Tagged: Stouffville Free Press

05 Jul

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Nature’s Way of Leveling the Playing Field


From the Reader’s Write section of the Stouffville Free Press

These periodic die-offs may be nature’s way of leveling the playing field.

In the last couple of weeks Musselman’s Lake has experienced a fish die-off similar, but less severe in numbers, to what occurred in the spring of 2009.

There are a number of similarities between this fish die-off and that of 2009. As in 2009 the dying fish are almost exclusively black crappie, as well, both incidences occurred in the early spring when the Crappie are breeding.

Sunfish nesting in Musselman's Lake.

Sunfish nesting in Musselman’s Lake. Photo Dr. Brian Laing

Sunfish, a close relative, are seen mating and nesting as I write this. A water quality issue would affect more than one species of fish.

All of this leads us to believe that the crappie die-off that we have just experienced is caused by the same thing that caused it in 2009, namely, the unusually warm weather followed by a drop in temperature timed just when the crappie are breeding. This theory is further supported by the fact that almost all of the fish are of breeding size, the young fry are not affected.

If the Crappie were not spawning they would have stayed in the deeper cooler water and not been subjected to the water temperature fluctuations. As it is, the breeding fish stay in the shallow water and are stressed becoming prone to a bacterial infection by Columnaris flexibacter.

Columnaris is always present in fish, but typically becomes an issue only in stressed fish.

Postmortems in 2009 confirmed this as the cause at that time. Due to the similarities of the two die-offs, we have not performed postmortems this year, but are confident that the cause of the two incidents is the same.

There is potential ‘silver lining’ to this crappie die-off. Crappie are an aggressive species recently introduced to the lake (likely through release of baitfish). I have seen their young surround a sunfish nest and slowly eat all the eggs. As the male sunfish chases off one juvenile crappie another moves in and eats some eggs. The sunfish returns to the nest and chases off the new interloper while a third rushes in to eat some more eggs. In very little time the sunfish nest is empty.

Because of survival instincts like this, the crappie population has dramatically increased since they were introduced to the lake and is putting pressure on other species.

These periodic die-offs may be nature’s way of leveling the playing field.

Dr Brian Laing


Town and Country Animal Hospital




Related Links

Natural Occurrence and No Cause For Alarm

Update of the Crappie Die-Off

Phil Bannon Mounts A Cleanup

Crappie Update

It’s Crappie!


04 Dec

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Dreams Do Come True


Dreams Do Come True: Just Ask Dr. Jane Philpott

By Bruce Stapley, Stouffville Free Press

I caught up with Stouffville’s brightest shining star…









Congratulations to Jane Philpott on being elected as our Member Of Parliament and also on her appointment to Minister of Health. We are sure she will do us proud representing the riding of Markham-Stouffville. Way To Go Jane!


For more information on Jane please click link below…

The Honourable Jane Philpott MP

14 Aug

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Proposed Airport Will Affect Lake


“Whitchurch-Stouffville may not be Pickering but a large-scale urban airport, built in close proximity, would have a major effect on this community.” – Stouffville Free Press.

Originally published in the Stouffville Free Press – Feb 6, 2015

Courtesy of the Stouffville Free Press. Proposed Pickering Airport. Click on image to enlarge

Courtesy of the Stouffville Free Press. Proposed Pickering Airport.
Click on image to enlarge

There will be a flight path right over our Lake but not only the residents of the Musselman’s Lake area should be concerned but all of Ward 2. We should should be asking our politicians to make it very clear where they stand on this issue.

14 Aug

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Fond Memories of Cedar Beach & Musselman’s Lake


Long ago and far away

From The Stouffville Free Press

by Maurice Smith

One of my earliest childhood memories is of travelling from the west end of Toronto with members of our church group aboard a gaggle of orange school buses, en route to a place in the country for our Sunday school picnic.


Musselman’s Lake old road sign

For all the seven and eight-year-olds on those buses, it seemed we would never arrive at our destination. Eventually of course we landed on the shores of that faraway haven: Cedar Beach, Musselman’s Lake, located north of a place called Stouffville. That kettle lake was the destination of many such convoys in the 1940s.

Who would have thought that years later, I would be living here and writing about that very place? A place where you would not only be able to swim, but also to enjoy the amenities next to the pavilion built in 1929 by George Davies.
Mr. Davies decided to build a cottage on acreage he owned along the north shore of the lake on land which he had been farming. Without a firm set of blueprints, his cottage soon turned into his pavilion.
I wonder if he ever imagined that what he built in that summer of ’29 would become the focal point of a very large recreation business. Or that his pavilion, in the waterfront park, would one day be surrounded by mobile summer homes, pass its 85th anniversary and be operated by four successive generations.
During the 1930 and 1940s the pavilion became the place to play and to dance the nights away. Most nights of the week you could dance on the sprung hardwood floor to music provided by the big bands of the day such as Bobby Gimby, Jack Crawford or Bert Niosi. If you could not make it to “the lake” on a Saturday night, you could tune into a Toronto radio station and hear live broadcasts from the pavilion.

Historic photo of Cedar Beach, Musselman's Lake

Historic photo of Cedar Beach, Musselman’s Lake

In the 1960s, George’s son Vern and Vern’s daughter, Janet, expanded the trailer park portion onto the east side of Ninth Line. This area was formerly an apple orchard and Evans Drive, the street going into the trailer park, is named after the original owner of that orchard.
Another aspect of the Davies’s business was the renting of boats for an afternoon paddle around the lake. When they realized that the boats were not being rented after dark, because it was cooler – so I have been told – they came up with the idea of providing pillows and blankets for those moonlight trips.
On most summer Sundays the parking lots were overflowing with vehicles by 10 a.m. During the week kids would simply ride their bikes up to spend a day at the beach. In those days the entrance fee to the private beach was ten cents. However, Vern would waive the fee for those who had come on their bikes. As he often observed, “If kids ride all this way just for a swim, they deserve to have it for free.”
During the 1960s, after the big band era had passed, a country and western music theme was introduced to the pavilion’s repertoire and once again the building came alive. On average 400 patrons were squeezed in every weekend.

The store across from the pavilion was built in the early 1930s. It housed a grocery and butcher store for many years. Today it is operated by Mr. George Karpouzis as an ice cream and variety store catering to the needs of tourists and trailer park residents.
Although Fishbone by the Lake restaurant now occupies the waterfront area of the property during the summer months, today the pavilion itself sits dormant.

Maurice Smith can also be reached at: mauricefp@rogers.com

Photos from the MLRA Photo Library.

07 Aug

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Community Leader On The Move


by Charlene Jones

We will miss the Gilderdale’s and all they have done to enrich our lives here in the small burb

Kate Gilderdale, editor of the Stouffville Free Press, tours Musselman’s Lake

Kate Gilderdale tours Musselman’s Lake

Communities develop profile through the people who live in them. In this sense, we in the greater Whitchurch Stouffville area are less than who we collectively were, for the recent move of Ms. Kate Gilderdale and Dermot (aka Mr. Wallethead) to the bustle of downtown Toronto.

Yes, we wish them well. Yes, we genuinely hope in our hearts they find sympatico and good wine in every corner of their new digs. And yes, somewhere deep down we miss them and regret their move, for our own sake.

Kate’s decision to stay on with Free Press when it grew from its previous incarnation was motivated largely by her commitment to positive news, the kind of intelligent news and reporting that lets a community see itself in the best light. By focusing on that best light the Free Press under Kate’s editorial eagle eye supported our sense that we in Whitchurch-Stouffville have blessed and prosperous neighborhoods, enjoy friendly exchanges with most everyone, even those with whom we disagree, and thrive under the generosity of one person to the other. This light surely sustains one in the darker moments of any life! We extend our best wishes to Mr. Bruce Stapely who has stepped up to fill in as editor of the Free Press.

Kate is also the moving force behind Starlight Cinema at 19 on the Park, a project she undertook with characteristic determination and quiet refusal to be acknowledged!

As a personal friend, Kate offers many qualities I admire. Perhaps first among the many is her outstanding wit. As a British native she often seems disinclined to understand how unique her wit is and how much joy it brings to all situations. But then, that’s another of Kate’s great personal qualities: her humility. The first to crow about others, to admire the talents and abilities of those around her Kate’s natural attention lay on the goodness in other people. We will miss the Gilderdale’s and all they have done to enrich our lives here in the small ‘burb; we wish Kate every moment of well deserved fulfillment in her newest role as Grandmama!

Kate Gilderdale has now ventured into the Toronto reading scene by making an appearance at Vino Rosso, 995 Bay St. Toronto on August 1st.  She did Stouffville up proud as she read from her great humorous columns to an appreciative crowd. Spontaneous clapping and laughter followed her words as she tickled and entertained all present with her gift of self-deprecating humour. Rumour has it that she has been asked back for a return engagement.


The Gilderdales’ Last Gasp


The Gilderdales’ Last Gasp
By Kate Gilderdale

Vintage-Whine-pic-702x336@2xLike Frank Sinatra’s long goodbye, the Walletheads’ farewell to Stouffville was a protracted affair, which included an unforgettable celebration hosted by the Free Press and other lovely FOGs (Friends of the Gilderdales).
Tuning out the rising panic associated with moving after four decades in one spot, we also rashly decided to hold a ‘goodbye to the house’ party at the old homestead for family and friends from the city who had been regular visitors to the ’ville over the years.
The event was scheduled for nine days before the big move and several people questioned our sanity. It would be a breeze, I insisted. We’d order in and everything else would take care of itself.
By the time I had begun to think rationally about the affair it was too late to cancel, so I turned to my stalwart friend Lynn for advice about what to serve. “Funeral sandwiches,” she said, without missing a beat.
I pointed out that even though I’m sort of retiring, I’m not ready to throw in the towel completely, but apparently the name is often used to describe food which is easy to serve. Our old friend, Wikipedia, explains it thus:
“The common thread among funeral food is that it is typically simple, warm and versatile, which could explain where funeral sandwiches got their name.”
Another site, cleverhousewife.com, offered recipes for these delicacies under the snappy little header, ‘Nothing to mourn about here’. Of course, even I wasn’t deranged enough to think I’d have time to make them myself, so I ordered from a caterer and asked my daughter to collect them on the big day.
As the party approached I became more and more convinced that we would need other stuff to offset the funereal fare, so I picked up dips, chips, cheese straws, nuts, olives and a slew of other ‘just in case’ substitutes.
“I’ll just put them out on serving plates or in bowls,” I said blithely to Mr. Wallethead, momentarily forgetting that all the serving plates and bowls were triple wrapped, boxed and stashed in the garage awaiting their journey to a new life in the city.
As it turned out, both our farewell celebrations did have one element common to a funeral – it was like being at your own wake. People said lovely things about what we meant to them and how much they would miss us; my esteemed editor and two co-conspirators wrote and sang a brilliant and witty version of My Way, re-titled Kate’s Way; and one long-time friend created a poster for guests to sign at the house party (see photo).
In the months leading up to the final bash, we had been madly divesting ourselves of four decades worth of junk, magazines, paperbacks, broken furniture, paint cans and chipped mugs dating back to the last millennium.
When the party was over, we had amassed another mountain of recyclable containers, cups and plates, which will necessitate a final farewell trip to the dump before we set out on what we hope will be Kate and Dermont’s Excellent Adventure.
By the time you read this, we will be in our apartment, surrounded by boxes, bedding and books, and wondering where on earth we put the corkscrew.

18 Oct




This Article Has Been Reprinted With Permission From The Stouffville Free Press

Kate Gilderdale


Rick Wigmore, Cheryl Shindruk and Phil Bannon
Photo by Kate Gilderdale

When rapid growth makes development inevitable, a collaborative approach between town, developer and area residents can go a long way towards overcoming concerns and creating consensus.

Earlier this year, Geranium Corporation presented a proposal to the Town to build 18 homes on 12 acres of land along Lakeshore Rd. In May, Musselman’s Lake Residents Association (MLRA) president Rick Wigmore met with Geranium president Mario Giampietri to discuss the impact of the plan on the existing community.

Mr. Wigmore cited density, the effectiveness of the proposed septic system, potential problems resulting from water flow across the property and traffic congestion as four major concerns expressed by residents. Mr. Giampietri agreed to investigate and address those concerns, and asked if there was a stewardship plan in place at Musselman’s Lake.

“We said, yes, but we don’t have the money to execute it,” said Mr. Wigmore. “Then he said, ‘How would you like a limnologist?’ (a specialist in the study of freshwater ponds and lakes). He asked if we’d like this number one guy, Neil Hutchinson. We said that would be really nice.”

In July, Ward 2 councillor Phil Bannon arranged a meeting between Cheryl Shindruk and Shauna Dudding of Geranium Homes, Neil Hutchinson of Hutchinson Environmental Sciences and the MLRA’s Rick Wigmore, with Mr. Bannon representing the town.

“Neil came up with a (stewardship) plan which he priced at around $40,000 and Cheryl gave us the good news that Germanium was willing to proceed with this,” said Mr. Bannon. Mr. Hutchinson’s review will address weed control and provide an assessment of water quality at the lake.

“We are very impressed with the work that the community is doing,” said Ms Shindruk, who is Geranium’s vice-president of land development. “We started building homes in Ballantrae area a couple of years ago on the west side of Hwy 48, and the community and market interest was strong and positive.”

An existing property on the proposed Lakeshore Rd. site, which is built to high environmental standards, will be integrated into the new development, said Ms Shindruk. “We designed the development to maintain that home. Each site is unique and you work with it.”

The dedication of the residents makes Musselman’s Lake a very special community, said Mr. Bannon. “Everyone works so hard at our annual community cleanup. We also have a tremendous (town) staff who work with the developers and the community for the best outcome.”






20 Sep

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The Stouffville Free Press Visits Musselman’s Lake

You know you are doing something right when Kate Gilderdale, editor of the Stouffville Free Press wants to interview you. Last week Kate came for a visit to Musselman’s Lake to interview Rick Wigmore, president of the MLRA, for an upcoming story about the MLRA that her very popular community newspaper was working on.


Rick Wigmore – MLRA President, Kate Gilderdale – Stouffville Free Press Editor, Cheryl Shindruk – Executive VP of Land Development at Geranium Homes, Councillor Phil Bannon

 Now when Kate Gilderdale researches a story she goes all out. Not only did she want to interview Rick Wigmore about the MLRA but she wanted to get a perspective on what it is like to work with such a progressive resident’s association from organizations that have worked with the MLRA. This of course, involved interviewing the Town of Whitchurch Stouffville’s representative Councillor Phil Bannon who has worked with the MLRA for years now. Together with the MLRA they have a long list of positive achievements in the betterment of community as a whole. She also wanted to interview, Cheryl Shindruk, Executive Vice-President of Land Development-Geranium Homes as Cheryl has worked with the MLRA on the Geranium Homes Lake Drive development proposal. Kate was interested to get Geranium Homes viewpoint as a quality high end builder on how it was to work with a unique community resident’s association such as the MLRA.

Please watch for Kate Gilderdale’s story it the next edition of The Stouffville Free Press due out October 1st.

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