Chartwell Hartford Retirement Residence recognized National Seniors Day on Saturday, October 1. The Morrisburg facility’s staff began the day by handing out free coffee at both McDonald’s and Tim Hortons before heading over to Riley’s Valumart and Giant Tiger to lend a hand, inviting all they met to join them later for a celebration at the Fifth Street West residence, complete with homemade cake, coffee and tea.
Ten years ago, Kris and Manu Sahota bought the Loyalist Hotel in Morrisburg with hopes and dreams of a bright future for their family.
Now, a decade later, the dream has come to an end. The Sahotas have sold the hotel and will hand over the keys to an unknown buyer at the end of May.
According to Kris Sahota, a numbered company bought the hotel “as is” and their identity and plans were not revealed at the time of the sale.
He revealed that there were several contributing factors in the decision to sell the hotel, including a recent car accident which has left him less able to handle the physical requirements of running a hotel this size.
Sahota also confirmed that he has no plans to purchase or start another business in the area.
In fact, the family of five is considering the possibility of selling their home in Morrisburg and leaving the area altogether in pursuit of a new dream elsewhere.
As for the future of the Loyalist Hotel, all that can be confirmed at this point is that the new owner will take possession of the building on June 1st.
The spark of a new idea coming to fruition at Upper Canada Village has ignited a number of area partnerships between the business community and the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.
The South Dundas Chamber of Commerce is fueling the fire of Pumpkinferno by helping spread the seasonal theme throughout the community.
Last week, in anticipation of the kickoff of Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village, the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce launched “Season of Pumpkin People” at the Upper Canada Playhouse.
Through the Season of Pumpkin people, the organizing committee hopes to get area businesses and residents to create Pumpkin People/Scarecrow displays at their homes and businesses to create a festive harvest season atmosphere throughout South Dundas in support of the Pumpkinferno event at the village which aims to bring 20,000 visitors to the region.
The organizing committee is chaired by local artist Gene Ward.
“We would like to see people make an effort to create their own pumpkin people displays in whatever way they feel is appropriate,” said Ward. “Maybe it will be something so small it will fit in your hand, or maybe something giant. Really the purpose is to engage people in the community to get involved so that people from outside the community can take an interest in the area.”
“Also, this is a great opportunity to promote the area at a time of year which is traditionally a down time for businesses,” said Ward.
“To have Upper Canada Village include us is a big bonus for this area,” he added. “We need all the help we can get.”
South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds congratulated the chamber of commerce, Ward and the event team on getting involved in this partnership with Pumpkinferno. “We always look forward to forming partnerships, especially partnerships with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission,” he said. “I’m certain the community will buy into this theme.”
“This is a really great opportunity,” said South Dundas Chamber of Commerce President Chuck Barkley.
Nicole Sullivan, South Dundas economic development officer reiterated the importance of working with the SLPC in this initiative.
She spoke about the creation of the theme which was designed to build on the agricultural roots of the community and expand on the highly successful Harvest Festival theme of the 21 year event in Williamsburg. “The way Williamsburg is decorated for the harvest festival really brings that community to life,” she said.
“This is wonderful,” commented Susan Leclair, corporate marketing and devlopment officer for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. “We are delighted to have your participation and cooperation.” Of the 20,000 visitors the commission hopes to bring to Pumpkinferno, Leclair said, “I hope they want to visit your businesses as well as ours.”
“It’s one of those events where the pictures don’t really do it justice. We have a great feeling about this event, and we hope we have a winner on our hands.”
In closing she thanked the chamber for embracing Pumpkinferno adding that they hope to build on it in the future.
Those who create a Season of Pumpkin People display, can fill out a registration form to be eligible to win random prizes. The early bird draw prizes of free admission to Pumpkinferno were won by Williamsburg Garage and Brian and Jane Cox.
Registration forms can be dropped off at Candy’s Hair Salon/River Rat Treasures in Iroquois, the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce office in Morrisburg, Williamsburg Garage in Williamsburg or H&I Country Supply in Brinston.
“There is just something about World War One,” Norm Christie, author, and creator of the acclaimed History Channel series, For King and Empire, told Kim McInnis. “When people begin to delve into it, it becomes an obsession.”
For McInnis, who has just published the new book, “In a lonely soldier’s grave…”, the famed writer and director’s words have proved prophetic.
In 2009, McInnis began compiling her new book about the generation of young men from Mountain Township, and surrounding areas, who were lost to World War One. Her research was initially sparked by the names commemorated on the Mountain Community Park Hill 70 Memorial. Hill 70, fought near the French village of Lens, proved to be one of the bloodiest and most crucial Canadian battles of the Great War.
Yet today, there is only a single memorial to it anywhere: the park in Mountain.
In 2009, under the strong leadership of Bill Shearing, then honorary colonel (ret.) of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, the North Dundas History Stewards, under Carol Goddard and the North Dundas municipal council, the Mountain Hill 70 Memorial was rededicated.
This ceremony took place on October 31, 2009, in Mountain on what Kim (who was one of the speakers) described as the “coldest, wettest day of the year. Hurricane force winds a lot of the morning.”
A number of dignitaries, including MP Guy Lauzon, then MPP Jim Brownell, members of the History Stewards, veterans and councillors were in attendance. Guests of honour were the SD&G Highlanders, who marched to the ceremony, following a training exercise, led by their officers.
“The original intention in 2009 was to preserve the park as it was, with the marker stone set up in 1922, a commemorative stone from the Highlanders, and a World War One German machine gun,” McInnis explained.
The site was later taken over by the Mountain Lions Hill 70 Refurbishment Committee in 2010. That committee put up different markers in 2011-12, while preserving some of the original artifacts.
With the encouragement of Bill Shearing, Carol Goddard, Ian Raveler and many members of the Historical Society, McInnis undertook, in 2009, to research and write her hard cover book based on the memorial.
She found uncovering memories of World War One a huge, but fascinating task. “I began going through honour roles, finding old documents and stories, tracking down diaries, letters and the military records of the men named on the monument, even listening to old taped interviews.” She became “well acquainted” with Archives Canada, and exchanged two years of emails with many historians and researchers. She even entered into correspondence with the present mayor of Lens, France, whose town near Hill 70 was utterly destroyed by the Germans in 1915.
The more she learned, the closer McInnis felt to the local men lost in the Great War. “I sometimes found the research very sad. There are often no descendants left who can even vaguely recall those terribly young, lost boys. Sometimes, I actually felt drained looking at all their faces.”
Her book includes collections of stories, photos and letters from area Canadian soldiers dating back to the Boer War and 1812.
However, the key focus remains World War One and our men who served. Still, the more McInnis learned, the more she realized that Norm Christie was right.
“Next year it will be 100 years since World War One began, and there is probably no one left alive in the whole world who actually knew the young men as they went off to war. Preserving the memories of those who were lost, and of those who returned but suffered physical and mental scars, is important. And these soldiers all came to life for me as I put this book together.”
“In a soldier’s lonely grave…” is available to order by contacting Kim McInnis at 613-989-2607. The funds raised by book sales will be going to the Chesterville District Historical Society.