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Thursday, December 5, 2013



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Silver linings
After the snow dump Mother Nature unleashed across the city this past week, its safe to say winter is officially here. While this is music to the ears of the crew at Boler Mountain, many people couldve used a few more weeks of fresh fall temperatures and dry roads. But skiers and snowboarders will be smiling this week. Boler is officially open for business this season. Its the earliest the ski club has been able to open in 25 years.


i k S son a e s starts early



Stoked, is how manager Greg Strauss described the news. For details on Bolers opening night and ski schedule this season check out Page 9.

While fresh powder feels great under the blades of a slick set of skis, it can wreak havoc when underneath your vehicles tires. If you havent yet prepared your vehicle for winters wrath, you should. We spoke to the team at Byron Automotive to nd out everything you need to know about winterizing your car. For advice, turn to Page 7. This edition of LFP Neighbours also features an interview with the Oakridge Oaks senior boys volleyball team. The boys may have lost in the OFSAA nals to longtime rivals the Chatham-Kent Golden Hawks, but a silver nish is still a cause for celebration. With forty wins under their

belts this year, the Oakridge Oaks are proud to be one of the top teams in the province and are already gearing up to go for the gold next year. For a recap of the teams stellar season, check out Page 5. The arrival of December also means the arrival of crowded shopping malls and parking lots. The Christmas frenzy will be in full swing before you know it. Why not avoid busy malls and box stores altogether this year and check out some of the gifts available at local businesses. We spoke to members of the Hyde Park Business Association to get their advice on shopping local this holiday season. Weve also put together a lo-

cal holiday shopping guide, which you will nd on Page 8. As always, our goal each week with LFP Neighbours is to keep readers involved and engaged in their community. West London is changing rapidly. As new businesses open and residential developments spring up, we want to make sure our readers know whats happening in the neighbourhoods they call home. To do this we need your help. If youre hosting a community event, have a great story idea, or know a neighbour worth recognizing, reach out. We want to hear from you. Send us an e-mail at




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Forrat's Chocolates and Lounge serves up sweets and wine in Byron
BRENT BOLES Neighbours

Forrat's Chocolate and Lounge

3 - 1304 Commissioners Rd W, London

Life's like a box of chocolates for entrepreneur






Dec. 13 & 14 / Centennial Hall

Orchestra London & special guest, Jim Witter perform Bruce Springsteens Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, John Lennons Happy Xmas (War Is Over), and much more!


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*50% off C seating. Offer valid until Dec 5, 2013.


Standing behind a counter lined with jars of chocolate, Matt Scanlan knows hes got a pretty sweet job. Its been phenomenal, said the manager of Forrats Chocolates and Lounge on Commissioners Road West. We knew (this venue) was going to be very cool. The lounge opened up two years ago, offering Byron residents a place to go for a glass of wine and a chocolate fondue. This is basically a new concept and a twist on the chocolate store, said Scanlan, stirring a melted pot of the sweets to a smooth consistency. The holidays are a busy time of year for the business, but Scanlan said customers have been supportive since the beginning. A lot of people said its nice that Byron has something like this, something to do at night, he said.

Matt Scanlan prepares a fresh batch of chocolates at Forrats Chocolates and Lounge in Byron.

519-679-8778 Mention code : SANTA



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News you and your neighbours want to know.

Finding its way into more than 17,000 homes in Byron, Riverbend, Oakridge and Hyde Park, LFP Neighbours connects the community to the news, businesses and issues affecting daily life in Londons northwest. Blending local news stories with regular business features, lifestyle content and community sports coverage, LFP Neighbours delivers the news that hits close to home. Neighbours in Business Neighbours in Schools Neighbours in Sports Your Neighbour Neighbour Homes Around the Neighbourhood Neighbours Politics
products he produces. Scanlan said about one third of the treats that line the store walls are new creations designed since the venue was rst opened. Were always testing the products, thats the fun part, he said as the smell of fresh desserts lled the room. So how does one stay trim surrounded by a boundless supply of chocolate imported from Europe? A lot of self restraint, he laughed. When its at your disposal 24/7 you kind of lose that (desire). Thats not to say there arent drawbacks of making chocolate fondue every day. Now when I mess up, I can never get my wife chocolate. It doesnt have quite the same meaning to it.

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London chocolatier Marc Forrat owns the corporation but Scanlan and his wife Kristen are left to their own devices when it comes to running the lounge. Forrat taught Scanlan the tricks of the trade so that Scanlan is able to design his own rich, sweet creations. But chocolate can be temperamental and working with it takes practice. When youre stirring chocolate every day, you kind of get used to it. Scanlan, 32, came to the business after a lifetime in the hospitality industry. He had worked in restaurants as everything from a busboy to server and line cook before opening the lounge. The opportunity to transition to a venue where he had more creative control seemed like a natural t. Its all hospitality related and thats whats nice about this concept, he said. It

the quote
We knew this venue was going to be very cool...a lot of people said it's nice that Byron has something like this, something to do at night.
was something we could do for ourselves. In the beginning, that also brought a new set of challenges. Off the start, it was difficult. Id never had the challenge of doing everything, he said. Its kind of learning as you go. But operating the store also meant that Scanlan could experiment with the

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Rolling Stones

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Serving up a pint of spirituality

Beer and bible study dont usually go hand-in-hand, but if you were to stumble into Bernies Bar and Grill on a Tuesday evening, youd nd just that. Young parishioners at St. Georges Catholic church and Holy Family Catholic church have been spending the second Tuesday of each month sharing the highs and lows of faith over a pint at Bernies Bar and Grill on Wonderland Rd. The event is called Theology on Tap and its become a hit with young people all over the city. Part of our faith is about building community, said Patty Coenen, the youth co-ordinator at Holy Family Parish. This gives youth an opportunity to belong to something and to speak up in a safe and familiar environment. Theology on Tap was started in Chicago in the summer of 1981 by Rev. John Cusick. He felt young people needed a relaxed and welcoming environment to discuss, question and debate their faith. Over the past 32 years, Theology on Tap has spread across the continent. St. George and Holy Family decided bring a version of the event to London two years ago after realizing there was little programming available for young people between the ages of 19 and 40. Pope Francis has been saying we need to be more creative with our evangelization and this a wonderful opporuntiy to practise that, said Coenen. Were not lecturing people. This is an open forum where young people can ask questions and challenge their faith. Each month there is a guest speaker who presents on a theological topic followed by a candid question-and-answer session. Guests are welcome to mingle before and after the talk and are invited to share their own stories and challenges. Munchies are on the house, but drinks must be bought at the bar. One of the most popular Theology on Tap nights is the Grill a Priest night where community members are welcome to ask priests just about anything. The questions have touched on everything from pre-priesthood romances to the daily struggles with the divine. While Theology on Tap has soared in popularity, Coenen says the event will always be specically for people between the ages of 19 and 39, but open to people from all religious backgrounds and beliefs. Keeping the nights focused on a target age group keeps people comfortable and candid about their experiences with faith. Its also a way to capture the youth whose presence at local parishes has dwindled in recent years. We get a lot of university students, said Coenen. Theyre getting excited about faith again. They get to learn and listen in an environment where they feel comfortable.

RELIGION: Monthly Theology on Tap event targets Catholics between ages of 19-39

Patty Coenen, youth coordinator at Holy Family, stands along the bar at Bernies Bar and Grill where once a month young people from across London gather to talk to about their faith.

What: Theology on Tap When: Tuesday Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m. Where: Bernies Bar and Grill, 1225 Wonderland Rd. N
Sister Bernadette shares her vocation story during Dozens of young people crowd Bernies Bar and Grill the second Tuesday of every a Theology on Taps November gathering. month for Theology on Tap.


iPads iPods & Leapfrogs to be won!

COME OUT & COLOUR FOR SANTA From 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Saturday, November 30 Saturday, December 7 Saturday, December 14

Age categories: Under 6 years, 7 to 10 years, 11 to 13 years

Complete contest rules and regulations can be picked up at the Information booth.




A space to call their own


TOP: From right to left: James, Ally Deryck, Jack Adamovitch, Kristyn Parsons, Adrian Hartley, Connor, Susie Schulert-Quenneville and Emily sit in the newly created St. Theresa peace garden. They all came up to help build the garden on Nov. 16. LEFT: Sergio, Valeria, both pupils at St. Theresa, and Marianna, a former pupil, sit on the snow covered bench in the peace garden. FAR LEFT: Principal Susie Schulert-Quenneville stands over St. Theresa pupils Julia and Emily in the snow covered peace garden.

SCHOOL: St. Theresa Peace Garden paid for by Union Gas Community Involvement Grant
Pupils at St. Theresa Catholic elementary school in Byron now have a place to relax during recess. The school recently put together a peace garden giving kids a muchneeded space to hang out and chat or read. Its a space for our kids to sit, said Susie Schulert-Quenneville, the principal at St. Theresa. Theyve been saying theyve wanted a place to sit and talk in the school yard for awhile. The garden features a collection of large rocks donated by Boler Mountain and benches for people to sit on. There are 14 tons of pebbles scattered across the earth making up the base of the garden. In the spring, trees will be planted and a priest will come and bless it. Nearby residents are also invited to use the garden as a place to mediate quietly, relax or read. But for now thanks to Mother Nature its all buried under a heaping pile of snow. The funds required to build the St. Theresa Peace Garden came from

Union Gas Community Involvement Grant, which provides community groups and organizations with up to $1,000 to purchase supplies and materials for a project that enhances their community. Kristyn Parsons is a parent at St. Theresa and an employee of Union Gas. When she heard the school was trying to raise money for a garden she helped them secure the grant. I thought it was a great t because it was something that would improve the community and the experience of

my children, she said. In addition to the money, Union Gas also sent a group of volunteers to help with the gardens construction in mid-November. We like to get our staff out there for some sweat equity, Parsons said. Pupils and parents joined Union Gas volunteers on Nov. 16 to build the peace garden. There were so many volunteers that all 14 tons of pebble were laid in just one hour. The community effort was really great, said Schulert-Quenneville.

RECOGNITION: Award celebrates high school and elementary students who take stand against bullying

A scourge in our schools

The Oakridge Optimists are teaming up with the Thames Valley District school board to help students snuff out bullying. The organization has created a Living the Pledge award to celebrate students who have been courageous, caring and determined in their commitment to end bullying. After hearing the heartbreaking stories of students whove suffered at the hands of bullies, some so much so they decided to take their own lives, the Oakridge Optimists decided to take up the antibullying cause. Every year the Optimists help a number of charities, said Stewart Blair an Oakridge Optimist member. We wanted something that specically tied in with the community but had a hard time nding a local organization in London that deals with bullying. So the Optimists decided to lend their support to the TVDSBs Living the Pledge campaign. The Pledge is a communitywide initiative that seeks to raise public awareness about bullying in schools, at work and at home. Two Living The Pledge awards will be granted to an elementary and a secondary school student at two of six TVDSB schools in the Oakridge area. The schools are: Clara Brenton, John Dearness, Lester B. Pearson School for the Arts, Eagle Heights and Oakridge secondary school. Each recipient will receive $250, a plaque and a certicate. The Optimists mission is to provide hope, positive vision and bring out the best in kids. In conjunction with The Pledge to end bullying campaign, members hope that the award will help them to fulll that mission. We wanted to inspire some students to take The Pledge more seriously by providing the awards, Blair says. The award recipients must be active members of the school community, be determined and vocal advocates in the commitment to end bullying in their schools and live the words of The Pledge. The Optimists are accepting applications until the end of this school term and will announce a winner shortly thereafter. Students can nd the application form on the Thames Valley Education Foundation website at EFoundation.cfm.

Oakridge Optimist member Stewart Blair stands outside of Oakridge secondary school. An Oakridge student will be awarded the Living the Pledge award later this year along with a student from one of the areas elementary schools.




TOP: The team puts their arms around each other during the National Anthem at the OFSAA nal against Chatham. Oaks players cheer between sets during their semi-nal OFSAA game against Kingston Regiopolis-Notre Dame.

Oaks silver and proud

The Oakridge Oaks senior boys volleyball team standing tall and proud of their second place nish. Bottom from left to right: Andrew Kolesnichenko, Taylor Jordan, Mitchell Willoughby, Andrew Richards. Top from left to right: Michael Kay, Daiken Edwards, Matt Mawdsley, David Doty, Jon Shantz and Nathan Phelps. Absent from the team picture: Mark Vanderzyde and Adam Schmidt.

SPORTS: Oakridge senior boys volleyball squad stood tall after heartbreaking loss in OFSAA nal
It had the makings of a triumphant championship. The nal match against a longtime rival on homecourt, fans screaming wildly in the stands, alumni anxiously looking on. But when the buzzer sounded during the senior boys volleyball OFSAA nal at Oakridge secondary school on Saturday, the Oaks werent the ones emerging victorious. They lost by only two points in their nal set to rivals Chatham-Kent Golden Hawks, dashing their dreams of OFSAA gold. But its the way the boys handled themselves during the game and afterward that has head coach Jamie Nielson beaming with pride nearly a week later. During the nal set the Oaks were up 13-11 when a call went against the team. All of us jumped off the bench in reaction, Nielson said about the coaches. We were all upset and showing emotion. My rst reaction was to calm the players down, but as I looked out on the oor all six of them were looking at each other saying, its OK, its only one point... That showed so much character and maturity. Its giving me chills right now thinking about it. Thats the sign of a champion team. At the postgame dinner the boys laughed and smiled, they didnt sulk or keep their heads down. They knew a silver nish was an accomplishment they should be proud of. We wear our silver medals with pride, Nielson said. The bond the players shared this season was truly unique. They started out in September as teammates and nished their season as best friends. Practising ve days a week, sometimes six and traveling for tournaments on weekends meant the team got to know each other extremely well. Weve all become very close, said Gr. 12 student Mitchell Willoughby. Team captain Andrew Richards echoed his remarks. We turned into best friends this year, I know I have 12 guys who will always have my back, he said. Despite Saturdays heartbreaking loss, the Oaks had an excellent season. They pulled off 40 wins, six losses and two ties this year. A great performance from one of the best volleyball teams in Ontario. The Oakridge volleyball program is known as one of the best in the province with a long list of impressive alumni, like Olympian Paul Duerden. Nielson was also a former Oakridge volleyball star and has spent nearly two decades coaching the team. He says the caliber of the program has only increased. When I played I thought the team we had was really good, but the teams Ive coached over the past few years wouldve denitely creamed us, Nielson said. There were dozens of alumni cheering alongside fans and students on Saturday. Belonging to such a tight knit program has an effect on the players. Theres great respect among athletes of Oakridge volleyball, Nielson said. Weve got a long, strong history of guys giving back to the program. . . . our boys want to continue the tradition.

athlete of the week

the quote
I used to be very competitive in tennis, then I discovered volleyball was my passion."
About Andrew: When it came time to choose an MVP for the Oakridge senior boys volleyball team, head coach Jamie Nielson says the decision was unanimous. An Oakridge volleyball player since Gr. 9, Andrew Richards naturally commands both respect and attention from his teammates and coaches. Hes the heart and soul of the team, Nielson said. When he speaks, we listen. Richards started his volleyball journey back when he was a Gr. 8 student at John Dearness public school. He loved the sport right away and knew he wanted a spot on the competitive


Oakridge team. Hes an outside hitter who plays both the right and left side effortlessly. Outside of high school, Richards is a beach volleyball champion recently claiming both the under 16 and under 17 titles. Hes currently in Puerto Rico representing Team Canada in the youth Olympic trials. After high school he plans to play university volleyball, but doesnt have his sights set on one school in particular.

Do you know an exceptional athlete?

Someone whos a team player on the eld, at school and in the local community? Nominate them for Athlete of the Week by emailing

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e h t s i T season
Paul Rowe stands in front of jugs of fermenting wine at his wine studio, Luscious Wines.

BEVERAGES: International sommelier serves up gift buying tips for that wine lover on your Christmas list
hether youre an experienced connoisseur or a newbie who still confuses a pinot noir with a pinot grigio, chances are youll be sipping or gifting some wines this holiday season. LFP Neighbours caught up with Paul Rowe, an international sommelier and the owner of Luscious Wines, to make the wine aisle a little easier to navigate. Armed with this handy guide youll impress the snootiest wine snob on your Christmas list.

to wine and dine

Four Main Components of Wine:
Alcohol: Alcohol has both taste and texture. High levels of alcohol 13% or higher can make wine taste hot or erce. Low levels mean wine could be weak, thin or watery. Alcohols presence in wine is something people feel and a part of the wines body or weight. When you hear a wine described as medium-bodied this is in reference to the alcohol content. Shiraz It may be the hottest selling red wine in Ontario right now, but the best Shiraz tend to come from Australia. Known for its high alcohol content, the taste of the Shiraz can depend on the climate its grown in. Cooler climates tend to produce jammy blends with notes of ripe berries and pepper. Theyre a little bit edgy, says Rowe. Pairs well with: red meat and aged cheeses. Merlot This soft, jammy, medium-bodied wine has notes of violet, strawberry and vanilla. Despite its fruitiness Merlots are quite dry. Because its fruity a lot of people confuse fruitiness with sweetness. It makes your mouth think its sweet, says Rowe. Merlots soft avor means it tastes good on its own. Its French origins also make it a nice compliment to French cuisine. Pairs well with: duck, rabbit, pork, soft cheese and any rich French food.

Sweetness: Sweetness is the only avor people nd appealing on its own. The more dry the wine, the less sweet it will be. Sweetness can come from the alcohol itself or from naturally ripe fruit. Acidity (Sourness): The important acids in wine tartaric and malic come from grapes. The warmer the climate the lower the acid content in the grapes will be. Agreeable levels of acidity should make you salivate, high levels of acidity thins saliva causing a slight sense of astringency. How much acid you taste depends on the wines other

constituents: alcohol, sugar and tannin. The sweetest from alcohol tends to lower acidity, unless the wine has both high acid and high alcohol over 13.5% - then the acid will taste stronger. Sugar diminishes acid by masking it. High levels of tannin and acid accentuate each other. Astringency: Astringency is mainly produced by the tannins (tannic acid) from the skins, seeds and stems in red wines and from ageing in new oak barrels. Tannins affect the texture of a wine. Its perceived as a drying, furring or puckering sensation in your mouth.



of 12%. A spicy wine, it goes well with zesty Italian dishes. You think of Tuscany and what kind of food they eat, pasta with red sauces, pizzas, says Rowe. Pairs well with: spicy food, red meat, pizza, tomato based pasta dishes

Pinot Grigio Light and crisp, Pinot Grigio has become a favourite among white wine acionados. It started becoming popular around 2005 and sales at the LCBO have grown exponentially year after year, says Rowe. Its an easy to drink wine with notes of honey dew, green apple and melon giving it a crisp nish and smooth taste. Pairs well with: seafood, light white meats like chicken and turkey Sauvignon Blanc This light wine originated in France but its spiritual home is in New Zealand. They make the best version, says Rowe. It features notes of cats pee, gooseberry, fresh grass and canned peas. While its notes might not sound to appealing, blended together they produce a cool, crisp nish. Pairs well with: Fish, salad, seafood, and sunshine on a patio.

Rowe Recommends
Gewrztraminer Rowes all time favourite white wine hails from Germany. Its just off dry with an alcohol content of 9-14% and notes of lychee fruit, roses, tropical fruits and occasionally a hint of spice. Well aged versions have an oiliness to them. While an oily wine might through some off, its a sign of good quality in a Gewrztraminer. While the wine is originally from Germany, it grows quite well in the Niagara region. Its also great to serve with holiday turkey. Its on our table every year at Christmas along with a pinot noir, says Rowe. Pairs well with: spicy food, turkey


Cabernet Sauvignon Made from a tiny red grape, Cabernet Sauvignons are crafted all over the world, but the most popular blends come from California, Argentina and Chile. Some people swear by cabernet, says Rowe. It has earthy notes along with black currant and occasionally cherry notes. Pairs well with: red meats, tomato based sauces and aged cheeses Pinot Noir This medium bodied wine has notes of blackberry, a hint of cherry and is known for is spiciness and peppery taste. This is my all around favourite wine to have with anything, says Rowe. Its also great with turkey for Christmas. Pairs well with: Just about anything. BBQ food, pork, red meat, pizza and sh are just a few of the common pinot noir pairings.

Rowe Recommends
Chianti: Named after the town in Tuscany where its crafted, Chianti wine isnt as well known as its popular red counterparts. With notes of sour ripe cherry and chocolate, the wine has a spicy kick to it. It also has high alcohol content, typically a minimum

Chardonnay The most popular white wine on the planet, Chardonnay grapes are grown all over the world. Its the most popular white grape out there, says Rowe. When the wine is oaked (aged in an oak barrel) it has notes of butterscotch cream. Without the oaking process, Chardonnay has hints of green apple and vanilla. Pairs well with: cream sauce, oysters, seafood, soft cheeses, anything buttery.

Between 20072011 wine consumption in Canada grew by nearly

Between 20122016 Canada is poised to become the worlds

of wines bought in Canada were for bottles over $10


of wine behind the United States, China, Russia and Germany

5th largest consumer

% of global WINE Red wines represent consumption

Statistics from Vinexpo



Winterize your ride

The snowstorm that hit at the end of November causing headaches for local motorists. Stay safe on the roads this winter by taking proper care of your vehicle.


NUTRITION: John Dearness becomes rst school to incorporate fresh food into its annual collection

A fresh idea

ROAD SAFETY: Simple steps drivers should take to winterize their vehicles and be prepared for emergencies
Living in west London means winters wrath is nothing new. But the heaps of snow that piled up in late November caught many motorists off guard. Dont get stuck in the snow and stop sliding through icy streets. An early winter means the time to winterize your vehicle is now. Invest in winter tires If youre driving a newer car thats not a truck or an SUV, youll likely want to invest in a set of winter tires this season. It all comes down to safety, says Wayne Howie, owner of Byron Automotive. With a snow tire you increase friction, meaning better stability and traction when youre on the road. Winter weather can limit traction, putting the safety of drivers and their passengers in jeopardy. Winter tires can more effectively handle roads that are covered in snow and ice than all-season tires. Drivers of newer sedans and compact cars should denitely consider winter tires. The high performance tires on many new vehicles help with steering and control, but do little to grip the road during icy and snowy conditions. Another way to improve traction during the winter months is to constantly monitor tire pressure, which decreases more rapidly when the weather is cold. Properly inated tires provide better traction and protect against damage that may occur when driving over potholes. Test your anti-freeze One of the most important things to ensure when the mercury drops is that your anti-freeze is working properly, Howie says. Make sure you have it tested and that its strong enough to endure temperatures as low as -30 C. Most anti-freezes last ve to seven years, but get it tested regularly. Without anti-freeze your vehicle could completely shut down. Check your oil Consider a low-viscosity oil in the winter. The owner's manual of your vehicle may recommend you use a lower viscosity motor oil to counter the dip in temperature that's synonymous with winter. When the temperatures outside fall, the oil inside your vehicle thickens, and a thicker oil won't circulate through the engine as well. This can cause engine problems because the engine won't be adequately lubricated. A low-viscosity oil is naturally thinner, so it may improve lubrication throughout the winter. The vehicle owner's manual should recommend oils based on climate. If not, talk to your mechanic about changing from the oil you use throughout the year to a lowviscosity alternative during the winter. Inspect your vehicle No one wants to be out on the road during the rst snowstorm of the year only to discover certain components are not working properly. Belts and hoses, while durable, can be put through strenuous conditions during the winter months, so a close inspection of belts and hoses should be conducted in late fall. In addition, windshield wipers are especially important in winter, when snowfall can drastically impact visibility. You will want your wipers working at full capacity once the winter begins, so replace older wipers (shelf life for standard wipers is typically one year) and use a de-icing windshield washer uid to maximize visibility. Check your battery Another component that must be inspected is your car's battery. Many drivers have experienced a dead battery which, in warm weather, is more of a nuisance than a health concern. In cold weather, a dead battery can threaten your health if you nd yourself stranded in cold weather. Especially low temperatures can compromise a battery's power by as much as 50%, so have your battery inspected in late fall and replace it if need be. Don't be caught off guard Part of winterizing a vehicle is being prepared if the vehicle breaks down. Make sure you have extra washer uid in your vehicle's trunk, and don't forget to include an ice scraper, snow brush or even a snow shovel in the trunk as well. A snow shovel may be necessary if you need to dig your car out if it's been buried somewhere other than your driveway. Other items to carry in your trunk include a blanket, a change of clothes, an extra hat, an extra pair of gloves, some nonperishable food and a few bottles of water.

Kelsey Shewgett and Camilyn Cheng carry boxes of fresh food ready to be donated to the London Food Bank.

Pupils at John Dearness public school are keeping it fresh this winter. The school is one of the rst in the city to incorporate fresh produce into its annual food drive. The idea was sparked by Colleen Jordan, a former John Dearness parent who was inspired to add a fresh perspective to the schools traditional food drive after taking a class in community leadership. For Jordan, adding fresh food made sense on two fronts: Its a way to teach children about making healthy food choices, and it boosts the London Food Banks fresh produce stock. She called the campaign The Ground Rules. Its all about making youth aware of healthy eat-

ing. . . eating as close to the ground as we can, she said. Students were asked to bring in non-perishables during the week-long food drive and bring in their fresh produce on Friday morning. The London Food Bank picked up nearly 100 boxes of food Friday afternoon. We had over 100 boxes of food and we only have 170 families at our school, said principal Tom Burns. Im so proud of the students and the school community. The response was fantastic. While John Dearness is the rst school in the area to incorporate fresh food into its food drive, Jordan has introduced the concept to several other schools in the area.

Night of the year New Years Eve Dinner Party

The Most

join us for

THREE DINNER SEATINGS 5pm, 7pm and 9pm

5 Course Meal. Glass of champagne for everyone. Midnight buffet for 9pm guest. Phone for reservations.


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BUYING: Independent stores and shops offer better shopping experience than malls and big box stores



it's all about local shopping

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519. 641.1273

431 Boler Road at Byron-Baseline Rd.

The holiday season is here. Why not swap youre usual stress inducing trip to the crowded shopping malls for some local avour? From the boutiques in Byron to the one-of-a-kind niche shops in Hyde Park, there are plenty of local options. LFP Neighbours caught up with Donna Szpakowski and Dr. Kara Peterson from the Hyde Park Business Association to nd out some local holiday highlights. Why do you think its important to support small businesses and local shops during the Chirstmas rush? Szpakowski: I believe supporting small businesses and locally owned shops helps to build strong communities that sustains vibrant neighbourhoods and connects residents and shoppers to a network of economic and social relationships. Remembering that local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, they are often family owned businesses, they employ local people and these are folks who are less likely to leave, and who are invested in the communitys future. Peterson: I always preach every dollar you spend is a vote for how you want to see the world. Every dollar spent on the web or in a US owned boxstore is a vote to say that is more of we want in the future. It is the biggest retail time of the year. Of course it is important to support local shops and small businesses. What are some of the benets to buying local? Szpakowski: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun, it all makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of Hyde Park and are the making of Hyde Park becoming a destination spot. Peterson: There is much more uniqueness to the experience from the gift that may be more personal to the individual, shopping in a local shop that has been decorated personally by the shop providing a warm, inviting atmosphere (the true Christmas experience) and service. They can provide a service that big box stores can't provide for that purchase. Where do you like to do your Christmas shopping? Szpakowski: I love the smaller shops and the ambience they offer. It is such a pleasant shopping experience over the crowds in the big box environment. Most of our shopping is done in the Hyde Park corner, from sending gifts from Featherelds to family in Montreal to purchasing Christmas decorations and trees at Van Horiks. I'm looking forward to purchasing some unique olive oils at Olive-Me this year Peterson: Small shops. I love the ChristmWas magic of a small store, especially coming in out of the cold to a warm, inviting environment, music playing, lights and decorations.

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Local Shopping Guide

Food & Beverage
Olive-Me & Co. 1570 Hyde Pk Rd., Unit # 7 This independently owned and operated olive oil boutique serves up a wide variety of extra virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, spices and olive oil-based beauty products. All of the products are hand poured, bottled, labeled, corked and sealed on site. Drop in and sample some of the worlds nest olive oils at the stores one-of-a-kind tasting room to make your shopping experience truly unique. Taste of Britain 1634 Hyde Park Rd. Whether youre a transplanted Brit or a tried and true Canadian, theres something for everyone at this family owned shop. From unique British foods like salty crisps and Yorkshire tea to English Premiere League soccer gear, this novely shop is full of quirky gifts. Forrats Chocolates 1304 Commissioners Rd. West, Unit 3 Forrats specializes in quality European handcrafted truffles and ne chocolates made fresh, on site using natural ingredients. Their mission is to bring chocolate back to the good ol days when it was an edible social experience before pre-packaged mass production. Come in and watch your favourite treats made fresh in store. Luscious Wines 1055 Sarnia Rd. This award-winning neighbourhood winery gives customers the chance to craft their own unique wine blends using a selection of quality wine kits. They offer all-inclusive pricing with peel and stick customizable labels. With experts on site to help you every step of the way, customers get to enjoy a truly personalized wine-making experience. Ungers Market 1010 Gainsborough Rd. For over 30 years Ungers Market has provided Hyde Park families with fresh produce and gourmet treats. Stock up on holiday treats and goodies with a visit to the bakery. All pies are made fresh including the lling in store. Remark Fresh Markets 1180 Oxford St. W Home to the ingredients that inspire the kind of homecooked meals that leave your guests asking for seconds, Remark is more than just a grocery store. Their baked goods, desserts, chocolates and owers make perfect gifts. rustic Canadian pine pieces are all original making them great gifts. Items can be custom ordered and nished to your colour scheme. Pryde Furniture 1422 Fanshawe Park Rd. W. This family-owned furniture store has a wide variety of home dcor accessories at unbelievable prices. Beautifully crafted pieces in a range of styles mean youre bound to nd something that will dazzle this holiday season. Murree Flowers 1274 Commissioners Rd. W This family owned and operated ower shop is in the heart of Byron. Whether youre giving a bouquet or looking for a festive arrangement to accompany your holiday feast, Muree Flowers will make your experience one to remember.


Home & Garden

Van Horiks Greenhouses and Garden Centre 930 Gainsborough Rd. This greenhouse and garden gallery has everything you need to get your home holiday ready. From fresh cut Christmas trees to custom wreaths to indoor ornaments, their wide selection will add a bit of Christmas cheer to any home. Moonstone Path 1289 Commissioners Rd. W. This mystical shop carries a variety of unique gift ideas for the home. From awe-inspiring crystals and geods to scented candles, totem stones and Himalyan salt lamps, youre bound to nd something for that quirky person on your Christmas list. Rivertown Galleries 431 Boler Rd. Original paintings, custom framing and unique gifts from a variety of intriguing Canadian artists are just a few of the items that can be found in this beautiful Byron gallery.

Health & Wellness

Hyde Park Massage Therapy 1385 North Routledge Park Knead out some of that holiday stress with a deep tissue or hot stone massage, or give the gift of relaxation to someone you love. Oakridge Wellness 759 Hyde Park Rd. S Give the gift of a calm mind and a t body this Christmas. With a roster of Anusara inspired yoga teachers, the centre is the perfect place to rejuvenate and reset. Stick to your New Year's resolutions this year with their regular yoga and pilates classes.


Community Ofce
240 Commissioners Rd W (at Knights Hill Rd), Unit 106 London, ON N6J 1Y1 Phone: 519-657-3120 | Fax: 519-657-0368 | Email:

Natural Paws Pantry 1055 Sarnia Rd. Dont forget youre furry friend this Christmas. Stock up on natural pet food and Shelleys Unique Accents treats to keep your pets belly and Furniture full and healthy this holiday 1073 Gainsborough Rd. season. Dedicated to creating one-ofa-kind small accent furniture, Shelleys collection of solid


OUTDOORS: Boler Mountain enjoying earliest start to ski season in 25-year history

Head for the

A mid-November snowfall may be a nightmare for most, but it's a blessing for Boler Mountains Greg Strauss. Thanks to the snowstorm that dumped nearly 70 cm of snow on Byron during the Nov. 23-24 weekend, Boler was able to open for business way earlier than normal. Dozens of skiers and snowboarders hit the freshly powdered slopes just after 5 p.m. on Friday Nov. 29 the earliest the ski club has been open in 25 years. We are stoked, said Strauss, a member of Boler's management team. His team had to work quickly to get the ski hill in tip-top shape. No one anticipated the crazy snowfall that buried west London nearly two weeks ago. And in a business that depends so much on the weather, Strauss certainly wasnt getting his hopes up. When it became clear the snow and cold temperatures were sticking

around, his team ramped up their efforts to get the hill open. Its been a stressful week for my outside guys, Strauss said. But for the dozens of eager skiers and snowboarders in line for their rst run of the season it was well worth it. For London, the 2013 ski season was one of the longest the city has seen. A cold spring meant Boler stayed open until early April, meaning theres been sking and snowboarding in six calendar months this year. Boler Mountain is open to skiers and snowboarders on weekends. Its tube park and terrain park are still undergoing maintenance. For more information visit
ABOVE: 15-year-old Gavin Holmes nishes his rst run down Boler Mountain. Holmes was one of the rst snowboarders to arrive when the ski hill opened Friday evening. LEFT: A group of snowboarders wave excitedly as they head up the Boler Mountain chair lift for their rst run of the season.

PARADE: Canned food, boots and toys collected for Northwest London Resource Centre and Mission Store

Huge Hyde Park crowd greets 'St. Nick'

There was no shortage of Christmas spirit in Hyde Park this weekend. Nearly 10,000 people showed up for the fth annual Hyde Park Santa Claus parade. A fresh dusting of snow and a mild morning made for perfect parade viewing weather. The crowds impressed parade director Marci Easton. Im speechless, she said. I cant believe how well everything went. From the weather to the crowds, to the volunteers and the oats . . . the community support is overwhelming. The Santa Claus parade is organized each year by the Hyde Park Lions Club and the NorWest Optimists. This year there were 55 oats and vehicles traveling the parade route, which streteched along Gainsborough Rd. from Wonderland Rd. to just past Hyde Park Rd. In addition to providing Six-year-old Sadie sits in a wagon pulled by her older brother, Ben, 12, a member of the 68th London Scout Group during the Hyde Park Santa Claus Parade. family friendly entertainDressed as a present this CIBC employee pumps up the crowd during the Hyde Park Santa Claus parade.

ment, the parade is also a fundraising platform for several local intiatives. Canned food, toys and boots were all collected during the parade to be given to the Northwest London Resource Centre and the Mission Store.

Coun. Matt Brown brought his young family to Saturdays parade and called the event one of the highlights of the holidays. This is one of the funnest events of the year, he said. This parade was the most exciting and successful to date.

Dancers from the Powerhouse Dance Company dazzle crowds during the Hyde Park Santa Claus Parade.

CITY BUILDING: Communications professional works to keep recent graduates in London

Grounding the young talent ight

BRENT BOLES Neighbours
Jeff Sage was a young graduate when he found himself falling into a routine. He had a job but was missing something. He would go to work, come home and complain. He needed a change. One day we thought we should stop complaining and help out kind of a novel idea, he said. It was a plan that Sage has devoted his life to ever since. He became a founder of the Emerging Leaders community network. a non-prot group dedicated to engaging young graduates and keeping them in London. Sage, 37, also sits on the board of directors for the United Way and was recently named, along with his wife Lindsay, as one of the citys top 20 under 40 by Business London. We have trouble saying no, said Sage. We actually formally set a limit (on involvement) that never sticks. Sage grew up near Timmins but came to London for school. He did his undergraduate degree at Western in political science and a postgraduate certicate at Fanshawe in public relations. London managed to keep Sage from packing up but he said that at the time, the city didnt have any systems for keeping talent in town. Emerging Leaders, founded in 2006, was aimed at addressing that. Were doing better (now) in that there are platforms there that werent there before. For his part, the Byron resident is happy with the decision to make London home. The community is fantastic. I cant think of a better place to raise a family, he said. Byron itself feels like we kind of won the family lottery. Sage was Fanshawe Colleges senior manager of marketing until about a year ago. Both Jeff and Lindsay were getting busy with side projects and were faced with a decision. We either had to ramp it down or ramp it up and we ramped it up, he said. The two work out of their basement office now, where walls are painted white and turned into dry erase boards. Despite the success of their business, called sagecomm, the two have stayed as busy as ever. Sage talks passionately about his role with the United Way. That just opened my eyes to a whole new level of social and moral responsibility, he said. Hes also helped raise money to build a residential hospice, inspired after his father passed away several years ago. Despite the impact hes had on London so far, Sage is excited to be a part of the community right now. He said that technology is allowing citizens to connect and share ideas like never before. The time and place were at right now, I think, is revolutionary.

Jeff Sage stands in his basement with the writing on the wall. Having turned the walls into giant dryerase boards, Sage uses them to brainstorm in his home ofce in Byron.


AROUND thehood
Spencer, 8, Michael, 12 and Mackenzie 12, represent the 68th London Scout Group in the Hyde Park Santa Claus parade.

Maggie McKee holds a box of the London Fo fresh food to be od Bank. donated to

Isaac Naizghl, Beccy Adams, Kelsey Shewfett, Erin Fitzhenry, Emily Grifn, Maggie McKee, Camilyn Cheng, Jacob Yoon, Thea Brouwer, Tom Burns and Colleen Jordan pose in front of a trunk loaded with fresh food on its way to the London Food Bank.

Avery, Fiona, Jude and Kyle anxiously await their St. Nick sighting during the Hyde Park Santa Claus parade.

Reese, Lexie and Quinn snuggle into a snowbank to take in the Hyde Park Santa Claus parade.

Knights from the Oxford Renaissance Festival march down Gainsborough Rd for the Hyde Park Santa Claus parade.

The Poplar H Santa Claus pa illbillies oat was a popular si rade. ght during the

Hyde Park