Seasons Amherstburg

“SOUPer Wednesday” feeds public, ACS’ accessible vehicle fund



By Ron Giofu


Thirteen participants from Amherstburg, LaSalle, McGregor and Harrow went head-to-head last Wednesday to see who had the best soup.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) held its fourth annual “SOUPer” Wednesday fundraiser at the Columbus Community Hall with Seasons Amherstburg and their mushroom chowder emerging as this year’s winner.

A total of 184 people attended this year’s “SOUPer Wednesday” with over $4,000 raised. The non-profit agency says that is a record amount.

That dollar figure also includes ACS’ $1,370 share from the 50/50 draw.

“People have been very enthusiastic,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “The weather has been co-operated. It’s great soup-eating weather. The restaurants have been fantastic once again.”

DiBartolomeo said people get excited for the event every year.

“Every year, the restaurants provide their wonderful soups,” she said. “Our guests are just anxious to try it. I think it’s almost becoming a bit of a tradition for some. We saw lots of faces there who have been at every ‘SOUPer Wednesday’ since its inception and that really says something.”

Seasons Amherstburg won the fourth annual “SOUP-er Wednesday” fundraising event held last Wednesday at the Columbus Community Hall. It was presented by Amherstburg Community Services (ACS). From left: Beau Velduis and Heather Vandenham from Seasons Amherstburg and ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Word-of-mouth is spreading, she added, and new people are also starting to come to the event. It is also “a great social event” because people get to talk, re-connect and visit with one another.

“This year is special because we are putting out the call for our new accessible vehicle,” said DiBartolomeo.

ACS had to pull one of its accessible buses off the road and is actively fundraising and seeking donations for a new one.

Other participants and their soups included Armando’s Amherstburg and their chicken tortilla soup, the Artisan Grill and their lobster bisque, the Beacon Ale House and their potato dill soup, the Dalhousie Bistro and their roasted winter vegetable,, Gilligan’s Fire Grill in Amherstburg and their cheeseburger soup, the Knights of Columbus and their chicken vegetable, Dock 21 and their potato bacon cabbage, LA Town Grill and their roasted red pepper, Maria’s and their beefy tomato macaroni, Smashed Apple Catering and Takeout with their curry chicken, Speck’s and their cabbage roll soup and the 19th Hole at Wildwood with their turkey dumpling soup.

David Languedoc from The Dalhousie Bistro dishes out some of his roasted winter vegetable soup during “SOUPer Wednesday.”

ACS’ Meals on Wheels kitchen also offered their Italian ravioli soup but that wasn’t an official entry and could not be voted on.

“Every year, this event gets bigger and better,” said DiBartolomeo. “It gives the chefs a chance to talk directly to their clients about their soups.”

One of those chefs was Beau Velduis from Seasons. He said it was their first time in the competition.

“We’re just happy to be part of the event,” he said. “There were a lot of fantastic soups. I don’t know how we were selected. We’ll be back next year.”

Artisan Grill owner Matthew Johnston said he likes being a part of the “SOUPer Wednesday event.

“As a restaurant owner, I look forward to it every year,” said Johnston. “Not once have I tried a soup that wasn’t amazing. It’s great fun and a great cause and I would always want to be involved in it.”

Phil Medler, one of those who attended, said that he is already excited for next year’s event.

Chloe DiPasquale and Lindsay Wandeloski from Gilligan’s Fire Grill dish out cheeseburger soup.

“This year, everything was excellent,” said Medler. “The variety of was really good and it was really hard to pick my favourite soup. This was my second year here and I certainly plan on coming back next year.”

The ACS “SOUPer Wednesday” takes place every February. This year’s event will see all funds go towards the purchase of a new accessible vehicle. It was sponsored by John D’Alimonte and Kim Wheeler RE/MAX Preferred Realty, Seasons Amherstburg, Dollars and Cents Investments Inc., and Tino’s Auto Service.

ACS’ next event will be the Spring Wine ‘n Hop, scheduled for May 9.

For more information on the services ACS offers or to make a donation towards the accessible vehicle, call 517-736-5471, visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. or check out their website at

Cherished Amherstburg resident passes away at 97


By Jolene Perron


Margaret Squire had many accomplishments during her life, from teacher to author and more, and her loss is being felt by the Amherstburg community.

Well-known as an English teacher at General Amherst High School, where she taught for 21 years, Squire had a passion for Shakespeare and the art of literature. She touched many lives, much of it due to her passion for life.

Squire was an immigrant from Austria-Hungary, which her children John Philip Squire and Wilma Peters explained became Romania the day after she was born due to the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War One. When she immigrated to Canada at 9-years-old, she could speak German, Hungarian and Romanian and her first area of business was to learn English. Peters said she continued to speak German and English fluently all her life.

Margaret Squire passed away Dec. 20 at the age of 97. Squire led an accomplished life and spent the last few years of her life as a resident of Seasons Amherstburg. (Submitted photo)

“She loved the English language and as a teacher, she tried to infuse that into her students,” said Peters. “Shakespeare was her passion and she made it come alive in her classes.  She also genuinely cared for each and every one of her students, and if they needed anything, whether it be about school or personally, she was there for them.  It was fun for us as her children to also have her as a teacher.”

John described her as “a life-long student” and “a loving mother of three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.” She was also a world traveler, having visited more than 85 countries and lost count. She published her stories about travel in two hard-cover books, “Globe Trotting Granny,” and “Globe Trotting Great-Granny.”

“(She was) a kind and caring role model for all of us on how to live a fulfilling life for almost 98 years,” said John. “As her only son, I carry her with me every day of my life. Her focus on English and the English language, her fourth language, spurred me into a major in university English, a brief stint as an English teacher and a 40-year career as a newspaper journalist, now based in Kelowna, British Columbia.”

In what John called her “long and productive retirement,” Squire would travel the world, joking she was “spending their inheritance” by doing so. Her children would tell her to spend it all, and leave them with great memories when she passed. After Squire’s husband passed, she began taking her children with her on her trips. Peters explained she had a map of the world and would mark every country she visited. According to Peters her only regret would be not visiting the Antarctic, which was the only continent she didn’t get to see.

“Her other retirement pleasure was auditing courses at the University of Windsor,” said Peters. “ She would take two courses every fall session and two courses in the spring.  These would range from history to geology to psychology to women’s studies and so on.  She also enjoyed attending University Players’ and Windsor Light Opera productions.  Of course, there was many a trip to Stratford to see its plays.”

Margaret Squire decorated her door at Seasons Retirement Home, as seen in this 2014 photo.

Eventually, Peters said Squire moved into Seasons Amherstburg were she got involved in the numerous activities, participated in the outings and even was involved with the residents’ council. Squire was well-known throughout Seasons for decorating her apartment door in accordance with the season, as well as being able to pick up four-leaf clovers nearly every time she walked outside. She was chosen as the recipient for Seasons’ Remarkable Resident for a life well-spent in 2013.

“When I returned to southern Ontario every other Christmas, I immersed myself in her busy social life at Seasons Amherstburg, from meeting all her friends to competing in horse racing, bingo, trivia contests and card games,” said John. “Even though I became a wordsmith like her, she could always beat me in a friendly game of Scrabble. And everyone I met, from dozens of former students to her new friends, they always sang her praises. It’s no wonder that she was awarded the University of Windsor’s Clark Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 2004. No wonder she was named Seasons’ Remarkable Resident in 2013. No wonder she could find so many four-leaf clovers every time she went for a walk. She led the luckiest life of anyone I’ve ever met. Two lifetimes in fact, judging by my experience and now, through her obituary.”

Margaret Squire has her photo taken with Santa Claus (Submitted photo)

Squire will remain a role model for everyone whose lives she touched to live life the fullest every day. As her obituary reads, “no tears, celebrate!” as her final request, she asks everyone “to rejoice with her on her last trip.”

Seasons donates 100 turkeys to Mission in time for Christmas



By Jolene Perron


At each of their properties across Canada, Seasons donated 100 turkeys to food banks and missions in their respective communities.

“This is a great day for the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission,” said Tim McAllister, president. “We are so very blessed that Seasons has chosen to donate 100 turkeys to us this holiday season. Their generous support has allowed us to continue serving our community and those in need. You have blessed us, and now we can share that blessing with others.”

Initially there was discussion about all the area Seasons donating their turkeys to the Windsor Essex County Food bank, but dining services manager at Seasons Amherstburg Beau Veldhuis explained each of the area Seasons wanted the opportunity to keep their donation in their respective communities.

“We try to help out whenever we can, if we’ve got things that we can bring over and help out, that’s what we try to do,” said Veldhuis. “There are plenty of needy families right here in Amherstburg, so we are all going to our individual missions and food banks to donate our turkeys.”

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister (left) and vice president Shirley Hitchcock (right) accepted a truck load of 100 turkeys from Beau Veldhuis (centre) on behalf Seasons, which launched a company-wide program to give back to their communities.

Shirley Hitchcock, vice president at the Mission said some of the turkeys will be cooked for the annual Christmas dinner, while others will be given to those who go to the Mission to receive assistance regularly. Those people, she said, know who they are.

“Everybody here knows. People that don’t need it in this area don’t ask for it and people that do need help that’s why we’re here so if they come and they need a turkey they’re having a turkey,” said Hitchcock. “When people have a number of children it’s easier for them to cook the turkeys at home and just get the trimmings to go with it.”

Seasons dropped off 100 turkeys to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission last Thursday afternoon as part of their company-wide program to give back to their communities.

Veldhuis, explained they worked with their grocery partner, Sysco Canada to work out a deal with them to be able to provide 100 turkeys to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. All of the turkeys across all of the Seasons properties were donated to the area food banks and missions Dec. 14.

“It’s great to be able to help,” said Veldhuis. “I know it’s not me personally but it’s Seasons as a company that’s helping and it’s a great initiative so I hope we continue to do it because we sure can do it. I think we lose track of how many people are out there that need the help.”

Catz Meow brings dance classes to Seasons Amherstburg


By Jolene Perron


“Making big dreams come true in a small town.”

The work of art on one of The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre’s buildings showcases everything owner and director Catherine Cristofaro stands for. A business, which she explained was built so innocently, and has continued because of it’s genuineness is showing its heart again by teaching ballet at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg.

“Our cooperate initiative was to bring dance into our memory care communities and so we went out into the community, thinking that might be a good way to assist us, since we’re not all gifted in house,” explained Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg’s general manager Tamasin Dineen. “ We reached out to the Catz Meow and asked if there was anyone interested, maybe some students who were interested in volunteer hours, and we got a great response from them and Catherine decided to do it herself.”

Residents at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg have enjoyed their last five weeks with Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre, as she has taught them dance and gotten them moving.

Residents at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg have enjoyed their last five weeks with Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre, as she has taught them dance and gotten them moving.

Many of the patients in the memory care community have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Not only was it thought to be a great form of exercise, but it’s also a safe form of art of the residents to participate in.
For five weeks Cristofaro has been working with the residents. She said in the beginning, there were a lot of spectators, but now they all get up and follow along with her much better than their first class together.

“Whether or not they remember the names of the exercises, you can tell that their muscle memory is definitely engaged, the music is sparking a part of their brain and their heart and their love of dance I think many of them have,” said Cristofaro. “That’s really encouraging to keep coming back and they look forward to seeing me.

Whether they remember my name or not is not important, but when they see my face they know that we’re here to dance and it means a lot to me to be a part of it.”

Cristofaro has spoken with Dineen to expand upon the program. She said she is going to be receiving additional training in order to know how to approach the residents in specific manors according to some of the challenges they face individually. This way, she can be more efficient and effective in what she is sharing with them in order to maximize on the success of the program she is trying to develop for them.

Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre teaches ballet to a group of seniors on the memory care floor at Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg.

Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre teaches ballet to a group of seniors on the memory care floor at Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg.

“The residents just gravitated towards it,” said Dineen. “They absolutely love it. She has also approached me about taking it one step further, not just for the five-week class, but doing something long-term and we would be so excited about that because I think both our residents in independent living and memory care, it gives them a sense of purpose, it gives them something new to try and it encourages them to work on their cognitive skills as well and learning something new is always wonderful too.”

Dineen said ballet is something that was outside of the box for them to offer, and while many people may not think ballet is something the seniors would be interested in, they most certainly are and she is incredibly grateful for the work Cristofaro has put into the five-week program and is interested in seeing it expand.

“I feel just as blessed to be here, and grateful, to be teaching these people as I think they feel towards me,” said Cristofaro. “I’m really excited to see where this opportunity takes me.”

Seasons chips in with donation to Belle Vue



By RTT Staff


Seasons Amherstburg has done its part to try and restore the 200-year-old Belle Vue property.

The local retirement home presented the Belle Vue Conservancy a cheque for $811 last Friday afternoon. Linda Jackson, chair of the conservancy’s corporate outreach, said it is a national historic site that is two centuries old and that Seasons has helped out in the past.

Jackson pointed out that Robert and Debra Honor, also conservancy members, have presented information sessions at Seasons regarding the Belle Vue property. She added Seasons is a silver sponsor for the Sept. 24 “Puttin’ on the Ritz” gala being held for Belle Vue at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Staff and residents from Seasons present a cheque for $811 to the Belle Vue Conservancy and Amherstburg Community Foundation last Friday afternoon.

Staff and residents from Seasons present a cheque for $811 to the Belle Vue Conservancy and Amherstburg Community Foundation last Friday afternoon.

“We can’t thank you enough for all of your help,” Jackson told Seasons staff.

Rick Daly, manager of programming and development with the town of Amherstburg, represented the Amherstburg Community Foundation and thanked Seasons staff and residents for their generosity as well.

Heather Vandenham, leasing manager at Seasons Amherstburg, said the money was raised at the retirement community’s Canada Day festivities.

“There were raffles and donations made through that event,” said Vandenham.

Many Seasons residents remember Belle Vue from some of its former uses and they would like to see it used again.

“They grew up here,” she said. “They love this community as much as we do.”

Seasons also tries to keep history alive through its residents, Vandenham added, and that residents want to keep history alive in Amherstburg.

To make a donation, people can visit