Commentary

Cold shmold

January 11, 2018

Take the last Skate Maynooth, for example. Bancroft This Week’s Nate Smelle reported “some 20 brave souls” made it to Maynooth’s outdoor rink Jan. 5 — during an extreme cold weather warning. It was -41 degrees with the wind chill. To put that in perspective, the Canada 150 rink in Ottawa moved hockey games indoors over the holidays when temperatures dropped below -18 degrees. Is it our lack of ability to feel the cold that makes us ignore it, or the fact that skating on an outdoor rink, or any winter sport really, is very much a rite of passage for most Canadians?

A creative Christmas on a budget

Year after year, it never ceases to amaze me how especially generous this community is during the Christmas season. This annual communal outpouring of compassion and kindness exhibits what’s best about this community, and what many larger communities are striving to attain.

Holiday dos and don’ts

It’s that time of year when people can’t find a spare moment to think and Facebook is abounding with quizzes on which whacky Christmas character you are, videos on recipes  and how to turn box cake mix into cheese cake and well wishes from as far reaching as the world-wide-web can stretch.

Listen before you leap

We shouldn’t be judging books by their covers, perpetuating rumours, getting ahead of ourselves and/or jumping to conclusions — but your mother told you that, didn’t she? She might have also said nine times out of ten the easy route is the least rewarding.

Poverty in North Hastings

While slurping up a bowl of delicious homemade, locally grown carrot soup at A Place For The Arts last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with the North Hastings Community Trust’s program co-ordinator, Jane Kali.

Thinking about getting into rally racing

It astounds me how popular Bancroft’s Rally of the Tall Pines is. It’s the championship rally — a favourite for drivers from all over... That’s what racer Zoltan Kovacs told me on our way to test the first stage of the rally. He names another race in Finland that compares, but can’t think of any others.

Great Canadian winter on its way

It’s been a couple of times now, that I’ve been driving through the area and heard a radio announcer predict a “great Canadian winter” or “traditional winter in Canada” for this year.

Grudgingly getting in the spirit

Every year I think, “The holidays should happen biannually.”

Teaching about a legacy of something lasting

Both of my great-grandfathers fought in the trenches of the First World War. My grandfather and his three brothers all fought in the Second World War. Another of my grandfathers served at Canadian Forces Base 8 Wing Trenton throughout the Second World War and yet another great-uncle was in the air force. All of them survived, but none of them was the same again.

A celebration of peace, not war

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend the better part of a day listening to Bancroft’s ex-Soviet spy Andy Klashenko share his experiences spying on and being captured by the Nazis during the Second World War. Out of fear for his family’s safety, he kept his story a secret for some 50 years, hidden even from those he loved most. Klashenko described the horror he faced while staring down the barrel of a gun, hiding out from the Nazis in his grandfather’s windmill and on several other occasions. When asked what the most important lesson he learned during wartime, he broke down for a moment and then proceeded to recount the events which unfolded on the day the British arrived at the Nazi labour camp to free the prisoners.

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