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Prince Edward County Decade in Review – highlights from 2014

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


The biggest disappointment was cancelling a full day and evening’s entertainment Saturday in a Giant Igloo that had been rented for the event. It had to be taken down due to the wind. – Bruce Dowdell photo

Winter cancelled most of Milford’s annual Winter Carnival this year. Though weather was poor, a full house attended the family bingo games at the Town Hall and residents also made their way to Saturday morning’s pancake breakfast but before it was over, the remainder of the day’s events had to be cancelled due to snow squalls creating poor to nil visibility on roads. The squalls continued for five days.

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Turbines have toppled turtles in Ontario Divisional Court and Gilead Power has regained its go-ahead to build nine industrial wind turbines on the south shore of Prince Edward County.
The Blandings Turtle was hailed the hero last year when a 40-day Environmental Review Tribunal revoked Gilead Power’s renewable energy permit ruling the turbines would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to an already threatened species.
The Ministry of Environment argued the tribunal lacked supporting evidence to support the decision on harm to turtles. Gilead lawyers argued the Tribunal erred in its conclusions about turtle numbers, deaths and on proposed traffic levels. The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists said the tribunal did not go far enough and that the wind project will also likely harm birds and the special alvar ecosystem in the area. Fundraising to continue PECFN’s battle continues. Click here for a search of the many turbine issue stories over the past decade. 

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Councillors have supported a new branding of “The County” for Prince Edward County. The brand, logo, and slogan ‘The County’ has been designed “to build greater awareness of the County’s lifestyle and visitor experience to attract new residents, visitors and investment opportunities”.

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Celebrating the opening of the new Community Care for Seniors Thrift Shop. – Sue Capon photo

Volunteers, board members, staff and shoppers celebrated the opening of the new Community Care for Seniors Thrift Shop.The 4,000 square foot space is located at 153 Main Street, Picton, in the former bowling alley and combines two stores – the Thrift Shop that was near AV Photo and the Boutique that opened last fall for clothing.

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PECMH Communications Co-ordinator Briar Boyce shows an old uniform from the hospital’s auxiliary, and a concept for the new hospital. – Sue Capon photo

Supporters of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital presented and promoted solidarity at the official confirmation of the commitment to begin what is expected be a decade-long project to build a $50 million hospital.
“We’re committed to building a new hospital in Prince Edward County,” said Steve Blakely, chairman of the QHC Board of Directors.
He noted there have been a lot of years, and of a lot of fighting by a lot of people over saving the hospital. “And we appreciate that. The tenacity, and the passion that people have in this County for their hospital is just overwhelming. And it’s people like you that make a difference.”
He said the current 50-plus year-old hospital’s facilities don’t meet today’s standards for building codes and infection control. A retrofit, he said, would cost about 90 per cent of what the cost is for a new hospital “and then we wouldn’t reap the benefits of care that you would with a new hospital.”
“The community has built itself a hospital twice before, and the time has come to do it again,” said Dr. Elizabeth Christie, president of the Prince Edward County Family Health Team, and long-time strong advocate of the hospital and its services.
Leo Finnegan, president of the PECMH Foundation, said the endeavour of bringing a new hospital to this requires pulling together “and we’ve got to pull in the same direction, and that direction is forward. Click here for full story

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Janice Heard, RN, demonstrated updated telemetry unit to Foundation members, supporters and donors. – Sue Capon photo

The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation gave whole-hearted thanks for strong community support that helped raise $237,000 for new cardiac monitoring equipment at the County’s hospital in Picton. The purchase of three bedside and four portable telemetry units marked the successful completion of the foundation’s fundraising campaign. Telemetry is the constant monitoring of heart rates and rhythms and will benefit people living with heart disease and patients admitted with heart attacks, angina, congestive heart failure, drug overdoses, arrhythmia and those before and after heart surgery.

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The Stark Family Fund Committee celebrated 10 years of giving in Prince Edward County  presenting $52,589 to be shared among a dozen organizations. The Stark sisters, who were lifelong residents of Bloomfield and area, wanted to continue to help the community they loved after they passed away.  Through a bequest of more than $1.3 million to the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area, the Stark Family Fund was established. In 10 years, this endowment fund awarded 131 grants to 59 organizations totaling $574,374.

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The bubble has burst on Tina Konecny’s first Bubblefest in Wellington but festival goers were bubbling up and bubbling over with praise for the event.
Tiny bubbles blown from small plastic sticks to gigantic bubbles that allowed people to walk on water were featured at the inaugural event. Just over 450 people showed up at the arena to attempt to break the world record for popping bubble wrap. While 943 poppers were needed for record-breaking, participants didn’t seem to mind as they laughed, stomped, danced and popped away. Hundreds also enjoyed the flash mob dance to the song ‘Happy’ while bubbles swirled around them.

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Cast members for the Notable Women of Yesteryear event at Glenwood Cemetery

Interesting stories of 10 notable women of yesteryear unfolded at Glenwood Cemetery in Picton as 66 members of the County’s Women At Noon group took a spirit walk through the graveyard.
“There are women here who have done interesting and outstanding things in the world – many at a time when home and family were meant to be a focus of womens’ time and concerns,” said Cheryl Douglas, Women at Noon chairman, who along with member Wendy Matthews, assisted Maggie Haylock Capon to organize the event.
Click here for story and photos.

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Quilt panels being installed on various County buildings – mostly barns – will form a colourful County Barn Quilt Trail. The rural folk art is popular west, says organizer Pat Dubyk, and as of now, has come to Prince Edward County.
Traditional quilt designs, and some creative styles, are being painted on wood panels by students at Prince Edward Collegiate Insitute, CML Snider and Pinecrest.
Following the first installation at Hagerman Farms near the round-a-bout, 16 barn quilts were hung from Picton to Wellington.

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The re-enactment of the double execution trial was a fundraiser for the creation of a bronze sculpture of Sir John A Macdonald. – Sue Capon photo

The truth about the guilt or innocence of two men hanged in a double execution at Picton 130 years ago will never be known.
But Ontario Justice Robert Sharpe, who wrote a book about the bungled hanging in his boyhood town says all these years later, there are still lessons to learn from the case – about dispensing justice and the enduring problem of wrongful convictions.
Sharpe, author of The Lazier Murder, created a play from his book, which reconstructs and contextualizes the case using archival and contemporary newspaper accounts.
The play unfolded  in the same courtroom where the trial took place in May 1884. A packed courtroom – again – was in attendance, but this time it was to watch the historic case unfold as a fundraiser for the creation of a bronze sculpture of Sir John A. Macdonald presenting his first court case as a young lawyer in Picton (1834). Click here for story and photos

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The Wellington gazebo rebuild shovels are in the ground with the official turning of the sod by fundraising partners including chairperson Art Hewer, the Wellington Lions as lead fundraisers with the Wellington Business Association, the Legion, Rotary and Elks. The campaign was kick-started last year with a $6,600 donation from Wellington’s Gord Sirot, as a memorium for his wife Connie who passed away the December before. The former gazebo was destroyed in a windstorm. The new one is a similiar shape and design. The fundraising goal was $35,000 by spring 2014.

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Three generations of the Williams family. – Sue Capon photo

Among a few hundred visitors, friends, neighbours, farmers and their families wished the Williams family well on the celebration of the 200th year of the family farm.
The sixth, seventh and eighth generations to farm the property near Bloomfield attended the massive farm family picnic – Bob and Helen, their son Don and his wife Anne, and their children, Justin, Brittany and Lindsay. Following the barbecued feast, cake and ice cream, there was entertainment on the bouncy cow for youngsters and a performance by the junior farmers in a tractor pull event. The 4H members also showed their cattle.
Bob and Helen Williams, who celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary the day before, had a long and varied career on the farm and were honoured for a lifetime of achievements when they were inducted into the Quinte Agricultural Hall of Fame (Stirling) in 2011. Click here for more photos and story

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Saturday’s unforgiving rain just made the mud muddier for 420 participants in an inaugural obstacle race that raised $79,000 for three local charities.
The Canadian Cancer Society, Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation and Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation were the big winners in the first Grapes of Wrath Stomp and Romp Survival Race hosted at Hillier Creek Estates Winery.
A gruelling 5km course saw participants traverse rugged terrain to complete 14 obstacles designed and built by Canadian military volunteers. – Sue Capon photo

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Following a 40-year drought, rain fell on Milford’s fall fair – honouring farmers.
“Farmers are always fighting the weather. They’re at the mercy of the weather, so if we had a different theme this year, it wouldn’t have rained,” said Bruce Dowdell, Fair President Emeritus.
The community and its many friends came out anyway to show their support.
Councillor Barb Proctor said she was glad the fair was honouring farmers, “who are the foundation, building blocks and roots of our community ” and noted the last time the fair was rained out, as far as residents could remember, was in 1974.

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Michele Walkau of Brighton takes a selfie with Sir John and Lady Agnes. – Sue Capon photo

The story of the official opening of the Murray Canal in 1889 by Sir John A Macdonald was brought to life through re-enactment – without the official guests’ platform breaking and sinking out of sight, as it had done 125 years ago.
The drop was only about five feet and none who went in the hole were hurt, although there was alarm for the safety of Canada’s first prime minister. When he was pulled out from among the fallen timbers Macdonald pointed to the audience and remarked “I have been in worse holes than that. This indicates to you folks the strength of the liberal platforms. It takes more than a Grit to keep me down.”
Sir John A Macdonald looked no worse for wear at age 199, attending the 125th anniversary celebration of the opening of the link to Prince Edward County through noted historical re-enactors Brian Porter, and Renee Porter, as Lady Agnes MacDonald. Click here for story and photos

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Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis with 99.3’s Ian Batt, Sharon Lafferty Roberts and Pat Larkin.

On-air testing began this week for 99.3 County FM, a new radio station in Prince Edward County whose idea was born in 2011.
Station plans call for the airing of an “adult contemporary sound similar to the CBC of a few years ago.” Evenings and weekends are to include specialty music and spoken word programs. The official launch of the station is to be in October.

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Todd Smith, MPP Prince Edward Hastings watches Mayor Peter Mertens receive his hard hat from Kirk Hoppner, Nautical Lands Group President and CEO while Kevin Pidgeon, COO and Paul Rouleau, CFO, look before the ceremonial digging of the sod to start construction. – Sue Capon photo

A sod-turning ceremony officially launched construction on the first stage of the County’s Age in Place concept which envisions a seniors’ community that will encourage active living and integration into the community, while facilitating residents’ transition into increasing levels of assisted living required as they age.
Nautical Lands Group is the first developer selected by the County to purchase municipal lands adjacent to the McFarland Home. Phase one involves the construction of “Wellings of Picton”, a 144-unit residential development located to the northwest of the County nursing home. Initially, 88 units are to be built over the next 18 months, followed by an additional 56 units as part of a second stage of building.

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