Mailbag – Winter 2023/2024


I was a camp guide at Camp Kandalore when both campers and staff literally pulled together to raise the central pillar for a log structure intended to house Kirk Wipper’s canoe and paddle collection. As a student of Kirk’s, I tagged along as he interviewed people concerning the history of camping in Ontario. One notable camp director was celebrat – ing her 80th and told of the poet Pauline Johnson staying at their house near Sundridge whenever her father, a Chief, passed through the area.
Barney Moorhouse

May I congratulate your editorial board and contributors for producing such a fine and informative magazine that attracts the interest of so many readers and the support of so many advertisers. As recent migrants from Ontario to the Netherlands, we were happy to see that Karin Wells correctly identifies the origin of the oldest canoe found to date as the Low Countries. Too often, Canada languishes in a restricted appreciation of origins. Encouraging though her article is, the author might have given wider recognition to those generous and hard-working people responsible for the strategic and financial success – as well as the new location – that the Canadian Canoe Museum enjoys today. Perhaps Ms. Wells might write a further article tracking the history of the Peterborough Canoe and Kayak Club and recognizing those responsible for its recovery. Once again, congratulations on producing a relevant and readable magazine of such high quality.
Ronald Mackay and Viviana Galleno,
Voorburg, The Netherlands


I had the pleasure of being introduced to your magazine recently when I moved to Ottawa. To say I was impressed with your publication doesn’t
do justice to what I found when I began to peruse the pages. In today’s rapidly increasing digital use and decline of hand-held printed pages, your magazine was like finding a hidden treasure. Your articles are interesting – even your advertising is interesting. (Where else would you find a publication with a listing of advertisers and what page to locate them?) The layout of your pages also adds to the reader’s enjoyment. I am an artist and under – stand the importance of composition and colour.

Congratulations on your wonderful magazine and my best wishes for continued success for your company.

Marion Leyland, Ottawa and Mexico


I read the tribute to John Jeronimus in the Fall issue. John was a fine gentleman with an engaging smile. He was an active community volunteer, throwing himself into township events and projects, contributing his thoughtful views and skills with enthusiasm. The community has lost a great team player.
Jennifer Darrell

My husband and I moved into John and Yoka Jeronimus’s home in 2019. Welcoming us in the kitchen was an edition of Watershed magazine and I was immediately hooked! We’re sorry to hear of his passing and grateful Jane Kelly wrote about him, so we thought you should know that even as he moved away, he made sure the next homeowners would have something to look forward to every season. Thanks very much.
Rebecca Merlin

What a wonderful tribute to John Jeronimus in “First Words.” I have fond memories of gathering around John and Yoka’s fireplace, eating smoked salmon and sipping scotch. My mom and John shared stories about the railway while my dad and John talked engineering. Always a twinkle in his eye, John’s stories were full of excitement and humour. I had the honour of sharing a“tootje”with John on his 95th birthday. The passing of John marks the end of an era and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Sheila Trenholm


I had the opportunity to tour the family-owned and operated Hoards Station sales barn this past summer. Prior to that day, I hadn’t been inside the barn since I was a kid. I have such vivid memories of the excitement of visiting and getting to take home bags of candy. One time we even came home with a puppy!

What was clear to all of us that day was the family’s commitment to operating a business that serves the agricultural community. The DeNure family has much to be proud of – the sales barn is tidy, bright and airy, well organized and functional, to reduce stress on animals, and the business employs dozens of people. As a farmer myself, I know parting ways with your livestock isn’t ever easy, but knowing that you are sending your animals to a facility operated by fellow farmers in your community eases the burden immensely.

We are extremely fortunate to have this facility as an option when we are considering the next stages for some of our livestock. We are able to truck the animals to the sales barn ourselves, due to its proximity to our farm. This reduces cost and also gives us more control over when we are able to send the animals, further reducing stress on us as farmers and on the animals.

Agriculture is synonymous with community, and I commend the DeNures for continuing to offer this service to the farming community in this region. We all benefit from having a locally owned and operated sales barn.
Resi Walt, Ontario Federation of Agriculture


Thank you for “Drifting Soil”! As a farmer’s grandkid and with stewardship issues close to my heart, I’m so impressed at how you crafted this complicated subject in an informative and entertaining way.

Nicole Dolbec

I’d like to compliment you and your writer, Lynn C. Bilton, for the article “Drifting Soil,” published in the Fall issue of Watershed magazine. In the most concise and comprehensive manner, Ms. Bilton was able to take us through the various pieces of legislation that have encroached upon Ontario farmland and to explain the dreaded MZO that steamrolls over all local attempts to protect these valuable tracts of land. The article also highlights steps being taken to reverse the trend, so that we get a well-balanced picture of this issue – a rare treat in today’s world of partisan journalism. Articles of investigative journalism like this help readers come to grips with issues facing our area as local media disappear in the face of cost pressures, leaving consumers to the mercy of the highly inaccurate echo chambers of social media. Keep up the good work.
Shane Joseph, Cobourg

Thank you for a timely article from Lynn C. Bilton on farmland, farming, and the threat to agricultural land. She conveyed the concern of real farmers and made me aware of their oft-forgotten importance. The illustration by Charles Bongers encapsulated the tension between the demand for housing and the subtraction of choice farmland to plant new homes. The author put a hopeful spin on the issue by informing us of the various ways to protect farmland such as the use of land trusts. This was an informative article and especially relevant given the potential loss of pieces of Southern Ontario’s Greenbelt for the development of future housing.
Tom Pickering

Blue Dot Northumberland congratulates Watershed and Lynn C. Bilton on her timely and important article “Drifting Soil,” the loss of farmland in Ontario, in the Fall issue. Five years ago our group met with representatives of the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture, whose greatest concern was urban sprawl. Paul Burnham reiterated this concern at the July conference. Many residents have expressed dismay at the large residential development on prime agricultural land just east of Cobourg, but zoning for this was done decades ago. There is little need for growth on rural Ontario farmland and natural heritage lands. Infrastructure should not infringe on land that needs to be protected now or in the future. Thank you for your balanced approach to this issue.
Faye McFarlane


Well, well. Edgar Benson. Now, there is a name that I haven’t heard in a long time, and it is one that I have spent over fifty years trying to forget. The article in the Summer 2023 edition of Watershed about Edgar was very interesting, especially given that he was a local boy from Cobourg, and that I adopted Cobourg as my hometown twentythree years ago.

My bad memories of Edgar date back to his time as Finance Minister and his much-vaunted reforms to the Canadian tax system, having it “completely overhauled, shifting the burden to the rich.” I was the seventh and last child of a modest small town middle-class family which was supported by my father’s one-man business.

Edgar’s tax reforms nearly ruined that business, and I watched my poor father – who was in no way part of “the rich” – scramble to restructure his business in order to avoid financial disaster. After witnessing what Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government did to my father’s business, at the tender age of thirteen, I became a life-long sworn enemy of the Liberal Party of Canada. It was the end of my “political innocence.”

Good article. Thanks for publishing it.
David Douglas, Cobourg


The following is representative of the letters we received in response to our article “The Cutting Edge” over the last few months:

While there are many things in your recent magazine editions to commend, I want to call out the recent article “The Cutting Edge.”

The article seems to imply that there was no basis in fact to the so-called “sensational newspaper article” and that the stories of over 20 young women are not to be believed. As Hardie is the only one commenting on the article – just listed as one in a series of tough business challenges, along with the weather and the pandemic that he had to endure – it belittles the experience of many of his former staff, some of whom remain traumatized by his behaviour. I am an employer of a number of women in their 20s and 30s in the County, and the people who accused Hardie are well known to them and credible. This article has triggered a conversation, using your publication as an example of support for male privilege, silencing women and the futility of fighting for safe workplaces. As women who are leaders and employers in this community, I think we have to pay attention, hear what they are saying, and help to make the changes that prevent predators from being lionized.

Carlyn Moulton,
Oeno Gallery


We definitely hit a nerve with a recent article in our fall issue. “The Cutting Edge” described a 2018 newspaper report about accusations related to Norm Hardie’s sexual misconduct as “sensational.” Our use of the word sensational was never intended to be a comment on the accuracy of the allegations against Mr. Hardie.

As publisher of Watershed magazine, it is my responsibility to ensure that the content of every issue reflects the heart of our community and respects its moral tenets.

Watershed will continue to listen to our readers, and as always, we’ll work hard to maintain the standards of journalism expected of us.

Jane Kelly

Editor’s Note – Correction – In our article “Canadian Canoe Museum” in the Fall issue, we stated that the museum’s signage would be in English, French and Anishinaabe. The language of the Anishinaabe people is properly called Anishinaabemowin. Many thanks to Alderville First Nation elder and language teacher Melody Crowe for the clarification.