Questions and tempers raised as fundraising expenditure discussed



By Ron Giofu


A question over an accounts payable to the Crown Park Corporation that was labelled for Belle Vue fundraising sparked a contentious debate Monday night.

Town council allowed Michael Prue, treasurer of the Belle Vue Conservancy, to speak and Prue questioned a few Belle Vue related expenses, with most of them being connected to the ongoing roof construction. When he got to the line about the Crown Park Corporation, he expressed curiosity and told council “we don’t pay for any fundraising.”

CAO John Miceli, after conferring with treasurer Justin Rousseau, said it was not actually for the Belle Vue fundraising but rather a planning study for the Amherstburg Community Foundation for fundraising efforts for all town initiatives.

Miceli said the study looks at raising money for town endeavors without having to rely on going to the taxpayers. A $6,000 payment was listed under the accounts payable section but the CAO indicated it was a $12,000 report.

“There are two payments of $6,000 to tell us how to fundraise?” asked Councillor Jason Lavigne, who also wanted to know who is on the foundation, when they meet and whether council can see minutes of their meetings.

Rousseau indicated the Amherstburg Community Foundation is a “holding account” and that money is reimbursed by the foundation for any cheques the town cuts. He said taxpayer money wasn’t used on the study.

“Who supported the $12,000 is the question,” Lavigne pressed. “Who paid the $12,000 for the study? I think we all want to know.”

Miceli said there are efforts being made to “accelerate” fundraising and that now “we have a study that will help us.” He said that funds raised by the foundation may be used for Belle Vue but research has shown that not all donors want to donate to Belle Vue and those donors may want to give funds to other projects.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said both himself and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale sit on the foundation.

Councillor Diane Pouget wondered if Crown Park Corporation had been hired by the foundation and Miceli said the foundation hadn’t hired anyone. The study was done in order to raise more money for the foundation, with the CAO adding the Belle Vue Conservancy has done a “great job raising money” but other avenues wanted to be explored by the foundation.

Prue emphasized he spoke up because he didn’t understand the fundraising expenditure.

“We’re fundraising for nothing,” he said.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he recalled getting updates when the Libro Centre was being built on the fundraising process.

Pouget said she called earlier Monday and was told by Rousseau it was for Belle Vue, and was upset with the responses she was getting at the meeting.

“I expect the treasurer to tell us the truth,” she said. “I am asking on behalf of the constituents.”
Rousseau said he had yet to review the document, and gave Pouget the most accurate information he had when she called.

“I gave you the best information I had this morning,” he said during Monday’s meeting. “If that has fallen short, I apologize.”

Administration is expected to give council more details on the matter at an upcoming meeting.

University student aims to honour past, help other students’ futures


By Ron Giofu

Addolorata De Luca grew up in a poor family, obtained a Grade 3 education and was widowed, forcing her to bring up five children.

De Luca came to Canada and provided for her family, doing whatever it took to provide for her family including washing dishes, planting vegetables for local farmers and working long hours picking tomatoes.

Now, many years later, her granddaughter is remembering her struggles and wants to give back to the community in her name.

Cessidia DeBiasio created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship two years ago with the aim of not only giving back to University of Windsor students, but to honour her ancestors and the ancestors of others.

DeBiasio, who was born and raised in Amherstburg and is a graduate of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, said people in Windsor-Essex County have many stories of how the generations before them came to the area to make lives for themselves.

“Everyone has a story you can relate to,” said DeBiasio, “whether they have stories of where they came from or where their family came from.”

Cessidia DeBiasio, an Amherstburg native now attending the University of Windsor, has created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship. She holds a sponsorship card that is given to those who donate to her cause.

Cessidia DeBiasio, an Amherstburg native now attending the University of Windsor, has created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship. She holds a sponsorship card that is given to those who donate to her cause.

DeBiasio is fundraising to help establish the scholarship, which she hopes will become an annual award. The endowment has to raise $40,000 in order that a deserving student can receive a $1,500 scholarship. She said the recipient will be selected by the University of Windsor’s student award and financial aid committee.

A graduate of the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work in 2015, she is still at the university pursuing a business degree and hopes to have a career involving corporate social responsibility.

While she has created the scholarship two years, she has been actively fundraising for the last 18 months in addition to her studies and other aspects of her life.

“It’s been a lot of work doing this,” said DeBiasio, with the 23-year-old believing she is one of the youngest people to pursue such an endeavor.

DeBiasio pointed out she has raised almost $20,000 thus far towards the scholarship. She has no timetable to raise the remainder of the $40,000, but would like to do so sooner rather than later.

“The sooner I can raise it, the better,” she said. “All donations are appreciated.”

For further information or to donate to the scholarship, visit, or e-mail People can also visit the scholarship’s Facebook page by searching “The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship.”

Amherstburg resident joining area Rotarians for humanitarian trip to Ghana


By Ron Giofu


An Amherstburg man is joining a group of Essex Rotarians for an upcoming trip to Ghana.

Bert McLellan said he heard about the trip on television and decided he wanted to get involved. They leave Nov. 14 for just over two weeks on a humanitarian mission and McLellan is currently fundraising for the trip, with proceeds going towards the people of Ghana.

“This opportunity came up, they accepted me and I’m going,” he said. “I put my money where my mouth is. I’m looking forward to it. The nervous part is (fundraising). I’m not the type of guy who likes being noticed too much.”

Projects in Ghana will include renovating a dilapidated school in the village of Wurakase and purchasing new books, uniforms and desks for the students as well as distributing school supplies and toys. Three water wells will be drilled and the hope is to also build a sanitation facility featuring 12 flushing toilets, sinks and showers.

Amherstburg resident Bert McLellan is fundraising for his upcoming trip with Essex Rotarians to Ghana.

Amherstburg resident Bert McLellan is fundraising for his upcoming trip with Essex Rotarians to Ghana.

Medical professionals will treat people as McLellan points out they rarely get to see a doctor in Ghana. The team will bring 400 pounds of medicines to the African nation. Mosquito nets will also be put up and reading glasses distributed to those who need them.

“All the money I’m trying to raise goes to the projects,” he said.

McLellan has to pay his own way, meaning he has to shell out over $4,000. However, giving back is something he does regularly as he is a board member of the Park House Museum, an usher at St. John the Baptist Church and a retired Amherstburg firefighter.

For information or to donate, contact McLellan at 519-736-6707 or e-mail

Native burial found at Belle Vue in 1892


(Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles by historian/genealogist Debra Honor regarding the Belle Vue house and its history. Honor is a member of the Belle Vue Conservancy.)


By Debra Honor UE, PLCGS


Little is known about the gravesite found at Belle Vue in 1892 by Perry Barclay Leighton. The exact location was never documented like a modern-day archaeologist would. Little was written in the Amherstburg Echo at the time. This was an accidental find by the owner. P. B. Leighton was a farmer, a real estate agent, an amateur “Antiquarian” and the owner of Belle Vue.

The first mention in the Amherstburg Echo was on 2 December 1892.

“The Indian relics found on the water lot of P. B. Leighton, some months ago, have been mounted by Mr. Leighton and are on exhibition at his office on Murray Street. D. H. Price, of Aylmer, a collector of Indian relics, was greatly taken up with these and considers them of great value. “

Over the years, the location of the burial was lost, but another article has clues. June 23rd, 1893, “While grading the bank opposite his residence, a few years ago, Mr. Leighton unearthed the remains of a dusky warrior of one hundred and fifty years ago, with all his accoutrements of war, religious symbols and fashionable adornments of that period.” Of all the 1,800 different pieces found, the most important were “a large solid silver cross 11 ½ by 8 ½ inches” and “a copper coin of 1736.”

A postcard of the Belle Vue shows the place from the Detroit River with the stones in front.

A postcard of the Belle Vue shows the place from the Detroit River with the stones in front.

The cross showed that the person was of high rank, possibly a chief of some tribe in the area. The coin gives us a clue to the burial time, which would have happened after 1736. But the coin is no longer among the artifacts of Leighton’s collection.

Again, the article of 1893 gives us a clue as to where the coin disappeared. “Mr. Leighton has not made a collection of old coins. In this respect, he yields the palm to his townsmen William S. and Frank M. Falls.” So most likely he gave the coin to them.

A lot of Perry Leighton’s collection was purchased by George MacDonald who donated his collection to the Windsor Community Museum. That is where the cross is now located.

As to the original burial ground location, there is a post card of Belle Vue from the river showing a sloping grade from the road to the river. Within the grass are white stones spelling out the name “Belle Vue”. Somewhere in that slope would have been the location of the burial. Since that time, the Mullen family have also changed the waterfront slope and added a little boat well. With all these changes, the exact spot is lost.

Please support our fundraising campaign. One hundred per cent of your contribution will be used for restoration of the Belle Vue House. You will receive a full tax receipt and a Belle Vue gift. Visit to help us open up Belle Vue once again!

Roughly $2,500 raised for student going on a missionary trip



By Ron Giofu


Sophie Watson’s missionary trip to New Zealand and Asia received a shot in the arm last Thursday night.

A pasta dinner held at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 raised $2,500 with proceeds going towards the trip. The 18-year-old has to raise $15,000 in all but much of that will be covered through her savings, though fundraising efforts are continuing as well.

Sophie Watson’s missions trip was the subject of a fundraising pasta dinner last Thursday night at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. The dinner saw 160 people served and $2,500 raised.

Sophie Watson’s missions trip was the subject of a fundraising pasta dinner last Thursday night at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. The dinner saw 160 people served and $2,500 raised.

“I’m completely blown away by the support from the community,” said Sophie. “It has far exceeded my expectations.”

Sophie will be part of a 20-person team that will be trained in New Zealand before going to a yet-to-be-disclosed location in Asia where they will perform missionary work. The trip runs from July 18-Dec. 7 and is operated through the Youth on a Mission (YWAM) program.

“It’s very exciting,” Sophie added of the support she received. “I’m very encouraged. It means the world to me. The support from the community was great.”

The entire Watson family was thrilled with how the event turned out.

“We were really happy with the amount of support we received as well,” Sophie’s mother Sarah stated in an e-mail. “We estimate that we had about 160 people come through. We had some eating in shifts. We ended up with more people than chairs which is a great problem to have.”

Sarah said that the fundraising total was “wonderful” but noted “she still has a ways to go in her fundraising so we will be looking at some other events to do in the next couple of months.”

People can still give directly either by contacting the Watsons at 519-890-1444 or by they can donate via credit card directly on the donation page for YWAM found at