Gymnastics club attracts 1200 athletes from 32 locations across Ontario for a most successful event.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 16, 2011 – More than 1200 young girls took part on the 23rd Annual gymnastic event hosted by the Burlington Gymnastics Club at the Central Recreation Centre and according to Betty Tate, Executive Director of the club the event was a “fabulous success. “No one was hurt and I am thrilled with the results.” The event, known as the Spring Cup, is Canada’s largest invitational gymnastics event three years running.

Members of the Burlington host club handed out the awards to their peers.

Members of the Burlington host club handed out the awards to their peers.

There were 125 Burlington families and their sibling participating in the event that had clubs from 32 communities across Canada. Not only was the event an athletic success but it was also a financial success and raised several thousand dollars for the club that needs a new roof on their Maple Avenue location.

“We are now at capacity in terms of the number of people we can accommodate at this location.

One of the really nice touches at this event was the having Burlington Club members hand out the medals. In the past, politicians or public personalities would do this task and they always serve as a draw but watching the Burlington kids drape the medals around the necks of their peers was something to watch. Good move on the part of the club.

While the event is an athletic one, it really isn’t about developing Olympic level athletes. Some of the girls do go on to advanced levels but the Burlington Gymnastics Club focuses on developing character and confidence. Meaghan Rice who won a Gold Medal for her floor performance and a Bronze for her work on the bars was more thrilled with the Bronze medal because it was the best bars work she had ever done.

Kathy Kline, a parent who was once a gymnast keeps a close eye on a gymnast doing vault work.

Kathy Kline, a parent who was once a gymnast keeps a close eye on a gymnast doing vault work.

Kathy Kline, a parent working with the Burlington girls doing vault work and on hand to catch a child that might falter, had a young girl say she was sorry for not doing as well as she wanted to. Kathy was quick to point out that “she had done her very best and next time she will do better. “We focus on developing their confidence” said Kline – “the skills follow.”   Kline, in an earlier life was a gymnast and knows what this kind of activity does to build character and confidence.  She, like many of the Mother’s on site helping out, did gymnastics and enjoy being part of the sport but, as Kline points out, she “doesn’t fly over a vault any more” Kline is both a parent with a child in the program and a competitive coach with BCG

Every move made on either the floor work, bars or vaults was photographed and available to the participants.  Two gymnasts look at a performance deciding if they want the picture.

Every move made on either the floor work, bars or vaults was photographed and available to the participants. Two gymnasts look at a performance deciding if they want the picture.

The event is very much a family thing. Teams are created for the set up and take down of the equipment; there is an awards team and a concessions team. Tate explains that the woman working the concession table will watch for sales and when they see a really good deal they will tell their colleagues who will then go out and buy up as much as and be well stocked with low cost food and drinks. This is about as community as you can get.

Tate, who works as a teacher at the Canadian National Ballet School and serves part time as the Burlington Gymnastic Club Executive Director, manages a collection of parent volunteers “without who none of what we do would ever get done”.

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Mayor throws a grounder, twins lose home opener 7-4 but the fans hang in while the weather refuses to cooperate.

By Sports Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 7, 2011 – It wasn’t one of his best moment but Mayor Rick Goldring was there throwing the ceremonial first ball at the home opener for the new to town Burlington Twins semi pro baseball team. The ball landed a foot or so into the ground before home plate – but the catcher as able to scoop it up.

New bleachers will soon be in place at Nelson where the Burlington Twins played their league home opener on Saturday.

New bleachers will soon be in place at Nelson where the Burlington Twins played their league home opener on Saturday.

There was a nice enough crowd and it was certainly a family event. The weather will be a little more cooperative as we get into May. The beer garden was open – need to gussy that up a bit, but the hot dog vendor was doing a brisk business.

The Twins were home to the Ottawa Fat Cats who won the opened 7-4. The game got just a little bit exciting when the Twins brought in four runs in the final inning but by that time the Fat Cats had too comfortable a lead.

Pitching with both teams was allright, some very good batting but the base players and those in the field need some work and help on both sides. The ground was a wee bit soggy which didn’t help. But it was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Meet friends ands- schmooze with your neighbours and let the kids tear around knowing they were safe. Michael Burgess gave a very, very spirited rendition of Oh Canada – held every note and we all got to feel the hair on our skin bristle just a bit as we all stood tall.

Burlington Twins rest up in the bull pen before the home opener at Nelson. Field was just a little on the damp side but it was a good game of baseball – final score of 7-4 for the other guys wasn’t very good though.

Burlington Twins rest up in the bull pen before the home opener at Nelson. Field was just a little on the damp side but it was a good game of baseball – final score of 7-4 for the other guys wasn’t very good though.

Elliott Kerr, team owner was seen watching over a bunch of young kids – think he was eyeing potential for a really young farm team.

 

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Fagan fades and city plus police prepare to pull the plug on the Canada Day cycle races planned for Burlington.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 6, 2011 – It was no great surprise but with considerable disappointment that Council meeting as a Committee learned that the promoter of the planned Championship level cycling events scheduled for late June and on Canada Day will not take place.

The Mayor and Deputy Police Chief Bob Percy were advised by letter that two of the four remaining events were going to take place elsewhere, which led Councillor John Taylor to say that he was going to vote to with draw Council support for the event. The police, who at this point were just totally fed up with Crag Fagan, head of Mid Week Cycling, the promoter of the event.

Two events were still a go – the event at Rattlesnake Point and the event in Aldershot/Waterdown but they won’t happen when the city pulls it support. The Hotel Association and the City had put up $50,000 in the way of grants – that money was held in escrow – so it isn’t lost.

Fagan didn’t have the decency to call either the Mayor or the police and thank them for their support and explain why he was moving two of the event, including the Canada Day marquee event, to some other location.

Chris Glen, chide parks guy in Burlington advised the Council Committee that they were not able to reach Fagan by telephone or email, which was pretty standard procedure for him. When there was a problem – Fagan faded.

The Halton District Police Service should now issue an arrest warrant for Fagan due to the cheque that he bounded.

Sports cycling has a future in Burlington – we just need the right promoter – and Mid Week Cycling wasn’t it.

 

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Play ball and listen for the sound of the crack of the bat – Ooops soggy field.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 6, 2011  –  The Burlington Twins got off to a slow, slow start in Burlington this week.  The team was to take to the field Wednesday evening for a solid warm up, but while the grass had been cut and the mounds raked – the ground was just a little too soggy – so they spent their time cleaning up equipment.

Assistant coach Jamie Trull thinks the “boys” will be out later in the week to warm up for the home opener which takes place on Saturday – starts at noon – at Nelson Park on New Street.

The Intercounty Baseball League is the oldest in the Country – started organizing games in 1919.  solid ball played by up and comers and guys who just like to swing a bat and chase a ball.

Burlington is welcoming the Twins who moved west to the third best city in the country to live in.  The team has to rise to what Burlington is – and of course Burlington has to support the team.  With a ticket price of $4.00 for adults and kids get in free it has to be one of the best deals in terms of family entertainment.

Elliott Kerr, team owner, has plans for a lot of side show entertainment with kids running the bases during parts of the game and prizes for catching foul balls.

There are plans for a small beer garden and later in the season improved bleachers will be installed.

Toronto Maple Leafs played the Hamilton Thunderbirds.  Toronto took that first game 3-2; much like the hockey team with the same name – they can now say they are “unbeaten”.  The Burlington Twins might put an end to that scoreboard.

 

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Big time baseball comes to Burlington. League that develops players for the major leagues setting up in Burlington.


By Staff

The crack of the bat and all eyes follow the ball. Is it a pop fly or a bouncy grounder and did someone just slide into third base?

It is Spring time and that means baseball and for those who love the game – things in Burlington just got better. The Burlington Twins, formerly the Mississauga Twins have made Nelson Park their home turf and will play their first home game on Saturday, May 7th at 2:00 pm

The team schedule for this year is Thursday’s at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 2:00 PM. Full schedule is available at https://www.mississaugatwins.ca/mt_calendar.shtml

The ball team is part of the Intercounty Baseball League announced today the franchise will move to the City of Burlington and will operate as the Burlington Twins with Nelson Park as their home field for the 2011 season.

Doug Kelcher and Scott Rogers will manage the team as General Manager and Assistant General Manager respectively.

Joining Elliott Kerr as part of the ownership group is local Burlington businessman Scott Robinson, COO of Burlington based Interior Design House, a fixture in the Burlington community for over 20 years and Backspin Marketing Group.

Season tickets for 17 home games will be available for only $75 (that’s just over $4.00 a game – great deal) so make sure you get yours today. Follow the Twins at www.burlingtontwins.com

The IBL was founded in 1919 with just four teams—Galt, Guelph, Stratford and Kitchener—and is the oldest amateur men’s league in Canada. During the early years, the league expanded to include the cities of London, Brantford, Preston and St. Thomas, Ontario. It was previously known as the Intercounty Major Baseball League and the Senior Intercounty Baseball League. The league has been home to a number of aspiring major league players, and the league has continually graduated players into the major league ranks each year. The league includes franchises in Toronto, Brantford, Barrie, London, Kitchener, Hamilton and Ottawa, who joined the league prior to the 2010 season.

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It looks as if it’s on – but with these guys – you’re never sure.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON March 31, 2011 – Nobody particularly likes the guy, few trust him but he’s the front man for Mid Week Cycling Club and they are the sponsors chosen by the Canadian Cycling Association to hold a multi-day event in the Burlington community around Canada Day.

The planned elite cycling event planned for late June and Canada Day could still come crashing down – but there is now a contract in place.

The planned elite cycling event planned for late June and Canada Day could still come crashing down – but there is now a contract in place.

So, a council committee held their noses tightly and passed a Direction enabling Community Services Manager Scott Stewart to sign the agreement with Craig Fagan and the Mid Week Cycling Club to hold the six scheduled cycling races in Burlington.

Once again, Halton Regional Police Deputy Chief Bob Percy was on hand to get their concerns on the table and then tightened up the financial requirements considerably. The $115,000 it is going to cost to cover policing has to be in the hands of the police by noon of May 16, 2011 or the Halton Regional Policed Service will withdraw their support. That puts a squeeze on the Mid week people but bouncing a cheque made payable to the policed doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

This event has been a problem that created its own problems and Scott Stewart General Manager Community Services, has been stretched to the limit to make this happen. “This is how it goes and it shouldn’t go like this” was the way he summed up the working relationship with Mid Week. Ward 6 councillor Blair Lancaster didn’t have much faith in the financial capacity of the Mid Week people when they were before council last and she had even less this time. However, Ward 4 councillor Jack Dennison thought he had a better feel for the way athletes register for events. “The time frames are tight” he agreed, but “there is a pent up demand for this event – there are people waiting with baited breath to register but they can’t do so because Mid Week doesn’t have a contract with us.”

The cyclists, who move at up to 75 km an hour, are going to have to compete with people who want to pick strawberry’s on June 23 – should be fun.

The cyclists, who move at up to 75 km an hour, are going to have to compete with people who want to pick strawberry’s on June 23 – should be fun.

This key issue this time was the closure of Bell’s Line for the Time trials and the operation of the strawberry fields at Spring Ridge Farm on June 23rd, a prime strawberry picking day. They have an event that is expected to draw 1,800 cars that day – and police aren’t entirely sure how they are going to manage all that traffic.

Ward 1 councillor Marianne Meed Ward wanted to know why this concern had not been ironed out months ago. Ward told the meeting that “if this issue were being voted on tonight, I would not support it” – and she didn’t but enough council members did and the city is going to sign the agreement that appears to have more than enough clauses for the city to get out of the deal if they are not happy.

For Mid Week, the promoters, the signed contract is something they have been working towards for more than two years. With the contract signed, explained Craig Fagan, head of Mid Week, we can open up registration and registration fees will begin rolling in and Mid Week will have the funds in hand to give the Halton Regional Police a cheque for $115,000. by the middle of May – they hope

This seems to have been one of those chicken and egg situations. With a contract we can begin bringing in some revenue” explained Fagan while Ward 6 councillor Blair Lancaster said several times that she just didn’t believe Fagan’s organization had the financial capacity to make this happen.

Councillor Taylor took a more sanguine approach. “We have this unique topology” and this event is going to happen. “If it’s a bad experience we won’t do it again.”

Mid Week has their contract, registrations can begin, cash will flow – but the fear is that there will be yet another problem that should have been foreseen. Scott Stewart says we are covered legally and we won’t lose a dime.

Mid Week could look for a better front man for their organization.

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Caution – speed bumps ahead. Cheque, cheque, cheque – oops it bounced.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON March 23, 2011 – There is a better than even chance that the elite cyclists will not race around downtown Burlington on Canada Day or hold events in the roads outside the city for that matter.

Burlington may not see this level of elite cycling on Canada Day

Burlington may not see this level of elite cycling on Canada Day

An event that many hoped would be the start of a “sports tourism” business in Burlington has not lived up to the promise despite untold hours of time on the part of city hall staff and the Halton Regional Police, who reportedly put in more than 300 hours of volunteer time and sent a deputy chief to a council meeting to speak on behalf of the event.

But last week the race promoters, Mid Week Cycling, failed to show up at a scheduled meeting to go over the outstanding issues which are critical to the city and the police.

General Manger of Community services Scott Stewart reported that they were pretty close to having the definitive agreement in place and that he felt the matter of insurance was under control but that there was very serious concern about the routes that were going to be used for the events and the financial capacity of the organization.

What Stewart didn’t reveal at the meeting was the that Mid Week Cycling had bounced a cheque for a reported $769. that had been made payable to the Halton Regional Police.

Ouch!

Craig Fagan is lucky he isn’t in handcuffs for that one.

Burlington has been at this opportunity for more than a year, they have done everything a city could do to make it happen but council decided Monday evening that the deadline of March 31st was to be firm. If the four issues are not fully resolved the city will pull the plug and there will be no elite cycle racing in Burlington on Canada Day this year or in 2012.

What is particularly disappointing is that the 2012 races were to be qualifying events for the 2014 Olympics. Were those races to be held in the Burlington community, the city would certainly have benefited from the world wide media exposure.

Some felt that Mid Week Cycling, the event promoters, were playing a game of “chicken” with the city in the hope that the city would buckle and put up more than the $50,000. that has been promised by both the city and the Burlington Hotel Association.

The council meeting, which was being cable cast live by Cogeco, saw the Mayor look directly into the cameras and tell Mr. Fagan that he had until March 31st to make everything right.

Burlington withdrew from talks that had the potential to lead to the Hamilton Tiger Cats moving into a stadium complex in the Aldershot community. When the numbers didn’t look right – the city walked.

Only a fool would take this council as a bunch of rural rubes.

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Flashy threads

Mais Oui monsieur,

that is a beret I am wearing.

By Staff

Burlington, home of the Canadian National Road Cycling Championships – sort of a mini Tour de France – we could call it Tour de Burlington and we’d all wear berets.  Ok, so the name needs some work but there is a very good chance that Burlington will become the home of this event for at least two years during which time thousands of cyclists will get to peddle around our back roads and street, stay in our hotels and dine in our restaurants.  This is all good for Burlington.

Well just what is a National Cycling Championship?

This kind of competitive racing has very distinct categories and classifications.  If this can be made to happen here Time Trials, Road Racing, Para and Criterium racing.

We will see two levels of talent.  The Elites – theses are people who are superb riders and in 2011 they will compete in the following:  Men and women in Road Racing in a Rattle Snake Point/Burlington/Milton route

The Para, Junior and Masters class will do Time Trials on Walkers Line on June 30th.  The Junior Master class will do Criterium on July 1st in downtown Burlington and the Junior, Master class will do a Road Race on a Rattle Snake point/Waterdown/Aldershot route.

Road Races – These are mass-start events held on open roads. Racers ride in groups or ‘pelotons’, corner at high speeds, take turns ‘pulling’ at the front of pace lines, and pick tactical spots to try to break away.  The first rider across the finish line is the winner.  The course may be from point to point, from town to town, or on a circuit (the start and finish are in the same place.)  Usually the course is closed to traffic in the area of the race.  Road races can be up to a couple hundred kilometers long (over 100 miles.)

Criterium – A criterium is a short road race on a circuit – usually city streets – closed to traffic.  The distance per lap may vary from 1/2km to 3km (1/3 mile to 2 miles).  Races are of varying numbers of laps.  The mass start, high-speed cornering and sprinting make criterium exciting for participants and spectators alike.  Because criterium pass the same point each lap they are better spectator events than road races.

Time Trail – A time trial is an individual or team race over a fixed distance against the clock.  Rider start individually at timed intervals and the rider with the fastest time wins.  Distances raced vary from 1km to 100km.  The course may be from point to point, from town to town, or on a circuit (the start and finish are in the same place.)  The course is closed to traffic in the area of the race.

It’s exciting stuff, it’s good business and it will certainly be different for Burlington.  You might see clothing like this at Tumblewood or Joelle’s on Brant Street.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t take one of those sharp left turns and get us on the same road the Pan Am Games took.

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