Downtown Port Hope welcomes innovative female entrepreneurs

By Cecilia Nasmith

If the area around 90 to 94 Walton St, in Port Hope seemed especially jubilant Saturday, it was because the two businesses at those addresses were celebrating their grand opening in a big way.

Dane and Jute (94 Walton St.) had an afternoon of refreshments and giveaways to mark the opening of the fine-flooring company, while Nick's (90 Walton St.) rocked into the evening to show off their new tattoo parlour with cash bar, music from DJ Madcat and live performances by Cale Crow and Jeff Biggar.

From left, Port Hope Deputy Mayor Les Andrews, Dane & Jute owner Jasmine Dickson, Heritage Business Improvement Area manager Jamie Byers, MPP representative Paige Wiggins and Port Hope & District Chamber of Commerce representative Maria Papaidannoy-Duk cut the ribbon at the business's grand opening

The festivities followed Friday ribbon cuttings at both locations.

Jute and Dane is run by Jasmine Dickson - daughter of Cindy and Russell Dickson who have been part of a local family-run flooring business for decades, Among those dignitaries congratulating the younger Dickson was Port Hope Deputy Mayor Les Andrews, a long-time loyal Dickson customer.

Dickson explained the unusual name of her new store, starting with Dane. This is in honour of the Great Dane she had for five years who accompanied her everywhere. She recently had to put him down, but intends to get into the fostering of Great Danes.

As for the other half of the name, she said, “Jute is a natural carpet fibre, and I am specializing in wools and sisals.”

From left, Port Hope Deputy Mayor Les Andrews, MPP representative Paige Wiggins, Nick's staffer Gerry Barnes and owner Nickola Pandelides, HBIA manager Jamie Byers and Port Hope & District Chamber of Commerce representative Maria Papaidannoy-Duk cut the ribbon at Nick's grand opening Friday

Nick's name had obvious origins, since it is owned by Nickola Pandelides – who has already had a number of unofficial greeters offering words of welcome and even flowers to the downtown newcomer.

“I have lived in Vancouver, Toronto, Europe, and never had such a warm welcoming,” she declared.

“It's always exciting to have young professionals, younger people who want to put down roots in this awesome community,” Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce chief administrative officer Brenda Whitehead said.

Chamber board representative Maria Papaidannoy-Duk – a fellow downtown merchant – agreed it's always a delight to see a woman open a business downtown.

“It's so amazing,” she said.

“We need more of that. We need more inspiration in our lives, and you are an inspiration.”

Paige Wiggins represented Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini in offering congratulations to both entrepreneurs – and neighbourly greetings, since the constituency office is only as far away as Peter Street.

Heritage Business Improvement Area manager Jamie Byers told both women they had chosen an awesome place to be, giving each an invitation to join the HBIA, as well as a helpful members' handbook.

She also encouraged both to take part in the big Oct. 25 downtown trick-or-treat celebration. Between 5 and 7 p.m., 18 downtown businesses (at last count) will be welcoming young trick-or-treaters into their premises.

Then, at 7 p.m., Pharmasave will hold a costume parade with prizes.

“Just keeping our littlest community members involved in our downtown,” Byers said.

Pemberton extension gets a big provincial boost

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini spoke at Trade Tech Industries in the Port Hope Municipal Business Park Friday afternoon to announce a successful conclusion to months of working with the municipality and Business Park firms – a $400,000 grant toward the completion of the Pemberton Drive access to the business park.

As this is a $1.568-million project, Piccini added, the Eastern Ontario Development Fund grant covers 26.5% of its cost.

The MPP is proud of the province having created more than 272,000 jobs since taking office in June 2018. Friday's announcement stands to expand that number through critical infrastructure support that, as Piccini put it, unlocks the potential for new development.

Traffic exiting Highway 401 at Welcome and approaching the business park – from passenger cars to semis – must travel almost a kilometre past a busy plaza that includes a Tim Hortons as well as a large hardware and grocery store – to turn left at Jocelyn Street. Then another left turn at Henderson Street is necessary.

Once Pemberton Drive is completed, it will be a direct route to the business park much closer to the 401 (that does not go past the busy plaza at all).

It makes for more efficient vehicular service to the business park, both to and from Highway 401, Piccini pointed out,

Port Hope Mayor and acting county warden Bob Sanderson pointed out another consideration – increased safety on a busy street corner with that much of the traffic diverted.

Port Hope communications and community-engagement co-ordinator Kate Ingram distributed an overview of the business park.

At present Trade Tech, a heavy-machines industry, occupies two of three lots that have been developed, the other being Port Hope Health Centre . Five are under development and three remain available.

Under development are two more Port Hope Health Centres, Sigus Heavy Machinery and a Hampton Inn.

As of this fall, the business park has produced $800,000 in development charges, $140,000 in permit fees and $300,000 in annual municipal taxes, as well as retaining 88 existing jobs and providing 60 to 80 health-care jobs and 42 to 60 industrial and accommodation-related jobs by 2020.

“The Pemberton Road extension and storm-water management will support future employment, commercial and industrial growth,” the press release said.

Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce chief administrative officer Brenda Whitehead said that, while the Pemberton extension will strengthen the manufacturing sector and increase the vibrancy of the business community, the hotel is especially good news. This kind of facility offers the potential for more business travel and conferences.

“It really is very exciting for the business community and for us as a chamber, as well as a municipality,” Whitehead said.

While Sanderon said the municipality would have come up with the $1.5-million for the Pemberton extension because it is a necessary project, Friday's announcement was welcome news.

“Nobody knows how much work David is doing to get things done, and we are seeing the fruition of that,” Sanderson said.

“It's such a pleasure to be in my home town to make this announcement,” Piccini said.

“This is what we are about – to create jobs in this community and create wealth to reinvest in vital social services we need to keep our community vibrant.”

Invitation is out for a Heritage fireside chat and workshop

By Cecilia Nasmith

The Town of Cobourg and its Heritage Advisory Committee invite you to a free fireside chat and workshop Oct. 26 at Venture 13.

Held in the lecture hall of the innovation-and-entrepreneurship centre at 739 D'Arcy St. from 1 to 4 p.m., this event has as its theme What Is Heritage. Speakers include a variety of industry experts, including government officials in planning and archaeology as well as local heritage-property owners.

There is also a Fireside Chat panel discussion on the changing view of what is considered heritage in the 21st century, with panelists that include property owners Marilyn Barefoot and Bill Verner, Cobourg's heritage planner Dave Johnson, and Toronto archaeology department project manager Alison Torrie-Lapaire.

Following the panel presentation, Heritage Point Construction owner Keith Colterman will offer a hands-on demonstration of preservation-and-repair methods for the fabric of heritage buildings.

To register for the event (or for further information), visit

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Seen with the new mammography machine now in use by team members of the Northumberland Hills Hospital Clay & Elaine Elliott Women's Health Centre are (from left) ultrasound technologist Kate Workman, MRTs Brian Barter and Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, Ontario Breast Screening Program client Sophia Van Nikkelen-Kuyper, senior mammography technologist Jennifer Fudge, diagnostic-imaging clerk Laura Stitt and diagnostic-imaging clerk (and NHH auxiliary volunteer) Rita Rosinski.

By Cecilia Nasmith

A year after her lumpectomy following a diagnosis of stage two breast cancer, Sophia Van Nikkelen-Kuyper's check-up has shown both breasts to be cancer-free.

Van Nikkelen-Kuyper shared her story in a Northumberland Hills Hospital press release on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month to encourage others – both women and men – to get checked.

Van Nikkelen-Kuyper started screening at NHH through the Ontario Breast Screening Program, a province-wide organized cancer-screening program managed by Cancer Care Ontario that provides high-quality breast-cancer screening throughout the province.

At NHH, the program operates both as an OBSP clinic and an assessment site, with all services under one roof, including a full diagnostic-imaging department, radiologists available to read scans, biopsy facilities, a surgical-services program and a chemotherapy clinic. The diagnostic-imaging department conducts some 6,200 mammography exams each year, almost two-thirds of which are through OBSP.

Originally from South Africa, Van Nikkelen-Kuyper has lived in Canada for 34 years (and had been a Northumberland resident for four). She's lived a healthy life – was a half-marathon runner with no previous diagnoses of serious illness. At age 50, the age recommended for most women, she began going for regular mammography exams.

After a 2017 scan by senior mammography technologist Jennifer Fudge, a follow-up ultrasound was conducted and she was asked to come back six months later for another scan. At this next appointment, a biopsy was recommended. The procedure confirmed a diagnosis of breast cancer.

During this time, her husband was receiving cancer treatment at NHH, making for an especially stressful and anxious time.

“The care I received at NHH was phenomenal,” Van Nikkelen-Kuyper said in the press release.

“All of the staff were amazing, and everything ran like clockwork.”

On the day of her husband's funeral, Van Nikkelen-Kuyper met with her surgeon, Dr. Alison Tilley. One month later, Dr. Tilley performed her lumpectomy.

Today she is cancer-free and committed to regular screening. She hopes her story will highlight the importance of OBSP, and is grateful to have this program and subsequent supports so close to her in the community.

Fudge noted that the size of the hospital lends itself to great teamwork.

“We have open, established communications with our radiologists and our surgeons, and can easily call on other departments or pull others in with needed,” she said.
“It's a fluid process.”

Van Nikkelen-Kuyper loves the fact that anyone walking into NHH is greeted by a friendly face.

“That, combined with the outstanding care from everyone, makes you feel almost at home during each visit,” she said.
“Having access to that kind of care in our community makes such a difference – having to travel would only add more stress to an already stressful time.”

To support the continued good work of the Clay & Elaine Elliott Women's Health Centre at NHH, two October fundraisers are planned.
Curves is selling $10 Punch Out Breast Cancer Cards, good for 10 workouts throughout the month.

And Boston Pizza is hosting a Stand Up To Breast Cancer night Oct. 23 from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Proceeds from events like these help purchase much-needed medical equipment, like the state-of-the-art GE Sonographe Pristina mammography unit that was purchased in 2018 by funds raised through the NHH Foundation.

The OBSP recommendation is that most women aged 50 to 74 should have mammography screening every two years, as studies show that regular mammograms lower the risk of dying from breast cancer within this age group.

For women confirmed to be at high rish of developing breast cancer, the OBSP recommends ore frequent screening, with yearly mammograms and breast MRI from ages 30 to 69.

Any woman aged 50 to 74 can self-refer to OBSP without a doctor's referral required. Once in OBSP, a patient will get notifications and reminders for recommended checks.

For more information, visit or https:/

Cornerstone calls for HomeShare participants

By Cecilia Nasmith

Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre has issued a call for participants in their innovative housing program HomeShare Northumberland.

The press release said the program is currently in need of females over the age of 18 who have a home with a spare room, as well as those who are looking for safe and affordable housing, to participate in the matching process.

HomeShare connects two unrelated people to share a home and their lives for their mutual benefit – not for financial gain but in a spirit of companionship and mutual support.

It differs from arranging a live-in companion for oneself in that HomeShare's focus is on a professionally run program which skillfully matches the two people involved. Supported by a HomeShare worker, a HomeProvider with a spare room and living space can offer free or low-cost accommodation to another person (the HomeSharer) in exchange for an agreed level of support.

The model was originated 30 years ago to benefit older people who needed support in order to live independently, the press release said. But the concept is very flexible and can be adapted to meet local needs and circumstances. In Northumberland, any single woman over the age of 18 can apply to be a HomeProvider or a HomeSharer.

HomeProviders are single women over the age of 18 living independently at home, in a condo or renting an apartment, who has a spare bedroom and living space.

HomeSharers are women over the age of 18 who are flexible, and want to be helpful and live well with others.

Both are able to split household responsibilities and are interested in companionship. It can be of particular benefit to those who are elderly, experiencing mobility challenges or feeling isolated.

It is also important to remember to take the time through the application and matching process to get it right.

It's a safe and secure process, with the full support of the HomeShare worker throughout and both parties subject to criminal-records checks, reference checks and interviews.

The press release included the comments of a former HomeProvider in the program, who said the experience meant a lot to her.

“I was supported by my match, I was able to stay in my home longer, and I had someone that cared about me. It was nice not to be alone,” she said.

A former HomeSharer was also quoted as finding the experience beneficial.

“I was given a good safe place to live and I was able to help my match, who was a very lonely person. This program works and is very worthwhile,” she said.

Direct benefits to HomeProviders include help with daily living, companionship and the security of having someone in the house (especially at night). HomeSharing alleviates the loneliness that is an acknowledged issue in many societies. There are even recorded instances of HomeSharers saving lives by calling emergency services.

HomeSharers benefit directly by saving on their rent. Their room may be completely free of charge, or they may pay a modest rental well below commercial rates.

Other benefits include breaking down the barriers between generations or cultures, fostering mutual understanding and tolerance.

And the benefit goes beyond the two directly involved parties. Families of older people speak of the reassurance that a loved one has someone int he house to look after their security and welfare. Families of young HomeSharers say they feel reassured that their loved one has decent accommodations and a surrogate parent or grandparent to take an interest in their lives.

Public services also benefit. HomeShare has been known to reduce demand on health services and delay the need for such costly services as residential care for older people. As well, it is an innovative solution that creates access to additional housing stock that might otherwise be unavailable.

“It is about the relationship and companionship between two people based on respect, personal choice and maintaining dignity,” the press release said.

For anyone interested in learning more, the first step is to contact HomeShare Northumberland worker Deb Racine at 905-372-1545 or

“Applying is easy,” Racine said.

“Applications are available on-line at or by contacting me directly.”

Pet licensing goes electronic

By Cecilia Nasmith

The way the Town of Cobourg issues dog tags is changing, following a staff report to this week's committee-of-the-whole council meeting from licensing officer Angela Stewart.

Stewart recommended entering into an agreement with DOCUPET Pet Licensing Services to assist in the administration of this service while ensuring greater compliance (not to mention increased revenues and decreased administration costs).

Changes recommended include eliminating the early-bird discount on the fees of $20 for a spayed or neutered animal and $35 otherwise – a move that brings the town into line with the policies of neighbouring municipalities.

As well, to ensure each registration is valid for a full 365 days, Stewart recommends a 365-day system to replace the calendar-year system.

More convenience in effecting registrations will be offered to pet owners, she added, changing the current system that has the dog tags available only from Victoria Hall, Municipal Animal Services or Summer Commissioned Dog Tag Sales Agents. DOCUPET will offer the ability to license and renew dog tags on-line, over the counter, by phone, by mail. and at vendors and veterinarian clinics.

As well, they offer a free on-line Lost Pet service.

DOCUPET is already in use in a number of municipalities, Stewart said, including Kingston, Guelph and Ajax. They have quoted Cobourg a fee of $3.91 per dog tag license, which includes the cost of the tag, the administration, the registration and payment process, and the cost of mailing the dog tag to the customer.

Council voted to enter into an agreement with DOCUPET.

Cobourg hopes for grant to accelerate projects

By Cecilia Nasmith

Cobourg is hoping to take advantage of a unique opportunity in applying for two projects to the Canada Infrastructure Program, Community, Culture and Recreation Funding Stream.

The two projects are $1.65-million in development costs for Victoria Square (with the municipal portion being $0.45-million) and repairs and enhancements to Cobourg's harbour. This work includes the east pier, and the municipal portion of the $10.6-million project would be about $2.8-million.

At this week's committee-of-the-whole meeting of council, director of community services Dean Hustwick spotlighted why it is a special opportunity. The work would not have to be completed until 2027 or 2028, Hustwick said, and the Federal portion of the grant is 40% rather than the traditional one-third (which, in this case, is the provincial portion).

On the other hand, he noted, competition for the limited funds is fierce.

“We will have to pay these expenses whether we get the grand or not,” he warned.

Work on the harbour will not wait, he noted.

“The north wall is probably the most deteriorated. It could be required perhaps to shut down the parking lot. And $2-million is estimated just for the north wall.

“There are a lot of very serious commitments, so certainly we hope to get the grant.

“Victoria Square is certainly more of an optional project, but it's one we have been working on for 20 years. This is a significant opportunity to completely transform the downtown for a generation.

“If we are successful, I think we will be very fortunate.”

Cobourg campground update details debated

By Cecilia Nasmith

The shape of Cobourg's campground in coming years is becoming clear as council sifts through public input to deliver preferred options.

At this week's committee-of-the-whole meeting, Councillor Emily Chorley separated essential from optional features based on this feedback in a motion that called for the procurement of engineering and other professional services to develop drawings, costs and tender documents for what she termed the essential features of the project – upgrades to such services as water, sanitary and electrical, service-building upgrades, registration-system upgrades, and an increase to rates and revision of policies.

Remaining features were termed optional in her motion, with preliminary work and costings for these to be done separately. These include general landscaping improvements, extending or expanding operations with the idea of year-round use, a multi-use trail around the perimeter of the grounds, and a review and possible adjustment of the configuration of the campground.

Mayor John Henderson asked if this last option could be reclassified as essential. Henderson argued this should best be done before service-building upgrades and service upgrades so the upgrades can conform to the revised layout. Chorley agreed it was a good suggestion.

Councillor Brian Darling noted that a buffer between the campground and the boardwalk had been contemplated but had not been listed in either essential or optional enhancements.

“I felt it wasn't well received through the public-engagement process,” Chorley noted.

“We had people who felt it was unnecessary, and it was over $400,000 – one of the most costly improvements. And I also have concerns if it would be viable anymore because we are battling high water levels, and it didn't make sense to move the boardwalk over closer to the waterline.”

It would also have risked reducing space available in the campground, director of community services Dean Hustwick added, when space is already at a premium.

“That would jeopardize the viability of the campground,” Hustwick warned.

Henderson played devil's advocate over the service-building upgrade issue, noting that council will be dealing with the nearby Centennial Pool building reaching the end of its useful life in a handful of years – and which already has inadequate restroom facilities. Could services such as this be part of the upgrade, he wondered, in a multi-purpose semi-public building.

“We have been upgrading that trailer-park washroom since I have been here,” he said.

“I have been here 35 years.”

“I think the intention was replacement of the facility, not an enhancement,” Hustwick said.

“The Waterfront Plan includes a recommendation for the ultimate replacement of the canteen building-washroom facility. We could certainly look at the options.”

One of the challenges, however, is the privacy of the campers who – in fact – are the town's customers. They have the right to privacy, and this must be kept in mind in any configuration of a new service building.

“I am open to looking at conceptual drawings with different options,” Chorley allowed.

“It might be an idea to replace the small reception building and, in that location, build a joint washroom-reception block.”

“A minor comment – could we put a joint-service building upgrade in the motion to cover that?” Henderson asked.

“Staff could determine what that might look like for council's consideration.”

Chorley reworded that option to make it a service-building upgrade and potential new joint-services building option.