Ah May….April’s manic weather with its last bite of frost and torrential rains is behind us and its blue skies and sunshine ahead. The world is buzzing again – the bugs are back (groan) but the birds are singing, the perennials are sprouting and we can pack away all the dreaded snowsuit gear! Suddenly the time it takes us to leave the house is reduced in half as the kids can grab their ball caps and sneakers and go. May is a month of action. Well rejoice fellow Carleton Place natives – our town does May right. Patio tables are appearing street side, the Annual Pitch In volunteers have worked diligently to clean up the parks and roadsides and neighbours are raking lawns and cleaning out their garden beds. Suddenly there is colour and a bustle downtown as folks emerge from their long hibernation. Some of our favourite annual events are back too! Free Comic Day returns to downtown Carleton Place on May 6th at 10am. Bridge St will be transformed as fans big and small visit shops for Comic Book themed activities, special guests and of course a free comic! Wine’d Around Downtown is the annual footnote to May. Buy your T-shirt ($25) and participate in the fun on May 28th from 1pm-5pm. This annual wine and food tasting extravaganza raises funds for the CP Sister City Committee to help youth from our community and our sister cities (Comrie, Scotland and Franklin, Tennessee) participate in student exchange opportunities. Another popular fundraiser is the Community BOGO dinner for the Lanark County Food Bank happening at St James Anglican church on May 16th at 4:30pm. Enjoy a fabulous meal and every dinner ticket purchased allows a Food Bank client to attend the dinner as well. On May 26th and 27th enjoy the beautiful Mississippi from the Carleton Place Canoe Club while you browse the annual spring art Show & Sale. There are also some new traditions beginning this year. The Teen Expo comes to Notre Dame Catholic High School on May 2nd from 11:30am-4:30pm. Free Admission and open to all, this event is a showcase of community groups, resources and vendors geared to youths 12-19 years and their parents and educators. The newly formed Hometown Hearts is kicking off their calendar of community events with their May 11th Night on the Town. Starting at 5pm get on your retro gear and head downtown for live entertainment, food and drinks. While the Mississippi Mudds are no strangers to Carleton Place, they do has a new performance May 1st-6th. Head over to the beautiful Town Hall Auditorium and enjoy the classic HMS Pinafore reimagined by the creative team at the Mudds. As part of Canada’s 150th celebrations in Carleton Place you can take part in the “Paint the Town Red” Tulip Tour from May 14th -20th which launches the May 20th opening of a new exhibit at the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum, “A Valley Town at Confederation”. On May 26th, pack up the family and grab a picnic and join your neighbours at Riverside Park for the Family Fun Fair. Let’s not forget friends about the ample green space our fair town offers. Trails, parks and playgrounds are open and ready for visitors to enjoy them. Spend the day fishing or boating, head out on a bike ride with the kids or kite flying in the park. There will be sidewalk chalk and bubbles and oh so much sand. As usual there is never a dull moment here in the busiest town in the valley.
With the return of warm spring days and as the lakes and rivers in the area thaw, residents head back out onto the water. It’s hard not to see the rushing, swollen riverbanks and not think about the season’s fishing bounty and you don’t have long to wait. But before you bait your hook make sure you have all your bobbers in a row. If you are an Ontario resident between 18-65 years of age you require a valid fishing license which includes an Ontario Outdoors Card (hunting or fishing card). You will also need either a conservation tag or a sport fishing tag. Each is valid for between 1-3 years and can be purchased online, at Service Canada or one of many licensed issuers, such as Canadian Tire, Pathfinders or Bennett’s Bait & Tackle. If you purchase your license and tag in person you will receive a temporary one that you can use right away and your official card will arrive in the mail. For 2017, your outdoors card will cost you $11.94 with your tag ranging from $16.75-$88.38 depending on the length of time and type (sport fishing or conservation). If you are under 18 years old or over 65 you do not require a license but you must still follow the catch and possession regulations for sport fishing. For more information on the Outdoors Card contact the Outdoors Card Centre at 1-800-387-7011
Twice a year, in February and July, Canadian residents can participate in an Ontario Family Fishing weekend. You must still follow the conservation license catch limits and obey size limits and restrictions but you do not require a license. July 1st-2nd and July 8th-9th you can be a part of the Ontario family fishing event and take part in one of the many area clinics or derbies. To find one near you visit http://www.ontariofamilyfishing.com/events/. So grab your rod and reel, a picnic and head outside with your family for a fun day on or by the water.
If you’re new to the sport and want to give it a try before committing to a license, you can borrow a rod and reel and other gear as part of the TackleShare program at various provincial parks, conservation authorities and some libraries and community groups. In our area, Silver Lake, Fitzroy Harbour, Rideau River and Charleston Lake Provincial Parks host TackleShare programs. Sponsored by Ontario Power Generation, the program which began in 1998 has expanded to over 140 loaner sites. They’re easy to use just find your nearest loaner site at http://www.tackleshare.com/loaner-sites/, call and ensure they have what you need, complete a form and go fishing!
When and where you fish, what you fish for, what you keep and what you can use for bait varies based on the zone in which you are fishing. Ontario is divided into 20 fisheries management zones, our area falls into Zone 18. For a full list of what’s in season and the restrictions on what you can catch and keep in Zone 18 visit: http://files.ontario.ca/environment-and energy/fishing/2017/2017_FMZ_18_English.pdf
If you’re wondering where your favourite catch is hiding out there are a number of printed angler maps and fishing guides available at bait shops and retailers in our area. The Lanark County website has a number of online fishing maps which outline area lakes and show common fish species, lake depths and temperatures. With all this information on hand you’re sure to land yourself the catch of the day this summer!
As the water levels rise in our local lakes and streams, boaters of all kinds are gearing up for a new season out on the water. A burgeoning lake may seem inviting but it takes more than a sturdy hull to make you a sailor. In order to operate a motorized boat over 10 HP in Canada you are required to successfully complete the boater exam and obtain your pleasure craft license. There is no age exemption – the law applies to all operators. Your license is good for life with no annual fees and is valid in every province. BOATERexam.com® is a Transport Canada approved course provider for the Pleasure Craft Operator Card and provides the online course, exam (with free retries) and temporary cards for immediate use for $49.95. Not only as a means of gauging your nautical know-how, this licensing system, allows Search and Rescue personnel access to information about your boat in the event of an emergency.
If you are considering becoming a pleasure craft operator and have completed the online course and obtained your license then you need dear captain need a vessel. If you are thinking of buying a boat make sure that it has a hull serial number, a Canadian compliance notice and if necessary, a copy of the declaration of conformity. A Canadian compliance notice indicates that the boat met the construction requirements at the time it was built. If it is a used boat, ensure that it meets the construction standards, marine surveyors can be employed to conduct the examination on your behalf. Boat trailers are also subject to licensing and regulation and require you to transfer ownership at the regional license bureau. Building a boat is another popular option for boaters. Remember when constructing a pleasure craft it must meet or exceed the construction requirements of the Small Vessel Regulations and the construction standards outlined by Transport Canada. Thinking of renting? You can either obtain your pleasure craft operator license or complete the rental boat safety checklist. Ask the rental company for basic safety information about the boat and local lake or river. You must sign the rental checklist and carry it on board the vessel to serve as proof of competency.
Safety equipment is necessary on all marine vessels and the most obvious of these items is a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or Lifejacket. Equipment requirements are the same whether you own, rent or borrow the boat and includes all types of vessels. Pre-stocked safety kits for pleasure crafts can be purchased at local retailers like Canadian Tire and are often standard issue with new or rented boats.
For more information about boating safety you can call the toll free info line at 1-800-267-6687.
Canada’s Criminal Code applies to boating in that activities such as operating a boat while impaired, failing to stop at the scene of an accident or operating an unseaworthy boat are punishable offence. Boating laws can change from time to time and so it is important to review the safe boating regulations available on Transport Canada’s webpage (http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-obs-menu-1362.htm)
It is also good to keep in mind that while your safety as captain of the ship is important that the water is meant for all to enjoy. Be a responsible boater by sharing the water with others – whether they be fellow sea captains or wildlife, swimmers or shoreline frolickers. Be wary of your wake! You are legally responsible to follow the rules of the “water road” to avoid accidents. These rules include speed limits which can be affected by variables such as wind and water conditions, time of day and weather. Do not drink and boat! Drinking while operating a marine vessel is an infraction of the Criminal Code of Canada. When in doubt contact local OPP for more information on the regulations. Particularly in Lanark County you must be cautious around dams and Lock stations. Undertows, low clearance, backwash can all be deadly. Be mindful of signage and know the lay of the land before heading out. You can find out information about travelling through the canals and locks in our area from Parks Canada at www.pc.gc.ca. You will need to know the proper size for your mooring lines, have working floating fenders and also be aware of the rules in and around the locks. Some have noise, fishing, swimming and towing restrictions. They all have posted speed limits and codes of conduct when it comes to where and how to wait your turn and how to properly enter, exit and moor. The onsite Lock Masters and other Parks Canada staff will help guide you through the process. You will require a pass to travel through the locks but you’re in luck, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, the Seasonal Lockage Permit for 2017 is free! So it looks like you picked the perfect year to take up boating.
With your license in hand, PDF and bucket of safety equipment tucked away, you are ready to launch your boat. There are many boat ramps, boat launches and public access points across Lanark County. There is a municipal boat launch at Riverside Park in Carleton place and the cost is only $8/day. Planning on making this a full-season hobby? Grab a “Resident Season Pass” for only $45 for unlimited launch access. All passes can be purchased at Town Hall. There is docking at Riverside Park as well and downtown across from Town Hall on Bridge St at the Public Parking Lot. The perfect spot to dock and hop off for a quick lunch in downtown Carleton Place before continuing on your boating adventure.
There’s a lot of talk of late about well…talk. Who talks to whom about what and where and how and on and on it goes. It’s hard not to talk about things you care about. Passion is hard to reign in, it’s what makes it such an explosive force. It’s a strong, uncontrollable urge to act or in this case speak. My mother raised me (as many mothers of that generation did) to live by the motto, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. I try to adhere. I’m not always successful but then the truth is I’m just a mom living in a small town and who the heck listens to me. The trouble when someone in a position of authority doesn’t hold their tongue the word, like a tide can suddenly become a tsunami. Now it’s easy to justify one word or another. Intent and result often don’t coincide but what of accountability? Just because the tsunami is caused by good intentions doesn’t mean it won’t level your house. Growing up in a small town there’s another rule I heard a lot “Don’t air your dirty laundry in the front yard if you don’t want the neighbours to see your panties”. Truth is – the people enjoying the read are not so concerned with what’s happening in your house. They like the drama perhaps but in the end no benefit comes from it. The people doing the talking look petty, the people they’re talking about look scandalous and the rest of the clan at the table looks a little less put together. The way I see it (and it is just my opinion as a part of the table) are we any further ahead? Has a great injustice been righted? Now I say this not to throw stones or lay blame. I understand passion. So with the melting snow I’m ready to move on. The fact that it all caused such a stir in the first place proves that everyone was having a really dull New Year. I am not a politician – thank goodness. I haven’t the stomach for it. I will only say one thing – for the record – I do not think any of the people I asked to represent me handled any of this very well. But you know what – they’re human…passionate humans and I’m ok with that.
With spring in the air a sense of new beginnings always seems to bloom. Let’s shake off the winter grumps and get ready for an exciting year of events and special activities in our pretty little town. It’s Canada’s 150th and Carleton Place has outdone itself! This year is going to be amazing from updates at Riverside Park to special events and what I’m sure will be an unforgettable Canada Day long weekend – our CP Canada 150 committee is setting the bar sky high! Let’s brush off those sidewalks, shake hands and tear down some fences. Post, write and talk about how great our community is. Share your favourite business, the best picnic spot or give a nod to a neighbour who’s doing something truly amazing for others and while we’re at it – let’s do something amazing ourselves.