Seaway Valley Crime Stoppers had its 50/50 winning ticket picked on October 15th at Jim Mustard’s Variety store in Iroquois. Jim Mustard has been a supporter of the program since its inception in 1992. The winning ticket for the 50/50 was sold at the Williamstown fair this past August; the winner was Denis Tousignant of Greenfield, North Glengarry Township ($1550.00). The winning ticket was pulled by Nelson Zandbergen in front of Mustard’s Variety store.
“On July 11, 200 years ago today, the Dundas Militia was mobilized to defend Upper Canada from invasion by American forces,” Bill Shearing, a member of the 1812 Signs committee, told the dignitaries and guests gathered at the formal dedication of the War of 1812 Commemorative Signs, held in Iroquois, Wednesday, July 11.
Wednesday’s ceremony was the last act in almost two years of hard work.
The South Dundas War of 1812 Commemorative Signs Committee was formed in 2011 by chair Bill Shearing. He described it as an “informal group made up of Brenda Brunt, Nicole Sullivan, Hugh Garlough and myself. Federal or provincial funding did not exist.”
Instead members directly approached each area council for support in the initial phases of the project. This year, South Dundas provided labour and equipment for setting up local signs and South Stormont and South Glengarry have also committed to signs in their regions.
The Commemorative Com-mittee researched historical information for the signs and brochures, designed art work, scouted locations for signs and worked hard at fund raising.
Shearing reports that signs will run from the west end of Dundas County to the east end of Glengarry County.
The last South Dundas sign, which recalls the exploits of teenage Trooper John W. Loucks, Dundas County’s ‘Paul Revere’, was on display during the Iroquois dedication ceremony.
Joining Bill Shearing for the dedication were Deputy Mayor Jim Locke, representatives of the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders, piper Peter Coughlan, MPP Jim McDonell, Eric Duncan on behalf of MP Guy Lauzon, SD&G warden Ian McLeod, Brenda Brunt, clerk for South Dundas, Nicole Sullivan, Economic Development Officer, Alicia Wanless, St. Lawrence 1812 Bicentennial Alliance and the Rev. Janet Evans.
“The installation of these signs is a big step to bringing alive our history,” Nicole Sullivan said. “They represent a source of pride. I hope they create awareness of the role South Dundas played in the War of 1812.”
“These signs are an example of how our heritage can be celebrated by our communities,” said Alicia Wanless. “Few places in North America have the sense of history we have in Eastern Ontario. We have the chance, in these two years, of sharing our heritage and showcasing it to the world.”
Bill Shearing made it clear that the generosity of organizations and individuals made the signs project possible. “We could not have done this without the support of these groups. We received donations of upwards of $6,000 from these supporters.”
Shearing thanked Lt. Col. William Masson, president of the SD&G Highlanders Regimental Association, Robert Ivine, president of the Friends of Crylser’s Farm Battlefield, Dr. Graham Houze, Branch #48, the Morrisburg Legion, Linda Halliday, public affairs officer Eastern Ontario, Ontario Power Generation, Mrs. Jean MacDougal and Doug Grenkie, (who was unable to attend the ceremony) for their generous financial support.
Shearing explained that his focus in this project has always been on the citizens of Dundas County and their contributions to Canada.
“No other region in Upper Canada was more successful in defending Canada and ensuring she did not fall into American hands. The role of the people of SD&G is sometimes forgotten by historians. Our role needs to be emphasized. I want people to stop, read these signs and remember.”
Also present at the ceremony was local author, Mike Phifer, who spent over a year intensively researching and writing Lifeline: the War of 1812 Along the Upper St. Lawrence. His book specifically focuses on the history of this region.
“We need to emphasize the importance of this area militarily,” Phifer said. “It was the key, in my view, to saving Canada.”
The Reverend Janet Evans presented a special 1812 prayer for the dedication ceremony.
“Two years ago, my colleague and I were discussing the coming 1812 celebrations,” Evans said. “We decided to contact American churches in Massena and Ogdensburg, an experience which proved very rewarding. From our talks, the prayer developed.”
In part, the 1812 Prayer asks for reconciliation “with our First Nations, who lost so much in this War.” It also remembers “the violence, fear and pain that came 200 years ago when Canada and the United States were at war. We hope this peace will remain lasting.”
The Morrisburg BIA organizers were pleased. The more than 20 vendors in attendance were pleased. Local Morrisburg businesses were pleased.
And the hundreds of people who took in the 16th annual Antique Festival, July 19-20, in Morrisburg, were very pleased with the wide and interesting variety of antiques and collectibles they could explore, evaluate and purchase over the two day event.
“It’s just been fantastic.” said Grace McDonough, BIA co-ordinator. “Hundreds of visitors came out to Antiquefest over the two days. The exposure for our local businesses and our community was phenomenal. While they were here taking in the antiques, people also got to see our Village and all things it has to offer.”
The vendors, who came from Ottawa, Madoc, Montreal, Gatineau and locally, praised the event.
“We love this venue, love the tents, tables and chairs provided for each of us, all free of charge, and the support we received from the BIA,” said Brian Wildsmith of the Almonte Antique Market.
“I love it here,” said vendor Claude Gauthier of Crysler. “This is one of the nicest shows I’ve been to. And we’ve seen lots of visitors.
The BIA also sponsored a Vendors Breakfast at the Basket Case on Sunday, attended by MP Guy Lauzon, warden Eric Duncan, South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke and councillor Evonne Delegarde.
The Antiquefest offered furniture, art, art deco, jewelry, china, glassware, toys, signs and a large selection of unusual and interesting collectibles. Some dealers on site were willing to appraise articles brought in by visitors. The crowds were steady over both days.
“It has been a great event,” McDonough said. “And I can’t stress enough the support and help the Morrisburg BIA, which sponsored Antiquefest, received from the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce. We created a really good impression of our community. Already 15 vendors have committed to next year’s Antique Festival. The weather,” she added, “was perfect too.”
High school can be very hard. The pressure to wear the right clothes, say the right things, go to the right parties, have the right friends is ever present, ever intense.
As adults, people may look back on those high school years and wonder what all the fuss was about. But as teens, the majority of kids would privately admit that they want to feel that they “fit in.”
The actions of the graduating class of Seaway District High School at their 2012 prom, held on June 1, at Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, gave one special young woman a memory of “fitting in” that she will be able to cherish the rest of her life.
Her peers chose Martina Gibson as the 2012 prom queen. She was crowned before all the senior class, along with the prom king Zach Lalonde.
On Tuesday, June 19, this graduating class of Seaway District High School in Iroquois was honoured with the presentation, by Martina’s parents, Ron and Lisa Gibson, of a beautiful, engraved granite bench for the school courtyard. “We want future classes to remember this class of 2012,” Lisa Gibson told the seniors gathered in the yard with principal Terry Gardiner, and Greg Pietersma, chair of the UCDSB.
“We want this bench to be a lasting legacy. You gave our daughter Martina a special moment to shine. When future generations of Seaway kids read the message on this bench, perhaps the spirit of caring you showed will be passed on. Caring and tolerance and acceptance are needed more now than ever.”
Martina Gibson, 17, was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder when she was in senior kindergarten.
“This is a disorder which makes everything a struggle for a child,” her mother Lisa Gibson explained, “socially as well as academically. Standard learning techniques are rarely effective with this form of autism. Martina has a phenomenal memory, able to interpret ideas and details. But the precise skills, mathematics for example, are very difficult. She can discuss an historical event, but struggles with making change.”
Lisa explained that it was always very hard for Martina to feel she truly fit in at school. She wanted to feel part of the lives and the work that other kids had: at the same time, she and her parents faced a constant struggle to find approaches to learning that would fit her special needs.
“There have been times when she has withdrawn,” her mother said. “ It was never easy. She was often excluded from the parties, the shopping trips, and many of the things that all teens love.”
But Martina, with the support of her parents and family, persevered.
“I am so grateful that she has been at Seaway,” her mother Lisa said.
“This is a phenomenal school for children with special needs. Everyone at that school has gone over and above to accommodate Martina’s exceptionalities.
Teachers found ways to diversify the curriculum so that she could work at the same academic subjects as other students, but in a manner she could understand. It has still not been easy for her, but certain teachers have made a real difference to her progress and happiness.”
Martina’s sister and mother helped her with the excitement of getting ready for the big night with prom date Michael Richer: no one had any idea of what the evening would bring.
At 10:40 the family received a text message that Martina had been chosen the prom queen.
“I was crying,” Lisa said. “I know what this meant to her, what an honour it was.
We learned later that the entire senior class was on board to do this. She was the hands down winner. Her father and I talked this over, and we felt that the selflessness and kindness of those kids on prom night, this one act which had so deep an impact on another kid’s life, this needed to be recognized.”
Spontaneous applause burst out from the Seaway graduates when the stone bench was unveiled. Later they joined Martina (who had no idea of her parents’ plan to make the presentation, and was caught completely by surprise) and her family around the bench.
This is the message it bears. This is the legacy of the 2012 graduating class of Seaway District High School.
“This bench is dedicated to the class of 2012. Their selflessness on prom night allowed a very special young lady to feel accepted and loved.” How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because some day in life, you will have been all of these. – George Washington Carver.