WSO brings free concert series back to Amherstburg



By Jolene Perron


Every summer, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra takes their instruments on the road and head out to play in the fresh county air.

To kick off their 2017 Free Summer Concert Series, the WSO brought their woodwind quintet to the gazebo in King’s Navy Yard Park to play for a crowd of people. Grandparents sat on the grass with the grandchildren, families brought their kids, some people brought their dogs, and they all enjoyed the beautiful weather Saturday evening.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra played an array of songs from Mozart, to Elton John, to Amherstburg’s own Shelton Brooks, and even Johannes Brahms Saturday night in King’s Navy Yard Park.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra played an array of songs from Mozart, to Elton John, to Amherstburg’s own Shelton Brooks, and even Johannes Brahms Saturday night in King’s Navy Yard Park.

“We have been coming to Amherstburg for years now and Colleen and Richard Peddie are the generous sponsors for the event here in Amherstburg, so we are very, very grateful to them,” said Stephani Marshall, director of operations with the WSO. “We like to create a program that’s going to showcase the wonderful music that our musicians can play, but this program this year is really special. It was created by Faith Scholfield, who plays the oboe in this concert. It’s sort of a preview of the season and gives a little taste of what’s to come.”

The WSO will be playing two concerts a month from now until the end of August, and will resume their regular season in September.

Marshall explained one of the best things about the WSO is that there is truly something for everybody. This year’s season includes a number of shows, including Ode To Canada, Music of Star Wars, music from Elton John, The Marriage of Figaro, and so much more. Marshall said they try to appeal to all types of people from all walks of life.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra played an array of songs from Mozart, to Elton John, to Amherstburg’s own Shelton Brooks, and even Johannes Brahms Saturday night in King’s Navy Yard Park.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra played an array of songs from Mozart, to Elton John, to Amherstburg’s own Shelton Brooks, and even Johannes Brahms Saturday night in King’s Navy Yard Park.

“We have a lot of music for young children, we do a kids concert series all throughout our season, we reach thousands of students throughout the county with our education and outreach programs, we go to retirement communities and nursing homes,” said Marshall. “From birth to any age, we have something for everybody. I think if you look at this crowd here, you can see people bring their children, they get an ice cream, people come out with their dogs, it’s just a lovely way for everybody to get together in the community and just have a chance to enjoy the weather.”

To learn more about their Free Summer Concert Series, or about their 2017-2018 regular season, visit

The next summer concert in Navy Yard Park is July 22 at 7 p.m.

Belle Vue part of National Trust for Canada’s online funding competition



By Ron Giofu


The Belle Vue project has been selected to compete for cash in the National Trust for Canada’s “This Place Matters” competition.

Anne Rota, the town’s manager of tourism and culture, said Belle Vue was entered into the competition with the National Trust for Canada approving the project’s entry. Rota explained that the “This Place Matters” competition started in June 2015 with a campaign to save Nova Scotia lighthouses.

“Since then, the National Trust for Canada puts out a call for sites needing support for renovations, renewal and saving,” said Rota. “The Belle Vue House was accepted this year.”

The Belle Vue project can win up to $60,000 should it come first place nationally in the “big project” category, with “big projects” categorized as projects with budgets over $60,000. Amherstburg is in the central region and a first-place result in that could see Belle Vue land at least $30,000.

“It’s a pretty tough competition but this is where we need the community’s help,” said Rota.

It is an online voting competition and people can vote daily.


“It is based on the number of votes,” said Rota. “We encourage everyone to vote every single day. If they have multiple e-mail addresses, use them. Every single vote counts.

There is a second component to the “This Place Matters” competition, Rota continued, as people can also make donations through the “This Place Matters” website,

“Donating is optional but every $1 people donate equals one vote,” she said. “If you were even thinking of donating to the Belle Vue project, now would be the time. Tax receipts will be generated from the National Trust for Canada.”

Donations collected through that site will still flow to Belle Vue, Rota added.

“The bonus is, even if we don’t win, the Belle Vue house gets to keep any donation that comes in,” she said.


If the town were successful in winning the $60,000, it would go towards replacing windows at the 200-year-old Dalhousie St. mansion.

“Hopefully we can get some of the plywood off of the windows soon,” said Rota, who is also the town’s liaison to the Belle Vue Conservancy.

Rota described the fundraising efforts as “picking up momentum” and the “This Place Matters” campaign as another avenue to help in raising the $1 million the conservancy seeks.

“We just know we can do it,” said Rota. “This community has always gotten behind and rallied for great projects.”

Voting takes place and donations can be made through the website People can register their e-mails free of charge at the site and can vote once every 24 hours.

The contest opened June 15 at noon and closes July 17 at noon.


Battle of the Growers to showcase county gems



By Jolene Perron


The county is coming together to put on the first annual Battle of the Growers event, geared towards showcasing local chefs, foods and wines in an effort to raise money for Leamington’s On Track for Success Program.

“We’ve had a relationship with the local wineries for a number of years, they support us in a variety of ways, so when our committee reached out it really wasn’t a difficult request and they were really happy to support us,” explained United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard. “Then we went to local restaurants and asked if they would be willing to donate their time to make a dish utilizing local wine and food, and honestly we have such a generous community … Everything that we are going to be presenting is all local. The local produce, the local wines, the local chefs, local talent … We’re really proud of that, that we can really highlight the county. And as a county resident, I live in Kingsville, I know how fabulous and how blessed we are to have access to all of those great things.”

The money raised at the June 16th event to will go towards the On Track for Success program, which is focused on increasing high school graduation rates and attendance at post-secondary, whether it’s college or university, or the trades, for young people who have fallen behind in school and are at risk of not graduating. The program is beginning it’s third year, and some of the students that are in the program will be attending and helping serve the food at the event.

“We have a number students who actually moved to the academic track from the general track, which means they are in line to actually be able to go to university, and these are young people who just never thought it was even possible for them to even consider going to college or university,” said Goddard. “Many of them will be the first people in their family to actually ever attend a post-secondary institution and they’re going to come back to the community and they’re going to contribute back to their neighborhoods and help build a stronger, thriving community for everyone.”

Battle of the GrowersWEB

United Way has brought together a number of local chefs, wineries and growers to support the event, and paired them together to create something uniquely special. Smashed Apple owner and chef, Bill Deslippe is excited not only to battle against county chefs, but also to spend some time with students from the On Track for Success program.

“I’ve competed the last three years in a row against the Windsor chefs and won all three events. I’m not really sure what I’m up against, but you never really know,” said Deslippe. “I’m excited for a good time, to mentor some students and to share whatever knowledge I can with young minds who are looking to become chefs. I’m also excited to be able to showcase something that grows locally here and give it some justice, and also to work with Sprucewood, a winery that I work closely with a lot. It’s fun, it’s for charity, it’s a good cause and it’s always good to get out there and meet potentially new customers and friends alike.”

Goddard explained their committee, which is affiliated with local growers, wineries and restaurants, has been working on the event for over a year. She said these kinds of events, particularly new ones, are incredibly involved. Coming up with a concept, bringing partners on board, and getting vendors organized, all while making sure it’s done right to ensure success is important. She said Pelee Island Winery, who is hosting the event, and Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard have been “instrumental” in helping United Way plan the event.

“We not only get to showcase our wines and amazing foods but also Pure Flavor Vegetables and the best part is helping out the United Way,” said Mike O’Brien, Outside Sales at Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards. “The main goal is to help the United Way in their fundraisings. But also to show people the amazing wines, food and local produce that is right in our backyard. Not only are we providing the wine we are also showcasing our Chef and The Vine’s Restaurant. So we are paired with Pure Flavor Growers, in which we will prepare a dish with local vegetables paired with our award winning wines.”

The event is nearly sold out. Goddard said Pelee Island Winery’s new event room can hold up to 250 people. For their first event, she said they are incredibly excited about how successful it’s been so far and she’s looking forward to it.

For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit

Local dentistry holding spring canned food drive

By Jolene Perron


Local dentists are asking for their clients help with a canned food drive until the end of June.

Since the beginning of April, staff at Family Dentistry has been collected non-perishable food items for the Amherstburg Food Bank, and the support from their clients has been exceptional.

“Lots of people give before Christmas, there is always all kinds of stuff going on, even shortly after Christmas people are doing canned food drives at the schools but nobody really does a whole lot come spring time and there is still a need for it,” said office manager Melissa Gascoyne. “We decided to have a spring food drive for a couple of months and if they bring any canned goods in we enter them into a drive to win an iPad mini as incentive, which is donated by us.”

Melissa Gascoyne and Dr. Stefano Storey stand behind their front desk, which is overflowing with canned goods donated by their clients. The canned goods will be delivered to the Amherstburg Food Bank at the end of the month.

Melissa Gascoyne and Dr. Stefano Storey stand behind their front desk, which is overflowing with canned goods donated by their clients. The canned goods will be delivered to the Amherstburg Food Bank at the end of the month.

The team sponsors local sports teams on a regular basis and is always looking for ways to continue to give back to a community. Dr. Stefano Storey said they just wanted to continue to do their part.

Dr. Chad Denomme said they started in Amherstburg nearly four years ago, and wanted to show appreciation for the business people have given them.

“We want to give back what we can to the community that has supported us and our business,” said Dr. Denomme. “I remember a time when we first opened the doors and we didn’t have a single patient, it’s a pretty scary feeling. We felt a lot of gratitude as things started to take off. We never expected that as a practice we would be where we’re at today this quickly and I think the biggest thing is that we look forward to continuing to provide the best care possible in a town where there’s many other good dentists, I think that’s important.”

For more information on the canned food drive or to donate, pop in to their location at 137 Sandwich St. S.

Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society presents 32nd annual Garden Tour June 16-17


By Jolene Perron


The Amherstburg Horticultural Society, in cooperation with The House Youth Centre and the Town of Amherstburg, will host the 32nd Annual Garden Tour June 16-17.

Aligning with National Garden Days, this self-guided tour features 12 private gardens paired with artisans & musicians for a beautiful weekend in the ‘Burg!

“In a world of turmoil and hustle, getting lost in the beauty of Amherstburg is like a breath of fresh air.” adds Dr. Allan Halowski, president of the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society.

(Photo by Danica Skakavac)

(Photo by Danica Skakavac)

Halowski said one of his goals since he became president of the AFMHS was to encourage young people to become involved in the society. The hope is that “it might spark interest with the youth and help them develop some new skill sets. Secondly many of our projects for the town of Amherstburg require man power and the youth again have the numbers. We also want to help the youth centre and that is why a percentage of the ticket sales will go directly to the House.”
Halowski added: “This will be our 32nd Garden Tour and it really is a testament to the pride the citizens of Amherstburg take in keeping their yards a most beautiful environment but then to share their masterpieces with all who would like to come and see.”
There were approximately 350 participants to the tour last year, he added.

“It would be great to have 450 plus go through the tour this year,” he said. “You may be aware that the money we raise goes back into the community. Last year, we contributed $3,500 to the town’s hanging basket program.”

AFMHS vice president Paulette Drouillard has scoured the community and convinced ten citizens to display their yards. Many of the homes will also have people who have related items for sale.

“Also, we will have a master gardener on the tour to answer questions for those wishing council or advice,” said Halowski.

(Photo by Danica Skakavac)

(Photo by Danica Skakavac)

“The Garden Tour is a well-respected event in our region, and our youth are honored and excited to help out”, says Rebecca Vander Vaart, activities co-ordinator at The House Youth Centre. “Here at The House, we put a huge emphasis on community involvement, and our students are on board anytime they get to work with another community group or event. The Garden Tour is such a respected event in Amherstburg, and our youth are honoured and excited to help out.”

Manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota said “garden tourism is alive and well in Amherstburg” and that the public gardens are worth a visit during the Garden Tour or during the summer.

“The Garden Tour is one of our premier events for the Town of Amherstburg. It draws visitors from all over Essex County but more importantly, the pride in the personal gardens and the beautiful beds that the Town of Amherstburg parks staff prepare for the tour are spectacular,” said Rota. “We are blessed with amazing temperatures in Amherstburg and our community is a garden of Eden for all to enjoy! We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated committee to coordinate the tour!”

The tour hours on June 16 are 4 p.m.-8 p.m. and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 17. Tickets $12 per person with pre-sales at the Gordon House, 268 Dalhousie St.. Tickets will also be available on tour days at Toddy Jones Park.