Ward 5 Hero: Virginia Gillham

Ward 5 Hero: Virginia Gillham

Well, it is difficult to know where to begin! Virginia has done so much to make a difference in our great city and beyond.

Virginia Gillham is a passionate advocate for the Guelph Public Library. As a founding member and Chair of the Friends of the Guelph Public Library she leads the very successful annual book sale which now raises over an amazing $100,000. She is determined and tireless. Every year it looks as though the Friends of the GPL may not have a location for the sale, and every year she finds one. She just won’t take no for an answer – definitely a force to be reckoned with!

Virginia, along with her husband Bob, was instrumental in the creation of the Guelph Youth Music Centre where she became one of the founding Board Members once the doors opened. She is still involved to this day raising funds as the co-chair of the Celebrity Concert Series.

Skate Canada is also the recipient of Virginia’s commitment to community service. She is a highly respected National Judge and Referee. Locally, Virginia has volunteered with the Guelph Figure Skating Club.

Virginia has served on many local boards and committees including Wellington County Children’s Aid Society, Edward Johnson Foundation, Dunara Group Homes, Guelph Chapter of the Federation of University Women and St Andrew’s Church.

Thank you Virginia for your many efforts to make Guelph a great place to call home!

This weekend is the 10th Annual Book Sale, Oct 21st to 23rd at 69 Huron St..
Information here: http://friendsguelphlibrary.ca/book-sale-2016/

Ward 5 Hero: Ajay Heble

After 23 years as artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival, Ward 5 resident Ajay Heble figuratively hung up his signature beret and passed the torch on this aspect of his life.  As founder of the award-winning festival, and in his role as the founding director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) at the University of Guelph, Heble has put Guelph on the map as a destination for the world’s best jazz musicians and social research on improvisation.


Ajay Heble, Founding Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival.  Image from today.mun.ca. 

The Guelph Jazz Festival is a three-time recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award of the Arts, and winner of the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.   Starting an annual music festival is not just about the music — it also requires leadership to motivate and mobilize and team of volunteers, marketing, business entrepreneurship, grant-writing and an ear for “inspired and provocative” musical talent.   Under Heble’s direction, the Jazz Festival has attracted some of the world’s best to our city and has “delighted aficionados from around the world with his innovative and daring programming”.

Heble is also an accomplished musician in his own right, which he shared at a closing concert on the final day of the 2016 festival.  Thankfully, his vision is deeply embedded in the Jazz Festival culture and will be felt well beyond his “retirement”.   For his contributions to the arts and academic excellence, we are proud to highlight  Ajay Heble as this week’s Ward 5 Hero.

Fall Yard Waste Collection Starts October 11th

The City’s fall bagged yard waste collection starts October 11, with loose leaf curbside pick up to follow in November.
Bagged yard waste collection
“This year, residents have two opportunities over four weeks to put bagged yard waste out for curbside collection,” says Heather Connell, manager of Integrated Services at Solid Waste Resources. “Bagged yard waste collection will take place on grey cart collection days between October 11 and November 4.”

Yard waste must be placed in paper bags, jute bags or in a clearly labeled container, and includes:
· grass clippings
· leaves
· hedge trimmings
· woody plants (e.g. vines or rose bushes)
· brush, branches, and tree limbs with a diameter less than 5 centimetres (2 inches)

Each bundle, bag or container of yard waste must not exceed 20 kilograms (44 pounds).

Residents are reminded that branches and tree limbs must be tied in bundles no larger than 1 metre (3 feet) long by 0.6 metres (2 feet) wide.
Loose leaf collection
Loose leaf collection will take place November 7 to 18. The City makes one scheduled pick up for loose leaf collection on each street.

Leaf collection does not include branches and other yard waste.

Residents are asked to rake leaves onto the curb no earlier than November 5. This will help prevent storm drains from flooding.

For safety reasons, keep children from playing in the leaves on the roadway.
Disposing of pumpkins
Pumpkins can be:
• Cut up and placed inside the green cart
• Cut up and placed inside a yard waste bag or container (do not place pumpkins loose on the ground)
• Brought to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre (110 Dunlop Drive) for a $5 flat rate fee per visit
Other options
Residents can also keep leaves on their property. Yard waste and leaves provide vital nutrients to lawns and gardens. Residents can try these tips for a healthy landscape:
Use mulched leaves on the lawn to help control weeds and create healthier growing conditions
Leave grass clippings on the lawn to decompose and release organic matter and valuable nutrients into your lawn
Try home composting—it provides free, nutrient-rich organic matter for lawns and gardens
After fall yard waste collection
After the collection period ends, residents can bag additional leaves and yard waste and drop them off at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre (110 Dunlop Drive) for a $5 flat rate fee per visit. Yard waste and leaves can also be included in the green cart for curbside collection all year.
Fall yard waste collection options
For information about bagged yard waste collection
Heather Connell, Manager, Integrated Services
Environmental Services, Solid Waste Resources
519-822-1260 extension 2082
For information about loose leaf collection
Terry Dooling, Manager, Public Works
519-822-1260 extension 3346

Castles and Tunnels!!

Hanlon Creek Neighbourhood Group invites you to:

Castles and Tunnels!

Come make castles and tunnels and whatever else you can imagine out of lots of giant cardboard boxes.

Date: Thursday, October 6
Time: 6:30 – 7:30
Location: Jean Little PS, 56 Youngman Dr.

Everyone is welcome and it’s free. Children must be supervised by their parents.

Ward 5 Heroes: The McElderry Community

Ward 5 Heroes: The McElderry Community

This week we want to recognized the passionate, hard working residents of the McElderry Community. In the last few years they have had to go through a large learning curve and quickly mobilized in order to respond to a development proposal in their neighbourhood at the corner of Kortright and Edinburgh. They needed to get up to speed on Official Plans, the Planning Act, zoning bylaws, sight lines, shadow studies, traffic studies and much, much more. As if that wasn’t enough they then had to quickly become informed about Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) procedures. Appearing before the OMB is very expensive requiring lawyers and planners so the community stepped up to raise funds with initiatives such as bake sales, garage sales, and bottle drives. They managed to raise an amazing $50,000! Unfortunately this was not enough(!!) to retain their ‘party status’ at the OMB but they persevered in every possible way to continue to have their voices heard. Throughout it all the McElderry Community presented themselves as respectful, knowledgable and very well organized. An incredible amount of effort goes into into this type of grassroots community organizing and they are all true heroes for caring so passionately about the community they live in.

The McElderry Community is hosting a community meeting on Oct., 6th, 2016 at 7:00 PM at the Jean Little PS, 56 Youngman Dr.

Photo: McElderry Community Leaders
Front row L to R: Debbie Conrad, Lyanne Oliver, Tracey Duffield, Linda Davis
Back row: Steve Runge, Fina Mirotta, Cyndy Forsyth, Sandra Wolting, Greg Ross, Robert Penfold
Missing: Michele & Scott Richardson, Larry Conrad, Lois Reeb, Mark Taylor, Charlie Campagnaro

Ward 5 Hero: Sya Van Geest


Go, go, go!   This week’s Ward 5 hero never stops.  She is a local champion of arts, social justice, literacy, education, environment, international health, and one of heck of a storyteller, and “heaven knows what else”, according to her nominator.

In her leadership role with the Guelph GoGo Grandmothers, she works to raise awareness and fundraise for the African Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.  The Foundation is focused on providing resources to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa.

Van Geest is also an animated storyteller, who puts her talents to use during “Tea ‘N’ Tales”, a popular weekly summer event at the Guelph Enabling Gardens.   The event is a nine-year collaborative project between the Enabling Gardens and the Guelph Guild of Storytellers.  The Guelph Enabling Garden is designed to be accessible to all and is used for education, sensory rehabilitation and multi-generational events.

Van Geest has a long record of activism.   After a distinguished career as a teacher-librarian, curriculum consultant and educator with the Peel District School Board, she received a distinguished service award for her “outstanding contribution to the libraries of Ontario.”  After retirement she was actively involved in People for Education and the Guelph Citizens for Public Education, advocating for a strong publicly-funded library system.

In 2007, Van Geest received the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Voluntary Community Service.  We are so proud that Sya is a resident of Ward 5, but her passionate energy and legacy of activism goes well beyond Ward 5 boundaries.  Her impact is felt throughout Guelph, all the way to villages in Africa where lives are being saved as a result of funds raised by Guelph GoGo Grandmothers.   Truly a Ward 5 hero….