So long 2016….
December can be a month of such contradiction. It’s plump with merriment surrounding the holidays, the hustle and bustle of decorating and shopping and catching up with friends and family. It’s vacation from work and school and the official start of the winter season. It is also a month of nostalgia; of finality as one year closes and another is about to begin. It can be overshadowed by sorrows, of home sickness for our youth, of departed loved ones missed and general holiday financial stresses. Despite the impending holiday bills and bitter cold, January has an aura of rebirth. It’s a clean slate – the chance to make this New Year whatever you want it to be. It is no different for a community. For Carleton Place, 2016 saw its successes as well as its fair share of challenges. It was a year of change Downtown with the BIA becoming “Downtown Carleton Place” and with a changing of the guard so to speak. Cathie McCormand is no longer at the helm and we welcomed Kate Murray and with her a new role, some new events and strategies. We said farewell to our dear friend Wandering Wayne and were reminded to cherish the footsteps that still lay before each of us. Our town came together (as we have come to expect) and Rachel’s Army was born. Together we helped raise $15,000 to help a brave 4 year old girl kick cancer’s ass. When the Fort McMurray wildfires broke out Carleton Place rallied – dozens of events and fundraisers helped send over $12,000 in relief to our neighbours in Alberta. The beloved home of the Rhippo Burger was destroyed by fire but again we came together. We danced and sang and shopped and Gofunded our hearts out and soon we will welcome a new home for our Law and Order classics and some new additions! We came out with friends and family and celebrated Canada Day in epic fashion at Riverside Park, took in a few movies under the stars, browsed the market at the Bridge Street Bazaar and laid out the red carpet for some of the World’s Strongest Men! Chilly the Penguin returned in February with the Winter Carnival crew at Riverside Park and Zip-E the clown made sure to visit whenever he was in town. There were parades and Man Caves, Maker’s markets, Farmer’s markets, car and truck shows, and festivals of wool and picnics of years gone by. We walked with Linda Seccespina and travelled back in time in our own backyard. There were new murals and some new faces in retail – salons opened, Brown and MacFarlane joined us on Bridge St and a new Bridal Boutique was unveiled. The kids got a new skate park and our CP Canadians won another cup. We had rowers and swimmers that put our town on the map and one of our alumni got his pass to the stars. It was announced that we’d be getting a new ER, losing a CAO and Miller’s Crossing broke ground. There was arguing over chocolate and storm water ponds, signage and décor. The old Barracks was lost to fire. Our Public Works department had their work cut out for them when a quarter of the town lost water pressure but through it all (all around the clock) they carried on. Through power and water outages, heat waves and ice storms our town opened their hearts, homes, dinner tables and showers to their neighbours. There is a lot about 2016 that we should be very proud of Carleton Place. Like all families, we may squabble but in the end we have each other’s backs. I have no doubt that 2017 will bring with it many opportunities for us to shine. There will be controversy, there will be frenzied Facebook rants, and yes there may even be some gossip but I guarantee that there will be new businesses, new neighbours, new parties to attend, new reasons to smile and to cheer. Thank you for sharing 2016 with me and with all of us at Hometown News and Discover Carleton Place and thank you from myself and my family for being part of why we love living here. You make our community great and I am #cpproud to call this home. Look out 2017 here we come….