I did where they took a part of my tumour to see if its ‘markers’ may give them information about a drug or such that may be a good match for me.  No such luck – my tumour didn’t show yield any particular unique information that gave them much more to go on.  I was told that there was a ‘marker’ that was very unique, but what that means they don’t know.  They simply scientifically don’t know what it may mean.  So, no harm no foul on that one. It didn’t tell me anything really but they had to call and let me know.

All else is good here.  Hockey has begun. School is in.

People like this define courage – Now you know why you need to be out there on Sunday – starts at 11 – and walk with hundreds of others.



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First Alton Village community structure operational: high school opens, Library next, Recreation Centre goes live in October.

September 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The buses will begin pulling up in front of the spanking new Frank J. Hayden High School which will quickly become Hayden High.

Some students don’t know which room will be their home class but most know their locker number.

Hayden High, named after a Burlington leader in the development of sport for the disabled. Grades 9 and 10 show up on Tuesday.

Teachers have been briefed, the principal and his administration staff hope they have covered all their bases – because at 8:40 the bell will ring and the history of Hayden High begins.

Day 1 at Hayden High is going to be a BBQ – nice touch.  The school has quite the pedigree to build on.  It’s sports team name has been determined and they should be out on the field real soon.

Rear of the high school with the cafeteria windows on the left looking over the playing field.

There may well still be the smell of fresh paint in the hall ways.  A lot of stuff won’t be quite finished but the school will open and the Village of Alton will take on a whole new tone.

So – what are they going to walk into?  We’ve not been through a tour of the building yet; the Haber Recreation Centre will see its first official event take place early in October.  Bookings are being accepted now.

The library got its shelves last week and the books followed a day or two later.  Library staff have been working long hours to have the space ready.  Library CEO Maureen Barry said she would like to see the Library open by the middle of September and certainly before the end of the month.

From the outside the three parts of the structure are impressive.  The Haber Recreation Centre, Hayden  High School and the Public Library collectively form this newest addition to the infrastructure that people actually get to use as opposed to just driving on.

Immediately across the street from the complex is the Norton Skate Board Park, a number of tennis courts, a splash pad and soccer fields.

Playing field at the rear of the complex. AstroTurf laying was not complete when picture taken.

Alton Village, a location that still has new homes being built, has its elementary schools in place and is becoming a much more complete community with a history it’s residents now know more about.

There is plenty of parking space at the side and rear and of the building with an impressive playing field at the back of the school with natural stone seating.  The high school cafeteria is at the back of the school overlooking the playing field.

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John has his jacket, league has cash and coaches ready to hold early meetings: BLOMHA ready for another hockey season.

August 30, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  When the cooler weather sets in you will see Jim McNeil wearing his The Game Goes On jacket, the personal reward he got for heading up the drive to get Burlington Lions Optimists Minor Hockey Association – BLOMHA to vote for their team during the Kraft Foods contest that had $100,000 up for grabs.  Burlington was amongst the finishers and saw a cheque for $20,000 come their way.

The mention of the corporate sponsor doesn’t dominate the banner – why would city hall want to get a fee for letting it hang from the rafters at the Appleby Arena.

There is a banner BLOMHA was given as well, which they hoped to see hanging from the rafter at the Appleby Arena but the sharper pencils at city hall want to know if hanging the banner was part of the deal with Kraft – and if it was then the city would like some coin for promoting a product.  Who cares – if a local group was able to work their buns off over a weekend and get everyone they knew to click on that vote button – why should city hall care if the banner they were given has the name of a corporate sponsor on it?

City hall did the same thing to the Arts in Action people who hold an annual studio tour; the city wanted each location to take out a permit.  The artists managed to talk some sense into the people at the permit counter.

Kirsten Priestner, the woman who nominated John McNeil as a participant in the Kraft Game Goes On contest makes sure the jack he was given fits properly.

The funds BLOMHA earned, and they certainly earned those dollars, will be spent over two seasons to pay for upgraded goalie equipment and to cover some of the costs for families that can’t handle the full BLOMHA fee which range between $375.00 to $575.00 depending on age.  The fee for 4 and 5 year olds remains at $375.00 and never increases.

The coaches will begin gathering on the 14th and meet in groups to get the year started.  There are 100 different teams broken into 12 divisions with anywhere from 4 to 12 teams in a division.

BLOMHA focuses on sport as a way to build character and values.  If a player happens to make it to the NHL – that’s nice but BLOMHA isn’t there to develop talent for big time hockey teams.  There are other commercially oriented organizations that do that – BLOMHA uses hockey to develop the men that will lead when they grow up.  There are a few girls who play in the league.

Rick Dawson, a former police officer and current Executive Director of the league explains that they are there to “develop life skills and teach kids to become accountable for their behaviour”.

This is how you put your volunteers to work. There may have been some pizza slices somewhere in the room as well.

Getting the volunteer help that s needed is always a struggle. “We think we can attract some high school students who are looking for a place to do their 40 hours of community service” adds Dawson.  Give BLOMHA a call if this is a place you think you can serve at

The teams take to the ice September 28th, 29th to start their season.

BLOMHA go all kinds of coverage last year, first because it is a good league and also because of the way they organized to earn that $20,000The 2013-14 season might see some wins over those London rivals.

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It was a game worth watching – the Bandits brought home six runs – the London Majors brought in nine.

August 17, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, O.  Scott Robertson, owner of the Burlington Bandits,  did say there would be a comeback, as people were leaving Nelson Ball Park Thursday evening where the Burlington Bandits were playing the London Majors in what looked like the last game for the Bandits – they were down 3 and 0 in a seven game play-off round.

Scott Robertson – in full array, is the owner of the Burlington Bandits and also co-chair of the This Magic Moment event.

We left the game at the top of the 4th and wished Robertson well.  He assured us we go could on-line and see the turn around.  As we were walking to our car there was a roar from the stands and I turned to my wife and said: “Gosh, do you think they are going to actually win the game?”  Bandits crossed the plate three times in the 4th inning.  

Win it they did not but they did give the London Majors a bit of a run for their money adding a run in the 8th inning and two in the nine to end their last game of the season with a 9-6 loss.  Not too shabby.  London was a far better team with much more depth and more experienced players.

Robertson explained that the Bandits are younger and they are still learning to work together as a team.  That was obvious from what we saw – but what we also saw was a team with a fan base that got excited when the players on the field were doing well.  That roar of the crowd we heard as we walked to the car was genuine.

For Robertson the task is now to get a better stadium.  “We need more space; we need a field with real dugouts for the team.  There is just the one washroom for men and one for women added Richardson.  “If we had huge crowds we’d have a problem.”

Richardson maintains that his players are treated better than any other players in the league; all of whom are volunteers; young athletes picking up experience.  “If we had even one paid player on the team explained Richardson, all the players would lose their National College Athletic Association  eligibility.”  If players are paid they are deemed to be professionals.

The task now is to review the year, figure out which players have grown, which players they want to call back and whether or not the team wants to go looking for players elsewhere – maybe some imports.

Training staff will get a review as well.

What was attendance like?  Bandits’ management doesn’t release actual figures but they do ay that the numbers this year were 25% higher than they were last year.  Great number – but was last year abysmal and is the 25% real growth?

What Richardson and his staff have done is made the league look more professional.  The program they put out was very good.  They had all kinds of promotional gimmicks and shared the love with other organizations in the city.  Each game there was a 50/50 ticket draw – with the half that wasn’t given a way as prize money passed along to the United Way.

Richardson says the Bandits will be back next year.  Lots of room for growth – it takes time to develop a franchise.  Sponsorship was good – lots of banners around the ball park.

The objective has always been to make the ball games a family event – winning more games and making it past the first round of the finals would be nice too. Scott Robertson would like to see a better playing field with upgraded public facilities – but for now he is happy to see fathers, sons and Mom out at the ball park.

What we saw were a number of families out for the evening.  A fair number of seniors as well.  A lot of people gathered around the refreshment stand and beer sales looked decent.

It was a 23 game season for the bandits – let’s see how they do next year.

Ticket prices for the next season were announced.

$100 for the season; $70 for adults and students.  A FlexPak of ten tickets is $55 for adults; $35 for seniors – that’s $3.50 a  game – probably the best entertainment deal in town.

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Mini beach at foot of Brant is safe but the Beachway isn’t – what a bummer.

By Staff

August 15, 2013

BURLINGTON, ON.  It is usually the foot of Brant Street that has the high E.coli count but this weekend it is the Beachway Park that has the higher count.

During the summer months, the Regional Health Department monitors water quality at selected recreational beaches.  Beaches are selected for testing based on their use for swimming and other water sports. Monitoring is done once a week or more if necessary.

Beachway – the biggest waterfront beach in Burlington is reported to have a high E.coli count

A pilot project is being undertaken at Beachway Park for the 2013 beach sampling season to examine potential factors influencing water quality. Therefore, Beachway Park will be sampled more frequently.

Sign at foot of Brant Street: Not the clearest sign you’ll ever read – but the water has been tested. Swimmers are still advised to swim at their own risk.

A beach is considered unsafe to swim if water tests show high amounts of E. coli bacteria.  Conditions posted are based on samples taken from the previous day.

The posting of a not safe notice for the Beachway is really unfortunate – this is the weekend that the Beachway Park will be flooded with people – the Children’s Festival is taking place.

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The Bandits are down 3 and 0; could get knocked off in the first round of the Intercounty baseball league playoffs.

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.  August 12th, 2013.  It hasn’t gone well.  The Burlington Bandits were matched up against the London Majors for the first round, best of seven games in the Intercounty League baseball season.

Game four is scheduled to take place Thursday night, 7:30 pm in Burlington at Nelson Park.

 The team wants to go out on a high note and announced their first annual Burlington Bandits Fans Choice Player Awards.

Starting today,  August 12th, Bandits fans will have an opportunity to vote for their favourite players for Top Pitcher, Top Hitter, Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year and Fan Favorite awards

Polls will close on Thursday, August 15th at noon  Awards will be presented that night when the Bandits take on the London Majors for game four.

To vote, click for the link.

The London Majors led 5-0 after four innings in the second of seven in the first playoff round,  and were never threatened by the host Bandits, as Burlington committed four errors and fell to the Majors 6-2.That gave them a two

That gave  London a two game lead in the first round playoff.  Jordan Townshend was the starter and winner for the Majors, allowing nine hits and just two earned runs with three walks and five strikeouts over six innings pitched. Josh Palmer picked up the save, allowing only one hit and one walk with two strikeouts over three shutout innings.

Cleveland Brownlee singled and homered for the visiting Majors, registering a pair of RBI while Chris Stewart also homered and scored twice. Ryan Lapensee singled and doubled while driving in a run, and Larry Balkwill added a pair of doubles with a run batted in. Adwin Springer and Derrik Strzalkowski each singled and scored, while Paul LaMantia singled to round out the ten-hit London attack.

The Bandits also had ten hits on the day, which included four by Connor Panas who also drove in a run. Daniel Peake and Brian Sewell each singled, doubled and scored a run, while Jeff Kosta and Jeff MacLeod each registered a hit apiece. Nick Studer drove in a run to pace the Bandits in the loss.

Jason Rubenstein took the loss for Burlington, allowing seven hits and five runs – four earned – with four strikeouts over the first five innings.

On Sunday, when the third game was played,  it didn’t get much better.   Larry Balkwill opened the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run to lead the London Majors to a 5-4 win over the Burlington Bandits.  That gave the Majors a stranglehold on the best of seven series.

It was a back and forth affair which saw the Majors rebound from a 2-0 deficit after two innings and down 4-3 after five. The Majors tied the game with a single run scored in the seventh, before Balkwill’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth.

Chris Hammond started for London and pitched six innings but it was reliever Mike DeLong who picked up the win, allowing just two hits over three shutout innings with four strikeouts.

The Majors outhit the Bandits 11-9 including three by Paul LaMantia who singled twice and doubled. Parris Austin and Paul Young each singled and doubled with a run scored while Young added a pair of RBI. Chris Stewart singled, tripled and scored, while Adwin Springer singled and drove in a run. Cleveland Brownlee added an RBI and Ryan Lapensee came in to score to round out the London attack.

Michael Vanderlaan came on to replace Alex Gale with one out in the seventh inning and took the loss for the Bandits, allowing the home run to Balkwill plus one other walk and strikeout over his 1 2/3 innings of work.

Phil Steer and Jeff Kosta each had a pair of hits with Steer driving in a run and Kosta coming in to score, while Brian Sewell singled and drove in a pair. Jeff MacLeod and Nick Studer each had a hit and a run scored, while Connor Panas and Daniel Peake each added singles in the loss. Dan Franceschetti had a run scored to pace the Burlington offence.

Can the home team squeeze in at least one win?  It will be an exciting game – Nelson Park – Thursday at 7:30 pm.

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London majors take first game against Burlington Bandits in round 1 of InterCounty baseball playoffs.

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.  August 10, 2013  It wasn’t the start

fans were hoping for when the London Majors took the first game in the playoff rounds with the Burlington Bandits.

The Bandits can redeem themselves when they play the Majors in Burlington this afternoon at Nelson Park at 1:00 pm.

It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Bandits  in this best of seven first playoff round.

The Majors took the game with a 6-2 win.

Andrew Marck earned the win for London, hanging in for 8 2/3 innings allowing just six hits and two earned runs with four walks and seven strikeouts. Jacob Raffaele picked up the final out of the game to earn the save.

The Majors outhit the Bandits 8-6, including two hits apiece from Ryan Lapensee and Paul Young who both singled and doubled, drove in a run and scored. Cleveland Brownlee and Larry Balkwill each had a hit and drove in one and two runs, respectively.

Adwin Springer and Derrik Strzalkowski each singled for the home side while Parris Austin and Paul LaMantia both added a run scored. Chris Stewart registered a pair of runs scored for London in the win.

Matthew St. Kitts pitched a complete game eight innings but took the loss, allowing eight hits and six runs – four earned with five walks and five strikeouts for Burlington.

Connor Panas was the lone Burlington player with a multi-hit night hitting a single and double, while Nick Studer singled and scored a run. Jeff Kosta, Dan Franceschetti and Tyler Fata each singled while Brian Sewell drove in a run in the loss.


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City View Park overcomes some initial opposition – reviews are good.



By Pepper Parr and Walter Byj.

BURLINGTON, ON.  August 8, 2013.  It’s a great park, closer to Hamilton than it is to most Burlington residents, and it has a chance of being a small part of the PanAm Games when they come to town in 2015.

There was a time when Burlington looked as if it might get quite a bit of the PanAm action but some slipping and sliding on the part of city hall and a real dose of NIMBY from the west end of the city and all Burlington gets now are some practice games to watch. They will take place at City View Park.

The city’s newest park is being developed in stages. Couple of soccer fields now open, playground operational and getting a lot of traffic. The advent of the Pan Am games in 2015 will see some top level soccer practices taking place in the park.

Located at the intersection of Dundas and Kerns Road the park will have five soccer fields along with two baseball diamonds for the sporting enthusiasts with seating for approximately 1,500 spectators.  In addition there would be playground areas,  walking trails though the wooded area along with large open areas.  Parking could accommodate 650 vehicles and a pavilion would be built for washrooms and change room facilities.

The site takes up 165 acres and will be the largest park in the city.  Ireland Park is 19 acres; Central Park is 22 acres; Lowville Park is 26 acres and Sherwood Forest Park is 29 acres.

Those are not bags of topsoil – they are rolls of plastic grass.

Carpeting for a soccer field – some are not convinced that plastic grass was the best idea for the soccer fields. We will know in ten years when it has to be taken up.

Opposition has been a part of this park’s development almost from the beginning. There was some debate over the decision to use what got called plastic grass – Astro Turf was the product name.  Margaret Lindsay Holton, now a Hamilton resident, was consistently vocal on the way the park was being developed and called the decision to use artificial turf an eco-disgrace.  An appeal to the Niagara Escarpment Commission reduced development to a crawl but that got settled and in went the construction equipment.

This stand of trees on the south side of Dundas has to come out to make space for an equipment – storage shed and parking for staff.

There was nothing about this stand of trees that made them a “must save” but that didn’t matter to BurlingtonGreen. They take the position that every tree is worth saving – it takes 20 years to grow new ones – and we aren’t doing anywhere near the re-placing that could be done on the City View Park grounds.

Then there was opposition to cutting down a decent stand of trees to put in maintenance sheds.  BurlingtonGreen wasn’t able to convince the city to put the equipment housing somewhere else.

Great view of Burlington Bay and the Skyway bridge from the south end of City View Park.

The idea of an additional park came to the surface in 2002 and by 2010 the city decided upon what it believed it needed and what it would take to fully complete the park – $22 million.  Parts of the Bruce Trail run through the property;  there are several ponds and lots of walking space at the south end of the park.  There is a great view of Burlington Bay and the Skyway Bridge from the edge of the old Kerns quarry which is the southern limit.

With seating for 1500 people going in at some point – could the park become “home” for the Bandits?  We could pull in some of the Hamilton traffic from that location?



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Bandits start their league playoff round – everyone gets into the playoffs.

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON. August 9, 2013 – The season wasn’t the greatest but there is a chance to redeem themselves in the Intercounty Baseball League playoffs which begin on Friday for the Burlington Bandits when they play the London Majors in London on Friday evening for round one of the playoffs.  The first home game of the playoffs for the Bandits will be on Saturday August 10th at Nelson Park.

Game starts at 1:00 pm n Saturday – wear anything red and you get a coupon for $1 to use at the concession stand.

If the BAndits do this often enouh Friday night – it could be an interesting playoff series.

The Bandits will travel to London for game one on Friday nigh, the 9th,  for a 7:35pm showdown with the Majors. The Bandits will then return home on Saturday, August 10th for a 1:00pm start at Nelson Park.

Playoff tickets can be purchase at the front entrance gate upon arrival, by phone at 905-630-9036 or at our official team store.

This is how the InterCounty Baseball League season ended. Now on to the playoffs – the Bandits need to get a little craftier and steal home more often.

This is the end of the first season for the newly named Burlington Bandits.  Scott Richardson took over the team and brought much more promotion and pizzazz to the marketing side of the business – now the team needs to focus on the talent and develop a team that can hit and run.  A pitcher wouldn’t hurt either.

What the team does do is offer good baseball in a setting that is affordable, comfortable and designed to get a family out to a game they can walk to if you live in the east end or drive to easily.

It has been a decent first season under new management.  A bit of a boost out of the basement during the playoffs will be a good launch into the next season.  Same location next year?

Full playoff schedule
Game 1: Friday August 9th @ London; 7:35pm
Game 2: Saturday August 10th @ Burlington; 1:00pm
Game 3: Sunday August 11th @ London; 1:00pm
Game 4: Thursday August 15th @ Burlington; 7:30pm
Game 5: Friday August 16th @ London; 7:35pm
Game 6: Saturday August 17th @ Burlington; 1:00pm
*Game 7: Sunday August 18th @ London; 1:00pm

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Brant Street beach safe for swimming; Beachway Park water not safe – a bummer on a long weekend.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  August 3, 2013.  This is certainly going to be a “get to the Beach” weekend.  Lake Ontario is beginning to warm up a bit and the water is described as safe in most places.

The Beachway Park water is described as unsafe – caution. There is certainly loads of beach space along that stretch of the lake.  Finding a spot to set up a shade awning and maybe setting up your hibachi won’t be easy and if you manage to find a parking spot along Lakeshore Road – good on you.  Keeping out of the water – or at least not staying in for long periods of time might be a good idea.  Very young children – not a good idea to have them in the water.

The Region is responsible for testing water and advising the public on whether or not it is safe to swim. 

The water at the foot of Brant is safe – the way to keep it that way is to not feed the geese.  If you put food in one end of the critters – you gotta know what is going to come out of the other end.  And that stuff comes out in the water, which is shallow  All that adds up to the high e-coli count that is reported.

The Beachway Park is on a part of the lake where wind directions change frequently – which results in different wave patterns.  It will be really difficult to keep children out of the water.  There are consequences if they do play in the water.

Enjoy the weekend.

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Nelson Pool Closure due to water main break

 By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. August 1, 2013.  The Nelson pool is closed due to a water main break. City and regional staff are on site to assess, conduct repairs and clean up.

 The splash pad is closed due to the water to the area being cut off.  Camps and rentals are being diverted to other locations.

 We expect the next update from the city at 3:00 pm this afternoon.


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