Trustees discuss Provincial Government’s proposal . . .

Concern for remote learning plan . . .

Wednesday, May 5th - At the May 4 board meeting, Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario Trustees discussed concern regarding the provinces intention to continue with online distance learning for students.

        “The provincial government plans to move forward with online learning for the next calendar year,” began Chair Lalonde, “The concern for myself, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, and many other school boards across the province, is that distance learning was brought in to support the continuation of learning during COVID, and to provide learning opportunities for students under these special circumstances.”

        Chair Lalonde noted that the Trustee's Association has discussed their concerns with the province, including how this may affect and disrupt student learning experiences across Ontario.

        “Overall, long-term implementation of distance learning will mean that education services will suffer. Online learning may create significant disadvantages for various marginalized groups, including rural students without access to broadband networks, those without access to devices, students who require special education services, as well as the complex considerations for small rural schools and remote communities. Social inequities are a major concern. This plan was put in place for COVID, and we have been asked to take a position. We believe that the best education is an education in person.”

Vice-chair Wilson, Prescott and Russell County trustee, noted that she believes the mental health of children is suffering.

        “The amount of screen time that is being imposed on students is unacceptable, and I am not in support of long-term online learning. I think its implementation would be a great disservice to our children and their future.”

        Lanark County Trustee Jennifer Cooney noted the importance of the school boards to represent the unique characteristics of their individual communities, and the best way to deliver education services based on need.

        “It’s impossible to think that one governing body could support all of these communities virtually, given their very individual needs.”

        Karen McAllister, Dundas and Stormont Counties Trustee expressed her concern, noting that there is room for online learning in some circumstances, such as to provide more robust course selection for secondary students, but that these courses are more effectively implemented when they are managed and facilitated by a teacher.

        “I have always felt that students need a choice in some circumstances, such as for secondary course selection. However, they should be monitored and supported closely by qualified teachers, preferably within the school environment,” she explained.

A recent statement issued to the province by OCSTA President Patrick Daly stated:

        “Reports that the government is considering expanding access to online and remote learning threatens to undermine the quality of education for students and is of deep concern to Ontario’s 29 publicly funded Catholic School Boards. These significant concerns and serious implications include negatively impacting the quality of learning experiences and equity in opportunity for students, including the potential for immediate and long-term reductions in funding, as well as the ability of Catholic and other school systems to realize their distinct missions.”

        The motion was passed to send a letter to the Premier, all MPP’s, and the Ministry of Education.

                                           - more Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario  news here . . .

Celebrating National Physician Appreciation Day . .

Meet Dr. Adam Jones-Delcorde . . .

Wednesday, May 5th - Celebrating National Physician Appreciation Day, includes thanking Winchester District Memorial Hospital physicians for their expert knowledge and ongoing commitment to the patients we serve. These doctors are leaders at the hospital and in local communities – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        It is hard to pick just one, but today the shining a light is on Dr. Adam Jones-Delcorde. He has worked as an attending physician at WDMH since 2018 and brings special expertise to the Emergency Department.

         Dr. Jones-Delcorde’s is a former City of Ottawa lifeguard and says his time on the pool deck helped shape his medical career.

        "It was my first experience helping sick and injured people. I pursued medicine because I wanted to continue to help people. Work in the ER requires a lot of quick thinking, and lifeguarding taught me how to stay calm and focused under pressure.”

        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.

        He 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 happens at WDMH. It elevates everyone’s quality of care and keeps us on our toes.”

        In the Emergency Department, the recent arrival of a new ultrasound machine takes Dr. Jones-Delcorde’s skills to a new level.

        “It’s the best I’ve seen – a Cadillac,” says Jones, “This unit produces images that are much clearer and more detailed, resulting in faster diagnosis."

        "For example," explains Dr. Jones, " when a patient in the ER is critically ill, we can see the cause such as a collapsed lung or a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Or I can use the machine to find gallstones, kidney stones, or blood clots. From there, our colleagues in radiology and cardiology can do further investigation.” Dr. Jones-Delcorde is just one of the many skilled physicians working in the WDMH Emergency Department.

Record-level support for Mental Health and Learning Recovery . . .

Area schools to get near $1-billion . . .

Jim McDonell, MPP, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry . . .
Jim McDonell, MPP, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry . . .

Tuesday, May 4th - Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, announced that the Ontario government will support local students by providing regional school boards $972.6 million for the 2021-22 school year through the Grants for Student Needs program. That is an increase of $18.1 million from 2021-21.


       “Today’s announcement is

terrific news for hard-working

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

families and students,” said MPP McDonell.

“Ontario is committed to advancing

student success, and our government is

delivering significant resources here in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry,

and across the province

to help young people

reach their full potential.”


        This week, the Ontario government announced new support for a safe and successful 2021-22 school year, including an additional $1.6 billion in resources to protect against COVID-19 and $561 million more in ongoing investments in public education for the 2021-22 school year through the Grants for Student Needs.  Total GSN funding is projected to be $25.6 billion. This reflects the third straight year it has increased under the current government, and on a per-student basis is estimated to rise to $12,686, which is the highest amount ever.

        “Our government is investing more in public education than any government in Ontario history,” pointed out Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “As we continue to work with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to evaluate the safe resumption of in-class learning, our number-one priority remains safety in the classroom.”

        In order to support a safe return to classroom learning in September, Ontario is investing $1.6 billion in targeted COVID-19 resources intended to be used for expenses such as enhanced cleaning protocols, Personal Protective Equipment and critical supplies, and temporary staffing supports. The local school boards will receive access to up to $39,890,000 in resources to keep local students, school staff and their families safe from COVID-19. 

        Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has made unprecedented investments to support student mental health, including over $80 million projected in 2021-22. Ontario will also be providing school boards with $3.2 billion to support students with special education needs through the GSN – the highest investment recorded in Ontario.

Grants for Student Needs funding per board:

    •   $353.7 million, $3.3 million increase for Upper Canada District School Board

    •   $188.1 million, $5.4 million increase for Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario

    •   $262.9 million, $6.9 million increase for Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario

    •   $167.9 million, $2.5 million increase for Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien

                      - See the latest from Jim McDonell here . . .


Graffiti leads to criminal charges . . .

Tuesday, May 4th - On January 31, 2020 at approximately 8:56 p.m Stormont Dundas & Glengarry Ontario Provincial Police officers responded to a report of a public building (Beach Building) being damaged by graffiti on Elizabeth Drive in South Dundas Township. Investigation revealed that unknown culprits caused damage to the building in the previous hours.

        On April 30, 2021 SD&G OPP officers arrested an adult male in connection to this incident.

        Cameron JAMIESON ,age 23, of North York, Ontario was arrested and charged with;

    •  Mischief Over $5000 - CC Sec. 430(3)

         The accused is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Morrisburg on Tuesday, July 6th, 2021.

                        - See more OPP news here . . .

40-per cent of Ontario adults have received at least 1-Dose of the COVID-19 vaccine . . .

Some five million Ontarians have received their initial vaccine shot . . .
Some five million Ontarians have received their initial vaccine shot . . .

Monday, May 3rd - Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott has issued a statement informing the province's population that nearly half of all residents have received their initial vaccine dose. 

        “On Friday, April 30, we have achieved our goal of administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 40 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by May 1." Elliott announced, adding, " With over 4.8 million people having received their first shot, we are one step closer to defeating COVID-19." 

        The Minister of Health went on to explain, "Despite an inconsistent vaccine supply to date, the province has continued to build a solid foundation in Ontario’s vaccine rollout, with a focus on age and risk, allowing us to reach our most vulnerable populations and have a measurable impact." 

        Impressive statistics were included in the Minister's announcement, including, "As of April 30, over 5.2 million doses have been administered across the province, starting with the province’s most vulnerable populations, including long-term care residents. Over 91 per cent of Ontarians aged 80 and over have received at least one dose. Over 25,000 first and second doses have been administered in 31 fly-in First Nations communities and Moosonee, and 95 per cent of long-term care residents are now fully vaccinated, providing a layer of protection to those who need it most." 

        "Ontario has also continued to expand delivery channels, helping to vaccinate more Ontarians faster. Today, Ontario has over 300 primary care settings, 1,400 pharmacy locations, and 189 mass immunization sites supporting its vaccine rollout in addition to mobile and pop-up clinics occurring in hot spot communities, building the capacity for the province to deliver 150,000 doses each day." 

        Now, with an expected increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, the Ontario government is preparing to ramp up its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to further support at-risk communities. This includes a targeted, time-limited commitment to allocate 50 per cent of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities to reduce COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in these areas. Ontario is on track to offer first dose vaccinations to ten million people by the end of June with a steady supply of vaccines from the federal government.

        "Today’s achievement is another encouraging step forward as we work together to ensure the majority of Ontarians have received the vaccine. Whether you received your first or both doses, we all must continue following the public health measures we know work and keep us safe." cautioned Elliott, adding "The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered, and we strongly encourage everyone to book an appointment as soon as it’s their turn. By doing so, we can protect our families, friends and loved ones, and stop the spread of COVID-19.” 

                                      - see more Jim McDonell here . . .

Getting well into Spring-time . . .

Fruit trees long gone wild are brightening the fence rows along agricultural properties throughout South Dundas as Spring makes her presence known this year. A few damp days are supposed to be followed by some warm weather, providing gardeners the needed prep time for the summer blooms and produce. A great time of year to get out for a walk - distanced - and enjoy the brilliance . . . 

Superman spotted in Iroquois plaza . . .

Driving out of the Iroquois plaza this past week we spotted Superman, his chest emblazoned with the familiar "S", the Kryptonian symbol for hope, and spreading his iconic motto, "truth, tolerance, and justice". He had just finished his weekly visit to Mustard's Variety and was sharing a moment with an adoring fan. We were informed Superman visits the plaza regularly and sightings, especially on Saturday's, are not rare . . .

MPP McDonell tests positive - Covid-19 . . .

MPP Jim McDonell
MPP Jim McDonell

Friday, Apr. 30th - "Dear constituents, I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This past week, while experiencing what I thought was the common cold, I made an appointment to get a COVID-19 test, as recommended by public health. I am unsure of where I may have contracted the virus. My symptoms are very mild, and I can attribute this to the recent vaccination I had received recently, but under the two-week timeframe required to develop its maximum protection. Public health has followed up with me to provide guidance and for contact tracing. I am currently following the necessary protocols and quarantine requirements. I share my experience as a caution to the more contagious variants and to the need to follow public health guidelines. 

       "My office and staff continue to operate but is closed to walk-in service. 

The staff can be reached at 613-933-6513."   

                                                                                              - More from MPP McDonell's office here . . . 

Good morning South Dundas . . .

The various ferns nd greenery are on the rise in the wetlands of South Dundas. Soon the forested patches that do remain in the community will leave their grey and brown winter colors for the brilliance of a Spring pallet, with greens and golds and reds and yellows. 


And that's not all that's opening . . .

Poppy's Pit Stop at the eastern reaches of Riverside Heights opened for business on Friday and received a pleasant welcome for all those tired of restrictions and closures. Poppy's will be open 7-days a week, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and to 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The burgers & fries menu is complete and a full line of ice cream products is also available. Judging by our initial sampling today, the chips are delicious.

Also opening soon will be Lumpy's Burgers and Fries in Williamsburg, directly across Bank Street from the Williamsburg Meat Market. This all new operation to South Dundas is in the Meat Market parking area, is promoting 100% steer beef products, and will be offering all the Chip Wagon specialties and ice cream too. Support local business in South Dundas, where your dollar keeps rolling all around our community.

My Recycled Dreams creates unique gifts . . .

Caprize Seagull is sitting in the sun in her driveway, a portable table covered with near completed, decorative birdhouse in front of her. Caprize is the owner, developer and assembler of her own one-person-show, and she is building attractive birdhouse designs that she makes available to the public through a number of local and area outlets. And she is the third in a trio of sponsors behind the Canadian Bird House Contest spear-headed by River Rat Treasures in Iroquois. The Iroquois-Matilda Lions are also involved.

        When we captured the above photo Caprize was applying the fine sanding for fit to several pieces, outlining others with contrasting colours and twisting wire legs on flys and bugs, all to be added to the individual pieces. She then delivers them to Wild Birds Unlimited in Kanata, Sweet Clover Flowers and Gifts in Finch and River Rat Treasures in the Iroquois Mall where they are offered for sale to the public.

        "I have to get these ready for the Mother's Day shoppers,"Caprize told us, "And I've got another bunch I'm preparing to follow those to the store shelves." 

        Caprize has named her cottage industry My Recycled Dreams, and she acts out on the name with much of the decor for the bird houses. She hopes to keep up as the initial demand for her product is very strong.

        "I'm hoping too that these eye-catching designs will bring a little cheer to all the unfortunate small business owners who have been affected by the pandemic." adds Caprize.

Anyone interested in taking part in the Canadian Bird House Contest can view details by scrolling down on this page . . .

Freeze College/University fees extended . . .

Friday, Apr. 30th - The Ontario government is extending the current one-year tuition freeze for colleges and universities by an additional year, providing more financial relief and predictability for families and students seeking access to affordable postsecondary education. 

        “Students and their families make significant sacrifices to attend college and university,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “The financial uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic further underscores the need to keep college and university programs affordable. By freezing tuition our government is continuing to reduce the financial strain on families’ pocketbooks.” 

        The one-year tuition freeze for Ontario residents builds on Ontario’s historic 10 per cent reduction in tuition in 2019-20, and one-year tuition freeze in 2020-21, making postsecondary education more affordable for Ontario students and their families. These reductions represent the first of their kind in Ontario’s history. The government’s action to reduce and freeze tuition has provided students with tuition relief of approximately $450 million annually when compared to tuition costs in 2018-19. 

        “It is critical to the economic recovery of Ontario that today's students, and tomorrow's leaders, innovators and workers can obtain the skills they need to succeed in a highly competitive global economy,” said Minister Romano. “The extended tuition freeze will ensure Ontarians have affordable access to our first-class postsecondary education system and will provide financial relief to our families.” 

        In addition to the freeze, the tuition framework for domestic out-of-province students will return to a system similar to the previous framework with the option for a three per cent increase in 2021-22. 

        Average university tuition in Ontario has increased significantly since the mid-1990s. Prior to the 2019-20 tuition reduction, Ontario university tuition rates were the highest in any Canadian province. Ontario has now dropped to the third highest in Canada for undergraduate students and the second highest for graduate students. Students enrolled in a university under-graduate arts and science degree will pay an average of $660 less in tuition than if the tuition reduction and freeze policy had not been put in place. 

        To support students and the postsecondary education sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government: 

        •  provided $106.4 million for publicly assisted colleges and universities to help address the financial impacts of COVID-19 in  


        •  helped address critical maintenance, repairs, upgrades and renewals at publicly-assisted colleges and universities with

                $466 million over three years, starting in 2020-21. 

        •  distributed $25 million in funding at the start of the pandemic to help publicly-assisted colleges, universities and

                Indigenous Institutes with immediate impacts of COVID-19. 

        •  invested $10.25 million more than previous years to bolster mental health supports for postsecondary students. 

        •  launched a $50 million Virtual Learning Strategy to help expand access to a high-quality, market-responsive, and

                globally competitive "Ontario Made" education. 

        •  announced $59.5 million over three years to support Ontario’s first micro-credentials strategy, which will help people

                retrain and upgrade their skills to find new employment. 

Brockville Collegiate Institute student Kai Flicker is committed to these outcomes . . .
Brockville Collegiate Institute student Kai Flicker is committed to these outcomes . . .

Tuesday, April 27th - The Upper Canada District School Board remains committed to ensuring that our students who self-identify as members of the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual/2SLGBTQIA+ community feel supported and contribute to making our schools and communities safe spaces for everyone. Brockville Collegiate Institute student Kai Flicker is committed to these outcomes.

        The Grade 11 student spoke with the UCDSB about how the school communities can continue its work to stand up to bullying and work toward equity and acceptance.

        “Nobody is asking you to understand the trans or binary experience, but to allow us to have a space,” Kai said, adding that queer people of colour have some of the highest suicide rates and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. “To ignore that unique struggle is to contribute to it.”

       Kai’s voice connects with last week’s recognition of the International Day of Pink. The key message of the International Day of Pink, which is celebrated the second Wednesday of each April, brings awareness to how discrimination takes many shapes – whether it’s based on race, age, disabilities, gender or sexuality – and this recognition day urges individuals around the world to put on a pink shirt and stand in solidarity with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to continue to fight for equality and acceptance. Even if it means getting uncomfortable.

        “In spaces where people like us don’t make up half of the student body, it falls on the shoulders of educators to bring these topics to the table,” said Kai. “While I understand that full blown activism may be uncomfortable for people in places of privilege, even doing so much as introducing the concept of implicit bias has an impact on your students.”

        The UCDSB is committed to an equitable education system that upholds and reflects the principles of fair and inclusive education, which should permeate all policies, programs, practices, and operations. The school board recognizes that it must engage with communities that have not been historically honoured by the education system in order to truly prepare all students for the successful life they deserve.

        As the UCDSB continues to integrate its value of equity and inclusion into its programming, supports and resources, UCDSB Director Stephen Sliwa said that it’s imperative to listen to students in order to learn, grow and make change.

        “Our 2SLGBTQIA+ community’s priorities about safety and support are important elements to the UCDSB family. We want to support our students and we accomplish this by engaging in the difficult and often complex conversations, at home, at work, and in our classes to address the disparities in our communities,” said Sliwa. “We must continue our own work to ensure that every student within our schools feels heard and included, and we must challenge ourselves, at every level of our organization, to confront our own biases and blind spots.”

        Hear Kai’s powerful message in its entirety on the UCDSB YouTube Channel.

        The UCDSB wants to remind students, parents, guardians and community members that should you or someone you know be in crisis or simply need to talk, Kids Help Phone is a 24/7 free confidential professional online and telephone counselling and text-based support in English and French.

                               - More school news here . . .

A new face on the block at Williamsburg . . .

Jax, the most recent Paint stallion born at the Richmire farm on Friday morning, is up and around, although a bit wobbly on those long legs, and will soon be romping around the paddock at Williamsburg. He has several cousins on the way in the immediate future, all of who will soon be on display . . .

Feds add to timely Legion funding . . .

         Monday, Apr. 26th - Four more Royal Canadian Legions in our region will be receiving much-needed funding through the federal government’s Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund.

Royal Canadian Legion branches in Morrisburg, Iroquois, Winchester and Finch will all be receiving funding in the amount of $10,845 each.

        “I am pleased to see more of our Royal Canadian Legions across our region receive this support. Despite the challenges over the past year, many Legions continue to give back and fundraise in unique and safe ways," said Eric Duncan, MP Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, adding, "I will continue to push for support for our Legions, so they may continue the work they do for our veterans in the years to come,” 

        The Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund provides grants to non-profit and registered charitable organizations that support Veterans and their families. These grants will help organizations with operational costs and financial shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

        The first round of funding provided support to four other local branches: Cornwall, Lancaster, Long Sault, and Chesterville.

New Geriatrician at Winchester Hospital . . .

Geriatrician Dr. Genevieve Casey . . .
Geriatrician Dr. Genevieve Casey . . .

Friday, Apr. 23rd - Geriatrician Dr. Genevieve Casey believes in helping seniors in our region live their best lives. Now, she has joined the WDMH team, providing a monthly Geriatric Clinic for local patients. The clinic is coordinated through Home and Community Support Services Champlain.

         “When we talk about geriatric concerns, we often talk about the 5 M’s,” explains Dr. Casey. “These include Mind (concerns such as dementia or depression), Mobility (perhaps frequent falls), Medication (looking at the list and how they might interact), Medical Complexity (a patient’s overall health picture), and Matters Most (looking at each patient’s goals and how we can reach them).  I want to get to know each patient and work with them to meet their needs.”

        In addition, Dr. Casey also provides e-consultations for WDMH physicians.

        Dr. Casey went to medical school in London, England. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine as well as specialized training in Geriatrics at the University of Ottawa. Her practice is based at The Ottawa Hospital.  Special interests include dementia, frailty, proper use of medication, and end-of-life care.

        Patients must be referred to Dr. Casey by their family doctor via Home and Community Support Services Champlain.

Seaway Surge offers House League ball . . .

Tuesday, Apr. 25th - South Dundas' Jason Broad informs us that the Seaway Surge organization will be coordinating house league baseball in the upcoming season, including with the Williamsburg (Dave Lapier) group and the Pioneers. Mr. Broad said the Surge organization will be offering more programs under Ontario Baseball rules.

        The Surge authored press release follows, covering the new baseball options, open to all interested players in the area.

Additional information:  Jason Broad 613-930-0240 or

Fundraising campaign: Help the Playhouse Get On With The Show! . . .

Working to save our culture & economy . . .

Monday, April 5th - Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Playhouse is one of Eastern Ontario’s leading professional theatre companies and the entertainment choice of over 40,000 patrons annually.

        "Although not currently staging shows, The Playhouse is consumed, grappling with the endless challenges faced by all theatres across Canada." says Donnie Bowes, The Playhouse's Artistic Director who has been with the organization for more than 30 years. Bowes adds, "As well we are planning a 2021 season we hope to announce in late Spring."




'The puzzle that we all need to solve': Canada's theatre community ponders comeback amid COVID-19 Social Sharing . . .

CBC - May 16, 2020 - It's been two months since the COVID-19 crisis brought the curtain down on Canada's theatres, and each week seems to bring fresh announcements about seasons being cancelled or postponed from Vancouver's Arts Club Theatre Company to Ontario leaders, such as the Stratford Festival and Mirvish Productions, to the venerable Charlottetown Festival. Even Broadway, the behemoth next door, will remain shuttered through Labour Day.




        As the pandemic, for whatever reason refuses to disappear, Upper Canada Playhouse is redirecting their strengths to address a long lingering and costly shut-down, stressing that a professional season of live theatre and music comes with a significant cost.

        "Audiences expect and deserve to receive high production standards and to be entertained by some of the finest talent in the country, says Mr. Bowes, pointing out, " Considering the restrictions posed by COVID-19, it’s a particularly daunting financial challenge to deliver."

       The Playhouse is normally in a  financially flush position at this time of year, having come out of a previous season with revenues from their traditional full houses.

        That being said, the last time the curtains closed at the Upper Canada Playhouse was more than a year ago and the stage lights have been dark since that time. And obviously, maintaining the venue with no box office revenue has taken its toll on any reserves the operation typically enjoys. 




Georgian Theatre goes dark, disappointing Barrie's performing arts community

Barrie Today-Feb 19, 2021 - ‘The loss of Georgian Theatre is absolutely devastating to all sorts of members of the performing arts community here in Barrie'

Bringing the curtain down on the city’s lease arrangement with Georgian Theatre could mean lights out for many users.

“The loss of Georgian Theatre is absolutely devastating to all sorts of members of the performing arts community here in Barrie,” said Kempenfelt Community Players’ (KCP) board of directors chair Lianne Romans.




        Upper Canada Playhouse does not receive any direct arts funding.

        "For many years we’ve been proud to sustain ourselves without public arts funding", commented Artistic Director Donnie Bowes. "Our shows have drawn large audiences and we haven’t had to apply for assistance from major arts funders like Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council."

        "We’ve been grateful to receive some government business support to keep our core staff working on re-opening plans, COVID protocols and venue maintenance. But no specific arts support, explained the Artistic Director, continuing, "When federal and provincial governments issued millions to support theatres companies, we expected to be able to apply for it. But the arts dollars were directed to these funding agencies to administer and only those companies that had been receiving support through them were invited to apply."

        The Playhouse hopes to fill that gap by  following the lead of many of their theatre colleagues. They have launched a special fundraising campaign - ‘Help The Playhouse Get On With The Show!’ 

        In addition to being closed for over a year and the substantial cost of Covid protocol equipment and special staffing, the major concern the operation now faces is being allowed to sell only 20-25% of their seats per show in an effort to accommodate social distancing.

        "We’re determined to make it happen and do it safely. But we’ll need to rely on supporters through our campaign to get there," says determined Bowes, pointing out, "Coupled with dealing with these challenges is the excitement of lighting up the stage so audiences can laugh and sing again. Laughter has always been one of the theatre’s main attractions and certainly is much needed by everyone in these times."




When the music’s over: COVID-19 decimated the arts in Canada,

and the worst may be yet to come - Unemployment among arts workers is soaring, venues are closing down and some fear government support will come too late. What will be left of the culture industry when this is all over?




        The theatre is also aware of how their annual audiences boost the local economy during the 'in season'. The Playhouse is engaging with other theatres to form cost-saving co-productions, has negotiated the appearance of popular and familiar faces such as Norm Foster, Marshall Button, Leisa Way and Aaron Solomon and is putting together a season featuring comedies, concerts and a wonderful Christmas show. It will also provide all the health and safety measures to ensure that audiences will feel safe as they enjoy their Playhouse experience.

        The building will be sanitized and deep-cleaned before every show, will have a designated Covid compliance officer on duty at all times and will also provide performers, technicians, staff safe workplace conditions. In addition to that, the Playhouse has established an excellent relationship with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit which has been very supportive and have provided expert advice all along the way.

        As previously mentioned, the theatre hopes to make a formal season announcement later in the Spring. As that decision is being finalized, focused  eyes remain on the pandemic situation, and on the Help The Playhouse Get On With The Show! campaign.

        Click on the live Playhouse link:  to view Video & Donation information.

Or call 613-543-3713/1-877-550-3650 to support the campaign.

Let bidding begin!
- Online art auction . . .

Curve at the Long Sault Parkway, bidding starts at $20.00! Retail price is $125. Start bidding!
Curve at the Long Sault Parkway, bidding starts at $20.00! Retail price is $125. Start bidding!

        Carrie A. Keller (O’Neill) is a well-known local artist who has a unique idea to support the Winchester District Memorial Hospital Foundation, and to help make area homes more beautiful at the same time. Carrie is organizing a Facebook Art Auction, with proceeds going to the Foundation. 

        Carrie lives in Winchester and is a prolific painter. She also teaches painting classes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all art shows have been cancelled and teaching has been limited. As a result, Carrie has multiple paintings available.

        “I am grateful to have Winchester District Memorial Hospital in our community and I want to help,” she explains. “This is a great opportunity and I hope it will be fun too.” 

        The online Facebook auction will take place throughout the month of April. Each day, a new painting will be posted, and viewers can begin bidding. Bidding will close each night at midnight. The next morning, Carrie will announce the winner and post a new painting. 

        “This is a fun month-long event and we are grateful that Carrie is sharing her talents with all of us,” adds Cindy Ault Peters, Manager of Direct Mail & Events. “There’s a lot of anticipation because you won’t know what’s coming next!” 

Most paintings are 11x14 inches in size and are unframed. 

        For all the details, please visit

Kin Club's Catch the Ace nears $300,000 . . .

It’s Back!  Catch the Ace of Spades and win big. . .

        The Kin Club of Russell’s Catch the Ace is back - on February 28th!  There are now 15 envelopes left and the jackpot is expected to be more than $336,000. The next weekly win will be more than $18,000.  To date, the Kin Club of Russell has raised $250,000 to give back to local charities, including the WDMH Foundation.

        Tickets are on sale online at  Be sure to choose WDMHF as your charity of choice.  Tickets can also be purchased at Winchester Foodland, Loughlin’s Country Store, and Brinston General Store. 

        For full details, ongoing updates, and rules of play, visit