“Weekend Warriors” Fantastic doc!

Weekend Warriors had its first showing Friday February 24, 2017 at the Wolf Performance Hall, 251 Dundas Street, London, Ontario at 7:00 p.m.

Southwestern Ontario independent filmmaker Barbara Urbach, operating as Crocodile Productions  completed the 60 minute documentary film featuring the Upper Thames Military Re-enactment Society, a London based non-profit group whose members participate in living history weekends which recreate battle scenarios from the War of 1812.
Urbach’s film captures behind the scenes footage as she dawns the iconic British Red Coat and joins soldiers on location at some of Ontario’s most famous battlefields including Fort Erie, Chippewa, Fort George, Longwoods and more.
“This film is unique in that we have managed to capture and share personal experiences of key members of the group in addition to the action and drama that plays out before the camera” explains Urbach. “We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished” explains director Gary Van Osch, “It was very difficult since, as in a real battle, the game plan is constantly changing, which although exciting, tends to add a level of complexity to our work, this is also why it has taken seven years to complete the film.
We are certain that audiences will be entertained since we do not follow the normal rules of documentary filmmaking” says Van Osch citing great music, creative sequences and many surprises including roman soldiers dressed in full armour.

The evening’s entertainment started with a musical performance by period singers, and was followed by a short film starring artist/painter Aaron W Smith .


Little Stone House

They call it the Little Stone House, situated on a 14-acre plot of land on Longwoods Road (Highway 2) just east of Thamesville.

This house was nothing more than a clapboard homestead built in 1870 when Sarah Gamble bought the property in 1926. She was a school teacher who came up from Detroit to find a summer retreat for her and husband Stanley Gamble.

Unfortunately Stan lost Sarah and their infant son at childbirth, so in honour of his beloved wife, he transformed the dwelling into a cobblestone cottage.

Eventually he formed a partnership with local artist Annie Aldred and together they established The Little Stone Tea House. Stan then created a beautiful courtyard with cobblestone archways, a popular place for couples to have their wedding photography done.

Stanley passed away in 1952, and Annie’s tea house closed. The property now belongs to Annie’s nephew Robert Aldred from London.

By John De Boer who lives in Kitchener and enjoys daytripping off the beaten path.   Posted June 1, 2016 in the Kitchener Post    

Source: De Boer’s treasures: Little Stone House

The Blain Farm Land Trust

Since its inception in 2000, the mandate of the Thames Talbot Land Trust has included the protection of both natural and agricultural features.

In March 2009, both aspects of the Trust’s mandate were advanced with the securement of the Blain Farm.  The farm, located in the Municipality of West Elgin just west of Wardsville, was purchased from Wilbert and Eleanor Blain, local residents who have farmed the land for over 70 years.

The 26 hectare property features 20 ha of productive cropland as well as 1.3 km of river frontage.  Between the cropland and the river are 6 ha of riverine forest and terraced floodplain.  The Blain Farm lies within the Skunks Misery Natural Area as designated by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  It is located one kilometre south of Skunk’s Misery Forest, one of the region’s most important natural areas.

The riverine forest of the Blain Farm serves as a natural corridor connecting the Thames River to the core of the Skunk’s Misery forest complex.  The property features a variety of Carolinian species such as Hackberry, Sycamore, Bladdernut and Spicebush.  The site’s sandbars and other riverfront features are also likely breeding sites for rare turtle freshwater mussel species.

For the complete article and a fact sheet, go to the TTLT web-site.

Thames Clear Water Revival

London is taking the lead on a new Thames River initiative: the Clear Water Revival. I just returned from an encouraging day spent with many different agencies.  I was there wearing my hat as member of the Thames Canadian River Heritage Committee but chatted up the bureaucrats about Wardsville and injected my rural perspective into the mix.

Accolades to organizer Pat Donnelly, a City employee who is passionate about the River.  The 30 participants shared current and upcoming projects benefitting water quality of the Thames River and related tributaries and brainstormed future initiatives.

The last complete watershed analysis for the Thames River was done 35 years ago in 1975 – the “Thames River Basin Water Management Study” by MOE / MNR. A lot has changed since then including the Heritage River designation.

Ministry Natural Resources, Upper Thames Conservation Authority, Lake Erie: Ministry of the Environment, City of London Waste Water Management, and Chippewa on the Thames.

Terrific breadth of expertise and insight.

Mary Simpson

Kuhleborn Revisited: Thames River Canoe Trip Commemoration

In June 2007, a historic canoe trip commemorated a trip by London artists Paul Peel and William Lees Judson taken 130 years earlier in 1877.


The 17 artists and environmentalists (plus two dogs) took nine days and eight nights to paddle to the mouth of the Thames.


This trip is generating a whole lot of art.  During the trip, the artists generated 3,000 photos, sketches and countless notes.


The biggest project is to carve the trunk of a mature sugar maple tree that fell down last spring on Philip Aziz’s property during a windstorm. The huge tree trunk is 23 feet  high and eight feet in circumference).


The artist chosen to carve the tree is Paul Cottle of Wood Spirit Design Studio, a London native who excels in detailed woodcarving. This mammoth carving will depict the journey down the Thames.


The team plans to put the tree in a public area so people can see the master carver at work. There will be a web cam too.


All kinds of people and organizations have pitched in to support this project.  It is a BIG trunk and the logistics are big too. 


For more information, write to Barry Callow, Philip Aziz Foundation at barry@philipaziz.org