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Senior Of The Week

Our senior of the week this week is Gladys Hamer. Gladys will be 95 years young on Oct 19. She was born in the year 1919 in Ridgeway Ontario. She has 3 children, 3 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.  In the picture is her most faithful companion, Oliver.  Happy Birthday Gladys!

Full day of events planned at Wellness Centre for Radiothon – By Dan Rankin

Live music, children’s programming provided by the YMCA and the St. James Masons, a barbecue and even a chance to throw a pie in the face of a local municipal candidate are planned throughout the day Saturday at the Wellness Centre in St. Marys for the 13th annual Healthcare Heroes Radiothon. But as Hospital Foundation Board member Andrea Macko said, the big idea behind the day of fun is to raise money.

“The whole point of all the events, other than to get people up to the hospital and recall the good it does, and talk to members of the foundation to find out what we do, is to get people to make donations to the hospital foundation,” she said. “We’ve done this three years prior and we’ve raised on average $25,000 on this day.”

Past funds raised on  radiothon days have gone towards upgrades to the emergency department, the new nurses station, and the new X-Ray machine, to which this year’s funds will also contribute.

“All of the donations this year will be going to help cover our commitment to the X-Ray machine,” Macko said. “So, your donation on Saturday, whether you buy lunch or a pie, or breakfast or write a cheque, it’s going to the X-Ray machine and it alone.”

The municipal candidates taking part in the pie toss beginning at 10 a.m. include Steve Grose, Al Strathdee, Lynn Hainer, Carey Pope, Don Van Galen, Dave Cunningham, Jim Craigmile, Frank Doyle, Robby Smink and Al Tucker.


Events taking place at the Wellness Centre on Saturday (times approximate):

 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.

- Breakfast served by physicians and healthcare staff; $5 for a breakfast sandwich, plus coffee or juice.

- The St. James Masons will be running children’s games

- Students from World’s Coolest Music Store performing

9 a.m. – noon

- Free children’s events in the multipurpose room of the YMCA

10 – 11 a.m.

-Pie-throwing event; people can purchase a pie to throw at the St. Marys municipal candidate of their choice.

There will be a $5 line, a closer $10 line (closer) and for $50, you can just stick it in their face! (Tax receipts available for donations)

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

-Barbecue sausage lunch at the Wellness Centre

-Masons’ games

-World’s Coolest performances

All day

- Have a free workout courtesy of the St. Marys YMCA and receive a free two-week pass to the facility!

Senseless damage to park bench

On Wednesday Oct. 15, at 11:30 p.m. Perth County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers in St. Marys responded to a call at the Meadowridge soccer field along Southvale Rd., where the St. Marys Fire Department was dealing with park bench on fire.

Fire officials and OPP officers determined that the steel framed bench with wooden seat and back supports was badly charred and had been purposely ignited. A small red gas can was located at the scene. The bench materials may have been smouldering for some time prior to being reported to emergency services.

The Perth County OPP is requesting anyone with information about this senseless act to contact them at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), and you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000

Props master says if Murdoch gets ninth season, he may return to St. Marys – By Dan Rankin

Beginning next Friday, members of the set dressing department for the long-running CBC program Murdoch Mysteries will begin making the Andrews Building downtown into a period-appropriate turn-of-the-century jewelry store. On the evening of Oct. 27, residents can expect to see tractor trailers full of implements and decorations rolling into town so, when filming takes place Tuesday next week, Queen Street downtown resembles a bustling neighbourhood in 1902 Toronto. That includes made-over storefronts, flag poles flying the Union Jack and horse-drawn carriages.


“Due to the fact that Toronto did not maintain its heritage and there are very few 100-year-old buildings in Toronto — and the few remaining are sandwiched between skyscrapers and everything else — we film most of our exteriors outside of Toronto,” said Craig Grant, props master for the show. “We shoot in Hamilton, Dundas, Brantford, Port Hope… St. Marys is just an extension of that.”

Grant, 45, is the son of Barry and Beth Grant of St. Marys. He is one of 12 staff members on the show who have been involved since day one of its first season. It’s now in its eighth. Grant said he has long pushed for St. Marys to be used as a location for filming. “It’s just a beautiful town with a lot of historically accurate buildings for our show,” he said. But, when factoring in the transportation that would be required for the set pieces, filming equipment and about 80 members of the cast and crew, St. Marys was seen as too far away from their home in Toronto. But once the locations department saw the Andrews Building, they decided to make an exception. “They happened to be in the area and saw the jewelry store,” he said. “Knowing we had the jewelry heist show coming up, it couldn’t be better.”

Though the former Anstett Jewellers store interior has been closed for business for almost five years, the shelves and counters are all still intact. “Inside it still looks like a jewelry store,” said Grant. “It’s all there and pristine. That’s the main reason we’re coming… this time, anyway.”

Grant hinted that, should the program get renewed for a new season, they may make a return visit. “Our crew has already been to St. Marys a couple of times, scouting and looking at the buildings,” he said. “They all just loved the town. If we get a ninth season, I think we may be back again. I’ve tried to convince them we need to get some shots of Murdoch riding his bicycle by some of the buildings. Even if we build the interiors in studio, exteriors that look like this are hard to find.”

Fans of the show hoping to catch a glimpse of Yannick Bisson or Hélène Joy, the actors who play the characters of Inspector Murdoch and Dr. Ogden, will have to look forward to that day, as they are not in any of the scenes being filmed in St. Marys this time around. “But, we will have Crabtree, Brackenreid and Dr. Grace,” Grant said. “The next three on the call sheet – they will all be here.”

As will the villains for the episode (titled “Toronto’s Girl Problem”), a gang of female jewel thieves. “We’ll have a handful of good-looking women in giant dresses,” said Grant. “One of our heroes gets in a little bit of trouble because of this.”

He also dropped another hint about a key prop he designed for the episode. “It’s actually a rather rare weapon and I couldn’t get my hands on one,” he said. “So I built one that’s a pretty good copy of the real thing. I built it out of various parts of real guns and 3D-printed the rest, and designed it all on a computer.”

From his workshop in the show’s Toronto studio, Grant has constructed a wide variety of “whacky things,” ranging from prototype electric cars and flying machines to pre-1900 guns and knives. He remembers one of his first days on the show when the story called for someone riding an 1890’s motorcycle. “The producer said to me, ‘since it’s supposed to be a prototype motorcycle anyway, why don’t you try and build one?’ So, I cobbled together a gas engine on a bicycle frame and built a fake gas tank,” he said. “The bike was so dangerous to drive that it was decided we couldn’t have an extra driving it. So, I wound up driving it in the episode and nearly killed myself – twice.”

Grant’s vision has helped provide the show a unique Victorian era science-fiction visual style in the tradition of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. That style may have had something to do with the worldwide appeal of the show, which has been broadcast in over 100 countries. In the States, (where the show goes by the name “The Artful Detective”) more channels have suddenly taken an interest in Murdoch, as this season they’ve achieved a “magic number” for syndication: 100 episodes. “In the coming weeks, our 100th episode will air,” he said. “It’s quite a feat for a Canadian drama. There are very few Canadian shows that last as long we have.”

Even fewer Canadian shows can boast an episode featuring a cameo by an active prime minister. Grant vividly remembers the day Prime Minister Harper, a big fan of the show, came to the set in 2010 to film a scene. “It was a rather strange event,” Grant said. “We knew he was coming and the security was so tight. They came into our set the day before, and we had to get rid of all the knives and sharp implements out of the morgue. As well, any weapons or fake guns in the prop lockup had to leave the building. We even had bomb-sniffing dogs go through.”

Overall, Grant recalls it as a “weird experience,” but said he remembers Harper as a “really funny guy.” Prime Minister Harper’s cameo drew a record 700,000 viewers for the show. But his involvement with Murdoch Mysteries didn’t end there.

“Being a hockey fan, he recommended some story ideas to our writers while he was there and we used one of them for a hockey-themed episode the next season,” Grant said. “He actually got a ‘story suggested by’ credit. The following year we had a small crew of about 10 people go to Ottawa and film Murdoch at the Parliament Buildings. He greased the wheels to get us there.”

Working on the show, Grant has gotten a chance to travel from England, to Newfoundland, to Dawson City, Yukon. “It’s been a fantastic job,” he said. “In this business, I work six months and then I’m out of work. There’s no guarantee you’re hired on the next season. So, to have stuck with this for eight years is great.” In between seasons of Murdoch Mysteries, Grant has also worked on shows including Orphan Black, on Space, and Combat Hospital, on Global.

For the past two years, CBC has announced new seasons of Murdoch Mysteries during the April unveiling of its Fall TV schedule. St. Marys residents may have to keep their fingers crossed until then to find out if the show will be making a return visit.

Long weekend OPP campaign results

Perth County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers played a major part in this year’s Canada wide “Operation Impact” (which ran from October 10 – 13th).

With dedicated patrols along Perth County Roads this Thanksgiving weekend, no major injury or fatality collisions occurred within the County.

Officers did respond to two intersection related collisions which resulted in minor injuries. They also answered the call of a vehicle that had been driven into a ditch. There were a number of collisions involving animals: four motorists struck a deer, two hit raccoons and one vehicle was damaged as a result of impacting a rabbit.

As part of “Operation Impact”, officers maintained a ‘zero tolerance’, targeted enforcement approach towards drivers who were placing others at risk by their poor driving behaviours. Officers conducted 13 R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Drivers Everywhere) programs throughout the county, and extensively patrolled Perth County roads looking for aggressive and distracted drivers as well as those who failed to wear seatbelts.

During the campaign, a total of 96 drivers who felt the “need to speed”, received tickets for doing so. Four motorists who could not resist using their electronic devices while driving were charged with distracted driving. 25 others received a seatbelt ticket while 10 others were given a ticket for hazardous moving violations.

The two week “Fall Seatbelt Campaign”, which concluded just prior to the start of “Operation Impact”, resulted in a total of 74 motorists in Perth County being charged for seatbelt violations. After 38 years of seatbelt laws in Ontario, it is disappointing that seatbelt use to these drivers is not an automatic response.