Burlington Bulldogs Atom A’s host provincial Ontario Hockey Federation finalists.



Hockey players at the Atom A level erupting when Becky Kellar, the speaker for the event,  told the crowd that she “hated the Canadiens”.  The young players appear to have shared her view.

By Staff

Picture of the week is a banquet hall full of boys and girls at a hockey banquet with parents on hand to at least try and keep some of the noise down and they succeeded until Becky Kellar, an Olympic level hockey player who won 3 Gold and one Silver medals between 1998 and 2010 told her audience:  “I hate the Montreal Canadiens” – and the room erupted.

The energy and the enthusiasm was electric as players who were taking part in the hockey season finals banquet for which Burlington was the host community.

Kellar was telling the boys and girls that a true athlete never gives up and that they also get up off the ground when they fall and push forward.

She was there to give one of those motivational speeches that only proven athletes can give – because they have been there and understand what it takes to get up and give more to whatever the sport happens to be.  The room with teams that were in the Ontario Hockey Federation Provincial Atom A finals and were in Burlington to play over the weekend came from:

West London Hawks

Cobourg Cougars

Credit Valley Wolves

Temiskaming Puckhounds

The Burlington Bulldogs were the host team.

Unfortunately Burlington was knocked out in the semis but it could have gone either way.  It was a tie at the end of the third and they lost to West London 4-3 in overtime.

 The practice now at these events is to have a “loot bag” for all the participants which this year included a copy of The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, paid for by local dentist Berta Bacic.



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Cogeco Cable getting into sports broadcasting with a bunch of bandits.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 10, 2013  In just over a month, the umpire at the Nelson High ball park will bark out – “play ball” and the third season of Burlington’s InterCounty Baseball League (IBL) in Burlington will begin.

Is Burlington going to see some “bad guy” baseball this summer. Bandits open at home May 11th.

The team now has new owners, a new name and a whole new approach to promoting semi-pro baseball in the city.

The team has announced an agreement with Cogeco Cable that will have TVCOGECO broadcast select games during the 2013 season.

Robinson explains that he became the majority owner the original group felt the team needed more local,  hands on direction and he certainly has some big plans.  His opening day line-up of not only player but of special events will both surprise and delight many in this city.

“The Bandits, were known as the Twins in their first two years of IBL play in Burlington before being bought and renamed by Scott Robinson during the off-season.  The team opens their 42-game season 2013 schedule in Guelph on Saturday, May 4. The home opener will be played Saturday, May 11 at Nelson Park at 2 p.m. against the London Majors.

Thursday and Saturday’s – baseball nights at Nelson High park.

The IBL was established in 1919 and has proven to be a great league for younger players to develop their skills and move on up into the majors.  For the many mid-size communities it offers good sports at very attractive prices – a great affordable way to get the family out for an afternoon of good clean fun.

All the rain we’ve had this past two days doesn’t make one think baseball,  but if you listen closely and let your imagination work for you – you can hear the crack of a maple baseball bat smacking the ball and watch that ball arc into the air – and who knows if it will be caught – a double play perhaps?

“Play ball!”


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Minor hockey in Burlington gets 20 big ones: $20,000 in the bank – what should it be spent on?

By Pepper Parr

No one knows how many times this vote button was pushed. Often enough to bring $20,000 to Burlington.

BURLINGTON, ON  April 5, 2013  Goderich managed to get more votes for themselves than Burlington and they get the $100,000 Kraft – The Games Goes On award – but Burlington was most definitely in the race and will be given a $20,000 award for the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA)

John McNeil was the Burlington “poster boy” for this feat when Kristen Priestner nominated him as the “manager extraordinaire” and that got McNeil in as a finalist.

The contest, which was open to any community in the country that ran a minor hockey team that met the Hockey Canada criteria, was based on nominations that came in from individual communities.  The country was broken out into five regions, with Ontario being one of them  Once all the nominations from each region were in, Kraft narrowed down the list to five from each Region.  Burlington was up against Goderich, Lakefield, Cornwall and Stittsville.

Just over 18 months ago Goderich got hit with a major hurricane that tore apart the centre of that city – the community had to pull together and that experience would have had them well-oiled for the Kraft – The Game Goes On contest.

The selection was based on “votes” but these were not like the usual vote – in this game a person could vote as many times as they wanted and for whoever they wanted.  All you had to do was log in click the vote button, key in the code to ensure that you were a human being and not some computer out there dialing in.  Then all the user had to do was click on the vote button.

And then did it all over again until your were numb with exhaustion.

There it was – proof positive that BLOMHA was in the winner’s circle.

No one knows yet what the individual counts were for each community – the total for the country was reported at 750,000 which seems quite low.

Dirk Wolterbeek from Goderich, Ontario, received the most votes and is being recognized today with a $100,000 award to the Goderich Minor Hockey Association. The other four inspiring Ontarians earning a $20,000 award for their selected minor hockey associations include Mike Goble from Lakefield, Rod McLeod from Cornwall, John McNeil from Burlington and Cathy Bureau from Stittsville.

Burlington’s nominee, known as a “Manager Extraordinaire,” John McNeil was described by his nominator, Kristen Priestner “as going  above and beyond for the Major Atom A Burlington Bulldogs. Whether fundraising, coordinating tournaments, hosting the Parents’ Christmas Social or organizing this year’s Ontario Hockey Federation Playoffs, McNeil is the heart and soul of his team.”

As we reported on this event during the two-day race to get as many votes as possible – the picture that told the story for us was this one. The kids are focused and just clicking away. That guy in the middle is going to be playing the game – real soon.

The voting started at 9:00 am last Saturday and other than a small hiccup at the start it went smoothly.  Burlington parents were involved in their hockey end of season games.  Besides driving to London twice and getting their kids out to two games in Burlington this band of parents had to hustle anyone they knew with a keyboard to dial in and vote.

Working from a “hot spot” on the 401 and a cell phone – these “bulldogs” managed to vote frequently.

“We used a cell phone to find a “hot spot” on the 401 and had kids on-line via the cell phone to vote as a parent drove” explained McNeil.

The winners of awards were announced Monday night during a Flyers -Canadiens game (Montreal lost which was not a good sign) and Kraft announced the $100,000 winner for Ontario – Goderich.

Well – they certainly no where their bread is buttered. A $20,000 prize tends to pull smiles like this. This is the BLOMHA core that made the award possible – there are probably a couple of bodies that didn’t make it. I want to know – which one is Kristen Priestner?

For fans – it is all about the game and $20,000 is nothing to sneeze at.  McNeil who doesn’t control the award does expect the BLOMHA executive to use the funds to defer fees for kids who can’t afford to play and to buy equipment for those who need better than what their families can afford.

The core team did gather at McNeil’s house to watch the results – “it was a school night and we had practice last night, practice tomorrow, all the parents are going to a community fundraiser Friday night and we have a game Saturday…. Busy busy.”  And they still managed to bring home $20,000 worth of bacon.

McNeil hopes Kraft releases the numbers. “we would like to see how we fared against the other communities – it will give us a sense of where our strength is and where we can improve”, said McNeil.  Ever the analyst – he wants data.

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Not the most promising of starts – maybe the name change needed a slower introduction. The Twins have become Bandits

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  March 27, 2013 What we all knew and loved as the Burlington Twins appear to have gone rogue and changed their name to the Burlington Bandits.

And just to show they don’t play by the rules they cancelled their Easter Sunday Workout.  This was an “official” team  workout.

New name, new look and a new location. The Bandits will play at the Burloak Sports Centre this season

The Bandits next scheduled spring training workout is scheduled for Sunday, April 7th at the Burloak Sports Centre from 12:30pm to 2:00pm. Open to the public of course  and if you think you can swing the big stick or scoop a bouncing ball and get it back to second base before the runner does you are encouraged to attend.  First chance to get a look at the  updated roster.

The Burlington Bandits home opener is May 11th, 2013 against the London Majors; tickets only $7.

The Burlington Bandits are an independent minor-league baseball team of the semi-professional Inter county Baseball League (IBL). The team was founded in 2011 as the Burlington Twins and changed ownership and name in 2013.

Burlington businessman Scott Robinson now calls all the shots and signs the cheques as well.

The Bandits play a 42-game season with 21 games at home and 21 on the road.

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Was the drive strong enough? Were the forces behind the literally hundreds of people clicking that vote button enough?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 25th, 2013  “Busy day Monday as we return to normal jobs and prepare for a trek to London for game 6 of our playoff series” was the note we got from John McNeil as he frantically continued to vote and vote and vote again to earn that award of $100,000 from Kraft Foods that would be used by the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA) to cover the cost of getting more players on the ice pads.

John McNeil was at his keyboard until the very last-minute Sunday night – squeezing in that very last vote for the Kraft Foods $100,000 award

They were minutes and then it was over – you could try to enter a vote but the system wouldn’t take it – and for those hundreds in Burlington who had been voting for two days – it was over.

During the hectic two days parents still had to get their kids out to hockey games, still had to do the shopping and keep the house in order.

Now – the wait while the Kraft Foods people do the counting – which should take just a matter of minutes because everything was electronic but it will be more than a week before they go public.

If you were at the McNeil house Saturday night you were at a keyboard – voting.

So for now those that did the work – a chance to sit back and know they did their best.  During the next few days there will be hundreds who will say ‘if they’d known they would have voted.

The Mayor was chatting up the business types at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast Friday morning and he forgot to mention the event – even though he was touting that Burlington was now the # 1 mid-size city in Canada within which to live.  We hope our Mayor at least went on-line to vote a couple of times – won’t be too long  before he’s looking for votes himself.


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Is the 48 hour keyboard marathon going to get BLOMHA a $100,000 award for minor hocey? You can help make that happen.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. March 24, 2013  While they can’t see the finish line –they all know where it is – hundreds of people who are involved with minor hockey or know someone who is involved,  got dragooned into going on-line and clicking away at a red button with the word VOTE on it.

Have you voted yet?  If is before 11:59 pm on Sunday the 24th of March – you can still vote.  Vote NOW!

They were out to win the $100,000 that Kraft Foods had put up for their Hockey Goes On contest.  Kraft asked for nominations and got thousands of them from across the country.  They narrowed those thousands down to twenty from five regions they created.  Ontario was one of the regions and Burlington was one of twenty communities in the region.  John McNeil was the hockey person nominated from Burlington by Kristen Priestner, a parent who had a son playing for the BLOMHA Bulldogs in the atom division.

BLOMHA, Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association, focuses on developing skills in the game of hockey and building character.

McNeil and Priestner pulled together the people they needed, first by reaching out to the other sports organizations and asking them to support the effort. Then friends, family, associates – even passersby were asked to support the effort.

That was the kernel of an operation that just grew.

If you were at the McNeil household Saturday night you took your turn clicking away at the keyboard and registering votes for the Hockey Goes On $100,000 award that was up for grabs.

There is no way for anyone other than the people at Kraft Foods to know who is leading.  Each community just has to do its best to get its people out voting.  This is a bit of an oddity in that anyone from anywhere can vote and they can vote as often as they want.  If someone has the fortitude to stay at the keyboard for 10 hours – there is nothing to stop them.  The community that sticks to it and organizes the most people with the most dedication gets the $100,000 that gets used for the development of hockey.

The force behind the Hockey Goes On was a need to recognize the people, those volunteers who make hockey happen at the minor league level.  Some of those players might make it to the professional league level but that’s not a BLOHMA objective.  Rick Dawson who serves as the president of BLOMHA is there to help kids play the game and take their talent as far as it can be taken and to build character and community values in the process.

The organization has thousands of kids playing the game, hundreds of coaches and many other support people who are part of what hockey at the community level is all about.

Katherine Hartman on the left (Barracudas player helping out her cousin and BLOMHA), Tiegan Priestner, (birthday girl helping her brother) and the youngest Daniel, with the official BULLDOGS mascot.

Kristen Priestner knew exactly who she wanted to nominate from Burlington when she heard of the contest.  Sheila Ramage knew that her weekend was shot when McNeil got nominated.  Sheila is one of the team that runs the operations side of the BLOHMA office and handled a lot of the phoning around and keeping people in touch during that 48 hour marathon.

Our Burlington asked Kraft foods if they could tell us anything about how the event was going.  We got this back from their offices:

“We are pleased to report that we have had an outstanding response to the Kraft Hockey Goes On voting period. As you may know, Kraft Hockey Goes On helps Canadians share their passion for the game by recognizing important local contributors who make hockey happen in communities across Canada. Through the program, we began accepting nominations on January 21st and received over 1000 inspiring stories about the dedicated Canadians who invest their time and energy into local hockey every day. Nominations closed on March 8 and on March 16, we announced the top 100 nominees, as narrowed down by a panel of judges.

“Canadians are now voting for their favourite local hockey supporters at KraftHockeyGoesOn.ca and working hard to rally votes on Facebook.com/KraftHockeyGoesOn. We did experience a short period of down time on the site as the voting period began yesterday at 9a.m., but resolved it as quickly as possible and we are excited to see the votes continuing to roll in. The voting period continues until 11:59pm EST this evening, so we encourage Canadians to keep on voting!

Flyers were needed – quickly. friends got called in, printing presses inked up and paper-cutter turned on. Colour Works Printing pulled in all the child labour!they could find.  was it enough?


“The top five nominees who receive the most votes will be recognized for their contributions and $100,000 will be awarded to their selected Hockey Canada-affiliated minor hockey association. The subsequent top 20 nominees with the most votes will be recognized with a $20,000 donation to their selected minor hockey association.

A point of clarification: Each Region, and Ontario is one of the five regions, will have one – $100,000 award  and four $20,000 awards.

Every hand, or in this case, keyboard counted.  Two Bulldogs on the way to a tournament in London on Saturday clicked while on the 401.

“We look forward to seeing the impact that these funds will have on local Canadian hockey communities and are proud to recognize the individuals who do so much to make this nation’s sport go on every day. Canadians can tune-in to the winner announcement taking place during the Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers NHL match-up on TSN on Wednesday April 3, 2013.”

Burlington is up against:   Stittsville, Goderich, Atikokan, Barrie, Renfrew, Verona, Sarnia, Weston, Langton, Moose Factory, Kitchener, Prescott, Napanee, Pelham, Amherstview, Lakefield, Cornwall, Brampton and Fergus.

There are still a couple of hours to vote.

At press time Kristen Priestner reported: “We had Moms voting in the lobby right up to game time tonight at Appleby, one Mom (Shannon Scullion) even voted throughout the entire game because she felt guilty about taking the time off to go for a run this afternoon!  We had siblings putting flyers around the parking lot and voting throughout the game as well.”

” Back to it, crunch time now!  May have to have a team party on results night!”

There will be a nail biter of a party at the McNeil household the night the award winner is announced.  Should be a great hockey game as well – Canadiens and the Flyers – not much better than that.



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Expect to see quite a bit of child labour used by BLOMHA parents this weekend – there’s $100,000 up for grabs and they want it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 23, 2013  This should be illegal.

They want you to vote as often as you can.

No limit as to how often you can vote AND no age limit either.

Before reading any further – slip over to the voting link we are talking about and vote a couple of times – you’ll feel better after doing that a few times – then come back and read on.

Can you imagine if those rules applied in the municipal election – we’d have a council of nothing but nut cases.  Don’t anyone dare come back with the comment: Isn’t that what we have now?

From left to right Katherine Hartman (Barracudas player helping out her cousin and BLOMHA), Tiegan Priestner, (birthday girl helping her brother) and our youngest Daniel, with the official BULLDOGS mascot.  Daniel is obsessed with Bulldogs hockey, he’s got his Bulldogs hat on and bulldogs pj pants!   

Kristen Priestner’s daughter is voting today and it’s her birthday.  Her brother is in the van with his Dad on the way to London to play “the good old hockey game”.  But they will be back in the evening and at the key board.  If you live on Marc Lane or anywhere near the street, drop in on the McNeil household – won’t be hard to find his place – the street will be filled with parked cars and the rooms will all have that blue glow from computer screens.  Wonder how many computes can get through the WiFi in the McNeil household?

What’s this all about – and who is giving away $100,000?

Kraft Foods has a contents going on where 20 communities from five different parts of Canada have been nominated and are finalists in this contest.  John McNeil was nominated for Burlington and is up against 19 other cities and towns  in Ontario.

The place that gets the most votes gets the $100,000 – with $20,000 going to the next four.

If this guy approaches you – take the flyer and vote – as often as you possibly can and bring that $100,000 first prize to Burlington and BLOMHA.

The money has to go to the promotion and improvement of minor hockey.  And in Burlington BLOMHA is a leader in the development of hockey skills and the building of character.

This is a two-day event – it started at 9:00 am this morning and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday the 24th.  Remember, no age limit and you can vote as often as you want.  What Kraft Foods is doing is seeing just how much spirit a community has – the one that gets its people out and on the keyboards is the one that will take the prize.

Has Burlington got what it takes?  We will know at the end of the month when the results come in.

There is no tally of who is ahead – you don’t get to know that – you just have to dig deep and get your people to the web site where they log in and vote.


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Burlington’s players are on the ice and in position to win the contest and make the city the # 1 minor hockey city in the province.

By Pepper Parr

BLOMHA – the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association is working like crazy today, Saturday and again on Sunday to register the votes needed to bring $100,000m to their organization.

If you want to know what being a real # 1 is all about –  click on the LINK – then come back to the story.

This is all about getting additional funding for this minor hockey team. Let’s see how well the city gets behind the effort.

The puck got dropped at 9:00 am sharp; then it looked like the server went down; probably because f a surge in demand.  Then it was up and the puck was red and you could vote.

There was a box you had to enter two words into before your vote got counted – that was to prevent anyone from setting up a program that would automatically place votes

When you are entering the two words, watch the spelling and don’t leave a space between the two words.

The players now have to log in, enter the two words shown and the vote gets counted.  Then do just that – again and again – and remember – there are 19 other communities doing exactly the same thing.  Burlington will win if they do it more often than anyone else.

That’s what Burlington has to do for the next two days if they are to be the winners of the Hockey Goes On contest that is going to put $100,000 into one Ontario community and $20,000 in four others as part of the Kraft Foods promotion that is celebrating the way minor hockey is played across Canada.

John McNeil was nominated from Burlington and has been getting this community lined up to click away.

All eight of  Burlington’s McDonalds  restaurants have  joined the campaign and are promoting the contest. The Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA) has every parent they can find going on-line and voting.

Kristen Priestner, the woman who nominated John McNeil is busy working her magic and reaching out to the masses.

John McNeil, nominated as one of twenty people in Ontario to take part in the Kraft Foods Hockey Goes On contest that could bring $100,000 to the city for minor hockey. He will be going hat in hand for the next two days asking everyone he sees to go on line and vote.

McNeil will be at his keyboard for as long as he can – but he has to drive his son’s team to London for a game there.  Perhaps they will all have tablets and find a way to get on-line and vote as they drive to London.  McNeil is a techie – he just might figure out a way to do that. McNeil, who doesn’t let much get past him, has the people in London voting for Burlington.  London didn’t make it to the finals in the Hockey Goes On contest.

All this activity – and guess what?  The server went down and was down for close to half an hour.  There must have been dozens of people at Kraft scrambling around like crazy to solve the problem – but it dd get solved and the game goes on.

Just vote and vote and vote and vote.  If you can teach your cat to read and type – do that and have it vote as well.

Click for the link.


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Is there a real # 1 out there for us? We will know by Monday. Want to help make it happen? Read on.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 22nd, 2013   There is an opportunity for the people of this city to bring home a “real” #1plus $100,000 that will go to the Burlington Lions Optimists Minor  Hockey Association – BLOMHA.

Have you heard of “Hockey Goes On” a promotion sponsored by Kraft Foods?  A number of years ago Kraft sponsored an event that resulted in Dundas,  Ontario getting a new arena.  The event was so strong a promotional vehicle for Kraft that they decided to revise it and build on the enthusiasm for “our game’.

Hockey Goes On is there to celebrate those unsung heroes that make the game go on. The sponsors divided the country into five divisions with Ontario being one of them.  People within each division were asked to nominate the person they felt had done the most for minor hockey in their community.

Kristen Priestner nominated John McNeil who manages the Burlington Atom A  BLOMHA rep hockey team that skate under the Bulldog banner.  Priestner’s son plays in that league.

Kraft got in touch with McNeil to ensure he would accept the nomination and onto the list he went.

The Kraft organization then took the thousands of names that were nominated and selected 20 for each division.  McNeil made the cut and Kraft once again called him to ensure that he was prepared for all the news coverage there would be.

McNeil was up to it.

The T-shirt tells it all. John McNeil wants everyone in this city to let 19 other communities in Ontario be aware of the Burlington Bulldogs – they are out there gunning for the $100,0000 that Kraft Foods wants to hand out to a minor hockey association.

Now McNeil doesn’t actually play hockey, he wishes he had,  but he missed that sport for the most part.  His job with BLOMHA, the Burlington Lions Optimists Minor Hockey Association is to handle everything “off  ice” as he puts it.  He has  coaches galore that he works with; his job is to ensure that everything comes together – which he apparently does so well that Priestner put his name forward.

Burlington was now about to see just how well McNeil hustles.  He plans to use all the old marketing skills he has along with everything social media will let him do.  Can McNeil pull it off?  Will the city get behind this initiative and pull in the $100,000 Kraft Foods is putting on the table?

First thing he did was get to the media; then he put out calls to all the other sports organizations in town and ask them to support McNeil and BLOMHA.

The prize is well worth the effort.  Kraft will donate $100,000 to BLOMHA which McNeil hopes gets used to cover the costs of the kids who can’t afford to play hockey – “it can get expensive” said McNeil.  Besides the $100,000 top prize there are four $20,000 prizes

CBC recently reported that the average family with kids in hockey spend $1,000 per child on fees and equipment.  For McNeil getting those kids whose families just can’t afford that amount – this is a big deal.  He would like to see some of the money spent on upgrading equipment the organization already has and then spend money on upgrading the skills of  both the coaches and the players.

If you’re within five feet of John McNeil he will put one of these flyers in your hands and badger you to log into the Hockey Goes On web site and be part of the effort to bring $100,000 to BLOMHA

Flyers have gone out to anyone who will pass them out.  McNeil asked the Mayor to mention the event on his blog.  Teams of kids will be at the BLOMHA offices on Saturday working the computers and voting as often as they can.  “We want them there in two-hour shift” said McNeil.  There will be all the pizza they can eat.

McNeil realizes that the other communities will be doing exactly the same thing – looking for every possible angle to get anyone and everyone logging in and voting  – and voting – and voting.

Burlington is up against Stittsville, Goderich, Atikokan, Barrie, Renfrew, Verona, Sarnia, Weston, Langton, Moose Factory, Kitchener, Prescott, Napanee, Pelham, Amherstview, Lakefield, Cornwall, Brampton and Fergus.

Some of those smaller town have great community spirit.  Is theirs greater than Burlington?  We will know sometime next week.

There is a website link to the story on the work he does with his team and minor hockey in Burlington This is where you vote.

This is what you are looking for on the voting web site. It will be red when you get to it on Saturday morning. Vote early and vote often – as often as you like.

In the upper right hand corner you will see a button – it will be red when the contest starts

So from 9am this Saturday,  March 23 to midnight Sunday,  March 24, you can vote as many times as you can. Help bring this funding to the kids. All it takes is clicks.

John McNeil is leading this push – he’s the guy they nominated so he is the guy Burlington wants to push over the top; it’s almost like dialing for dollars.

First thing Saturday morning you go to the web site – look for that red button in the upper right hand corner and click.

Log out and go back in and click again – and just keep on clicking.  There is no limit on how many times you can vote for McNeil.

John McNeil was described by Priestner as “the “Manager Extraordinaire” of the Major Atom A Burlington Bulldogs (BLOMHA) of the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario. John is the heart and soul of our team and what he gives back to hockey you must see with your own eyes to believe! He is the epitome of a true sports fan. He lives, eats, and breathes Bulldogs!

“His level of organization is second to none. Parents new to the team this year will constantly question if he is “for real”. His weekly emails and reminders are full of detail. He maintains a phenomenal website with up to date stats, team summaries and also takes fabulous photos to share. Tournaments are a thing of beauty with John’s attention to detail ensuring a fantastic experience for every family and never a worry.”

“Social events for the team are hosted at John’s place, the highlight being the Parents’ Christmas Social until the wee hours. Or, arranging a party bus for parents to attend a “Cupids for Cancer” fundraiser. John truly never misses a trick. A highlight for the boys came in the form of John McSanta, distributing some serious Bulldogs swag Christmas presents at a super fun team Christmas party.”

“His level of dedication is witnessed when he is the first to arrive at the rink to hang our team banners or the last to leave and clean up. He is a critical fundraiser for the team with contacts galore. In case he didn’t have enough responsibility, he is also organizing the illustrious Ontario Hockey Federation Playoffs which we are hosting this year.”

“I can’t honestly believe that John ever has time to do his day job, given that he seems to give every hour of his day to this team. When we won the Alliance provincials last year, John surprised the boys by setting up an NHL style dressing room with their names posted over their hooks and motivational signage. They were thrilled! He continuously goes beyond the call of duty and we appreciate the care and kindness he provides to our boys! John’s heart barks for the Bulldogs!”

That from one parent: Let’s see how loud Burlington can bark for McNeil.

That website link again.


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Chilly Half Marathon floods the downtown core and brings traffic to a halt on Lakeshore Road.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  March 6, 2013.  It was close to perfect weather for a solid 5k run and Burlington was just the place to do it – along Lakeshore Road with either water on one side of the road or grand homes you could never afford to live in but are nice to look at on the other side.

The Chilly 5k is a commercial venture that brings 3500 + runners to the city.  They flood the downtown core and with the Performing Arts Centre open they had a place to store their gear while they ran.

Last year, when Mayor Goldring announced the start of the event he said in a rather grand voice that Burlington was the running capital of the province.

His statement was very close to the truth.  Burlington hosts the Chilly 5K and the Santa run.  Both draw thousands.  What kind of economic impact do these people have on the city?   Anyone driving through downtown Burlington Sunday afternoon would never have known there was a massive event earlier in the day – so it appears they don’t stay very long.  But while they are here – they take over the town.

Clearly an economic development opportunity here – if we could keep even a thousand of them in town for the balance of the day the merchants would feel the love as they say in the biz world.

Kune Hua, A cinema photographer with a sharp eye when looking through his lens and a fast hand in the editing room – expect to see more of his work in the city.

Kune Hua,  a cinema photographer with a very deft touch and an ability to catch the mood of an event.  He appears to have a fine eye and a very practiced hand in the editing room.  Hua, who has done some excellent work for the city in the past, decided he wanted to capture this event and spent the day out on the street with his camera.

This piece of film along with others he expect to be doing are being collected under his What’s Good in my Hood collection of videos that will be featured on Our Burlington and other platforms Hua is developing.

He is currently marketing his services to the commercial markets and has created a number of packages that fit different budgets and cinematic needs.  This is a fellow worth watching.  www.trueessencemedia.com

The race, more of a mixture of young people who really want to race and thousands of others who are out for the day.   While Lakeshore is a lovely location there are others in the city that are just as pleasant to use and less intrusive in terms of traffic flow. No word yet on just how much was raised for the Joseph Brant Hospital.

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This comes with your Canadian passport – natural ice in a natural setting – tax free.

By James Smith

BURLINGTON, ON  January 27, 2013  This is as Canadian as it gets – folks taking advantage of the cold to play shinny on the storm water retention pond on the north side of North Service Road just west of Guelph Line.

Coincidentally the same weekend as the start of the Last Burlington Winter Carnival.

With a game being played on one ice pad parents remove surface snow for a second pad.  Who said the Winter Games couldn’t be played this year?

I loved finding wild ice and playing shinny or just going for a skate when was a kid in Montreal and Etobicoke. These games always seemed more satisfying than our organized hockey league games. When my kids were little, we made our way to the marsh in Bronte several times for this kind of skating  fun.

One could say something cliché about how this is oh so Canadian, but heck, it really, really is!

There’s just something wonderful about people without a whole lot of planning  taking advantage of an impromptu situation and making the most of it. These kids will remember this experience all their lives.

My only quibble is this is a busy stretch of roadway, & is a little dangerous, pity there’s no place to park other than the shoulder of the road. I do hope the City Parking Storm Troopers don’t get wind of this!

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Santa parade crowds were smaller. BTTB was out in force and the Ho ho man was smiling away.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON          December 3, 2012  The weather certainly wasn’t promising.  It has rained much of the morning but the people that make parades happen were determined and they apparently knew something most weren’t certain about – and that was that there wasn’t going to be any rain on the 2012 Santa Claus parade.  And except for a drop or two – there was no rain.

The trick was to find a place where all the chairs could be set up and have a clear line of sight. This family was working it out.

Burlington is just at the half way point with the United Way donations – short close to $1 million. Need to up our game.

The crowds were much smaller and except for a couple of snow men in the parade and a fat little snow man on the Sound of Music float blow bits of snow into the air, there were no signs of winter either.

Burlington Transit put their most festive bus into the parade. The language doesn’t matter – the message is still the same.

While the weather wasn’t great most people put up with it – these guys weren’t happy though – they were wet and they wanted to go home.

Burlingtonians are a hardy lot and they were out on the street, wrapped in blankets with plastic rain slickers at the ready and an umbrella just in case there was a down pour.

The parade started at the Burlington Mall, worked its way down Guelph Line to New Street then west along to Brant and north to Caroline.  Then home for hot chocolate.

They fill the street and they are Magnificent to look at – Burlington’s Teen Tour Band

The Toronto Maple Leafs put their traveling dressing room into the parade. For those who were around in 1967 – the float had some meaning.

The Salvation Army is there for the good times and during the hard times. The parade was one of the Good Times.

The M M Robinson high school band, good form, great discipline and a habit of rushing a crowd.

Miss Magnolia danced up a storm every step of the way.

The wind was getting the best of this Christmas clown but he held on.

Not a snow flake in the air to keep Mr. Snowman company.

They were young, they were energetic and they were all over the street – having a great time.

Saxophones added to the sound – it was jingle bells all the way!

You would want a glove on that right hand – the metal would be cold but the music was just fine.

McMaster University’s band wasn’t taking any chances – they all were plastic slickers. They’ve been through this kind of thing before.

We sometimes lose sight of what the Season is about. Did parents watching the floats pass by use the opportunity to spread the message?

Notre Dame Secondary Catholic school’s Fighting Irish were out in force with a festive look.

The Ho Ho Ho man himself. The commercial reason for the season.

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Christmas Spirit arrived in Burlington last week – it was delivered by a bunch of hockey coaches.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 26, 2012  That stuff about Christmas starting the day after Halloween is a little too rushed for me.  I like to ease into Christmas reasonable early in December and like it when the store and supermarkets ease me into the Christmas Season.

While driving home earlier this week the wife burst into the house and said “you aren’t going to believe this but there is a house down the street that already has their Christmas tree up.  I looked on my way out later and sure enough – there it was – a white plastic one to boot.

Christmas has a sense of season about it but that Christmas Spirit isn’t something we control nor is it something we can decide has to appear when we want it.  Like all things spiritual – we are on the receiving end – it arrives when it is supposed to arrive.

Jill Harrington a wacky, wired, single Mother run the Christmas For Seniors event.  It’s an organization that keeps in touch with different seniors groups across the city and asks them what they would like for Christmas.  These are people who are a bit on the being alone side; their family isn’t in the area, the spouses may no longer be with them.  They have fond memories of Christmas past and don’t want for all that much.

Harrington collects the names and what they would like and then places tags on Christmas trees that are put up in stores, office buildings – wherever she can get a tree she can put tags on.

A typical Children of Christmas Past tree set up in more than 30location in Burlington with trees also set up in Alberta and Nova Scotia.

People see the tree, see the tags, look at what is being asked for and if they feel the gift is something they can give they buy the gift, get it to Harrington who then delivers it to the senior.

Yes, it is labour intensive and Harrington does the work while holding down a full time job and raising a delightful ten year old boy who is still on the shy side.

Harrington handles it all by multitasking.  During one of our conversations Harrington appears to be talking to someone other than me – “not too much chocolate in the coffee please” which had nothing to do with the conversation we were having.

Harrington had sent me a note telling me of a huge surprise she got.

She had said to her seniors: “Wish with a big heart – what would you like, what do you need?”

To her surprise there were six requests for chairs that have the capacity to lift a person from the chair to a standing position.  They are called “reclining lift chairs”.

Harrington had no idea where she was going to find the money to pay for these gift requests but she knew that if she did raise the money she would have to get some help delivering the chairs.  They aren’t the kind of thing you tuck under your arm as you ring a doorbell to deliver a gift.

Harrington knows everyone you need to know to operate in Burlington.  She got herself in front of the Bulldogs coach at the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association and asked if they could lend her someone with a truck to deliver the chairs – assuming she could raise the money to buy them.

In no particular order Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association coaches and staff with Burlington’s Mayor. Sheila Ramage, Kelly Meikle, Tim Wilson, Doug Rogers, Perry Lake, Scott Wright, Mike Milford and Rusty Reingruber. The coaches put up the funds to pay for the reclining lift chairs and said they would handle the delivery as well.

The coaches listened politely and told Harrington they would get back to her.  That was the best she could do, she thanked them for their time and moved on to the next challenge.  In less than ten minutes she got a text on her smart phone BLOMHA:

Hi Jill,

The Bulldogs are going to purchase the 6 chairs you require for your Seniors. I pitched it to the group of Coaches and all 25 Bulldogs Teams are going to chip in and buy these chairs ($600 each) Congratulations!!!!!!  Great cause.

Tim Wilson, a BLOMHA coach

BLOMHA would pay for all six chairs – and yes they would arrange for the delivery as well. The association is paying for two of the six with the coaches paying for the other four.

The Christmas Spirit had arrived a little earlier than Harrington expected and so did the tears that just flooded down her face.

The Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey association was formed in 1951 by members of the Burlington Central Lions Club and the Optimist Club of Burlington, making it one of the oldest, longest serving youth organizations in our city. Members of both clubs were once actively involved in the operation of the organization. BLOMHA is governed by Hockey Canada, Ontario Hockey Federation and Alliance Hockey.

They are a not for profit, non-share corporation and volunteer based organization with 2,250 players registered making them the largest minor hockey association in our city. Their aims and objectives are to foster, promote and teach amateur hockey within the City of Burlington and to provide the maximum opportunity for all eligible individuals to participate regardless of their ability.

There are close to 500 volunteers registered to assist in the running of the program, which includes the operation of about 135 teams. All coaches, team trainers and other volunteers are fully qualified, accredited and insured, in keeping with the guidelines issued by governing bodies of minor hockey in Canada.

Cups. trophies, plaques and pictures – all the signs of hockey players as they move from one level to another; from one tournament to the next. BLOMHA’s 25 coaches take several thousand players through the training and the physical development every year.

A key goal of BLOMHA is to provide programs that develop each player’s full potential, subject to talent, ability and enjoyment of the game. Hockey is a competitive game therefore we are organized into three progressively competitive levels. BLOMHA is the only minor hockey association in Burlington that offers a complete range of programs available to all players regardless of ability.

Harrington was grateful that BLOHMA came through and with “thank you’s” galore done, she adjusted to the great news and the extraordinary act of kindness and moved on to collecting the gift requests and making up the tags that would go on Christmas trees and then actually getting the tags to the trees they are going to go on.

It gets a little hectic for Harrington but the work is made so much easier when she gets a response like the one she got from the Bulldogs.

Christmas for Seniors is in its thirteenth year of operation.  It grows year after year.  Last year there were 3,230 requests; Harrington expects that to go to more than 4000 in 2012  .

There are  30 trees in Burlington locations.

Harrington does the work with no form of remuneration, she doesn’t even get gas money.  Everything that comes in is donated and it goes out the door to a senior who might not otherwise get a Christmas gift.

The names of people asking for a gift are collected by people who work in retirement homes, nursing homes, long term care facilities and  people who work one on one with seniors.

Jill Harrington, Executive Director of the Christmas for Seniors charity works with her son Noah sorting tags that will be placed on Christmas trees where people can choose a gift they would like to give

Each location is given a spread sheet file that Harrington sends them.  The names and the gift they would like are entered on the spread sheets which are then aggregated to create a master list which Harrington then uses to create the tags that get placed on Christmas trees.  People pick up a tag, purchase and wrap the gift and then deliver it to Harrington’s home.  “There is a box on the porch – it’s the greatest honour system you can imagine.  Elves come by several times a day and put the gift inside the box” adds Harrington. “I call them elves”.

The gifts are stored at Harrington’s house until the day before Christmas. “We used to deliver them on Christmas Day but there were just too many to get done in the one day so now they are delivered a day or so before Christmas and handed out Christmas day.

Harrington has what she calls “elves” – these are people that arrange for the collection of the gift.  “There are a couple of dozen people who have a key to my house; the just come in put the gifts in a pile and we sort and get them ready for delivery.

A little unorganized?  Labour intensive?  Could a more efficient system be created?  Probably; but right now Harrington is focused on getting the labels out on the trees and then getting the gifts back to her house and delivered to their Christmas Day destinations.

The request for the reclining lift chairs was  a little on the “high” side.  “It was totally unexpected” said Harrington but once I had the request I thought ‘what the heck’.  Let me ask someone and see where it gets me.”

Could be if that’s the way you choose to see it.  Harrington asked the seniors:  what would you ‘wish’ for?

How plugged up does her house get?  Well her son does have to give up a part of his room when Christmas is just a week or so away but they manage to find the space they need.  “At some point” Harrington admits, “we are going to have to change the way we run this charity”.  She is organized as a non profit but doesn’t have charitable status. “I don’t need it right now”, says Harrington.

If you want to help out – send Harrington an email.   Visit the web site 

The program is growing beyond Burlington .  There are trees set up in Nova Scotia and Alberta.  Not easy to administrate all that from Burlington and Harrington realizes it is time to move from her dining room table to an office and secure the funding to allow her to develop it into a national program. “We are going to have more seniors to care for – not fewer” explains Harrington and there will be many of them who don’t have family to both care for them and remember them.

The poster identifies a tree that will have tags identifying a charity for Children of Christmas Past.

Harrington has both compassion for seniors and empathy for their plight.  She is currently working on a book on “elder abuse” and assuring that older people can live their lives with dignity. Once that has been turned over to her publisher’s  Jill Harrington is going to become a regular columnist for Our Burlington and will write about seniors for seniors.  Should be interesting.

This project has been a grind for Jill Harrington; 13 years of running around every day for the last quarter of every year and putting in five to six hours every night, usually with the help of her son Noah and an hour or so more once he is tucked into bed.

“You know” commented Harrington, after a talk about where this project can go, should go in the future, “in all the years I’ve been doing this – no one has asked me what I want for Christmas”.  Telling isn’t it.

The gift from the hockey coaches though was gift enough for Jill Harrington.

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Bayhawks Soccer U14’s & U16’s show up at council meeting to be congratulated for a superb year. Take a pass on council meeting.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 5, 2012  The Council Chamber was close to filled with dozens of young women in sports sweats, many wearing medals that clinked together as they walked.  Were they there to delegate to Council?  All of them?  That would be unusual.  They were polite and when Mayor Goldring announced why they were there they trooped to the podium and gathered while the Mayor explained.

Burlington Bayhawks Under 14 girls soccer team, pose for the camera after being recognized by city council for an outstanding season

This was the 50th anniversary of the Burlington Youth Soccer Club and the two groups;  the U14 and the U16 Burlington Bayhawks soccer teams were there to be recognized for an outstanding year on the soccer field.  They won at every level they played at.

Burlington Bayhawks wearing their “bling” and waiting to be called to the podium.

During the presentation, the members of each team were given a pin with the city crest on it – they were photographed and told they didn’t have to stay for the rest of the Council meeting – they left immediately – these kids know a dull show when they see one.

The club has done very well with its program.  Five of the women who played on Canada’s Olympic Soccer team came out of the Burlington program; probably more from Burlington than any other club in Canada.  A record for which they have every right to be very proud.

The Burlington Bayhawks Girls Under 16 came out on top in the Ontario Youth Soccer West Division; the Ontario Youth Soccer level;  the Ontario Cup, the National Cup and added to that five first places in competitions that took place in the United States.

The team record for the season was 45 wins; 3 ties and 1 loss.

Burlington Bayhawks – girls under 16 soccer team took every level they played at during the season.

The Burlington Bayhawks Under 14 Girls did just as well.  They triumphed at the National Cup level, the Ontario Youth level and the Ontario Cup level.

Their season record was 27 wins, 4 ties and five losses with 115 goals earned and 31 against.  These 14 year olds will move on to the U16 level where they will be a very competitive team.

With five,  2012 soccer Olympians coming out of the Burlington club – Canadians are likely to see our teams in the finals much more often. We may just begin to see a winning streak we have not seen for some time.

Mayor Goldring suggested that the teams’ success was a direct result of the “pep” talk he and Councillor Sharman gave the two teams before they left to compete in Vaughan and Prince Edward Island.  Watching those girls stride to the podium to be congratulated, left little doubt in the minds of all  that they didn’t need much in the way of “pep” talks to win.  These girls were champions!

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She writes, she wins awards, drives like the proverbial bat out of **** – and she dances.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 5, 2012   There was a banquet recently at which awards were given out by the Automotive Journalists of Canada  association.  Burlington`s Lorraine Sommerfeld always wins an award for something – there`s that sense of entitlement she has to which you have to add that she is really pretty good.  Damn good actually.

She brings to her columns as an automotive writer a sparkle, a sharp wit and more technical knowledge than some of the guys over at Canadian Tire.

We first met Sommerfeld at a Shape Burlington community event and then got to know her a bit better when we realized she and her boys were a part of the Boich family and was a best friend supporter to Arlene Miller, the late John Boich`s wife.  She`s the kind of person that is `there ‘when you need her.  During some of the darker days at the Boich household Sommerfeld would show up with a car that only a high maintenance wife would get to drive around and she and Arlene would head up into the Escarpment to give Arlene a sense of what it meant to really own the road.

A couple of weeks ago was – well let her tell the full story. “Last night was the AJAC banquet, where they name annual winners in the automotive journalism world. There are 5 writing categories, one photography one and one layout. I won a writing one. I really wanted to win one for my picture of the red car with the stork thing, but, they were having none of that, apparently.

“Wakefield/Castrol offers an award in Technical Topics. I submitted several of my pieces and one of them won.. It was a column of mine that has a Ferris Bueller quote in it. And the word ‘penis’.

“The problem was, I was at a table chatting away with friends, and we weren’t paying attention. Then they said my name. And we all started laughing. I finally got up and prayed I wouldn’t catch my heel on the table cloth or something, and was giggling like an idiot. After I sat down, I decided to look and see what I’d won, because of that not paying attention thing. When I read ‘technical topics’ I realized why the room had gotten so quiet. I got told later even my editor looked shocked. And my other editor told people it was because of the headline I won. He writes the headlines.

Lorraine Sommerfeld, learning to dance. she’s normally in a pair of jeans and behind the wheel of a car

Sommerfeld can be found in the Globe and Mail, the Spectator and on Rogers Cable.  Maybe she will write for Our Burlington?  She never offered to take me for a spin in one of those really fancy cars she gets to drive as an automotive journalist.

That`s Lorraine Sommerfeld – oh, she dances too.

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Is Burlington a natural cycling city or is riding a bike a weekend activity? And how does riding my bike fit in with sustainable development?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 12, 2012   Sustainable Development, is one of the city’s advisory committees; one of the Mayors favourites.  They are hosting an event to show residents that there are several ways to enjoy cycling as a primary form of transportation in Burlington.

What does this have to do with sustainable development?  And is cycling really a primary form of transportation in a city like Burlington and in the Canadian climate?

As part of the Take Action Burlington program, “Get in Gear” is bringing  together medical, environmental and social experts to discuss ideal ways to make cycling safe, fun and rewarding in Burlington.  The event – free – takes place at Central Library (2331 New St.) on Thursday, Oct. 18, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Special guests at Take Action Burlington: Get in Gear, include:  Dr. Monir Taha, Assoc. Medical Officer of Health,  Halton Region, Kevin Love, Burlington Sustainable Development Committee, Justin Jones, Clean Air Partnership, Abram Bergen, THAAT Delivery, and Jack Dennison, Burlington Ward 4 City Councillor

For Rob Narejko  a good ride on one of his bikes is better than a night out. A passionate believer in greater use of bicycles, Narejko has served on the city’s cycling committee for some time. He recently led a night ride that had some 20+ people out on the roads at night.

“Burlington is a city of vibrant neighbourhoods criss-crossed by multi-use paths and bike lanes – and there will be more to come,” says  avid cyclist and Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison. “It is a council priority to increase the number of people who cycle, walk and roll in Burlington.”

Dennison is a major supporter of cycle use in the city but during the process of setting the budget for 2012 he carved large chunks of money out of gas tax money we get for transit and shoved it into “shave and pave” – so that our roads will last a little longer.  Now Jack will argue that he was saving money by investing in infrastructure and he might be right.

Scott Stewart, “general manager of development and infrastructure sees “a genuine need to make cycling in Burlington more accessible and more enjoyable. ”   What does that mean?  How realistic is it all?

Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and

the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.”

The sustainable development philosophy requires that we see the world as a system—a system that connects space; and a system that connects time.  When you think of the world as a system over space, you grow to understand that air pollution from North America affects air quality in Asia, and that pesticides sprayed in Argentina could harm fish stocks off the coast of Australia.

And when you think of the world as a system over time, you start to realize that the decisions our grandparents made about how to farm the land continue to affect agricultural practice today; and the economic policies we endorse today will have an impact on urban poverty when our children are adults.

We also understand that quality of life is a system, too. It’s good to be physically healthy, but what if you are poor and don’t have access to education?   It’s good to have a secure income, but what if the air in your part of the world is unclean? And it’s good to have freedom of religious expression, but what if you can’t feed your family?

Special lanes for bicycles and the speed at which vehicles travel along city roads are an ongoing concern for Rob Narejko  who stands here beside recently painted sharrows on city streets.

The concept of sustainable development is rooted in this sort of systems thinking. It helps us understand ourselves and our world. The problems we face are complex and serious—and we can’t address them in the same way we created them. But we can address them.

Fine, I buy into most of that.  No doubt in the minds of most people, that we are experiencing global warming and we’re pretty sure we know why this is happening.  And, we know that we can do something about the way we treat the climate we have.  But, is riding my bike down Guelph Line going to change the environment?  It gives me a pretty decent chance of getting killed as I try to get over the QEW hump.  I’m not safe until I get to Woodward Avenue, where I can make a right hand turn and pedal pleasantly along as I make my way to city hall, where I spend far too much of my time.

I’ll do what I can to save this planet.  But please don’t ask me to get on my bike and roll along Guelph Line – it just ain’t safe.

At a recent Council committee meeting Rob Narejko, a biggy in Burlington cycling circles delegated on the speed limits on various roads in the city with Walker’s Line getting most of the attention. Walkers Line, north of Dundas, really isn’t a properly paved road; it’s a pitch and chip covered road that doesn’t have much in the way of a shoulder for cyclists but they like it nevertheless; it’s the safest of the three roads that carry traffic into the northern part of the city.

It is also the road the cyclists like to use because it has the kind of terrain they like and it is pretty safe as far as the speed of the passing traffic goes.

From a sustainability point of view – isn’t Walkers Line then a road we would want to upgrade so that there was space on the sides for cyclists and wouldn’t we want to keep the speed limit at the 50k?  Isn’t that what we mean by sustainability?

There is an opportunity to develop a very healthy Eco-tourism business in the city if we provide roads that are safe and speed limits that take into account the fact that people use the roads as well.  THAT is what sustainability is really about.

There was no mention of upgrading Walkers Line and there was no suggestion that this should be made a “wanna get” in our long range budget thinking.  Unfortunate.  It will be interesting to hear what the experts have to say.

Meanwhile Eva Amos, an Our Burlington reader,  reflects what appears to be the prevailing view in this city: Burlington is “Quickly becoming  not one of the very best places to live if you are a motorist in Burlington.  The population is exploding, the roads are being narrowed, the aggressive driving is increasing largely due to the configuration of the roads.  Prime examples are Lakeshore in the downtown core which was to have been a pilot project, deferred for review to 2011. 

No review yet.  Now the narrowing of Guelph Line, Walkers Line and Appleby Line south of New street and Plains Road.    Stand on any one of these corners and with every light change you will see the aggressive drivers driving up the short curb lanes only to cut off the drivers in the single through lane.  Add to this, the long line of idling cars trying to squeeze into the single lanes adding to the pollution.    Councillors and Mr. Mayor.  You are not going to get the majority of people in Burlington on bikes.  Please give us back our roads so we can get around the city in a safe and timely fashion.  We have wonderful bike paths throughout the city for our cyclists, I being one of them.


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Riding horses – chomping at the bit.

By Margaret Lindsay Holton

BURLINGTON, ON  October 12, 2012  When I was seventeen I was in a car accident and broke my back. I was in a body brace for eight months and it took me two full years to walk properly again. During my final examination, the specialist told me that I had been very lucky. He said I could have been paralyzed for life. He strongly advised that I never ride a motorbike, water-ski or horseback ride ever again. As he said, “It would be tempting Fate.” Somber words, yet, even so, as a teenager, I needed to KNOW my real physical limitations. So, within another two years, I got my motorcycle license, went on a marathon water-skiing weekend in Northern Ontario, and, in the Brecon Beacon National Park of Wales, went horse-back riding – for the very last time.

While passing through the quaint farming village of Crickhowell situated on the River Usk below Table Mountain, I decided I wanted to give it a try. Yes, I wanted to ride in that breath-taking Welsh countryside. I found a local farm that offered a ‘trail ride’ on top of the overshadowing Brecon Beacons.

Soon I was mounted up on a lovely tempered 15 hand chestnut mare named ‘Jewel’. Jack, the stable owner, and myself trotted up into the wind-swept barren splendor of those magnificent rolling hills. The landscape was riveting. It was a fabulous, and memorable ride, but not just because of the views.

Jack had offered a word of caution when we had set out from the barn, “Watch out for the wild ponies. Look, but whatever you do, Do Not Engage.”  Sure enough, while cantering along an upper ridge, we saw a small herd grazing in the gulley below. We dutifully steered clear, but, it appears we were ‘up wind’ because within a matter of minutes the feisty black stallion from this wild pony herd appeared beside us on the ridge. Jack tried to spook him off but he was not deterred. The stallion watched and paced along beside us for several minutes.

Our horses became very restless and my mare began an intense head bounce that pulled the reins from my hands. Within seconds, she bolted. Mayhem ensued. As she galloped off I held onto her mane for dear life. The pony stallion fell into pursuit and came thundering up beside us. The mare began dodging and weaving. All I could think of was staying on. My legs were clenched tight around her body.

The stallion roughly body-slammed us and reared up, stallion like. I was ABSOLUTELY terrified. Meanwhile, Jack had been in hot pursuit and with his much larger horse body-slammed, shouting, into the rearing and kicking pony stallion. I fell off the back end of the mare onto the ground. The startled stallion abruptly turned on its heel and ran back to his herd. Jack jumped off his steed and ran over. Luckily, I was badly shaken up, but otherwise, fine, nothing broken. Jack helped me back up onto the now jittery (but also fine) ‘Jewel’ and we slowly walked back down to the farm. The gods, in their infinite wisdom, had sent a clear ‘WARNING’. And I haven’t ridden since.


Horses have as much personality as your favourite dog or cat.

I think every child, especially those born in the country, go through a ‘horsey’ stage.  One of my first memories of ‘riding’ was ‘cantering’ around the neighbour’s field as an infant, barefoot, neighing, with my friend’s fuzzy head bopping along in front of me.  Then began the ferocious reading of various children’s horse stories   . followed by the obsessive collecting of porcelain horse figurines and finally, I was fixated on horse films, like National Velvet,  , (starring an unknown child actress, Elizabeth Taylor). My friends and I, at the age of 10, were absolutely horse mad.

Over the years, I was taught to ride ‘English’, even though our neighbours rode ‘Western’. I had always wanted to ride ‘bareback’ but never had the nerve. Trust me, it really does take some nerve. My friend would run up then catapult herself onto the back of one of their burr encrusted field ponies and just take off, gleeful. I never had the guts to do that.

After an assortment of riding academies from Freelton to Kilbride, I finally found my favourite ride, Geronimo, a palomino blend with a frisky spirit to match. Those were fun years. Several hours of every Saturday were devoted to the barn: sweeping and hosing down the stalls, grooming the beast, followed by long joy-filled rides back country, blissful under the autumn sun.  But, during the mid-teen years, my equine interest began to wane. I discovered the joy – and freedom – of driving a car, and soon, I quietly left all things horsey behind …

Back to the barn.

Except, every fall, when the autumn colours turn vibrant, and the air turns crisp and clear again, I find I still long for a gentle canter with Geronimo along those dusty trails through the hidden back fields of Halton County.

Yet, to do so now, would, methinks, severely test Fate …


Back fields of Burlington, on top of the Escarpment, Region of Halton.

In Burlington, experienced and inexperienced riders can saddle up at the following stables:

Bayview Equestrian Centre

Bertin Stables

Parish Ridge Stables

Reschburl Equestrian Centre

Readers are advised to familiarize themselves with individual horse farms to find the horse or pony that best suits their own level of expertise and character.  Horses have as much personality as your favourite dog or cat.  Judge, and ride, accordingly.

Margaret Lindsay Holton is both an environmentalist and a community activist.  She is an artist of some renown and the designer of a typeface.  She is also a photographer and the holder of opinions, which are her own, that she will share with you in an instant.   She appears as an Our Burlington columnist every two weeks.  Unless otherwise stated all photography was done by MLH.


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

By Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bateman Wild Senior’s football puts 30 member squad on field; now want to win their tier, Pearson & Aldershot need to be beat.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 12, 2012   There they were, out on the field, grunting, running, stretching their limbs – more than thirty of them practicing as the Bateman High School Senior Football team.

The protesting team – from the left: John Phelps, Chad Doan, Kennedy Dyet and Chris Bishop.  When the football players learned their team had been scrubbed from the football schedule they took to the streets in protest.  They made their point and the football team is back on the field.  Now they might have to deal with a teacher work stoppage.

They had to protest to get there – but after a part of a day out on the street waving signs and seeking support for their team – they were back in business.

No one remembers when there was a demonstration by students at Bateman before and it took courage to make the decision to protest when they learned that their wasn’t going to be a Senior Bateman football team on the field for 2012.

Chris North sent an email to Our Burlington – we ran with his letter and followed up with a visit to the school to see how the protest and demonstration went.  While there, we saw some student behavior that was great, we saw kids talking in groups the way students around the world talk in groups and we saw students that were behaving – let’s be blunt about this – it was just plain dumb behaviour.  We certainly heard about that from more than 45 students and the parents of students.  That’s all part of an interactive process where people get to say what they think.  We will comment on how that went later in the week.

This piece is about the football team – the guys that decided they weren’t prepared to see their team disappear from the roster.  Chris Bishop led the group that was made up of Chad Doan, Kennedy Dyet and John Phelps.  All are back at Bateman doing an additional year to upgrade their marks.  All have clear plans to attend university with a pretty good idea of what it is they want to study.

Four high school football players who felt their team was wronged and took to the streets in protest. They made their point and are now back on the football field. Gotta be at least eight proud parents out there. From the left: John Phelps, Chad Doan, Kennedy Dyet and Chris Bishop.

Doan wants to study psychology.  “I’m interested in the way people behave and want to learn more about that”, said Doan, which led to questions about how the school administration behaved when they decided to shut down the team.

Chris Bishop thinks he wants to study criminology and maybe look into law.  Another student wants to study sports management.

The students felt they were told it would be “impossible” for a senior team to be put together and so they were scrubbed from the schedule.

“They had a mind-set and didn’t think we could field a team” said Dyet who coaches a team in the Burlington Minor Football Association.

These four young men didn’t see it that way.  They believed they could mount a team but, just as important to them was the rule that would mean there would be no team playing the following year if they did not mount a team this year – and these four young men didn’t want to see that happen to those that would follow them.

Kennedy Dyet wonders why they had to protest. “We were told there was nothing they could do for us” but once the protest was underway the principal of the school met with the football players and asked how he could help.

It looks as if the Phys-ed people had given up on the students and pulled the team from the schedule.  The students say they weren’t told the team was being pulled. There was clearly a lot of energy and enthusiasm on the part of at least some members of the team, which when identified, moved the administration to get behind the students.  Now the football players have to get the school behind the team and begin winning some games.

On Tuesday evening there were 29 seniors out on the field – huffing and puffing through the exercises.  It looked like a good workout from the side lines.

The Bateman Seniors are a Tier 3 team – they want to move to at least Tier 2 and see Pearson and Aldershot as the schools they have to beat.  “We’ve got six to seven regular games in the season” explained  Dyet “and then the semi-finals.

Football team protests the scrubbing of their team from the schedule. Administration changes its mind – team out practicing – next they have to win some games.

Chris Bishop feels the support they need is now there for them within the administration but also feels that it wasn’t there for them before they hit the streets with their signs.  “The principal did meet with us at the Bistro and asked us what it was we wanted and we told him we wanted our team on the field.  “Mr. Heffernan said he would do everything he could to help us – that’s all we wanted” said Bishop.

Kennedy Dyet added that the volleyball players are battling for a program “and we think what we’ve done will help them get what they feel they deserve.”

“We had faith that we could make out point” added Dyet “and now we have to do the hard work.”

The players commented on the new coaching staff they have. “These guys have great history commented” commented Chad, “one of our coaches was with Team Canada.”

Is there a problem with the commitment level on the part of the phys-ed staff and the school administration at Bateman?  May have been. Had they given up on their students and as Kennedy put it, brought a “mind set” to the table that prevented them from seeing what the students wanted and what they were prepared to do.

Will the “no strike” legislation the provincial government has passed impact this football team that has shown it wants to be out on the field playing the game.  Are teacher politics going to get in the way of the educational process the way it did in when the Mike Harris government was battling the teachers?

The young men we talked to were polite, focused, left me feeling there was a clear sense of purpose and an objective they had thought through.  I came away with the feeling that there are eight proud parents out there somewhere.

The task now is to develop and condition their team and support them with enthusiasm that provides the energy and that extra bit of “make it happen” that a cheering crowd can give a team.  All four young men know  exactly what a cheering audience can do for athletes.

Go Wild!



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Bateman Wilds football team take to the streets to protest the decision to shut down the team.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON   September 10, 2012    The team was supposedly shut down because they couldn’t  field a full squad – but that wasn’t the way the Bateman Wilds saw things so they took to the streets with an early Monday morning sidewalk protest in front of the school.

Bateman High’s Phys-Ed staff didn’t think the school could field a full squad and took steps to cancel the fall program. Football players took to the streets in protest

Chris Bishop – certainly a football player given his size, was the spokesperson for the group and the person who sang the team cheer the loudest.

There are teachers at Bateman High that would like to see this much effort IN the classroom. The football players take their message to the streets.

If a football squad needs 30 people,  there were more than 30 enthusiastic students out there this morning. `We`re here for the day” explained Bishop, as he headed back to the fellow football players on the side walk exhorting every car that passed to honk their horns in support.

Bishop added that “if you put enough pressure on something there will be a change” and he fully expects the staff at the high school to rescind the decision.

Bishop thinks the school didn’t give the football players the time they needed to pull their team together and feels they acted a little too early in shutting them down.

Not everyone at Bateman High focuses on football. This crowd, steps away from the protest, chats away before time to get into a classroom approaches. Different folks – different strokes.

Bateman High, located on New street east of Appleby Line is your typical large school where cars stream into the driveway to let students out and buses slip in and out efficiently.

Many of the students knew nothing about the football protest.  Like any other suburban high school there are different groups; the “fashion plates” are easy to identify; the geeks not so easy but they are there.  The women on the field hockey team with their sticks in hand as well as the “couple” that have something going.

The chatter between the different groups is loud at times, but not unduly so.  They carry a lot of books in those bags on their shoulders.

They stream off the bus that stops in in front of the school and all seem to arrive in large bunches.

Female student casually dropped the donut wrapper on the ground and puffed away on her cigarette while enjoying her coffee. The wrapper, shown on the right, blew away into the street.  Not the best or the brightest at Bateman High.

There are the “cool” ones; the slightly older crowd who, the morning I was there certainly weren’t anything to be proud of.  The smoking was bad enough – don’t they read? – but the blatant littering – one swishy female student just dropped the donut wrapper on the ground, while another cool dude with the crowd kept spitting on the sidewalk.  They certainly weren’t representative of the crowd; this lot did little for the schools reputation.

Bateman High staff look on as student protesters wave their signs and tell their side of the story. Can staff and students work this out? Will the Bateman Wild be on the field this season? Stay tuned

The football players planned on being on the street for the day.  At some point they will meet with the principal and the Phys-Ed people and work out a solution.  Someone in the Phys-Ed department is wishing the students had shown this level of enthusiasm earlier in the football season.   First practice is a couple of days away.  Will the “Wild” be on the field?  In strength?

Could this kind of enthusiasm take them to the finals?

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