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Village fired up over Pumpkin Inferno

The Pumpkin Inferno, coming to Upper Canada Village this October, will be totally original, and totally spell-binding. There is already a feeling that it will rival Alight at Night in its appeal to the public. 

“It’s magnificent,” said Susan Le Clair,  manager of customer service & corporate communications for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. “We are investing a lot of resources into our Pumpkin Inferno.”

On Friday, October 5, the Commission will unveil its newest attraction, the Pumpkin Inferno.  The Inferno will be an event unlike anything Upper Canada Village has ever staged before. 

For the entire month of October, (leading up to an as yet top secret finale on October 31), the Village will be the site of an extraordinary display of over 25 fascinating exhibits, all created using 4,000 pumpkins. (Five transports were needed to deliver the pumpkins to the work site.)

Visitors to the Village will be dazzled by pumpkin creations, two and three dimensional, tied to themes as diverse as Under the Sea and the Old West. 

“We hope to enhance and augment this experience for our visitors, with the wonderful Village as the backdrop,” Le Clair explained. “There will be lights and music, and the exhibits will be in the trees, in the water, and on the ground, making full use of the Village site.” 

Events officer Jancis Sommerville brought the idea of the Pumpkin Inferno to the commission, and developed the business plan. “Management was immediately excited by her idea,” said Le Clair. “They are backing her vision 100 per cent. We hope to see as many as 25,000 visitors to the Village in this our first year. We want to keep Upper Canada Village alive and vital even after the regular season ends. We want to drive tourism through this region.”

The artistic force behind this incredible new event at Upper Canada Village?

It’s a group of extraordinarily talented young people, many drawn from right here in South Dundas.

The Leader had the opportunity to meet Liam Mills and Dave Hurtubise (later joined by Nikki Ault), who head the project. They are young graphic designers whose vision for the Pumpkin Inferno has “fired-up” the Village. 

Mills and Hurtubise lead a team of 13 students, some in high school, some in college, some in university. From a variety of backgrounds (art history, animation, industrial design and art classes), what they all share in common are strong creative and artistic skills. 

Liam, Dave and Susan Le Clair led a tour of the Pumpkin site (built in a large work shop behind the Upper Canada air strip) on Thursday, August 16. It was a beehive of activity, as the students bring the exhibits to life.

Hurtubise and Mills’ original graphic concepts are designed, first on paper, and then in computer simulations, at the start of what the team jokingly calls “the assembly line.”

“We have 25 major themes for this exhibit,” Liam Mills said. “They are very diverse: traditional Hallowe’en to underwater creations, Chinese themes, gardens, even the Old West. Just one of our themes required 27 pumpkins to make a figure life sized. I think people will be very surprised by what they see.”

“The pumpkins are all styrofoam, and come in several sizes,” Dave Hurtubise explained, “from really small hand sized ones to others almost three feet tall.  The pumpkins are attached to plywood and the students trace outlines in the dark room cannister. We disassemble the pieces, later reassembling them to make the exhibits. I think that when our finished works are lit up at night, the exhibits will be really striking.”

There were no blue prints for this project. The whole concept was completely unique. “The team often had to invent the process as they went along,” Le Clair said. 

“We collectively work on one theme at a time,” Liam explained, “although two or three exhibits may be on the go. Work is constantly in progress on the line.”

“We are very team driven,” Dave said. “Everyone is involved in every step of the process. There’s a lot of satisfaction for people to see where everything is going. I think the most creative work takes place in mid process.”

Each worker has his/her station and tools. Carpenters take into consideration the lighting and settings as the exhibits near completion and are stored in labelled trailers. The exhibits have been created to use the buildings, the lights, the trees and the full size and scale of the Village to create an impact.

It is obvious, from the level of energy and enthusiasm on the work site that the young artists are excited about and dedicated to this project. “We have been very, very busy,” Dave and Liam laughed at the end of the tour, “and maybe our heads bounce around a lot.” 

It looks like this is going to be an event at the Village no one should miss.

The Pumpkin Inferno is scheduled to open October 5, soon after the end of the regular Village season.

“Willard’s will be open during the event,” Susan Le Clair said, “and there will be some delicious pumpkin themed treats throughout the Village. This walking tour is really a family friendly experience. And if people want to come to the Pumpkin Inferno in costumes, they should go right ahead.”

Tickets for the grand Pumpkin Inferno at Upper Canada Village are already on sale. Check the Village website for dates and prices.


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Dare to Flash a ‘Stache

Seen one of these  lately?

Dare to Flash a ‘Stache will raise vital funds and awareness locally for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.

Participants are invited to grow, groom, trim, wax or “fashion a fake” to make their way into the annals of fine moustachery from November 1st to Nov 30th.  

Before they get growing or styling, participants will have to register at to start gathering pledges for themselves or their teams.  

At the SD&G Mutual Aid Fire Association Awards Banquet on August 20, dozens of local firefighters gathered to celebrate the recipients of four regional awards: attendance; fire prevention; fire training; and an all-around points award.  

Much to everyone’s surprise, a few regional leaders in the Mutual Aid donned moustaches to announce their support and to encourage participation among the rest of the attendees present and their fellow firefighters.

Asked about why firefighters might want to participate and support this event, Al Armstrong, Councilor, and Fire Commissioner for North Dundas  said, “Firefighters are without a doubt some of the most community-minded individuals.  There are thousands of dedicated volunteers working with service groups and other organizations, but firefighters are the only ones putting their lives on the line for their neighbours.” 

Armstrong added that, “it makes sense that prostate cancer would be a precious cause for firefighters, as the bulk of firefighters are male, and those who are female, likely have a spouse, brother, father, or friend that could benefit from increased awareness or fund raising efforts.”

It is important to know that funds raised will stay in this region.  A portion of the funds will support the WDMH Foundation Cancer Fund.  

The other half of the proceeds will be directed to critical research in connection with the Ottawa Hospital’s da Vinci robotics program ( The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is the organization that is raising these funds. 

The committee hopes to have 500 participants for this exciting new event, For more information or to get a team registered today, go to


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Biker appreciation day

It was a celebration of biking and bikers at Gillard’s Chip Wagon & Dairy Bar on Thursday, August 16, when the Gillard family held a special night for bikers of all ages. “This night was a chance for us to give back to bikers for supporting our regular Thursday Bike Nights for the last three years,” said Sheila Gillard, eldest daughter of owners Patty and Dennis Gillard. “On a normal Thursday evening, we get between 60-120 bikers dropping in during the good weather,” said Patty Gillard. “but tonight we expect well over 200 to arrive and join us for free coffee, donuts, finger foods and beverages. These are great people, and we count them as friends for life. Word of mouth has brought bikers from Cornwall, Brockville, local areas and the United States to our stop. This Appreciation Night is our thank you.” Above are just some of the early arrivals at Gillard’s. In the inset, proving a love of biking runs in the family, are (l-r) Sheila Gillard, Kayla Gillard and grandfather John Beehler, who rides a 2009 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide.


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Playhouse issues invitation to A Nice Family Gathering

 Family reunions are always memorable. However, when the Lundeen family gets together for Thanksgiving dinner in The Playhouse’s upcoming  show, A Nice Family Gathering, by Phil Olson, the meal won’t be the main event. 

It’ll be the hilarious and heart-warming chaos that erupts when conflicting family members try to cope with each other’s differences and a ghost! The play is set just months after Dad has died, and the usual tensions among family members are higher than ever before the meal is even served. 

Brothers Michael and Carl have never seen eye to eye, the former a successful doctor, the latter an easy-going would-be writer working odd jobs. 

Then there’s Stacy, the younger daughter, who is always ignored and feels left out of the picture. Add to that Michael’s wife, Jill, who’s going through an emotional time because she can’t get pregnant. And Mom is struggling with the pressures of trying to hold the family together long enough to enjoy a civil dinner. 

There’s an elephant in the room, so to speak. 

The chances of this nice family gathering succeeding are blown out of the water when Dad’s ghost decides to make an appearance, not to haunt anyone, but to try to direct the proceedings and settle some old scores. 

To complicate matters, he only appears to one of the family members, son Carl, who’s charged with the task of helping him get his wish. Dad and Carl’s battle of wits, as they attempt to accomplish this, makes for an hilarious and touching experience for all, especially after the arrival of another guest that Mom has told no one about. 

“This show has everything: comedy, conflict, a great story and very strong characters,” says Artistic Director Donnie Bowes. “I think the comedy comes from the pressure that the characters are under to get along. There’s also the ghost of Dad who is, himself, a very funny character. And there are some touching family moments that the audience will relate to and enjoy.”

Ensuring that Dad’s ghost gets a star appearance is Doug Tangney, in a role that Bowes says the Playhouse favourite was born to play. 

Tangney was earlier seen in Hotbed Hotel and has been enjoyed by audiences in shows ranging from the hilarious grand-dad in Having Hope at Home to starring roles in The Sensuous Senator, Weekend Comedy and many more. His character of Dad’s ghost will square off with another popular Playhouse actor, Richard Bauer, who plays son Carl. 

Bauer recently directed Wife Begins at Forty and earlier in the season starred in The Foursome

Sparks will also fly between Bauer and Jamie Williams who plays brother Michael. Williams was recently seen in Here on the Flight Path and has starred in such hits as Run For Your Wife and There Goes The Bride.

The role of Mom is in the talented hands of veteran actress Linda Goranson seen in such Playhouse shows as Not Now, Darling and The Christmas Express. Goranson is currently commuting to rehearsal from Belleville where she is starring in Calendar Girls.

Sister Stacy is played by another familiar Playhouse face, Liz Gilroy, who joins the cast after a busy summer acting, directing and choreographing at various Ontario Summer Theatres. Last seen here in Dear Santa, Gilroy will star in Elf: The Musical at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre later this year. 

Rounding out the cast is Kate Gordon, who returns to UCP from last year’s Not Now, Darling, to play Jill, and Don Ciaschini, last seen in Maggie’s Getting Married, who will play special guest Jerry. 

John Thompson, who has designed several Playhouse productions including Wife Begins at Forty and On Golden Pond to name just a few, created the set. 

Donnie Bowes will be directing this production. 

A Nice Family Gathering runs September 6 to September 30. The shows are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.  For tickets and information call 613-543-3713, or 1-877-550-3650 or go to


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Ahoy, Maties! Pirate Day at Iroquois Beach


 It was a great day for pirates when Ontario Early Years and South Dundas Recreation teamed up to present a day of buccaneering at the Iroquois beach on Thursday afternoon, August 16. Area youngsters joined Fiona Carr, Family Resource co-ordinator of Early Years and Ben Macpherson, SD Recreation director, to make hats and swords, eye patches and sailing ships and to join in fun-filled games.

“We do this every year to promote community and getting kids active,” said Macpherson. “We encourage kids to have fun in the sun.” “There is also an educational element,” Carr added, “as the kids have fun doing crafts.” The Eastern Ontario Health Unit also offered workbooks on sun safety for children.

 Left, ‘Captain’ Callam Larocque and ‘Mate’ Ethan Boucher sword fight as the ‘ghost’ of pirate Captain Anne Bonney (Ashleigh Jackson) watches. Below, left, Katie Barkley (visiting grandparents Jack and Anne) gets her face painted by Abby Trizisky, while Lawrence McClafferty shows his ship. 


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Blue win sets up final clash with Lightning


The finals are set for Men’s Roller Hockey Thursday, following last week’s action.

The championship will be decided between New Blue and White Lightning.

White had a bye into the championship game on the merit of their quarterfinal win, but last week Blue had to win their way to the championship game, and had to go through the Morewood Monkeys to do it.

They did so handily, posting a 10-7 win.

Blue was first on the board and held the lead throughout the entire game.

The combined efforts of Justin Elliott and Connor Hodgson accounted for every one of Blue’s goals of their four-goal first period. 

Elliott went on to record a six point night with three goals and three assists. Hodgson had a four-point night with two goals and two assists. 

Chris Embry had a three goal night for the Monkeys, in their losing effort.

In other action, a last minute goal gave the Red Rockets a 9-8 win over White Lightning. The game winning goal was scored by Chad McMillan. It was his second of the night. Darrel Moore posted a team-leading seven point night with four goals and three assists.

Thursday night the consolation game will pit the Monkeys against the Rockets.


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Summerheights takes 2012 Valley League title

The Morrisburg team’s gross score of 896 was enough to put them in third place at this year’s Ladies Valley League tournament held at Morrisburg Golf Club, Sunday, August 19.

Prescott, the 2011 defending champions, came in, in second place with a gross of 877, while first place finishers, Summerheights,  took home the honours with 873.

Cedar Glen ended up with a gross of 914, while Iroquois finished with 915.

The first tee off of the day was at 9 a.m. the last at 12:30 p.m., with final players on the course turning in their score cards by 5:30, just in time for awards and a banquet. Morrisburg player Stephenie Cochrane described it as a “good day”: a cloud burst in early afternoon only slowed the action briefly.

The Ladies Valley League has been in existence for over 40 years. Players this year ranged in age from 16 to Morrisburg’s Lillian Noon, 92, who said she’d been taking part now for about 20 years “and I still love it. Actually, I’m aiming for a hole in one before I’m 100.”  

Individual results were announced at the banquet organized by the host Morrisburg club.

Senior gross was Dale Duncan of Prescott with 89, while senior net was Pat Tetrault of Summerheights with 75.

Spare gross was Summerheights’ Susan Fort with 92, while spare net was taken by Cheryl Boyd of Prescott with 68.

D gross was Sharon Landry of Prescott (104) with D net taken by Audrey Arcand (68). 

C gross was Ann Cook of Cedar Glen, with 97, and net was Nancy Mierau of Prescott with 67.

Ann Leduc of Summerheights took the B gross with 88 and Carolyn Weegar of Morrisburg took the B net with 68.

The A gross winner was Robyn Campbell of Summerheights with Pat Reaney of Cedar Glen taking the A net with a score of 63.


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Morrisburg Collegiate decision delayed


The tenders for the rehabilitation of the Morrisburg Collegiate Institute building left municipal officials with  sticker shock when the bids came in about a million dollars higher than they had expected, so much so that have not yet decided how they will proceed with the project.

Since the bids to convert the historic building into a new clinic and administrative facility were opened about a month ago, municipal staff, project managers and the design team have undertaken much analysis and research to prepare a report for council which was presented at the Aug. 14 meeting.

Municipal officials had expected to see bids in the range of $3 million, but instead the prices submitted by the pre-qualified contractors were in the $4 million range, with the lowest coming it at almost $3.9 million.

“It became apparent, as the project evolved, that it was a very complex project – maintaining the heritage aspects of the building while upgrading it to current standards,” reported Stephen McDonald, South Dundas chief administrative officer. “And, it can be assumed that the complexity of the project is reflected in the prices.”

The renovation project will consist of removing everything but the shell and will cost about $150 per square foot. The 20 year borrowing costs to finance the large scale project are equivalent to a tax increase of 2 to 3.5 percent, depending on the success of South Dundas’ Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund application. 

“The township has applied for $1 million funding under the CIIF,” reported McDonald. “This program is for existing infrastructure only and a new building would not be eligible to receive funding.”

According to the report presented to council the financial cost to construct a new building will be at least $6 million, not to mention the cost of lost time in getting such a project underway. 

South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds asked council to state their preferred direction for staff offering up the options of; doing nothing, going with the project as presented, starting over with a new building or deferring the decision until September to allow them time to gauge the public’s reaction. 

“I don’t think doing nothing is a good option,” said the mayor.

Only South Dundas councillor Jim Graham was willing to make a decision to get the project moving. 

“Everybody was surprised by the cost, that’s for sure,” he said. “But if we don’t go ahead there’s a ripple effect to a lot of other plans. I think the time has come that we have to present an image that we are open for business. I am ready to support this, as is.”

“Going to the public, we won’t get a consensus,” said Graham. “This is a decision we, as a council will have to make. That’s what we’re here for.”

“We obviously can’t afford a new building, so it’s the old building or nothing. I definitely don’t think doing nothing is an option,” said Graham.

Every member of council agreed that doing nothing is not an option. 

South Dundas councillor Evonne Delegarde is supporting starting over and pursuing a new building. “With the rehabilitation, we’ll still have an old building,” she said. “It’s hard to believe it will cost that much more to build a new building.”

CAO McDonald pointed out that a similar new building project now taking place in Winchester shows that  the numbers presented in the report are accurate and valid.

Delegarde also suggested going back to the doctors of the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic to contribute more money to the project, now that the actual costs have come in higher than anticipated.

“It is a tough decision,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke, who was not yet willing to make a final decision. However he did say, “If we do nothing with that building, I feel it will have to come down. We can’t leave it sit there with snow fence around it.”

South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan, like Locke, was not willing to make a decision. “I’m not prepared tonight to say one way or another,” he said, later adding that he will be prepared to make a decision at the next council meeting. “I’ll tell you then, which side of the fence I’m jumping to.”

Mayor Byvelds said, “My leaning is to go ahead and bring this project to fruition.” However, he was willing to respect his fellow councillors who have not yet decided and support deferral until the next meeting.

“We’ll let this settle out within the public sphere,” he said. “As a council, it’s our responsibility to listen. Listen well, but filter through it,” he told council. 

The decision will be made at the September 4 council meeting.


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Children’s Festival at Woodlands

There is still lots of summer fun yet to be enjoyed. And this weekend amid the enchanted forests of Woodlands Beach, families can enjoy a brand new Children’s Festival featuring:

· The Barnyard Petting Zoo,

· Bouncy Castle and Sports Inflatables;

· Free Face Painting by A Little Bit of Bling; and

· Princess Belle from the Fairytale Beauty and the Beast.

Also enjoy crafts, games a new forest themed play structure and roaming characters. Refreshments will be available at the Candy and Slushie stand or at the chip wagon. 

The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19.  Story reading with Princess Belle will take place at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. each day.

The event is supported through generous sponsorships by United Way Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Ontario Power Generation, Cornwall Honda, The Great Waterway and Kraft.

*   Admission is $4.87 per person ($14.16 maximum vehicle charge) and children 12 years of age and younger are free.

Woodlands Beach is located on the Long Sault Parkway west of Cornwall, Ontario, on County Road 2 between the villages of Ingleside and Long Sault.  From Highway 401 take exit 770 or exit 778.

“We have made numerous improvements throughout Parks of the St. Lawrence campgrounds and beach areas this year.  Beach improvements, campsite upgrades and the recent addition of new playground equipment at our beach areas is a definite bonus for families looking to beat the heat this summer.  The Children’s Festival is a new event we have added to give families an affordable way to come out and enjoy our parks,” said Lou Seiler, Manager of Parks & Recreation, St. Lawrence Parks Commission.


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Savour the 1860s

If you like gardening and food, this is the weekend for you,” according to Dave Dobbie, Manager of Upper Canada Village.  With colourful heirloom plants in full bloom and vegetables growing in abundance, Upper Canada Village is in peak form for an exploration of two closely related subjects:  gardens and food.  

This special weekend from Saturday, August 18 to Sunday, August 19 includes garden tours, special presentations, taste testing and sampling of locally produced foods. 

Modern and 1860s cooking demonstrations will be featured and there will be a number of food vendors on site throughout the weekend as well. By promoting food and gardening traditions, visitors will experience the deep connections between plants and people.

Tour the Gardens

Gardening enthusiasts can accompany the knowledgeable Village horticultural staff on a variety of leisurely tours within the Village’s beautiful grounds. Ornamental and vegetable gardens are on the agenda at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both days. 

If you love tomatoes, you will have the opportunity to explore Heirloom Tomato Culture, also at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both days. 

Those visitors wishing to tempt their taste buds will have an opportunity to sample the produce straight out of the garden during the taste-testing of Heirloom Vegetables on the program at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

From 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., visitors are invited to gather behind at Loucks Garden and find out more about horseradish, one of the most widely used condiments in the 19th century.

Sampling and Cooking 


Visitors will also be interested to see how the herbs, fruits and vegetables produced in Village gardens enjoy a second life in Village kitchens. 

Culinary history interpreters at Loucks Farm, Cook’s Tavern and Tenant Farm will cook period dishes, using heirloom plant varieties and share traditional recipes and preservation techniques to awaken the senses to new understandings of the past. On the menu are jams and jellies, boiled puddings and summer drinks.  

At the Physician’s House, Linden tea will be served. The tea is made from a plant that has been used in folk medicine and in various remedies for centuries.

Throughout the weekend, Shaun Funk, local chef and owner of Redhead Pantry Premium Condiments, will present a workshop on preserving methods old and new at the Upper Canada Village Discovery Centre. He will talk about curing, drying, smoking, vinegar making and more. 

Temple’s Sugar Bush will have taffy on snow for sale as well as other maple products and will feature a display of old-fashioned sugar making equipment.

Local Vendors

Several local vendors will be setting up in the Village fairgrounds, including Connaught Farms, Trudy’s Fresh Home-Style Bakery and Glengarry Fine Cheese (on Saturday). 

Leslie Johnson from the Dundas County Milk Committee will be on site on Sunday with a large variety of locally produced cheeses and recipes. 

Barley Days Brewery from Prince Edward County will have samples of their micro-brewed beer at Cook’s Tavern. 

Village interpreter Wayne Prunner will demonstrate meat and cheese smoking and provide delicious samples.

The mouth-watering experience continues at the Village Store throughout the festival with a sampling of Village-made cheese and fudge.

Ticket prices are Adult (13 to -64 years of age) $17, Senior (65+ years of age) $14 and Youth (6 to 12 years of age) $14.  Children 5 years of age and under are free.  

“Upper Canada Village boasts an impressive collection and collective knowledge of heirloom plants and the Village Store carries a large variety of locally-made specialty food products.  This is your chance to come and enjoy both experiences and have a relaxing outing on the beautiful grounds of the Village,” says Dobbie.