SAYING HELLO TO A NEW FRIEND
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell spends a moment with the newly unveiled sculpture of beloved author Lucy Maud Montgomery. Sculptor Wynn Walters and LMMSO past president Kathy Wasylenky enjoy the moment.
Photo by Stuart Blower, used with permission of LMMSO
Maud comes home to Leaskdale
by Roger Varley
Lucy Maud Montgomery returned to Leaskdale on Saturday with the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of the famous author sitting on a garden bench.
The unveiling, which took place in the beautiful memorial garden that has been created beside the old Leaskdale Presbyterian church where her husband was the minister, was an event Maud would have enjoyed: a garden party under sunny skies, with speeches punctuated by the sound of song birds, soft flute and violin music playing in the background, and not a slice of cold roast pork or fried potatoes to be seen.
The statue, "Maud in the Garden", was unveiled by Ontario Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario (LMMSO) president Kathy Wasylenky and Uxbridge sculptor Wynn Walters by removing a covering heritage quilt. The quilt was used to mark Maud's love of quilting. The lieutenant-governor then became the first person to sit beside the statue and have her photo taken with Maud.
The event was variously described as "an important moment in time", "an auspicious occasion" and "a fitting tribute".
The speeches began with current LMMSO president Melanie Whitfield paying tribute to the late Wilda Clarke for her efforts decades ago to have the Leaskdale manse, where Maud wrote half of her novels, declared a national historic site. It was in part because of Mrs. Clarke's efforts that the LLMSO was born 20 years ago. Since then, the society, known affectionately as The Maud Squad, has take over ownership of the manse and the old church and done extensive work to return them to their Maud-era state.
Lt.-Gov. Dowdeswell, making her first official visit to Uxbridge, said the statue will serve to encourage greater awareness of Maud's writings. She said Maud is one of the world's best-known and most beloved authors who had an international following that continues to this day.
"It is only right and fitting to mark her work here," she said. "This place holds her spirit."
Ms. Dowdeswell described the statue as "a truly noble and artistic endeavour".
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor acknowledged that after the township purchased the Leaskdale manse "with no second thought" years ago, the building was rented out and not kept in good repair.
"If the township hadn't passed ownership to the LMMSO, we wouldn't be here today," she said.
Kate MacDonald Butler, Maud's granddaughter, said her grandmother spent "the most significant years of her life in Leaskdale". She also paid tribute to the Maud Squad, describing them as "a volunteer group like no other".
Before the statue was unveiled, a plaque containing the names of the principal donors for the project was also uncovered. The plaque, created by Uxbridge artist Ron Baird, matches the donor plaques that already grace the lobby of the church. Included among the donors was the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which donated over $38,00 to the project.
Corneliu Chisu, MP for Pickering-Scarborough, standing in for Durham MP Erin O'Toole, said the world has been given a literary treasure "from this hamlet and her kitchen". He noted that Polish soldiers carried Anne of Green Gables books to the front lines during the Second World War.
"She was a hero in Poland," he said.
Other speakers mentioned how Maud's writings were important in giving immigrants a view of Canadian life.
For Mr. Walters, the day brought an end to a long "affair" with Maud.
"Maud and I have had an ongoing affair for two years," he said. "My wife has been very understanding."
He said being commissioned to do a life-sized statue is "a very big thing to an artist". He concluded his remarks by saying: "My statement is sitting on the bench."
The statue is the only life-sized statue of Maud in the world.
Following the formalities, there was a veritable lineup of people wanting to sit beside Maud for a photo, with everyone inevitable resting their hands on Maud's arm, prompting Mr. Walters to remark the arm could eventually become as polished as the shoe on Toronto's statue of Timothy Eaton.
As the 200 or so invited guests - and a few drop-ins - nibbled on sandwiches, fruit and desert, flute music was provided by Sarah Pollard, Elena Baker and Mailynn Jenkins while Victoria Ioannou played violin.
And when the last guest had left, Maud remained on her bench, gazing out at the view she adored for so many years.
Welcome home, Maud.
Massive crowd turns out for council meeting in Zephyr:
It's all about ATVs
Residents turned out by the score for Monday evening's council meeting at the Zephyr community centre. The parking lot was jammed to capacity, with the overflow stretching along the Zephyr Road. Many of those in attendance either came on or brought with them their ATVs.
A sign was posted on the entrance to the hall reading: "We want to ride".
The reason for the turnout was council's consideration of an amendment to the noise bylaw which would affect ATV riders on private property.
With such a large audience in attendance, Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor opened the meeting by skipping immediately to the bylaw, which was on the agenda, although it was known ahead of time that council would table it to a later date.
She began stating that council was trying "to set the record straight, we're trying to get something all can live with," noting the number of complaints about dirt bike noise has increased substantially over the last few months.
The mayor said the bylaw amendment will be tabled until September. She thanked the crowd for coming out, noting it was an important issue for many who attended. After a member of the public shouted out a question, the crowd was admonished to observe the rules of council and then told questions could be asked at the end of the council meeting, but there would be no answers regarding the noise bylaw. Nevertheless, people did ask questions about the bylaw.
One woman, who said she had about 70 acres, said her children ride dirt bikes on the property, and she wanted to know if they could continue to ride outside the hours proposed by the amendment. Clerk Debbie Leroux said if they rode the bikes to do farm chores, it was okay, but not if the riding was not farm-related.
Councillor Pat Molloy said most ATV users are responsible but some riders abuse the practice.
"It's a community problem, not a township problem," he said.
Kids drama club coming:
Council gave its okay to a proposal from the Music Hall Board to start up an after-school drama club at the Music Hall.
In a deputation, Mike Wood and Jill Hanley said the drama club would provide support for established theatre groups in town and also help to recover some of the revenue lost as a result of the dance academy moving out of the hall.
They said the club would aim for about 25 students, who would learn the technical aspects of theatre as well as on-stage techniques. The club would be run by Shira Forsyth, who recently directed the Uxbridge Youth Theatre's production of Fame.
Mayor O'Connor said the club is something that is "sadly missing" for children who do not participate in sports. Council supported the concept of the club and directed the Music Hall Board to enter into talks with township staff to iron out the details.
Questions for MSH:
Council decided to forward a letter from former councillor Bev Northeast to the board of directors of the Markham Stouffville Hospital.
In the letter, Mrs. Northeast posed a series of questions regarding the board's decision to remove municipal representatives, including Mayor O'Connor, from the board to eliminate any possible conflict of interest.
Among things Mrs. Northeast wants explained are how the hospital board can be more accountable to the public if the public representatives are removed, and how the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital can be protected, represented and held accountable.
Her letter also noted that "Ms. Janet Beed, CEO, was to work with the mayor and staff to develop a structure and process that allows for information sharing, consultation and dialogue that meets the Township of Uxbridge needs". She wanted to know when that is going to happen.
T-shirt bound to be on best-dressed list for Canada Day
by Lisha Van Nieuwenhove
If you’re looking for something a bit original to wear this Canada Day, stop in at The Commuter’s Wife, located at 58 Brock St. W. Owner Kirsty Burgess has just the item you’re looking for, whether it’s a tee that sports the old orange and yellow CBC logo, a bright red tee emblazoned with the RCAF logo (shown off below by Kirsty’s daughter Maya) or an almost one-of-a-kind Uxbridge t-shirt, complete with unofficial logo.
The logo is actually the logo for the store, and was created by a designer Kirsty knows in Kingston.
“I loved that it had a modern take on the rural setting, touching on all things Uxbridge. The train, trails, the bridge - it’s not literal, but the imagery is there.”
The t-shirts are buttery soft cotton with a vintage look and feel, and are completely made in Canada, as is everything else in The Commuter’s Wife. Kirsty says she’s not even been in business for three months, but is already starting to get more Uxbridge and surrounding area artists and artisans’ work in her store. Right now she features works from British Columbia to made in the store.
Wear your pride this Canada Day!
Life is good for Uxbridge’s Leah Daniels
by Amy Hurlburt
Songstress Leah Daniels is destined for great things. And if you don’t believe me, believe the experts from the Ontario Country Music Association: Leah took home the prestigious “Rising Star of the Year” award at this year’s CMAO Awards, and she’s made it to the top 10 for both the “Rising Star” AND “Female Artist of the Year” awards at this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards, with the official nominations to be announced in July. She’s been all over the radio as well, both in terms of playing her latest catchy single, “Dream Without You,” and chatting up a storm with hosts to promote her latest album, available on her website for pre-order as of today, Thursday, June 25. Fans who opt to pre-order Leah’s album will be given access to exclusive sneak-peek updates from the studio, including videos, photos, and music.
That’s not all, though: Leah’s dedication to her fan base is reminiscent of another talented blonde country/pop star (T-Swift, anyone?), and it shines through in her album pre-order experience as well: “We’re also including some packages with signed CDs and one-of-a kind memorabilia and experiences, like having me come perform an acoustic concert in your home! It's a great way for those who want to support to get involved and to be a part of the process.”
While those who hear Leah’s interviews on the airwaves probably can’t imagine her being nervous at all, she confessed that live interviews occasionally give her the jitters: “They’re always a little nerve wracking because you can't redo anything. I'm always thinking to myself ‘Don't say anything silly!’” she laughs. “Although I love to talk, I would much rather be performing.”
For Leah, the fun begins long before the actual album release.
“When you first start to record a song it's pretty magical. To see a song go from the bare bones of just a melody and lyrics to full production is incredible. I love watching the process and hearing the creative ideas that my producer and other musicians bring to the song.”
The writing of her latest album was split between time in Nashville and in Uxbridge.
“Through the process, I really tried to find my sound and be honest and true to who I am. It can be hard to stand out with so much music to choose from, but I think we did that with the first two singles "Go Back" and "Dream Without You" They are a little different from what is out there, and I think people are noticing.”
As a songwriter, Leah notes that being true-to-life is an important part of her creative process, and a large part of the reason her audience is growing.
“I get my inspiration from life, and I really try to write from experience” she explains.
The past year has been filled with more than a few highlights for Leah, and some much-deserved recognition for her dedicated work.
“One of my highlights was definitely hearing "Go Back" on the radio for the first time, and then to have it achieve top 20 status at Country Radio in Canada,” she says. “It's been incredible to have my music finally reach a much larger audience, and it’s opened so many doors, and set the bar for what I want to accomplish musically… I still can't believe it!”
Of course, winning Rising Star of the Year at the CMAO awards this year was a significant career milestone as well: “The whole experience was amazing,” says Leah glowingly. “You always hope to win but never expect it and that night the stars aligned. I was so excited—and then very nervous once I remembered I now have to get up and say something! It was an awesome feeling being recognized by the industry and in front of so many artists I look up to.”
While the Canadian Country Music Association Awards will take place in September, Leah has plenty to keep her busy in the meantime. In addition to playing a number of shows throughout Ontario, including Boots and Hearts and the Uxbridge Ribfest, Leah will also be coming back for her sixth year in a row to Ineo Studios for two camps with aspiring artists: The Voice+ Camp and the Singer/Songwriter camp. Teaching music is another one of her passions: “I love being able to help build people's confidence and watch them come out of their shell through music.” She explains. “I see myself in other people, I know what it's like to have dreams and not be sure of the next steps. I've been fortunate to have had so many wonderful mentors along the way and if I can help give back by passing along some of what I've learned that's the best feeling!”
While her year’s been filled with a lot of career growth, Leah notes that she’s evolved as an artist as well.
“I have grown so much over the past couple of years. I am much more sure of myself and who I am…you have to be in this business,” she explains. “I have learned to embrace all the things that make me unique. I think that shows in my writing, as well as how I approach the business side of things. I used to want to be signed to a major label, right now I'm happily independent: I have freedom and full control over what I do! It's hard work and can get overwhelming at times but I am so grateful to have such an amazing team and manager supporting me now. Life is good!”
While Leah still has many goals to knock off her to-do list, she credits her support system with much of her success.
“I have an amazing family and I was lucky enough to grow up in the most supportive community ever! From the very beginning Uxbridge and the people here provided endless opportunities for me to grow and develop my skills…It doesn't get much better than driving around and hearing your song come on the radio, but I must say my favourite part is listening to what they say after. Often on KX96 they say ‘That was Leah Daniels from Uxbridge,’ and I can't help but feel so proud!”
Leah’s album will be launched this September, with a CD release at The Uxbridge Music Hall. For album pre-orders, visit www.leahdaniels.com. For more information on her singer-songwriter camps this summer, visit www.ineostudios.com
A Cup of Coffee
by Roger Varley
(It's amazing how we take people for granted because we've known them for a long time. Such is the case with Kathy Normandeau, whom we have known for years, but have never invited for a cup of coffee. Yet she is the only piano tuner we know. We decided it was time to end the neglect.)
Kathy, how do we describe you? Are you a piano tuner or a piano technician?
All around piano person. Piano tuner/technician is how it's often written down. Technician implies that you can everything on a piano up to rebuild. So if you are a piano technician, you are able to tune it. You are also able to do repairs to make sure that all the keys are going up and down properly. The piano is supposed to be an invisible instrument. You're not supposed to feel the piano under your fingertips. You're supposed to think the music and it happens. And the technician is the one who makes that happen. So I am a technician.
If I'm not mistaken, Kathy, you also teach piano.
Yes, I'm also a piano teacher.
And you're an accomplished player, too, right?
I do my best at playing the piano. I have a bit of a support job in the piano industry. I accompany, I arrange to suit the instruments that are present, but as a solo performer, I've never really taken the time to really explore that, but I do know what I'm doing and I'm a very good support person.
What's your music background?
I have my associateship with the Royal Conservatory of Music for piano, specifically for teaching and that's part of that support angle that I do. I teach people to be performers. Therefore, I have performed solo: you've heard me perform.
In doing solo performances myself, it allows me to teach others to do that because it shows me the problems associated with it, it shows me the great benefit of doing it, it shows me the fun and the sheer pleasure of doing solo performances. I firmly believe music is to be shared, so in doing solo performances that sharing happens. And that's where the thrill is. Having the music inside you and sharing it and making other people happy.
Haven't you taken some of your students to the Sunderland Music Festival in the past?
I have. But it has been a very difficult five years, with family illness and taking over the role of matriarch of the family, so I was not active in the last few years with the festival or the teaching.
Do you have a studio somewhere near?
I teach out of my home.
The reason I ask is because I remember you moving a huge, heavy piano out a building on Brock, just east of Church, a few years ago.
Yes, we walked it down the street. At that time I was operating Uxbridge Music Centre and I was in the little yellow house that used to be the Bell switching centre. For various reasons, I move across the street to the commercial unit and I walked my nine-foot concert grand piano down the street.
Okay, how long have you been a piano technician, how long have you been a piano teacher and did one come before the other?
Definitely teaching came first. I've been a piano teacher for 35 years, registered with the Ontario Piano Teachers Association. The tuning evolved out of that when a girl, about 11 years old I think she was, was in tears. "The more I practice, the worse you say I get." So I went to her house and the poor girl, every other note didn't work. So her parents said they understood and they wanted to look into another piano but is it worth fixing this one? I had no idea how to help them. I realized the embarrassment that piano teachers don't know a thing about their instrument. Violinists and guitar players fix their instruments all the time, but a piano teacher doesn't know a thing about the instrument. Curiosity made me look into it. With this child in distress and being unable to offer any practical economic solutions, I discovered George Brown College. I would go to school in the morning and drive home and teach my lessons. And it became my second occupation. |And it worked out really well. When the economy dictates lessons shall be greater, then the tuning takes a back seat. When the economy dictates that lessons will drop off, then the tuning comes to the fore.
To be a piano tuner, do you require a natural talent for hearing the differences between different pianos or is it simply training?
The tuning part of it is an art, like the playing of the piano. So the more skilled tuners are like the more skilled performers. They do hear it, it is a natural gift. They just know when it's there. If you have a modicum of talent, you can be a reasonably good player and you can be a reasonably good technician. With time, with practice, with training, the moderate player can become an excellent player. The same thing with the tuner. The tuner is now is now an excellent tuner and you can actually hear the vibrations in your fingertips.
Rather like Beethoven with his ear to the floor?
That's a good analogy. Why I love tuning so much is that it echoes and reinforces what I learn as a musician. When I'm playing, when I'm tuning, when I feel things, I can take that into my performance and say "That's why this never worked for me, because I never felt it."
If you're playing a piece on the piano, is one part of your brain talking to you about the feel and sound of the keys while the other part is dealing with the music? And if so, how does that affect your performance? Is it double-edged sword?
Initially it was. I think I had a good 15 years professional teaching before I took up the tuning, so definitely the first five years were really hard. I could hardly play an untuned piano because of exactly that. I was constantly listening to hear whether it was right. After about 10 years, there's now a switch. I'm performing and I'm playing the music and it becomes about just enjoying the sound. And if you hear that it's not just quite right, you dismiss it. Every violinist takes excellent care of his own instrument, takes his own instrument everywhere. It always sounds the same. You give them a new instrument and they have to take a few minutes to figure the new instrument out. A piano player, by the nature of the instrument, must adapt from instrument to instrument everywhere they go. Very few performers have had their own piano that they take with them.
With today's technology, the electronic keyboard has replaced the piano for many bands and performers. How does that affect the piano tuning business?
Electronics have changed everything in our society. Electronic keyboards can be repaired but they can't be tuned. They are what they are. Of course, it has affected our field. When they first came out, it really hit our profession hard because people considered them a replacement for pianos. And just like computers when they first came out, it was the thing to do. But now people are going back to playing their pianos, especially people who are very musical. They can tell the difference between the electronic piano and their acoustic piano. There are companies that have done their best to make an electronic version of an acoustic piano. There's a hybrid instrument that is mechanically the same as a piano, it just lacks the massive weight of the strings and the soundboard and the structure. So the hybrid lets the player feel like they're playing a piano.
Is there a difference in the feel between an electronic keyboard and a regular piano? And if so, does it take a different technique to play.
Absolutely there is. That's why some people refer to it as springing. I have a keyboard that I take to the Open Mic when I'm playing and it's an ancient one and there's no weighting of the keys whatsoever. Touch sensitive keyboards are now almost the norm so they're weighted an will have some resistance as you're playing to give you that feel.
You mentioned to me that you are head of some organization.
I'm the president of the Ontario Guild of Piano Technicians.
I like that, because the word "guild" denotes old-time craftsmanship. Are there many in that organization?
Like most volunteer organizations, the numbers are dwindling. We are working in Internet profiling to try and draw the younger technicians that now have their own web sites. But the word "guild", as you understand it, is dedication to craftsmanship and the sharing of knowledge and information. That is very necessary. Piano technician is still something that is apprenticeship-based. All pianos are the same, like all jigsaw puzzles are the same, and yet they're all a little bit different and they all have their problems and their issues. So the guild will help us all be better craftsmen.
At one time, there were two chapters in Ontario. It was very strong but with the economic effect of the electric instruments, with the ease of Internet access, with the newer technicians coming up not understanding what a guild does, we have a lot of educating and training to do. So we're looking at how we can encourage the younger technicians to learn more about their craft.
For those people who have a piano at home, maybe sitting in a corner for years, how often should a piano be tuned?
In Canada, a piano should be tuned twice a year, because of our climate. Even with a well-insulated home that has good climate control, the relative humidity in the home is significantly less in the winter than in the summer. It's the relative humidity that affects the tuning of the piano. Once a year is a minimum to make sure that other things in the piano haven't gone astray.
I imagine it's rather like fireplaces. We seldom think about having the chimney swept.
Right. And it's very environmentally clean to play a piano. You don't have to click a switch. There's no electricity. If you're playing without reading the music, brilliant, switch all the lights out.
How many students do you have?
Right now I have 12.
I took piano lessons as a kid and hated it. Running the scales, learning the pokey little tunes as a beginner. Now I regret giving it up. How do you convince kids that the practice that they put in now could pay off in some way or other later in life?
That whole angle to piano teaching has pretty much disappeared. Analogies work well. In hockey, how many shots do you have to take before you hit the net? How many hours do you spend power skating? How many bench presses, how many different types of exercises to be the one who scores that goal? So they work well. I also like car analogies for my adult students. So, Roger, it's never too late.
On that note, Kathy, thank you.
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This Sunday, June 28, the Uxbridge Historical Centre will hold its 2nd annual ‘Adventure Car Rally’. The theme this year is “The Fabulous 50s and 60s” and dressing up is encouraged! This is a fundraiser for the Uxbridge Historical Centre; funds raised will help the Centre continue to offer fun and educational family programming and events for our community!
In case you don’t know what a Car Rally is - teams will compete to solve clues and riddles on an exciting driving adventure around the Uxbridge town and countryside visiting historic sites, farms, public green-spaces, and hidden treasures to solve clues and riddles on this exciting driving adventure for points and prizes. You may even visit places you’ve never been to before. Fun for all ages - load the car up with your family, friends, even co-workers! There will be prizes for highest score, best team costumes, oldest car, and much more.
The cost of this event is only $40/team, with a team being up to four adults, and ages 15 and under are free - they don’t get to drive. Participants can go to www.uxbridgehistoricalcentre.com/CarRally to find more information, and download a registration form. Participants can also register at the Car Rally. The Uxbridge Historical Centre can be contacted at
905-852-5854, or email@example.com.
with Bev Northeast
Summer is here, and hopefully we will see less rain and more sun for the gardens. The children will be out of school at the end of this week, so please drive carefully through the hamlet.
There is lots to do in the community, with volley ball and tennis in the south park, Zumba at the community centre, Yoga at the Lions Hall, and baseball is in full swing in both parks. It would be great to see the community come out and cheer the teams on!
CBC’s production Schitt’s Creek was back filming for a second season, and if you haven’t yet tuned in to watch this program, it is a very funny series! You will recognize the different locations where they are filming in the hamlet.
The meditation at the Foster Memorial on June 30 is booking up quickly, so if you plan to attend please register as there is limited space available. Call 905-640-3966 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fridays at the Foster concerts are up and running and if you haven’t been up to the Foster, come up and enjoy and concert with admission simply a donation at the door.
In July and August the Foster will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. If you have a group of friends or relatives coming to visit, come up to the Foster or call and book a tour at a special time.
The Pearls and Lace Craft show will be back when the winter snows fly, and it is scheduled for the first Saturday of November. If you are interested in a table let me know because this show books up rapidly and has been a very popular craft show for many years.
The Goodwood Baptist Church holds Sunday service at 11 a.m. and all are welcome to attend. On June 28, music by Lloyd Knight; July 5, music by Jean Liew; July 12, music by Ralph Sider; July 19, music by Jim and Nancy Slade; July 26, music by John Moore.
Vacation Bible School will open July 6-10 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon for boys and girls ages 4-13. There will be Bible stories, singing, games, crafts, and snacks and a lot of fun for everyone and the Vacation Bible school is free of charge, please come out and join with your friends for a fun time this summer.
A huge thank you to the police and their radar - it is nice to know that for a while the traffic will slow down.
Bottom of Brock
set to rock
BOTTOM OF BROCK SET TO ROCK
Merchants along the east end of Brock Street are hoping to re-introduce themselves to the public on July 11. That's the day the merchants will hold their Bottom of Brock event, described by Cheryl Hinzel of Sweet FX as a meet, eat and greet party from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ms. Hinzel said all merchants from Toronto St. to Franklin St. will be involved, offering sales, specials and samples. Although the street will not be closed to traffic, the event will feature a "flash mob" by the cast of A Chorus Line early in the afternoon and a farmers' market at the corner of Brock and Main. And while music is piped onto the street, shoppers will be able to sample a variety of foods from such places as Frankies, the Meat Merchant, Col. McGrady, the Perfect Scoop and others.
Ms. Hinzel said one feature will be the installation of whimsical, colourfully painted - and planted - flower pots, which Cosmos cartoonist John Wood will characterize in his own inimitable way.
She pointed out the event is the work of the merchants involved, not a BIA-sponsored program.
"We have no budget," she said. "It's a co-operative venture of the merchants. We're trying to let people know who we are and where we are. It's an attempt to better the whole community."
One underlying motive is to attempt to bring a little of the beauty of the west end of Brock down to the east end, hence the newly painted flower pots. Ms. Hinzel pointed to the recent façade renovation at the Uxbridge Shoe Store as part of the effort to dress up that end of the street.
The event will go on, rain or shine.
with Helen Harrison
Rainfall in June has certainly made up
for the lack of it in May! Our thoughts are with Carol Stevenson, who is home from hospital awaiting further procedures at another Toronto Hospital. We are hoping for some positive news soon,
Carol. Several new members joined St. Paul's Leaskdale Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 14, by Profession of Faith or by Baptism. ese include Cam Todd, Steve and Mary Scott, Mart and Marg VanHarten, Steve and Elizabeth Russell, Maggie Russell, Emma VanUden, Matt MacDonald, Rachel Fawcett, Lisa Lockerby, Cory Adrian, Dierde Cordner, & Skylyss Carville. Our sympathy goes to Wilma Doucette and family on the recent passing of a loving husband, father,
and grandfather, Bud Doucette. A
celebration of his life took place at
Low and Low Funeral Home in
Uxbridge on Saturday, June 13.
Son Spark Summer Camp at St.
Paul's Leaskdale is coming up July 6
- 10. Be sure to register on line for an
enjoyable and fun-filled week. A few
registration forms are available at the
church. Our sincere sympathy is extended to Eldene Weir and family on the passing last Saturday of Lewis Weir, husband, father and grandfather. A service of remembrance will take
place at Low and Low Funeral Home
in Uxbridge, on Saturday, June 28, at
April Simmonds chosen as Pan Am alternate
Submitted by Courtney Lawson
Uxbridge’s own April Simmonds is heading to the Pan Am Games.
April, an Equestrian athlete in the discipline of Eventing, and her mount “Quebec NZPH” have been selected as an alternate pair for the four- person Eventing Team to compete for Canada in the Pan American Games to be held in Toronto (Caledon) July 16-19. As an alternate, she is one of several riders that could be suddenly called into service in the event of an injury to one of the horses or a rider being unable to compete for any reason in the days leading up to the event.
April is also the only Ontario rider qualified for the North American Young Riders International 2-star level competition to be held at the famous Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky the same week. As the bronze medal winner in 2014, the Canadian high performance committee has encouraged April to be prepared for Kentucky if she is not required for the Pan Am games. This means keeping both of her 2-star horses in top form until the last possible moment.
“Three years ago, I set a goal to try and be part of the Pan Am Team knowing how special it would be to compete when the games were right here where we live,” says Simmonds. “It would have been really cool to be on the same team as my coach Jessica Phoenix, who is also from Uxbridge,” she continued. “I feel I gave my best in the process and now my focus is cheering our Canadian team on to the gold medal.”
Both Jessica Phoenix, the defending gold medal champion from the last Pan Am games, and Port Perry native Waylon Roberts, have been selected to the Canadian team.
In her 18th year, April is the youngest rider that can be selected for the Pan Ams but she can still compete in the North American Young Rider competition until she is 21 years old. She has two qualified horses for both events that are almost equally matched. “Impressively Done” (whose barn name is Preston) is a 10-year-old thoroughbred gelding that she has owned for four years. “Quebec” (barn name Rex) is a 12-year-old New Zealand Performance Horse gelding that April acquired last September.
Internationally ranked eighth in Canada, April is a “Quest for Gold” recipient in the Ontario Athlete Assistance Program through the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport. The program contributed $5,000 for her training and competitions. In early June, April competed both horses at the Jaguar Land Rover Horse Trials at Bromont Horse Park in Quebec, a well-known equestrian venue made famous during the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She and her “boys” as she likes to call them, finished 6th and 8th in a quality class of competitors from North and Central America.