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Prince Edward County Decade in Review – 2015

As we welcome a new decade in 2020, Countylive.ca celebrates its 10th anniversary taking a look at highlights of the past 10 years.

2015

Sunset at the Sandbanks on New Year’s Eve. – Sue Capon photo

Prince Edward County is the only Canadian destination named in ‘Best Places to Travel in 2015’ by Travel and Leisure Magazine, published by Time Inc.
The County ranked 10th in the 52-place list which included stops such as Maui, Catagena, Rotterdam, Sweden, and Las Vegas.
Writer Nikki Ekstein likened the County to a cross between Montauk, NY with California’s Napa Valley circa 1970 noting the tiny wine-producing region is becoming a haven for creative types.
Mayor Robert Quaiff says solid marketing and branding lets the world know Prince Edward County is open for business.

* * *
A standing-room only crowd filled the Picton Legion hall to hear news about the plight of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital. Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith shared good news that the hospital will receive “Small and Rural Hospital Funding” by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care after being denied twice.
“To receive the cash, a small hospital has to be 30 minutes or further from a large hospital,” said Smith. “The ministry informed me the measurements had not been done correctly.”
The bad news is that Quinte Healthcare continues its quest to fix a $12 million shortfall and though about $7 million in savings has been found as of the QHC’s January board meeting, $5 million more is needed and restructuring and cuts will remain unknown until a draft financial plan is made in March.
Meanwhile, citizens showed support for a 12-year project to build a $50 million new hospital. The pre-capital request from QHC was approved by the South East LHIN in December.

* * *

A two-year study to help ensure long-term health of East Lake, its ecosystem and assets, has resulted in 58 recommendations.
“This is the first comprehensive study carried out on any of the Prince Edward County’s inland lakes, and will lead the way for additional studies on the other lakes in the future,” said Maya Navrot, Quinte Conservation Education Co-ordinator.
In 2012 the County of Prince Edward, Quinte Conservation, and Friends of East Lake collaborated to create the plan with French Planning Services as consultants. Recommended actions are under the goals of water quality, levels, natural environment, land use and development, social and recreational. Objectives include education, monitoring, maintaining and improving water quality. Actions and priorities are stated in the report’s summary  

* * *

Consolation Champions – Coach Adam Palmer, Kim Pothier, Sarah Young, Brooke Jackson, Livvy Rideout, Abby Terpstra, coach Todd Morsette, Celina Fox, Brittany Payne, head coach Laurie Spencer. Front, from left: Kelli-Anne Maycock, Cailey Jones, Alex Staley, Kassidie Wood, Amber Miller, Sam Ward, Meghan Anderson with goalie Taylor Snider. – Mike Pothier photo

Prince Edward Collegiate Institute Panther Girls 2015 players are the school’s first girls hockey team to compete at OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association).
Coach Laurie Spencer notes competing at that level is an honour all athletes strive for, but few get the opportunity. In March, the team became OFSAA Consolation Champions following drama-filled games in Kenora.

* * *

William and Kate. – Peggy deWitt photo

Love is in the air again for William, the grey swan goose, who lost the love of his life last month. Two males – ages 17 and 18 were arrested in relation to the shooting death of Kate, in March, who with William, lived at the pond at Glenwood Cemetery for the past 15 years. The two were donated as a gift and later were named after Britain’s royal couple. William had stopped eating and continued to cry out for Kate, until a new princess arrived from Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee. She, too, lost the love of her life last year to a hungry fox.

* * *

– Sue Capon photo

Under the old oak tree that was Cecil and Nina Miller’s favourite, four of their grandchildren witnessed the official commemoration of The Miller Family Nature Reserve in South Marysburgh.
About 60 guests attended the unveiling of a boulder with a brass plaque honouring the history of the Miller family whose descendants sold the ecologically-significant land to the Hastings and Prince Edward Land Trust (HPELT) to be managed as a nature reserve.
Provincial species at risk in and near the reserve include the Blandings turtle, whippoor-will, black tern, short-eared owl, bobolink, eastern meadow lark, snapping turtle, milk snake and monarch butterfly.
“We do not have a lot of plans for the property,” said Dick Bird, of the HPELT. “It will look pretty much the same in 10 years. There may be a few hiking trails. This day of commemoration makes it available for people who want to hike, or Terry Sprague’s nature tours, or the birders or people like that who can give us a call. People wanting to run dirt bikes need not call.”
“The south shore of Prince Edward County is a pretty special place with amazing things going on here…,” said Stewart Murray, of the HPELT. “Twenty-five per cent of the world population of long tail ducks are on this side of Prince Edward County.

* * *
Prince Edward County’s bid to conserve valuable historic assets in downtown Picton moved forward with a new Heritage Conservation District Plan.
The plan, initiated by council and developed by ERA Architects in consultation with staff, council, the Picton Business Improvement Area and the Heritage Advisory Committee, promotes economic value that heritage buildings, streetscapes and landscapes add to urban areas and the countryside.
“The approval of the Heritage Conservation District Plan reflects our long-standing commitment to quality of place in the County,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “Thanks to the dedicated groups and individuals who contributed to the creation of this plan, the vitality of Picton Main Street will only get stronger over time.” The full plan document here

* * *

Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell speaks with members of council. – Sue Capon photo

During a visit to Shire Hall, Elizabeth Dowdeswell said she is focusing on what is on the minds of people in the province, and Ontario’s place in the world, as she embarks on her five-year term as the 29th Lieutenant Governor.
The province’s representative of The Queen met with council and with Mayor Robert Quaiff where he outlined the County’s heritage, agricultural history, tourism, wine and culinary industries and ongoing efforts to provide sustainable healthcare for an aging population. They also spoke about opportunities and challenges of sustainable development in a rural community.

* * *
Volunteers and supporters of Hospice Prince Edward, among about 250 residents at a June community meeting, made it clear they want their hospice back. And they want it the way it was before the resignation of executive director Nancy Parks last month and of four board members since January.
It was made clear volunteers would continue to support hospice, but they do not wish to step into the roles of personal support workers and nurses and they seek transparency from the now four-member board.

* * *
The announcement of the new Consecon Fire Hall being on time and under budget brought applause and cheers from a large crowd attending the grand opening of the project.
County residents joined County officials and the Prince Edward County Fire Department for the official dedication ceremony, open house and barbecue at the new facility.
Despite unexpected challenges related to the project site and design, the build was completed at a cost of $1.7 million – approximately $200,000 under the estimated project cost. The new home for Division 6 (Hillier and Consecon and Wellington) includes four bays, training facilities and office space. The two older stations in Hillier and Consecon are closed.

* * *

The County officially launched its project to revitalize downtown cores in Prince Edward County. The two-year partnership between the County, Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), is to result in the development of five Strategic Downtown Revitalization Plans – one for each of the communities of Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington, Consecon and Rossmore. In addition, the project will result in an overarching County-wide downtown revitalization strategy. The project is part of a province-wide OMAFRA program announced last year. The County is to receive 50 per cent of the $205,000 study cost.

* * *
County council has supported a major heritage permit for a grand renovation of Picton’s historic Royal Hotel, purchased in 2013 by Greg Sorbara, former Ontario finance minister, who owns property in the County.
The building has been vacant for many years, resulting in significant deterioration. Other character-defining elements too severely deteriorated to repair, are being replaced with new elements that match the forms, materials and detailing.
The Royal Hotel was constructed circa 1881 and is attributed to Johnathan Mottashed, hotel keeper and proprietor of the nearby North American Hotel. In May 1883 it was leased to John Soby who later purchased the property. Archival records identify later owners and dates of purchase as: Bernard Hepburn (1910/1911); Eugene Healy (1921) and the Royal Hotel Ltd (1951). Click here for story

* * *
Picton’s LCBO has been levelled to begin the process of making way for a new 8,000 square foot store. The home next door was moved from the front to the back of the site of the new store.
The LCBO has a temporary location on Main Street Picton – its first home in 1927 before moving to the Allison Block adjacent to the CIBC. It moved to the former McKee Motors location on Lake Street in 1957.

* * *

Photo at left, Keith MacDonald, sits by the anchor after it was hoisted out of the water in July 1941. At right, Keith and Eleanor MacDonald, centre, with guests attending the unveiling the anchor and an interpretive display of the Lakeland Lodge property’s history.

A 200-pound anchor believed to be from the Schooner Enterprise, which went ashore at West Point on Nov. 24, 1882, has been restored to the MacDonald’s former Lakeland Lodge property at Sandbanks Provincial Park, along with plaques honouring the history.
Five generations of the MacDonald family lived and worked on the land. Following the success of Barley Days their expanded farm continued with orchards and dairy products and as the County became popular, Lakeland Lodge was ready for the tourist trade.
“People generally stayed for two weeks or a month and they would come back for years,” recalled Keith MacDonald. “The young people enjoyed the farming part that we had across the road. They learned to milk cows. It was quite a thing. It was the beginning of tourism in this part of the County.”
Lakeland was open from 1930 to 1974 and featured a two-storey building with 12 cottages that could accommodate 80 guests. A one-week stay in 1973 cost $30. Click here for photos and story 

* * *

He’s larger-than-life and the celebration of Sir John A Macdonald’s arrival to downtown Picton was equally grand.
Canada Day celebrations in Picton kicked off with the unveiling of the 1,400-pound bronze statue of Canada’s first prime minister – created by renowned Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy – on the grounds of the Armoury, next to the library.
Entitled ‘Holding Court’, it includes a prisoner’s dock and chair and depicts Macdonald as a young lawyer addressing a jury at his first court case in Picton, in 1834. He won the case, successfully defending himself against an assault charge occasioned by a practical joke. Four months later, at age 20, he graduated from the Law Society of Upper Canada as an attorney – the beginning of his career in law and politics. He was prime minister from 1867 to 1873 and 1878 to 1891.
David Warrick, chairman of The Macdonald Project, was pleased to see the culmination of five years of planning.
“The first gathering of the steering committee and friends was November 22, 2009 to find a way to honour the 200th birthday of John A.
“If we had not got the $300,000 Canadian Heritage grant through Daryl Kramp, this wouldn’t have happened. We would have lost the sculpture to Kitchener Waterloo. They were willing to buy it and we didn’t have the money.”

* * *

It’s not called “downtown”, it’s called “upstreet” and “downstreet” depending which direction you’re travelling.
“When your mother wanted to know where you were going, you were going ‘upstreet’… You go ‘downstreet’ because you know everybody.
Fixt Point theatre, on a nation-wide Tale of A Town journey, shared audio stories told by Prince Edward County residents and acted out by members of the Festival Players young company, at the Picton Town Hall.
The hall was lined with cardboard boxes representing the County’s three main centres – Wellington, Bloomfield and Picton. Visitors listened to audio memories of 60 County residents including well-known story tellers Margaret Haylock Capon, Steve Campbell, Robert Quaiff, Phil Ainsworth, Peter Lockyer, Frank and Arlene Wright, Dorothy Fraleigh, Suzanne and Georgia Larner.
Some of the memories shared:
“My father used to go to town every Saturday morning to pay our bills, and to get gas. He would take me to Inrig’s where he would get me a sundae at the soda fountain, and a comic book.”
“I didn’t like Cream Soda but I ordered it anyway. My earliest memory? Coming down to buy candy at the Stedmans store… I went into Inrig’s Drug Store and I watched a man eat a chocolate sundae and I wanted the lady to give me one but she wouldn’t and she called my mom asking ‘Have you lost a child?’”

“Earliest memories were back in the pool halls… six or seven pool tables… the back door where you’d get in… Baileys… an arcade up front. Cigarettes and candy and junk food… It was loud. Older gentlemen telling stories, farmers in there taking their breaks. Smoke-filled atmosphere that’s for sure. Just the sound of the balls cracking and snapping and pool cues slamming on the floor and the sounds of the owner hollering at somebody ‘be careful’.” Click here for more memories, and photos.

* * *
Residents and friends who believe Prince Edward County is the wrong location for industrial wind turbines vowed to continue their fight to protect the south shore and its inhabitants.
A couple hundred participants at the ‘Too Big, Too Close, Too Many Rally’ joined hands Sunday and circled Mt. Tabor in a show of solidarity in disapproval of two wind projects that, if allowed to move forward, would result in “Too Many” – 36 industrial turbines in Athol and South Marysburgh townships – “Too Big” at 50 storeys each and “Too Close” for people and wildlife habitat.
The rally, hosted by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC), featured an information session that included displays from other County groups including the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Coalitition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE). Click here for story and photos

* * *

Taskforce Paul Goodings, Division 1 Commander Rob Manlow, Deputy Chief of Operations, Paramedic Services, Carl Bowker, PEC Fire Chief Scott Manlow, Mayor Robert Quaiff, Commissioner Susan Turnbull, MHPM Project Manager Martha Juarez, Taskforce Rick Kulker and CKA Representative Todd Colbourne. – Sue Capon photo

The ceremonial shovel and the construction shovel broke ground for Picton’s new $3.5 million fire hall and paramedic facility at 8 McDonald Drive, in the Industrial Park.
“This is a significant day five years in the planning,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “The number of hours and amount of dialogue is truly significant,” adding thanks is due to Fire Chief Scott Manlow and the working committee as part of five years of work on the County’s Master Fire Plan.
In about 10 months, the new facility will replace the current Picton Fire Station on Ross Street, the fire station located at Loch Sloy, and the current leased ambulance base located on MacSteven Drive.

* * *
Prince Edward County’s newest residents are feeling welcome and ready to face challenges of learning about life in a new country – with a new language, new friends and faces.
The County’s PEC Syria sponsor group welcomed Abdel Malek Al Jassam, his wife Sauwsen Moustafa, their 11 children and a grandmother to start their new life – free of war, hopeful for safety.
“We recognize that the family has much healing to do as they have experienced devastation in their home country, and have been living in Lebanon for quite some time before arriving here. Not to mention the family has jetlag from their long journey to Canada. As you can imagine, the process has been overwhelming,” said Kathleen Powderley, co-chair of the County’s Syrian Refugee Fund.
The new County group was organized by Carlyn Moulton earlier this year.
“I am completely overwhelmed, and gobsmacked, by all the people coming forward,” she said.
What started as an information meeting ended with the formation of the ‘Prince Edward County Syrian Refugee Fund’ (PECSRF) six sub-committees, a website at pecsyria.org and pledges of more than $40,000. The government will contribute $22,000. Volunteers were preparing to welcome more families. Click here for story

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  1. Angela says:

    Try Gus’s Ken if you want a bill for two adults and two kids under $100. While my $18. burger was good it was not special enough to warrant the extra charge. Blindfold 10 diners and ask them to sample one of these gourmet delights along with burgers from three or four less expensive eateries such as Montana’s and I doubt the majority would detect much if any difference. Bullfrogs serves an excellent burger and it does not cost $18. In fact, I am betting two adults and two kids could eat there for under a $100. The last time I ate at one of the restaurants you suggested I paid a whopping $3. for a can of pop. I do not plan a return visit.

  2. Ken Globe says:

    To be fair, I haven’t heard of anyone complaining about noise from glider planes since the early 2000’s. As for farm smells, the enforcement of MSDS has all but silenced that since you can’t build a residence close to a working barn anymore.

    As for finding a sit-down restaurant that can serve two adults and two kids dinner for $50-$60 please let us all know. Unless you are going on the all-you-can-eat nights a bill in the neighbourhood of $100 for a group of 4 seems to be not unreasonable. I was brought up in a family with 6 children, so eating out was a very rare treat.
    Some of the more expensive restaurants actually make their food from scratch instead of having the SYSCO or Findlay foods truck drop off a load of frozen pre-packaged meals like you would get at the majority of chain places like Montana’s or Lone Star.

    Once again, as for parking. I would urge you to go to any small town in the summer. Parking is an issue everywhere. Take a day trip to Hastings, Marmora, Madoc, Tweed, or Perth and you will see for yourself.

  3. Angela says:

    To be clear, Dennis, I don’t think the locals “blame” newcomers for moving to the county. Many of them are very pleasant and contribute to the community in a positive way. The blame is attached to those who arrive with a chip on their shoulder and complain about farm smells, the noise of glider planes, etc. Perhaps it is their attitude of entitlement that has reflected unfairly upon those who came to enjoy the county as the locals do.

  4. Angela says:

    Exactly, Susan. I actually bought one of those burgers once expecting to be amazed. I was. It was served with a tablespoonful of coleslaw and 8 or 10 fries. Last week I ordered a burger at Montana’s in Belleville and for less money received a platter with a large burger, a big serving of fries and a side of coleslaw. The burger was just as tasty as the one for which I overpaid. Families cannot afford to eat out at these places and I doubt that the proprietors welcome children because being children they might be a little noisy in fine dining establishments which sell ambiance with their food. Who wants to hear a toddler crying when eating their $18. burger, tip not included?

  5. Dennis Fox says:

    I think we need to take a step back and appreciate what we have here. No doubt The County (like every community) has its challenges, but there is much to build on here and not all communities have that. We need to understand the difference between newcomers and tourists – they are not the same! As a community newcomers bring in stability and we benefit from them – right now, as a community we do not benefit financially from tourists – some do, most of us don’t. I don’t mind tourists, I just wish there were fewer of them – but I don’t care, provided they pay their way – right now that is not happening. Shire Hall can fix that.

    What has concerned me for a long time has been the political/economic direction of the County – catering to and attracting only retirees has had a real long term negative impact – which was never taken into account. Retirees don’t have kids and as a result we are losing our schools – not to forget also losing our youth and labour force. What is happening is that at least now we are attracting people who want to invest and to settle here – and in time, I hope these businesses will attract young families to build our future. I think we should be supporting them and not pointing the finger of blame – they aren’t responsible for our declining population and high taxes.

  6. Angela says:

    You make some good points, Ken, but most of our local eateries are high-end. I don’t count some of the places you mentioned as family eateries. They are licensed and the meals are pricey. Not the best place to take children for supper as the food is geared more to grown-ups’ tastes. A friend of mine recently went to one of the places you mention for supper with his wife and two children. The bill for their meal was nearly $100. before the tip. That is not family dining. As for the traffic situation, I see no reason why we should be grateful to circle Main Street several times hoping for a parking space so we can get the mail or go to the bank or the library. Why should we thank our lucky stars that is it not Port Dover or Wasaga Beach? We still can’t park and negotiating the crosswalks safely is a challenge. The beauty of the county was that it was not like these tourist traps. There are many seniors living here who find it difficult to walk from the Mary Street or King Street parking lots even if they do find an empty space in one of them – a highly unlikely occurrence in the summer months. The county has changed dramatically and where it will go from here is anyone’s guess. For the locals, the good times have rolled. It remains to be seen if becoming Alexandria Bay provides the key to a bright future.

  7. Susan says:

    Lol! One of those eateries charges $18.00 for a hamburger. How does that work for a young family of 4?

  8. IN says:

    Thank you Ken and Bruce, well said.

  9. Ken Globe says:

    To try and rebuff some points made here.
    Just drove through Picton, for reasonably priced eateries there (not counting McDonalds KFC, and Subway), you have Angry Birds, The Vic, The Island Family Restaurant, Coach’s, The Golden Inn, Picton Pizzeria, and Schooners. I haven’t seen the prices at the Blue Sail or Hartley’s so I left them out. As for the County Canteen, The Barley Room and the Acoustic Grill, their prices are on point with most pubs in Belleville, Napanee, and Trenton.

    As for the McMansions on the local crossroads. As much as some people don’t like them, they keep many County people employed when they are being built. Everything from local architects and home designers, local concrete companies, excavators, electricians, heating and plumbing, framers, carpenters, drywallers, building supply companies, landscapers, kitchen designers, the list goes on.

    If you want to talk about summer traffic, try going to Grand Bend or Wasaga Beach on a summer long weekend, or to Port Dover on a Friday the 13th weekend the County has nothing on these places for traffic.

    As for the “Festival Every Weekend” . I’m both a musician and sound tech, anything that can give me and others that do what I do work, to us is a good thing. The same with any other arts and crafts festival, fair, show. There are many of us living down here.

  10. Angela says:

    Change is inevitable but the telling thing is whether it is change for the good or change for the bad. Unfortunately what has happened in the county is not change for the good. It is interesting to observe that a number of the retired relocators live here for a time, then as they grow older still or the novelty of the “Green Acres” experience wears off, they move back to the cities – closer to family and all of the amenities. At the moment the county is the “in” place to be but because change happens it may lose its current, excessive popularity. It is slowly being recreated with the same sort of hectic environment that a lot of retirees sought to escape in the first place.

  11. Bruce Nicholson says:

    Time does not stand still. Lamenting the “good old days” has been a topic of virtually every community in Ontario. Growth happens and no one should ever put blame on those County residents who chose to relocate here. To the complainers, I cannot think of another place where I would rather live.

  12. Angela says:

    Council fought the idea of amalgamation and voted it down on at least one occasion. In time it became apparent that the government was going to force it no matter what. It was more in the nature of a surrender than a joyful partnering. While the ideas of promoting the county as a retirement community and a tourist area may have been intentional I seriously doubt that anyone foresaw the consequences to this county. It was too much of a good thing, a be careful what you wish for that ultimately destroyed the character of our county. Did the promoters of this strategy foresee traffic jams on Main Street, overcrowded beaches with campers and day users lined up for miles and a McMansion down every crossroad? Did they ever imagine that Main Street would be lined with expensive restaurants and very few stores selling everyday goods or believe that there would be a festival of some sort here almost every weekend? Was it their goal to make us a community where only the rich could afford to buy a home or rent? As for the newcomers some are not as “innocent” as you claim, Dennis.Some of them are great people who are happy to take the county as it is and celebrate its traditions. Others arrive with the idea of enlightening us. I do not believe that what we have today was planned. Like Topsy it just grew and in the process a beautiful county has been in many ways ruined. And, overall, how did things work out for us with this grand plan? Taxes are higher than ever, many roads are in deplorable condition, water rates are punitively high for Picton residents and we have no affordable housing. Vacation rentals have sprung up on nearly every street. People no longer have neighbours next door, they have tourists. We have lots of restaurants but county residents earning minimum wage or a little above cannot afford them. The family restaurants of the good old days have all but disappeared except for Gus’s. If indeed all of this was a plan it was seriously flawed.

  13. Dennis Fox says:

    I can understand and respect the feelings of loss and those feelings can be shown towards a lost community and the life that went with it. But let’s be honest, what has happened here in PEC was not by mistake nor by accident – it was planned! For along time, I believed that PEC was amalgamated against the will of both the people and of their councils – NOT SO! A year or so ago, the Gazette ran an article from “1996”(2 years before the deadline) reminding us that the 10 local municipal councils and the larger regional council all voted in favour to amalgamate PEC – because it was going to save money! How wrong was that?

    Continuing on that same note, the council of the day voted to support the marketing of PEC to the out of town retirees – it was a planned effort promoted by the Economic Dept. to improve the local economy. Despite the complaining by many locals, year after year, the same people got re-elected and still today county people continue to sell their land to out of towners. So nothing has happened here that wasn’t wanted or planned for – in fact most locals voted to support it. As a result, we now have to live with those decisions – all of us! The time to finger point at the innocent people who came here to settle down, should end. If we want change, blaming innocent homeowners/taxpayers won’t get us what we want – we need to vote and plan for it!

  14. angela says:

    I don’t think your memory is accurate LB. If you can look at Wellington and say it has not changed much then you have not been here for very long. There was a time when Wellington beach was relatively unknown to tourists. Its natural beauty made it a favourite spot for a quiet walk. It was not a mob scene littered by summer visitors. There were no outdoor patios and expensive restaurants – just a diner that served the usual fare. There were a few antique shops, a hardware store, a grocery store, a Stedman’s Store, a motel, and that was it. There were no city folks doing U’s on Main Street, just the villagers going about their daily lives. I don’t think the locals have anything in particular against the come from aways. They do not envy their money or the lifestyle it can buy. What they do resent is how they have completely changed the character of the county and left the locals as outsiders in their own community. They have complained about farm smells, the noise of glider planes, and the fact that locals drive too slowly. That is their brand of ammo LB and they have taken their share of pot shots at the natives.

    We may have a Giant Tiger and three supermarkets but try and buy a man’s suit in Picton, or a package of straight pins or a lamp shade. Want to shop at Sobey’s or Pet Value? Good luck in finding a parking space especially in summer when the tourists park their motor homes there. It’s fender bender central. It’s easier to shop in Belleville where parking is not an issue and every day essentials can be sourced easily. Summer in Picton is no longer enjoyable. And forget escaping to the beach to relax. One can only hope that eventually another “destination” will be discovered and the county will not hold such an attraction.

  15. LB says:

    I really tire of the rhetoric rallying the us” been here for generations (for example, inferring a three generation person has more claim to the County than a one generation person) against the “them” wealthy retirees and the awful tourists. I am sympathetic to a point. Some expressions are entirely valid however most are simply used as the ammunition for divisiveness. I’ve been in Wellington pre boom. Other than a gas station and new liquor store, not a ton has changed. Saturday’s are busy with the market. Probably takes me 3 or 4 minutes more to pass through. The Drake is tucked away. Don’t really notice it much. Same with Midtown. Wasn’t that long ago it was a derelict vacant building. So I don’t get how Wellington has fallen. I also don’t get what’s in Belleville that’s so affordable. Picton has a No Frills, Giant Tiger, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, some second hand clothing as well as other stores (including restaurants) catering to mid and upper price levels. Seems like a good mix. The County is a beautiful place. Maybe it’s just a glass half full thing.

  16. Chuck says:

    Interesting that with the influx of wealthy folks, our taxes increase higher than ever, roads are worse, user fees increase, access to beaches is not available and we have little or none affordable housing or shopping. Those are just facts whether you live in a fine home in Northport or a bare bones flat in Picton.

  17. Angela says:

    No one spoke out against the First Nations people in the discussion of the Macdonald statue Dennis. I believe the point was that the injustices done to them came long after Sir John tried his first case in court in Picton. There was a general consensus that they had been treated unfairly. The point was that standards of the day were different then. Early settlers here did not cause traffic jams with their horses and buggies, crowd the beaches, and turn the wilderness into the forerunner of Alexandria Bay. As for why “county” people willingly sell their land, the answer is easy. Retirees from the GTA sell for a big dollar and although real estate prices here are high they seem like an incredible bargain to them. They can overpay for land and still have money left over. Until the influx of these retirees land was a lot cheaper here in the county.

  18. Gary says:

    I think it is the feeling of takeover and decision making. The newbies with wealth promote a life style that is not necessarily fitting with those long term generational County residents that do not have the resources to enjoy the fancy frills. Thus we have more and more the haves and the have nots.

  19. Dennis Fox says:

    I find it interesting that all those “supposed” original County people fail to recognize that the only true original people of this land are our First Nations people – you know the same people that so many recently spoke out against, when discussing the Macdonald statue. Why should any newcomer show County people any more respect than what they give to others?

    Also as a newcomer of 16 years, I have spent a ton of money in this community to support local businesses and trades – from building one home from start to finish to renovating two others. The thing is – every piece of property I bought here was willingly and anxiously sold to me by a “County” person. If you wanted to keep the County, then why sell it to people you don’t want here? There is just no pleasing some people.

    I too get tired of the tourist trap – but new full time, taxpaying residents aren’t tourists – are they?

  20. Angela says:

    Most of us who have lived here for a lifetime, as did our fathers and grandfathers before us do not look upon it as being gentrified. We have been exploited. All of those wineries and art galleries and expensive eateries are not for us. They are for the newcomers. Many locals simply cannot afford them. Our stores which once sold essential goods have been replaced by stores that largely cater to the financially advantaged. To buy a lot of everyday items it is necessary to drive to Belleville. Traffic is congested and it is impossible to find a place to park. The beaches we once enjoyed are now packed and locals generally tend to avoid them now. Wellington, a picturesque village where time stood still was the last to fall to the invasion. Now its original character is gone. Ditto for Bloomfield. Yes, we are a destination now. The old Prince Edward County is gone and those of us who remember it miss it. It was advertised as Ontario’s best kept secret but now the secret is out and it has become a tourist trap.

  21. Congratulations on 10 years of reporting by CountyLive and this interesting snapshot of The County’s decade in review. You were pioneers in local journalism, taking news coverage from print to online with the capability of immediate news releases versus the weekly newspapers’ delayed turnaround time.

    I moved to PEC exactly 13 years ago today (Jan. 3, 2007) and have witnessed its transformation from its simpler, more authentic times to a so-called international tourist destination. If I had to name one “news” event of the decade, this gradual change to the demographics and look of the landscape would rank number 1.

    While I came from a rural and small town community in Quebec similar to PEC, most of The County’s new arrivals are nouveau-rural, transplanted from the Greater Toronto Area. It has created an interesting but sometimes confrontational dynamic of parallel communities, newcomer and native. It’s an obvious fact that the influx of wealthy retirees has suburbanized and gentrified a relatively quiet and pastoral region.

    Most would agree that wineries, art galleries and Airbnb’s are better than boarded-up downtown storefronts but as we move forward with 2020 vision, let us be aware of the risks in transforming into something like Ajax and Whitby. Real estate interests have ruled PEC over the past decade and the results look like bungalows built in cornfields, row-mansions along pristine shores, and subdivisions where migrating birds need wild land to rest and feed.

    Thankfully, there have been visionaries, concerned citizens, protecting some precious places as you mention in this article. It’s up to those of us who care more about quality of life and health than social status and wealth to elect our civil servants to protect wild land, historic structures and the authentic rural life-style that makes this place attractive to the tourists and the urban escapees.

    I share this vision on every guided tour I lead and every article I write, showing guests and readers examples of the old and the new County, a rare gem, transformed and transforming in the 21st century.

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