Category Archives: Articles

Celebrate Father’s Day in the County – June Edition – Hometown News

Celebrate all the men in your life this month with a staycation in one of the many communities of Lanark County. Kick off the festivities in Carleton Place with a spin around the dancefloor at Rick and Tania’s Dance Studio at 8pm for a Ballroom and Latin Dance Social. Perfect for a double date! If the night is still young join DJ Whisper at 10pm at the Waterfront Gastro Pub some music and munchies.

Families can celebrate together on Saturday (June 18th) in Perth, Smiths Falls or Carleton Place as each town offers fun family friendly events for any budget. You can start your day off with the Farmer’s Market (Smiths Falls, Carleton Place, Perth and Almonte) all have their own local farmers and artisans to showcase. The beaches, trails, parks and playgrounds are open for the season so families can enjoy a hike or swim with a picnic or pop over to Westview Park (Dunham St) from 10am-12pm for the “I Love My Park” festivities. In Perth you can head down to the Tay Basin with the kids for the Annual Kid Fish for free where all the kids get a prize and free lunch. Register before the event at the Legion Branch 244. For the shoppers in your clan stick around Perth for the 2nd Annual VIP Shopping Event. Register at Code’s Mill at 9:30amm and the first 250 get a free swag bag to help as the “Spend the day on the Tay”.

If you’re looking for a bit more excitement, what’s manlier than “The Man Cave – The Ultimate Show for Men”?! Headlining its 2nd year from Beckwith Park, you can enjoy a Truck Show, Mixed 3-pitch charity tournament, Mini Market, Craft Beer and Spirits licensed patio, shop local vends, visit the mobile café and spa at the Ladies Lounge and more from 10am-6pm. All for only $5 (kids under 12 free!). Also in Carleton Place, the return of the free family fun of Lambs Down Festival from 10am-3pm. Enjoy traditional activities such as a petting zoo and sheep herding and sheering demos. Looking to stay active? The Healthy Living Festival is free all day in downtown Smiths Falls complete with a rock wall and cardio kickboxing demo.

Enjoy the great outdoors, some crafts and games at beautiful Riverside Park with the return of Family Movie Night at 7:30pm with the Minions Movie proudly sponsored by Luxart Homes. If dad, uncle, brother, step-dad and all the important men in your life are still ready to rock. Perth is hosting a Kick off to summer concert at 8pm featuring refreshments from Top Shelf Distilleries and Live music for $20 a person. Live music is also the name of the game for the evening at the Waterfront Gastro Pub, the New Queen’s and The Thirsty Moose in Carleton Place.

Sunday is the big day! Father’s Day and not to be too cliché but why not wrap up the perfect weekend ode to dad with Breakfast at the Almonte Civitan, the Shootout Fishing League Bass Tournament on the Mississippi and then chill out on the patio at the Waterfront Gastro Pub and enjoy some live music. However you decide to celebrate the day, the best gift to any man in your life is to spend time together.



The Granary – May Edition – Hometown News

The Granary Bulk and Natural Foods is an independent natural health retailer located at 107 Bridge St, in the heart of downtown Carleton Place. Owner, Dena Comley purchased the business in 2009 and since then has been on a mission to offer ethical, local and sustainable products. The Granary offers grocery items, body care and beauty supplies, supplements, bulk food, homeopathic treatments, eco-friendly wares and more! When stocking products, every effort is made to prioritize purchasing local food that is in line with their quality, standards and values. Customers can learn about nutrition and natural health from the friendly and informed staff Monday thru Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If their extended hours do not fit into your schedule, they are introducing a web store (Spring 2016) to make shopping locally even more accessible to customers.

The Granary supports local professional services, neighbouring businesses and is actively involved in the Carleton Place Business Improvement Area and Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce. It also supports local groups like the Mississippi Mudds, Carleton Place Jr A Canadians and the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. Comley believes that every individual and business has a role to play in contributing to a better world and to a vibrant and thriving community. To support this sense of community, the Granary offers frequent networking evenings, seminars, webinars, open houses and sample days. Coming up on June 14th is a Live Webinar with Lorna Vandergaeghe author, nutritional medicine expert and one of PROFIT magazine’s Top 100 female Entrepreneurs. Join, Vendergaeghe as she discusses common health issues facing women and natural, effective solutions. Space is limited. $10 deposit required. 10$ store credit issued the night of the event.

Last year the Granary launched the “Lil’ Sprout” Program designed to encourage local children to become more connected and involved with the food they eat, from seed to plate. They are offering a $500 grant to a Carleton Place School or community group to develop or expand a program that helps children become more connected with the growth, preparation and decision making involved in eating healthy foods. The grant will help these groups to teach students food skills and inspire healthy eating. The first grant recipient, Caldwell Street Public School (UCDSB) started a school gardening program including resources like a master gardener, farmer, nutritionist and a beekeeper. For full eligibility or to apply for the Lil’ Sprouts program, visit their website at

Making a Difference – April Edition – Hometown News

Carleton Place may be in Ontario but with Sister Cities (courtesy of the Sister Cities Twinning Program) in Comrie, Scotland and Franklin, Tennessee the town’s influence and impact is extending to countries fathoms beyond the Mississippi. Individuals and businesses have been working as ambassadors welcoming the world to not only “meet us on the Mississippi” but to bring that sense of community and hospitality with them abroad.

The parishioners of St James Anglican Church through their Hugs for Haiti program, currently sponsors 17 children at the Centre Vie orphanage in Haiti. Opened following the earthquake of 2010, the orphanage housed the many orphans left to fend for themselves in make shift tent cities. St. James church is one of 3 churches that sponsor the orphanage run by Dieudonne Batraville (“DD”) two hours north of Port a Prince. The church provides as much as they can annually financially and in requested supplies. Recent fundraisers allowed them to purchase a new diesel generator for the centre to combat frequent power outages.

Barbara Melson, her daughter Robyn and Donnie Portieous travelled to Haiti the first week of March to meet the foster daughter they have been sponsoring for several years.  Of the trip Melson said, “We financed our own airfares, shots and meds to stay healthy down there but it was worth every penny [sic]. It is a Third world country with the worst poverty and living conditions in the western world. All we did was some painting and repair work at the orphanage but it was mainly to send a message to the children about how much they’re cared about and loved”

While in Haiti, the group also helped run an eye clinic in a nearby farming village in the Artibonite Valley distributing donated eyeglasses. Melson recalled that “This was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip although all of it was pretty much the most incredible experience of our lives. I’m already saving up money and buying eyeglasses on sale and rounding up other needs for our next trip…It has very much changed our thinking in a lot of ways.”

Diana Billings has had the opportunity to travel to Grenada five times with the Calvary Pentecostal Church in Carleton Place. “My son, who is only 6, has been able to join me on 4 of those trips! It’s been a great family opportunity”. Each year this local church sends a team under Seeds International to 37 schools to put on puppet shows, play games, sing songs and deliver medals to the 4th grade classes that have completed the Seeds International curriculum.

Billings also volunteered in 2014 with Samaritan’s Purse, travelling to Senegal, Africa where she helped distribute the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes seen in many local retailers, schools and churches during the Christmas season. These shoeboxes are packed with schools supplies, hygiene items and toys for children in many countries. “This could be the first real gift they have ever received, and some of the items in these boxes could allow children to attend school for the first time! It was a humbling experience to be on the end where the gifts are given out”.

Next on Billings’ list for her and her 6 year old son is volunteering with the Watoto Child Care Ministries, raising funds and planning a trip to Uganda, Africa. When asked why volunteer abroad she recounted, “I started volunteering abroad because I wanted to do something more beyond my own life, beyond my own country. I believe it’s important to volunteer where you live, but I also think there’s a different element added when you go abroad. There’s a new level of being stretched, a new level of trust, and a new level of your heart being broken for a world in need. Your life changes, and the way you view your world changes. I go now too because of my son. I want him to see there is a world beyond where he is, and that it is never ok to sit out, and not do anything for those in need. If we’re able to “go”, than we need to go.” She warned, “once you go, life is never the same. There’s this restlessness in your heart that you need to do more. Once you go, you can’t not go again”.

There are many opportunities for people of to volunteer abroad. Billings advice is to “find an organization that you believe in and then take [sic] the next step. She chose Samaritan’s Purse & Seeds International as they have annual opportunities to different countries and offers many different projects. “You can select where your best fit is and apply […] find the connection, ask yourself where do you and your abilities fit, be willing to be flexible at all times, and don’t be afraid to be stretched beyond what you think you can do.”

For more information on the programs mentioned above:

“Hugs For The Children of Haiti” – Jennie Blackburn or Ronette Vines 613-257-7143

Samaritan’s Purse –

Seeds International –

Watoto Child Care Ministries –

Broomball in Carleton Place – April Edition – Hometown News

Ask most people about the sport of Broomball and they will answer in one of three ways – “Never heard of it”, “People still play that?” or “Three generations of my family have played and still play the sport”. It’s an odd phenomenon for a sport in which players from the Ottawa Valley (Carleton Place included) continue to make their mark on the provincial, national and global stage of the sport. Pair that with the fact that Carleton Place co-hosted the 2012 World Broomball Championships and that Carleton Place resident George Brown is the president of the Eastern Ontario Broomball Association (EOBA), an Executive Board Member of Broomball Ontario and a Broomball Hall of Famer and you have to wonder why it isn’t centre stage in town sports?

George and his wife, Ruth (also a Hall of Fame inductee) tireless work for the sport of Broomball and are focused on keeping the sport alive in our area. George travels to area schools promoting the sport, coaches and plays and along with Ruth, organizes some of the largest Broomball tournaments in the country. The very heart of Broomball lives right here in Carleton Place.

It’s clear that all the work is starting to pay off and the youth of this area are starting to get involved. At the 2016 Federations of Broomball Association of Ontario (FBAO) Junior Provincial Championships in Barrie, Eastern Ontario teams won Gold (The Eastern Rebels ) and Bronze (Eastern Storm) in the mixed peewee (players aged 9-12) division, on teams made up of players from Finch, Russell and Carleton Place.

The exact origins of the sport are a bit uncertain. It is believed that the First Nations passed the sport onto settlers in the Barrie area. It has been traced back to the early 1900s when rail workers played it as a way to pass the time in the winter months on outdoor lakes and ponds. In 1976 the Canadian Broomball Federation was formed as the governing body for the sport. The philosophy of the CBF places the athlete at the heart of the organization. Today there are approximately 19,000 registered players in Canada (and an additional 15000 who participate recreationally from age 6-65).

At this year’s 39th FBAO Senior Provincial Broomball Championships (held on March 18-20th in Cornwall), the Ottawa Nationals won their division and will be heading to Owen Sound for the Senior Men’s and Mixed Nationals (April 6th-9th). Also, the Valley Gamblers Master’s team (George included) won their division with an exciting double overtime finish and will also be appearing at the Nationals.

“A number of local players & coaches will be inducted into the CBF (Canadian Broomball Federation) Hall of Fame & winning Awards of Merit- so it’s pretty exciting for all of us.” – Ruth Brown

The Barn – April issue – Hometown News

Ask Julia Foley what it means to “Love” local and she’ll tell you it’s about “Community over competition”. It’s about businesses working together to support each other for the betterment of the client. With her new event company Love: Local Ottawa Valley Events and event space The Barn (7109 Cty Rd 29 South), she hopes to highlight the products and talents of local vendors. “Everyone knows it as The Barn, it’s what it’s always been” Foley said when asked about the name. The “Old” Barn as she refers to it is a local landmark and one that has seen many incarnations. She recounted that she had a history with the space, having previously worked as a waitress at the establishment when it was opened in 2000/2001. The current owner purchased the venue in 2011 and is embracing Foley’s vision for a full service event space. Whether you are booking a spot for a wedding, Stag & Doe, Seminar, Fundraiser or Anniversary, Foley’s team can bring it to life within any budget.  Inclusive packages allow clients to have a one stop shop turnkey event. The Barn offers a capacity of 135 upstairs and 95 downstairs, as well as an outdoor patio and soon to come outdoor wedding ceremony space. It offers four season comfort with air conditioning and two working fireplaces which also have the benefit of providing a breathtaking backdrop for photos. Clients must choose from a list of local vendors for everything from photography, linens, entertainment, sound and lighting, catering to make your event a memorable one. Rather than being prohibitive, Foley stresses that this offers the client the very best in tried and trusted service versus using an unfamiliar vendor. An easy drive to Kanata, in the heart of the Ottawa Valley it’s an easy drive for guests coming from all over the area. Check out the space first hand on March 27th for Easter Brunch or save the date for Mother’s Day Brunch. They will also be hosting monthly networking nights for small businesses and local vendors. These are free 2 hour brainstorming sessions about various topics designed to help support businesses and encourage growth. The next session is April 17th from 6-8pm, RSVP on The Barn: Weddings + Events Facebook page. For information about booking an event contact A website is set to be launched in the coming weeks.