tourism

Town honours volunteers with special luncheon

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg and its tourism department took time out to pay tribute to community members that give back.

A special volunteer luncheon was held at the Libro Centre last Thursday where approximately 70 volunteers were recognized. Tourism co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven said it was a town event but the tourism department has the data on the volunteers that help at town events.

Van Grinsven added that community groups were also consulted in order to get their volunteers as well. Sports teams and groups were also part of the event with volunteers receiving recognition.

“We really wanted to recognize volunteers that make a difference in our community,” she said.

Van Grinsven said the hope is to make it an annual event. They know there are a lot more volunteers out there but there is only so much room to hold them at any one time.

Roughly 70
volunteers from around the Amherstburg community were honoured last Thursday
afternoon at the Libro Centre.
A special volunteer luncheon was presented by the Town of Amherstburg and the town’s tourism
department.

“Hopefully we can recognize more next year,” said Van Grinsven. “There are thousands of people who volunteer  in the community and help out. Our goal is to recognize volunteers every single year and let them know they are appreciated.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who presented certificates from the town. “It came from the tourism department. They are the department that is the most affected by the number of volunteers in town.”

DiCarlo said special events and groups couldn’t be presented or do what they do without the assistance of volunteers.

“I think it’s a great initiative on their part to finally recognize the volunteers in a formal way,” DiCarlo added. “We could not do what we do without the number of volunteers that we have.”

Van Grinsven added that that” we are always encouraging people to get involved and volunteer.” If they would like to fill out an application to volunteer they can go to https://amherstburg.formbuilder.ca/2018-Volunteer-Form.

Tourism department highlights trio of events for the coming season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s tourism department has highlighted a trio of upcoming events it is planning, including two new ones that have joined the schedule.

Tourism co-ordinators Sarah Van Grinsven and Anna Cabrera met with business owners at the Libro Centre last Tuesday and went over what is in the works. Roughly ten people attended the afternoon session with slightly more reported to have attended the morning session.

The first of the new events will be the Rhododendron Garden Tea Party, with Cabrera explaining that they want to showcase the town using one of the more popular assets, which is the rhododendron gardens in King’s Navy Yard Park.

The Rhododendron Garden Tea Party is planned for May 27 with the event having a “Downton Abbey”-type feel, Cabrera added. There will be two sittings – one at 11:30 a.m. and the other at 3 p.m. – in Navy Yard Park.

Van Grinsven said a similar event was held in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and that went well, with people asking for more of those type of events in the future.

“It’s giving people what they want,” said Van Grinsven.

That event is being held in conjunction with the Belle Vue Conservancy.

There will be a Downton Abbey inspired costume contest for women, men and children as well.

“The rhododendron gardens are one of the focal points of the King’s Navy Yard Park each spring,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “We will be honoured to welcome visitors with the added garden tea program. When the gardens are in full bloom, it’s an amazing spectacle for the region.”

The second new event will be the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival, planned for Aug. 3-5. The event, which is proposed as an annual festival, will combine Harry Potter with steampunk, the latter being described by Cabrera as “Victorian-era science fiction.”

“Think of what the past might have looked like if we had today’s technology,” she said.

Cabrera stated that millennials “spend money on experiences rather than material goods” and that there is a hope that photos and videos of the event will “live forever” if put online.

“We didn’t pick this at random,” she said of the theme for Amherstburg Uncommon. “There is a rhyme and reason.”

Sarah Van Grinsven, one of the town’s tourism co-ordinators, goes over a map of the downtown core detailing proposed road closures for the Aug. 3-5 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival.

The bulk of the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival will be free with roads in the downtown core closed off. Van Grinsven indicated the only ticketed event will be a magic show under the “big top” tent that will be set up in Toddy Jones Park. Also proposed for the three-day festival will be aerial demonstrations from the Canadian Historical Aircraft Museum, rickshaws, live entertainment, craftsmen, a “quidditch” ball throwing activity, children’s games and entertainment and other attractions.

Many of the activities will focus on science, technology, engineering and math, Van Grinsven stated.

“We want the town to be transformed,” she said. “It’s all about the look. It’s all about the feel.”

Vendors will be screened to ensure they fit the theme, added Cabrera, and organizers hope to work with restaurants for themed menus and food items re-named to fit the steampunk or Harry Potter eras.

The Park House Museum will also be partnering with the tourism department for the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival.

Van Grinsven told business owners that “we want to bring business to you” and that Amherstburg Uncommon will be a family-friendly event.

“There is definitely no alcohol,” she said.

Restaurants and businesses may be able to expand patios but that has to be done in conjunction with the town’s licensing department.

“We want to facilitate the success of the businesses,” she said.

Some business owners voiced concerns with road closures and the ability to get back and forth to their businesses while others didn’t want to bring in products that organizers or vendors will be selling.

“We’re creating fun,” said Van Grinsven. “We’re creating a fabulous atmosphere for people.”

The third event highlighted at the meetings was the Canada Day event. That is scheduled to return to the grounds of Fort Malden National Historic Site July 1. Events like the Canada D’Eh run, which is presented by Running Flat, and the Ice Cream Festival for Toddy Jones Park are also planned for Canada’s 151st birthday.

For more information, call 519-730-1309.

Culture Days and Rendezvous heading to Amherstburg later this month

 

By Ron Giofu

 

With the Canuck it Up Festival held last month, the town’s tourism department is now focused on two more events.

Culture Days will be held in Amherstburg Sept. 30-Oct.1 with the bulk of activities planned for King’s Navy Yard Park. That will coincide with the Rendezvous Voyageur and Fur Trader encampment being held at Fort Malden National Historic Site, with that event being held in co-operation with the Maidstone and Area Historical Society.

The two-day Rendezvous event will feature canoes on the Detroit River, a camp frying pan competition, a camp pea soup competition, presentations and storytellers which will include the likes of Seamus Gunn, Tibert the Voyageur, author Rob Malo among others. Re-enactors and participants that are currently scheduled include Provincial Marine Amherstburg, the Niagara Metis Council Voyageurs, the St. Clair Voyageurs from Michigan, the Windsor-Essex Canoe Club, the Ontario Fur Management Federation, Archery Windsor and the Maidstone Voyageurs.

Culture Days is coming to Navy Yard Park Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with Rendezvous to be at Fort Malden National Historic Site that same weekend.

Culture Days is coming to Navy Yard Park Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with Rendezvous to be at Fort Malden National Historic Site that same weekend. (Special to the RTT)

The Culture Days portion of the weekend will include kids activities, the Nifty Needleworkers creating a community scarf with the help of new and experienced knitters, Amherstburg Rocks! Painting with the Amherstburg Integrity Admirals, games, horse drawn carriage rides, performances and demonstrations by the Windsor Circus School and a Sunday afternoon performance by the Essex Community Concert Band.

There will also be a Canada 150 juried exhibit at the Gibson Gallery, tours of the Boblo Blockhouse (ferry fees apply), walking tours conducted by local historian Robert Honor and storytellers from the Amherstburg Freedom Museum in Navy Yard Park.

“They really complement each other,” said tourism co-ordinator/visitor information centre manager Jen Ibrahim of the two events.

Other partners helping to present the Culture Days event include St. Peter’s ACHS College School and Anderdon Child Care. There will also be tinsmithing at the Park House Museum as well as the chance, for a small entry fee, to see the museum’s “Her Story: 150 Years of Women in Canada – Fashion, Politics, and Gender Roles” exhibit.

Culture Days is coming to Navy Yard Park Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with Rendezvous to be at Fort Malden National Historic Site that same weekend.

Culture Days is coming to Navy Yard Park Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with Rendezvous to be at Fort Malden National Historic Site that same weekend. (Special to the RTT)

Ibrahim said there will be a lot of hands-on activities that weekend and both sites.

“All of our town’s stakeholders are engaged and looking forward to it,” said Ibrahim. “This is an economical event for our community and beyond.”

Activities are scheduled to run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days.

For more information on the event, contact the town’s tourism office at 519-730-1309, visit www.amherstburg.ca/canuckitup or visit the tourism department’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AmherstburgConnection.

Maidstone & Area Historical Society pair with Amherstburg and Fort Malden on event

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Add another event to Amherstburg’s calendar thanks to the Maidstone and Area Historical Society.

The Maidstone and Area Historical Society is teaming with the town of Amherstburg and Fort Malden National Historic Site to present “Rendezvous 2017 – A Voyageur and Fur Trading Encampment.” Victoria Beaulieu, president of the Maidstone and Area Historical Society, said they also worked with the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation and the Community Foundations of Canada and that partnership resulted in a $7,500 Canada 150 grant.

The two-day event will be at Fort Malden Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and feature canoes on the Detroit River, a camp frying pan competition, a camp pea soup competition, presentations and storytellers which will include the likes of Seamus Gunn, Tibert the Voyageur, author Rob Malo among others.

The Maidstone & Area Historical Society is teaming with Fort Malden and the town of Amherstburg on an event Sept. 30-Oct. 1. From left: Lambert Wybernga, society president Victoria Beaulieu, Mason Hillier and Amherstburg’s tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim.

The Maidstone & Area Historical Society is teaming with Fort Malden and the town of Amherstburg on an event Sept. 30-Oct. 1. From left: Lambert Wybernga, society president Victoria Beaulieu, Mason Hillier and Amherstburg’s tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim.

Re-enactors and participants that are currently scheduled include Provincial Marine Amherstburg, the Niagara Metis Council Voyageurs, the St. Clair Voyageurs from Michigan, the Windsor-Essex Canoe Club, the Ontario Fur Management Federation, Archery Windsor and the Maidstone Voyageurs.

“There’s going to be a lot of activities going on,” said Beaulieu.

Fur trading was a key component in the settling of the area centuries ago with Fort Malden and the Park House Museum being “instrumental in the fur trade industry,” said Beaulieu.

“The Maidstone and Area Historical Society has always had a good relationship with the Provincial Marine and Fort Malden,” said Beaulieu. “They come out to our encampments to help. It’s nice to have two areas working together.”

Jennifer Ibrahim, visitor information centre manager with the town of Amherstburg, said this will be another “signature Canada 150 event” for the town. She said it is a historical event that presents “fun and interactive opportunities for our guests.”

There are other events planned that weekend in the downtown core, Ibrahim added, including art demonstrations, plein air artists, concert bands and other events.

“It will complement what Fort Malden and the Maidstone and Area Historical Society are doing,” said Ibrahim.

Events will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. For more information, e-mail ont.fort-malden@pc.gc.ca or proudacres@gmail.com.

Art project shows literally and figuratively that “A’burg Rocks”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s tourism department, in co-operation with several local community groups, is trying to demonstrate both figuratively and literally that Amherstburg “rocks.”

Jen Ibrahim, the visitor centre manager, said the town undertook the project in conjunction with local resident Bruce Patterson with Patterson having brought it to the town’s attention.

“I just loved the idea and the time was right with the Canada 150 festival coming up,” said Ibrahim.

Amherstburg Community Services' (ACS) seniors group recently helped paint rocks for the "#AburgRocks" project.

Amherstburg Community Services’ (ACS) seniors group recently helped paint rocks for the “#AburgRocks” project. (Submitted photo)

The Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) senior group, Amherstburg Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and The House Youth Centre are just a few of the groups involved in this project, Ibrahim said. Over 100 colourfully painted rocks have been turned into the Gordon House with more being hoped for as the spring and summer seasons go on.

“It was truly inspiring to see people coming in with their rocks and how beautiful they are,” she said.

The public can look for the rocks and if they find them, they can re-hide them or even keep them. Rocks will be hidden in Navy Yard Park and other parks within Amherstburg.

Many of the rocks are painted with a Canada 150 theme but others got artistic in other ways. Ibrahim said the project has been undertaken within the last two months or so and people she has approached to help have just run with it.

“People who paint the rocks are giving for the sake of giving,” said Ibrahim. “The whole idea is that it is inspiring creativity and energizing people to explore our beautiful town.”

Over 100 painted rocks were turned into the Gordon House with the hope that even more residents will paint rocks and hide them in local parks. (Submitted photo)

Over 100 painted rocks were turned into the Gordon House with the hope that even more residents will paint rocks and hide them in local parks. (Submitted photo)

Ibrahim said the hope is that more people will paint rocks and hide them in order that the program becomes sustainable. People are also being encouraged to photograph the rocks they find and post them on social media with the hashtag #AburgROCKS.

“It is an opportunity to brighten someone’s day,” Ibrahim said of the #AburgROCKS program.

The initiative is for both residents and visitors alike, with it being “added value” for those who visit Amherstburg.

“I hope finding a rock is part of their unique experience of visiting Amherstburg,” said Ibrahim.

Patterson said he discovered the idea when visiting his sister-in-law in New Port Richie in Florida. He said a rock was spotted near a tree and later learned the initiative was started by a group of mothers. When he and his wife went to visit their son near Tampa, they discovered the initiative was started by people there as well.

Those at the House Youth Centre also participated in the "#AburgRocks" program. (Submitted photo)

Those at the House Youth Centre also participated in the “#AburgRocks” program. (Submitted photo)

“When I came home, I said ‘that would be a neat idea for Amherstburg,’” said Patterson.

Patterson believes families will enjoy looking for the rocks, with the hope being that if people choose to keep them, they will replace the painted rocks with some of their own.

“I think it would be fun seeing it in Amherstburg,” he said. “It’s a wonderful idea.”

Noting he has volunteered for other events like the River Lights Winter Festival and the Amherstburg Farmers Market, the retired teacher said he enjoys living in town and likes to give back. He believes Amherstburg has done a good job promoting itself in the last 15-20 years.

“Amherstburg is a fabulous town,” said Patterson. “I love it here and want to promote it.”