Canada 150

Amherstburg well represented among MP’s Canada 150 medal recipients



By Ron Giofu


Essex MP Tracey Ramsey recently awarded approximately 40 Canada 150 medals and Canada Sesquicentennial Pins to people from around the riding and Amherstburg was no exception.

Ramsey said the medals were to “incredible people of Essex (County) who have really inspired me. I knew they should be recognized for their efforts.”

Ramsey said that being the area’s Member of Parliament since 2015 has opened her eyes to all of the work taking place in the area.

Eleven-year-old Gabby Wilkinson of Amherstburg (left) was one of about 40 recipients of Canada 150 medals presented by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey.

“You can live here your whole life and not realize the work being done around us,” said Ramsey. “In the past two years I was able to meet and connect with incredible individuals who have inspired me. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with people in our communities who dedicate themselves every day by showing how much they care about their neighbours, making life better for all those around them.  I am honoured to be able to recognize them for their outstanding efforts to make our community a better place with these special symbols of Canada 150. I want to thank every recipient for their continued generosity of spirit that makes our riding of Essex and Canada the best place in the world to live.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Among the recipients was Gabby Wilkinson, a student at Amherstburg Public School. Wilkinson was six-years-old when she had problems in math class with patterns. She received help in making patterns and that led to her making bracelets.

From there, Wilkinson started selling the bracelets at an Alzheimer fundraiser in Windsor and raised $68. “Gabby’s Gifts” evolved out of that and the local youth continues to volunteer and sell treats, crafts as well as her bracelets for numerous local charities and causes, including helping the homeless.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Freedom Museum board president Monty Logan.

“I was nervous and excited,” Wilkinson said about getting the award. “It was a nice surprise.”

Wilkinson is now 11-years-old and in her fifth year of helping others.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission Tim McAllister was another local recipient. Born in Barbados, McAllister came to Canada and attended St. Clair College and became a welder. The married father of four worked in that field for several years before an auto accident involving a drunk driver cut his career short.

McAllister started volunteering with the mission with founders Andy and Pat Gervais and would eventually become president, a position he has held for the last 17 years. He is also a board member at Matthew House in Windsor. He has also won other numerous awards for his efforts.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

“As president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, I have found great pleasure in our motto ‘People Helping People’,” said McAllister. “I didn’t volunteer to receive this award but on behalf of my board of directors and volunteers, I do it with a humble and thankful heart. For all of those who volunteer and support the mission, I thank you.”

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), was another of the medal recipients. DiBartolomeo started volunteering with ACS in 2007 as a way to give back and to support the community. She worked her way up the ladder and by 2009, she had shown the skills and passion to become the executive director.

With DiBartolomeo at the helm, ACS is in the Amherstburg, McGregor, Harrow and LaSalle communities and assists thousands of people who are vulnerable, elderly or in need. She is also willing to volunteer her time to assist other organizations who need a helping hand.

“I am very honoured and humbled by this Canada 150 medal,” DiBartolomeo stated. “To be recognized for what you love to do is rewarding and gives me and my staff the encouragement to continue serving  our community.

Team Ontario – a group of Essex-Windsor EMS members who won back-to-back gold medals at the Ralleye Rejviz international paramedic competition – were honoured by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (centre) with Canada 150 medals. Amherstburg native Lance Huver is second from left.

Monty Logan was also recognized with a Canada 150 medal and pin. Logan, president of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s board of directors, was elected to that position in 2012, after joining the board the previous year.

Logan has helped guide the museum through key strategic, infrastructure, programming and fundraising initiatives as well as a transformation from the former identity as the North American Black Historical Museum to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Two elements of the transformation are complete – the curated archive on the Underground Railroad and the Amherstburg Freedom Summit. The final component is the Amherstburg Freedom Institute, which will focus on promoting solutions to address social and economic challenges facing young people today.

“It’s awesome to be honoured for the work we do at the museum,” said Logan. “More importantly, it’s getting our name out there. It’s an honour to be recognized for the work we do.”

Several police officers were among the medal recipients, including Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume. Berthiaume, who has spent his entire career in Amherstburg, was contacted by the RTT and he said he was happy to be recognized.

“I am honoured and humbled to be recipient of the Canada 150 Medal,” said Berthiaume.

Team Ontario, the group of Essex-Windsor EMS paramedics that won gold at the Rallye Rejviz international competition, was also honoured. EMS Team Ontario members Chris Kirwin, Shawn May, Lance Huver and Mike Filiault made up the 2017 team with Huver being an Amherstburg native.

Skate Amherstburg hosting free public skate this Sunday evening

Special to the RTT

Happy 150th Birthday Canada! The birthday celebrations are not over yet!

Thanks to a Canada 150 grant, Skate Amherstburg is holding a free public skate day Dec. 10 from 6-8 p.m. Anyone and everyone of all ages and skill levels are welcome to attend! Helmets are recommended for young skaters and anyone that is new to being on the ice. There will be souvenirs, giveaways, and we will also be having a CanSkate demonstration on one end of the ice with our NCCP certified coaches.

This is a great way to try out the CanSkate program before signing up for our Winter session! Registration will be available in the lobby and our volunteers will be available to answer any questions. Winter CanSkate runs on Thursdays from 6:00-6:50 p.m. starting Jan. 4 and on Mondays from 6:25-7:15 p.m. starting Jan. 8. Cost for one night of CanSkate for 14 weeks is only $250! Every good Canadian should be able to skate so start your kids off with the best Learn-to-Skate program in Canada!

December 10 is a busy day for Skate Amherstburg as our Adult Synchronized Skating teams will be in Stratford! The Diamond Divas 1 and 3 will be competing in their first competition of the season. We wish them the best of luck as well as a safe drive there and back!


Culture Days brings communities together across Canada



By Jolene Perron


The national event of Culture Days brought communities across the country together to celebrate culture and continue our Canada 150 celebrations.

John Penner tries his hands at juggling with the Windsor Circus School Rocks during Culture Days Sept. 30.

The free event brought a collection of kids activities, the interactive Royal Canadian Navy bus, tinsmithing, Integrity Admirals player signing, the Windsor Circus School teaching attendees to spin plates and juggle, historic walking tours and so much more all to the Kings Navy Yard Park. Additionally, the event allowed the Nifty Needle Workers to bring out pink bins to place throughout the park to allow for collecting donations of yarn.

“The collaboration and enthusiasm from the community has been outstanding,” Town of Amherstburg tourism coordinator Jennifer Ibrahim. “Anderdon Child Care, Windsor Circus School, St. Peter’s ACHS College School, Amherstburg Freedom Museum, Park House Museum, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Gibson Art Gallery, Nifty Needle Workers, Integrity Admirals, Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists are all organizations that took a lead to get involved and share their passions with the public.”

Emiko Shirai (left) and her sister Sophia Shirai look at the painted Amherstbrug Rocks during Culture Days Sept. 30.


The whole idea for the event came from an art council in Quebec. According to, in 2007, after seeing the success and impact of Quebec’s Journee’s de la culture weekend, the leaders of Canada’s largest arts organization commissioned a feasibility study to assess the viability and appropriateness of launching an annual cross-country celebration of arts and culture. Since it’s official launch in 2010, Culture Days has generated enthusiastic interest, participation and support from a rapidly growing network of artists, organizations, municipalities as well as the private sector and public sector and media across the country.

Owen Cargill paints an Amherstburg Rock during Culture Days.

“Our community has so much history and talent to showcase,” said Ibrahim. “National Culture Days is a great opportunity to share our skills, engage our community and create a vibrant and unique atmosphere of learning and fun.”

Canada 150 juried art exhibit opens at Gibson Gallery



By Ron Giofu


Art with a Canadian theme is now on exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

The Canada 150 juried art exhibit opened Sept. 7 and runs through to Oct.1 at the gallery, with a reception planned for Sept. 17 from 1-3 p.m. Exhibit chair Kathleen Cant said there were 24 pieces submitted with mediums including watercolours, oils, acrylics, pencils, ink and more.

“We decided to do a competition this time,” Cant explained. “The artists paid a small fee to get in. The money will be pooled and divided up among first, second and third place finishers.”

Bobbi Wagner judges work that appears as part of the current Canada 150 juried art exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

The call for submissions was made in March and organizers wondered what kind of turnout they would get. As it happened, they were pleased.

“The artwork is phenomenal,” said Cant. “We are very surprised at what came in.”
“You never know what you are going to get,” added board member/office manager Bonnie Deslippe.

Deslippe added that the main criteria was it had to be representational art with a Canadian theme. Judges came in last Tuesday night and scored the artwork with those asked to judge including Corrine Ross from Fort Malden National Historic Site, Meg Reiner from the Marsh Historical Museum, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Hugh Barrett from the Chimczuk Museum in Windsor as well as local artist and Gibson Gallery member Bobbi Wagner.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Cant. “We had a great response. We are really impressed with the art that came in.”

The first place winner is Dennis K. Smith for “The Real McCoy” while second prize goes to Nancy Bauer for “Many Things are Canadian but …. ‘Eh!’ says it all.” Taking third place is Sue Southern for “Canadian Women at Mackenzie Hall” with honorable mentions going to Debbie Goldring for “Strong and Free”, Mariano Klimowicz for “Homestead” and Donovan Alp for “A Vision.”

Meg Reiner was one of the judges Sept. 5 prior to the opening of the Canada 150 juried art exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

“It will be open during Culture Days (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) and the Open Studios Tour,” added Deslippe. “We probably will have artists on site painting.”

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their current hours are Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

For further information, call 519-736-2826 and or visit their website at Their Twitter account can be found at while their Facebook account is found at

Mural installed at River Canard general store to celebrate Canada 150


By Ron Giofu


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. It is a permanent installation and is found near the store’s main entrance.

“I always wanted to do something like this and Canada 150 seemed like a good time,” said Lapointe. “This was thought of even before Canada 150.”

The mural was completed without any sort of grant funding, Lapointe pointed out, with it featuring a map of “downtown River Canard.” It features the history of the area, depicts the two churches (original and current), wildlife known in the region, and historical figures and moments including General Brock, Chief Tecumseh, the skirmishes that came at the start of the War of 1812 and other features.

River Canard Outpost general store owner Ron Lapointe and artist Jacqueline Raulin stand with the newly installed mural that Raulin painted for the business. Lapointe said he had it commissioned for Canada 150 and had no grant funding to help him pay for it.

River Canard Outpost general store owner Ron Lapointe and artist Jacqueline Raulin stand with the newly installed mural that Raulin painted for the business. Lapointe said he had it commissioned for Canada 150 and had no grant funding to help him pay for it. (Submitted photo)

“The feedback has been great,” said Lapointe.”We’ve got a bit of everything. We’re quite proud of it.”

The mural took about three months in the studio to complete before it was mounted to the exterior wall of the roughly 80-year-old building.

“I think it’s great for the community,” he said.

Lapointe said the River Canard Canoeing Company works with the town and other groups such as cadets, schools and other clubs. He also recently hosted a Canada 150 event that was co-ordinated by the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).

More than 200 paddlers celebrated Canada 150 by paddling on the Detroit River and its tributaries, including the Canard River with ERCA stating it was part of a national initiative to celebrate our Heritage Rivers.

That event was held recently in partnership with local canoe and kayak organizations Paddle Anywhere, Windsor Adventure Inc. and River Canard Canoe Company, events were be held on the Little River, Detroit River, River Canard and Turkey Creek to celebrate Canada’s 150th and the cultural heritage, natural heritage and recreational values of this Canadian Heritage River.

Visitors to the River Canard Canoe Company paddle on the Canard River during a recent Canada 150 event presented in conjunction with ERCA.

Visitors to the River Canard Canoe Company paddle on the Canard River during a recent Canada 150 event presented in conjunction with ERCA.

“We’re trying to get people on the water and engaged with the Detroit River and the tributaries,” said ERCA staff member Laura Monforton, during the recent visit.

Monforton said people were able to learn about the Canard River from Lapointe and his staff and see the river from a different perspective.

“They got to go for a paddle and experience River Canard first-hand and learn why it is important for the environment,” she said.

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS)is Canada’s national river conservation program. Established in 1984, the CHRS gives national recognition to Canada’s outstanding rivers and encourages their long-term management to conserve their natural, cultural and recreational values for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians, now and in the future.

There are currently 42 Canadian Heritage Rivers across the country, Monforton pointed out. They total close to 12,000 kilometres.

The Detroit River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 2001, and is the only river in North America with both Canadian and American Heritage River designations.