Canada D’Eh

Tourism department highlights trio of events for the coming season



By Ron Giofu


The town’s tourism department has highlighted a trio of upcoming events it is planning, including two new ones that have joined the schedule.

Tourism co-ordinators Sarah Van Grinsven and Anna Cabrera met with business owners at the Libro Centre last Tuesday and went over what is in the works. Roughly ten people attended the afternoon session with slightly more reported to have attended the morning session.

The first of the new events will be the Rhododendron Garden Tea Party, with Cabrera explaining that they want to showcase the town using one of the more popular assets, which is the rhododendron gardens in King’s Navy Yard Park.

The Rhododendron Garden Tea Party is planned for May 27 with the event having a “Downton Abbey”-type feel, Cabrera added. There will be two sittings – one at 11:30 a.m. and the other at 3 p.m. – in Navy Yard Park.

Van Grinsven said a similar event was held in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and that went well, with people asking for more of those type of events in the future.

“It’s giving people what they want,” said Van Grinsven.

That event is being held in conjunction with the Belle Vue Conservancy.

There will be a Downton Abbey inspired costume contest for women, men and children as well.

“The rhododendron gardens are one of the focal points of the King’s Navy Yard Park each spring,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “We will be honoured to welcome visitors with the added garden tea program. When the gardens are in full bloom, it’s an amazing spectacle for the region.”

The second new event will be the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival, planned for Aug. 3-5. The event, which is proposed as an annual festival, will combine Harry Potter with steampunk, the latter being described by Cabrera as “Victorian-era science fiction.”

“Think of what the past might have looked like if we had today’s technology,” she said.

Cabrera stated that millennials “spend money on experiences rather than material goods” and that there is a hope that photos and videos of the event will “live forever” if put online.

“We didn’t pick this at random,” she said of the theme for Amherstburg Uncommon. “There is a rhyme and reason.”

Sarah Van Grinsven, one of the town’s tourism co-ordinators, goes over a map of the downtown core detailing proposed road closures for the Aug. 3-5 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival.

The bulk of the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival will be free with roads in the downtown core closed off. Van Grinsven indicated the only ticketed event will be a magic show under the “big top” tent that will be set up in Toddy Jones Park. Also proposed for the three-day festival will be aerial demonstrations from the Canadian Historical Aircraft Museum, rickshaws, live entertainment, craftsmen, a “quidditch” ball throwing activity, children’s games and entertainment and other attractions.

Many of the activities will focus on science, technology, engineering and math, Van Grinsven stated.

“We want the town to be transformed,” she said. “It’s all about the look. It’s all about the feel.”

Vendors will be screened to ensure they fit the theme, added Cabrera, and organizers hope to work with restaurants for themed menus and food items re-named to fit the steampunk or Harry Potter eras.

The Park House Museum will also be partnering with the tourism department for the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival.

Van Grinsven told business owners that “we want to bring business to you” and that Amherstburg Uncommon will be a family-friendly event.

“There is definitely no alcohol,” she said.

Restaurants and businesses may be able to expand patios but that has to be done in conjunction with the town’s licensing department.

“We want to facilitate the success of the businesses,” she said.

Some business owners voiced concerns with road closures and the ability to get back and forth to their businesses while others didn’t want to bring in products that organizers or vendors will be selling.

“We’re creating fun,” said Van Grinsven. “We’re creating a fabulous atmosphere for people.”

The third event highlighted at the meetings was the Canada Day event. That is scheduled to return to the grounds of Fort Malden National Historic Site July 1. Events like the Canada D’Eh run, which is presented by Running Flat, and the Ice Cream Festival for Toddy Jones Park are also planned for Canada’s 151st birthday.

For more information, call 519-730-1309.

Roughly 1,500 participate in Canada D’Eh run/walk


Runners leave from the starting area during the 5K run/walk last Friday morning.

Runners leave from the starting area during the 5K run/walk last Friday morning.


By Ron Giofu


The streets of Amherstburg were busy Friday morning with running being the main form of transportation.

The annual Canada D’Eh run/walk, presented by Running Flat, got Canada Day festivities kicked off in Amherstburg. About 1,200 took place in the main 5K run/walk with the children that took part in the “kids dash” and a 1K race bringing the overall total to 1,500.

Race director Chris Uszynski said there were “virtual runs” as well, with runners in other countries taking part complete with shirt and Canada D’Eh run medal. He used a group of runners in Germany as an example, as they signed up and ran there but still got their shirt and medal.

This year’s “Great Canadian” featured on the medal was Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky.

“It’s Canada Day. It’s really an incredible time and a great event,” said Uszynski. “People love starting the day doing this.”
Uszynski stated that participants not only came from the Windsor-Essex County area, but from all over North America to take part. He said they were able to enjoy their day in Amherstburg after the run/walk.

A family that participated in the 1K portion of the Canada D'Eh run/walk approach the finish line in patriotic fashion.

A family that participated in the 1K portion of the Canada D’Eh run/walk approach the finish line in patriotic fashion.

Rain early Friday morning slowed down the set up of the event but the weather cleared by the race’s start.

Running Flat teams with Libro Credit Union on the run/walk, with Uszynski stating participants picked up their race kits the day before at the credit union thus helping to streamline things Friday morning. By having participants picking up their race kits Thursday, it brought more traffic to town, he added.

The race is the largest Canada Day run/walk in the nation, Uszynski added, though noted other races will have larger urban centres from which to draw from particularly when the race is held on a Saturday next year.

“I’m willing to take on that challenge,” said Uszynski.

For more information on races put on by Running Flat, visit their website..

Canada Day festivities gearing up for another year



By Ron Giofu


The town is gearing up once again to celebrate Canada’s birthday.

Canada Day is this Friday and the town is readying itself once more for the festivities. Visitor information centre manager Jen Ibrahim said there will be new things offered this year as well as some traditional entertainment.

The day gets underway with the Canada D’Eh 5K run. More information on that can be found at with the race to start and end in front of Fort Malden National Historic Site as it has been in previous years. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky will be feature on this year’s medal.

Fort Malden will be the site of the bulk of the activities, as it has been in previous years, with a kids craft tent, activities and trivia, activities with both the Amherstburg Minor Baseball Association and the Amherstburg Minor Soccer Association.

“They’ll be contributing to the day’s activities,” said Ibrahim.

2016 Canada Day Itinerary June 24

New this year is the addition of animal and bird-themed demonstrations and displays. At 10 a.m., the Kingsport Environmental falconry meet and greet and a birds of prey demonstration will be featured while Canadian Specialty Exotics will be on the Fort grounds.

“We have several talented entertainers performing,” said Ibrahim.

Entertainment this year will include musicians from the Kerri Brown Vocal Studio, the Catz Meow Dance Education Centre, Rebecca Mickle, Fresh Breath, Red and the Barron, Huttch with the featured act being the band Buck Twenty. The latter was formerly known as the Mike Ure Band.

The day is also scheduled to have an opening ceremony at noon, pony rides offered by Sarah Parks Horsemanship and superhero and princess appearances.

The day, as is tradition, will be capped off by fireworks over the Detroit River.

The Ice Cream Festival will also return Canada Day, with that coming back to neighbouring Toddy Jones Park.

“It’s a really nice complement to what we are doing,” explained Ibrahim. “It’s a family-oriented event and what kid doesn’t like ice cream?”

There will also be opportunities for people to find out what Fort Malden National Historic Site is all about, as the Fort will be offering a cookhouse soldiers’ stew from 12 noon-2 p.m.

“The Fort will be providing the opportunity for guests to fire a soldier’s musket,” added Ibrahim. “There is a nominal fee associated with that.”

Ibrahim said the Fort Malden mascot “Parka” could also make some appearances.

The River Lights Food Court will be selling food to the guests at Fort Malden.

“All the proceeds from the food court will go to the River Lights Winter Festival, another family-oriented event in our community,” said Ibrahim.

Ibrahim said the annual Canada Day festivities are not just something that whole families can take part in but it is an event that won’t break the bank either.

“It’s economical fun for the whole family,” she said.