Events

ACS hosting seniors roundtable next Wednesday morning

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) will be meeting with community service providers next Wednesday with seniors the focal point of discussion.

ACS is teaming with the town to host a roundtable discussion Dec. 6 in the Libro Centre’s community room from 10 a.m.-12 noon. The roundtable is geared towards seniors and the service providers and groups that service the senior population.

“We know that in the future that the number of seniors will grow,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “We have to start planning now.”

ACS and the town want to find out what services are available now so they can work to bring in what is needed. Service and church groups will also be invited to the roundtable to find out what they offer for the senior population.

Businesses, such as those offering in-home services and financial services among others, have been invited.

“We’re opening it up to everyone. We want to find out what is out there,” said DiBartolomeo. “We know seniors of all ages want to be active in the community.”

DiBartolomeo added they will compile the data and see what areas they are lacking. There is the possibility of meeting directly with seniors themselves to find out what they want at a future meeting, she added.

There is also the thought of collaborating, she said, as DiBartolomeo said other not-for-profit agencies may offer similar services and multiple groups could enhance what is out there.

Service providers and groups not able to attend Wednesday morning’s roundtable can stop by Amherstburg Community Services’ office at 179 Victoria St. S. and let them know what they offer and what they do for seniors.

For more information on Amherstburg Community Services, call 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com. DiBartolomeo can be contacted directly at execdirector@amherstburg-cs.com.

Holiday Gift Shoppe at the Gallery gives residents a chance to buy local

 

By Jolene Perron

 

The Gibson Gallery, which typically hosts are shows, has transformed into a holiday gift shoppe, showcasing the work of local artists and allowing them to sell their homemade goods for gifts for the holiday season.

The initiative was started in 2004 as a fundraiser for the gallery. Gibson Gallery office administrator Bonnie Deslippe explained the thought behind the event was the bring Art by the River, on a smaller scale, indoors.

More than 40 different vendors have their items for sale at the Gibson Art Gallery, giving shoppers a chance to support local artists this holiday season.

“Originally the vendors would rent a table in the gallery for a set fee. The down side was that we only had room for about a dozen at most and it became very crowded once the customers arrived,” said Deslippe. “In 2011, we started the format of operating the gallery as a gift shoppe, having the exhibitors drop off their items, which are then set out by the Gallery board members. This allows the exhibitors to attend other art and craft shows in the area and the cost to them is the commission on sold items.”

Deslippe said their own Nifty Needleworkers, who work out of the gallery every week, are busy all year creating the hats, scarfs and other knitted and crocheted items that are for sale. All of their sales are returned to the Gallery, and after the shoppe closes, any unsold items are distributed to the various charities that they support.

More than 40 different vendors have their items for sale at the Gibson Art Gallery, giving shoppers a chance to support local artists this holiday season.

This year, the gallery has more than 40 vendors. The planning begun right after the gates for Art by the River closed. Currently, the Gibson Gallery is filled with wreaths and decorations for sale as well as unique gift items including jewellery, pottery, artwork, fabric art, wood turnings, chocolate, Christmas cake, fur and tartan teddies, soaps and lotions, stained glass, tinware from the Park House, jams by Zone 6 Gardeners, books by local authors, John Schlarbaum, Melissa Piva, Dennis White and Linda Bertrand, pottery by River Rock, paper products by Pocket Squares, glass beads by Michelle Taylor, baskets by Martina Obersat and much more.

More than 40 different vendors have their items for sale at the Gibson Art Gallery, giving shoppers a chance to support local artists this holiday season.

“I personally feel it is very important,” said Deslippe. “It gives artists and artisans to sell their creations and gives the public a chance to purchase a unique, one of a kind gift or decoration, an alternative to shopping at the ‘big box stores.’ It is also a way for them to support the local art community and the Gibson Gallery itself. It has become another part of the River Lights Winter Festival – it is important for the various sites and events in town to work together. People should take a few minutes when they are out and about to stop in and see what we have to offer. They will be pleasantly surprised.”

Holiday Gift Shoppe at the Gallery runs through Dec. 10.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their current hours are Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

For further information, call 519-736-2826 and or visit their website at www.gibsonartgallery.com. Their Twitter account can be found at www.twitter.com/ARTamherstburg while their Facebook account is found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery.

 

Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors makes return with help from Caesars Windsor

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

After returning from a brief trip out east last December, Carol, 80, came home to find a bright red Christmas stocking filled with gifts at her front door.

This year, thanks to a donation of $1,500 from Caesars Windsor as well as continued support from Amherstburg and LaSalle residents, Carol will be one of over 300 seniors to receive a gift from the Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors program.

The Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors program, which is organized by Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), collects small gifts from the community and puts them into Christmas stockings that are then delivered to seniors in Amherstburg and LaSalle. According to ACS executive director, Kathy DiBartolomeo, the aim of this program is to reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation faced by seniors.

Amherstburg Community Services is currently accepting donations to help “Stuff-A-Stocking for Seniors” this holiday season. The River Town Times staff stuffed stockings and mugs last week to bring to ACS for the event. Donations will be accepted until Nov. 29 at their 179 Victoria St. location between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Fridays. They are looking for toiletries, winter wear, homemade cards, stockings and monetary donations.

“Senior loneliness and isolation is a serious problem that can be highlighted during the holidays,” DiBartolomeo said.

DiBartolomeo continued by saying that the contribution from Caesars Windsor, which will also be sending staff to help pack and sort the stockings, makes a huge difference.

“I cannot tell you just how much we appreciate their contribution – this will allow us to help more seniors than ever before,” she said.

After her experience last year, Carol says that the impact of this program is certainly felt by individuals like her.

“It actually made me cry because I had lost my husband only months before that, so the holidays were a difficult time for me,” Carol explained. “It was truly wonderful to open that up and see all the love that was packed inside. I’ll never forget it, and I made sure that every item in that stocking went to good use.”

ACS will be collecting donations for the program until Nov. 29. Small gifts such as gloves, socks, scarves, toiletries, small treats and candies, Christmas stockings, and homemade holiday cards, as well as monetary donations are needed and can be dropped off at ACS’ office at 179 Victoria St S in Amherstburg.

Drop-off boxes will also be set up at the Vollmer Complex in LaSalle and the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg. Seniors can be signed up by themselves or by others by calling ACS at 519-736-5471.

River Lights officially opened after one-day rain delay

 

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

What started out as a way to attract visitors to the downtown core during the slowest time of the year, has grown into an all encompassing festival with layers of economic involvement and holiday spirit.

“River Lights is so important for many reasons,” explained River Lights coordinator Sarah Van Grinsven. “One, community spirit.  River Lights brings people out of hibernation and enjoying the holiday season with their fellow citizens. Two, community partnership. So many groups work together to make River Lights work, from museums, galleries to other not-for-profits. And of course the sponsors who show they care through in kind and cash sponsorships. Three, economic development. The more action in the streets, the more in our downtown businesses.”

Ajay McGowan (right), Ryleigh Labutte (centre) and Colton Labutte (left) get an up-close look at the lights during the opening ceremony for the River Lights Winter Festival last Sunday night.

The opening weekend of the festival included the Super Santa Run, which was held Nov. 18 as planned despite the rain. The outdoor holiday movie and municipal tree lighting were rescheduled to Nov. 19, which turned out to be a much drier evening. Van Grinsven called the festival a “magical event” because of how it spreads joy to all those who visit and how it brings the community together. Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo echoed those thoughts and feelings.

Town crier Frank Gorham welcomes the crowd to the River Lights opening ceremony.

“People love the event,” said DiCarlo. “It’s family friendly and seems to have become Amherstburg’s official launch of the holiday season. I’ve also heard from visitors who come from outside the region for the event. Every year we add more to see and do, and clearly this is translating to the people who look forward to the event. Personally, my family has been attending since the first year, and we still look forward to it, especially when it’s not as cold.”

The municipal tree is lit at the Richmond Street entrance of the King’s Navy Yard park for the first time Nov. 19 during the opening ceremony of the River Lights Winter Festival.

The festival also includes the lights and displays around the Town of Amherstburg, as well as the gingerbread warming house, which will also be open in Toddy Jones Park every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. until Christmas.

Free carriage rides will be available Dec. 2, 9 and 15, and the Holiday House Tours will also take place next week, Nov. 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.riverlights.ca.

Amherstburg’s BMO one of the oldest branches in Canada

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

The month of November marks a very important month, not only for the BMO Bank of Montreal in Canada but also for the Amherstburg branch which is celebrating 113 years.

On Nov. 3, BMO turned 200-years-old. The Amherstburg branch was first opened Nov. 21, 1904 by the Molson’s Bank, which is now amalgamated with the Bank of Montreal who took over the private banking business of the Cuddy-Falls Company, according to branch manager Karen Davidson.

“I have worked at the Amherstburg branch for over 11 years becoming branch manager in 2013,” said Davidson. “I am proud to be part of an organization that for two centuries has put our clients first and supports the community where we live and work. I am a second generation banker and have worked for BMO Bank of Montreal for over 30 years and take pride in where everything started and I’m energized and excited to be part of a stable organization with a long history and reputation.”

The first BMO bank was opened on Nov. 3, 1817 and the first permanent bank in British North America opened its doors on St. Paul St. in Montreal. Davidson explained prior to this, pioneer Canadians mainly used bartering for means of payment, and Bank of Montreal became the model for the Canadian banking system. It was the first to issue Canadian banknotes in 1817, the first to finance Canada’s transcontinental railroad, the first to offer internet banking across North America and the first listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

According to their BMO history book, Davidson said the bank’s geographic expansion followed the paths of Canadian trade and investment. It took just one month for Bank of Montreal to open a “substantial agency in Quebec,” which was followed by locations in Toronto, Kingston, Queenston, Perth and Amherstburg.

“I have had the pleasure to work for many great leaders, one being June McManemy, branch manager who was one of the first female branch managers for BMO in Essex County, 1983, and retired back in June 2007,” said Davidson.

The branch will be having a celebration Nov. 24 with current and past employees to commemorate the bank’s 200-year existence, as well as the branch’s 113 anniversary.