General News

September:

January 3, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Caledon woman employs spirit of the Roughriders in cancer battle

Written by Scott Taylor

Possessing a fierce spirit and a bright outlook, a Caledon woman diagnosed last year with breast cancer is going to walk around Toronto to help others and herself. Barbara Karasiuk, 72, was diagnosed in August 2017. Asked what the first reaction to hearing such news is, she replied, “Fear. That’s the first thing that goes through your mind because when you’re first diagnosed you don’t know what stage it is or anything, and with my family history I knew it wasn’t good. Mine was Stage 1, thank God they caught it early. Karasiuk had the odds stacked against her from the beginning. The relentless cancer gene BRCA2 runs in her family on her father’s side. Cousins, aunts, a sister and her son have all been diagnosed with cancer. “It’s on my dad’s side, the cancer gene, we know that,” she said. “But my son at least didn’t have the BRCA2 gene, so thank God for that. It’s the BRCA2 gene that’s the real killer. Unfortunately, I do have it and my sister has it. The BRCA2 gene seems to affect the women more, obviously.” According to the National Cancer Institute, people who have inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 tend to develop breast and ovarian cancers at younger ages than people who do not have these mutations. A harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation can be inherited from a person’s mother or father. “Not everyone has been tested, but I did also have one cousin and two aunts, so there you go. It’s all on my father’s side and it’s been passed down, but we’re all hoping we can fight this thing,” Karasiuk said. “After I was diagnosed, I went back (home) to Saskatchewan to visit everybody and I always go to my favourite store there, which is the Saskatchewan Roughriders store and I walked in and they had these beautiful pink hats that had just come out for breast cancer. I said, ‘you know what, I have to have one of those hats.’ So I bought one for myself.” When she returned, she started to think of what she could do “because I needed a goal to get myself through the next few months. I knew it was going to be difficult with chemo, radiation, you name it, and I happened upon the Rexall OneWalk to Conquer Cancer and I thought what better way of doing something for other people going through this, plus it was going to help me, so I formed a team and the team was called the Roughriders.” Now with at least six walks under her belt, Karasiuk recalls the first one like it was yesterday, even though heavy doses of chemotherapy and radiation have decreased her memory and concentration, at least for now. “The first walk I ever did was when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was when they just came out with the 60-km breast cancer walk. It was two days and we did 30 km one day and 30 km the next. We camped out in those blue tents at Downsview Airport. Overall, I’ve done six (walks) for sure and it might have been as many as eight.” Karasiuk has gone as far as contacting the actual Saskatchewan Roughriders football team to tell them about she and her team are commemorating them. “They know who we are and they know what we’re doing,” she said. “They’ve seen our shirts and our hats.” While there hasn’t been an official offer to recognize the “Caledon Roughriders” at a game, that’s something that still could happen, perhaps with some gentle nudging from the good people at Rexall. Meanwhile, she and her team are ready, willing, and — happily — able to put on their shoes to go for a walk around the city of Toronto to benefit the Princess Margaret Foundation this weekend. For the last 15 years, the OneWalk has raised over $168 million for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and is The Princess Margaret’s next generation fundraiser. “Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the top five cancer research centres in the world, leading the way in Personalized Cancer Medicine and the funds raised through the Rexall OneWalk to Conquer Cancer are vital to continue to support breakthrough research, world leading clinical enhancements and supportive care programs for patients throughout their cancer journey,” said Karen Adams, associate vice-president of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. “In its 16th year, funds raised through the Walk have been transformational for our research engine but we need the community to continue to walk and raise crucial dollars, to support our mission of conquering cancer in our lifetime.” Following the Walk, and in true Karasiuk fashion, she plans to start riding the trails of Caledon on her bike.

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Bolton BIA survives, but future uncertain

Written by Scott Taylor

By a razor-thin margin, Bolton business owners have voted to continue the Bolton Business Improvement Area rather than disband it. The Town of Caledon’s General Committee received a request from the Bolton Business Improvement Area (BIA) last May to send notices to property owners, and from that response to determine if the organization remains or disbands. Many members of the organization complained the cost of membership, which is obligatory, is too high for the small amount of benefits they receive. Under the province’s Municipal Act, the Town of Caledon was compelled to conduct an assessment to see if the BIA should be disbanded. For the BIA to disband, more than half its members representing at least half of the tax levies request it. “The board had asked the Town to start that process because we had heard there was a lot of discontent about the BIA and the cost of it and is it really, helping my business, etcetera,” said Bolton BIA chair and Bolton lawyer Jean Carberry. “So there is a process under the Municipal Act where the Town can canvas members to find what their opinion is. To me, it’s unfortunate the way the Municipal Act sets it up in that only the people who do not want the BIA need to respond.” The result was about 48 percent of the members voting for an end to the BIA, but at least 50 percent of those responding is required to quash the organization. With such a sharp division, the question now is where this leaves the BIA going forward. “The BIA continues, there’s an election for the board happens around the same time of the municipal elections every four years . . . and the BIA will carry on,” she said. “To me, whoever it is on the board going forward should very mindful of the fact that almost half of the members want no part of it, and so they really should be trying to keep the costs down and they should be aiming a lot more for partnering a lot more with corporate sponsors, as the organizers of Midnight Madness did last month so that the whole onus of paying for these events doesn’t fall on a small group of downtown business owners.” Carberry had critical words for the Town of Caledon and what she described as its disconnect with the BIA. “I think the Town of Caledon needs to get more involved in partnering with the BIA and organizing events and undertaking things. For example, I know it’s a much larger municipality, but Toronto has a whole department that works with the various BIAs within their jurisdiction and contributes both financially and with manpower in organizing events. The Town of Caledon really does nothing.” Carberry said the watering and fertilizing of the plants downtown costs a whopping $10,000. “We had asked the Town to help with that because they have a truck that goes around and waters other plants and they didn’t even get back to me. I’ve asked that two or three times.” In an email, Town of Caledon spokesman Tony Maxwell took issue with Carberry’s accusations. “The Town of Caledon has enjoyed a good working relationship with the Bolton BIA and has worked cooperatively to resolve various issues that have come up within the BIA area. Town of Caledon staff are always willing to meet and discuss potential areas of cooperation. “Part of a Business Improvement Area’s mandate is “to organize, finance, and carry out physical improvements and promote economic development in their district.” The Bolton BIA has a budget for the purpose of beautification of its streetscape and that budget includes funding for the watering, planting and upkeep of its planters.” Carberry said she’s unsure at this time if she will run again for BIA chair this fall.

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Never giving up on Haiti

Written by Kira Wronska Dorward

“There are setbacks, there is joy, there is a lot of work.” This is how Deb McKelvey describes running her charity in Haiti, Hope for People-Fodhiva Inc. For the past seven years, the Caledon-based Speech-Language Pathologist and owner of a clinic called Let’s Talk Guelph, Inc. and her husband Simon Trillwood, owner and president of export/protective packaging company Topax, have worked tirelessly to establish and maintain their orphanage in a town called Thomaseau, where children from the extremely poor mountain region of Haiti are offered safety, shelter, food and an education- the last of which is a dream beyond most people’s imagining in the small Central-American island nation. The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti slid further into poverty after a devastating earthquake in 2010. “A lot of people think that Haiti is poor because of the earthquake. It was poor before,” says Deb. However, the earthquake brought much-needed attention to the country, which shares its island with its richer cousin, the Dominican Republic. Many aid organizations became involved with rebuilding the troubled nation, which had been in dire straits before natural disaster, and where people live now on a dollar a day. Deb took their first trip to the island to contribute, as she had been involved in missionary work for the past few decades. There they met a family struggling to keep a group of children safe and alive, and their faces stayed in Deb’s memory long after her return to Canada. Shocked by the extreme poverty and corruption so prevalent in Haiti, she wanted never to go back. However, the faces of those children persisted in her mind, and she reached “a tee in the road where you either say yes or no.” So, this time bringing her husband Simon, Deb flew back, and thus Hope for People began. In the past seven years, the couple’s non-profit organization has worked to build the infrastructure that shelters and educates forty orphans at Fodhiva — which means “house of God” in Creole. With dedication and persistence, the orphanage and school now features a well for safe drinking water — most important for survival in Haiti, dormitories built from the ground up, a six-classroom school for 200 students, which had before been an empty plot of land where informal classes were held, a full kitchen, toilets, showers, and a 10-foot security wall, essential in Haiti. Deb describes Haitians as a proud, hard-working people, but less than one in six children receive a third-grade level education. Education, she says, is essential to building a better society and future for Haiti- and unlike in Canada where such a thing is taken for granted, “kids beg to be educated.” Haitians, she believes, “need our help with infrastructure. Every kid deserves a safe place to eat, a safe place to sleep, a place to be educated. These are things we don’t think about in this country. How many people usually think about if they are going to eat supper?” The main objective of Hope for People is to improve the community, but primarily to see these 40 children in the Fodhiva orphanage supported through high school and beyond, whether that means trade school or some other form of higher education. Raising funds, however, is always a chore. The organization is dependent on charitable donations at fundraisers, of which one is taking place in the form of a Barn Party this Saturday, Sept. 15th at Briardale Farms on Glenn Haffy Road. This annual event begins at 3:30 p.m. and features Phantom Ridge, performing Folk and Celtic Sound. Dinner, served at 5:30, will feature homemade burgers, chilli, pop/juice and corn. Guests are asked to bring a salad or desert to share, and BYOB. In addition to entertainment and food, limited Haitian Metal Art and fresh Briardale produce and preserves will be for sale. All proceeds will go to support the Fodhiva Orphanage. Suggested donations of $25 per person are collected at the party (cheques can be made out to “Hope for People”), with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the purchase of food and construction equipment for the orphanage. If you are interested in coming, RSVP to either simon.trillwood@topax.com or deb@letstalkguelp.ca, so that adequate amounts of food can be prepared. For those wishing to support Hope for People that are unable to make the Barn Party, visit the organization’s homepage, www.hopeforpeople.ca, where they can make a donation through Paypal. Hope for People is also always looking for volunteers to either join the team or help with charitable events. School supply donations are also always welcome.

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Good news for Badlands as tourist spot opens again

Written by Scott Taylor

The Cheltenham Badlands will re-open to visitors Saturday (Sept. 22). The popular tourist attraction was closed in 2015 for its own protection due to overwhelming demand by people drawn to the red clay and rolling, rugged terrain. The re-opened site will feature new trails and a new boardwalk, to allow for viewing of the unique and scenic Badlands terrain. Access to the property has been enhanced and made safer with a series of new features and operational procedures, including paid parking and staff during peak visitation. The Ontario Heritage Trust, owner of the property, is working in partnership with Credit Valley Conservation to provide daily operational oversight to the property. The following is a quick Q&A with Ontario Heritage Trust marketing and business development manager Kelly Johnston about the Badlands. Q: What was the full reason behind the closure? A: The growth in popularity of the site had resulted in several public safety and conservation issues. The thousands of individuals who were visiting the site each year were faced with dangerous conditions stemming from traffic congestion along Olde Baseline Road, due to a lack of dedicated parking facilities at or near the site. Additionally, the growth in visitation to the site resulted in significant and measurable erosional impact that threatened the rugged topography of the Badlands. Each of the thousands of visitors who set foot on the Badlands was causing irreversible damage. The property was closed in 2015 to protect the sensitive red shale surface of the Badlands from further damage, and to provide time for the construction of a new parking lot and other visitor infrastructure to improve traffic safety and protect the shale feature. Q; What makes the Cheltenham Badlands such a draw to tourists? A: The Cheltenham Badlands is one of Ontario’s geological treasuresand one of the best examples of Badlands topography in the province. This impressive landscape in Caledon was first formed at the base of an ancient sea over 400 million years ago and was exposed in the early 1900s. The site is a provincially significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and features 1.4 km of the optimum route of the Bruce Trail. The Cheltenham Badlands is one of the most recognizable and visited natural heritage landmarks in southern Ontario. Q: Why is it so important to protect, but still make it a place for tourists to visit? A: In 2002, the Ontario Heritage Trust acquired the Cheltenham Badlands property to protect the rare and provincially significant topography of the site, as well as to permanently protect 1.4 km of the optimum route of the Bruce Trail. An important part of the Trust’s mandate is to not only protect and conserve provincially significant heritage property, but also to ensure that Ontario’s heritage is shared and interpreted for the benefit of the public.

Artist, filmmaker brings the epic Arctic back to Caledon

Written by Constance Scrafield

Artist extraordinaire, Caledon Walk Of Fame inductee, Cory Trépanier, is getting very warm revues to his 50 – plus painting collection of Glaciers and the stupendous scenery in the Canadian far north – the Arctic. Over a span of ten years, Mr. Trépanier has made four remarkable tours of the Canadian East and West Arctic. During his travels, as filmmaker, he documented his trips, his marches up hills to sit and sketch, and make study paintings of the vistas that swept before him. These sketches and study paintings would become the paintings that are now a travelling museum of paintings, visiting cities across the United Sates and going to Monaco next year. We had the chance to speak to Mr Trépanier, calling from Montana, where his Into The Arctic exhibition is on show at the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana. “They painted all the walls especially for this exhibition,” he told us. In fact, the subtle dark grey the museum chose for the background to the paintings is perfect, for they are portrayals of shining white icebergs, towering and sculpted; barren but wonderful mountain peaks, their intense browns, laced in places with reds and brown’s many tones; broad landscapes, streaked with water, land and ice, each taking their turn in the artist’s attention. None of the paintings hold the anticipated aspects of landscapes; they all feature the majestic ruggedness of the northern most edges of this country. Only the north looks like this; only here does the night sky light up with the northern Aurora. Mr. Trépanier’s paintings are exactly what he saw, what the artist saw: “bridging science with art” was a comment on his website. “Some of the paintings are lent by my patrons,” said Mr Trépanier. “The central painting is 15 feet long, called the Great Glacier. “The tour director in the museum is a real pro. The crate for the painting, with the painting, weigh about 1,000 pounds. They lift it with wires. When we were first touring, we didn’t have all this.” He went to talk about recent events: “I went to the Arctic this summer. I did four expeditions – the original tour plan was two. My 19-year-old daughter, Sydney went with me this time– that was nice. She’s a model. She carried her own 75 pound back pack. We were on Baffin Island, at an incredibly beautiful glacier. She brought a roll of red material and we did a shot of her modelling this in her bare feet! It was a hard-earned photo.” He told us, “Prince Albert II [of Monaco] has an interest in this. We showed the last of the films in Monaco. “We had met the Ambassador at an exhibition of James Cameron’s in Toronto. I gave her a Giclee of one of my Arctic paintings and spent some time talking to her. Then, we were invited to come and show the film in Monaco.” This way, the first screening of Into The Arctic 3- The Last Chapter was shown at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, where Mr. Trépanier met Prince Albert II. “The exhibition of the paintings is going to go to Monaco, as the European Premier later this year.” He talked about the changes to the environment. “We realize what’s happening. In 2006, there wasn’t as much talk about the environmental effects on the north. My tour was to paint and spend time with the Inuits, one on one. They tell me about the changes – now we raise greater awareness. “The starting point for caring for a place is you gotta love it,” he offered. “Bringing the exhibition down here, they’re really interested and they’ll come to see it.” He began his wilderness painting with a trip to the rugged northern shore of Lake Superior and Georgian Bay for one month each season, with his wife, Janet, and their daughters, then two and five years old. Yet, the far north, the Arctic, called to him once he had whetted his appetite for the startling beauty of the more northern landscape. It is a sizeable cost to travel to the Arctic and Mr. Trépanier’s plans to voyage several thousand kilometres across, eventually, the entire Canadian Arctic. “I thought, if I’m ever going to follow my passion – it has to be now. When we first went to the Arctic in 2006, we took our daughters.” In order to make this happen, he went to the people who were already collecting his works, from his travels to Lake Superior and other scenes. He made a proposal to them: that they would fund his Arctic trips by buying, sight unseen, the paintings he would produce from his Arctic travels. “Fifteen of our collectors bought painting sight unseen,” he told us: “If they had not shown faith in me, if we were to take the commitment to do three tours – if these people showed their faith in me, I had to have faith in myself.” That faith was honoured and, while the work was tremendous so were the rewards. Following the first expedition, in 2006, he began to look for sponsors to become involved in what he was doing, with a long term view of what he could achieve. “I started calling airlines in the north to be sponsors. Companies came on board with equipment. These trips were to be a combination of art and films because I am also a film maker.” He answered a question: “Am I getting political? Well, with my own voice- I want to create this bridge between people through my art. The first exhibition of the paintings in the United States was at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. In my last film, exhibition centres of power are seeing it; even though they’re so far removed from it, still now, they can be aware – they can see it.” He went to tell us his news, “I got a letter that, in October, I will being going to Iceland to the Arctic Circle Assembly. They must political scientists to go –we’re taking our film to this. They flying me out there to show my film and do a q and a. They only have two films a session and ours is one of them.” His comment about his recent past: “The last few years have been snowballing. There was even something about the films on Facebook from Seoul, Korea. I’ve got 20 paintings to finish.” In 2015, at the end of his hike on Baffin Island, painting Mount Thor, in particular, he was picked up at Pangnurtung by One Ocean’s Expeditions’ small ships, on which were his wife, Janet, 13 of his clients and other guests, taking an amazing 11 day tour of the coast of Baffin Island. In his words, “When I’d done my hike, I got on the ship. There was Janet and 13 clients. Some of those clients are here in Montana. We have the opportunity next August to go to the most northern community in Canada, Grist Fiord.” Once our conversation was done, he was headed off to Yellowstone National Park, where he had never been, and which, established in the 1870s is said to be the first national park ever created. He holds a lengthy list of awards and acknowledgements, including Top 100 Living Canadian Explorers for his many thousands of kilometres of hiking to extremely remote places in the Arctic and his astonishing body of work, resulting from those travels.



         

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