Events

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.

 

River Lights, Canadian Tire team for Holiday House Tours

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The River Lights Winter Festival kicks off this Saturday and the Holiday House Tours follow Nov. 25-26.

To help celebrate the latter, a local business has teamed with River Lights’ Holiday House Tour committee to aid in the presentation of the homes.

Volunteers from the Holiday House Tours were at the Canadian Tire store in Amherstburg last Wednesday afternoon decorating three Christmas trees that will be displayed in the Sandwich St. S. store. River Lights co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven said that River Lights receives a donation in return for the tree decorations.

The fifth annual Holiday House Tour will see professional decorators showcasing their talent in nine locations including extravagant waterfront properties, to designated heritage sites, and grand country homes.

“With the donation from Canadian Tire, we decorate the homes with Canadian Tire products,” said Van Grinsven.

The Holiday House Tour
committee, which is part of the River Lights Winter Festival, was at Canadian Tire last Wednesday afternoon decorating Christmas trees that will be used in the store. In exchange for decorating the trees, Canadian Tire made a donation towards the Nov. 25-26 Holiday House Tours. Canadian Tire’s Stephen and Paige Pike and Scott Miller joined committee members Sarah Van Grinsven, Jen Ibrahim, Michelle Lecours, Corine Jones, Elizabeth Davidson and Carla Lauzon Abson.

Included in the $25 ticket price is tea service, a holiday craft sale and, new this year, a Christmas Tree Dress Exhibit.  The Christmas Tree Dress Exhibit will showcase eight individually designed creations, each made from spruce, pine, or fir and holiday décor.

“It’s fashion with a twist and cannot be missed,” Van Grinsven stated.

Tickets are being sold at Sobeys in Amherstburg, Country Bliss, Dusty Loft Antique and Collectibles, Windsor Crossings Premium Outlets, online at riverlights.ca as well as the Gordon House, the latter being located at 268 Dalhousie St.

Stephen and Paige Pike, owners of the Canadian Tire store in Amherstburg, said they are happy to be involved.

“River Lights is a great community event we wholeheartedly support,” said Paige. “Sarah and her volunteers do a great job.”

Paige added that it is a “win-win” for all involved.

For more information on the River Lights Winter Festival, call 519-736-4642, visit www.riverlights.ca or e-mail riverlights@mdirect.net.

Wolfhead Distillery first Canadian venue to host Banksy art exhibit

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Saving Banksy” is “the story of one misguided art collector’s attempts to save a Banksy painting from destruction and the auction block.”

The painting featured in that Netflix documentary has made its way to Amherstburg’s own Wolfhead Distillery and is on display until tomorrow evening.

Banksy is an anonymous graffiti artist from England, known for their street art which combines dark humor with graffiti, and use of a stenciling technique.

Jason Freed, event owner/organizer with Campus Crawl Tours explained when he originally submitted his pitch for Saving Banksy Canada, he submitted offers to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Niagara On The Lake and Windsor. With Windsor being his hometown, he pushed hard for the border city to be a part of the tour.

Along with the original Banksy painting, local artists are also displaying their art at Wolfhead Distillery as part of the showcase until Thursday November 16.

“I was lucky enough to see some of Banksy’s artwork when I was living in England so that’s when I became a fan,” explained Freed. “The reality is that most people will never get the opportunity to see an original Banksy in their lifetime, so we’re very proud to be hosting one of the most sought after pieces of contemporary art in the world in our hometown.”

In order to be selected to host the painting, the venue must hold an art exhibit, promoting graffiti/art which is free to the public. Wolfhead Distillery has been hosting the art exhibit, which allows attendees to observe the Banksy painting as well as a 200 square foot warehouse space stacked full of local art since Tuesday, and will remain on display for free until Thursday at 5 p.m. Freed explained since they were already hosting the free three day event, they were also able to host ticketed events to help offset the costs.

“The ‘Dinner With Banksy Party’ (Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.) features a gourmet British themed menu, music and also includes a distillery tour and sample tasting as well,” explained Freed. “It’s definitely a unique date night. How many times can you say you ate dinner with a painting worth more than $1.5 million?”

Wolfhead Distillery co-owners Sue Manherz (centre) and Tom Manherz (right) stand with Banksy painting “caretaker” Brian Grief (left). The painting will be on display until Thursday November 16.

The official closing night gala Thursday features celebrity DJ’s flying in from New York, live art battles, silent auctions and more. The event runs from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. Thursday. All of the event proceeds for ticketed events are going to charities such as United Way, who has a mural project Wolfhead Distillery is supporting.

“We are honoured to host an internationally admired and respected art piece. Not only does this piece bring recognition to Wolfhead and Windsor-Essex, but it also allows us to draw attention to local causes and charities,” explained Stephanie Saad, marketing and logistics director at Wolfhead Distillery. “The evening events were created to celebrate the arrival of the art piece. The painting is a symbol of expression and creativity and to support these ideas within a community we decided to involve local artists, musicians and charities.”

For more information about this week’s events, visit http://campuscrawltours.com/saving-banksy-united-way-closing-night-gala.