Jennie Lajoie

River Lights teams with Belle Vue Conservancy to spruce up historic home



By Ron Giofu


The historic Belle Vue home is being lit up for the holiday season.

The River Lights Winter Festival has stepped up and helped decorate the home with festive decorations and solar lights. Jennie Lajoie, who is involved with River Lights and the Belle Vue Conservancy, said the former agreed to take on the project.

“River Lights has kindly agreed to light up Belle Vue for the festival,” said Lajoie. “Most of the greenery came from the back of the property.”

Conservancy member Linda Jackson said they are “very excited” that River Lights took on the project.

Jennie Lajoie, Linda Jackson and Sarah Van Grinsven stand in front of a decorated Belle Vue.

“We cannot thank River Lights enough for what they are doing for us,” Jackson stated.

Sarah Van Grinsven, co-ordinator with the River Lights Winter Festival, said the decorations are connected to the period and they are not as “flashy” as some of the other River Lights decorations. She added that both groups wanted to work together to create the partnership.

“Everyone loves to work together in Amherstburg,” she said. “That’s what makes it so great.”

Lajoie noted that “every single dollar” the Belle Vue Conservancy raises goes straight to the 200-year-old home’s restoration. That is why River Lights stepped up to take care of the Christmas decorations, she added.

“It’s the re-birth of Belle Vue and the lighting up of the old girl,” remarked Lajoie.

For more on the River Lights Winter Festival, call 519-736-4642 or visit For more on the Belle Vue Conservancy, visit

Provincial Marine looks to town for help with engraved bricks



By Ron Giofu


The Provincial Marine naval re-enactment unit is turning to the town for help maintaining the engraved bricks from its former “Keep History Alive” program.

Jennie Lajoie appeared before town council at the April 25 meeting asking for assistance from the municipality. The Provincial Marine stopped administering the program two years ago but brick pavers are deteriorating and the group is hoping the town can lend a hand.

CAO John Miceli said pavers are problematic from a liability perspective. He suggested a donor plaque be installed near the site with all of the brick purchasers having their names placed on the plaque. He said it will last longer than the bricks will.

“My recommendation is to look at another solution,” he said.

The Provincial Marine no longer administers the "Keep History Alive" engraved brick program and is looking to the town for help maintain the bricks that are in Navy Yard Park.

The Provincial Marine no longer administers the “Keep History Alive” engraved brick program and is looking to the town for help maintain the bricks that are in Navy Yard Park.

Town council asked for a report on the situation. They were told by director of corporate services/treasurer Justin Rousseau there is $13,000 left in a fund that was set up for the program. Councillor Joan Courtney wondered what would happen if the problem persists, with Miceli stating maintenance costs would come out of that $13,000 fund.

Lajoie said there are 893 engraved brick pavers with those pavers being located near the Detroit River at the end of the brick sidewalk that runs along the Gordon House to the water. Carol Ferguson was given credit for being the person that helped found and administer the “Keep History Alive” program.