On Sunday, Oct. 27, canine trick or treaters gathered with their human friends at the waterfront Morrisburg Dog Park for a celebration of the Hallowe'en season. From Raindrop as "Batgirl", Teeko as "The Great Pumpkin" to Lily as "the Cow" every one had a barking good time. And of course there were treats! Hot dogs for the participants and a race around the park made for a perfect celebration of this "spooky" time of year.
John Ross and his volunteers (Ross Video people in the kitchen, other helpers landing and guiding planes) looked tired Sunday afternoon on July 21. However, everyone was smiling.
“I think this Fly In Breakfast may be one of our most successful ever,” Ross said. “We served 700 breakfast. It would be impossible to run this event without these wonderful volunteers.”
The annual Fly In, which makes Iroquois the ‘go-to destination’ for pilots and planes, and those who are simply interested in seeing the aircraft and chatting with the flyers, saw 60 planes arrive before 9 a.m. All told, as many as 80 or 90 dropped in during the morning.
After some definite weather concerns Friday (high winds, downpours and tornado watches), Mother Nature decided to co-operate. The skies were sunny, the humidity gone, and the crowds were out in force from 7:30 a.m.
Pilots registered from such places as Rockcliffe, Beaver Lake, Montréal, Belle Isle, Kingston, and even farther afield. Many, like Henri Monnin, who brought his yellow Murphy Rebel in from Indian Creek, were return visitors who look forward to the annual Iroquois Fly In Breakfast.
Jean Sebastien Dominique, who arrived in his Piper Cherokee 140 shared a story with people. He flies with the registered charity, Pilots and Paws Canada. Its members, volunteer civilian pilots, transport abandoned or abused dogs to adoptive homes all over Canada. They have also flown animals out of the North for emergency treatment and care. As Dominique said, with a laugh, “I’ve flown my Cherokee with a St. Bernard and a Great Pyrenees acting as my co-pilots.”
Also garnering much crowd interest were a World War II Harvard trainer, and a group of Ultra Lights that dropped in from Belle Isle.
Pilot Richard Hudin described his Ultra Light as a “weight shift.” “I fly it by shifting my weight from side to side in the seat. The craft’s top speed is around 85 to 90 miles and hour. It took us about 90 minutes to fly here.”
He pilots a Quik R model Explorer, an ultra light that comes from the United Kingdom, and has earned the nickname, the “Trike,” for its three landing wheels.
Joining the Fly In again this year, were members of the Golden Gears Car Club. The crowd was eager to look at the nearly 40 models on display in the field next to the landing strip, and to talk to owners and restorers. A little “cruisin’” music playing in the background set the mood.
“I believe that the combination of cars with the flying added hugely to our attendance at this local event,” said John Ross.
Funds raised at the Fly In Breakfast are employed in the maintenance and care of the Iroquois airport.
At the March 20th South Dundas council meeting, economic development officer Nicole Sullivan recommended “that council retain the services of McSweeney & Associates to complete an update to the 2005 South Dundas Strategic Economic Development Plan for a cost of $10,000.”
As reported earlier this year, Sullivan, with permission from council, submitted a completed application to the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) for funding to complete the project to update the 2005 economic plan.
“As part of that application,” she said, “we were required to have two quotes with it.”
“Quotes were obtained from Dillon Consulting and McSweeney & Associates whose services were retained to complete the South Dundas Community Strategic Plan and the SD&G Strategic Economic Development Action Plan respectively.”
Project objectives include:
• “Provide a realistic and strategic approach to economic development for the next five years;
• Align local economic development efforts with those of the community and region, identifying complementary and mutually supportive activities; and,
• Encourage advancement and accountability in local economic development.”
Sullivan’s recommendation for McSweeney & Associates was based on a group decision following a review and discussion period. The group included mayor Steven Byvelds, chief administrative officer Stephen McDonald, chair of the economic development advisory committee Mark Prost, and Sullivan herself.
Following Sullivan’s recommendation and council’s approval, mayor Steven Byvelds said, “McSweeney & Associates can certainly bring us some useful information.”
“Funding was allocated under the 2012 capital budget,” reported Sullivan, “if our application to the EODP is successful that will offset our costs.”
Sandra Whitworth, president and artistic director of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, which wrapped up its 2014-15 musical season in early June, was all smiles during an interview in late June.
“We had three sold out shows this season,” Whitworth said, “The Great Lakes Swimmers, Harry Manx and Madison Violet. We saw a 15 percent increase in audience attendance as compared to last year. And we have kept our funding and even received a new grant this year.”
In June, MP Guy Lauzon presented the SLAS board of directors with $25,000 in funding over two years from the Canada Arts Presentation Fund. The municipality of South Dundas continues to support the SLAS.
“We also received a new grant this year, which is from the SOCAN Foundation. SOCAN stands for the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. It was our first time applying and it was nice to have some success.”
“In our fiscal year, we saw moderate growth, and in terms of the actual season, a dramatic upswing in concert attendance numbers. Our numbers are good and we are not compromising our artistic vision,” Whitworth said.
There were some unexpected challenges for the Stage to deal with this year.
In early spring, the board was told by the Operating Engineers that the Morrisburg Meeting Centre, which has been home to SLAS concerts since the volunteer organization first began more than seven years ago, would no longer be available.
“It was something of a crisis losing our venue,” Whitworth said.
But the Stage found a new and welcoming home at Upper Canada Playhouse. The SLAS people sat down with artistic director Donnie Bowes and the Playhouse board of directors, and worked out a schedule which will permit the Stage to continue to present top quality musicians to the community and to visitors to South Dundas. Concerts will now take place in the outstanding facilities the Playhouse offers.
“We are, I think, with our increasing audience numbers, striking a nice balance between grants and our revenue. And we still continue to keep our concert prices very affordable and competitive,” said Whitworth.
“We are looking at the new line up for our eight concert series, and the artists’ names will be announced later this summer. The first concert at the Playhouse will be October 10. We are also hoping to start more of our school workshops programs in the community. We continue to explore a lot of possibilities.”
The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage board is made up of volunteers who devote many hours to bringing top flight artists to South Dundas. On June 25, at the AGM, it was confirmed that the current board will continue for next year. Sandra Whitworth remains president and artistic director, Tony McCadden is vice president and secretary, Derek Hunter is treasurer and Eric Pietersma is the member at large.