Anne Rota

Communities in Bloom judges tour Amherstburg

 

By Jolene Perron

 

For the second straight year, Amherstburg made the list of qualifying towns for Communities in Bloom with national judges touring the community for three days.

From Sunday through Tuesday, Lorna McIlroy from Alberta and Normand Fleury from Quebec stayed at The Bondy House and saw a number of key areas in Amherstburg.

Communities in Bloom judges Normand Fleury and Lorna McIlroy were in town Monday and Tuesday with one of the stops being Holiday Beach Conservation Area. Top row (from left): Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society president Dr. Allan Halowski, Councillor Leo Meloche, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, CAO John Miceli, Paulette Drouillard and Maxine Iler of the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society, tourism co-ordinator Jen Ibrahim. Bottom row (from left): manager of parks Annette Zahaluk, ERCA director of conservation services Kevin Money, Fleury, McIlroy, Councillor Diane Pouget, director of public works and engineering Antonietta Giofu and manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota.

Communities in Bloom judges Normand Fleury and Lorna McIlroy were in town Monday and Tuesday with one of the stops being Holiday Beach Conservation Area. Top row (from left): Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society president Dr. Allan Halowski, Councillor Leo Meloche, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, CAO John Miceli, Paulette Drouillard and Maxine Iler of the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society, tourism co-ordinator Jen Ibrahim. Bottom row (from left): manager of parks Annette Zahaluk, ERCA director of conservation services Kevin Money, Fleury, McIlroy, Councillor Diane Pouget, director of public works and engineering Antonietta Giofu and manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota.

“We’re excited to be here,” said McIlroy. “This is a beautiful, beautiful community and we have met so many people who are proud of their community and they’re volunteering and making it a better place. We look at tidiness, we look at environmental awareness, we look at heritage conservation and we look at the urban forestry, the trees, we look at the floral displays and the landscape, and through it all the community involvement.”

“It’s not only dealing with flowers but much more,” added Fleury. “It’s about how the cities are involved. It’s much more than just horticulture.”

Communities in Bloom judge Normand Fleury (left) chats with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on the judges tour of Amherstburg July 17.

Communities in Bloom judge Normand Fleury (left) chats with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on the judges tour of Amherstburg July 17.

McIlroy, who has been a judge with Communities in Bloom for 13 years, said this year is particularly special because the six cities she is visiting are all ones she has never seen before. Fleury on the other hand is experiencing his first year as a judge.

“It’s very exciting again,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “I think most people know, we did quite well last year, but did not take first place, but that’s OK. We lost to Niagara On The Lake, so we’re here doing it again and I hope we take the first prize this year. It is another nice opportunity, that is one of my jobs, selling the town and for this particular event it’s not selling it to have them move here, but just to show all of the amenities and attributes that make us the Town of Amherstburg and a great place to be.”

Communities in Bloom judge Lorna McIlroy takes a photo from atop the hawk tower at Holiday Beach Conservation Area.

Communities in Bloom judge Lorna McIlroy takes a photo at Holiday Beach Conservation Area.

Some of the stops on their tour included the historic Belle Vue site, the old Duffy’s site where the judges learned about the town’s plans to reconstruct the area, Fort Malden National Historic Site, Walker Aggregates, Holiday Beach and much more.

Amherstburg’s manager of tourism and culture, Anne Rota, said she along with the other residents of the town are incredibly thrilled to have the judges in attendance, and it shows.

“They seem to be very impressed,” said Rota. “It’s a team effort, and last night we walked along the Dalhousie street and we noticed that even the residents have really put their best foot forward and come out on top, the town looks amazing and I think we have a lot to offer. I think Amherstburg might just be very fortunate in their efforts to take home the gold this year.”

Shuttle buses to allow people easier way of getting to Canuck It Up Festival

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Canuck It Up Festival is fast approaching and there is a new way of getting downtown should people not wish to look for a parking space.

Anne Rota, manager of tourism and culture with the town, said there will be four shuttle buses that will be transporting people free of charge to the Aug. 5-6 festival. The drop-off and pick-up point will be the intersection of Park St. and Dalhousie St., Rota said, with people able to park and catch one of the buses at the former Honeywell property or the Libro Centre.

“The buses will do a continuous loop downtown,” said Rota. “We’re encouraging people to hop on the buses. It will help relieve parking and traffic.”

An enormous rubber duck will be coming to Amherstburg as part of the Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival that will be held Aug. 5-6. (Special to the RTT)

An enormous rubber duck will be coming to Amherstburg as part of the Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival that will be held Aug. 5-6. (Special to the RTT)

If they don’t take the bus, Rota said the public is encourage to walk or carpool.

One of the major draws is expected to be the huge rubber duck that will be parked off Navy Yard Park near the intersection of Dalhousie St. and Richmond St.

The large rubber duck is part of the Ontario 150 Tour that is travelling to six Ontario ports. It started in Toronto and Owen Sound with other stops being Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Amherstburg and Brockville.

“We’re the second last stop for the duck. We’ve had weekly conference calls with Toronto and Owen Sound. They had record-breaking crowds. We’re trying to get ready as much as we can,” said Rota.

Many of the events run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days with those events including deck tours of the tall ship Appledore V, a Park House 150 fashion exhibit, stilt performers, horse and carriage rides, the farmers market and food court and daily 4 p.m. performances by the Greater Windsor Essex Concert Band.

Those attractions are in addition to the West Coast Lumberjack shows at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily and three daily performances by Rhythm of the Nation in Navy Yard Park. The Diplomats Drum & Bugle Corps will also be presenting a special performance Aug. 5 at noon in Toddy Jones Park.

The West Coast Lumberjack show is heading to Amherstburg as part of the Aug. 5-6 Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival. (Special to the RTT)

The West Coast Lumberjack show is heading to Amherstburg as part of the Aug. 5-6 Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival. (Special to the RTT)

“They’ve been preparing for Canada 150 for about one year,” said Rota. “They’ve been traveling across North America for competitions with the Canada 150 show.”

Canada 150 celebrations are “once in a lifetime,” Rota added, and that the town hopes people come to Amherstburg to enjoy the Canuck It Up Festival in the town’s downtown area.

“For Amherstburg, we are looking at Canada 150 as a year-long celebration,” said Rota. “The Civic Holiday weekend is the perfect time to hold this festival.”

In terms of planning and logistics, Rota believes it is as big as the Roots to Boots Festival that was held in 2012.

For more information, call the town’s tourism office at 519-730-1309, visit www.amherstburg.ca/canuckitup or www.facebook.com/AmherstburgConnection.

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.

belle-vue1web

“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, www.thisplacematters.ca.

“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.

belle-vue5

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 www.thisplacematters.ca. 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.

 

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.

 

Town looking for 150 nominees for “CANdo 150 Award of Distinction”

 

By Ron Giofu

 

As part of Canada 150 celebrations, the town is looking to recognize those who have given back.

The “CANdo 150 Award of Distinction” has been developed with nominations now open in the categories of community service, leadership and legacy. The awards will be presented on Canada Day at 2 p.m. as part of the annual festivities at Fort Malden National Historic Site.

“What the town of Amherstburg wanted to do is recognize 150 citizens of the town for their outstanding contributions,” explained manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota.

The town wanted to not only celebrate the 150th birthday of the country, but “the people who have contributed their time and talents to make Canada what it is today.”

The community service category recognizes those whose volunteer service benefits his or her community.

Canada150

“We know Amherstburg has a very active volunteer base,” said Rota. “I believe that’s what sets Amherstburg apart. I hear it time and time again from my colleagues.”

The leadership category encompasses a person who guides or directs a group to achieve outstanding goals and inspires others to be the best they can be. Rota said that can include those who are “visionary thinkers” who make Amherstburg a better place to live or work.

“This could be a business person or a professional who has shown deep caring for their employees and the residents,” she said.

The legacy category is for those past or present who have “gifted a talent or special project” for the betterment of Amherstburg. Those who have been philanthropic or those who have given in other ways over the years may fall into this category.

People are not allowed to nominate themselves and can only choose one category when nominating someone. A committee of five people will be assembled and they will judge the nominees with nominators eligible to write a justification of up to 250 words on why they nominated the person they did.

Nomination forms can be picked up either at Amherstburg town hall or can be downloaded from the town’s website by going to www.amherstburg.ca/canuckitup. Forms must be returned in full by June 9 at 4 p.m. and they can be done online, dropped off at town hall or mailed to town hall with the town hall address being 271 Sandwich St. S. and postal code N9V 2E5.

Winners will be contacted by June 16.

“People have a little over a month to think about it and get their nomination forms in,” said Rota.

The town’s eligibility requirements call for nominees to be at least 15-years-old as of January 1, 2017 and living. Current residents or those who have previously resided in Amherstburg can be considered.