2017 – The Year in Review – July, August and September

 

 

The Canada 150 CanDo Medals of Distinction hang prior to the start of the July 1 ceremony.

JULY

  • Canada Day festivities are held at Fort Malden National Historic Site. A highlight of the day was the presentation of about 150 CanDo Awards of Distinctions to Amherstburg residents. The day kicked off with the Canada D’Eh Run, organized by Running Flat. The run attracted people from as far as Vancouver.
  • More than 200 paddlers celebrated Canada 150 by paddling on the Detroit River and its tributaries, including the Canard River. The event was co-ordinated locally by the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) with ERCA stating it was part of a national initiative to celebrate our Heritage Rivers.
  • Angelo Avolio becomes the new chief building official for Amherstburg. Avolio graduated from St. Clair College in the architectural technology and worked for engineering firms, homebuilders and was also self-employed before becoming a building inspector/plans examiner with the Town of LaSalle. He was employed by LaSalle for roughly 20 years.
  • The Amherstburg Belle Vue House National Historic Site received a major boost towards restoration efforts with a $100,000 donation from The Gatfield Family Foundation. The Gatfield Family Foundation will be presented with the naming rights to the main floor “dining room” in recognition of their donation. The dining room is one of five major rooms on the main floor to be named as part of the $1 million Phase 1 fundraising goal for the Town of Amherstburg and the Belle Vue Conservancy, the latter being a not-for-profit, volunteer committee.
  • The Marsh Historical Collection relocates to the Heritage Square plaza at 80 Richmond St., around the corner from their former location at 235 Dalhousie St. It is a move that staff is glad is over, but happy that has occurred. The public area is set up largely like it was at the former location, with a reference library and a small gift shop.
  • The eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest was held with a crowd of 13,513 people in attendance. The three-day event took place in Centennial Park with four ribbers – Ribs Royale, Memphis Blazin’ BBQ, Dinosaur BBQ Pit and Texas Rangers – and a variety of craft vendors, children’s activities and other food and drink vendors participating. The attendance could have it been more had it not been for a strong storm that passed through the area on the Friday night.
  • Town council voted to compensate non-unionized and management staff at the 65th percentile, meaning that over the next six years, those salaries will have a budgetary impact of $368,683. Councillor Diane Pouget advocated for compensation at the 55th percentile level, or a budgetary impact of $257,012, as she didn’t feel the town was ready financially for a larger increase.
  • Victoria St. Manor opens to the public with a “very busy” open house. Owned by Dr. Nadeem Khan and his wife Farah, the home features 14 rooms, with some having beds and some not as potential residents have the option of bringing in their own furniture if they like.
  • Water and wastewater rates rise two per cent and one per cent respectively in Amherstburg. The water budget of nearly $9.4 million will be funded through $638,000 from working capital, a $3.7 million grant and $5 million in new debentures with the $1.369 million wastewater budget being funded through $542,000 in operating capital, $348,150 in grant funding and $479,350 from the wastewater capital reserve. The water and wastewater rate increases translated into the average user paying an extra $9 more this year.
  • A roundtable discussion was held at Essex MPP Taras Natyshak’s office with service providers and parents offering feedback an autism programming. Joining Natyshak were Hamilton Mountain MPP Monique Taylor, who is the NDP’s critic for children and youth services, and Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield. There were 12 agencies represented around the table.
  • 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. Lorna McIlroy from Alberta and Normand Fleury from Quebec stayed at The Bondy House and saw a number of key areas in Amherstburg.
  • Amherstburg Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership collaborated with NHL star Ed Jovanovski to host a golf tournament and raise money for cancer research. The golf tournament attracted 144 golfers and raised $50,000.
  • Town council has approved a $1.1 million tender for watermain and road improvements to Pickering Dr. The tender was awarded to SLR Contracting Group Inc. and the work ran through the fall.
  • The National Trust for Canada “This Place Matters” online competition has concluded and the Belle Vue project – entered into the contest as “Belle Vue House – A Clear View into the Future by the Belle Vue Conservancy” – won the Community Builder prize and the $10,000 that goes with it.
  • The County of Essex held an outdoor Canada 150 celebration at the Essex Civic Centre with one of the main attractions being the burying of a time capsule that isn’t supposed to be opened for another 100 years. The event was funded by the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation. Several county politicians also took part in a dunk tank.
  • Local author Sharon Ledwith has just launched her first novel in a series, and will be having a book signing at Amherstburg’s Pet Valu. The book is entitled “Welcome to Fairy Falls.”
  • Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy was the biggest car show ever, attracting 678 vehicles to the downtown core. For the first time ever, organizers had to close down the entry gates as additional cars could not safely be accommodated. Winner of the Paulie Award for best in show was Ken and Shirley Mailloux of Comber and their 1956 Ford Thunderbird.
  • Fire chief Bruce Montone unveils a draft open burn bylaw at a special council meeting. That same bylaw was taken to public meetings held in three different locations during the summer and into the fall.
  • An all-girls hockey camp is held at the Libro Centre. It was sold out in 2017 with 60 girls ages 6-15 enrolled.
  • Ground Effects Ltd. presented a $50,000 cheque to local Kiwanis Club president Dan Inverarity. The Kiwanis Sunshine Point camp, renovated in recent years thanks to businesses from the Windsor-Essex County area including Amherstburg, was established for children and youth in 1942 and was the site of a dinner, cheque presentation and donor recognition.
  • Two people from Amherstburg died as a result of a six-vehicle collision on Highway 401, Chatham-Kent OPP stated. On July 30 around 4:40 p.m., Chatham-Kent OPP, Chatham-Kent Fire Service, and Chatham-Kent Emergency Medical Services (EMS), responded to the collision on Highway 401 near Dillon Road. OPP stated that a westbound tractor trailer collided with six vehicles, which were stopped on the highway due to a separate motor vehicle collision. As a result of the collision, two passengers traveling in the pick-up – 42-year-old Lacie Brundritt and 14-year-old Kyle Brundritt of Amherstburg – died.
  • The River Canard Canoeing Company has joined in on Canada 150 festivities, with their most recent contribution being a mural installed at the River Canard Outpost General Store. Owner Ron Lapointe had a mural commissioned for the store, located at the corner of Malden Road and County Road 8, with the work being completed by local artist Jacqueline Raulin.
  • The town received over $3.7 million for upgrades to the reservoir at the water treatment plant. The funding was received under the federal government’s Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF).

Large crowds not only came to town for the Canuck It Up! Festival, but they also kept local businesses and restaurants busy.

AUGUST

  • Despite a deflated duck on the first day of the “Canuck It Up!” Festival, the two-day festival attracted huge numbers to Amherstburg. The town estimated the crowd at 80,000 people coming to town to enjoy the festival’s multiple activities. Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada held “Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats” that same weekend with another full slate of activities and roughly 7,000 people attended that event, up from 1,000 that attended that same weekend’s activities the year before.
  • Town council eliminated two committees and combined two others. After an in-camera meeting regarding “committee structure review,” council combined the parks committee and the recreation committee into one committee and eliminated the audit and finance committee and the economic development committee.
  • The Amherstburg Freedom Museum held its annual Emancipation Gala. The guest speaker was retired curator Kenn Stanton with Justice Elliott and Shaniece Peters receiving Mac Simpson Awards.
  • The Essex Soil and Crop Improvement Association held its annual “Twilight Tour” and part of it was dedicated to recognizing the 2016 Conservation Farm Award winner. The tour started at J. Brush Farms in Colchester South before heading to the ERCA demonstration farm next to Holiday Beach Conservation Area in Amherstburg. Jim Brush, owner of J. Brush Farms, was presented the Conservation Farm award sign that he has displayed in front of his property.
  • Michael DiPietro receives a “Key to the Town” from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. The Windsor Spitfires goalie is honoured in front of town hall and said he was humbled and honoured by the recognition.
  • G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. officially opens. Owned by Dwayne Grondin, his wife Jen, his brother Greg and his wife Cathy, the craft brewery is located at 8728 Howard Ave., just north of County Road 20.
  • It was announced that the best young gymnasts in Ontario will converge on Amherstburg’s Libro Credit Union Centre to compete in the Ontario Provincial Artistic Gymnastics Championships next April. Roughly 1,200 competitors and 5,000 people are expected.
  • Meaghan Marton was awarded an Outstanding Canadian Grant from Shaw Communications. She was nominated by a friend last fall with that friend also being a colleague with the group Leadership Advancement for Women in Sports (LAWS). That group, said Marton, assists girls and women in getting involved in physical activities and leadership positions.
  • Essex County announced that Rob Maisonville would be the new CAO and will replace the retiring Brian Gregg. Maisonville, formerly the director of corporate services/treasurer, began his new duties Sept. 7.
  • From tractor pulls, to their annual chicken and rib dinner, the 33rd annual Essex County Steam and Gas Engine show showcased pieces of history at Co-An Park. Antique tractors were on display along with other pieces of agricultural history throughout the weekend.
  • The Woofa-Roo Pet Festival was held with thousands of people attending. From the dock diving organized by Ontario Dock Dogs, to the display of the many skills by Border City Barkers, the festival was a huge hit with pets and their humans.
  • Ashley Marchand began a position on staff at The House Youth Centre mid-August. She is the new activities coordinator, and while she was not able to participate in the program as a youth, she said she was drawn to the organization’s sense of community.
  • Runners and walkers returned to Holiday Beach Conservation Area again this year and were doused with water along the way. The “Wet and Wild” Hawk Run was held conservation area, with about 160 runners and walkers taking part.
  • Council moves forward with a community improvement plan, one that could translate into a hotel for the town. Open houses for that plan, plus urban design guidelines and a parks master plan are held later in the year.
  • Syrian refugees got a chance to work with horses thanks to Firehorse Leadership Organization. The Syrian children and an interpreter were brought to Sarah Parks Horsemanship as part of a partnership that involved a First Lego League robotics team known as the Supersonics. There was also a contribution from Libro Credit Union, who gave Firehorse a $5,000 grant to develop such a leadership program.
  • Vivace Estate Winery, owned by the husband and wife duo of Jean Qian and Max Wu, is now open at 5141 Concession 5 North. It was formerly known as D’Angelo Estate Winery. Qian and Wu bought the property in January.
  • River Lights Winter Festival has received support from Enbridge again this year, with this year’s sponsorship amounting to $15,000. It is the fourth year Enbridge sponsored the festival.
  • Mark and Cori McGuire hold the fifth annual vintage bicycle show at their Concession 6 North home. They typically bring out more than 200 visitors and the number grows each year.
  • Heavy rains soak the area and cause numerous flooded basements in Amherstburg, Windsor, Tecumseh, Essex and Lakeshore. About 34 homes in the McGregor area reported flooding

 

SEPTEMBER

  • Andrew Busch, a snare drum player for The Diplomats drum corps, travelled to Indianapolis for their annual competition. Busch went down early to sign up and compete against 14 other snare drum players and placed fourth overall.
  • The 163rd annual Harrow Fair was held last weekend with this year’s theme being “Scarecrows and Sunflowers.” Livestock showings, carnival rides, games, live music and, of course, the popular Harrow Fair parade highlighted the event.
  • The Amherstburg Ladies Hockey League starts a new season and is now being run by the father-daughter duo of Marc and Carly LeBlanc.
  • Local author Melissa Piva releases her new book “Rory’s Rainbow” in Little Free Libraries across Essex County. The story “explores the topics of gender expression and acceptance through the tale of a toy dinosaur named Rory.”
  • The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals begin the 2017-18 PJHL Stobbs Division season with 13 of their 23 players being from Amherstburg.
  • Dave Scott died at the age of 71, roughly one year after being diagnosed with ALS. Scott spent approximately 43 years coaching at General Amherst.
  • Tim McAllister, president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, won the humanitarian award that was presented by Vigor Awards International. According to the organization, the Vigor Awards are “designed to promote generosity, volunteerism and humanitarianism around the world. Our goal is to celebrate, honour and acknowledge individuals who have made a positive impact in the world, whether by improving, encouraging or empowering other people’s lives.”
  • The Amherstburg Police Service conducts a blitz of the town, ticketing those who illegally park in accessible parking spaces.
  • The Festival of Hawks is presented for two weekends during migration season at Holiday Beach Conservation Area. The event is presented by the Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory.
  • The Windsor-Essex (WE) Harvest Festival was held once again at Fort Malden National Historic Site. The event was co-ordinated this year by Chris Mickle and his team from Protenders.
  • About 275 cyclists from near and far celebrated the Essex region’s trails for the sixth annual Essex Region Bike Tour. A sixth route was added this year to include the brand new Cypher Systems Group Greenway, the trail that connects Amherstburg and Essex. It was a fundraiser for the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).
  • Pointe West Golf Club held an outdoor concert where long-standing members and new members got a chance to unite. The first “Coming Together” concert was held near the clubhouse, with band Greatest Hits Live performing.
  • Amherstburg Home Health proceeds with a multi-million dollar expansion with the aim of having a “one-stop shop” for medical needs on the site. Luigi DiPierdomenico, president and CEO of Lumed Management Inc., said the aim is to bring in a multi-disciplinary practice to the site and create a place where health care needs can be met seven days per week.
  • Hogs for Horses held a fundraiser for the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA). Hogs for Horses brought out more than 150 riders this year. It began seven years ago, with just 35 riders, and has since raised well over $70,000 for the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association.
  • The doors to the Harrow Research and Development Centre (HRDC) were opened to the public with people coming by the hundreds to see what they do.
  • With a big name presenting sponsor on their side, the McGregor Mug Run and International Beer Festival was able to not only attract an additional 120 runners this year but they also brought a headlining country band to their stage, amounting to what the event coordinator called “the best year by far.” Country star Eric Ethridge took the stage at Co-An Park.
  • The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, the board that operates the Park House Museum, received a $5,000 cheque from the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and an additional $1,114 from the Ribfest Committee, the latter being a sub-committee of Rotary.
  • St. Peter’s ACHS College School adds Mandarin to its curriculum thanks to General Amherst exchange student Victoria Wan.
  • Culture Days are celebrated with a two-day event in Navy Yard Park. The Rendezvous fur trading event was held the same weekend at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

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