Henry enjoyed winter playing on the snow and ice at Farley’s Pond each Sunday.
Today, Wednesday, March 20, in the first day of Spring.
That means yesterday was the last day of winter that began on December 21, 81 days ago. The consensus of people I talk to agree it has been a long, cold season … for those who braved it out without becoming snowbirds in the southern climes some found memorable things to do.
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Board of Trade Manager Jan Overend kept the office open all winter, saying “there is always something to do”. Her wintertime highlight was a weekend in Toronto. Jan stayed with her daughter Cate who has an apartment in the Bloor Street west district. Cate is a student in her fourth year at Ryerson University. Jan’s older daughter, Tory, who lives in London, joined them.
“We just bundled up and walked everywhere,” Jan said, mentioning how the three Port Dover women indulged in shopping, eating, visited some pubs, and just hanging out together, noting “we intended to visit the R.O.M. but didn’t get there, too busy”. For a mother and daughters together, a wintery weekend just doesn’t get any better than that. Two other Port Doverites share Cate’s apartment, Jannen Belbeck and Milly Benko.
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John and Drenise Cowlard of Richardson Drive kept themselves busy this past winter making plans for their upcoming eighth ‘Relay for Life” event, the first and last year’s events were held in Simcoe with the six in between those were on the Todd Eaton Memorial Track at Port Dover Composite School.
The couple takes leading roles in the annual fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. Drenise is the Event Chair and John is Luminary Chair. This year the date is Friday evening May 31, officially beginning at 7 p.m. then 12 hours throughout the night, concluding early Saturday morning at 7:00.
The pressure on them is turned-up because the Cowlards plan to be away for three weeks, so now had to be the time to begin planning for walking teams, there is food and beverage concerns to organize, prizes and entertainers to arrange for, luminaries (candles) to order, and so much more.
To them, wintertime passes quickly when they are busy.
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Port Dover poet John B. Lee had an exciting time in early February, when it was bitterly cold here beside Lake Erie. He was in Seoul, Korea.
He was there as one of his poems was a finalist in the coveted Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem 2013. The winner receives $1,000 and is published in Descant Magazine. John also won the award in 2007. While in Korea John did a reading of his poems in a teahouse that was filmed. One poem, ‘The Sleeping Dictionary’ was posted on Facebook.
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Ian Bell is the multi-talented curator of the Harbour Museum. He was one of the entertainers at the January 26 Robbie Burns Night at Knox Presbyterian Church. Immediately following the singing of Auld Lang Syng he got into his car and drove for three hours to join a dozen or so friends at Durham’s Riverstone Retreat.
Everyone had taken their musical instruments, Ian mentioning, “the room looked like a music store filled with instruments,” mentioning fiddles, accordions, guitars, banjos, bass and more. Everybody took turns preparing their specialty foods. It seems when they weren’t playing music or eating, they were hiking in the woods and along the riverbank. Those two days were a highlight of Ian’s cold winter.
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Administrator Helen Wagenaar of Lighthouse Festival Theatre knows how to have a good time when it is really cold. On most Sunday afternoons after Christmas, she joined a group of family and friends on the frozen surface of so-called ‘Farley’s Pond’ in a hollow west of town.
Helen and her husband Keith Jones, along with three-year-old grandson Henry eagerly anticipated Saturday’s email advising each person of the condition of the pond ice. The skating party had to be called off on four occasions.
Farley’s Pond group consists of about 30 people, ranging from young Henry to seniors. Two pond areas were cleared of snow, one for a hockey game and another for skating.
Helen explained a bonfire was started. People did not go to Farley’s Pond empty-handed … there was generally hot dogs, a big pot of stew and always lots of hot chocolate … of course, extra pairs of (dry) socks to warm by the fire as needed.
The afternoon event is an active three hours of being out-of-doors amid winter’s beauty. Helen exclaimed those Sunday skating afternoons were “really a fabulous example of Canadiana!”
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Tony Schneider has opened The Arbor for the 2013 season, but before he faced another busy season he made his annual winter trip to Las Vegas. Tony looks forward to that week in early November … but that holiday was followed by another week that Tony exclaimed, “was the best week of my life!”
From Vegas he drove to Scotsdale, Arizona to join 11 of his closest buddies (mostly from Port Dover) who had flown in for a week of golfing. The guys played seven different courses in eight days. Tony estimated they played on average 30 to 35 holes every day.
Ian Bell joined friends at Durhams Riverstone Retreat for good music and good food.
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