Chris Gibb

Amherstburg honours veterans and active soldiers on Remembrance Day



By Christian Bouchard


Hundreds of citizens gathered at the Amherstburg cenotaph as part of Remembrance Day ceremonies to honour those who have given their lives and those currently serving.

The day began with a parade as Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 hosted this year’s Remembrance Day at the cenotaph in King’s Navy Park. Following its arrival at the cenotaph, those who served were remembered with the laying of wreaths, a gun salute from the Provincial Marine and a two-minute moment of silence.

Vietnam veterans salute after laying a wreath at the Remembrance Day service.

This year the Legion Br. 157 and the Marsh Historical Collection teamed up on a project to enhance and expand the area around the cenotaph in hopes to honour the six Amherstburg residents who served in World War I. The two organizations unveiled the first in a series of commemorative plaques that have been added to Amherstburg’s cenotaph.

Chris Gibb, board member with the Marsh Historical Collection in Amherstburg, said it is hoped that the new addition to the area around the cenotaph will help all who visit remember those who served.

Gibb added the day marked the 100th anniversary since the end of WWI. Using historical records and the archives of the Marsh Historical Collection, they have attempted to assemble a brief life story of each of these “six sons of Amherstburg.”

The parade is led by Const. Rocco Pelaccia down Richmond St.

“There are many more names to remember, much more research to do, and many more stories to tell,” added Gibb. “To be successful, this project will need the communities support.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo would recognize and thank the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 for their hard work and dedication to organize the day.

DiCarlo said those who have served made sacrifices for people they can never meet and never knew existed as they fought for our rights and freedoms. He added thousands of people gave their lives and the thousands of them that survived came back broken in mind and body.

“If you were asked to do the same today, not just fight for those around you but for generations to come, give your life for generations of people you will never know, could you do that?” added DiCarlo. “We should remember them every day of every year. Lest we forget.”

After the ceremony, the parade returned to the Legion where there was a brief ceremony in which parade commander Capt. Richard Girard turned over those duties to his son Tim. Girard said it was his final parade as commander.

For more photos from the Remembrance Day parade and service, please visit our Facebook album.






Election season ramping up, time to get to know the candidates



By Ron Giofu


Election season is ramping up and a pair of organizations are gathering the candidates in one place so that voters can hear what they have to say.

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) is hosting a pair of “Meet the Candidate” nights, both to be held at Western Secondary School. Both will have a similar format, with the 14 councillor candidates to be the focus of the Oct. 3 evening while the four deputy mayor candidates and two mayoral candidates will be the focus Oct. 4.

There will be a meet and greet with the candidates starting at 6 p.m. with introductions to follow at 6:30 p.m. A question and answer period will come after introductions with closing statements to follow. The evenings are scheduled to conclude at 10 p.m. with the same format both nights.

According to ACOC treasurer Chris Gibb, the councillor candidates will each get five questions while deputy mayor candidates will face 5-10 questions. Candidates for mayor will receive 10-15 questions.

A pair of AM800 reporters will moderate the evenings. Teresinha Medeiros will moderate the Oct. 3 evening with the councillor candidates while Patty Handysides will moderate the Oct. 4 evening with the deputy mayor and mayor candidates.

Gibb said it is an “added plus” to be holding the event outside of the core of Amherstburg noting that it “helps remind people and candidates that Amherstburg is a very big township and sometimes the people in the core and our politicians need to be reminded of that. Also, it is good to remember Amherstburg has two high schools, we can sometimes forget about that.” Gibb added: “The location is fully accessible, has plenty of parking, and is a great facility that many residents have never been in.”
It is important for the ACOC to hold such “Meet the Candidate” events, Gibb noted, as decisions made around the council table impact chamber members and the public at large.

“The people who get elected make many decisions that affect the livelihood of our members and an event like this is the best way for our members and the public to get to know their candidates,” said Gibb.

Western Secondary School is located at 5791 North Town Line (County Road 8), but the entrances are off of Concession 6 North.

The Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG) is also bringing back its own version of a candidates night, with that returning to the AMA Sportsmen Club. That will be held Oct. 11 from 7-10 p.m. with ACRG representatives John McDonald and Beth Hobbs describing it as an informal way to get to know the candidates.

McDonald noted that candidates will be set up in alphabetical order, not in order of the office they are seeking.

“We had an all candidates night at the very same location four years ago,” McDonald stated. “It was very successful. We were very encouraged by that.”

The evening will be apolitical, said McDonald.

“We’re not backing any potential candidate or a political issue,” he stated.

The event, he continued, will be a chance to meet face-to-face with candidates and address the issues and concerns they have. While it will be an informal event, the ACRG is asking that “hometown courtesy” be exercised.

“The idea is to have a free flow of ideas,” McDonald stated, adding the candidates will be able to go “eyeball to eyeball” with people to talk about their issues.

Hobbs added that candidates will be invited to distribute their own literature that night. McDonald pointed out that the “vast majority” of candidates have agreed to come out.

“It’s very informal,” added Hobbs. “It was very successful in 2014 and we’re hoping for the same thing this year.”

The AMA Sportsmen Club is located at 468 Lowes Side Road.

Also, a reminder that the River Town Times will be publishing a special section with the candidates in the Sept. 26 issue. Candidates were sent the same five questions with all five to be published in the Sept. 26 paper for mayor and deputy mayor candidates.

Due to space limitations, three of the five answers for the councillor candidates will be published in the print edition while all five answers will be online at

ACOC reflects on the past year during recent AGM



By Ron Giofu


Board members with the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) gathered at the Lord Amherst Public House restaurant for their annual general meeting and reflected back on their most recent year.

Among the board executive in attendance were president Carolyn Davies, treasurer Chris Gibb and directors Ray Bezaire, Janet Willoughby and Dan Gemus and they looked back on some of the ACOC’s more recent accomplishments.

“We got a lot of successful networking projects done,” said Davies.

The ACOC also supported local events, such as the town’s Canuck It Up! Festival.

“It’s been a very busy year,” she said.

Gibb pointed out the chamber had “successful lawsuit” regarding the 2015 Mardi Gras with organizer Ian France ordered to pay back overpayments amounting to $8,607.64, plus interest, as well as legal fees. The total amount of the reimbursement, according to ACOC officials, was $10,812.30.

“We got a settlement we worked a long time for,” said Gibb. “We’re glad to have that behind us.”

Dan Gemus, Carolyn Davies, Janet Willoughby, Ray Bezaire and Chris Gibb discuss the business of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce as part of the organization’s AGM Feb. 15.

Bezaire noted they are going to reinvest that money back into the membership, stating they are guardians of other people’s money.

Davies said plans for the future include focusing on direct support for businesses, whether that be through networking support, social media or other means at the ACOC’s disposal.

Bezaire noted the chamber wants to work with the Town of Amherstburg on business attraction and retention. Davies added they meet quarterly with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo to discuss “issues of importance” to the business community.

“We are going to be having the Business Excellence Awards,” Davies stated. “That will be happening at the end of April.”

With the municipal election being Oct. 22, the ACOC also plans on hosting all-candidates nights.

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce currently has 154 paid members, a number that they are pleased with.

“It’s huge for a town like Amherstburg,” added Gibb.

For more information on the ACOC or to join, visit, e-mail or call 519-736-2001.

Legion, Marsh Collection teaming up for cenotaph upgrades



By Ron Giofu


Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 and the Marsh Historical Collection are teaming up to pay further tribute to local veterans.

The two organizations will be embarking on a project to enhance the area around the cenotaph with a focus on honouring those Amherstburg residents who gave their lives in World War I. Chris Gibb, board member with the Marsh Historical Collection, pointed out November 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The plan envisions having six standalone plaques around the edge of the area surrounding the cenotaph, similar to the plaques in the Fort Covington Peace Garden just south of the Amherstburg police station.

Gibb said they want to tell the stories of who the men were, what they did, where they fought and died.

“These stories need to be remembered to never forget their sacrifice,” said Gibb.

The area around the Cenotaph, pictured on a snowy Monday morning, in King’s Navy Yard Park will be getting enhancements thanks to a partnership between Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 and the Marsh Historical Collection.

Lena Mangoff Lazanja, secretary with Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157, told town council at their most recent regular meeting there are other initiatives planned as well.

The Legion and Marsh Collection also propose a “Walk of Heroes,” which would be banners on town light posts with photos of veterans on them. Lazanja said they would stretch from the Duffy’s property and head north before winding up near Fort Malden National Historic Site. The banners would be displayed from Legion Week through Remembrance Day.

Lazanja said they would seek permission of the veterans’ families and look to cover costs through sponsorships. Money from the Legion’s poppy fund would be used to help offset costs of the cenotaph enhancements, she added.

Members of town council were enthusiastic about the plan.

“I love the idea of telling their stories,” said Councillor Leo Meloche.

Councillor Rick Fryer called it “a fantastic idea” and a “great initiative” while Councillor Joan Courtney believed future generations would be able to pay tribute to Canada’s fallen heroes.

“It’s a wonderful idea,” said Courtney. “A visual is worth 1,000 words.”

Just a few days left to participate in “12 Days of Christmas” Scavenger Hunt



By Jolene Perron


As part of Amherstburg’s annual winter festival, the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce is always looking for ways to expand the festival and bring the local businesses more exposure.

“The 12 days of Christmas is a scavenger hunt style event that started with a handful of down town businesses three years ago,” explained Chris Gibb, board member of Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce. “Each year it has grown until we now have a situation where we it is ‘first come, first served.’ It’s really grown into an event all by itself. Our goal is to create a unique way for people to discover businesses they might not otherwise know about. It also helps the businesses reach new customers that may have never visited their location in the past.”
Gibb explained this year they had even more businesses apply than they had spaces for, and joked it may turn into 15 or 17 days of Christmas in the coming years, and it just goes to show the support the local businesses have the community.

The idea of the scavenger hunt, is the participating businesses each have a “prop” in their stores. This “prop” is a 3D sculpture created by Just Cork It owner and artist Lori Bezaire. From 11 pipers piping, to a partridge in the pear tree, Bezaire created 10 of the 12 props used by the local businesses.

“We put them in the stores in a corner somewhere, so it makes people go through the store to look for the prop,” explained Bezaire. “We’re asking the store owners to promote their business while people are going through and then once they find the prop they can get their stamp. We decided it would be better to do it over 12 days, so it gave these businesses a longer period of time for them to be able to promote their businesses more and not just have people running through to get a stamp. We are hoping this will bring people through stores that they may not have ever been through and shop local.”

Bezaire’s involvement with the sculptures started when she spent nine months creating Bumble from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which was followed by her creation of Frosty from Frosty the Snowman.

“I am totally honored, I love being creative and it’s nice to share and I love our community so be able to participate and even as a store owner to be able to promote our business as well, I love Amherstburg and to be able to share and be creative with the town of Amherstburg is an honor to me,” said Bezaire. “I love the idea of the 12 Days of Christmas, for me it’s an opportunity for all of the businesses to network together and promote one another. A strong business core makes for a strong town, I’m hoping this will inspire that.”

The participating businesses this year are 67 Richmond Street, Amherstburg Audiology, Duby’s Home Centre, Embrace Dental Hygiene, Just Cork It, Libro Credit Union, Mealtime Express, Precision Jewellers, River Canard Outpost General Store, Royal Canadian Legion Fort Malden Branch 157, Sotto and Wolfhead Distillery. No purchase is necessary to participate in the event, and those who get all 12 stamps are eligible for a prize valued at $600. The winner will be announced at the River Light “Ignite the Night” opening ceremony this Saturday at 6 p.m.