Local community celebrates 100 years



By Ron Giofu


2018 is a milestone year for one community within Amherstburg.

The Lake Erie Country Club celebrated its 100th anniversary over the Labour Day weekend with a variety of different events and activities in and around their clubhouse just off of Lakeside Dr. Events included everything from wine & cheese receptions to a dance for the adults to inflatables, dunk tanks and sports games for families.

Joe Steele takes a look at some of the older photos featured as part of Lake Erie Country Club’s 100th anniversary celebration held over the Labour Day weekend.

There were also fireworks, pony rides, horseshoes and a Sunday morning breakfast included as part of the celebration.

People were also able to look through photo albums and view other Lake Erie Country Club memorabilia.

Maggie (McLean) Gutierrez, president of the Lake Erie Country Club auxiliary, said it was 100 years since Lake Erie Country Club (LECC) was incorporated, noting there have always been cottages in the area for both Canadian and American residents but full-time residents also make up the LECC. There are 106 homes and three empty lots in the LECC.

Gutierrez stated that past residents were also welcomed, with many former residents coming down for the celebration.

Greg Bresolin gets wet during his time in the dunk tank.

“It’s definitely a celebration of community,” she said.

Many residents both past and present came down to the Lake Erie Country Club for the summer before returning to their full-time homes. She recalls many fun activities for children, a lot of which are continuing including tennis, baseball and a playground.

“It’s a great place to live,” said Gutierrez. “I don’t think anyone who has lived here hasn’t had great memories.”

Amherstburg BMO branch celebrates 113 years



By Jolene Perron


While the Bank of Montreal is celebrating 200 years of business, the Amherstburg branch, as one of the oldest in Canada, is also celebrating a milestone of their own.

“Amherstburg is also 113 years and because of the history of Amherstburg it was fitting to have a really big celebration,” said branch manager Karen Davidson. “I invited all the retirees to come to the celebrations. It’s because of the people that helped form our branch. It’s a friendly atmosphere, it’s a family atmosphere and we’re excited to be able to be a part of this.”

Jim Inglis, David Blyth, Julie Barker-Merz, Karen Davidson and Ramo Dipaolo stand for a group photo Nov. 24 at BMO Amherstburg Branch during their celebrations.

In attendance at the celebrations Nov. 24 was the senior vice president of BMO’s southwestern Ontario division, the senior vice president of commercial, the regional vice president with financial planners as well as their regional vice president. They also invited past managers, employees who used to work at the Amherstburg branch who are still working for BMO elsewhere and retirees, such as Betty Federico, who was secretary to the manager when she began. She retired completely two years ago after 61 years with BMO.

Betty Federico (right), who was employed with Bank of Montreal for a total of 61 years, points to a black and white photo of herself with other branch members during the Amherstburg Branch’s celebrations Nov. 24.

“It was much different than it is today. Everything was hand written. It was great,” said Federico. “It was a great place to work, they were very accommodating with your lifestyle, and your home life, so it was great for me. I got to talk to a lot of people, and I like to talk. It’s amazing,”

Federico told a story about how she was insistent she didn’t want to do telebanking at the ATM, so the manger at the time told the tellers not to wait on her until she went to the ATM machine. She explained it was a lot of fun and they always had a great time.

Davidson echoed Federico’s feelings about the company.

“I’m so proud, I’ve worked for the bank for more than 30 years, and my father also used to work for the bank as well,” said Davidson. “This is all I know and I’m so proud to be able to work for an organization with that history, the family atmosphere, just wanting to help others and the community as well as our customers, it’s exciting.”

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.


Colchester celebrates 225 years



By Jolene Perron


Not only is Canada turning 150 years old this year, but the town of Colchester is celebrating its 225th birthday.

With this milestone birthday, Essex town council wanted to raise awareness and build civic pride. Laurie Brett, manager or communications at the town of Essex said the idea of celebrating Colchester’s 225 years in conjunction with the Explore the Shore weekend came from a recognition that the region has a very long history that extends the length of County Road 50.

Colchester celebrated its 225th  birthday last Saturday with a variety of different events and activities for residents and visitors alike.

Colchester celebrated its 225th
birthday last Saturday with a variety of different events and activities for residents and visitors alike.

“Setting the celebration at Colchester Harbour allows us to showcase our beautiful lakeside park and the growing wine and hospitality industry in Essex,” said Brett. “We wanted to offer something for children during the day and adults in the evening. We were successful in receiving a $41,000 grant from the Ontario 150 Community Celebration Program, which is allowing us to offer a fun-filled day of activities for people of all ages, including a beach volleyball tournament, children’s entertainment, heritage plaque unveiling, live music, and fireworks over the lake at sunset.”

Colchester celebrated its 225th  birthday last Saturday with a variety of different events and activities for residents and visitors alike.

Colchester celebrated its 225th
birthday last Saturday with a variety of different events and activities for residents and visitors alike.

Highlights of the day included the unveiling of the heritage plaque and “The Colchester Story,” which was told by Seamus Gunn. There were also Kingsport Environmental activities, enchanted princesses, entertainment from Jen Knight with Charlie Lambrick, Christian Vegh, and much more, with Fireworks capping off the evening, as Brett said.

Colchester celebrated its 225th birthday last Saturday with a variety of different events and activities for residents and visitors alike.

Colchester celebrated its 225th birthday last Saturday with a variety of different events and activities for residents and visitors alike.

“I am very excited about the event,” said Brett. “As someone who is passionate about history, I am especially interested in the heritage elements of the event – the town crier, the heritage plaque unveiling, and the historic walking tour of Colchester. We’ve also prepared a small booklet outlining the area’s early history and we’ve been distributing it at the event as a limited edition item. But I’m also excited about the present day. It’s great that we have this opportunity to introduce people to Colchester Harbour, County Road 50, and all the great things happening here today.”