Winchester District Memorial Hospital . . .

Board welcomes new Board members . . .

The four new Board members are (l-r): Eric Stevens, Jennifer Milburn, Steve Densham, and Annik Blanchard . . .
The four new Board members are (l-r): Eric Stevens, Jennifer Milburn, Steve Densham, and Annik Blanchard . . .

Monday, Sept. 27th - “We are excited to welcome Steve, Jennifer, Eric and Annik to our team,” says Winchester District Memorial Hospital's Board Chair James Pitruniak. “They bring a range of diverse skills to the Board and will join us in our efforts to support the very best care for our local communities – close to home.” 

        Steve Densham and his wife Adelle live in Avonmore where they raised their three, now adult, children. Steve, a recent retiree from Bell Canada in the field of Advanced Analytics, is currently a Councillor for the Municipality of North Stormont. An active community volunteer, Steve serves on a number of boards and committees including South Nation Conservation, Morningside Place retirement residence, SDSG Conservative Board and North Stormont Amalgamated Recreation. Steve and his wife are strong advocates for local business and run the North Stormont Shop Local page. 

        “For me, a healthy community includes engaged individuals who appreciate the unique strengths and the potential in each other,” notes Steve. “WDMH is the lifeblood of the community and I feel privileged to be selected to get involved.” 

        Jennifer Milburn moved with her husband and daughters from Ottawa to the Winchester area in 2020. She has extensive experience in health administration, maternal/child health, laboratory medicine, and public health as the Executive Director of Newborn Screening Ontario at CHEO. Jennifer has also filled leadership roles in CHEO’s COVID-19 response, BORN Ontario, and on the Board Finance Committee of the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre. 

        “I’m hoping to be able to share my experiences and expertise with the Board,” Jennifer says. “I’ve been super impressed with everything I’ve read so far and the presentations I’ve seen. I’m excited to get more involved in my new community.” 

        Eric Stevens is a retired public servant having served as a lawyer for the federal Department of Justice for many years. During that time, he advised on a broad range of matters including immigration law, citizenship law, prison law and debt collection. Eric is married with three grown children. His various interests include tennis and spending time with family. He lives along the St. Lawrence River, between Morrisburg and Iroquois.

        “WDMH’s vision speaks to ‘compassionate excellence’ and it’s hard not to step up in pursuit of such a noble goal,” Eric explains. “WDMH has been there as a real friend to our family, and I want to do my small part to help out.” 

        Annik Blanchard is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Partner at BDO Canada LLP with more than 20 years of experience working with not-for-profit and public sector organizations. She was also named as a 2018 Forty Under 40 recipient in Ottawa. During her free time, Annik promotes the importance of financial literacy through CPA Canada and volunteers with patrols and as a board member for Embrun Watch. She is a past audit committee member of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the Girl Guides of Canada. 

        Annik grew up in Embrun and moved back there in 2006 to raise her family. “I’m grateful for the health sector and WDMH and have used its services since my youth,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to this new opportunity.” 

        To learn more about the WDMH Board members, please visit

Another season of watching in the books . . .

        The little humming bird that patrolled our back yard last season was banded and we didn't have a banded visitor this year. Not one that we noticed anyway. The little guy in this series of photos was particularly inquisitive throughout the summer. He would come and hover with 12 inches of our faces while we were enjoying a quiet dinner on the rear patio. And he seemed to enjoy darting very close, back and forth, so that we imagined, startlingly, a huge wasp was close. Then he would sit at the feeder post and watch us. We haven't seen any in the past week and suspect that have left for the winter. We'll have to wait another year before we manage to capture a good photo that includes their wing movements frozen in time. 

        Humming birds are one of the few animals that can hover, meaning remaining in one place in the air without moving forwards or backwards or up or down. They have wings shaped specifically for that purpose and exceptionally strong muscles. Huming birds flap their wings faster than any other bird, as many as 70 wingbeats per second. 

        Oh well, maybe we'll just accomplish an improvement over this year . . .

Playhouse continues successful re-opening . . .

Norm Foster returns with comedy . . .

Monday, Sept. 27th - Upper Canada Playhouse opened its doors on Tuesday, Sept. 7th for the first time in 20 months and audiences embraced it enthusiastically. The first show of their Fall Season, Johnny & June, sold out and their second show, the new Norm Foster comedy "Old Love", is already filling up its 5 ½ week run, Thursday, Sept. 23rd thru  Saturday, Oct. 30th. Sales are so brisk that The Playhouse has added nine additional performances to the show.

        "Our re-opening has been amazing," points out Artistic Director Donnie Bowes. "Not only have people been enjoying the shows, but they’ve also expressed their appreciation for all the COVID protocols we’ve put in place and how safe they feel attending our live shows again."

        The theatre has now shifted gears from a Johnny Cash concert to a comedy from Canada’s favourite playwright. Old Love is the story of one man’s obsession. For 25 years, Bud has loved Molly from afar. Molly, too, has been waiting but she just doesn’t know it. Now he’s recently divorced and she’s newly-widowed. At her husband’s funeral, Bud sees his chance to win her at last and emerges to pay his respects, leading to a re-awakening of forgotten emotions. It’s a story of romance, courtship and relationships between older adults.

        Filled with humour and heart, this sparkling Foster comedy is driven by hilarious situations, witty dialogue and unforgettable characters and poses the age-old question about whether or not it’s ever too late to start again. Directed by Jesse Collins, the play stars Melanie Janzen and Brian Young who, in addition to playing Molly and Bud, also bring a variety of the play’s other characters to life.

        Collins, who has directed a host of Playhouse hits such as The Ladies Foursome, Halfway There and The Affections of May, is an Emmy-nominated director with decades of directing and acting experience in stage, tv and film. Janzen is a veteran performer with extensive stage credits from the Stratford and Shaw Festivals to the North American tour of the musical Showboat. She has also appeared in such Playhouse productions as Wife Begins at Forty, Here on the Flightpath, There Goes The Bride and Halfway There. Young is also no stranger to Playhouse audiences from his performances in such hit shows as Boeing, Boeing, The Affections of May, Miracle on 34th Street and Last of the Red Hot Lovers. 

        Old Love plays till Saturday,  Oct. 30th, with matinee and evening performances Tuesday through Sunday. The season continues into November with Sweet Dreams: The Music of Patsy Cline and Lucien in Trumpland and concludes in December with the new Leisa Way concert Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree.

         Due to social distancing a limited number of seats are available by contacting the

Box Office at 613-543-3713 or 1-877-550-3650.

        Contact Upper Canada Playhouse @ for more details . . .

Testing some cool digital portrait filters . . .

        We are not unfamiliar to investigating photo filters to test that players a lot smarter than us are developing. Some are very cool and some are ho-hum. But we find all of them intriguing in that individuals spend countless hours creating these near magic processes. We snapped this photo at the Williamsburg Harvestfest, and believing it to be a great capture on it's own, we like it easily as much when it's switched to a black and white photo and then the color is added. It reminds us of the travelling artists from back in the day who drew children's portraits and them coloured them with crayons or pencils . . .

They came out to celebrate Harvestfest . . .

An evening and a fine meal . . .

An evening of charcuterie at Chez Laurin on Saturday night including lightly boiled eggs from Amanda Sneath topped with a mixture of Sonja and Hally Van Beilen's garlic tomato sauce and home-made mayonnaise, accompanied by twists of  Spanish Ibérico ham; duck and fig terrin from JP Laurin's charcuterie hobby with dijon and a few cornichons; salad Des Moines with toasts topped with OKA cheese; roasted garden vegetables from our efforts; and a wonderful, old world, very pungent, washed-rind soft cheese that delicious. Of course all was washed down with a nice Bordeaux . . . dessert included pistachio and chocolate covered biscotti from the Ottawa Market Nicastro's botega, with an espresso . . . 

Dr. Kate Darbyshire . . .

Farewell to popular WDMH doctor . . .

Dr. Kate Darbyshire . . .
Dr. Kate Darbyshire . . .

Monday, Sept. 27th - Thirty-six years ago Dr. Kate Darbyshire arrived at Winchester District Memorial Hospital. It was in March of 1985, and she never left.

        Now, almost four decades later and a career of caring for patients from all over the region, Kate Darbyshire is retiring.

        Dr. Darbyshire worked at her own practice until 2015. Her office was shared with Dr. Duane Justus, Dr. Dave Flowers, and later Dr. John Burke. At WDMH, she has done it all, working in the operating room, providing anesthetic services, assisting in almost every area of the hospital including Med/Surg, ECU, Obstetrics, Ambulatory Care and the ER.

        Dr. Darbyshire remembers way back, there were medical, surgical and pediatric wards at WDMH. She has also provided services at Dundas Manor since she arrived in the region. And her work on many committees is extensive. She has also served as Chief of Staff and President of the Medical Staff.

        “I feel very privileged to have had a job that I loved, and all my physician colleagues and other WDMH staff of all stripes, who have been so great to work with,” says Dr. Darbyshire. “"I have also been so fortunate to have the love and support of my husband and sons, without whom enjoying my career would have been much different."

        Staff from all areas of the hospital extended their best wishes on her retirement.

On Thursday's late afternoon/evening of this past week a spectacular sunset was developing over the events centre patio at StoneCrop Acres.  It's been business 'as best we could' for the past several months at this South Dundas winery, and as harvest season begins that approach has turned out well for the Gervais . . .


Monday, Sept. 20th - It is often said that growing a business requires a minimum 5-year commitment. Such a time span is believed to provide plentiful information in addressing and building a sound financial position, a vision of direction and possible future growth, plus a wide variety of decision making experience necessary in the coming years.

        That small-business idea was bouncing around the back of our minds while sitting at the sun-drenched patio table at StoneCrop Acres tasting house last Sunday afternoon. We were talking quietly, people watching and enjoying the moment while looking over the verdant vineyard, thick with clusters of Frontenac Noir deep blue fruit. That was when, over the humming murmur from other tables, we overheard StoneCrop’s Norene Gervais inform a questioning client, “We’ve had an exciting and unbelievable season this year!” It is their 5th-year since ‘going public’

        It has been a tough sell for most small business recently. From addressing employment to servicing and entertaining clients around a long list of slow-downs and regulations, business has been anything but exciting. Yet StoneCrop’s owners, husband and wife team Marc and Norene Gervais, remain harmonious in their friendly discussions, all of which are directed at what lies in the future. According to this duo, the future is all open skies and bright sunshine. Of course that includes the occasional eye-popping sunsets viewed over the north-west horizon of the recently installed events centre patio. It’s at a table on this patio, in front of the blazing reds and oranges and gold and yellows of twilight, that the Gervais often share a glass of wine at the close of a business day.


“There is no finish line. There are only mile markers.”   

                                                    - Michael Ventura, CEO, Sub Rosa


        As 2021 cycles into December and closes, South Dundas’ StoneCrop Acres Winery and Vineyard will celebrate their 5th-year building a customer base for their products. And in that short time, the growth and client attraction has been over the top successful, due in a great part to the never-ending commitment of the enthusiastic owner/operators.

        “We’ve sold out of five of our products this year,” Norene announces on Tuesday afternoon at a sit-down gab. And with only a slight hesitation for breath she delivers an account of each of the sold-out products, the key in-process product plans for the coming year, and a full account of the ‘never originally planned’ but overwhelmingly successful concert, wedding, and charitable events completed to date and scheduled through year-end.

        In the seemingly minuscule moment in time since planting vines in 2007, following several years of selling off their grape production to area wineries, Norene and Marc Gervais took the proverbial leap, shoulder deep into their dream.  A small winery of their own!

        Then this happened . . .

        Wine production began in 2013. And the roller-coaster ride since continues to accelerate in more growth and success.  As of September 2021 StoneCrop Acres vaulted over a significant threshold as a commercial investment in their community. The South Dundas winery sold out of their 2017 Red Marquette Merlot; a 2019 Harmony Rosé; a 2019 Frontenac Grigio; a 2018 Frontenac Noir Cabarnet Sauvignon; one version of their all new Cider (2000 bottles); and a remarkable 2016 StoneCrop Acres No. 5. - Note: This particular red wine, StoneCrop Acres No. 5, carries a side label that reads “2016 SCA No. 5. The fifth red and the last wine from our inaugural 2016 vintage to be released, SCA No. 5 is a blend of 5 grapes: Frontenac Noir, Marquette, Sabrevois, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in French red oak barrels, this luscious red is now ready to drink, or if you are patient it could be cellared for another 5 years or so.” 

        Norene, who serves as the chief vintner at StoneCrop, plans to introduce two new red bottlings following Christmas 2021. Until then visiting clientele favouring red wines will be offered a medium bodied but full flavoured 2018 Frontenac Noir Merlot and a Rhone Valley style fruity and peppery Frontenac Noir Syrah. Gervais suggests both products are tremendously food friendly.


“There’s no luck in small business.

There’s only drive, determination, and more drive.

                                                - Sophie Kinsella, author . . .


        The remarkable success of StoneCrop’s wines is simply fuel for the Gervais operation. After producing and offering for sale 4200 bottles of Cider in 2021 the intention is to double up production of those products and add a third cider blend, sharing recipe ideas with a British Perry. The product is planned to blend apple and pear juice (Norene is looking for pears) and Norene has mentioned a suggested identity for the yet to be finalized product idea: “South Dundas Backyard Perry”.

Explaining the remarkable growth experienced with their winery and vineyard operation the Gervais agree they have seemingly been guided by fate.

        “When an opportunity comes up, we’ve moved on it.” Norene says, admitting, “Originally Marc and I agreed we’d just love to have a small winery with a tasting room. As those ideas were incrementally developing and all was looking perfect, somebody who was visiting our tasting room announced they wanted to get married here.”

        Gervais says the idea sounded good at the time and admits they are wonderfully surprised two years later. StoneCrop Acres and Vineyard has become a tourism and event destination in South Dundas and Eastern Ontario. 


Success is a series of small wins . . .

                                      - Unknown


        Over these past two years expansion has been constant, including a huge event centre complete with a heated floor. Initially customers came for a friendly music evening and a glass of wine. Those Friday evenings have since expanded into an annual, full-blown concert series (including the Seaway Valley Folk Festival) attracting capacity crowds; a picturesque wedding destination; and a spectacular location for their ‘bistro’ where visitors can call for a refreshment and one of several carefully chosen pizza flavors, hand prepared and brick oven baked on premises. In fact, their is a select variety of choices on the menu.

        The Gervais have included complimentary businesses along their path of growth. From bakers to dairy to food preparation to agri-products from around South Dundas and the area. They have invited and encouraged many to take part. And they have contributed to the economy of South Dundas in the process. Currently with 10 employees plus additional staff for events and harvest, StoneCrop has become a solid presence in the community and that too is evident on the various boards and community organizations which Marc and Norene support and are actively involved.

        After visiting with the Gervais for an hour or so one has the opportunity to reflect on their first visit to the winery. Snapping photographs of friends aiding in the annual harvest and listening in on the ideas and plans that were bouncing up and over and through the rows of vines. 

        In preparation for a New Year we, like all of StoneCrop’s clientele, are anticipating product announcements and tasting schedules from our local winery and vineyard. Along with the all new normal, of course. This week the Gervais are over-seeing the harvest of this year’s crop of grapes. A task the owners plan to have completed in a few days. 

        “The grapes are so full and delicious this year,” says the chief vintner, “I can’t wait to start working with them and blending that richness into some great wines.”

        And we believe she will!

        Note: In the meantime, date yet to be determined, we plan on tabling an absolutely beautiful pairing of rare beef and our last bottle of StoneCrop Acres 2016 SCA No. 5 that has resided in our basement cold room for a few years. Also living there is a StoneCrop Acres 2017 Marquette Merlot. Those lay alongside a duo of StoneCrop Acres 2016 Frontenac Gris Vidals and our last three bottles of a spectacular StoneCrop Acres 2016 Louise Swenson edition. Either of those whites will work beautifully with dishes like French mustard chicken filled with rich, roasted thigh meat and shallots on a crisp fall day. 

Named in honour Dr. Wayne Domanko . . .

Award for Teaching Excellence presented . . .

    Dr. Wayne Domanko, Dr. Adam Jones-Delcorde, and Dr. Vikas Bhagirath


Tuesday, Sept. 21st - Congratulations to Dr. Adam Jones-Delcorde who is the first recipient of the Dr. Wayne Domanko Award for Teaching Excellence in Rural Medicine. The award is presented to a recipient, chosen by the WDMH Family Medicine Residents, who has made a significant academic contribution to the WDMH Family Medicine Residency Program. The award is named after Dr. Domanko, who provided care at WDMH for more than 50 years.

         “Ever since I have been at WDMH, I have worked to provide continuing medical education and have mentored students and residents,” explains Dr. Domanko. “I haven’t done this with the expectation of recognition, but I am very touched and humbled. Congratulations to Dr. Adam Jones-Delcorde. I hope to continue to provide education sessions awhile longer!”

        “It's very flattering and I think more than I really deserve,” says Dr. Jones-Delcorde. “Regardless, I'm happy to be teaching and hope to continue working with the residents at Winchester.”

        Dr. Jones-Delcorde has worked as an attending physician at WDMH since 2018 and brings special expertise to the Emergency Department. After completing his medical degree, as well as residencies in family medicine and emergency medicine, Dr. Jones-Delcorde did a year-long fellowship in point-of-care ultrasound.

        Dr.  Jones-Delcorde says he chose WDMH for three reasons: “I like the rural community hospital feel. It’s quite different from larger, city hospitals. I also like the role that family physicians play at WDMH, and I wanted that type of experience. And I love the teaching that is available at WDMH. It elevates everyone’s quality of care and keeps us on our toes.”

Hospital introduces 'Dynamic Duo' . . .

Monday, Sept. 13th - Have you met Dr. Kheira Jolin and Dr. Pierre de Moissac? This duo have joined Winchester District Memorial Hospital’s team as family physicians providing obstetrical care as part of the family birthing program. 

         Dr. de Moissac grew up in Ste. Anne, Manitoba where his father was a rural physician.

        “That’s what I always wanted to do too,” says Dr. Pierre. “I liked Obstetrics, Surgery and Psychiatry and decided I could do all three as a family physician.”  Dr. de Moissac participated in the new graduate mentorship program at WDMH and has worked in Emergency and as a Hospitalist, looking after inpatients at the hospital and Dundas Manor.

        Dr. Jolin grew up on the south shore of Montreal and moved to Ottawa after high school. Just like Dr. de Moissac, she really enjoyed every specialty she learned in medical school and decided to be a family doctor so she could ‘do it all’. She says Obstetrics has always held a special place in her heart.

        Dr. de Moissac and Dr. Jolin now share a medical practice at the Nation River Health Clinic in Winchester. They have chosen to move to Winchester and raise their children here. As a husband-and-wife team, they say one of the best things about the job is the commute!

         “There are so many great things about family medicine,” says Dr. Jolin. “Every time I deliver a baby, I feel so lucky that the family allows me to be there for them in this special, unique, private moment.”

         Both doctors offer bilingual services, including obstetrical care. They also accept referrals for prenatal follow-up. Both doctors also work in Emergency and Dr. Jolin offers a half-day clinic in Embrun each week and has a research position at the University of Ottawa.

And along the South Dundas waterfront . . .

Tuesday, Sept. 21st - All of the photos along our waterfront are not equal in subject matter. No boats in this one . . .

We had planted sunflowers several years ago on our piece of the river's edge. Over the mowing season the seeds from these flowering giants have spread and most get mowed prior to flowering each year. But this one, right in the middle of the lawn, was marked to bloom this year and it has, splendidly. Sunflowers, as we've seen so many times, are so beautiful in so many different lighting moods. And with the odd petal missing, their beauty just intensifies . . .

Municipality calls for nominations . . .

        The Municipality of South Dundas has announced the third annual Awards of Excellence Program. Nominations for the awards will open on September 9, 2021 with a deadline for entry of September 30, 2021. The award winners will be selected and announced later this year. 

        The Municipality of South Dundas Awards of Excellence recognize and celebrate growth and success in the Municipality. These Awards shine a spotlight on success stories of local businesses and individuals who are contributing to the growth of the South Dundas community. 

        The eight award categories include: Agricultural Leadership Award, Business of the Year Award, Community Builder Award, Green Award, Innovation Award, New Business Award, Tourism Award and Young Professional Award. Nomination forms and more information can be found on the Municipality’s website. 

        Everyone is encouraged to nominate a business, organization or individual who they feel is deserving of this recognition. Self-nominations will be accepted.