by Margaret Knott
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Annual Archives
Margaret Knott's What's New on Frontenac Islands articles appear with the kind permission of the The Kingston Heritage Newspaper.

July 27, 2017
Summer Half Over and Wolfe Island Busier Than Ever

Amazing really. In the last month Wolfe Island, Marysville in particular, has become what can be called in tourism terms a “destination.” Its been a busy summer, on the island with different events happening weekend after weekend, and people coming and going, in spite of ‘iffy’ weather. And the closure of Big Sandy Bay, an important tourist component, due to the flooding that has affected the conservation site and access to its beach and dunes.

Frontenac Islands Mayor Doyle is optimistic however. “ The dunes took thousands of years to happen with the wind and waves blowing across the water. In spite of what’s happened, when the flood waters finally recede, there will be a lot more sand on the beach, the wind will blow and the long slow process of rebuilding the dunes will begin again,” he said. The Big Sandy Bay Management Area is owned by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, it is operated by the Township of Frontenac Islands and is one of the township’s biggest tourist attractions. The township will be looking for ways to reinforce the dunes with MNR.

Yet, in spite of its closure, this summer people are lining up to visit the island. Not only are they lining up to come on the weekends but during the week as well. More and more of them are leaving vehicles behind and walking on the ferry, too small to accommodate the numbers of people and vehicles waiting. And boats of many types: sail, luxury, fishing, also Sea-Doo’s, etc. anchor not far off shore in the village bay or come right in and tie up at one of the many docking areas at The Island Grill and The General Wolfe Inn, both in the heart of the village. Welcomed not only by the lights and sound of music wafting over the water, but by islanders as well.

Historic Horne’s Ferry, on Wolfe Island , an important May 1st to late October international route to the USA, also experienced some difficulty with water overlapping the dock at times during the high water period, but is maintaining a regular schedule.
The Wolfe Island Grill has 26 boat slips, a covered side patio should it rain, a restaurant, outside patio and a regular variety of musicians, good food and, among other things, their own Wolfe Island Springs Craft Beer. Just down the street, the licenced “Wolfie”, owned and operated by the General Wolfe Inn, has an accessible out door patio, a light menu, and a music space and boat docking facilities. The Inn itself, accommodation /restaurant, is open for business. The Inn’s new owners have big plans for the place. Islanders often ask about the formal dining room, so popular years ago. A large new mural of a very young General Wolfe is underway on the side of the Inn.
And there is the WIPP (Wolfe Island Pub and Pizzeria). You just never know what James Kirkham has in store for you but you are sure to get a warm welcome. The Dreamcatcher Inn, though for sale, continues to receive guests. The Stone Heron Gallery, behind the Town Hall, is open Thursdays through to Mondays. The WI Craft shop located beside the Gallery, the Old House Museum and the Information Centre are open most days. Bill Speers’ Cycle Wolfe Island, bike rental, is a busy place too. The WI Boat Club Book Sale continues. Fargo’s, The Bakery, great coffee, and ice cream … a great place to visit.
As Wolfe Island waits for the second ferry promised by the province, one can’t help thinking about what the island will need to accommodate the many more visitors who will come our way. Perhaps a child friendly motel, a camp ground, more businesses, shops, a local transportation system, more houses, bike lanes…water…. What do you think?
Around Town: *Best Wishes to Vernal Yott, 95th years of a good life. Mr. Yott is a veteran of the Merchant Marine during the 2nd World War, much loved and respected by all who know him. ** Hats off to the MTO Summer students who keep the ferry lines tight, and moving. Great Job. ** Date of the 2017 Wolfe Island Plowing Match is Sat. September 9th. Location to be determined. . ** WI River Front Golf Course a great place to play. ** The Corn Maze, Open August 1st to mid-November 2017 For info call: 613 385 1998.
Coming Events: **Kingston Wolfe Island Culture Festival 6th week **32nd Annual Family Ball Tournament, Friday/Saturday August 4/5th at the WI Community Centre Ball Diamonds. ** Fish Fry, St. Margaret’s Hall 4:30-7 pm. (Mundell Fish) July 4th Call for take out 30 minutes in advance. Perfect for Ball teams. Call (613) 385-2202 ** WI Friends of Ferals (WIFF) 2nd Annual Yard Sale Sat. Aug. 5th (9am to 3 pm) across from the WI United Church Anything large to donate? Call Harry for pick up at 613 385 2532. ** WI Music Festival Aug. 11& 12 WI Community Centre Grounds. For

Posted by M Knott at 04:25 PM
July 20, 2017
Myths, Legends & Artefacts

Myths , legends and artefacts, was the title for the Wolfe Island Historical Society’s recent gathering held in conjunction with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s “Kingston and Wolfe Islands Cultural Festival”. A photo exhibit of artefacts recovered from island soil in the 1960’s, many from Brophy’s point, was on display at the United Church Hall. The artefacts are held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau. The remainder are stored at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (R.O.M.) in Toronto. Waterkeeper’s Rebecca Harrison, welcomed everyone with a reminder that their vision “ for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Lake Ontario began on Wolfe Island”, and the festival theme is to celebrate the Great Lakes with story and song. Presenters were Wolfe Island residents Terri-Lynn Brennan, Program Coordinator for Kingston’s Community Engagement and Education Division of Cultural Services, and the WI Historical Society’s Brian MacDonald.
“My ancestry, indigenous, and my background, archaeologist & teacher, has provided me with the opportunities to learn about the ways and how people have moved across Turtle Island, North America, and what that looks like,” Terri-Lynn said. Her topic as she described it, was to talk about everything prior to European contact .

“Indigenous history has been amassed over thousands and thousands of years. I would like to say we are situated on the lands of the Wyandotte, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee, perhaps better known to you as the Algonquin, Iroquois and Huron. It is just a matter of reclaiming the language. Instead of saying Algonquin, say Anishinaabe; instead of Huron, -Wyandotte; Iroquois, Haudenosaunee.”

Holding up a hand drawn map, colour coded to identify what were actually the language groupings of the people who lived across North America, and Turtle Island, she said there were seven main groupings. “People lived very happily for thousands of years. Yes, there were battles in times of natural living situations, drought for instance, and people moved. But what it does show is that people moved a lot. And people shared basic language.

“Just as in English, we share a Latin route that came from Southern Europe, each of these seven is from certain dialects and each of these indigenous languages have showed up. People who have lived from Yukon to Alberta , they actually share a language route with the Apache in the south west. All of the Algonquin language is the green. For some coming from Manitoba for instance they might share a language with someone from Sudbury. But that speaks to the nature of all these fluidities of language and cultures that existed prior to European contact.” Terri-Lynn said. “ For my ancestral language which is Mohawk and very difficult to learn, I cannot have any conversation except Ojibwa.”

From about 1000 BC to 1600 AD there was a continuous Indigenous culture with different styles of pottery and stone work, burial goods, tradition and languages. Brophy’s Point fits in line with that and was a fishing village. There were difference between languages and cultures and people identified as hunter gatherers, or agriculture. And this island was shared. All the islands were shared,” she said.

Much began changing at the time of European contact when 20 million Indigenous people lived across Canada based on the identified sites. Today there are 1.4 million (self identified) according to Brennan. And after 300 years the Indigenous population looked nothing like it does today.
Ms. Brennan reminded everyone that the WIHS would like to see the return of the artefacts to the island. “Part of why we are here is to talk about the life and existence of this particular space and collection out of sight, to us. And what can we do to bring it home,” she said as she looked over the pictures commenting, where each artefact came from, its age, whether before or after arrival of Europeans. Questions followed. More such gatherings requested. Note: Map missing bright red: Shoshone, Ute, Yaqui, Aztec

Brian MacDonald presented a detailed story and updated information about Ardath, the Island’s “Old Castle, the origin of the “Old Survey” and land transactions around the development of Marysville all supported with screen projected pictures taken at various times and a history of “the Castle” supposedly built by David Allen Grant for his wife the Baroness de Longueuil who died in 1806, but it was built in 1828 noting some dates don’t coincide with others. Most islanders have Ardath because it burned in 1925, maybe because of “kids smoking”. Brian was able to identify many of the people in the pictures naming many of them…. Going’s, Kingsley’s, etc up to and including mystery writer Grant Allen, born 1848 who lived at Ardath, until age 13, later to live in England. WIHS President Hank Connell assisted in the presentation.
Wolfe Island’s Old House Museum, is a place anyone interested in island history should visit. It’s walking distance from the ferry dock. Well worth a visit. Map missing bright red Shoshone, Ute, Yaqui, Aztec
Coming events:*Fish Fry (Mike Mundell), Aug.4th, St. Margaret’s Hall 4:30-7pm Adults $15.00 Children 12 under $6.00 Take Out CALL (613) 385-2202 at least 30 minutes in advance, up to 5 pm on the 4th Orders can also be placed Aug.3rd For information call 613-385-2202 or email: If you can, leave car in Kingston, and walk 4,5 or 6 ferry .

Posted by M Knott at 10:12 AM
July 13, 2017
Frontenac Islands Receives Positive Audit

Frontenac Islands Receives Positive Audit KPMG representatives Rebecca Prophet and Lori Huber attended the Township of Frontenac Islands July 10th meeting to present their annual Audit Findings for the municipality. At the outset the report stated that beyond an adjustment for future costs for closing the landfill site and converting it into a transfer site, the figures for 2016 for the township were as provided by the township .

They identified a decline in the financial assets of cash of nearly $1 millions from the previous year, but with an increase of over $200,000 in the investment account. However, the receivables increased by nearly $650,000 due to the delayed collection of the HST rebate from the federal/provincial governments, since received, and over $500,000 due from the province for ferry subsidies for the past two years, not yet received. ‘Tangible’ assets (mostly equipment) increased by over $500,000, and other assets (roads, etc.,) increased by $400,000. But the depreciation of all assets continued, with use for a cost of $1.47 million for the year.

The report indicates that the township had used 56% of the “useful life” of its tangible assets by the end of last year, when compared to the average for the other Frontenac townships at 63%, and 50% for the average in Eastern Ontario. KPMG also reported that the total reserves, and reserve funds, had increased to over $4.0 millions. This was equal to some $3,339 per household, compared to $1,860 in the other Frontenac townships and $1,441 average for Eastern Ontario. Another way of considering the numbers was to compare the total reserves and reserve funds as a percentage of operating expenses in the year. For the islands it was 89%, compared to 72% for the other townships, and 52% in Eastern Ontario.

Finally they compared the average tax bill, (township property taxes only) per household and for the islands it was $1,493, for other townships $2,493 and in Eastern Ontario $2,253. One can conclude the township is in good financial shape, and must continue to replace its assets as they are used. But with solid reserves and a low tax bill, it has the financial ability to do so. Mayor Doyle expressed thanks for their report.

Moving on, Public Works Manager Rob Dillabough’s Actions Pending report, was followed by a number of questions. |One specifically regarding the purchase of one electronic speed monitoring sign (and brackets) for use by both islands. “ You don’t mind if Wolfe takes it first and keeps it through the month of August? ”, Mayor Doyle asked. “We have very heavy traffic this time of year and at different times will need it at the east and west roads to Marysville to remind people of the 40 km per hour speed limit entering and through the village.” Howe Island will have the sign in September. The $5,200 cost is in the budget. Looking through the report Councillor Springgay said, “ I have never seen so much on a plan that’s being done, and completed, so thank you Rob.” There was a chorus of thank you ‘s .
Council accepted the quotation for a new Kubota engine for the Howe Islander ferry ($9,124.94 plus HST) from Tim’s Truck and & Equipment Service. It will replace the spare that the township maintained as a backup until used when the ferry’s engine failed. In terms of better and more professional communication, the township has adopted ‘Operating Procedure 14’ for use with their two way radios, appropriate call signs, radio terms, transmissions clear, & short.
CAO Plumley will follow up on the status of XCG Waterworks study that was thought to have remained open for an extended period. It is expected water will come up during Secondary Plan discussions.
The Township will submit a claim to the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program for assistance for incremental and capital costs incurred since May 5th as a result of the flooding. Eligible costs to date exceed $64, 692.00
The dangers of renaming streets and roads came up, as doing so can affect delivery of Emergency Services. The original name of the road in question remains Evergreen Way.
Other Business: Frontenac Islands will respond to a recent provincial proposal, to regulate (re do) the municipal asset management plan, with a letter to Minister Bob Chiarelli indicating that Frontenac Islands wants an exemption to the July 24th date to submit comments , indicating that it is neither useful nor warranted for small rural municipalities, and a request that the province offer dedicated funding to conduct asset management planning.
The August Meeting of Council will be held Tues Aug.8th at 6:30 Howe Island. A Howe Island “Fares” meeting will be held Aug. 29th,, St. Philomena’s Hall.
Around Town; *Seeing is believing the number of people walking on and off the ferry, and the number of cars and service vehicles of every kind travelling to the island. . *The Village is surrounded by boats these days, docked and enjoying the sights and sounds. Lovely…
Coming Events: *Watch for Water Keepers activities. **Family Ball Tournament Aug. 4/5th ** Anglican Parish Fish Fry Aug. 4th . St. Margaret’s Hall 4:30-7 pm. (Mundell Fish). ** WI Music Festival Aug. 11& 12

Posted by M Knott at 10:06 AM
July 06, 2017
One Good Thing After Another on Wolfe Island

Wolfe Island was alive with activity, with people, with music, food , horses and most important of all, a spirit of excitement in advance of Canada Day 150. On June, 27nd (Multicultural Day in Canada), a Strawberry Social was held at both island schools , Marysville Public and Sacred Heart Catholic. According to a WI Network face book entry regarding the Strawberry Social event, “Aboriginal people celebrate Strawberry Moon in June as a time of reconciliation, a time of letting go of judgement and of self-righteousness, a time of welcoming everyone regardless of differences.” The social was a time of teaching through stories, music and dance with special guests and the ‘ Highland Metis & Fiddlers Demonstration’ . The students and staff formed two groups and joined 4 different activities organized for them. The event organizer was Kelly Maracle, Indigenous Student Support & Engagement person at the Limestone District School Board, and well known to the island community. The social gave pause for thought.
Earlier that week the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s ‘Kingston and WI Cultural Festival’ running from June 23- Aug. 12, th held their opening ceremony which included a Musical Showcase at the General Wolfe Inn, now under new ownership. Rain poured and music played. The “Lit” Festival to be held outdoors at Brophy’s Point the next morning was cancelled due to wet weather. But many activities and challenges are underway during the coming days including the Haunted Walk of Kingston, Waterfront Edition Wed. July 12th 8 pm. Check out for further events.
There was music as well at the WI Grill with people arriving off the ferry, umbrellas in hand and without vehicles. The bright lights, and the many boats anchored around the patios at the General Wolfe Inn and The Grill, cast a welcome glow. At The Grill it was an occasion for owner, Casey Fisher, (also of The Mansion in Kingston), and founder of WI Spring Craft Brewery, with brewery partner Brew Master René Ziegelmaier, to presents the brewery’s inaugural products, ‘Billy Bishop Red’, ‘Lighthouse Lager’, ‘Orange White’ and ‘Wolfenstein Cannon Ball’ ales..
The Stone Heron Gallery owned by Pat Sanford opened for another season in the Township Community Hall. The Gallery is home to a number of well known local artists. It is accessible, and open Thursday to Monday, 10 am to 5 pm.
And then it was July 1st Canada Day. The previous day and throughout the evening horse trailers and house trailers began arriving for the ‘4th Annual Round Up’ held at the WI Community Centre Grounds. This 2 day event involves two riders, sorting a handful of cattle. You don’t have to be an experienced rodeo rider or even a ranch hand to be a part of this exciting sport. It’s all about team work. The event includes a Youth Class. The grounds were full with many returning participants. This major event is planned and offered by Islanders Erin and Rob White, and family. Following a full day of events. a steak dinner was served to all the participants under the roof of the WI Rink prepared on site by a team of volunteers led by Yvonne Compton. The ‘Round Up’ is a community event and has exceeded more than 90 participants and 300 teams. It has many sponsors and is welcomed by local businesses and this rural community. And as a Rob and Erin would say, “Thanks for coming. See you next year.”
There was a Canada Day Pancake Breakfast held at the WI United Church, decked out for the occasion with Canadian flags and decorations. More than 250 people attended, including Mayor Doyle and his wife Betty. They have dropped in, or attended, all of the events which make up part of the important summer tourism season on the island
Mayor Doyle also cut the ribbon at the formal opening the General Wolfe Inn’s new waterside patio, and also welcomed the reopening of the Inn, “This place means a lot to Islanders. We are glad to see it open and welcoming again.”
On July 2nd the 37th annual WI Classic Road Race was held with close to 200 participants. It was competing with many others around Kingston. It, as well as the Kiddie Kilometre, started from the Inn’s new patio and ended as it always does by the water where medals were presented. Thanks to all the many volunteers and to the Timing Service that pitched in. The Race is a fund raiser for WI Medical Clinic. In 2018 the Classic will be held on Sunday, July 8th to avoid competing with other races.
Planning a visit to Marysville? Leave your car. Walk on the ferry. Enjoy the village, and the ferry ride home.
Around Town: There is a Wonderful Canada 150 Birthday sign at the MacDonald Farm, Road #96. The Family goes back to the May Flower ** Big Sandy Bay remains closed..* Ferry lineups are becoming longer and longer. Please, Minister Del Duca, any relief in sight?

Posted by M Knott at 10:47 AM