A dream became a reality on Aug. 16 as a group of nearly 100 scout leaders, donors, dignitaries, youth and volunteers gathered at Lambton Shores’ Camp Attawandaron Scouting Reserve to celebrate the completion of 12 accessible cabins.
The state-of-the-art cabins replaced a dozen antiquated structures used by thousands of campers for many decades at the camp, which was established in 1948.
A project two years in the making, camp committee members of the Bluewater Area Scouting group – an organization representing Scouting groups in Sarnia, Corunna, Petrolia, Aamjiwnaang, Point Edward and Bright’s Grove – raised over $175,000 from Lambton County businesses, organizations, service clubs and individuals, well over their original $132,000 target.
After spending many hours making presentations and pleading for donations, the group then relied on a small army of volunteers to donate some elbow grease and bring the two circles of six cabins – along with a new picnic shelter and a pair of new fire pits – to life.
Cub leader Rob Tuer said he was thrilled with the new structures, which will be used not only by local scouting groups but also by community groups as well as scouting groups from abroad.
“This camp is the cornerstone of scouting in Sarnia-Lambton,” he told the gathered group. “And these new cabins are going to help create lifelong memories for thousands of kids for decades to come.”
Tuer said none of it would be possible without the generosity of the people of Lambton County.
An August weekend of sails, art and music filled Sarnia’s waterfront and community with visitors, just as organizers had hoped.
The Tall Ships Celebration, with six sailing ships docked at Sarnia Harbour, and four nights of music at Bluewater Borderfest in Centennial Park – where the two-day Artzscape by the Bay art show and sale was also held – were designed to attract a big crowd over the Aug. 9-11 summer weekend.
“Hotel rooms were full, and sold out in most cases on both Friday and, for sure, Saturday night,” said Mark Perrin, executive director of Tourism Sarnia-Lambton. “We’re hearing a lot of great feedback from the community’s restaurant and hotel operators. It’s really a boost to our local economy.”
Rob Harwood, Sarnia’s director of parks and recreation, said on the Sunday the city estimated close to 10,000 people came through the gates of the Tall Ships Celebration on the Saturday.
The visiting ship lineup included Bluenose II, Empire Sandy, a replica of the Nao Santa Maria, Picton Castle, Fair Jeanne and Appledore IV, and the festival grounds included numerous vendors and exhibitors.
Harwood said he was hearing positive comments from officials with the visiting ships and the group organizing the tall ship tours through the Great Lakes every few years.
“These folks love us in Sarnia, and they want to come back in three years,” Harwood said. “I’m so proud of our community.”
Sarnia space hero Chris Hadfield was honoured by his hometown on Aug. 6, receiving a ‘hometown’ star from Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Close to 3,000 people gathered to watch Hadfield unveil his hometown star, which was permanently placed at Hadfield’s alma mater King George VI Public School, where he attended as a child.
Along with speeches and remarks from Hadfield, there were performances by musicians Emma Gryner, the Arrogant Worms and Canadian music legend Andy Kim.
Hadfield told the audience the event meant a huge amount to him and his family.
Scores of concerned citizens gathered at Sarnia City Hall on Aug. 29 to attend Sarnia-Lambton’s first-ever event marking International Overdose Awareness Day.
Organized by harm reduction officials from the North Lambton Community Health Centre and a committee comprised of six community members, in partnership with Bluewater Health and Lambton Public Health, the event focused both on remembrance and prevention.
Tables staffed by health workers distributed naloxone kits, while also training those interested in procuring them. Meanwhile, speakers from various walks of life spoke directly about either their own struggles with addiction or the struggles of loved ones.
Lambton Public Health nurse Jen Gibbs said it was time for people to start waking up to the fact overdoses are having a devastating effect on their community.
“Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day and we decided it was time in the community to do something that reflected the amazing people that we lost over the last few years,” she said. “So we organized some speakers to tell their stories and we’re giving out the free naloxone kits because they are really important in reducing opiate overdoses.”
“We really want to spread the word that they’re not just for folks who misuse opioids,” Gibbs added.
Hundreds turned out for a day filled with art, music, shopping, puppeteering, dancing, drawing and dining during the fifth annual Alvinston Arts and Music Festival on Aug. 17.
With everything from a First Nations hoop dance demo performed by Alvinston’s own Bressette sisters to a children’s storytelling tent featuring four prominent local authors to colourful and vibrant street chalk murals covering large portions of Alvinston’s River Street, attendees received a thorough dose of culture while also getting an opportunity to peruse through the wares of vendors and local businesses.
Musicians and bands from Alvinston and across Ontario performed onstage while inspirational speaker Talli Osborne, who attended the inaugural festival five years ago, returned to Alvinston to deliver another speech.
Organizer and artist Liana Russwurm said she was happy with the turnout and the increase in the number of vendors and artists.