Fort Malden National Historic Site welcomes March Break campers



By Ron Giofu


Youth from around the area converged on Amherstburg last week to learn a bit about the town’s history.

Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada held its annual March Break day camp From March 12-16 with a variety of different activities, most of which were historically-themed, presented.

“It’s been good,” reported interpretation officer Alex Dale. “For most of the days, we’ve had 15 or so kids and lots of activities.”

Holly Lucier from Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada explains what they will be making in the cookhouse to a group of children.

The week featured scavenger hunts, crafts, making food in the cookhouse and other hands-on activities for children. There were also movies played for the children.

“It’s been fun,” said Dale.

Dale stated it was the third consecutive year for the current format, which saw children stay all day at Fort Malden. The activities were held from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

The children were from around the area, not just Amherstburg, said Dale. He said Fort Malden National Historic Site’s Facebook site got the word out with some of the students being returnees from previous years. Some came from as far as Niagara Falls and Orangeville, said Dale, as they were in the area visiting grandparents for March Break.

“I think it’s been a lot of fun,” said Dale. “We’ve done (the March Break program) in so many different ways.”

Fort Malden won’t officially open for the season until May 19, though, when it will reveal its newest exhibit, titled “The British Wore Red?”  According to Parks Canada, the exhibit will feature a timeline of military uniforms, clothing and artifacts from Fort Malden’s history.

Amelie Kinnish breaks an egg and puts it in a bowl with the help of Holly Lucier March 15 at Fort Malden National Historic Site’s March Break camp.

There will also be the first-ever Escape Room Festival June 16. Local escape room companies will bring numerous timed puzzles to Fort Malden with different themes. That event will also include live entertainment, food and beverages.

On July 1, Fort Malden will host the annual Canada Day event in conjunction with the Town of Amherstburg.  As in years past, the event will feature “cool activities and entertainment” and will end with a fireworks display along the Detroit River.

More information and a list of special events can be found on the Town of Amherstburg’s website at or Parks Canada’s Fort Malden page at

Fort Malden’s Facebook site is


—With files from Jonathan Martin

Amherstburg Stars Alumni Camp later this month


By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Stars Alumni hockey camp returns later this month with the aim of having local players sharpen their skills in time for the 2017-18 season.

The camp will be at the Libro Centre Aug. 14-18 and is geared for male and female players ages 5-17. It will feature three hours of on ice training per day and another 90 minutes of off ice training per day.

“The camp will feature power skating and skill enhancement sessions, followed by competitive three-on-three situations and small area games. all looking to improve skating, stick handling, puck control, endurance, and offensive and defensive situations,” said Kyle Burns.


Burns and Corey Beaulieu will join goalie coach Brian Spearing and camp organizer Glen Holden as instructors during the week-long camp.

“Right now we have approximately 45 players registered, with room for 60 players,” said Burns.

To register, please contact Glen Holden at 519-965-2049 or by e-mail at

Hours are 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily. The cost is $325 for the five-day camp and participants will receive lunch daily, a jersey and a camp T-shirt.

“This is our fifth year and so far our non-profit group has donated close to $7,000 back to AMHA and its members through donations and post secondary school bursaries,” noted Holden. “We’re also hoping Michael DiPietro will be able to make an appearance at our camp like in previous years.”

Sold out hockey school focuses strictly on girls



By Ron Giofu


An all-girls hockey camp started last Wednesday night with the ice at the Libro Centre filled with players ages 6-15.

The camp is in its second year and is being directed by Bill Atkinson and Dan Pettypiece. Atkinson said it allows players to “go back to basics” and learn the finer points of the game. The clinic started last year with 36 kids and is sold out this year with over 60 players enrolled.

“It’s the kinds of things coaches can’t do in the middle of the season because they don’t have enough ice time,” said Atkinson.

There are not a lot of all-girls camps, Atkinson believes, and they try to make the clinic at the Libro Centre affordable for everyone. He said a lot of girls don’t feel comfortable on the ice with boys and they are more enthusiastic when they get to compete against other girls.

Girls from around the area have been taking the ice at the Libro Centre for a hockey school.

Girls from around the area have been taking the ice at the Libro Centre for a hockey school.

Atkinson said the all-girls approach works for his three daughters and believes it works better for other girls, as they are not as intimidated on the ice and more motivated.

“I wouldn’t be able to get any of them to go to a mostly boys camp,” said Atkinson.

While basic skating and puck handing skills are taught, Atkinson added they aren’t necessarily trying to create superstars.

“We’re going to teach you how to play hockey so you can enjoy the game,” he said.

Atkinson said there are other coaches as well, including a goalie coach and three girls getting an initial exposure to coaching. He said it is great not only helping players develop, but allowing others to give back through coaching.

The bulk of the players are from Amherstburg, he added, though there are players from LaSalle and Harrow in the camp as well as some others from around the area.

The school has two sessions each Wednesday night through Aug. 23 and also runs Aug. 29.

Fundraiser helps with new cabins at local campground


By Jonathan Martin

Local businesses have come together to replace two ramshackle cabins at a camp for underprivileged children.

The cabins had been standing since just after World War Two, according to Dan Inverarity, a local realtor who has been working with Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp camp for years. He said the decades-old cabins lacked foundations, locks for the doors and windows and said it had been taking more and more work just to keep them livable.

To update them, though, would cost around $50,000.

Even with the $30,000 raised at an April 1 fundraiser, plus the more than $40,000 in federal funding presented by MP Tracy Ramsey, that was a hurdle Inverarity said the camp wouldn’t have been able to leap. Fundraising organizers estimate the camp needs to bring in around $150,000 annually just to meet its operational costs. Inverarity said all the money raised so far will go towards meeting that requirement.

Members of local businesses, including Nor-Built Construction, BK Cornerstone, Santarossa J & Sons, Kehl Windows and Doors and Canflow Eavestroughs, stand beside local realtor Dan Inverarity (fourth from left) in the shell of a cabin at Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Members of local businesses, including Nor-Built Construction, BK Cornerstone, Santarossa J & Sons, Kehl Windows and Doors and Canflow Eavestroughs, stand beside local realtor Dan Inverarity (fourth from left) in the shell of a cabin at Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

There was no money left to build the cabins.

Local businesses like Nor-Built Construction, BK Cornerstone, Santarossa J & Sons, Kehl Windows and Doors, Canflow Eavestroughs and Home Hardware decided that wasn’t a problem. They donated both the materials and the manpower needed to raise the cabins in a single weekend. By next weekend, Inverarity hopes to have the siding in place.

“We’ll probably be putting the finishing touches on the paint as the kids walk through the doors,” he said. “Isn’t that how it always works with renovations?”

He said the new cabins are 20 per cent larger than the old ones, which allows each to sleep six campers in three sets of bunk beds. Inverarity also said the new cabins have improved airflow to keep the campers cool, locking windows and doors, a cement foundation and an overall better-quality build.

“They’ll probably last another 80 years without a problem,” he said. “Thank God for the local community. They donated everything. I didn’t cut a single cheque.”

Campers will get to experience the new cabins when the camp opens in nine weeks.