Tag Archives: Cece M. Scott


Destination Ontario: The Talk of the Towns

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Destination Ontario: The Talk of the Towns

Port Hope & Cobourg

By Cece M. Scott www.cecescott.com

Port Hope is the gateway to Northumberland County. Located just an hour east of Toronto on Lake Ontario’s north shore, the town was voted the ‘Best Preserved Main Street in Ontario’ by TVO viewers. Founded in 1790, the town’s population is now in excess of 16,000, and it’s become a creative hub for artists, foodies and retired Torontonians.

Downtown Port Hope


The Ganaraska River runs through the town, and every April thousands take part in this annual festival, which commemorates the 1980 flood that destroyed Port Hope’s downtown core. Participants, in canoes, kayaks and crazy, build-your-own vessels, float down a 10-kilometre run with an over-the-rapids finish near the Barnett Street Bridge. The weekend also includes a three-day Float Your Fanny Comedy Festival, presented by Ontario Street Theatre.

Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny

It’s an incredible site to see thousands of Atlantic Salmon make their way up the Ganaraska River to spawn, each year between August and October. The man-made fish ladder is the perfect spot to watch the fish jump, flip and fly up the ladder.


Horses, alpacas, and Nigerian Dwarf goats welcome visitors to the 200-acre Haute Goat Farm. Hiking trails and guided tours are available, as well as farm-made creams, cheeses, fudge and goat milk soap.

While touring the countryside, visit Laveanne Lavender Fields. Here you can experience a sensory sample of Mother Nature’s unique offerings. Visitors can practice yoga in the lavender fields, and then go for a restorative walk in the labyrinth. During the month of July (weather permitting), visitors to the Laveanne Cafe are transported to south of France with breathtaking views of the vivid, purple blooms. Lunch entrees, sides and sweets are all dusted with hints of lavender, and you’ll find lavender inspired honey, essential oils and sachets at the gift store. The Passion of Lavender is an interactive seminar that offers tips on how to maintain, harvest and process lavender plants, as well as how to use lavender in your gardens.


Port Hope is becoming a popular, and well-respected, culinary destination. Held in Memorial Park, Cultivate: A Festival of Food and Drink is a three-day celebration of local food, craft beer, artisans and live music.

City Hall: photo by JoAnn McHardy

The Capitol Theatre is one of the oldest restored theatres in Canada. This 1930s theatre is the perfect location for the Vintage Film Festival, which showcases films made more than half of a century ago. Many of the films feature screen actress and Cobourg native, Marie Dressler, and is held this year from the 12th to the 14th of October. The Capitol also hosts live theatre, operas and concerts. Tickets to events at the Capitol Theatre are classified as a Golden ticket, which entitles the bearer to receive special privileges and discounts at participating businesses.


Cobourg is the largest town in Northumberland County, and is known as Ontario’s feel-good town. Located just east of Port Hope, this town also exudes local flavour and country charm.


The town’s white sandy beaches are a big draw for swimmers, paddle boarders and kayakers, as well as those who just love hanging out by the water. The waters are rich with salmon, with some catches weighing in at more than 30 pounds.

With easy access to the Northumberland and Ganaraska Forests, residents and visitors enjoy hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing. Treetop Trekking Ganaraska provides those of a more-spirited nature the opportunity to climb, fly across zip lines and swing high in the trees. For a new experience, try one of their night treks – headlamps provided.

Old Bailey Courtroom, Victoria Hall


Sir. John A. MacDonald once convened a trial at The Victoria Hall Courtroom. Other famous trials include that of Sir Arthur Currie (1927), vilified for leading troops into Mons, Belgium on armistice day.

Located in the ballroom of Victoria Hall, The Concert Hall is a fitting venue for musical theatre, plays and concerts. England’s Prince of Wales attended the opening gala of the art gallery in 1860, and it continues to feature local and touring artists.

The Cornell House is a Victorian home once owned by 1930’s stage star Katharine Cornell. It was here that Katherine, reportedly, hosted her friends Ethel Merman, Orson Wells and the Marx brothers. Today, chamber, folk and classical music concerts are held at the Cornell House.

lake-side skating


The Cobourg/Port Hope area boasts spectacular golf courses, including Ash Brook, Cobourg Creek, Dalewood, Roxburgh Glen and the Port Hope Golf & Country Club.

sidewalk sale, Cobourg.


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Cover Story: Christine Magee

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Cover Story: Christine Magee

Living Life on her terms

By Cece M. Scott www.cecescott.com

Close to 25 years ago, Christine Magee had a stable career at a bank. Many people would have been content, but Magee decided to embark on a new trajectory and seize an opportunity. Magee had worked with both Stephen Gunn and Gordon Lownds on previous financial transactions, when they invited Magee to join them as a third operating partner in the launch of a new mattress retail concept. “There were some very attractive industry fundamentals, and we felt that none of the existing mattress retailers were doing a good job of servicing the customers’ needs,” says Magee.

Photo, John Crozier

For Magee, it wasn’t just about selling a mattress, a pillow or a sleep accessory, but rather helping a customer get a restorative, better night’s sleep. “We also identified that as the demographic was aging, the awareness around the importance of sleep was growing,” says Magee. “And there was an opportunity for us to service that need – along with providing exceptional customer service.”

In 1994, it wasn’t an easy decision for Magee and her husband, Allen, to quit their jobs, sell everything and move from Toronto to Vancouver. From a purely conventional perspective, those who were looking at this new adventure from an outside position, didn’t understand why they would leave good jobs to start a new company. “I stopped telling people what we were going to do, and thought it was better if we just went out and did it,” says Magee. “We certainly had to weigh the pros and cons of that decision. Now when I am asked what lessons I have learned, I talk about the importance of the notion – what would I do if I were not afraid to fail? I hope that if I want something bad enough, I will make every effort to go out and make it happen.”

A Dynamic Campaign

The start-up business plan for the new company was an aggressive one, with 88 stores scheduled to open in the first five years. Four stores were launched in lower, mainland Vancouver, and by the end of the first year of operation, 12 stores were up and running.

Sleep Country opened 10 stores in Ontario in 1996. Within the same year, 19 more stores were added, and another 14 stores in 1997. In the fall of 1997, they opened four new stores in Calgary, and by the end of the first three years, they had opened more than 50 stores. Fast forward to 2018, and Sleep Country has more than 247 stores across Canada, 16 distribution centres and more than 1,400 team members. “From the beginning, we have focused on three factors to differentiate us from our competition,” says Magee.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Sleeping Beauties and Beaus for One Walk to Conquer Cancer; Christine Magee and The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, 2010 to 2017; ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Blissdom Canada Conference. Photography, courtesy of Sleep Country Canada

First, Sleep Country creates top-of-mind awareness, so that each customer understands that they are receiving the best value and the best service. Secondly, an exceptional in-store experience services the needs of the customer through a consultation, rather than a hard sell. And thirdly, Sleep Country offers a prompt delivery service that includes a three-hour delivery window and the removal of the mattress packaging, in addition to the removal of the old bed, which is recycled or donated to a family in need. “Our ability to deliver on these three factors is all about the execution, and excellent execution comes down to having the right team,” says Magee. “Attracting, developing and retaining a great team of associates has been the differentiator in delivering on our customer promises.”

There’s no question that Magee has created one of the most award-winning formulas for success, and is an inspiration to many. Recognition includes, Canada’s Top 40 under 40 (1997); Induction into the Retail Council of Canada Hall of Fame (2005); Women’s Executive Network Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013 ), the Order of Canada (2015), and the Excellence Canada Special Recognition of Achievement Award (2017). “At the end of the day, it’s all about companionship and friendships,” says Magee. “Any successes that I have had are made that much brighter by sharing them with the individuals who have helped me to get there.”

Moving in the right direction

At the age of 58, and after 24 years of strategizing, implementing and hands-on company management, Magee is, once again, listening to her inner voice. To that end, she has transitioned from her role as President of Sleep Country to that of Co-Chair of the Board for Sleep Country Canada Inc. “It was a more difficult transition than I expected,” says Magee. “Now, I balance my time between overseeing the business and other board work, while being able to pursue my personal goals. I didn’t realize how ingrained in the day-to-day activities I was, so it takes a period of adjustment to let go.”

In addition to Sleep Country, Magee also sits on the boards for Metro Inc., Woodbine Entertainment Group, as well as two non-profits, Trillium Health Partners and Plan International Canada. “Right now I am fully occupied. I’m challenged. I’m learning. I am also enjoying spending more time with my husband and my daughters. I am confident that these are the right ways to spend my time at this point in my life.”

Magee has two daughters – Riley, 20 and Kate, 17. “As the life stages of the family changes, Al and I, as parents, have to change and adapt as well,” says Magee. “I hope that I can share that same belief with my daughters that my parents gifted me with – that in life, we are really only limited by our own aspirations.”

Being present, and appreciating those around her, are conscious choices. Observing challenges that friends and family members are facing as they age is a reality that is all-too real. “To the degree that I can influence my health, I need to take responsibility for it.”

Magee has always been active and involved in many sports like skiing, golfing, tennis and yoga.“I’m rejuvenated by nature, and I love going to the cottage, going for walks and taking the time to take in the beautiful scenery.”

Photography,Andy Vanderkaay

As she approaches her sixth decade, Magee is well aware that this very moment is what’s important – to appreciate it and to live in it. There’s no point in having regrets, but to learn from them and to move on. “When we are young, we do not realize just how much time we have to determine our passion – one’s true calling. Then we age, and we finally discover what our passions are, only to realize that we don’t have as much time to pursue them as we thought.”


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Cover Story: David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

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Cover Story: David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

By Cece M. Scott www.cecescott.com

Music gives him a reason to live.

Best known as the singer and frontman for Blood, Sweat & Tears (BS&T), David Clayton-Thomas is an inductee in The Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1996), the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (2007) for his song Spinning Wheel, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame (2008), and Canada’s Walk of Fame (2010). He’s also a multi-Grammy award-winner, having sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

Photo, Don Dixon

A musical icon, Clayton-Thomas, now 76, earned his chops with David Clayton-Thomas and The Fabulous Shays, laying down hits like Out of the Sunshine and Walk That Walk. In 1964, the band opened for the Rolling Stones at Maple Leaf Gardens – a proud moment for Clayton-Thomas, whose parents were in the audience. “You showed them, David. You showed them,” said his mom.

The teenage years were a tumultuous time for Clayton-Thomas. At 14, he ran away from home to escape his abusive father. He spent the next several years living on the street and in various reformatories (for petty theft, vagrancy and street fighting), including the Guelph Reformatory and the Burwash Correctional Centre. “Burwash was thirty miles from Sudbury and a thousand miles from nowhere,” says Clayton-Thomas.

Induction, Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Ottawa (2008); Photography, courtesy of David Clayton-Thomas


To fill the time, Clayton-Thomas taught himself to play a guitar that had been gifted to him by an inmate. Before long, he was performing concerts for his fellow prisoners. When he was released in 1962, Clayton- Thomas was armed for a new lifestyle, along with his guitar and a newly discovered singing voice.

His first stop was on Yonge Street in Toronto, with a strip of legendary bars that included Le Coq d’Or, Friars’, The Colonial and The Town Tavern. Clayton- Thomas’ robust, soulful voice caught the attention of others and he found himself being mentored by some of the best, including Ronnie Hawkins.

David Clayton-Thomas with his mother, Freda (1974). Photography, courtesy of David Clayton-Thomas

After The Shays broke up, Clayton-Thomas went solo, playing Yorkville’s storied coffee houses alongside the likes of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. He was invited to New York by his-then idol, John Lee Hooker, and spent the next two years playing Greenwich Village. “I was in good company playing the basket houses – Carole King, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix. We’d play two songs and pass the basket.”

In 1966, Clayton-Thomas joined the Bossmen, scoring a Top 20 Canadian hit with the anti-Vietnam war song, Brainwashed (1966). Following an invitation from BS&T drummer, Bobby Colomby, Clayton-Thomas joined the group as the lead singer in 1968. They went on to win critical acclaim for their self-titled album that included such hits as, And When I Die, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy and Spinning Wheel. The album won three Grammys, including Album of the Year, beating out the Beatles’ Abbey Road.

Grammy win with Louis Armstrong (1970)

One year later, BS&T was a headline act at the epochal Woodstock Festival (1969). One of Clayton-Thomas’ fondest festival memories was meeting Levon Helm and the rest of The Band backstage – his old pals from the strip. “We were like, wow! A couple of years ago we were playing the Yonge Street strip and now we’re headlining the biggest concert in history. It was pretty amazing.”


It was a speedy transformation for BS&T. They were now a money-making machine, with the added pressures that went along with it, including expectations to tour. “For the first three years none of us had homes – but we had really nice luggage” says Clayton- Thomas. “There was no such thing as having a steady relationship.” Clayton-Thomas’ own three failed marriages were a casualty of being on the road for a good part of each year.

In 2005 Clayton-Thomas decided to semi-retire, and moved back to his hometown of Toronto after living in New York for several decades. “For 47 years, my life consisted of performing 250 concerts a year all over the world with Blood, Sweat & Tears. It was a blur of running to airports, sleeping where I could – it takes its toll. I wanted to settle down in one place, and I chose Toronto because I love it here,” says Clayton- Thomas. “Of all the places I’ve been in the world, I think Toronto is one of the finest places on the planet. I never gave up my Canadian passport.”

Woodstock Festival (1969)

The last twelve years have been busy. Clayton-Thomas has put out an album each year, and has performed at selected concerts in Canada and in Europe. His 2017 Canadiana album is a tribute to Canada’s 150th Birthday, and features music by old friends, including Neil Young, Levon Helm and Joni Mitchell. An original soundtrack of new songs will be released later this year.


In 2011, Clayton-Thomas experienced a health scare, which forced him to slow down. A bacterial infection impacted his aortic heart valve. “I got the valve replaced and I came through it, but I don’t move as fast as I used to. At one time, I was a runner, but now my exercise consists of taking Maggie for a walk down the beautiful Toronto boardwalk three times a day.”

“Canadian” Blood, Sweat & Tears, San Francisco (1982)

Music played a life-changing role in Clayton-Thomas’ life, and he’s never forgotten it. He’s involved with Peacebuilders – an organization that fosters the reformation of the justice system and provides support for underprivileged kids. In addition, he supports the Hamilton Music Collective – An Instrument for Every Child. This organization provides musical instruments, and instruction, to inner-city kids through a partnership with Mohawk College. “There are so many young kids who don’t have the money to buy a guitar or learn how to play. This gives them a chance in life.”

Someone referred to me as the Dean of Canadian singers. I guess that means I’m
getting old. – David Clayton-Thomas

Another youth advocacy group that he’s committed to is Pine River Camp in Orangeville. “Instead of going to jail, Pine River offers kids in the reform process a second chance,” says Clayton-Thomas. “The kids go there for two years, get a specialized education and, ultimately, get their high school diploma.”

Clayton-Thomas is also working to get legislation passed so that streaming companies, such as Spotify, pay fair royalties to the artists for their music. “We need to keep the music alive.”

Brentwood, California (1982)

Clayton-Thomas counts his daughter Ashleigh, his granddaughter Dani, (a second grandchild is expected this year), his Miniature Schnauzer Maggie (named after Margaret Trudeau), and his downtown, lake-view crib as life’s gifts – as well as being on stage and performing for a hometown crowd. “I will always remember playing at Maple Leaf Gardens,” says Clayton-Thomas. “When I get on stage now, all the aches and pains go away. I don’t think about it until afterwards. I get back to the hotel and think, oh God I hurt. But it’s fun making music – I have always loved it.”



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Destination Ontario: Ontario’s Riviera Port Dover & Norfolk County

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Destination Ontario: Ontario’s Riviera Port Dover & Norfolk County

By Cece M. Scott www.cecescott.com

Photography, courtesy of www.norfolktourism.ca

Located on the north shore of Lake Erie in Norfolk County, Port Dover is one of Ontario’s best kept secrets with tropicallike beaches, fresh-water activities and fishing, as well as some of the province’s most beautiful scenery.

Motorcycle enthusiasts from across North America descend upon Port Dover every Friday the 13th. This tradition dates back 20 years. If the 13th falls during the summer months, more than 100,000 enjoy a festivallike atmosphere, making it the largest one-day motorcycle event in Canada.

Friday the 13th


Norfolk County includes eclectic villages, towns and hamlets, such as La Salette (1875), Waterford (1826), Port Rowan (1825), and the county’s main town, Simcoe (1795), which boasts a vibrant downtown, a lush park system and several historic sites. Turkey Point (1793) was previously the county’s capital, and is aptly named for the rafter of turkeys that used to roam the area.


Palm trees on port Dover beach

Norfolk County is flushed with sparkling lakes – providing splashperfect destinations for swimming, fishing, boating and picnicking.

Named one of the Top 10 Beach Weekend Escapes from Toronto (blogTO, 2017), Port Dover touts white-sand beaches and shallow waters. Glorious days can be spent walking the shores of Lake Erie (known as Ontario’s South Point and Long Point), or renting a stand-up paddle board (SUP) from South Coast Paddle Sports.

Port Dover

Enjoy a cold one on the patio of The Beach House surrounded by whimsical palm trees that are planted every year by the owner. Other Port Dover restaurants include Lago Trattoria (Italian with a local twist), the 1946 Erie Beach Hotel (now run by the third generation), and Urban Parisian, which features authentic, French-style bakery items.

Long Point shore fishing

Port Dover has an extensive boating and fishing history, and once possessed the world’s largest fresh-water fishing fleet. Commercial fishing still plays a significant role in the local economy, and restaurants serve up tasty lake perch and pickerel dishes. Anglers can fish from the pier during the summer months, and come winter, ice fishing for pike is a popular past time.

The town’s marine heritage is celebrated at The Port Dover Harbour Museum.


The sandy soil and lake-moderated temperatures of Norfolk County are a perfect combination for grape growing. The area hosts 11 wineries, including Villa Nova Estate, Burning Kiln Winery and Bonnieheath Estate, which also grows lavender. Several area wineries have won international awards, both for their wines, as well as their hard ciders. In the process of getting their DVA designation, the region is now considered to be Ontario’s new emerging wine region.

VillaNova girls toasting

Craft breweries are also jumping on board with local favourites from Blue Elephant Craft Brew House and Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm.


Turkey Point, Long Point, Port Rowan and Normandale are great locations for birding and for spotting wildlife. Long Point is home to Birds Study Canada and the Long Point Bird Observatory – considered to be one of North America’s most important waterfowl areas. Sightings include the rare Peregrine Falcons, Cave Swallows, Fox Sparrows and the Horned Grebe.

Norfolk County is one of Canada’s most diverse agricultural regions. Once a tobacco belt, the county is now the country’s top grower of asparagus, cabbage, ginseng and peanuts.

Seasonal, and year-round, farmers’ markets include Simcoe Market held on Thursdays, and Port Dover Lions Silver Lake Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

Lavender field at Bonnie Heath Estate

Great finds can also be found at Franni’s Actic. This destination features close to one acre of treasures and collectibles in a rustic environment, complete with tin ceilings and oiled, hardwood floors. More than 60 vendors carry up-cycled antiques, pottery, textiles, etc. at the Waterford Antique Market. Deer Creek Antiques & Creations sells beautifully aged, and repurposed, furniture.

One of the largest agricultural fairs in Canada, the Norfolk County’s Fair and Horse Show, features fabulous food, a midway and main-stage concerts. Come fall, Waterford hosts an annual Pumpkinfest, Port Dover hosts Beerstock, and Friday the 13th celebrations are a yearly tradition.



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Cover Story: TRUE Canadian Gems – Murray McLauchlan & Denise Donlon

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Cover Story: TRUE Canadian Gems – Murray McLauchlan & Denise Donlon

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

At the age of 69, Murray McLauchlan is affectionately referred to as Murray Many Heads. His wife, Denise Donlon, agrees. The recipient of 11 Juno Awards, including Country Male Vocalist of the Year for a total of five times, McLauchlan may be best known as a musician and an award-winning song writer, but he is also a painter, a pilot, a husband and a father – and possesses a wonderful sense of humour.

McLauchlan’s song catalogue includes Farmer’s Song (1972), Down by the Henry Moore (1975), On the Boulevard (1976) and Whispering Rain (1971) – all of which have stood the test of time.

Denise Donlon, now 61, is a Broadcast Hall of Fame inductee, and a Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music. She was the anchor for Much’s (formerly MuchMusic) Rockflash News (CityTv,1985), as well as the host and producer of The New Music (1986 to 1993) on the same network. Donlon has witnessed, firsthand, the changing face of pop culture through music videos, and has done more than 1,000 interviews with the likes of Keith Richards, Joni Mitchell, Sting and Leonard Cohen – to name a few.

Donlon’s 2016 book, Fearless As Possible (Under the Circumstances), chronicles her impressive, and storied career, on the front lines of the media and music industries. Donlon toured as a publicist with popular bands like Headpins, Whitesnake, and Doug and the Slugs. In the book, she also goes into detail about her business, and personal, relationships as the first female president of Sony Music Canada, and as the general manager and executive director of CBC English Radio.

McLauchlan the pilot; son, Duncan, McLauchlan and Donlon; Bruce Cockburn and McLauchlan.

Both McLauchlan (1993) and Donlon (2004) have received the Order of Canada, which recognizes their outstanding achievements, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

McLauchlan’s and Donlon’s home property abuts the Don Valley ravine in the east end of Toronto. During the interview, a coyote saunters into the backyard. As a child, McLauchlan dreamed of being a wildlife illustrator and a painter. “I had this wildly romantic idea of doing covers for Sports Illustrated magazine, as well as studying under the preeminent landscape painter, Doris McCarthy.”

McLauchlan did study with McCarthy, and also attended lectures given by Canadian naturalist and wildlife painter, Robert Bateman. “I went to Central Tech and studied and studied, and then realized that I didn’t want to be a commercial artist.”

Stevie Wonder and Donlon, 1982; Donlon and Leonard Cohen, 1981; McLauchlan and Donlon in Tuscany, 2013.

It was around this time, that the-then 17-year-old McLauchlan headed for the hippie haunts of Yorkville and started performing at various coffee houses. In 1966 he performed at the Mariposa Folk Festival, followed by stints in New York’s Greenwich Village. McLaughlan’s songs have been performed by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Tom Rush.

Donlon and McLauchlan met in the late 80s, married two years later and then welcomed their son, Duncan, into the world in 1992. Mclauchlan admits to feelings of angst when he calculated how old he’d be when his son would be in his teens. “I was worried about becoming a father at 43, because somewhere in my mind I had an idea of my golden years,” says McLauchlan. “But then, there comes the realization that you are no longer the centre of your own life. I was in the love bubble.”

After Duncan’s birth, McLaulan took time off, and Donlon went back to work after three months. Donlon’s career continued on an upward trajectory, and she became the first female president of Sony Music Canada in 2000. Soon after, Napster (a filesharing, internet service that emphasized sharing audio files) was launched. It wasn’t long before Napster ran into legal difficulties, but the damage was done.

It changed the landscape of the music industry, and, as a result, Donlon’s lack of confidence was triggered. She admits that she suffered from Imposter’s Syndrome. “In my private moments it was really tough sledding, but in my public moments it was about leadership and inspiration – I had to be there for my artists.”

Upon the completion of her book, Donlon reassessed her perspective on life. “I’m taking a deep breath and putting it out to the universe to see what comes back,” says Donlon. “My tendency has always been to put the pedal to the metal, and to try and fill everything up with busyness. So, I am trying to spend more time in the moment, fill my life with things that give me pleasure, and not be as frantic as I once was.”

Morning Stoney Lake, by Murray McLauchlan.

Donlon never shied away from much – in both her professional, and personal, life. She’s rappelled down the side of a building, driven a 40-ton German tank and has tried bungee jumping. These days, she’s keeping closer to the ground, and is spending a great deal of time on her yoga mat. “The things on my list are now more about endurance. I’m trying, desperately, to keep my yearly, one-mile swim to under 30 minutes.”

Involved in the martial arts when he was younger, McLauchlan no longer practices combat training. “Basically, the body can’t take it anymore. Life, in general, is extremely active between keeping up the house and the cottage. And, of course, there’s the keeping up with Denise.”

When in his 40s, McLauchlan’s agent suggested to him (jokingly) that he was getting too old for the market. “I felt the whole idea was appalling and colossally stupid. I still do,” says McLauchlan. “There is a weird phenomenon in the music industry that ridicules old rockers – like the Rolling Stones. The media doesn’t talk about their music, just how wrinkled and prunelike they are.”

McLauchlan has performed at many concerts and benefits over the course of the past year, and has additional shows booked in 2018. “It has always been about reinvention for me – finding new ways to make contact with my music.”

Storm Stoney Lake, by Murray McLauchlan.

“My best days are ahead of me,
even if I do hurt in the mornings.” – Murray McLauchlan

Giving back, in many different ways, is important to both of them. Donlon is currently involved with War Child Canada, MusiCounts and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, amongst others. “As I look at my third act, the fundamental priority, for me, is that I must make a contribution,” says Donlon. “It would be a waste if you didn’t make a positive contribution based on the wisdom acquired throughout your life.”

McLauchlan strongly believes that music has a profound effect on memory. He is on the board of the Room 217 Foundation, which trains medical professionals to utilize music in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Traveling, wine, laughter, nature and time are all high priorities for Donlon. “And don’t forget the seniors’ discount,” says McLauchlan.



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Destination Ontario: Waterloo Region

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Destination Ontario: Waterloo Region

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Big city amenities, small town ambiance

Photography, Courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

The cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge are known as the Tri-Cities. Situated in southwestern Ontario on the Grand River, the Region of Waterloo is Canada’s 10th largest metropolitan area.

Grand River at Galt


From 1800 to the 1830s, Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonites, from upstate New York and Pennsylvania, moved north to Canada and settled throughout the Waterloo region. Today, there’s still a strong Amish and Old Order Mennonite presence in the area.

From mid April to late October, visitors can take a 75-minute Mennonite farm tour that includes a stop at an Old Order Mennonite farm. The Old Order refers to those Mennonite groups of Swiss/German and south German heritage who continue to practice a lifestyle without many elements that are associated with modern technology. The tour also includes a stop at the Farm Quilt Shop, where local, handcrafted items can be purchased.


The region of Waterloo has more than 500 kilometres of on-road bikeways, as well as off-road, multi-use trails. A part of the Trans Canada Trail, cyclists can ride through Kitchener, Waterloo and the Township of Woolwich to St. Jacobs Market.

More than 500 kilometres of multi-use trails.

The gently winding Grand River is one of Canada’s heritage rivers, and runs for more than 300 kilometeres. Four popular canoe routes are offered by the Grand River Rafting Company. The three-hour Cayuga Paddle is suitable for beginners. The three-hour Oneida Paddle and five-hour Cambridge Paddle are at an intermediate level. And, for the more adventurous, try the six-hour paddle from Glen Morris to Brant. The churning waters of the Elora Gorge attracts white-water enthusiasts. Launch your own craft, or rent one on-site, at the Grand River Conservation Authority.


St Jacobs Farmers’ Market is Canada’s largest, year-round farmers’ market, and features hundreds of vendors selling Ontario’s farm-fresh produce, crafts and imported goods, as well as scrumptious, ready-to-eat foods. It is located along the Conestogo River, eight kilometres north of Waterloo.

St Jacobs Farmers’ Market

Located in the downtown core, the Kitchener Market is a popular Saturday destination for locals and visitors. Pick up farm-fresh eggs, produce, flowers and homemade sausages, from one of the many Mennonite-operated farms in the Woolwich and Wilmot areas.

St. Jacobs’ horse-drawn train


A sure sign of spring is the The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, scheduled for the coming year on April 7th, 2018. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest, single-day, maple syrup festival. Founded in 1965, it continues to grow in popularity, and offers piping hot pancakes, as well as a half-mile long, outdoor mall, which features baked goods, handmade crafts and, of course, freshly made maple syrup. Buskers, live performances and saw-testing skills, add to the festivities. Visitors can also take a ride on the Waterloo Central Railway steam train, from St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market to Elmira.

West Montrose Covered Bridge


The Waterloo Central Railway organizes themed train experiences. The Great Train Robbery Adventure fictionalizes a dramatic event (with outlaws and horses) where a substantial amount of gold is on board – en route to the Elmira Bank. Other themed excursions, include the St. Patrick’s Night Train, The Vimy Ridge Steam Train, and the Father’s Day Train.

WCR Train Robbery

The West Montrose Covered Bridge was declared a provincial historic site in 1960, and is known as the Kissing Bridge. Built from 1880 to 1881, the bridge is Canada’s oldest covered bridge, and the last wooden covered bridge in Ontario.


Established in 1969, Kitchener Waterloo’s Oktoberfest runs for nine days every October. Steeped in the region’s German heritage, it is known as the largest Bavarian Festival in North America, and the second largest in the world. In 2018, the festival celebrates its 50th anniversary from October 5th to the 13th.


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Cover Story: Ken Welsh

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Cover Story: Ken Welsh

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Acting is in his blood.

Just as I am about to knock on the white door of Ken Welsh’s country home, my eyes spot a sign that epitomizes his wry sense of humour – Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

Photography by Jake Martella

At the age of 75, Welsh’s career has spanned a half century. He’s played countless roles, onstage and on screen, and is the recipient of many awards, including fi ve Geminis, a Genie for the best supporting actor in Margaret’s Museum, the Earle Grey Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2004 Welsh received the Order of Canada.

Photography by Jake Martella

Born and raised in Edmonton, Welsh graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in drama, and then attended Montreal’s National Theatre School. Not many actors can claim that they spent the first seven years of their career at the Stratford Festival. Following this stint, Welsh left in 1973 and went on to appear at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and then spent many years on Broadway.

At the age of 26, while at Stratford, Welsh was cast as Hamlet. Other plum roles include starring in Piaf on Broadway, and the 1987 production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune with Kathy Bates.

Touted as one of the hardest working actors in Canada, Welsh wrote and performed the celebrated off-Broadway cabaret musical Standup Shakespeare. “My favourite characters are ones that have heart and play to a complicated range of emotions. I like to find the soul of the character, where the sensitivities lie,” says Welsh. “Humour is definitely an important element in any role I play. If you can’t have a good laugh, what’s the point? I laugh out loud to myself all the time – of course that could be senility.”

In 1989, Welsh’s performance in Love and Hate: The Story of Colin and Joanne Thatcher, about a former Alberta rancher and politician who is convicted of killing his wife, won him a Gemini.

Welsh’s favourite Hollywood movies were all made in Canada, and include Loyalties, 1987; Margaret’s Museum with Helena Bonham Carter in 1995; and a hilarious flick about opera and hockey with Robbie Coltrane called Perfectly Normal, 1991. A compilation of Welsh’s work wouldn’t be complete without highlighting one of his favourite parts, the villainous Windom Earle in the 1980s hit series Twin Peaks. “Windom was one of my favourite television roles,” says Welsh. “People remember the character because he was so evil.”

(CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Corrine Farago, (Devon’s mother), Ken and Devon, 1988. -Cyrano de Bergerac, 1980, Goodman Theatre, Chicago. -Paul Benedict, Ken Welsh, Kathy Bates, Terrence McNally, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, 1988. – Doctor Watson in The Hound of the Baskervilles, TV movie, 2000.

During his illustrious career, Welsh has performed alongside many well-known actors, but especially enjoyed working with Stockard Channing, Kathy Bates, Olympia Dukakis, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep and the late Ron Silver.

In his 50s and 60s Welsh says that he was still in top form when it came to memorizing his lines, but concedes that he’s finding it a bit more challenging in his 70s. When it comes to physical endurance on stage, he says that it hasn’t been a problem, because the audience’s energy gives him the adrenaline charge that he thrives on to outperform himself.

“There aren’t as many roles available for actors my age, and what roles do come up are being filled quickly. Guys my age are dying off, but not quick enough,” says Welsh drolly. “Whenever I am asked, I will act. I just did an episode of The Blacklist in New York. It really only took me a couple of days to learn the lines.”

Welsh is also committed to helping out young directors, and those who are up and coming – often appearing in independent films for very little gratuity.

The pride and joy of Welsh’s life is his son Devon, now 28. With his then wife, Corinne Farago, they moved to the rural Ontario property where he has lived for the last 28 years. It was here that he brought up his son, often on his own.

After living in New York for 12 years, a small community appealed to Welsh. “My neighbours are all really great people. I like watching the kids play as the generations roll out. Certainly, I enjoy being a part of it all. I read poetry with the choir and sometimes I perform Shakespeare,” says Welsh. “In fact, ever since 1974 when I was in Chicago, I’ve done exclusive Shakespearean performances. I have a big sign that has 30 characters on it and I let the audience choose. Sometimes I do a soliloquy. Sometimes I do the entire first scene with all the characters in it.”

Welsh is an avid gardener and has planted more than one hundred trees of assorted varieties on his pastoral property. This year, his vegetable garden is expected to yield beans, potatoes tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli and herbs. “I have always loved gardening,” says Welsh. “I need to have things growing around me.”

Welsh has no plans on slowing down. Part of his ongoing regime includes going to the gym on a regular basis, walking 5,000 steps a day, practicing yoga, eating properly and meditating. “I’m in pretty good shape for a guy my age. I don’t ever plan to quit.”

He also has a few things that he still wants to check off of his bucket list, which have to do with singing and playing the trumpet. “When people have a birthday, I play Happy Birthday on my trumpet. It’s become a tradition,” says Welsh with that mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Photo By Jake Martella

The minute I got on stage and got a few laughs, I knew that acting was my destiny. – Ken Welsh

Welsh would love to make an album of jazz songs that feature the melodies of his favourite musical icons like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney. At the top of his list would be the opportunity to sing the anthems at a major league baseball game. “I love sports and I go to the batting cage. And, yes, I hit the ball. I’ve still got it.”

Good health, good friends and, in particular, his son, Devon, are the things that Welsh cherishes. Devon is a musician and currently lives in Montreal. His hit song, Downtown, won him a Juno. Regular visits, which include the odd Raptors’ game, keep them connected. “I love my son very much. We maintain close contact and I see him as often as I can. He has a beautiful voice and works very hard. He is a lovely man,” says Welsh in his melodious Shakespearean cadence.

(LEFT) Standup Shakespeare, created by Ken Welsh and Ray Leslee at Theatre 890, NY, 1987. Photo by Jake Martella (RIGHT) Ken and his dog Zoltan. Photo by Charles Dennis.

Welsh appreciates all that life has bestowed upon him and spends no time bemoaning his youth. “I don’t miss anything about my youth – youth was youth. I did a lot when I was young, so there is nothing to regret. My youth was fabulous, but I certainly enjoy what I do now.”

In one of his more serious moments, Welsh says that spirituality is a key component in his life. “It gives a great respect as to why we are here. I’m not a philosopher – I just live life.”

And with that he turns to the photographer and agrees that a photo shoot in the backyard would definitely work. “It’s breezy out there, and my hair looks good blowing in the wind.”


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Body & Soul: Grief Counselling for Kids and Teens

Body & Soul: Grief Counselling for Kids and Teens

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Body & Soul: Grief Counselling for Kids and Teens

Written & Photography by Cece M. Scott (cecescott.com)

Nothing tugs at our heart strings quite like seeing a child in physical, or emotional, pain. It was an unbearable parenting philosophy, but generations ago the feelings of children were often dismissed – they were to be seen and not heard.

All it takes is something to trigger our own memory to take us back to childhood, and to what may have been a tragic event. It’s difficult not to be affected by the commercial where the young boy drops his glass of milk in slow-motion at the realization that his father isn’t coming home. Perhaps you lost a loved one to illness or an accident, and as a shy child you didn’t know how to express yourself. Living with emotional pain is something that many of us never get over.


In honour of Erin Metcalf, major league baseball pitcher, Jamie Moyer, and his wife Karen, founded Camp Erin – a bereavement camp for kids and teens. The Moyers met Erin when she was 15 through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They were so inspired by Erin’s courage and her passion to help other children, that they supported the grief camp as a tribute to Erin after her passing at the age of 17.

Camp Erin Toronto is fully funded by sponsors and donations, and is open to children between the ages of six to 17 who have lost an immediate family member or a custodial caregiver through death. At no cost to the family, kids are referred to the program and chosen from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.


Of the 54 Camp Erin’s, four of them are located in Canada. As part of the therapeutic portion of the programming, the camp embraces grief rituals, such as creating a memory board compiled of pictures of the person who died. The campers choose a grief activity during grief rotation – providing them an opportunity to help process grief. During ‘Ask the Doctor’ sessions, campers can ask anonymous questions about what they are experiencing as a result of their loss. During the camp luminary ceremony, campers light a candle and spend time in remembrance.


At Camp Erin, they want the children to know that they are not alone in their grief, and that their feelings are perfectly normal. For some campers, it’s their first out-of-the-city experience. Over three days they get to be with, and relate to, other kids. Often strong bonds are formed as a result of their losses. Most importantly, these young people are equipped with a tool box to help them to cope with their grief and to work through their emotions. “We strongly believe that the Camp Erin experience is life-changing,” says Lysa Toye, clinical director Camp Erin Toronto, Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre.

Post-camp care, counselling and support services are provided by Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre, The Moyer Foundation and community partner agencies.

If you know of a child who’s suffering, and would like information on how to send a kid to camp, visit drjaychildrensgriefcentre.ca.


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Destination Ontario: Hamilton & Burlington

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Destination Ontario: Hamilton & Burlington

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Golden Horseshoe Port Cities


Founded in 1816, Hamilton has experienced an epoch-making revitalization over the past few years. The city is becoming known for its vibrant arts community, tasty culinary destinations and still affordable housing. An equidistant hour’s drive from Toronto or Niagara Falls, Hamilton is Canada’s ninth largest municipality, and Ontario’s third. With leafy streets and epic architecture, Hamilton offers quirky neighbourhoods and historical charm.


James Street North is at the centre of Hamilton’s developing arts’ scene, along with King William Street, Locke Street and King Street. James Street North has a wide selection of new eateries to choose from, including Jack & Lois, which was mentioned on You Gotta Eat Here, E-Talk and in The Huffington Post, plus Charred, Mesa and the health-conscious Green Bar. Funky boutiques offer everything from party ware to jewellery and fashions from local designers. Nearby Ottawa Street captures Hamilton’s eclectic spirit with dozens and dozens of storefronts that include D.Y.I. shops, fabrics, antiques, collectibles and restaurants.

James Street art crawl

For great shopping and dining, visit Gore Park in the city’s downtown core. Take some time out on a park bench to smell the roses while admiring the stately statues of Queen Victoria and Sir John A. Macdonald.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton has been an epicentre for the arts for more than 100 years, and is Ontario’s third largest public gallery. The McMaster Museum of Art (MMA) was founded in 1967 at McMaster University, and houses more than 7,000 pieces of art.

Hamilton’s live theatre scene offers diverse performances at Theatre Aquarius, and at smaller companies like the Players’ Guild of Hamilton and Hamilton Theatre Inc.


Hamilton’s historical attractions include the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the HMCS Haida National Historic Site (Canada’s most famous Tribal Class warship) and Dundurn – a National Historic Site built in 1835. Now a museum, the castle was the former residence of Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Prime Minister of Upper Canada, 1854 to 1856. The current Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, is the museum’s patron, and is the great, great, great granddaughter of MacNab.

Other noted attractions include the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, (Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons is a member), the African Lion Safari Park and the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Canadian War Plane Museum


Residents and visitors can cycle along Hamilton’s 7.5 kilometres of waterfront trails through the 40-acre Bayfront Park, which includes an outdoor skating rink and soon-tobe- refurbished public marina, and connects to the Royal Botanical Gardens. The Hamilton Escarpment offers spectacular views of the city and of the Hamilton Harbour.

Webster’s Falls

Hamilton, and the surrounding area, boasts more than 100 waterfalls. Webster’s Falls is located in the Spencer George/Webster’s Falls Conservation Area, and is considered Hamilton’s gem. Enjoy a self-guided walk along the well-maintained trails that provide access to a host of waterfalls along the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce Trail. Trekkers can also hike the King’s Forest Waterfall Walk to Albion Falls, the Devil’s Punchbowl Battlefield Creek Walk and the scenic Iroquoia Walk, among others. Picturesque cycling routes include the Escarpment Rail Trail, Dofasco Trail Loop, the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail and the Chedoke Rail Trail.


The picturesque town of Dundas is located close by, and features 19th century buildings, sophisticated boutiques and food emporiums. Nicknamed the Valley Town because of its location at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment on the western edge of Lake Ontario, Dundas is a short 20-minute drive from Hamilton.


At the centre of the Golden Horseshoe is Burlington. This city is ideally situated between Toronto and Niagara, and offers the best of all worlds. It’s home to 115 parks and 200 annual events. For five years in a row, Burlington was named the best mid-sized city in Canada, as well as Ontario’s second best city to live in by MoneySense, 2017.

Rock Climbing at Rattlesnake


Seasonal changes in Burlington are celebrated with flair. In the early spring, Maple Festivals are popular at the Bronte Creek Provincial Park and Conservation Halton. Tulips and lilacs are the first to bloom at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the return of the cherry blossoms are always a highlight at Spencer Smith Park.

Come summer, there are a plethora of ways to stay active, including hiking on the many trails, cycling along the waterfront, or casting a line and picnicking at one of the many parks in the area. Farmers’ markets are plentiful as are open-air patios for dining al fresco. In June, the Sound of Music Festival kicks off and continues throughout the summer months. Canada’s Largest Ribfest is held on Labour Day weekend at Spencer Smith Park, and is a great way to close out the summer.

Fall into Nature celebrates the changing colours along the escarpment and throughout the region. Autumn festivals include the Pumpkins to Pastries Trail and the Harvest Festival.

Winter activities in Burlington include outdoor skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and hiking. Closer to the holidays, long-standing events like Holiday Traditions at the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Candlelit Stroll and the Festival of Lights in downtown Burlington are delightful destinations.


A National Historic Site of Canada, The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is a four-season experience. The RBG boasts the world’s largest lilac collection, and includes 2,700 acres of gardens, nature sanctuaries, on-site restaurants, a gift shop and yearly festivals.


Each year, The Burlington Performing Arts Centre includes an impressive lineup of music, theatre, dance and comedy. The Art Gallery of Burlington hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, including the Soup Bowl and Arts Burlington Christmas Show & Sale. There are many small galleries and studios to explore, and the Art in Action Studio Tour is scheduled for the weekend of November 4th and 5th. To learn more about early life in Burlington, the Ireland House Museum offers a guided tour. Doors Open Burlington is on September 30, 2017.

Owl at Raptor Centre

Photography : Tourism and Culture, City of Hamilton; Webster’s Falls, bigstockphoto.com, Tourism Burlington; (rock climbing and Raptor Centre) Conservation Halton


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