Entrepreneur of the year is whistling dixie – and expecting the referees to use his whistle to officiate the Staney Cup finals

SportsBy Pepper Parr

May 28, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.    You have to understand Ron Foxcroft and his affinity with the world of sports.  He has been around every game that is played and while he can, on occasion,  get the ball in the basket – that isn’t what he is known for.


The whistle business all started on the floor of a basketball court.

Earlier in the week there was a need to talk with Ron Foxcroft – getting to him is not easy – he is on the go from just after seven to late into the evening most days.

But get through we did – and started our conversation asking if he had caught the game – that being the one where the Habs took a hockey game in the direction it was meant to go – 7-4 with a hat trick for the Canadiens too boot.  “Of course I got to the game – I had to rush out of the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame inductee event but I saw that game.”

Fox40_SuperForce_NHL_Whistle_WebSafe  V2 unwrapped

The Official Whistle of the NHL with a logoed edition for the Stanley Cup finals provided by a high school dropout who lives in Aldershot.

Fox40_SuperForce_NHL_WhistleThen he adds – “did you know that Foxcroft International made the whistles  – the logoed whistles for the NHL final?

No we did not know that – would you send us a picture?  And here it is.  Another Foxcroft product.

We chatted about the stupendous game goalie Dustin Tokarski is putting in as he stands between the pipes.  Of course we all know the kid used to play for the Hamilton Bulldogs – which at one point was owned by Ron Foxcroft.

What matters of course are those whistles – will they blow at the right time?  For the right team?

We will be watching the two remaining games and hopefully the cup – the Stanley Cup, will rest where it belongs – in the head office of the Le Club de Hockey Canadien.   It really should be at the Forum, just along St. Catherine Street in Montreal – half a block from the Toe Blake Tavern. 

That was a different era – but the hockey then was still the same – great!  Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, Guy Lafleur – the dream goes on.

Background links:

Foxcroft on his own court.

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Burlington hosts Badminton Championships at Haber Recreational

SportsBy Staff; Photography by Oliver Hannak

April 25, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON. It was six days of solid competition during which the courts at the Haber Recreational Centre got a solid work out as more than 250 Masters level badminton players went after the Canadian Masters Badminton Championship.

Kumar - eye on the bird

Dave Kumar, head of the organizing committee that brought the badminton championships to Burlington keeps his eye on the birdie

The Canadian Masters Badminton Championships is an international event for Badminton players aged 35 and older. Badminton players were expected from at least 10 countries to compete in 10 age groups (+35, +40, +45 etc.). Previous Masters Championships have had more than 300 entrants representing more than 16 nations.

High jumper - badmintonBadminton - expected winner red jerseyBurlington showcased the event in its brand new state of the art Haber Recreational Centre.  The event is part of a planned badminton  sport awareness leading into the 2015 Pan Am Games to be held July 10–26, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Badminton - oriental lady reaching red shoesBadminton - great jump - leg upBadminton Canada’s mission is to be an innovative and highly respected sports organization that is the leader in contributing to badminton becoming the most successful racquet sport in Canada and the world by enabling Canadian athletes, coaches and officials of all ages, cultural background and skill level the opportunity to excel at badminton and in life.

Two woman crouching - badmintonKumar rushing the net - doublesDave Kumar, an unsuccessful candidate for municipal office in 2010, is a member of the Burlington Committee of Adjustment.

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Tyler Patzalek comes home – will catch for the Burlington Bandits and build on his Notre Dame achievements.

SportsBy Staff

April 20, 2014


The Bandits are bringing some strong local talent to the team – they recently announced their signing of ace Burlington native ball player Tyler Patzalak for the 2014 season.

Tyler, a three time IBL Champion with the Brantford Red Sox, returns to where it all began for him when he played in the BOMBA leagues.  Patzalek lead his Notre Dame High School baseball team to the Ontario (OFSAA) championship in 2008 and earned 3 team MVP awards during his high school career.

Patzalek Tyler - in crouch

Bandits liked Patzalek’s leadership and his athletic, aggressive style of play and see him as the first local talent they have on the team’

In 2010, Patzalek continued his baseball career at Maine University on a baseball scholarship. While at Maine Patzalek was honoured with conference player of the week awards several times over his 3 years at Maine and was named a second team All-Star for America East conference for his 2012 season.

During the past four summer seasons, Patzalek played for the Intercounty League’s Brantford Red Sox. From 2010 to 2013, he amassed 468 at bats and won 3 championships.

Patzalek now back in Burlington on a full-time basis, he is planting new baseball roots firmly in Burlington soil as an assistant coach with the BOMBA minor pee wee Bulls, as an instructor for BOMBA’s house league development program. Tyler has also been named Lead Instructor for the first Burlington Bandits Youth Baseball Camps taking place between July 14th and July 25th at Nelson Park.

“Tyler will be our starting catcher, but will see time at other positions as well. He is a very athletic, versatile player,” said Manager Kyle MacKinnon. Solid catching is a prerequisite for any good team. With Tyler Patzalek and Peter Bako (2009 Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick) sharing time at the position, we should be in great shape.”

Tyler Patzalek is one of the best players to come out of Burlington for many years. “We couldn’t be happier to have Tyler with the Bandits. I have known Tyler for many years and have followed his baseball career closely over the last seven years. We love his leadership and his athletic, aggressive style of play. The fact that he has won 3 league championships is a bonus. He will be able to convey to the younger players what it takes to win in this league,” said General Manager Craig Bedford.

President and owner Scott Robinson was thrilled with the signing. “Tyler Patzalek is one of the best players to come out of Burlington for many years. Going forward, we want the Bandits’ roster to include the best Burlington players available. Tyler is an important part of meeting that objective”.

The Bandits open their 2014 season on the road for a May 4th match up with the Toronto Maple Leafs. This newly heated rivalry will pit your Burlington Bandits against former team MVP Darryl Pui who was traded to Toronto in the off-season. Burlington will then return to Nelson Park on May 10th for the Bandits Home Opener. Tickets are available now online or by phone at 905-630-9036.

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Haber Recreation centre home to wheelchair basketball national championships.

SportsBy Staff

April 5, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.  They play a very tough game.  While some of the players are dis-abled that doesn’t prevent them from playing a very tough, aggressive game of wheelchair basketball.

The three day Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship is taking place in Burlington at the Haber Recreation Centre which is part of the Alton Campus that includes a high school, public library and recreation centre in the one structure.

Burlington built the complex and planned on attracting national, provincial and regional teams to use the space that has eight courts.

At the end of the first day of competition four teams emerge unscathed. The BC Royals, Bulldogs de Quebec, Gladiateurs de Laval, and Alberta Northern Lights carry perfect 2-0 records into their quarter-final matches set for Saturday at the Haber Recreation Centre where twelve club teams are competing for the national title.

Participating athletes include past, present, and future members of Team Canada including local Burlington Vipers’ athlete Melanie Hawtin, of Oakville, Ont., who will soon represent Team Canada at the upcoming 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship June 20-28 in Toronto, Ont.  Joining Hawtin on the hardcourt are fellow Canadian National Women’s Team members Elaine Allard, of St. Eustache, Que. (playing for the Gladiateurs de Laval), Tamara Steeves of Mississauga, Ont. (playing for the Southern Ontario Suns), and Darda Sales of London, Ont. (representing the London Forest City Flyers). The hometown Vipers club also features London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist and Burlington native Brandon Wagner.

More controlling the ball

Doesn’t matter what the game is – the ball still has to be managed.

Shot on the net - elegant

It’s a long shot – a very long shot. Does it go in?

Intense look - short hair

It’s an intense game. Watching the play and maneuvering the wheel chair to be in position calls for skill, coordination and timing.

Four players around ball

Two players want the ball – while two watch to figure out where the ball is going to end up so they can make their moves.

Coach - intense

The coach is a vital part of the game. He doesn’t just stand on the sidelines – he directs and motivates.

Tightening up the straps

Equipment has to be maintained and in wheel chair basketball the equipment is a lot more complex for some players.

Woman moving up the side

That woman is just “smokin” as she moves up the side of the court – she played a very aggressive game.

Covering your player

Covering the player with the ball.

Chairs colliding

There are times in wheel chair basket ball when there are collisions. All of the players wear tape on their fingers to protect their hands.

Shot went in - elegant

That long shot – it did go in. The shooter looked a little surprised – the other players wear awestruck expression on their faces.

Burlington Gazette photographer Oliver Hannak was on hand Friday night to catch some of the action.  His photo essay follows:

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Champion wheel chair basket ball tournament at Haber Centre

News 100 redBy Staff

Photography by Oliver Hannak

April 4, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brandon Wagner is back on the court Saturday afternoon.

Background links:

Haber Recreational Centre deal put in place.

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Burlington Eagles are leaders on and off the ice; Mayor congratulates the team for their incredible food drive achievement.

By Pepper Parr

March 19, 2014


Mayor Goldring, talking as if the group of young boys were his own children, proudly told a city council meeting that the Burlington Eagles, part of Burlington’s City Rep Hockey League, had raised more than 38,000 pounds of food in the Gift of Giving Back food drive for 2013.

It was thumbs up from these guys – members of the Burlington Eagles Atom AA team being recognized at city hall.

The Eagles Atom AA team was honored at City Hall, certainly the first time any of them had been in the Council chamber where  each of the team members was given a certificate and had a group photograph taken – the typical type of thing the Mayor does on a regular basis.

But Monday evening it was a bit different – none of the boys were relatives; just a bunch of decent kids who were in the process of becoming citizens.  They played hockey and took part in projects where their time was used to help someone else.

And help they did.  On November 5 & 6, 2013 the Eagles along with their community partners, collected 273,571.06 lbs of food for beneficiaries. Filling shelves was important but more important for the city’s Mayor was teaching civic responsibility and the importance of giving back.

Daphne Jacques, part of Mayor Goldring’s  administrative staff,  explains to players on the Burlington Eagles Atom AA team, the drill they will follow when they are presented with their certificates by the Mayor for their incredible food drive results in 2013

Rick Goldring is a product of Burlington – everything about him has Burlington stamped on it.  He takes great pride in his city and when he has occasion to celebrate what his citizen’s do – he gets almost gushy.

Monday evening he had his picture taken with the boys and he said all the obligatory things – there was just a lot more “this is what Burlington is all about” in his comments than normal.

Of all the groups involved in the food drive the Eagles raised more than anyone else and the Mayor wanted everyone to know that.  He told the audience that Hockey Night In Canada had featured what the Gift of Giving Back is all about and that the tons of food was distributed to Carpenter Hospice, Halton Women’s Place, Partnership West and The Salvation Army.

Jean Longfield, the woman who started the annual drive nine years ago said “It was an incredible two days — unmatched anywhere in the nation.

Let’s not forget that the Eagle Atoms AA are heading for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association Championships as well.

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Won’t be long before we hear “Play ball” followed by the crack of a baseball bat – snow has to melt first.

By Staff

February 26, 2014


Perhaps it is part of an attempt to hustle up some warmer weather and if that’s 5the story – most people are grateful – we seem to have had our fill of winter.

The end to winter must be in sight – the Bandits have announced a Try Out camp.

The Burlington Bandits, members of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL), have announced the hosting of open tryouts for their 2014 season on Sunday, March 16th from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at The Burloak Sports Centre on 952 Century Drive, Burlington.

You have to bring your own equipment – so get down to the basement and loosen up that glove and dust off the helmet.  This might be the time to get out and buy a new pair of batting gloves.  No metal spikes.

Drills to be conducted are pitching, hitting, fielding, timed base running and position-specific drills.

Tryouts are open to all 18 and over. Cost to register is $15.00 per player and will be accepted via certified check or cash the day of the tryout. Players must be registered prior to March 15th to receive $15.00 registration cost. Day of walk up registration is $20.00.

If you’ve got questions: contact Ryan Harrison at 905-630-9036.

To register, visit  and fill out the registration form under the team drop down. Looking for other ways to connect to the Bandits? Follow us on Twitter @iblbandits, and visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/iblbandits.

The Bandits will play 18 home games in 2014 at Nelson Park located off New Street in Burlington.  Season opener is May 4th with the home opener May 10th.

Background links:

Season opens May 4th – home opener May 10th

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Half Chilly Marathon will be “chilly” this year. Race takes place Sunday, Lakeshore Road closed for part of the day.

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2104


After a month or so of significant turmoil and the introducing of a new named sponsor the Chilly Half Marathon and the Frosty 5k gear up for an event that draws thousands to the city. 

Sunday March 2nd, runners who have been training for some time – thousands of them –  will gather at the starting gate and get ready to run in what just might be a genuine “Chilly” half marathon race this year

The event does close down large portion of Lakeshore Road just the way the Santa Clause parade closes down New Street. 

There are a number of races in the city with most being organized by Kelly Arnott who is one of those people who just does things and is always on the go.

Each day is non-stop for Kelly Arnott.  One of her local sponsors – Discovery Ford provides a vehicle.

She is a born salesman – Kelly just gets out there and makes things happen.  There are those who wish she weren’t quite as active, perhaps a little less frenetic, maybe not have quite as many ideas.  You might as well expect the tide to stop raising the level of the water.  Kelly Arnott is a force – she just does stuff.

After working with her Dad in the shoe business, Arnott struck out on her own and opened a high-end fashion shoe store in the Village Square and things at Sabrina were pretty good until the recession in the 80’s which took the bottom out of almost everything retail.

Before experiencing the downturn Kelly and her husband Mark thought about using the second floor of the store they ran to sell running shoes.   Dianne Hogarth designed the store for them and suddenly they were in another line of business driven to a large degree by Mark’s new interest in running; this at a time when running wasn’t the sport it is today.

Village Runner was one of the early athletic footwear retail outlets, long before the franchise operations came along.  If you run a retail outlet selling running shoes you quickly get into operating races – and thus was born VRPro.

The Arnott’s have organized a lot of races.  Part of their income is derived from working as Race organizers for others.  They do the Yorkville Race in Toronto, which is one of the fastest in the country. There was the Downtown Dash, there was the better forgotten Goose Goo, and there was the Triathlon to raise funds for the Carpenter Hospice.  

Carolyn Wallace and her Easter Seals campaign has had a race, the Lions have had a race.  Portions of Brant Street get closed down for the Amazing Bed Race

There were races known as the Tim Horton series, and the very early Run for the Cure – before CIBC became the title sponsor.

Race sponsorships come and go.  Corporations will decide that an athletic event will serve their marketing objectives very well and they get behind an event and put their marketing dollars on the line.

Tim Hortons was part of the event – now Trillium College is the title sponsor.  There are still dozens of other local sponsors involved.

The Chilly Half Marathon and Frosty 5k takes place three weeks before the Race around the Bay – another event that draws people to our part of the province.

Running races is all about organization and working with all the interests in the community.  There was one race where there was a fist fight that police had to break up.  One of the early Arnott races had her busing runners to Oakville for a run back to Burlington: “that was a disaster” adds Arnott who tends to be quite open about what works and what doesn’t work.

All the difficulties – and when something different is done, there are difficulties,  don’t detract from the fact that Kelly Arnott have raised millions and introduced tens of thousands of people to Burlington.

With the 2014 Half Chilly Marathon and the Frosty 5k just days away Arnott scurries about getting the details covered off.  Registration will be lower in 2014 –”the publicity surrounding the race a couple of months ago didn’t help”, explains Arnott, “but the biggest reason is the weather.  It has been too cold for runners to get out and practice”.

There are some people who will need access to Lakeshore Road from the streets that run south – there is a help line to get in touch with the people who can help resolve the problem.  Call Jessica at 905-220-1785.  She is there to help.  If you don’t get the help you expected write us – we want to know abut that.

The number will come in close to 3000 people which is certainly respectable enough.  The race route is now an established Lakeshore Road event.  Arnott explains that there are 375 homes south of Lakeshore Road – that seems a little on the low side.  The race does disrupt traffic patterns – there is no arguing that point, but for the people who do live south of Lakeshore Road – they know when the event is taking place and they can make other plans.

Race participants do pay a fee and detractors are quick to add up the numbers and decide that the Arnott’s are earning a pile of money – and the actual revenue is decent.  It’s the expenses that chip away at that revenue.  Each runner gets a sweater – and they aren’t cheap, beer tickets, and of course that Tim Horton’s Chilli

Kelly Arnott displaying on of the female  sweaters that race runners are given.

Kelly can run anyone who cares to listen through the list of how much her organization pays out to community organization.  $7500 to the Performing Arts Centre for the use of their space more than she likes paying to the Regional police for security and traffic control, to say nothing of the tens of thousands of dollars that gets spent in the city as a result of the race.

Could the race be run somewhere else – sure it could but why would you move a significant event off one of the nicest roads in the city?  There was the suggestion that the race be run through the industrial parts of the city – which one didn’t go down very well when it was brought up at a city council meeting.

City council understood the value of the event to its retail and hospitality sectors and got behind the event to ensure it remained on Lakeshore Road.  During the debate over the race route Burlington saw a level of pettiness that didn’t reflect well on what most people think the city is all about.

These things happen.

Background Links:

Half Chilly marathon route a city council issue.

Residents get a hearing on the marathon route, don’t get any satisfaction.

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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 info@burlingtonbandits.com 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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