Connect with a joyous culture for Hispanic Heritage Month

By Cecilia Nasmith

Hispanics coming to Canada joyfully embrace their new communities.

For Hispanic Heritage Month in October, Northumberland Hispanic Cultural Club event director Emilio Ojeda hopes Canadians will take a look at the colourful, exuberant culture of their Hispanic community members.

The club is celebrating the month with events open to all that offer a look at the music, dance, film, food and other aspects of this amazing culture.

It's the second year they've organized this kind of celebration, Ojeda said in a recent interview, following the success of last year's events.

“This year, since we have help from the Federal government with funding, we are actually doing more and better events.”

The first of these on Oct. 3 is the grand opening of the exhibition in the Heritage Room at the Colborne Art Gallery (51 King St. E., Colborne), Holding On To Our Beliefs: Religion And Immigration. Admission is free at the gallery, and hours are Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. This exhibition will run through Dec. 8.

Oct. 4 brings the Latin-Licious evening to Cobourg's Craft Food House (201 Division St.) for the first time.

“Nice Spanish food and flamenco,” Ojeda summed up.

A three-course Spanish menu has been planned by Chef Z will be followed by flamenco dancing by Lesley and Michael, all for $35. There are seatings at both 6 and 8 p.m., but reservations are required.

An exciting Oct. 11 concert called Ahead Of Her Time pays tribute to 19th-century pianist-soprano-composer-conductor (and Venezuela native) Teresa Carreno. A prodigy who showed promise at a young age, she would go on to play for President Abraham Lincoln in the US and give several Canadian performances as well. The program of piano, string-quartet and choir music will be conducted by Mitchell Cox, with tenor Fabian Arciniegas as featured artist, at 6 p.m. in the Victoria Hall Concert Hall (55 King St. W., Cobourg). Tickets are available through the Concert Hall box office at $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for children up to age 12.
The Loft Cinema (upstairs at 201 Division St., Cobourg) hosts the Northumberland Hispanic Film Festival Oct. 17 through 19. The first evening offers the perspective of a struggle with disability, as Shadow Girl is screened at 7 p.m. Chilean-Canadian director Maria Teresas Larrain will be on hand for the presentation, and will offer a question-and-answer time after the film.

The second day's films – Embrace of the Serpent at 6 p.m. and Neruda at 8 p.m. - offer an historical perspective, Ojeda said, while the Oct. 19 films are more anthropological in nature. These would be The Liberator at 4 p.m. and Birds of Passage at 7 p.m., with a Penelope Cruz comedy called The Queen of Spain at 2 p.m.

The final event in the line-up is the Oct. 26 Noche Latina Gala at Victoria Hall - “a nice Spanish dinner, and then dance all night,” Ojeda said.

The music comes from a live band (Carla and Her Latin Train) as well as a DJ (Alejo from Toronto), he added, “so there's not excuse not to dance.

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m., and tickets are available through the Concert Hall box office – $50 for club members and $55 for non-members.

As well as the splashier celebrations, Ojeda said, the club is observing the month by arranging a workshop on cross-cultural references It is directed at front-line workers as well as other interested community members, as an opportunity to learn about communications from the Hispanic perspective to the Canadian.

“There is nothing like our club in the area,” he stated.

“We are very excited to be doing this.”

For more information on the club and its events, visit

Two landmarks celebrated at Dragon Boat Festival

By Cecilia Nasmith

The 2019 Northumberland United Way Dragon Boat Festival was the occasion for a double celebration Saturday – the 20th anniversary of this popular fundraising event, and the kick-off of the 50th annual United Way campaign.

Both were celebrated at the Cobourg Yacht Club, where a throng of volunteers and campaign-team members unrolled the banner announcing this year's $850,000 campaign goal.

Executive director Bobbie Dawson said that one in three Northumberland residents accesses services made possible by United Way, “and there's no telling the ripple effect of that impact.”

Along with the banner, volunteers displayed a large sign saying Local Love (with a United Way logo for the first O).

“United Way is sharing a powerful message about Local Love again this year, because we love where we live,” Dawson said.

“But local issues like homelessness, mental illness and social isolation are hurting our communities. Local issues can be easy to ignore or go unnoticed. However, by showing your local love, you can change that.

“When you donate to Northumberland United Way, your donation stays in your community. Your donation helps build a better community for everyone. That's what local love is all about.”

The Dragon Boat Festival provided a ready-made supportive crowd for the announcement, and Dawson turned the microphone over to former United Way executive director Lynda Kay, who has attended at every one of its 21 years.

That first festival day dawned rainy and foggy, she said, and six boats were delayed getting started. Then there were other years like the 2019 festival, when a beautiful summery day greeted the participants.

Kay recalled that the United Way in those days had begun its grant program in addition to supporting member agencies, and one of the first of these grants was to the Breast Cancer Survivor Thrivers group to help them purchase their first dragon boat.

Two of the United Way board members at the time, Blake Jones and Peter Delanty, wondered if a new fundraiser might be made out of this new purchase. That's how the festival began. Today it is as popular as ever, with sponsorship from the Town of Cobourg, Cobourg Dragon Boat and Canoe Club, Cameco Corporation, Cobourg Yacht Club and Lions Club of Cobourg.

Over its 20 years, Kay said, this event has raised $600,000 in support of the United Way.

And over its half-century, she added, United Way has spent about $25-million in the local community.

“A fantastic accomplishment,” she declared.

Celebrate the golden anniversary of stamp shows

By Cecilia Nasmith

Golden anniversaries are always something to celebrate and, on Sept. 28, the Cobourg Stamp Club celebrates the 50th anniversary of its annual stamp show as Copex 2019 welcomes everyone in for a look at the wonderful world of philately.

That's stamp collecting to you and me – and a passion for its adherents.

The Cobourg Stamp Club will celebrate another milestone anniversary next year as well, since it began in 1960 with stamp collectors meeting at the Market Building. They held their first show in 1966 – though club president Malcolm Pacey noted that the show wasn't repeated and made into an annual event until 1969.

Its first shows were held at St. Peter's Anglican Church and later moved to CDCI East, Pacey said, but they've had a home at the Salvation Army Citadel since the 1990s.

The Town of Cobourg has played a role in this landmark 50th show, which will welcome Mayor John Henderson and Town Crier Mandy Robinson to kick things off.

“We are also featuring a special envelope produced with a special stamp to commemorate our 50th anniversary,” club member Michael Hunt said.

“At the same time, the town has also issued an envelope with a special stamp and cancellation for the Town of Cobourg, commemorating James Cockburn, Cobourg's Father of Confederation.

“Both of these special envelopes are very limited-edition and only available at the show.”

The show will also feature a large display of stamps to be judged by the public, a club auction, members' consignment sales and eight visiting dealers with a wide variety of world-wide stamps for sale, as well as a food court and door prizes.

“We will provide a stamp evaluation service upon request,” Hunt added, saying anyone interested should contact him at 289-251-4544.

The members' own displays that they have created are also worth seeing, with a wide variety of topics – everything from Stamps Honouring the UN to Disney As Represented On Stamps.

These shows pull in people from a large geographic area, as devoted stamp collectors are apt to attend as many shows as they can get to.

Similarly, these devotees are apt to be members of more than one stamp club. Accordingly, the Cobourg Stamp Club can boast membership from Oshawa, Newtonville, Lindsay, Warkworth, Belleville, Trenton, Brighton, Grafton, Millbrook and Peterborough, as well as the Cobourg and Port Hope regulars.

Many of these philatelists have decades of membership behind them, though new members are always gladly welcomed as kindred spirits. It's an educational pursuit for young people and, as the area's immigrant population grows, it could prove to be a way for them to honour their roots (while also learning more about the history of their new homeland).

For a $10 annual membership, you have access to accumulated decades of expertise and access to the club's library of stamp catalogues – not to mention the fellowship you will enjoy on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, September through June.

Paying a visit to Copex 2019 on Sept. 28 is one way to learn more about this amazing group, as well as to introduce yourself to a new potential pastime.

Cobourg affordable-housing options expand

By Cecilia Nasmith

The affordable-housing project in Cobourg at 86 Munroe St. has had its grand opening, offering seniors and individuals with disabilities access to 31 new affordable homes in close proximity to public transit, grocery and retail amenities.

The newly completed building includes 27 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom ones (out of which five are accessible units) as well as a shared amenity room and a laundry facility. Apartments rent for about 80% of the market rent in Northumberland County.

The $5-million-plus affordable-housing project results from a shared commitment among Affordable Housing Solutions Corporation,Northumberland County Housing and Northumberland County Community and Social Services, Gay Company Limited, Town of Cobourg, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The grand opening featured Affordable Housing Solutions Corporation CEO Josef Ger, who noted that housing is becoming increasingly out of reach for seniors – especially those on fixed incomes.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, and I am elated that we were able to work together to provide qualified Cobourg seniors a new residence they can afford,” Ger said in the press release.

Through its Retirement Life Communities Group, the announcement added, Affordable Housing Soutions Corporation has been involved in two previous Cobourg projects that support seniors and those with disabilities in achieving independence through access to the appropriate housing. Retirement communities at Palisade Gardens (built in 2009) and James Club (built in 2016) already house 175 seniors.

Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said the need for the Munroe Street project can be gauged by the fact that there were more than 100 applications for these units.

“We're delighted to have satisfied the needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities in the Cobourg community, and look forward to partnering on more affordable housing projects,” Henderson said.

Looking ahead, Cobourg council has since announced a Sept. 30 public meeting at 5 p.m. to gather feedback on a proposal to amend two bylaws – the Building and Planning Fees Bylaw and the Parkland Dedication Bylaw.

The announcement said that the meeting – to be held in council chambers on the third floor east at Victoria Hall – will enable council to offer relief to affordable-housing projects in accordance with an April council motion regarding the Affordable Housing Financial Support Policy and Strategy.

Additional information on the subject, including a staff report, will be available on the public meeting agenda to be posted on the Civic Web site Sept. 27.

Questions can be directed to director of planning and development Glenn McGlashon at or 905-372-1005.

County closes Beagle Club Trails weekdays in Northumberland Forest

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland County has announced that the Beagle Club Trails in the Northumberland County Forest will be closed temporarily on weekdays to permit timber-harvesting operations.

From the time operations begin in November and throughout the winter, all Beagle Club trails located west of Beagle Club Road (including north of Dunbar Road) will be closed to users Mondays through Fridays to accommodate truck movements and logging activities. Trail users are encouraged to visit the Woodland, Carstairs and Morris trails during these closures.

During this time, the Beagle Club Trails will be open to users on Saturdays and Sundays. While county natural-heritage staff will endeavour to ensure the trails are clear on weekends, users at these times are advised to take caution and watch for debris.

Timber harvesting is an important step in maintaining a thriving and sustainable forest, the county press release said. These operations turn conifer plantations into mixed-ecology forests that are more biodiverse and disease-resistant – in turn, creating better habitats for animals and improving the overall health of the forest.

For more information on the closures, contact Natural Heritage Services at or 1-800-354-7050 ext. 2303.

For information about the county forest recreational trails, visit


On the morning of Wednesday, September 18th, YMCA Northumberland celebrated the presence of peace in our communities, and reflect on the peace building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.

The 2019 YMCA Peace Medal Breakfast, an event generously sponsored by BDO Canada LLP, marks the 31st year of the YMCA Peace Medal being awarded in Northumberland County. Over the past 30 years, YMCA Northumberland has awarded medals to 43 adults and groups, and 19 youth for their efforts to change our community and our world without any special means or resources, demonstrating the values of PEACE.

“Over the past 31 years, YMCA Northumberland has recognized individuals and groups in Northumberland County who strive every day to make a difference through their acts of PEACE,” says Eunice Kirkpatrick, Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Northumberland. “This year’s recipients show how any one of us can improve the quality of life in our local, national or global community; inspiring hope and motivating others to act.”

Two individuals and one group were presented with Peace Medals, at the YMCA Peace Medal Breakfast, recognizing their impacts and their demonstration of the values of peace.

Congratulations to this year’s YMCA Peace Medal recipients:

Lauren Zweerink (Youth Peace Medal)

Presented by Sarah Yoo, BDO Canada LLP

Shirley O’Neil (Adult Peace Medal)

Presented by Jessica Fraser-Thomas, YMCA Board


the Della Casa Family unable to attend

(Group Peace Medal)

Presented by Arlene Howells, YMCA Global Initiatives

Committee Member

Thank you to La Jeuness Choir for opening and closing the celebration and guest speaker, Christian Harvey, Director and founder of Warming Room Community Ministries.

The celebration of Peace continues on Saturday, September 21st with International Day of Peace and November 16th to 23rd with YMCA Peace Week.

Please visit for more information on Peace Week events

Talking to Port Hope Panthers' forwards Miranda and Harris

It will be like old home week when the Port Hope Panthers open their regular season in Napanee Friday night.

George Miranda returns to Port Hope after 2-plus seasons with the Cobourg Cougars while Cam Harris rejoins the Panthers after winning a provincial championship with Napanee last season. Northumberland 89.7's Pete Campbell had a chance to speak to both forwards prior to the season opener.

Port Hope Council Approves Agreement on 65 Ward Street

On Tuesday night, Port Hope Council received a report from staff which included the legal agreement that allows Southbridge Health Care to proceed with the initial conditions for the development of the property at Ward Street and Hope Street South.

Southbridge will be required to provide the Municipality of Port Hope all documentation that will allow the Municipality to issue the necessary approvals for demolition of any of the buildings - the initial cottage hospital, the power house, and the hospital building located at 65 Ward Street. In addition, site plans are to be submitted, submissions for the issuance of building and demolition permits completed, that all ownership documents are in order to the satisfaction of the Municipality and that the construction manager has all the necessary executed agreements executed for the project.

In return, the Municipality agrees to a withdrawal of the Notice of Intention to Designate the hospital building known as 65 Ward Street once Southbridge has completed all their requirements and made the necessary monetary payments in relation to the project.

The agreement must be completed or substantially in progress by December 31, 2020 (the termination date).

Northumberland 89.7 has received the following response from Southbridge Health Care's Patrick Moore, Director of Communications, Marketing, Stakeholder, and Government Relations:

"Of course we are pleased to be working together with the Municipality to bring state-of-the-art long-term care to Port Hope. This decision was only possible due to the hard work from everyone involved. As we move through this process, we expect our partnership to grow. We will now begin moving forward and expect no issues in meeting or exceeding the date specified in the contract. We look forward to building, in partnership with the Municipality, a long-term care home of which Port Hope can be proud."