Carolyn Davies

Amherstburg encouraging residents to shop local this Black Friday

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Rather than joining the crowds bombarding the border chasing after deals in the U.S., Amherstburg merchants are aiming to keep resident’s money local with their incredible deals this holiday season.

Black Friday has been an iconic U.S. event for years. The deals have recently spread into the Canadian market, and Amherstburg merchants are looking to keep shoppers in their stores.

“The Black Friday event in Amherstburg is all about strengthening our local economy,” explained Carolyn Davies, president of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce. “With the growing participation by Amherstburg businesses in the Black Friday event there has been an expanding success of keeping local shoppers looking for great deals in Amherstburg. More shoppers are realizing they can get great bargains here at home, save the cost of crossing the border, the higher rate of exchange and taxes. The more businesses who participate, the more shoppers who become committed to spending their dollars at home and invest in their own town’s success.”

Davies explained, the Black Friday event in Amherstburg is all about strengthening our local economy. When residents shop local and put their hard earned money back into their own local economy during what she refers to as the “off season” for merchants, it gives local businesses the support they need and they will in turn continue to invest in our town.

Lynn Sinasac, owner of The Village Shoppe, a small independently run family business is giving it their best shot to compete with the U.S. Black Friday sales.

“Black Friday benefits our business by bringing together the local businesses and having one big event, bringing in old and new customers and giving them some much appreciated savings,” explained Sinasac. “We have a great time with our customers with our annual Balloon Pull which gives them an extra 5-50 per cent off their total purchase at check out. Being a small family run business, we truly appreciate our customers and their support. Online shopping has made it easy for people to never leave their homes. This affects our small local shops.  Please support your local vendors and your neighbours that they may employ.”

The Amherstburg Black Friday event runs Nov. 24-26. Be sure to check out the special section in The River Town Times, which will include 16 pages of deals and will come out Nov. 22.

 

ACOC holding “Twelve Days of Christmas” scavenger hunt again this year

 

 

The Christmas carol, “12 days of Christmas” has been a traditional song that has been sung for 237 years. It was written by Fredrick Austin in 1780 and has become a favourite melody during the Christmas Holiday season around the English-speaking world ever since.

Honoring that Christmas tradition, the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) is holding its second annual “Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt” starting Nov. 7 at noon ending Nov. 18 at noon.

“This gives participants lots of time to take ballot cards and find the treasures hidden around town,” said ACOC president Carolyn Davies. “No purchases are required to take part.”

Davies said the ACOC has taken this theme and created a scavenger hunt “to have some fun and enhance the holiday spirit.”

“The purpose of the event is to highlight local Amherstburg businesses by creating an incentive for participants to explore shops and restaurants in different parts of Amherstburg,” she said. “The contest will give businesses an opportunity to show case their products and encourage participants of the hunt the opportunity to discover Amherstburg businesses that they may not have been aware of in the past and get to know the local shopkeepers better.”

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” scavenger hunt, presented by the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, will help kick off the 11th annual River Lights Winter Festival.

There will be 12 Amherstburg businesses that will be involved in the scavenger hunt, she added. All interested businesses are invited to send their request into the ACOC by Sept. 30. They will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

“Those who are interested in supporting the contest but missed out on the limited slots can still participate in a modified way. More details will be provided to participating and supporting businesses once the locations are determined,” said Davies.

Scavenger hunters can start their hunting Nov. 7 at noon and will have 12 full days to seek out all the other locations, ending Nov. 18 at noon sharp. Davies said the ballot boxes will then be picked up and the draw for the winner will take place Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. as part of the Downtown Holiday night event.

“There is one grand prize of approximately $600 value of gifts contributed

by participating merchants equaling $50 each,” Davies explained. “Each participating merchant and supporting merchants are also encouraged to offer in-store incentives with each purchase made by scavenger hunters.”

Davies added that “anyone and everyone can participate in the scavenger hunt by going to one of the participating stores who will provide the required ballots with all the participating stores and the clues to items they will be seeking.”

The ACOC looks forward to the community participation in this “Spirit of the Holiday” contest, she continued.

“As the slogan says, Amherstburg, You’ll love it here.”

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce’s phone number is 519-736-2001 and their website is www.amherstburgchamber.com. Their e-mail address is amherstburgchamber@gmail.com.

Belle Vue plans discussed at public consultation meeting

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A public consultation meeting held to discuss plans for the 200-year-old Belle Vue property saw the bulk of the discussion be on what surrounds the mansion rather than the mansion itself.

The meeting was held last Thursday night at the Libro Centre, following a separate public meeting on the Duffy’s property. The number of general public in attendance rivaled that of actual Belle Vue Conservancy members in the audience but that didn’t stop visions and ideas from floating around during the meeting.

CAO John Miceli said the town has made up concept drawings for the home and its seven-acre Dalhousie St. site but told the audience the town still wanted feedback. The concept plans call for a restored home that could be used for such things as a conference centre, outdoor gardens and lighted walking trails, a greenhouse, parking areas and a band shell.

David May takes a look at one of the renderings of what a restored Belle Vue property could look like.

David May takes a look at one of the renderings of what a restored Belle Vue property could look like.

“It’s a vision of what we thought we were going to do and what we could do but it is not etched in stone,” said Miceli.

There is a heritage designation on the facade of the building but not on the interior, but Miceli indicated that doesn’t preclude the town from trying to save portions of the interior. Architect Carmen Brunone from Architecttura Inc. pointed out that due to the numerous renovations Belle Vue has gone through in its 200-year history, a period of time had to be chosen for when the Belle Vue will be restored to. The building will look like it did in the 1920’s, he added.

“Our goal is to reproduce what is there,” added Miceli.

The town has applied for a Parks Canada grant that applies to heritage sites and due to the site having been in the top ten for endangered historical sites in Canada, Miceli believes that will lend support to the town’s grant application. The town hopes for $1 million with the Belle Vue Conservancy planning to raise another $1 million so that work on the building can be done in a substantial fashion. The overall plan, including grounds, could top $9 million.

An architecutrual rendering of the rear of the Belle Vue property, complete with revamped gardens, is shown here. The gardens were one of the items of discussion at a public meeting last Thursday night.

An architecutrual rendering of the rear of the Belle Vue property, complete with revamped gardens, is shown here. The gardens were one of the items of discussion at a public meeting last Thursday night.

“I’m encouraged to know we are probably going to know by September (about the grant),” the CAO stated. “I’m very hopeful. It is a logical choice but I don’t know what the federal government is going to do.”

Miceli added he “feels very strongly it’s going to happen.”

A suggestion to use St. Clair College students to help maintain the site was made, with Miceli adding the town has a good relationship with the college. A deal to have St. Clair College purchase the site fell through over a year ago and Miceli said the college has now gone in a different direction.

“We’re definitely going to be knocking on every door and looking at every opportunity we can get,” said Miceli.

As for the gardens, Miceli said his vision is for period gardens with Brunone adding his view that themed gardens could be placed there.

Miceli added he would like to see an entry point to Belle Vue created off of Sandwich St. S. as opposed to Dalhousie St., due to Sandwich St. being the main thoroughfare.

“We do not want to run traffic down the residential area of Dalhousie St.,” he said.

Conservancy vice president Carolyn Davies suggested a tie in with the Fort Covington property just south of the police station.

An architectural rendering of what the front of a restored Belle Vue could look like. (Special to the RTT)

An architectural rendering of what the front of a restored Belle Vue could look like. (Special to the RTT)

“I think this rivals Willistead (Manor in Windsor),” said local resident Gord Freeman.

Freeman envisioned the first floor as a conference centre with a restaurant on the second floor to support that.

“I think it’s an ideal set up for that,” said Freeman.

Family gatherings and weddings could also be held at a restored Belle Vue, Freeman continued.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s a jewel. This would be at one end of town and Fort Malden at the other.”

More public meetings are planned for later this year, Miceli stated, as he said “we want to make sure we get it right.”

The town is in the midst of trying to win $60,000 through the National Trust for Canada’s contest found at www.thisplacematters.ca with the Belle Vue Conservancy also raising funds through events and the site www.amherstburg.ca/donate.

Belle Vue Conservancy presents WSO concert proceeds to Amherstburg Community Foundation

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Belle Vue Conservancy raised $5,359 from last month’s concert featuring the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s string musicians and that money has been transferred to the Amherstburg Community Foundation.

The foundation, the charitable arm of the town, received the cheque last Thursday morning with director of corporate services/treasurer Justin Rousseau and Libro Centre manager of recreation services Rick Daly accepting on behalf of the town.

Carolyn Davies, vice president of the Belle Vue Conservancy and a main organizer of the concert, thanked the WSO for coming to Amherstburg and also thanked those in the community who supported it.

“It was a sold out crowd and I was delighted the community supported it,” said Davies. “We had amazing support from our sponsors and patrons.”

Davies said the Dalhousie St. historic site has been “awaiting restoration since 2003” and believe it will be an economic driver for Amherstburg, much in the same way it was when it was originally constructed in 1816-19.

“It’s come full circle,” she said.

Members of the Belle Vue Conservancy present the proceeds from the recent Windsor Symphony Orchestra concert to the Amherstburg Community Foundation last Thursday morning.

Members of the Belle Vue Conservancy present the proceeds from the recent Windsor Symphony Orchestra concert to the Amherstburg Community Foundation last Thursday morning.

Linda Jackson, who leads the conservancy’s corporate outreach, believed a restored Belle Vue “is going to become an integral to the Amherstburg community.” She believed it would drive tourism as well as attract historians and genealogists to the area.

“Let’s call it what it is,” she added. “It’s a 200-year-old national historic site.”

Jackson also pointed out the work being done by conservancy member Paul Hertel, as Hertel is researching the World War I veterans that stayed there when it was a veterans home.

“We are certainly looking forward to all of the discoveries (Hertel) is making,” said Jackson.

Rousseau thanked the conservancy for its work and for their efforts in realizing their dream of restoring the home.

“It’s very much appreciated,” he said.

The town of Amherstburg agreed to purchase the home last September.

Spring “Wine ‘n Hop” sold out, ACS plans next one for Sept. 27

 

Special to the RTT

On April 10th, tickets for the Amherstburg Wine ‘n Hop, a bi-annual fundraiser put on by Amherstburg Community Services, went up for sale.  By April 14th, all 100 tickets had sold out and a waiting list was created to keep track of those still calling for tickets.

The seemingly endless demand for tickets to this small, locally focused event has turned it into a key attraction within the town of Amherstburg, and Kathy DiBartolomeo, ACS executive director, says they still have room to grow.

“When we first hosted the Wine ‘n Hop in 2015, we knew it had massive potential,” DiBartolomeo said.  “This is the sort of event that people look forward to for months, and the restaurants do such an excellent job in consistently meeting their expectations.  It really does make a strong case for Amherstburg and the businesses here, and we’re so proud to be a part of that.”

The May 10 Wine 'n Hop being presented by ACS has sold out but the fall event is planned for Sept. 27. (Adam D'Andrea photo)

The May 10 Wine ‘n Hop being presented by ACS has sold out but the fall event is planned for Sept. 27. (Adam D’Andrea photo)

After attending the event twice previously, and purchasing tickets for the upcoming iteration, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce President, Carolyn Davies, adds that she believes the event provides a boost to small businesses in the area.

“I think it’s a really important event for this town,” Davies said. “Not only is it a lot of fun, it supports the small businesses in the area by providing an attraction right downtown where people can peer into the windows of shops and get excited for what Amherstburg has to offer.

The 2017 Spring Wine ‘n Hop will take place May 10, and is being sponsored by John D’Alimonte and Kim Wheeler RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd., Dollars & Cents Investments Inc., Bornais Insurance and Financial Services and Tech-IT-Easy.  It will include food and drink samples from Dalhousie Bistro, The Cellar Resto-Lounge, Beacon Ale House, the Artisan Grill and the Fort Malden Legion.  Tickets have sold out, however interested persons can call 519-736-5471 to be put on a waiting list in case extra tickets become available.  The event will start at 6 pm, with all attendees meeting at the Legion before breaking off into groups.

The 2017 Fall Wine ‘n Hop is scheduled to take place Sept. 27, 2017.