SCUGOG: A local hair salon will be hosting a fundraiser that’s a cut above the rest next month to build a playground for a four-year-old cancer survivor, Olivia Worr.
On Sunday, July 5, the Rosario Greco Sytles Hair Salon team will team with Million Dollar Smiles for a special Cut-A-Thon, from 10 am. until 2 p.m.
During the event, all haircuts are a minimum charge of $20, with 100 per cent of the money raised being used to build a playground that will pro-vide a safe and relaxing area for Olivia and her sibling to play. In addition to the Cut-A-Thon, the salon will also be offering 50/50 draw tickets, raffle prizes and refreshments available for purchase throughout the day to achieve their $2,500 goal to cover the playground’s construction costs.
Olivia, a Grade Two piano student, is just wrapping up her year in Junior Kindergarten and is currently in remission from her ovarian cancer and proud to tell everyone that she is a cancer survivor. She was just three years old when she was diagnosed with a tumor on her right ovary in May of 2014.
The week before Easter last year, Olivia was suffering from extreme stomach pain when she was taken to the hospital in Port Perry. There, she was seen by a doctor and sent to Lakeridge Health Oshawa, and eventually Sick Kids in Toronto for further evaluation from pediatricians.
After spending a week in Toronto, Olivia underwent an operation to remove a mass the size of an orange from her abdomen. During the operation, doctors discovered the mass on her ovary, therefore becoming a form of ovarian cancer.
Just over a year ago, following the operation, Olivia began chemotherapy. Although she lost her hair due to the treatment, Olivia embraced it with enthusiasm, knowing that it was a sign that the treatment was working. Currently in remission, Olivia is still required to visit Sick Kids every three months for various tests.
Those wishing to donate can do so by donating funds or dropping off gift donations for the door and raffle prizes until Saturday, July 5 at Rosario Greco Styles, located at 21 Wilbur Ave., in Port Perry.
For any additional details, please call the salon at 905-985-0099.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The Durham District School Board announced on Wednesday, June 17, that elementary school students in Durham will be getting report cards next week,
Teachers stopped inputting marks digitally on Monday, May 11 as part of a ‘work to rule’ campaign. DDSB Chairman Michael Barrett originally estimated that it would cost about $400,000 to hire people to help input marks. However, he said the board found a way around that by using volunteers.
“We felt it was unfair to the students to not provide those marks,” Mr. Barrett told The Standard. “We have quite a few people working on this. Some retired education officers, current education officers and even our director. It is our intention to send them out next week.”
Mr. Barrett added that the process has become more difficult because some teachers have allegedly used sabotage tactics. “They changed the columns around, did not submit last names and even messed up the alphabetical order,” he claimed.
However, ETFO Durham President Gerard O’Neill was baffled by those allegations of sabotage.
“I have not heard anyone say anything about that,” he said. “That was never the thought that anybody would do anything like that. All the marks were given to the Principal.”
The Elementary Teachers Federation and the DDSB have been without a collective bargaining agreement since August. Mr. O’Neill said it is the government’s call how long this dispute goes.
“It has been sitting there for almost a year now,” added Mr. O’Neil. “It has become quite obvious (the School Board is) not interested in signing this contract and they need to change.”
UXBRIDGE: Restoration work is underway on restoring Uxbridge’s historic railway trestle bridge, saving one of the last wooden trestle bridges in Ontario.
John McCutcheon, chair of the Uxbridge Trail Committee recently addressed councillors on the project, which is expected to be completed next month.
“The town trails program is about to take a major step forward,” Mr. McCutcheon said of the restoration project, which has been in the planning stages for the past two years as part of an expansion of the Trans Canada Trail Program.
The restoration project, an initiative of the Uxbridge Trail Program, is being financed entirely by community donations and by institutional grants, with no expenditure of local tax dollars.
One of the first major community contributions to the $200,000 project was made recently with the presentation of a $10,000 cheque courtesy of the Rotary Club of Uxbridge.
“The major contribution from the Rotary Club is important financially, but also in terms of indicating solid community support for this major project,” said Mr. McCutcheon, chair of the Uxbridge Trail Committee, who received the cheque from Rotary president Randy Hickey. “The Rotary Club has always been a huge supporter of our trail program, and was the sponsor of the Historic Trail in downtown Uxbridge.”
Mr. McCutcheon added that contractors expect the trestle bridge project to be completed shortly to allow residents and visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the area throughout the summer. Although, he added that vandalism has been an issue in the area for a number of years, and the trails committee will be taking steps to address the issue.
“It’s a haven for beer drinking youth, complete with a sofa and loveseat,” explained Mr. McCutcheon. “But, we’re not going to let these types take away from the project and we’ll be installing additional security measures in the area.”
As well, contractors working on the trestle bridge told The Standard that vandalism, in particular damage to construction fencing, has caused some minor disruptions throughout the restoration at the site, which has long been referred to as ‘Beer Bridge’ by local youth.
The trestle bridge, located just east of Main St. in Uxbridge (next to the water treatment plant), was built in 1872 by the Toronto Nipissing Railway, the narrow-gauge railway headquartered in Uxbridge. Trains used it mainly to bring wood and grain from the north into Toronto, largely for the Gooderham and Worts distillery. The Grand Trunk Railway acquired the bridge and rebuilt it in 1894, and it was used for train traffic for many years. The last train passed over the bridge in 1980. It was used subsequently for foot and bicycle traffic, but fell into disrepair in the early 2000's. It was closed for a number of years, until the Uxbridge Trail Committee decided that it was worth restoring.
“The old trestle bridge is quite unique, and when we heard the other option was to tear it down, we felt we had to pitch in,” said Mr. Hickey.
The restored trestle bridge will form a key link in the Trans Canada Trail, enabling it to be taken off-road as it enters the town of Uxbridge. Major funding for the restoration was provided by the Trans Canada Trail.
“This will be a jewel in the Trail Capital of Canada, Uxbridge's official designation,” said Mr. McCutcheon. “It will also be key in recognizing Uxbridge's heritage as a major railroad centre a century ago, something that most residents don't realize. And once complete, residents will be able to take their first steps on the bridge on a trip all the way to Halifax if they desired.”
Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor shared in the enthusiasm for the restoration project.
“I think that this project is awesome, and is a great way to highlight one of the true hidden treasures of Uxbridge,” commented Mayor O’Connor.
The restoration will include a new roadbed for foot and bicycle traffic, railings, new abutments at either end, lighting, security cameras and a plan for a unique viewing platform that enables hikers to see and appreciate the huge timber structure beneath, with eight large trestles carrying the bridge across a deep valley through which the Uxbridge Brook flows.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Organizers are hopeful for another tremendous response from the community at this weekend’s Durham Region Walk for ALS.
The Walk, which takes place on Saturday, June 20 at the Port Perry Fairgrounds, starting at 10 a.m., will raise funds to support ALS families in Durham Region.
“We’ve had a lot of great support in past years,” organizer Heather Moore told The Standard. “There were more than 500 participants in last year’s Walk, which was able to raise over $93,000.”
According to a press release, there are currently 2,500 to 3,000 Canadians living with ALS. Every year 1,000 people will die because of this disease and 1,000 will be newly diagnosed. With a lifespan of only two to five years, there is an urgency to accelerate finding a treatment for ALS and help families manage the emotional and physical transitions this disease inflicts on people living with ALS.
Registration for the 2015 Durham Region Walk for ALS will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday June 20, at Port Perry Fairgrounds, located at 15835 Old Simcoe Rd., with the Walk getting underway at 10 a.m., and lasting for approximately one hour. The goal for this year is to raise $105,000 through the Walk.
The public can register for this Walk For ALS or any of the 32 Walks that will be taking place across the province at www.walkforals.ca. As well, donations can also be made on-line if you are unable to attend the Walk, but still wish to offer your support to the cause.
SCUGOG: The municipality recently filed for a Canada 150 Grant in the hopes of receiving $1 million from the Federal government for repairs needed on the Old Mill at the corner of Queen and Water St.
Mayor Tom Rowett offered the opinion that the township has a responsibility to maintain the downtown Port Perry landmark because of its historical value.
“After working with the Heritage Committee and Port Perry Waterfront Committee, it was discovered that the Port Perry grain elevator is one of the oldest in Canada,” he said. “Given this new discovery and the fact that there are only four left in Ontario there is a responsibility to maintain our heritage and do what is in our power to showcase it without putting the brunt of it on the taxpayers.”
However, Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten was skeptical of the decision, and explained that, in her opinion, councillors should have waited before applying for the grant.
“I think that we need to have a good strong plan to move forward for the mill and I don’t feel that we do at this time. Putting more money into it before we know is probably not a good thing,” Councillor Wotten told The Standard.
Mayor Rowett said there are a few things that council and the waterfront steering committee are waiting on before a direction can be decided with regards to the future of the building.
“The reason that there has not been a general direction is because we are waiting for numbers from the structural audit on what the costs will be and what we can do,” he said. “Another concern is that we are waiting for the Region on what they are going to do with the pumping station in the area. If they remove it, that would be a three to five year project.”
Mayor Rowett also stressed that if the project comes at “an absolutely ridiculous cost”, the township will not go through with it.
“There are off ramps available. We don’t want to make it a big cost for taxpayers,” he said.
The Canada 150 grant, which is being offered to upgrade existing community infrastructure in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, is unlike some other grants in that it gives the township two years to decide how they will spend the money.
A previous report called for $3 million in repairs and upgrades on the historic building, which has sat on the shore of Lake Scugog since the 1870s. The Mill was recently painted red in the lead up to last week’s Pan Am Games Torch Relay celebration. Originally, councillors had approved $15,000 in spending on the project. But, recently it was reported by township staff that the project’s cost had increased to $24,617.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Councillors voted on Monday, June 15, to allow an additional $15,000 in spending by the Doctor’s Recruitment Committee to improve the obstetrics department at Lakeridge Health Port Perry.
The committee was created about ten years ago as a way to bring more physicians into the community. Committee member Ted Griffen explained that they hope to use the additional money to be able to eventually double the amount of babies that are born at the local hospital.
“We have about 300 births a year in our obstetrics, and that isn’t quite enough to be practical, to be looked after by themselves,” he said. “We are going to try to bring it up to 600 births. We are going to try to build up the obstetrics. If we are to build up, we are going to need at least another two obstetricians.”
Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido added that this decision would also send a strong message about the importance of Port Perry’s hospital to the community.
“It really will validate to Lakeridge Health how important our hospital is by increasing the births and making sure that they not change it into anything but an operational hospital,” Councillor Guido said.
As well, with Uxbridge Cottage Hospital lacking a New Life Centre, Port Perry is North Durham’s only hospital to offer a dedicated wing for newborns.
It was also noted that recruitment has been a great success as Port Perry now has a total of 36 physicians. Mr. Griffen added that the Committee has been lauded in other communities as an example of effective physician recruitment.
“It’s been quite successful because doctors recruit other doctors. We’ve been the envy of a lot of towns,” Mr. Griffen explained to councillors.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Lucy Maud Montgomery will be returning to Leaskdale this weekend, for an event that has been several years in the making at the Historic Leaskdale Church.
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, a special unveiling of a new Lucy Maud Montgomery bronze statue will take place in the Garden at the Historic Church, located at 11850 Regional Rd. 1, in Leaskdale. The unveiling is part of an afternoon of celebrations, lasting from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., honouring Montgomery - one of the most notable residents in the history of Uxbridge, as well as one of Canada’s most beloved authors.
Local sculptor Wynn Walters has spent the past two years sculpting the life-size bronze statue, which was made possible through funding from a two-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant and many private donations through the Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario.
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will be one of many special guests attending the special unveiling, along with Minister of Veterans Affairs and MP for Durham Erin O’Toole, Durham MPP Granville Anderson, Ontario Trillium Foundation volunteer Penny Smith and other local dignitaries, including Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor.
This new national monument to a Canadian literary treasure, Lucy Maud Montgomery, entitled, “Maud in the Garden”, will be on display at the memorial garden beside the former Presbyterian Church where Montgomery’s husband was minister. Montgomery and her husband, Rev. Ewan Macdonald lived at the Presbyterian Manse in Leaskdale between 1911 and 1926.
The Historic Church, as well as the Leaskdale Manse are among the most popular tourist attractions in the township, drawing visitors from as far away as Japan to Uxbridge.
JAKE CLUTCHEY The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Renowned author and speaker, Sandra Joyce will be shedding some light on the long and sometimes dark history of British Home Children at the Uxbridge Historical Centre on Thursday, June 11, at 7 p.m..
British Home Children were children from impoverished British families who were sent to Canada and contractually bound to work and live with a farmer until they were 18-years-old.
From approximately 1839 to 1939, the industrial revolution saw many large rural families moving miles apart to seek employment. Some moved to larger urban areas such as London, Glasgow and Bristol, while some stayed in the country. As the shelters began overcrowding, many children were sent to distribution centers in Canada where farmers would purchase them for labor and pay into an account annually that the distribution centres held for the child. Over 120,000 British Home Children went through this process over the 100 year period.
Approximately 12 per cent of the current population of Ontario is made up of descendants of British Home Children who have ancestors who were distributed from centre’s in Peterborough, Belleville and Toronto. There are many descendants currently living in North Durham.
Presenter Sandra Joyce is a British Home Child descendant. Her father was distributed from a centre in Brockville, Ontario. Ms. Joyce wants to better educate society on this period of time, and is the author of two novels on British Home Children and has taken part in more than 160 presentations across the country, from Alberta to Prince Edward Island since 2011. The Street Arab, released on Sept. 28, 2011, the first British Home Child Day in Ontario, was her first novel, and was followed by the sequel, Belonging. She is also the Director-at-Large for the British Home Child Group, International.
“We need to know our history or we don’t know who we are,” says Ms. Joyce. “I feel that the story needs to be told. Its’ a story that’s crying to be told. I’m really looking forward to going and sharing stories, and people get up and then tell their own stories, so it’s a very interesting evening.”
Both of her books will be available for purchase and admission is by donation, at the Historical Centre on Thursday night, located at 7239 Conc. 6. For more information on the Historical Centre call 905-852-5854. For information on British Home Children and Sandra Joyce’s work, visit her web site, www.sandrajoyce.com or www.britishhomechildgroup-international.com.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
SCUGOG: The recent high school teachers’ strike appears to have saved Epsom P.S. for the time being.
The rural school has again avoided closure, with the Durham District School Board recently announcing that is has disbanded its Accommodation Review Committee (ARC).
The six-week strike by public high school teachers in Durham led to the process being put on hold, and on June 1 at a special board meeting, Trustees voted to disband the ARC since it now lacked sufficient time for the review.
Earlier this year, Trustees voted to approve an accommodation review that may have ultimately closed the school. With enrollment at Epsom not expected to exceed 46 students over the next decade, staff from the board had proposed closing Epsom Public School in September 2016, and relocating its students to Prince Albert and Greenbank. Additionally, Prince Albert would accommodate a portion of Grade 7 and 8 students within Epsom’s boundary currently attending S.A. Cawker in Port Perry.
Enrollment has dwindled at Epsom P.S. in recent years, which currently offers classes for kindergarten and Grade 1, as well as Grades 4 through 6. Among the issues stated in the January report from the board was a lack of a gymnasium at the school, which requires students to be bussed to nearby schools for some classes.
Epsom Public School is the oldest school currently in use in Durham, with the original school built in 1876, followed by construction of the current school in 1964, and an addition in 1995.
The school board has not announced whether a new accommodation review process will be undertaken in the future for the schools.
For more information, please visit www.ddsb.ca.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: After several years of planning, construction of the new fire hall is tentatively slated to begin next month.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get started in late-July or early August,” project manager Peter Paton told The Standard, adding that the new fire hall should take a year to be built at its new location on Brock St. West, between Quaker Village Dr. and Conc. 6.
Among the first things to be built at the site will be a berm around the perimeter of the building, which Mr. Paton said should help to reduce noise and vision from nearby homes.
Mr. Paton added that the materials used to build the berm will be taken from the area where the fire hall is planned to be built.
“All of that earth is currently there and will have to be moved for the building. But, it won’t have to be trucked off-site, since we’ll be using it for the berms.”
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy noted that the municipality has worked hard on the planning process over the past five years to deliver the best hall available for the $3.8 million budget.
“It’s been a long time through the planning process, but I think that we’ve done everything right and it might even come in under budget,” commented Councillor Molloy.
As well, Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet was pleased that residents in the area were taken into consideration through every step of the lengthy planning process.
“When we started, there were some major concerns from residents in the area, but we’ve listened and walked them through it over the years,” Councillor Highet told The Standard. “We all want this hall to be as unobtrusive as possible.”
For Uxbridge Fire Chief Scott Richardson, there are several benefits to moving to the new fire hall from the current location on Bascom St., which has served the department since the 1950s.
“It’ll have lots of space, that’s the biggest benefit. We’re going from 3,000 square feet per floor to 16,000 square feet. We’ll have the room to be able to bring in new trucks, which we don’t have at the current hall, unless they are custom-made,” Chief Richardson said, noting that safety has become a concern at the current fire hall.
“The safety of staff will also be improved. Currently, we have guys getting into their gear beside trucks rolling out, and the new hall will have a dedicated bunker room where guys can get changed.”
Chief Richardson also explained that the new hall will have a dedicated training room, a heated floor in the truck bay to prevent water from freezing during the winter and eliminating a potential safety hazard, as well as a new operations centre for the department and adequate parking.
“Parking is a major issue, and we are very lucky to have such accommodating neighbours at the current hall,” added Chief Richardson.
Overall, the Chief is confident that the new hall will be able to provide the department with a suitable home well into the future, and will be able to adapt to any potential growth that may come to Uxbridge, which has hindered the current hall with its location on Bascom St.
“Hopefully this new hall will also be able to serve the township for more than 50 years. If needed, there would be opportunities for us to expand the hall if that ever became necessary.”