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Sing in Spring with the Seaway Valley Singers


Spring has definitely arrived because the Seaway Valley Singers are holding their spring concert at the Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church on Friday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. Their programme of beautiful and exciting music will help set the mood for sunny days and blue skies. 

Margaret Whisselle, an accomplished soprano and pianist, will accompany the 44 voice choir, which is under the  talented direction of conductor Robert Jones.  The Singers will be presenting a concert entitled The Best of Broadway & More. Wendy Gibb will act as the MC for the evening.

The Seaway Valley Singers present two concerts annually, one just before Christmas, and one in the early spring. Months of preparation and practice go into their shows, which are led by noted conductor, arranger and musician, Robert Jones. Over the years, the Singers have presented selections from all genres, folk to sacred, jazz and gospel to the great songs of Broadway.

A concert by the Seaway Valley Singers is a “must” on the calendars of audiences in the community.

The selections for The Best of Broadway & More are wide-ranging. From a medley taken from the great Rogers and Hammerstein’s The King and I, to the drama of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera and Evita, there will be much to look forward to on May 1.

And for those who loved the Vicar of Dibley, the choir is performing Howard Goodall’s arrangement of The Lord’s Prayer with sensational young singer, Benjamin Vreman soloing. Look for additional pieces during the evening which will showcase the talents of this outstanding community choir.

Advance tickets are $10, available at PharmaChoice in Morrisburg, Chesterville and Winchester. Tickets at the door are $12. 

The Best of Broadway & More is set for Friday, May 1, 7:30 p.m., at the Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church.  


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Oh, Canada, We Sing For Thee leaves audiences cheering


–Barely 10 minutes into the Friday night performance of Upper Canada Playhouse’s production of Leisa Way’s Oh, Canada, We Sing For Thee, audience members, of all ages, were spontaneously applauding and cheering. 

That initial level of enthusiasm and delight never let up for the entire two hours. 

When Leisa Way, Nathan Smith, Bobby Prochaska, Fred Smith, Bruce Ley and Sam Cino took their final bows, for many in the audience, the only disappointing thing about this exhilarating premiere was that they weren’t going to be able to buy new tickets at the Playhouse and see it again. 

It was a memorable production, running April 21-25, opening the Playhouse summer season.

Leisa Way, who has gained popular and critical celebrity for her shows such as Sweet Dreams, Rhinestone Cowgirl and Country Jukebox, described the inspiration for this, her newest production, in an April 15 interview with the Leader. “We are the greatest country in the world. This is simply a fantastic place to live. With all the celebrations coming up in 2017, everyone is going to be incredibly proud to be a Canadian, and we are excited to be part of that energy with this new show.”

The appeal of this show is patriotic, yes, but that alone wouldn’t be enough to capture audiences so completely. It’s the music that inspires them: that terrific music. Canadians tend to forget sometimes just how good our composers and singers really are, and how much they have influenced music world wide. Oh, Canada, We Sing For Thee, exuberantly reminds them.

From the 50s songs, Little Darlin’, and a boisterous Life Could Be a Dream, to the breath-taking modern duet between Way and Prochaska of David Foster’s Let This Be Our Prayer, the production showcased an extraordinary range of music. Toes tapped to classic Habitant fiddle pieces and modern French-Canadian chansons, hands clapped to a heavy metal, rock medley that included Takin’ Care of Business and Born to Be Wild, and there was more than one misty pair of eyes during the singers’ beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Leisa Way is a dynamic, versatile singer. Able to country swing in Shania Twain’s comic Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? move us with Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Until It’s Time for You To Go, and cheerily channel Anne Murray, Way’s vocal range is exceptional. Along the way the artist shared anecdotes and side stories with the audience about some of the artists and the music they wrote. “Music,” she pointed out, “is the most popular language in the world.”

The Wayward Wind Band and the musicians joining Way in this production were outstanding. Sam Cino, Nathan Smith, Bobby Prochaska, Fred Smith and Bruce Ley were unquestioned instrumental masters. And their vocal work, singly, but especially in a cappella numbers like Northwest Passage and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, elated every listener.

Quick comic asides throughout the show, (“Canada is the only nation where you can wear shorts and a parka at the same time!”), a reprise of the classic “Canadian Rant,’ and Stompin’ Tom Connors’ ever popular Good Old Hockey Game continually reminded the crowd that yes, Canadians do have a great sense of humour along with their gift of music.

Oh, Canada, We Sing For Thee’s powerful finale which began with Gordon Lightfoot’s wonderful Railroad Trilogy and ended with everyone on their feet for O Canada, was breath-taking. 

This show is a terrific musical celebration of the Great White North, one that audiences will love.

After attending this production, did people leave Upper Canada Playhouse proud to be Canadians? You can bet your maple leaves they did.


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Senior Support Centre celebrates its volunteers


With over 100 volunteers providing nearly 7,000 hours of volunteer service, there was plenty to celebrate at the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre’s Volunteer Appreciation Night, held at the centre last Tuesday night, April 21.

The evening theme was puzzles, and the pieces that make up the pictures. Each volunteer, upon arrival, was presented with a puzzle piece by Corry Martens, vice-chair of the Senior Support Centre’s board of directors.

“I want to say welcome to all our essential pieces,” said the Centre’s executive director, Janet Levere. “Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we are all different? Each of us has strengths and skills to share. And when we link our individual strengths, we are an amazing community picture.”

“I can’t imagine us without you. So thank you. Thank you for achieving greater results, thank you for bringing excitement to every day, thank you for helping those in need, thank you for making an impact in the community and thank you for being an essential piece of someone’s everyday life.”

Marten, who spoke on behalf of board chair, Duane Locke said, “I want to thank all of our volunteers. There is hardly anything that gets done in any community without volunteers. I want to thank all of you who bring sunshine to the lives of others.”

According to Levere, the Centre experienced an increase in the number of individuals served over the past year. She said that clients and their needs are changing, but their desire to stay at home in their own communities continues to be their greatest wish. “Your commitment to support them with this challenge is heartwarming.”

Levere thanked the transportation and meals on wheels drivers who had a long snowy winter, and the volunteers at the centre who assisted with foot care, diner’s club, exercise clubs, fundraising, adult day program, decorating and the craft group.

This past year, the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre, supported 629 persons which was an increase of almost 50. For every client supported, there were 1-3 caregivers who also benefitted. The care accounted for just under 7,000 volunteer hours.

Forty three clients of Meals on Wheels were served 2,831 meals (an increase of just under 1,300 meals).

Another 287 people enjoyed 5,509 dinners/social activities, and 135 clients were supported with 3,022 one way trips.  One hundred and three individuals benefitted from 514 foot care appointments, 32 clients enjoyed 715 units of adult day programming, 107 clients benefitted from 16,072 hours of respite and 89 persons benefitted from 17,058 units of assisted living/supportive housing.

Prior to welcoming guest speaker Maggie Wheeler, a very well known and successful local mystery writer, Levere thanked and introduced the centre’s staff which included Theresa Zandbergen (Administration Assistant), Cathy Tupper (Team Leader), Taryn Hoogeveen (Operations Assistant) and Kerri Seabrook (Adult Day Coordinator).

Levere then introduced Wheeler, a “wonderful story teller and local author.”

“Years ago when I was here, I believe I said something about the value of volunteers,” said Wheeler. “Ten years later I’m back. The needs keep growing and the programs that need these things keep growing. Thank you all so much for all that you give.”

Wheeler who is now planning a fifth book, introduced herself as “one of the few people who you can say I plan murders for a living.” 

She then delighted the audience with her knowledge of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project before talking about her writing career, her four-book, Farran Mackenzie murder mystery series and her next book which she expects to begin writing this coming fall.


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Hospice award in memory of Diane Annable


“On behalf of Dundas County Hospice, we thank our volunteers for over 1,900 hours that have been donated to our organization over this past year,” said director of client services, Catheryn Mulder at the annual Hospice Volunteer Appreciation night, held last Wednesday night, April 22.

It was a night, that would not only thank the volunteers, but an evening to remember the late Diane Annable of Winchester, whose family was on hand to unveil a Memorial Award for Volunteer Service to Dundas County Hospice. Annable, a dedicated volunteer with Hospice for seven plus years, passed away in February, 2014.

Named as the first recipient of the Diane Annable Memorial was Sandra Jennings, who, like Annable, has served the Dundas County Hospice in various volunteer/ board positions, for many years. 

“I enjoy my work, it’s a good cause, but we miss our Diane who was an all-round good person,” said Jennings, following the presentation made by Annable’s husband Gary and son Thomas. Also on hand were Diane’s mother and father, Vance and Audrey Mcleese.

“It was Diane who got us going on fundraising, she was a special person,” said Jennings.

“Diane enjoyed the volunteer work she did for Dundas County Hospice very much,” said Gary. He explained that she first volunteered when she was high school age and worked with children’s camps in Toronto. “She loved to organize.”

“The year’s 1,900 volunteer hours for Hospice included hours provided for direct client involvement, board hours, equipment cleaning, public awareness and fundraising,” said Mulder, following the presentation.

“Thank you to those of you who gave comfort and kind words and a listening ear for the clients you visited so faithfully,” said Mulder.  “Thank you to those of you who provided activities and assisted with the Day Hospice and Men’s Breakfast. Thank you for the many hours you spent on fundraising for Hoedown, for golf, for the annual newsletter and now the upcoming Hike for Hospice.”

Mulder told the volunteers that it had been an exciting year for Dundas County Hospice. 

“This has definitely been a time for exciting growth, and we could not have accomplished this without you our volunteers.”

“Our board, as well as our executive director, Lisa Casselman, have gone above and beyond. They have made our dreams of expanding our day hospice program and locating in a new facility, realities.”

The board of directors for Dundas County Hospice includes chair Bob Pitruniak, vice-chair, Paul Renaud, past chair, Sandra Jennings, treasurer Janet Moorhouse, secretary Arlene Nesbitt. Directors are Betty Guy, Mary Gibson, Kathy Spruit and Bob Sisson.

Introduced was Lynn Gee, who is the new program assistant with the day hospice program.

Dundas County Hospice offers a variety of services to anyone suffering from a terminal or life-threatening illness. Hospice supports clients and their caregivers through all stages of their illness including bereavement support after the death of the client. All of our services are free

The hospice offers an equipment loan program which helps clients maintain some independence, comfort and mobility. 

Hospice also assists with in-home complimentary therapies for clients that can no longer get out.

Coming up on May 3, is a  Hike for Hospice  (2.5 or 5 km. hikes) fundraiser. Folks are invited to join Hospice for a hike along the beautiful St. Lawrence in Morrisburg. A donation to Dundas County Hospice will get you registered (9:30-10:30 a.m.) and participants can get hiking at 10:30 a.m. A barbecue at noon will complete the event.

The Hike for Hospice will be part of a busy spring as Dundas County Hospice prepare to relocate to its new home in Williamsburg this coming summer.

The Volunteer Appreciation guest speaker was certified relaxation therapist Kim Hutt owner of Souly Reconnected located north of Iroquois.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here, celebrating your community service,” Hutt told the volunteers.

Hutt explained how she turned a hobby, “into a profession, when I began studying relaxation therapies. She shared some exercises and demos on how one can self care and explained the various therapies available including Reiki and Quantum Touch.


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For Every Plate Full food drive

From May 2nd to 9th, food banks across Canada are coming together to participate in the Every Plate Full Food Drive. 

The goal of the campaign is to fill the empty plates of Canadians in need this summer.

As part of this campaign, the Dundas County Food Bank is organizing a county-wide community food drive.

“It’s always difficult for us at this time of year to keep up with demand for our services,” said Ian McKelvie, DCFB Administrator. 

“By participating in this national campaign, we’re hoping the community will come together to make a difference and help us stock our shelves so that none of our neighbours go hungry this summer.”

The Every Plate Full Food Drive will take place on Saturday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Andy’s Foodland in Winchester, Giant Tiger in Morrisburg and Iroquois Foodland. 

Another food drive will take place on Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riley’s Valu-mart in Morrisburg. 


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Williamsburg sewer users see $52 increase this year

It’s been almost 10 years since South Dundas residents connected to the Williamsburg municipal sewer have seen an increase to their sewer charges.

But that will change with their next tax bill.

South Dundas municipal staff told council at the water and wastewater budget meeting held April 22, at the South Dundas Municipal Centre, that sewer charges need to be increased right away.

It was decided that for 2015, the sewer charge, which appears on their property tax bill, will jump from $98 to $150. 

With recent upgrades to the electrical panel and the replacement of two primary pumps, the Williamsburg sewer reserve has been significantly depleted.

Even with the $52 increase, that will only bring in about $2,600 to add back into the reserve, according to South Dundas treasurer Shannon Geraghty.

“We need to address this and start building the reserve back up to a comfortable level,” warned Geraghty.

“It’s something that has to be done,” said South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde.

This increase will be implemented right away and staff will further review and assess the need for further increases in future years as they update the bylaw and mapping.


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Jacob ‘Jake’ van Beilen

A resident of Morrisburg for the past 26 years, Jake van Beilen passed away peacefully surrounded by his wife and children at the Cornwall Hospice on Friday, April 17th, following a courageous battle with cancer. He was 77.

Jake was born on July 14, 1937, in the village of Emmen, The Netherlands, the oldest of eight children born to to his parents Jan and Antje van Beilen (nee Buter).  The family immigrated to Canada in 1953.

Jake worked as a mason for most of his life while living in Canada.

Jake married Corrie Oosterman on December 8, 1961.  Together they were blessed with four children Rick, Karen, Wendy and Laura Lee.  

Jake will be remembered as a quiet and gentle family man.

Jake is survived by his wife Corrie and his children Rick (Wendy) of Hanesville, Karen McMillan (Mark) of Riverside Heights, Wendy of Ottawa and Laura Lee deJong (Harold) of Chesterville.

He was dear brother of Gaya Vandersleen (Jan) of Pembroke, Ann Vandemheen (Mac) of Williamsburg, Andrew (Ali) of Morrisburg, Henry (Myrna) of Iroquois, Lucas of Hanesville and Jenny Chamberlain (Brent) of Renfrew.   He was predeceased by his infant sister Janny.  

Jake will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Brittany (Andrew), Joshua (Christine), Matthew (Steph), Timothy (Jess), Tyler (Liz), Andrew (Bridget), William (Brittany), Brigitte, Chelsea, James and great-grandchildren Kaydance, Gracie, Tate, Hadley and AnnaLynn.  He is also survived by nieces and nephews.   

Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg, on Monday, April 20th from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. 

Funeral service was held at Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church on Tuesday, April 21st at 11 a.m., with Rev. John Noordhof officiating. 

Interment followed at New Union Cemetery, Williamsburg. Pallbearers were grandsons Joshua van Beilen, Matthew McMillan, Timothy McMillan, Tyler van Beilen, Andrew deJong, William deJong and James deJong.    

Donations to Cornwall Hospice would be gratefully acknowledged by the family. Online condolences may be made at



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Another increase to Morrisburg and Iroquois rates to cover water treatment plant costs

 It’s only been about six months since municipal water and sewer users experienced a substantial increase in their utility bills, but another increase is on the horizon.

Because there’s not enough money left to fund the necessary capital projects for the South Dundas municipal water treatment plant, staff asked council to consider increasing the fixed water charge by $4 a month. That increase would mean that Iroquois water users will see an increase of $8 a month once sewer charges are factored in, and Morrisburg water users will see a total increase of $7, including sewer charges.

South Dundas treasurer Shannon Geraghty explained that increasing the fixed portion of the rate structure is the only way to tackle the issue. He said that if the consumption charge is increased, it would only prompt people to conserve, and therefore not bring in the funds needed.

Even with this increase, there will not be enough money in the water reserves to pay for the $558,500 worth of capital projects that need to be done. So, the funds for the capital work will be borrowed from the Morrisburg and Iroquois sewer reserves which are healthy at almost $1.8 million.

“We can’t do this on a regular basis,” commented South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.

“You’re right, this is not sustainable,” agreed South Dundas chief administrative officer Steve McDonald. 

Nonetheless, South Dundas council agreed to the proposed increase.

The biggest capital project at the South Dundas water treatment plant is the replacement of the Zenon filters, the main component of the plant.

These filters are nearing the end of their 10 year lifespan.

While staff knew that they would have to replace them soon, they recently learned they actually need to purchase the filters before October 6, 2015.

South Dundas manager of public works Chris Bazinet explained that the original water treatment plant contract included a 10 year replacement cost of guarantee of $350,000. 

That means if the filters are purchased before October 6th they will cost $350,000. If they are purchased after that date, they will cost $700,000. 

So the municipality  needs to act sooner than later to take advantage of the offer. The new filters must be installed at the time of purchase.

Council is expected to approve the necessary bylaw for the increased rates at the next regular meeting.


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Friendly Circle welcomes all to Showcase

The Long Sault Friendly Circle #336 is hosting its third annual Seniors Showcase, Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the South Stormont community hall in Long Sault.

“I founded this two years ago, and it’s grown into something big,” said Carson Elliott, president of the seniors’ club which is part of the United Seniors of Ontario.

Now, in its third year, a committee of 20 has an event prepared that, they say, will have something for everyone.

According to Elliott, over 40 exhibitors are participating. Silent auction, free draws, door prizes are part of the fun. Crafts and homemade baking will be for sale by various club members and the Knights of Columbus will be running a food concession on site.

Eight acts of entertainment are lined up for the day. There will be a kids corner and a magic show as well.

Elliott estimates that about 600-700 people will attend the popular event.

The Long Sault Friendly Circle is 122 members strong and is made up of seniors aged 50-92. They are a social club which holds dinners and has lots of fun participating in various activities.

Admission is free.


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Janet Duval

A resident of Glen Walter for the past 14 years, Janet Duval passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, April 5, 2015, following a brief illness. She was 57.

Janet was born in Winchester, on December 7, 1957 to her parents Merle and Betty Casselman (nee Summers). 

She attended Riverside Heights Public School and Seaway District High School. 

For the past 15 years she has worked at the NavCan building in Cornwall as a chamber maid.

Janet was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who enjoyed bowling, camping, listening to country music, playing cards and preserving vegetables that she grew in her garden.  She loved animals, especially frogs.  

Janet is survived by her husband George Desjardins, her children Kevin Duval (Lena Bériault) of Cornwall and Mandy Duval (Justin Faubert) of Monkland, her mother Betty Lind of Kelowna and her siblings Steve Casselman (Cora) of Williamsburg, Elaine Fry (Jim), Nancy Fichtner and Michelle Lewis, all of Kelowna. 

Janet will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Dominic, Bailey, Landon, Lincoln and Tyson. She is also survived by nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her father Merle Casselman.   

Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg, on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m.   Funeral service was held at the funeral home on Thursday, April 9th at 11 a.m., with Rev. Janet Evans officiating.  

Spring interment of cremated remains will be at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Morrisburg.    

Donations to Bayshore Homecare would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.  Online condolences may be made at