Navy Yard Park

Culture Days returning to Amherstburg Sept. 29-30

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg will once again be busy the weekend of Sept. 29-30.

Amherstburg will once again participate in the national Culture Days program.

“National Culture Days is a great opportunity for our community to celebrate our history, stories and different forms of art. Culture is what makes our community unique,” explained tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim. “We hope that families come out to the King’s Navy Yard Park during the event times and enjoy some casual hands on activities offered. Whether it be enjoying a First Nation drumming demonstration or creating painted rocks, this is a great time to reflect on what makes us special.”

All across Canada, municipalities and cultural organizations invite residents and visitors to engage in thousands of free activities and performances that showcase and highlight the rich history and culture of each independent city or town.

Events in Amherstburg will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, and the town states that guests are encouraged to enjoy hands-on activities, a variety of art mediums, and “to revel in a number of heritage-based and cultural expressions.”

This year includes a marine exhibit at The Gibson Gallery, the Provincial Marine at the Commissariat exhibit, a performance by the Spirit of the Four Directions Singers at 1 p.m. Sept. 29, a narrative history walking tour by local historian Robert Honor, and on-site painting by the Windsor Essex Plein Air Artists in Kings Navy Yard Park and more!

Rock painting as part of the “Amherstburg Rocks” program will be one component of the Sept. 29-30 Culture Days event. The town’s events in the downtown core are free but events at Fort Malden National Historic Site carry an admission charge. (RTT file photo)

Honor’s walks start at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. behind the Gordon House both days.

New this year the police department are getting involved with a fun opportunity to have ice cream with a cop!” said Ibrahim. That event will be Sept. 29 only.

As part of the “Ice Cream with a Cop” component of Culture Days, the community is being invited by the town to vote on one of two proposed designs for their “updated vehicle fleet” when Windsor police takes over Jan. 1, 2019. The winning design will be unveiled later this year, a press release from the town states.

“Ice Cream with a Cop” is described by the town as “an interactive community engagement initiative designed to bring law enforcement and community members together, discussing any questions concerns regarding the transition, or policing as a whole. Police officers from both Windsor Police Services and Amherstburg Police Services will be on hand to greet the public and will distribute a coupon for a free scoop at the Waterfront Ice Cream Parlour to the first 200 guests.”

“Amherstburg is always pleased to participate in the national celebration of Canadian culture,” Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said in a press release. “Amherstburg is a hub for Canadian history and culture. It’s a great time to explore what we have to offer at many of our local sites.”

For a complete schedule of event times and locations, visit www.amherstburg.ca/culturedays or call (519) 730-1309. People can also visit the tourism department’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AmherstburgConnection or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AmherstburgNow.

Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada will also be busy the weekend of Sept. 29-30. There will be the “Fort Malden Heritage Fair” that runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday with Sunday also seeing a “lumberjack breakfast” served from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

The event is described on Fort Malden’s website as follows: “Fort Malden comes alive for one special weekend with an array of exhibits, demonstrations, and entertaining shows from local heritage and cultural organizations. See antique vehicles, local museum displays, falconry, puppet shows, musical entertainment, and living history demonstrations. Visit historic merchant tents where you can purchase 19th century kettle corn, doughnuts, pottery, candles, quills, and hand-woven baskets, or support the Friends of Fort Malden’s BBQ and craft beer garden.”

Admission to Fort Malden’s event is $4.90 for adults, $4.40 and $1.75 for youth. The “lumberjack breakfast” is $9.80 and stew will be available for $4.90.

Fort Malden’s website is www.parkscanada.gc.ca/malden and their Facebook site is www.facebook.com/FortMaldenNHS.

 

The Amherstburg Uncommon Festival starts tomorrow, runs through Sunday

 

 

The Amherstburg Uncommon Festival is this weekend and final preparations are underway.

Numerous activities during the three-day event are scheduled for the downtown core. Events will carry a Harry Potter and steampunk theme.

Among the list of activities is a children’s innovation pavilion in Navy Yard Park which will include robotics, falconry and flight demonstrations, a straw maze, hat making, ghost walks, fire performers, costume contests, tea pot races Saturday at 3 p.m., a Canadian Historic Aircraft aerial display, quidditch games, and psychic readings.

Dr. Von Houligan’s Carnival of Calamities will be under the big top set up in Toddy Jones Park with tickets to enter being available at WFCU. Tickets for that are $5 and are available at WFCU.

The bulk of the event will be free, with the exception of the Dr. Von Houligan’s Carnival of Calamities, with numerous sponsors helping to present the event.

“The streets will be filled with activities for the entire three days,” manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota told the RTT in June. “There are some very, very uncommon and unusual acts. We have fireworks every single night that ends the show.”

The costume contest will be judged by representatives from Windsor Comic-Con and have male, female and children categories. The contest ends at 9 p.m. nightly.

“We will have giant steam engines on display and a chuckwagon at Toddy Jones Park,” added Rota.

What will be involved with the “Insecta Alley” will be left as a surprise for now, she stated.

Festival attendees are encouraged to visit local restaurants and shops during the festival, as many of the downtown streets will be closed. There will be a shuttle service taking people from the Libro Centre to the festival site.

Street closures commence Friday to accommodate the Aug. 3-5 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival.

“We are really encouraging people to visit downtown businesses and restaurants,” she said.

The Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society (WECAS) put out a press release Wednesday announcing their participation, adding it will be in “an uncommon way.”

WECAS will be on hand to run the Rickshaw Stop, where guests of the festival are invited to ride the rickshaws in exchange for a donation of any value to WECAS’ Back to School Program. While the organization has been able to find several volunteers for Saturday, we are still seeking runners for Friday and Sunday.

“We are excited to be part of this Festival!  Every dollar we raise through the Rickshaw rides will go to support our Back to School Program which provides backpacks filled with school supplies to over 900 children and youth served by the Society.  We are so grateful to have such a giving community, and proud as an organization to see each child ready and positioned for success on their first day of school!”  stated Terry Johnson, interim executive director.

For more information on the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival, call the tourism office at 519-730-1309, visit www.amherstburg.ca/uncommon or visit the tourism department’s Facebook page by searching “Amherstburg Connection.”

The public can also follow the tourism department on Twitter by searching @AmherstburgNow.

The Amherstburg Uncommon Festival opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 3 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5. The festival closes after fireworks every night, which are at 10 p.m.

Opening ceremonies are planned for 5 p.m. Friday featuring the Canadian Historic Aircraft Museum, a Provincial Marine salute and the Rivertown Dance Academy.

 

Fishing in Navy Yard Park suggested by town council member

 

By Ron Giofu

 

While attending the Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Derby on Father’s Day, a member of town council was asked if fishing along the shoreline could become a regular occurrence.

Councillor Rick Fryer brought those concerns and questions to the June 25 meeting, wondering if there was any interest in allowing fishing for a greater distance along the shoreline of the park. He suggested possibly allowing occasions monthly or every other month where people would be given permission to fish for a greater stretch.

“In Windsor, they do it all the way along,” said Fryer, “but in Amherstburg, we only allow it 42 or 44-feet.”

The idea of more fishing opportunities in Navy Yard Park was discussed by town council recently. (Submitted photo)

Councillor Joan Courtney agreed, calling it “wonderful” to see fathers and sons fishing together. She said there are those who love the park for its foliage and flowers but suggested maybe younger people could have a greater use of the park should more allowances be made for fishing.

However, Councillor Jason Lavigne spoke against the idea, preferring that the town wait until the new development at the Duffy’s site be completed before looking into fishing from the shoreline.

Lavigne said that he has learned of stories from bylaw enforcement officials of “thousands” of people lining the shoreline during silver bass season “and it was horrendous what was going on there.”

“They were using the lawn as a washroom. The garbage build-up was horrendous,” he said. “Hundreds and hundreds of people were lining up and people couldn’t enjoy the park. It was disgusting.”

As there was no motion on the floor or direction given by town council, the matter did not proceed any further.

Planning for Amherstburg Uncommon Festival ongoing

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Plans for the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival are underway and town tourism officials believe things are coming together nicely.

The festival, planned to be in the downtown core including Navy Yard Park and Toddy Jones Park, is set for Aug. 3-5 and manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota is enthusiastic about what the Civic Holiday weekend will do for the town.

“Something uncommon is about to hit the streets of Amherstburg,” said Rota. “Every day, a new exciting activity is added. By Aug. 3-5, people are going to be amazed at what is going to be in Amherstburg.”

Among the list of activities is a children’s innovation pavilion in Navy Yard Park which will include robotics, falconry and flight demonstrations, a straw maze, hat making, ghost walks, costume contests, tea pot races, a Canadian Historic Aircraft aerial display, quidditch games, psychic readings and Dr. Von Houligan’s Carnival of Calamities. The latter will see a big top set up in Toddy Jones Park with tickets to enter being available at WFCU.

“Tickets are only $5 each because of a generous donation from WFCU, who sponsored the tent,” said Rota.

Rota said even the tourism department is surprised by the level of interest the festival has been receiving.

“We are amazed with the popularity of Harry Potter and steampunk,” said Rota. “We never thought there would be so much interest out there.”

The bulk of the event will be free, said Rota, and noted they have received a number of sponsors that have helped with costs.

“The streets will be filled with activities for the entire three days,” she said. “There are some very, very uncommon and unusual acts. We have fireworks every single night that ends the show.”

The costume contest will be judged by representatives from Windsor Comic-Con and have male, female and children categories.

“We will have giant steam engines on display and a chuckwagon at Toddy Jones Park,” added Rota.

What will be involved with the “Insecta Alley” will be left as a surprise for now, she stated.

There is no plan to have food trucks or vendors involved, Rota said, with people encouraged to visit local restaurants as many will have Harry Potter and steampunk-themed menus.

“We are really encouraging people to visit downtown businesses and restaurants,” she said.

For more information on the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival, call the tourism office at 519-730-1309, visit www.amherstburg.ca/uncommon or visit the tourism department’s Facebook page by searching “Amherstburg Connection.” The public can also follow the tourism department on Twitter by searching @AmherstburgNow.

Downton Abbey comes to Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

People dressed in their Sunday finest and came down to King’s Navy Yard Park Sunday for the first-ever Rhododendron Garden Tea Party.

The event was presented in partnership between the town’s tourism department and the Belle Vue Conservancy. There were two sittings with manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota stating there were about 250 tickets sold combined.

“It’s a good number especially for a first year considering what a wet and dreary spring we had,” said Rota. “People were watching the weather forecasts. Mother Nature shined on us today.”

The weather for the tea was warm and sunny and Rota said the location proved to be a draw as well.

“I think, given the location of King’s Navy Yard Park and the magnificent blooms of the rhododendrons and azalea gardens, it’s a perfect fit for a garden tea party.”

A fundraising total for the Belle Vue restoration was not known as of press time, but Rota said the Downton Abbey-themed event was about raising awareness of the 200-year-old mansion as well. Belle Vue sits at 525 Dalhousie St. and the Belle Vue Conservancy is in its second year of raising money trying to try and restore it.

Joanna Starczewski, Maya Dobosz and David Wagner were winners of the costume awards at the morning session of the Rhododendron Garden Tea Party May 27. At right is Linda Jackson of the Belle Vue Conservancy.

The day also raised awareness of Amherstburg and the Navy Yard Park, Rota added.

“I think the Royal Wedding inspired people to come out in their hats and fascinators,” she added. “It’s all about costumes, role playing and coming out and having a great time in Amherstburg. That’s why we are Amherstburg Uncommon.”

The Amherstburg Uncommon Festival, which Rota alluded to, is Aug. 3-5.

Michael Prue and Shirley Curson-Prue were dressed to the nines for the Rhododendron Garden Tea Party.

Linda Jackson, chair of corporate outreach for the Belle Vue Conservancy, pointed out the role Bob and Norma Sutherland had in creating the rhododendron and azalea beds in Navy Yard Park. She also recognized the volunteers who have maintained and grown the beds since.

Jackson added it was nice to see Navy Yard Park used that way. She also noted the proceeds from the Rhododendron Garden Tea Party will benefit the restoration of Belle Vue, which is getting a new roof. The windows are the next phase of the restoration project with fundraising currently underway for that.

“She will truly be a gem in the Windsor-Essex County area,” said Jackson, of Belle Vue.

Martha Minogue-Fiorino plays the harp during the morning session of the May 27 Rhododendron Garden Tea Party.

David and Helen Wagner of Windsor came to Amherstburg for the event and dressed in costume.

“We are into steampunk,” explained Helen. “We’ve been doing it for about seven years.”

David added they have a costume room at their home with various different steampunk attire.

For more photos, visit our Facebook album.