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CTV News Kitchener

Cambridge man runs from Guelph to Goderich

From CTV Kitchener’s Jessica Smith: A Cambridge man runs from Guelph to Goderich to raise around $10,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation

CTV News Kitchener

Canadian army training opens in Puslinch Township

From CTV Kitchener’s Spencer Turcotte: About 40 Canadian Army Reservists have turned Puslinch Township into their temporary training ground.

CTV News Kitchener

Homecoming weekend 'tame' compared to years past

From CTV Kitchener’s Colton Wiens: COVID-19 restrictions were strongly enforced as students gathered for homecoming weekend in Waterloo Regi

CTV News Kitchener

Webcast for Sept. 26

From CTV Kitchener: Your local news and sports for Sept. 26

Global News: Kitchener

Kingston celebrates first in-person Pride parade since the pandemic

Sunday marked Kingston’s 32nd annual Pride parade, back in-person for the first time since 2019. The event saw hundreds of Kingstonians take to Confederation Park to celebrate.

The Record

Unidentified pedestrian killed in collision early Sunday on road to Cambridge


WELLINGTON COUNTY — An unidentified pedestrian is dead after a collision with a pickup truck early Sunday on a road to Cambridge.

It happened around 1 a.m. on Wellington Road 124. The pickup was travelling west toward Cambridge and collided with a pedestrian near the railway crossing just west of Wellington Road 32.

The pedestrian died at the scene. The Ontario Provincial Police have yet to determine who he is.

He is described as an Asian man, 45 to 55 years old, weighing about 170 pounds. His hair is straight, short, black and grey. He was wearing black track pants, a navy blue windbreaker, white golf shirt, glasses, tan leather shoes and a black Puma ball cap.

The collision is under investigation and part of Wellington Road 124 remains closed. Anyone who may have witnessed this collision is asked to call Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122.


Wellington Advertiser

OPP looking to identify man who died after being hit by vehicle

GUELPH-ERAMOSA – Police are looking to identify a man that died after being struck by a vehicle here early on Sunday.

Emergency crews responded to the scene on Wellington Road 124 on Sept. 26 at about 1am.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that a pickup truck was travelling westbound on Wellington Road 124 towards Cambridge when it collided with a pedestrian near the railway crossing just west of Wellington Road 32,” stated a press release from Wellington C0unty OPP.

“The pedestrian was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

Police are asking for the public’s assistance to identify the victim, who is described as:

  • Asian male approximately 45 to 55 years old;
  • straight, short, black and grey hair;
  • approximately 170 pounds; and
  • wearing black track pants, navy blue wind breaker, white golf shirt, glasses, tan leather shoes and a black Puma ball cap.

Police say Wellington Road 124 remains closed between Wellington Road 32 and Guelph Township Road 1 for the investigation.

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision can call 1-888-310-1122.

The post OPP looking to identify man who died after being hit by vehicle appeared first on Wellington Advertiser.


The Record

Warriors cruise to Battle of Waterloo victory


WATERLOO — The Waterloo Warriors have made massive strides on the defensive side of the ball, thanks in part to a first-year linebacker who has made an immediate impact on a veteran-laden team.

Waterloo native James Hinsperger turned in his second strong performance in as many outings Saturday afternoon, recording two interceptions and 7.5 tackles in a 36-12 win over the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks at University Stadium. The No. 5 nationally-ranked Warriors intercepted Golden Hawks quarterback Taylor Elgersma four times in total and improved to 2-0 in Ontario University Athletics football play. The Golden Hawks, ranked No. 8 in Canada, dropped to 1-1.

Hinsperger played alongside his older brothers Devon and Jack for the first time in his football career — Jack missed the season-opener with an injury — and said his first Battle of Waterloo is a game he won’t soon forget.

“It wasn’t too bad, man; I enjoyed it. I had fun playing with my brothers; the whole team’s looking good, our defence is balling, and it’s nice to be part of this team,” said Hinsperger, a former Resurrection Catholic Secondary School student and graduate of the the Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J.,.

“I’m happy with the way I played, but that’s what I expect from myself, and I hope that I’ll play even better next game. That’s what we all want, to get better every game and have a strong season.”

Warriors head coach Chris Bertoia said “absolutely” when asked whether an improved defence is the biggest difference between this year’s squad and the team that reached the OUA semifinals in 2019. The Waterloo defence held Laurier to 242 offensive yards, and the Waterloo offence rolled to 425 yards gained.

Bertoia credited defensive co-ordinator Darrell Adams for his role in the defensive turnaround and then chuckled when asked about what the Hinsperger brothers bring to the table.

“I think there were some backyard brawls in their younger days, that’s for sure, they’re very physical guys,” said Bertoia.

“They’re workout warriors and they love playing the game, so it’s fun to see them out there because there’s a certain joy when the three of them are playing together.”

The Golden Hawks didn’t share in that joy, falling behind early, trailing 27-10 at halftime, and never seriously challenging their crosstown rivals.

Warriors quarterback Tre Ford turned in his usual dynamic performance, completing 14 of 21 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns while running nine times for 125 yards. He was intercepted once.

Ford connected with a wide-open James Basalyga for a 76-yard on the game’s third offensive play and, after the teams exchanged field goals, threw a 15-yard strike to Justin Succar to extend Waterloo’s lead to 16-3.

The Golden Hawks’ only touchdown came with two seconds remaining in the first half when Elgersma threw a 15-yard pass to Radian Thorne.

The only touchdown of the second half was a 30-yard TD pass from Ford To Basalyga.

Elgersma, making his first OUA start in place of the injured Connor Carusello, completed 17 of 31 passes for 205 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

Golden Hawks head coach Michael Faulds said he was proud of how Elgersma handled himself, adding his team will have to be much better in next week’s game against the No. 1-ranked Western Mustangs, who fell to the No. 7 Guelph Gryphons 23-21 on Saturday night.

“I told our guys there’s no time to sulk, we’re going down to London to play Western next week so it’s a short season, you’re only guaranteed six football games, and we’ve got to pick ourselves up and keep marching forward,” he said.

“The OUA West is a gauntlet, right; five of six teams were in the (U Sports) top-10 last week, so every single week it’s going to be a good football game, a good opponent, and we saw that here today, so a lot of credit to Waterloo’s coaching staff and their players.”

Waterloo’s standout defensive back Tyrell Ford left the game after a third-quarter interception with what appeared to be a banged-up shoulder. He remained on the sidelines for the remainder of the game but was in good spirits throughout.

Andy Melo also had an interception for Waterloo; Laurier’s Ryan Long picked off Ford.

The second instalment of the Battle of Waterloo will be played on the final day of the regular season, Oct. 30 at Warrior Field.

Mark Bryson is a Waterloo Region-based reporter focusing on sports for The Record. Reach him via email: mbryson@therecord.com


Global News: Kitchener

Ontario’s COVID-19 rates lower than expected due to public health measures, experts say

For much of the summer, the province's top doctor warned of a September surge, followed by a bleak fall and winter.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario reports 653 COVID-19 cases as 7-day average continues to drop

In Ontario, 85.8 per cent of people aged 12-plus have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and more than 80.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The Record

In the Garden: These are pretty plants with dark secrets


While reviewing my inventory of things that are supposed to be somewhere in my garden, I discovered records of a few plants that I’d completely forgotten about, plants that are not growing where they’re supposed to be.

Actaea pachypoda, for instance, added in spring 2015, I’d noted, against the fence just left of the monkshood. I could barely remember planting it, and I don’t recall having seen it in ages. It was like an old movie star that you thought was still around until someone reminds you that they vanished from the scene years ago.

I have a lot of plants, and I do try to keep track of them all. Some perennials are naturally short-lived, or they’re tender ones that I take a risk on planting. I also move things around and occasionally forget to note the new location or the plant’s demise. I’m afraid gardening and inventory control are the antithesis of each other in my world.

As for that missing plant, it’s also known as white baneberry, native to the woodlands of Eastern Canada. It grows to about 45 centimetres (18 inches) with white racemes that give the flowers the look of a bottle brush, but it’s after it produces berries that it becomes a standout. They’re white, clustered on red stems and appear in late summer until frost.

Each berry has a dark spot, and this gives it the other common name, doll’s-eyes, which is a little creepy when you think about it. Even creepier is all parts of the plant are extremely toxic, and if you were to eat the berries you probably wouldn’t finish your walk in the woods since eating them can result in cardiac arrest, even death. The definition of bane in baneberry, often used in common plant names, means a source of harm or ruin, so you have been warned. On a positive note, another common name is bugbane, as it’s believed to repel bedbugs, but I wouldn’t be slipping the berries between the sheets.

There are different species of Actaea, including another native, Actaea racemose, also called black cohosh or black bugbane. It even has another botanical name, Cimicifuga racemose. This was the former name until botanists in the 1990s reclassified it. This is confusing as plants are still sold under both names. I have a cultivar in my garden that goes by the name Cimicifuga ‘Chocoholic,’ while the same plant is also sold as Actaea ‘Chocoholic,’ so don’t buy both thinking you’re getting two different plants.

Unlike doll’s eyes, this plant produces small seeds, not berries, although it’s also poisonous, so don’t mistake the chocolate reference for something edible. Even so, it is a delightful garden plant. The Royal Horticultural Society even gave it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit, and of course, being the RHS, they called it Actaea, not Cimicifuga.

My creepy doll’s eyes might have gone missing, but right now I am enjoying the sight of my ‘Chocoholic’ growing in a shady corner in what I call my woodland section. The chocolaty moniker comes from the bronze-purple leaves. Blooming now, the flower stems are long, also purple, arching above the foliage as much as a metre and a half high (five feet), ending in graceful racemes with mauve-pink flowers that turn to white as they age, lighting up a dark corner.

As for poisonous plants in a garden, do be aware of the dangers, especially of ones that might be tempting to eat. Like me, keep a precise record (hah) and keep an eye on pets and children. As I like to say, if it ain’t on your plate, it shouldn’t be ate.

To chat with local gardeners, and share tips and pics, see Grand Gardeners on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/Grandgardeners.David Hobson can be reached at garden@gto.net.


Spoke Online

From Student To Home Owner

By Ryan B Chan

Becoming a homeowner is probably one of the last things on a student’s mind. There are so many other things that take the forefront. Grades, work, social life, finances all take precedent, but real estate agent Troy Challe shows that it’s really not as difficult as it seems. 

“First off, it’s all a case by case basis,” Challe said during an interview. “The market is heated right now, that’s no question. The advice is to get in any way you can as early as you can. I see a lot of young people buying residential properties together.” 

More young people are buying homes as a group as a first step in getting into real estate investment and ownership. Instead of paying large down payments which could go up to $25,000 for a $500,000 home five students can all pitch in $5,000 for a foot in the door for real estate.  

Challe points out that many students are not only working in unison, but they are also choosing to buy their first homes in more rural areas like Brantford, Thorold, and Grimsby as they are “awesome” investment opportunities with high return rates. With distance-working more accessible for many people, this option makes a lot of sense as workers can live in rural communities and still work efficiently. 

For non-remote workers, Challe offers a different strategy. 

“Go for a base model and update it later. Get the absolute cheapest you can just to get your foot in the market” he said.

Challe said there are many first-time investors simply placing a downpayment on a developing home and holding onto that position for a few years while the houses are built and then they sell their spot once the homes become available. Many people can nearly double their money from that downpayment in this process and then use that money to secure a home they intend on living in. 

Challe even describes people who have simply owned a home in a rural area, allowed someone else to rent it, and then rent a home where they themselves work, usually in the GTA. This way they can still build good credit and investment with banks while actually living in an area where they need to be.

Less than four months ago, Sean Cain, a 25-five-year-old Fanshawe college graduate, got into real estate by going in with his brother. He purchased his first home, a townhouse in Hamilton. Together they were able to secure a downpayment on a home worth about $750,000. In an interview, he highlighted some of the largest challenges he faced while searching for a new home. 

♦Photo of Sean Cain outside his new Hamilton home. Photo by Taylor Elizabeth Roy.

“Getting the mortgage was the most stressful part. Partly due to age and the fact it was our first time.” 

Cain said that the real reason he wanted a home over renting was because the math favoured homeownership. 

“If I was renting in the area for what I wanted, I’d be paying more than I pay for my mortgage each month.” 

The process for Cain was only a maximum of two to three months once he and his brother had decided to really buy a home. The advice he had to give anyone looking for buying a home was to start putting money into your RRSP account. 

“Because every time you put $1 into your RRSP, you get to write that dollar off of your taxes. It’s a huge deal and no one thinks about it. Young people often think of the account as a retirement account rather than a first-time home buyer account. You’ll have 15 years to put it back, so there’s really not much to lose,” he said.

The complicated world of real estate really isn’t as complicated as it may seem to be. There are tools for students to take advantage of to be first-time owners with relative ease. Incentives like first-time home buyers’ tax credit and real estate agents actually make the process a lot easier and manageable, but the trick really is to just get started.


CTV News Kitchener

Police identify homicide victim in Kitchener

From CTV Kitchener: Police have identified 18-year-old Joshua Bennett as the man who was found dead in Kitchener Friday morning.

The Cord

Warriors defeat Golden Hawks 36-12 in the Battle of Waterloo’s return

In a highly anticipated week two matchup between two of the top eight teams in the country, the Laurier Golden Hawks got behind early and were never able to spark a comeback, as they were defeated 36-12 by the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday.    

Laurier and the Golden Hawks football team hosted their annual homecoming matchup in front of 900 fans during a windy and rainy day at University Stadium. Their first homecoming game since 2019 and the return of the “Battle of Waterloo,” a heated competition between the two schools separated by one street in one city. 

The teams re-ignited their rivalry on Saturday in a far different game from their last matchup in 2019. A memorable matchup that saw a combined 103 points and 12 touchdowns, while taking three overtimes to decide a winner. The Golden Hawks came out on top that night – 53-50 – after Laurier quarterback, Connor Carusello found Brentyn Hall in the endzone to win the battle. 

Today however was much different. After 36 points in week one, Laurier struggled to move the ball offensively all game. Scoring only 12 points and making several mistakes, the Golden Hawks gifted Waterloo easy scoring opportunities. Laurier found themselves down early in the first quarter and quickly by a large margin come the second. 

“We came out very slowly. Offensively we were not able to move the ball,” Coach Michael Faulds said. 

On the first play of the afternoon, the Warriors picked up 21 yards on a rush by veteran running back, Brandon Metz. Two plays later, dynamic quarterback and MVP front-runner Tre Ford was able to connect with James Basalyga for a 76-yard touchdown, less than two minutes into the game. 

“I think we dug ourselves a really big hole, which you don’t want to do against a good football team like that,” Faulds continued. 

Laurier was able to get on the scoreboard with a field goal by Dawson Hodge in the first quarter but was unable to stop the star quarterback and offense on the next drive. Early in the second, the Warriors and Ford connecting on their second touchdown pass of the game to extend their lead. 

“Tre Ford made some great plays on the ground and through the air,” coach Faulds said. 

Ford stepped onto the scene after defeating the Golden Hawks 34-32 in a surprising victory back in 2018 – Waterloo’s first win over Laurier since 2002. Ford threw for 182 yards and ran for another 110 today, combining for three total touchdowns and proving to be a problem all day for Laurier, as he was in 2018. 

“It wasn’t great weather,” Faulds mentioned in his post-game interview. While not an excuse, Faulds was certainly right about that. The skies opened in the second quarter, causing heavy rainfall and continuing into the third, altering both the passing and special teams play of each team. 

After a blocked punt in the second quarter, the Warriors were able to gain all the momentum with their third touchdown of the game after capitalizing on a short field. The Golden Hawks headed into the halftime break trailing 27-10. 

While showing a fight in the second half, the Golden Hawks were not able to consistently put drives together. Penalties and turnovers lagged the Hawks, as quarterback, Taylor Elgersma threw interceptions on three consecutive possessions in the third quarter. 

“You never want to turn the ball over. That’s a recipe to lose football,” Coach Faulds said. 

Given the injury to Carusello, Elgersma was facing great pressure and an extremely wet football, during his first career OUA start. While struggling in the game – throwing four interceptions and scoring only one touchdown – Elgersma showed his confidence and competitiveness much to the liking of his coach. 

“It wasn’t solely on him. I’m happy how he continued to battle throughout the game,” Faulds said. 

Pointing to various mistakes made by the entire offense and not just Elgersma. Running back, Tanner Nelmes had only 28 yards after over 100 last week, while veteran receiver, Ente Eguavoen recorded only five yards on one catch after seven receptions for 112 yards against York. 

Laurier’s offense will be a key area for Faulds and his staff to look at this week. The Golden Hawks had only seven first downs and 94 total yards against the Warriors on Saturday, averaging less than four yards per play. 

Waterloo will begin their season 2-0 and could see a rise in the national rankings this upcoming week. Coach Bertoia and the Warriors made a statement with their 36-12 win, picking up just their second victory over Laurier in the past 19 years. Both coming in the past three seasons, as the currently ranked fifth program in the country aims for a title this season, after a long rebuild. 

Laurier will drop to 1-1 in the six-game shortened OUA season and will face their two toughest tests in the next two weeks. Coach Faulds and the Golden Hawks will travel to London next weekend to play the top team in Canada and another fierce rival in the Western Mustangs, before travelling to Hamilton to face McMaster in week four. 

“I told the guys it’s a short season, we only have six games. We got to pick ourselves up and we got to show up to work tomorrow,” Faulds said. 

“We got to continue to grow… we have to improve every single week and that’s what our intent is,” he continued. 

After two games at home, Laurier will hit the road next weekend, looking to get back in the winning column against the Mustangs in London. The game is set to kickoff at 1:00 PM EST this Saturday and can be watched on OUA.tv. 


The Record

‘Respectful’ students keep homecoming parties under control in Waterloo


WATERLOO — University students kept homecoming parties largely under control Saturday as the campus area avoided a big street party that would have exceeded COVID-19 restrictions.

A preliminary count for Saturday and early Sunday shows Waterloo bylaw officers issued charges for 10 noise violations, two nuisance violations, and seven violations of COVID restrictions.

“The students were incredibly respectful. I am pleased at the outcome and proud of the students,” said Nicole Papke, director of municipal enforcement for the City of Waterloo.

Ezra Avenue was deserted Saturday night, closed to traffic and fenced off beside the Wilfrid Laurier University campus. Security guards outnumbered students who occasionally wandered by.

Ahead of homecoming weekend, authorities pleaded with students to avoid a large, unruly gathering like those that have filled Ezra Avenue with thousands of students in the past.

The campus area was by no means quiet in central Waterloo. Students collected on sidewalks by the hundreds Saturday to roam here and there while police cruisers drove by. But students did not collect in one place.

A few house parties spilled onto porches and into backyards but students were “doing their best to keep within the 100 (person) limit if they were outside,” Papke said.

Under COVID-19 restrictions, indoor social gatherings are capped at 25 people while 100 people are allowed outdoors.


Global News: Kitchener

Leafs top Habs in pre-season play in front of fans

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe joked his focus early Saturday wasn't on the ice.

CTV News Kitchener

Low supply drives up car prices at dealerships

From CTV Kitchener’s Heather Senoran: Car buyers should prepare to pay more due to high demand and low supply.

CTV News Kitchener

Local mural connects residents during pandemic

From CTV Kitchener’s Jessica Smith: Community mural connects residents by showcasing different stories and experiences from the pandemic.

CTV News Kitchener

Dry conditions expected to start next week

From CTV Kitchener’s Jessica Smith: After a soggy start to fall, dryer conditions and seasonal temperatures are expected for next week.

CTV News Kitchener

Building plans at local church draw criticism

From CTV Kitchener’s Colton Wiens: Plans to build a three-story addition at a church in Cambridge draw mixed emotions from residents.

CTV News Kitchener

University students gather for homecoming weekend

From CTV Kitchener’s Natalie Van Rooy: University students gather on smaller scale for the return of homecoming weekend in Kitchener-Waterloo.

CTV News Kitchener

Investors weigh their options following election

From CTV’s Pattie Lovett-Reid: Investors should re-evaluate their portfolios heading into slowest trading months of the year.

CTV News Kitchener

Local business creates naturally scented candles

Two entrepreneurs turned their love for naturally scented candles into a full-time business in the midst of a pandemic.

Global News: Kitchener

Kingston Humane Society hosts first in-person event since pandemic

The Kingston Humane Society’s flagship fundraising event was held on Saturday. This marks KHS’s first in-person event since the pandemic began.

The Record

Police seek help after boy, 16, suffers minor injuries in Waterloo stabbing


WATERLOO — A teen suffered minor injuries after being stabbed early Saturday and police are investigating.

The victim, 16, was found just before 3 a.m. when Waterloo Regional Police responded to reports of a disturbance near King Street North and University Avenue East.

Paramedics took the teen to a local hospital where he was treated for minor injuries from a stab wound.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Anonymous tips be submitted online at Crime Stoppers.


Global News: Kitchener

Ontario government offers $2 million to help Wheatley recover from massive explosion

A town in southwestern Ontario rocked by a massive explosion last month will be receiving up to $2 million from the provincial government to help with recovery efforts.

The Record

Another death, one more school outbreak, and 29 more COVID cases reported


WATERLOO REGION — Public health reported another death, another school outbreak, and 29 more COVID-19 cases Saturday as the disease ticks down in the region.

The latest to die is a woman in her 80s. Her death brings to 298 the number of residents killed by the new coronavirus since the pandemic began.

New daily infections have inched down on average since peaking Sept. 15 at the highest level seen since mid-July.

A COVID outbreak involving two students has been declared at Tait Public School while another outbreak involving two students has ended at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.

Families affected at Tait Public School have been contacted by the school board.

A workplace outbreak at a manufacturing site has ended after seven people were infected.

Active outbreaks have fallen by one to 11 and active cases fell by two to 168. The active outbreaks are at four schools, six workplaces and one congregate setting.

There are eight patients in hospital including five requiring intensive care.

Reported cases have reached 19,563 since the pandemic began including 19,090 recoveries. The virus is currently reproducing at a slower pace that suggests it is under control.


The Record

Kitchener homicide victim is Conestoga College student, 18, from Toronto


KITCHENER — Conestoga College carpentry student Joshua Bennett, 18, is the homicide victim found dead in Kitchener early Friday.

“This senseless death has no place in our community,” Chief Bryan Larkin said in a statement as police revealed his name Saturday. “I want to reassure the community that we have a dedicated team of highly skilled investigators who are working hard to find those responsible.”

Bennett is from the Etobicoke area of Toronto. He was found dead early Friday morning near a trail behind a townhouse complex in the Paulander Drive area of Kitchener.

An autopsy was scheduled Saturday and police are treating his death as a homicide. Waterloo Regional Police released a photograph in consultation with the victim’s family to aid in the investigation.

Conestoga College will lower its flag to half-mast Monday to recognize his passing. Bennett began his studies there a year ago in carpentry and renovation at the Waterloo campus.

“Our thoughts are with Joshua’s family and friends, his classmates and teachers, and all who knew him,” college president John Tibbits said Sunday in a statement.

The college said counselling services are available to support students and employees.

Jeff Plantz said he was the one who came across Bennett around 1 a.m. Friday. He returned to the scene to talk with police later that morning to tell investigators what he saw.

“There’s a guy on the pathway and he’s not moving,” he said.

Plantz and his friend used naloxone on the man several times, thinking maybe he had overdosed, But the temporary antidote to opioid poisoning had no effect, he said.

Plantz said he then began knocking on doors to find someone who could call 911.

Investigators want anyone who may have been in the area of Paulander Drive and may have seen Bennett to contact a tip line at 519-570-9777 ext. 8191.

Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Anonymous tips may also be submitted at crimestoppers online.

— with files from Chris Seto.


Global News: Kitchener

Ontario reports 640 COVID-19 cases, 10 more deaths

In Ontario, 85.7 per cent of people aged 12-plus have received at least one vaccine dose and almost 80.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Global News: Kitchener

COVID-19: Loosened capacity limits at some Ontario venues now in effect

Loosened capacity limits are now in effect at certain Ontario venues where proof of vaccination is required including arenas, stadiums, concert halls and theatres.

The Record

Out There: If you can hide it with a jacket, is it really a problem?


I had a mini-crisis this week. Not mini. Huge. A great big fat crisis.

Someone took a picture of me and when I looked at it, I was shocked by the grey-haired, beer-bellied old man in the image.

Probably it didn’t help that I was standing next to a cool-looking dude who has been training for months to tackle a 400-km crazy ultra-marathon walk. Oh, and of course the walk is for charity because not only is he not fat and not grey he’s also just a really good person.

Hate people like that.

The photo sent me into a spiral of self-doubt, self-loathing and self-pity. I’ve been a flabby old guy for quite some time but I don’t get smacked in the face with it very often.

I mean, I guess I could have taken a cue from a recent Google search. I was typing “Best …” and by the time I got to “B-e-s” Google suggested: “Best running shoes for a fat guy.”

So, there’s that.

Plus, the problem with so many of us fat guys is that the size of our jeans does not change even as our body weight multiplies. My waist size has been the same for 30 years but I’m 50 pounds heavier and expanding. All those extra pounds clearly settle above the equator.

Also preventing me from accepting my growing girth and advancing age is that the mirror in my bathroom is a big fat liar.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see how grey I am. I think my hair looks dark.

And I don’t see my gut from a side-angle so it doesn’t look nearly as bloated as it does in pictures.

That picture of blobbo me next to Mr. Svelte Marathon Walker jolted me into swift action. Not really swift. Swift enough to get winded but that doesn’t take much these days.

With not a moment to lose, I was making plans and setting goals — not to exercise, eat better and get in shape but to go shopping for some clothes that might maybe be a little more flattering to my husky frame.

I did a bunch of more Googling:

How to dress when you’re a fat guy.

Clothes that hide a fat gut.

Fat fashion.

DQ’s new fall Blizzard menu.

Hide my belly.

I found some good intel. For example, did you know that large checks or plaids such as the shirt I was wearing in that picture may not be that flattering to guys who are built like me?

I shouldn’t have needed the internet to tell me that. My check pattern runs normal, from the collar right down to past my chest then, all of a sudden, it gets all morphed and stretched as my belly pushes the checks out into a whole new and more rounded pattern.

Lovely.

So according to the internet, I should ditch the checks and the stripes. What I should do is buy jackets. Lots of jackets.

Makes sense. Jackets hide a lot. Plus they just look sharp. A jacket can upgrade an outfit just as much as a pair of sunglasses sitting on the brim of a ball cap can downgrade an outfit. Not judging, sunglasses-on-hats guys. It’s just fact.

The internet also advises fat guys to wear solid colours and to possibly go untucked, if possible, so as not to create a clear cut-off point at our waist. I’d say this can create a muffintop effect but if I merely looked like a muffin I might not be in crisis mode now.

I’m now pretty well armed with some jackets, some dark, solid shirts and some dark, solid pants.

What I should probably be doing is taking some steps so that I can stop Googling how to disguise my fat.

Last night I reheated some frozen chili with a plan to pour it over some nachos. I heated it, scooped it out over my plate of chips, added cheese, popped it in the microwave to melt and, wow, what a feast.

Except when I took a bite, I realized it was not chili. It was pasta sauce. And pasta sauce over nachos is just wrong and gross and I ate every bite.

This is the crisis. This is the kind of challenge I need to fight head-on instead of covering it up with jackets.

Chuck Brown can be reached at brown.chuck@gmail.com


Wellington Advertiser

COVID-19 in schools, daycare centres: the latest count

WELLINGTON COUNTY – As of Sept. 25, there are 36 active cases of COVID-19 reported at schools across the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region.

Since students returned to classrooms on Sept. 7, a total of 77 cases have been reported at 34 schools in the region.

Seven cases have been reported at two child care facilities in the WDGPH region over the same period.

Confirmed cases are currently being reported at the following schools:

  • Elora Public School, one case, all classrooms remain open;
  • Waverly Drive Public School in Guelph, one case, one classroom closed (down from three on Sept. 10);
  • Credit Meadows Elementary School in Orangeville, one case, one classroom closed;
  • Norwell District Secondary School in Palmerston, two cases, all cohorts remain open;
  • Gateway Drive Public School in Guelph, one case, one classroom closed;
  • Brant Avenue Public School in Guelph, one case, one classroom closed;
  • Westminster Woods Public School in Guelph, one case, one classroom closed;
  • Victoria Terrace Public School in Fergus, one case, one classroom closed;
  • Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus, one case, all cohorts remain open;
  • St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School in Guelph, one case, one classroom closed;
  • St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School in Guelph, three cases, two classrooms closed;
  • St. Peter Catholic Elementary School in Orangeville, two staff cases, all classrooms remain open;
  • St. Andrew Elementary School in Orangeville, four student cases, three classrooms closed;
  • ÉÉC Saint-René-Goupil in Guelph, 11 student cases (outbreak declared by WDGPH); and
  • Ressurection Christian Academy in Guelph, four student cases, one staff case (outbreak declared by WDGPH).

WDGPH is reporting four actives cases at Little Angels Development Inc. daycare centre in Wellington County (three student cases, one staff case).

A positive case at a school or child care facility does not mean the individual was exposed to COVID-19 in that setting; they may have acquired it elsewhere.

In all cases, officials conduct case management and contact tracing and students and families are advised to follow the direction of public health and their school board or child care provider.

*This article will be updated as new cases are reported. Article was originally published on Sept. 15. 

The post COVID-19 in schools, daycare centres: the latest count appeared first on Wellington Advertiser.


The Record

Today’s coronavirus news: Quebec reports 795 new cases; Ontario reports 640 new cases; Loosened capacity limits now in effect at certain Ontario venues


The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:30 p.m.: An Alberta Court of Queen's Bench justice has ruled that prospective jurors in an upcoming sexual assault trial in Calgary will be excused if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Justice N.E. Devlin wrote in his ruling Thursday that allowing unvaccinated people to serve on the jury could unfairly compromise the health of other jurors, court staff and anyone else connected with the trial.

Further, Devlin said an unvaccinated juror could be a distraction to other jurors by causing them to fear for their health, and he said a juror who developed symptoms could scupper the entire proceedings.

A recent decision in Ontario saw an Ottawa judge rule that all jurors participating in a murder trial would need to be fully inoculated with two doses of vaccine.

But a Quebec Superior Court judge ruled earlier this month that a juror did not need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in a Montreal fraud trial, citing privacy concerns and jury representativeness in his ruling.

Devlin, however, wrote that during juror selection for the sexual assault trial in Calgary this week, the "handful" of people who were not fully vaccinated "spanned the age, gender, and ethnic spectrum" and that excusing them would not reduce the jury's representativeness.

"Factually, I am satisfied that vaccination is a safe and highly effective means of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, the development of COVID 19 infections, and severe illness in those who do become infected," Devlin wrote.

"The public and judicial resources dedicated to a jury trial are both scarce and precious, especially right now. Needlessly increasing the risk that a trial run under these circumstances is aborted due to a COVID 19 infection would bring the administration of justice into disrepute in the eyes of the public."

A decision from B.C. Supreme Court last month did not allow the Crown to ask jurors questions about their vaccination status, citing privacy.

Devlin wrote that "judicial discretion to safeguard the proper administration of justice is paramount over any provincial privacy legislation."

He noted that when he asked whether unvaccinated jurors should be excused from serving, neither the Crown nor the accused took a position.

In the Quebec case, Justice Mario Longpre noted that provincial jury law only allows those with mental incapacity or impairment to be exempted.

Longpre wrote that Quebec law, unlike Ontario's, does not permit jurors to be disqualified by reason of physical incapacity "even if it were to be concluded that the fact of not being adequately vaccinated constitutes such an incapacity."

5:00 p.m.: New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for its teachers and other workers by a U.S. federal appeals judge days before it was to take effect.

The mandate for the the U.S.’s largest school system was set to go into effect Monday.

But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction and referred the case to a three-judge panel an an expedited basis.

U.S. Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said officials are seeking a speedy resolution by the circuit court next week.

4:45 p.m.: New Brunswick is reporting 61 new cases of COVID-19 today and one new death.

Health officials say a person in their 70s has died in the Fredericton area, bringing the total number of deaths since the onset of the pandemic to 53.

Officials say 52 of the latest cases, or 85 per cent, involve individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

According to the province, 78.9 per cent of people 12 years of age and older are fully immunized, while 87.7 per cent of those eligible for a vaccine have received their first dose.

There are currently 580 active cases in the province with 32 people in hospital as a result of the disease, including 13 in intensive care.

In a news release Saturday, Premier Blaine Higgs said he was saddened to learn of the latest virus-related death.

“Our thoughts are with this person’s family and friends and with everyone who has lost a loved one or has gotten sick due to COVID-19," said Higgs. "We all owe it to them to do our part to protect each other by please, if you can, getting vaccinated.”

Saturday's new cases included 18 in the Edmundston area, 16 in the Fredericton region, nine in the Cambellton area, six in the Moncton region, four in the Saint John area, two in the Miramichi area and six cases each in the Moncton and Bathurst regions.

Meanwhile, the province reinstated its state of emergency late Friday in order to deal with a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases.

The measures include new rules to limit contacts, ensure physical distancing and require certain businesses and events to have vaccination or masking-and-testing policies.

4:30 p.m.: Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer is advising residents of the province to avoid travelling off the Island unless their trip is necessary.

In a news release today, Dr. Heather Morrison says rising COVID-19 case numbers in Atlantic Canada and across the country mean Island residents should "carefully consider" travel at this time.

The province reported one new case of the virus and currently has 40 active infections.

Officials also say there will be increased testing at points of entry for vaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals travelling to P.E.I. from within Atlantic Canada and for Islanders returning home.

People travelling to the Island who are not vaccinated will still be required to self-isolate for eight days with a negative test on day eight.

With rising case numbers in neighbouring New Brunswick, officials say anyone who has travelled to that province for less than 48 hours will be asked to be tested on the fourth and eighth day after they return, while anyone who stayed more than 48 hours will be asked to be tested at entry points and again on day four and day eight.

4:00 p.m.: Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say all of the new infections have been identified in the Central Health region and are under investigation.

There are currently 116 active cases of the virus in the province, with two people in hospital as a result of the disease.

There have also been seven new recoveries.

Officials say they are dealing with three clusters of cases including in the Central Health region, the Labrador-Grenfell Health region and the Western Health region.

The source of infection in all three areas is still under investigation.

3:40 p.m.: The Quebec government wants a "revolution" and to offer nurses what they deserve, which is a better life and work environment, Premier François Legault said Saturday.

Legault issued a Facebook post commenting on a one-time bonuses plan intended to lure thousands of nurses back to the public sector from private placement agencies and retirement. The plan is also meant to convince part-time nurses to switch to full-time work.

"Money won't fix all the problems, but we think it will help us to curb the staff shortage in the short term," Legault said. "We have a duty to succeed with everything you do for us. We owe you that."

Read the full story here: Premier Legault comments on last week’s plan to offer financial incentives for nurses

1:55 p.m.: The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board, along with the Durham Region Health department, have decided to close Monsignor Leo Cleary Catholic Elementary School due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the school.

The closure will be in effect for at least two weeks, the school board says. The outbreak was first declared on Sept. 16. According to an update from the province on Friday, there are currently five confirmed COVID-19 cases at the school.

1:25 p.m.: Quebec is reporting 795 new COVID-19 cases today, with five more deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health authorities say hospitalizations rose by three from Friday’s levels to 301, while the number of patients in intensive care dropped by one to 90.

The Health Department says of the latest reported infections, 567 were among people who were either unvaccinated or who had only received a first dose within the past two weeks.

According to the province's public health institute, about 89 per cent of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received at least one dose, while 83 per cent are considered fully vaccinated with two shots.

Quebec's health ministry is warning people to be aware of cellphone applications that deliberately try to mimic the look of the app used for the province's proof-of-vaccination system.

The ministry issued a release saying people have copied the visual developed for the VaxiCode app and succeeded in having look-alike products approved for download on Google Play.

12:20 p.m.: New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for its teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge just days before it was to take effect.

The worker mandate for the the nation’s largest school system was set to go into effect Monday. But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction and referred the case to a three-judge panel an an expedited basis.

Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said officials seeking a speedy resolution by the circuit court next week.

“We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve," Filson said in an email.

She said more than 82% of department employees have been vaccinated.

11:07 a.m.: Quebec's health ministry is warning people to be aware of cellphone applications that deliberately try to mimic the look of the app used for the province's proof-of-vaccination system.

The ministry issued a release saying people have copied the visual developed for the VaxiCode app and succeeded in having look-alike products approved for download on Google Play.

The ministry says staff have contacted Google to have the phoney apps removed from the platform.

The release says the situation has no effect on the integrity or security of the two official government apps which are geared towards merchants and consumers, respectively.

The government says the official apps do not require access to a phone camera and does not contain ads.

Anyone wanting to download the app should make sure to search for the exact "VaxiCode" name with no accents and no words before or after.

10:49 a.m.: In Buffalo, the Erie County Medical Center plans to suspend elective inpatient surgeries and not take intensive-care patients from other hospitals because it may soon fire about 400 employees who have chosen not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Officials at Northwell Health, New York’s largest provider of health care, estimate that they might have to fire thousands of people who have refused to get vaccinated.

And while the vast majority of staff members at New York City’s largest private hospital network, NewYork-Presbyterian, had been vaccinated as of this past week, more than 200 employees faced termination because they had not.

These are just a fraction of the workers at risk of losing their jobs or being put on unpaid leave after Monday, when a state directive requiring hospital and nursing home employees in the state to have received at least one shot of a virus vaccine takes effect.

As of Wednesday, state data shows, around 84% of New York’s 450,000 hospital workers and 83% of its 145,400 nursing home employees had been fully vaccinated. But tens of thousands of people are estimated not to have gotten a shot despite being threatened with losing their jobs. The holdouts say they fear potential side effects from the vaccines, have natural immunity or believe that the mandate violates their personal freedom.

10:20 a.m. (updated): Ontario is reporting another 640 COVID-19 cases and 10 more deaths. Of the 10 deaths, four occurred more than a month ago and were added to the cumulative count as part of a data cleanup, according to the province’s latest report released Saturday morning.

Ontario has administered 47,871 vaccine doses since its last daily update, with 21,614,205 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. the previous night.

According to the Star’s vaccine tracker, 11,176,654 people in Ontario have received at least one shot. That works out to approximately 85.7 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 75.2 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The province says 10,437,551 people have completed their vaccinations, which means they’ve had both doses. That works out to approximately 80.1 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 70.2 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine.

Read more from the Star’s Joshua Chong.

7:30 a.m.: Loosened capacity limits are now in effect at certain Ontario venues where proof of vaccination is required including arenas, stadiums, concert halls and theatres.

Dr. Kieran Moore, chief medical officer of health, says the change is due to key public health measures stabilizing in recent days.

The province says capacity limits at outdoor events where people stand will increase to up to 75 per cent capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less.

Indoor cinemas, concert venues, sporting events, banquet halls, convention centres, racing venues, and film studios will have capacity limits of up to 50 per cent or 10,000 people, whichever is less.

That means more fans at Toronto Blue Jays games when they take on the New York Yankees in a crucial three-game set next week as they chase a playoff berth.

More fans will also be allowed at Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs games as the N-H-L's pre-season begins soon.

6:35 a.m.: Israel is pressing ahead with its aggressive campaign of offering coronavirus boosters to almost anyone over 12 and says its approach was further vindicated by a U.S. decision to give the shots to older patients or those at higher risk.

Israeli officials credit the booster shot, which has already been delivered to about a third of the population, with helping suppress the country’s latest wave of COVID-19 infections. They say the differing approaches are based on the same realization that the booster is the right way to go, and expect the U.S. and other countries to expand their campaigns in the coming months.

“The decision reinforced our results that the third dose is safe,” said Dr. Nadav Davidovitch, head of the school of public health at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and chairman of the country’s association of public health physicians. “The main question now is of prioritization.”

The World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of the year so that more people in poor countries can get their first two doses, but Israeli officials say the booster shot is just as important in preventing infections.

“We know for sure that the current system of vaccine nationalism is hurting all of us, and it’s creating variants," said Davidovitch, who is also a member of an Israeli government panel of experts. But he added that the problem is “much broader than Israel.”

6 a.m.: People who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to personal preferences or “singular beliefs” do not have a right to accommodations under Ontario’s human rights law, the province’s rights watchdog says

The decision to get vaccinated is voluntary, and a “person who chooses not to be vaccinated based on personal preference does not have the right to accommodation under the (Human Rights Code),” the Ontario Human Rights Commission said this week in a policy paper discussing the limits of vaccine mandates and proof-of-vaccination requirements.

While human rights law prohibits discrimination based on creed — someone’s religion, or a non-religious belief system that shapes their identity, world view and way of life — personal preferences or singular beliefs do not amount to a creed, the commission said, adding it “is not aware of any tribunal or court decision that found a singular belief against vaccinations or masks amounted to a creed within the meaning of the Code.”

Furthermore, even if someone can show they have been denied service or employment over their creed, “the duty to accommodate does not necessarily require they be exempted from vaccine mandates, certification or COVID testing requirements,” the commission said. “The duty to accommodate can be limited if it would significantly compromise health and safety amounting to undue hardship — such as during a pandemic.”

Read more from the Star’s Jim Rankin.

5:30 a.m.: When Wongalwethu Mbanjwa tried to get a COVID-19 vaccination and found his local center closed, a friend told him there was another option: Get one on the train.

So Mbanjwa did.

Not any train, but South Africa's vaccine train — which has now made its way to the small town of Swartkops on the country's south coast. Carrying doctors, nurses and, crucially, vaccine doses, it has a mission to bring vaccines closer to people in small towns and poorer parts of South Africa, which has the continent's highest number of coronavirus infections at more than 2.8 million.

The train is parked at the Swartkops rail station, the first stop on a three-month journey through the poor Eastern Cape province. It will stay for about two weeks at a time at seven stations in the province to vaccinate as many people as possible.

State-owned rail company Transnet launched the program to aid the government's rollout. The initiative aims to meet head-on two of the government's biggest challenges: getting doses out beyond big cities to areas where health care facilities are limited and trying to convince hesitant people in those areas to get vaccine shots.

The train, named Transvaco, can hold up to 108,000 vaccine doses in ultra-cold refrigerators. It has nine coaches, including accommodation coaches and a kitchen and dining area for the staff, a vaccination area and consulting rooms.

5 a.m.: British Columbia has hit the 80 per cent mark with the number of eligible residents who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province says that compares with nearly 88 per cent of people who have been vaccinated with their initial dose.

It says B.C. recorded 743 new cases on Friday and that three-quarters of those diagnosed between Sept. 16 and 22 were not fully vaccinated.

Seven more people have died of the infection, for a total of 1,922 fatalities since the pandemic began.

The province says that after factoring for age, people who are unvaccinated are nearly 26 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated.


The Record

Queen Street highrise could be the first tower in Kitchener with no on-site parking


KITCHENER — A 34-storey condo tower proposed for Queen Street North in downtown Kitchener is set to the be the first highrise in the city to have no on-site parking.

“It’s the biggest thing we can do to improve the sustainability of our buildings,” said Tyler Ulmer of Momentum Developments, the developer behind the project at 16-20 Queen St. N.

“Just because the parking ratios of yesterday are being built doesn’t mean it’s the right thing,” he said.

With no parking, condo residents are encouraged to use Grand River Transit, the Ion and cycling, Ulmer said.

The highrise will feature 236 units and under the current zoning bylaw, the developer could have built 184 parking spaces and 11 visitor parking spots. The developer requested zero parking before the city’s committee of adjustment this week.

“The carbon emissions we are saving by not building a parking garage is the equivalent of yearly emissions of 1,100 Canadian homes. It is a significant amount,” Ulmer said.

“It’s exciting to see a building with zero parking,” said Kitchener senior planner Andrew Pinnell, who is overseeing the project.

Close to the highrise are three public parking garages including one on Duke Street West, the city hall parking garage and one at Charles and Benton streets.

The proposed development shares a property line with the Duke Street garage. The plan is that residents of the building will be able to park in the lot and sign a lease with the city, Ulmer said.

Ulmer said there will be more bike lockers in the building than residential units with 250 secure bike lockers on site “to make it really easy and convenient for people to use bikes and e-bikes.”

Kitchener is working on a new zoning bylaw which will allow for zero parking for residential developments in the downtown area. The new bylaw should be in place within a year, Pinnell said.

Pinnell said other developers have shown interest in building projects without any parking.

“We will definitely see more,” he said. Another proposed building at the corner of Ontario and Weber Streets is also planning for zero parking.

The Queen Street North project made headlines earlier this summer when heritage advocates urged city council to save the entire 106-year-old landmark building. Council voted in favour of the developer, enabling heritage designation of the three-storey facade of the building and not the entire structure. The remainder of the building will be demolished.

Ulmer said no parking helps with affordability for those buying a condo unit. Parking spots are around $45,000 per stall, he said.

“You don’t have to put that on your mortgage. It makes our units a lot cheaper,” he said.

It will also reduce monthly condo fees, he said. A big portion of condo fees go toward maintaining parking structures.

Liz Monteiro is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach her via email: lmonteiro@therecord.com


The Record

What is happening to the Grand River’s brown trout?


GRAND RIVER WATERSHED — Rumours are swimming around that the brown trout population in the Upper Grand River is declining.

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry stocks about 20 to 25,000 brown trout each year in a portion of the river cold enough to support brown trout. This area, the Grand River tailwater, is below the Shand Dam, and is a well-known destination for trout fishing.

Stocking has been very successful since the late 1980s, says Jack Imhof, biologist and director of conservation with Trout Unlimited Canada. “It’s generated a very robust population of fish for anglers to capture and harvest. It’s generated some economic value to the towns of Fergus and Elora. Up until recently, it was doing very well.

Now fishers are reporting to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Trout Unlimited Canada, a freshwater conservation organization, that the fish population seems to be getting smaller.

Imhof says the stories from the fishermen have been coming primarily in the last two years.

“We’re being told, it’s not doing very well. Temperatures seem to be OK, so we don’t know what’s going on. Until we collect the data, we won’t know for sure.”

Brian Burechail has been fishing in the Grand for over three decades. He believes the stocked brown trout are not living past their first year in the river.

“The brown trout fishery is finished,” says Burechail, “but no one seems to be doing anything about it.”

Burechail worries that once the current cohort of larger-sized trout, or those that have lived past six years, die, there will be no large brown trout left, particularly in the Upper Grand.

The Grand River tailwater starts at the Shand Dam northeast of Fergus. It continues 28 kilometres downstream until about Westmont Rose.

Much of the land surrounding the Grand River has been so altered, the river is no longer adequately replenished by ground water and tributary flow. Before the dam was built, the river would be mostly dry in the summer, and flood uncontrollably in the spring.

The Grand River Conservation Authority manages the river’s flow with the Belwood Lake Reservoir, a 12 kilometre lake created by the dam. Water is stored in the spring, and released over the summer.

The conservation authority’s system of dams and reservoirs supplies enough flow to dilute treated wastewater downstream, while at the same time providing enough water for Waterloo Region, Brantford and Six Nations of the Grand River to source drinking water.

The water is released from the bottom of the reservoir, so it is cold enough to allow certain kinds of trout to survive. Fish have been stocked on and off below the Shand dam since it was built in 1942. The current brown trout fishery in the Grand River tailwater began in 1989.

“The flow augmentation is so needed. I mean if that reservoir wasn’t there, in Kitchener you’d be able to walk across (the river) in your running shoes.”

Conservation authority staff estimate that in the summer months, 80 per cent of the river’s volume coming through Kitchener is supplied by the reservoir system, rather than natural recharge or other contributing tributaries.

But during storm or heavy melt events, water can still flow at extremely high rates, and this can wreak havoc on fish populations and their habitat, says Collins.

For example, during an unprecedented rain event in June 2017 conservation authority staff released a flow of 319 cubic meters per second (cms). At the event’s peak, 507 cms of water was recorded flowing in West Montrose. One cubic metre per second is the equivalent of a thousand litres. At this point of the year, the river typically flows at five cms.

“There was not a single thing left in the river. Even rocks the size of half a volkswagen car door were being moved. So when you see things like that happen, that is impossible. You have to start (the fishery) all over again,” says Collins.

Flood events are not the only factor effecting brown trout in the river. The truth about what is happening to the brown trout population in the tailwaters of the Upper Grand is a little more slippery.

“The Grand River is still a world class fishery today, no matter what anyone tells you,” says Rob Voisin, chair of the Friends of the Grand River, a conservation group made mostly of locals who fish on the Grand.

Voisin says he and other members of Friends of the Grand River have also noticed the missing middle of the brown trout population. Voisin believes there are common-sense reasons why the brown trout population might be smaller including that the river is still stocked at similar rates to the 1990s, yet there are more people in the area and more fishing pressure. Urbanization, increased numbers of birds of prey, lower water levels, more landowners on the river, and more landowners clearing their banks increases erosion and decreases water quality, he says.

Although the ministry is hearing about declining trout populations, without evidence these reports cannot be confirmed, says Jolanta Kowalski, a spokesperson for the ministry.

Chris Bunt is a fishery scientist with his research firm, Biotactic, out of Kitchener. He says the number of fishing licenses in Ontario have increased by 20 per cent since the pandemic began. All these factors add more stress to the fish.

As well, the pandemic over the last year and a half has had a toll on the care usually given to the river and the brown trout population, says Collins. Volunteers haven’t been able to gather in groups to stock the river or for cleanup events, so these activities have been more sporadic.

Meanwhile, the general population is spending more time on the river, says Collins. For example, he saw a sharp increase in the number of people tubing on the river this year.

All these factors are adding more stress to the brown trout.

More research is needed to determine the actual state of the brown trout population, says Bunt, but he feels that focusing on brown trout specifically misses the bigger picture of the river.

“I love the river, it’s a beautiful, beautiful river, says Bunt. “We’ve got some really cool fish in there, they’re just not the ones people care about.”

The Grand River is home to about 90 species of fish including rare ones like the silver shiner and the river redhorse, both species at risk.

Rather than focus on a single species of fish, Bunt worries more about larger-scale issues like the variety of chemicals that end up in the water and disrupt fish reproduction and health like prescription and non-prescription drugs, insecticides, herbicides, salt, wastewater pollutants or even dog feces to name a few.

“Everybody’s got to realize that everything goes into the river. Everything,” says Bunt. “I mean everything in Shoppers Drug Mart pretty much just ends up going in the Grand River, you know? All the shampoos, all the soaps, all the lotions, all the makeup, all the drugs, anything you put on your skin, you know all the foot creams — all the fungicides, lice cream, lice lotion is insecticide, all that stuff.”

Agricultural and residential insecticides and herbicides, road salt and softener salt, are also important contaminants, he says.

Climate change is also playing havoc on the Grand River, says Bunt. Large storm events like the flood of June 2017 could become more common. A warming climate is also changing how much snow is accumulated in the winter, how and when this snow and ice melts, and amount and timing of precipitation in general.

These changes mean that water levels are unpredictable and may not provide enough flow for fish to move around, or line up with the narrow window of opportunity for when fish are breeding.

Bunt says that fish populations in the Grand River, both their numbers and the types of fish in the river are changing. This means some species are doing well, while others are declining. For example, walleye are succeeding, while Bunt is seeing serious declines in sucker populations.

“We’re living in a time of massive change.”

But is the trout fishery dying? Collins doesn’t think so, not yet. He believes the fish are facing increased stress, and mismanagement of the river could lead to their decline, but that point has not yet been reached.

“Is the river something of worth? It’s a gem,” says Collins. “We’re less than an hour and a half away from seven million people. And we’re still doing this? We’re still supporting this type of pressure? This type of angling? This is a gold mine.

“To lose it would be the absolutely biggest crime in the world.”

Leah Gerber is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach her via lgerber@therecord.com

CTV News Kitchener

Risk of showers persists

From CTV Kitchener's Shannon Bradbury: Expect thunderstorms on Saturday, with the risk of rain continuing into next week.

CTV News Kitchener

COVID cases rising among youth

From CTV Kitchener's Natalie van Rooy: Only weeks into the new school year and COVID-19 cases among students and youth are already rising.

CTV News Kitchener

Study compares Polio virus and COVID-19

From CTV Kitchener's Heather Senoran: Researchers at WLU are studying the differences between the COVID-19 pandemic and the Polio epidemic.

Global News: Kitchener

Doctor facing investigation over medical exemptions

A Richmond Hill medical doctor is facing a probe by Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons after allegations he offered medical exemption forms to patients. Seán O’Shea reports.

CTV News Kitchener

Ontario expanding capacity limits at some venues

From CTV Kitchener: Ontario is easing capacity limits for some indoor and outdoor settings where proof of vaccination is required.

CTV News Kitchener

Police seeking help identifying homicide victim

From CTV Kitchener's Stephanie Villella: Police are seeking the public's assistance in identifying a man who was found dead in Kitchener on Friday morning.

Global News: Kitchener

Restaurants manage new provincial COVID-19 vaccine passport program

Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system is prompting some restaurants and cafes to change their business model. As Caryn Lieberman reports, some are finding it easier to simply shut down their dining rooms for now.

CTV News Kitchener

Oktoberfest kicks off

From CTV Kitchener's Carmen Wong: Oktoberfest 2021 is officially underway, with the first keg of the Bavarian festival tapped on Friday.

CTV News Kitchener

Cracking down on Homecoming parties

From CTV Kitchener's Nicole Lampa: Students at Waterloo's post-secondary institutions are being urged to avoid large, unsanctioned gatherings this Homecoming weekend.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario to increase capacity limits at sports arenas

The province has allowed an increase in capacity limits at sporting venues, including Scotiabank Arena and Rogers Centre. As Shallima Maharaj reports, this move comes at a pivotal time for the Jays and MLSE.

CTV News Kitchener

Flood warned ended in Ayr, New Hamburg, Drayton

From CTV Kitchener's Jessica Smith: Water levels have started to recede in the watershed communities of Drayton, Ayr and New Hamburg.

Global News: Kitchener

Small businesses in Ontario say new capacity limits won’t help their recovery

While Ontario’s chief medical officer of health announced capacity limits will ease for some indoor venues, some small businesses say the rules only benefit big companies with large spaces. Katherine Ward reports.

Global News: Kitchener

Fridays for Future Toronto holds youth-led climate rally at Queen’s Park

“Fridays for Future Toronto” was one of many climate rallies held right around the world on September 24, 2021. Organizers and climate strikers gathered at Queen’s Park demanding all levels of government commit to major changes for the environment. Melanie Zettler reports.

Spoke Online

Supporting sexual assault victims amid COVID-19 pandemic

The effects of COVID-19 have been frustrating for some, but for others it’s been agonizing and fearful, leaving them alone with the people who have hurt them the most.

“Survivors are struggling with their wellness like never before,” said Jessica St. Peter, the Public Education Manager at the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) located in downtown Kitchener.

“Isolation, social distancing, loss of employment, disruptions in routines, and increased anxiety, all create conditions where intimate partner sexual assault, other forms of sexual violence, and child sexual abuse are more common,” St. Peter said.

Since the pandemic, the SASC has seen an increase in the following areas:

2020-21 to 21-22 Fiscal:Increase PercentageIndividual Counselling
Past Clients Accessing Support
Open Support Group Access
Anti-Human Trafficking Program
Family Court Support Program
Public Education Program
Crisis Calls/Chats
Individual Counselling Wait List13%
71%
628%
26%
51%
58%
4%
22%

This large 628% increase shows how more accessible it is for victims to reach out and get the help they need.

“Looking at that need for connection that people are seeking, in addition to support with their healing journey,” said St. Peter. “The virtual adaption also made it easier for some folks to join and participate.”

To accommodate all these increases, the SASC has introduced numerous additions to their website to further assist their clients. They have also doubled their capacity of respondents to their 24-Hour Support Line, where clients can connect easily and effectively as quickly as possible.

While most of their support programs have been pushed to an online environment, walk-ins are available depending on the severity of a client’s situation. These changes came into effect on March 16, 2020, and continue today.

“We continually invest in our own internal education and unpacking a privilege to address our intersexual lens and the importance of anti-racism, anti-oppression, and how we do our work,” said St. Peter. “We also have an online chat support option so those who don’t feel safe calling via phone or have the space to call can have more access.”

The SASC has also created multiple events to encourage women all over to talk about their experiences and bring their stories to life. These events include a Virtual Halloween Fun Run, a 5K run where women wear powerful costumes, and Take Back the Night, a night where women can feel empowered and share their stories with others in a similar situation.

♦Community members gather at Take back The Night event on Sept 16, 2021. Photo by Fayth Paul

“The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region takes safety [Take Back the Night] very seriously,” said Sarah Wiley, the Violence Prevention Educator as SASC. “We have consulted with the Waterloo Region Police, and the Waterloo Region Public Health to determine the safest way to gather and to ensure that we are following all local and provincial regulations.”

The SASC strongly encourages those who need help to reach out. They can be reached by phone at 519-741-8633.


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