Actors and theatre-makers Peyton Le Barr and Chris Whidden have started a new theatre company called Grassboots Theatre, and they are making their debut this summer with an evening of storytelling and a production at Artspace on July 25th.
Chris Whidden and Peyton Le Barr (Photo by Matthew Hayes)
ABOUT PEYTON LE BARR
Le Barr is an established actor who has performed in the UK, Russia and Canada. She has worked alongside top directors in Toronto and has been a guest artist at Humber College, teaching an introduction to site-specific performance. She works with Peterborough’s Public Energy Performing Arts in production.
Peyton Le Barr (Photo by Ian Brown)
ABOUT CHRIS WHIDDEN
Whidden, a graduate from Ryerson University’s acting program, is a writer and performer with a focus on mask and clown. As a performer, Chris has become an active emerging artist. In addition to his work onstage, Chris has written multiple plays performed in Toronto including Roaring Robert, which was presented by Shadowpath Theatre to a sold-out run at the Toronto Fringe.
Chris Whidden (Photo by Ian Brown)
Peyton and Chris have purchased a farm in Havelock near Peterborough, and are currently renovating the property to create an outdoor theatre studio. Down the line, they intend to offer the space as an artist retreat to local artists.
Their first event at Artspace, “Share Off! An Open-Mic For Storytellers”, is an evening of storytelling taking place on July 25th at 7 p.m. Participants from the community will share their own true stories (5 minutes or less) following the theme of Firsts. “It seemed like a fun and unique way to learn more about the people of Peterborough on a more personal level,” says Le Barr.
Community members are encouraged to sign up as a storyteller or just come and watch. Spots are limited, so interested storytellers should register in advance here.
PTBOCanada is delighted to to be running StooNews columns each week here, spotlighting new businesses and startups in Peterborough and the Kawarthas. Here is this week’s edition…
Alyssa and Corey Rowe recently opened Comfort Keepers Peterborough. Comfort Keepers provides in-home services such as respite care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, end-of-life care, nursing services, and more. Alyssa has worked for Comfort Keepers Calgary for six years, and is excited to bring a franchise to Peterborough. Her husband Corey is joining her in the business and they would love to welcome your calls or questions, or to join them for their Open House on August 22nd from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Peterborough Business Hub, 398 McDonnel Street. “Like” their page on Facebook here.
Harley Farmscontinues to grow. Located on Heritage Line near Lang Pioneer Village just north of Keene, the farm checks all the boxes, providing 100% GMO free, grass fed, free range, sustainable, locally raised and environmentally friendly products. The on-farm store features quality meats, and vegetables and is now surrounded by a free to enter Family Fun Farm and Picnic Area which includes a play area and farm animals. Stop in for a visit and watch for the customer appreciation BBQ and Grand Opening on August 3rd.
Harley Farms Family Fun Farm and Picnic Area
Atlas Therapeutic is a new clinic offering float therapy, massage therapy, CBD oil sales, meditations and stress management, mini retreats and acupuncture for treatment of everything from work and sports injuries and tendonitis, to whiplash, headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain. Located at 322 McDonnel Street in Peterborough, Atlas Therapeutic is open 7 days a week.
PedalBoro is a multi-passenger bike tour company providing a fun way to do a discovery tour of Peterborough’s vibrant food and beverage scene. The unique 15-passenger party bike typically takes you and your group to 3 or 4 local pubs, craft breweries, distilleries and restaurants. Owner Hillary Flood says Peterborough is the 5th city to host this type of cycle tourism in Canada. For more info, click here.
Hajni Hos is stepping down as the Executive Director of the New Canadians Centre Peterborough to take on the role as the new Executive Director of Hospice Peterborough.
Hos began her employment with the New Canadians Centre (NCC) as Employment Counsellor in 2008 and became the Coordinator of the Peterborough Immigration Partnership (formerly Peterborough Partnership Council on Immigrant Integration) in 2009. She took on the leadership role of Executive Director in January 2011. During her leadership, the NCC grew in size and complexity.
Photo of HOS WITH HER NCC TEAM by Heather Doughty, Inspire: The Women's Portrait Project
Many programs and services were added so that the NCC could better meet the language, educational, employment and settlement needs of new Canadians. Last year, a team of 27 staff served close to 700 new clients from 103 countries.
Programs such as the Workplace Integration Program and Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) were put in place. Her successful Ontario Trillium Foundation and Citizenship and Immigration Canada grants enabled the NCC to complete the 2013 renovation and move to their current premises at St. James United Church.
Hos at One Roof Community Diner with Team NCC making a lunch
In 2016, Hos was instrumental in facilitating the approval of Peterborough as a Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) Centre by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada—one of a few small cities to receive this honour.
This resulted in the resettlement of 200 government-assisted refugees in 2016-2017 (and almost 400 to date). This initiative has been met with resounding community support, starting first with 400+ community members attending an information session in 2016 to find out how they could assist with resettlement by forming volunteer support teams. This model of support originated right here in Peterborough, and was duplicated nationwide successfully.
Hos at One Night in the Philippines annual fundraising gala for the New Canadians Centre, 2018
“Her passion, warmth and enthusiasm inspire us to achieve better things for our clients and community,” says Faye Shien Tan, who has been working at the NCC since 2010. “As a newcomer herself, she is a wonderful role model for what we can achieve through hard work and collaboration,” adds Olga Stetsyuk, Employment Counsellor.
While her journey of immigrating to and settling in Canada from Hungary in 2007—she was a lawyer in Budapest—has motivated her work at the New Canadians Centre for the past 12 years, Hos is drawn to give back to her community by focusing her energies on supporting families facing life-threatening illness or grief with Hospice Peterborough. She will be replacing Linda Sunderland, who is retiring after 26 years of dedicated service with Hospice.
Hos’s awards over the years include the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce “4 Under 40” Business Excellence Award, the Paul Harris Fellowship from the Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha and the Peterborough-Kawartha Women’s Leadership Award.
Fifty-nine-year-old Douro carpenter Louis Prins says he went “numb” when he realized he had won $100,000 with ENCORE (May 17th LOTTO MAX draw). "I was at the store picking up bread and milk when I checked my ticket," he laughs.
Louis matched six of the seven ENCOREnumbers in exact order to win the $100,000 prize. "I play LOTTARIO, LOTTO 6/49 and LOTTO MAX—this is my first big win," says Louis.
His winning ticket was purchased at Steve's Quik Chek Variety on Armour Road in Peterborough.
Louis plans on using his winnings to complete some home renovations, buy a truck and a four-wheeler. "It feels really awesome to get this kind of money," he says.
On the latest episode of the StudioPTBO podcast, hosts Cody May and Neil Morton chat with Lisa Besseling, “momager” of Owen The Griff, the Lakefield, Ontario-based Brussels Griffon celebrity dog who has amassed nearly 100,000 fans on Instagram.
Lisa talks about her non-marketing approach to Owen the Griff—also that resident shop dog at her popular Stony Lake Furniture shop—on social media is winning, and the positive impact Owen is having on so many pet lovers locally and around the world.
Cody May & Neil Morton interviewing Owen the Griff and his “momager” Lisa
Lisa also chats about Owen’s influence in the Peterborough Humane Society “Our Pet Project” campaign and how Topanga from Boy Meets World picked her up at the airport in LA.
He was an innovator, a vinyl legend/lover, an audiophile, an artist, an entrepreneur, a risk-taker, a community builder, a raconteur, a shit-disturber, a funny dude, a kind, gentle and humble soul.
His name was Jonathan Hall, aka “Jonny” and “Jonny Trash”, and his impact and legacy will be felt—and heard—for generations to come in this community.
Photo by Marlon Hazelwood
Jonny died Friday night (March 22nd) at the age of 44. “Jonathan you were the DJ for the soundtrack of my life for so many years,” one woman posted to his Facebook page. “Grumpy, sarcastic but still soft on the inside and always willing to give great big hugs. You will be missed and there is a hole that can’t be filled. Peterborough has lost a leader/innovator.”
”He was an amazing man,” his friend and former co-owner of Spanky’s David Koski tells PTBOCanada. “He was full of joy, full of life. He was my best friend. I am at a loss for words right now.”
Jonny’s music CV in Peterborough is one for the history books and one you could write a book about or do a documentary on.
He ran the iconic Trasheteria at the corner of Simcoe and Water, an alternative bar that had an 18-year run in town until it closed in 2012. He played music there that no one played and brought in bands (live gigs there brought goosebumps) and DJs that no one else did. He took chances on staff when no one else would. Relationships were formed there that lead to marriage and babies.
”He took a chance on me at the Trash on bar and gave me my start bartending,” his friend Kevin Stairs tells PTBOCanada. “It changed my life forever. I respected him as a human immensely.”
When the Trash closed, Jonny wrote, “A million or so of you have been through our doors over the past 18 years and danced the night away, done some patio schmoozing, checked out a band and escaped the mundane. Thank You.”
After the Trash, Jonathan co-founded Spanky’s on Hunter Street, whose tagline is “definitely maybe the best bar on planet earth.”
Being at Spanky’s watching Jonny spin was one of the bucket list things to do in Peterborough. Jonny spinning tunes was pure magic, as was the signature little bow he’d give you. He’d put you in a trance where you’d be glued to just watching him. People would come from far and wide to see Jonny spin. It was mesmerizing. It was soul.
Photo at Spanky’s by Eric Kelso Mckibbon
Photo by Rosalea Terry, Spanky’s, Halloween 2014
Jonny was also instrumental in creating The Hootenanny on Hunter Street, a music/community festival that has become one of the summer go-to events in town.
The street would close, the bands would play, and it was this moment that you were there. And would never forget. And Jonny would be standing off to the side like he did, out of the limelight, smoking a butt, admiring and loving and hugging.
Hootenanny on Hunter
When he left Spanky’s, he wasn’t done there. He opened The Twisted Wheel on Water Street with Mike Judson, which has vinyl DJs, live music, movie nights, bazaars and more.
It is an eclectic, eccentric bar—just what Peterborough needed. Indeed, Jonny was always opening bars that this city needed, pushing things, challenging stereotypes and convention about who we are as a city. This ain’t no backward town.
His latest labour of love was Nostalgic Journey, a lovely antique, vintage and collectables store that he and his girlfriend Kayley Duggan just took ownership of in early March.
Jonathan Hall at Nostalgic Journey, Saturday, March 16th, 2019 (photo by Neil Morton)
There is no easy way to sum up Jonathan Hall, and the impact he has had on people. Everyone in their tears will have different memories of him, different moments they will remember and share. But music was his light, his beacon. Music inspired Jonny to no end, and the music he played brought people together and gave them hope and happiness and escape in this dance of life.
Jonny was, quite simply, a living legend. Perhaps his friend Rosalea Terry puts it best, saying “He was one of the best people I have ever met. So kind and creative. The entire city is going to feel this one.”
Or perhaps Jonny himself put it best in his poetic goodbye note he wrote to the patrons of the Trasheteria in 2012, when he finished with this:
“Keep on being beautifully weird and different, funky and cool, wild and courageous… Be safe out there and perhaps we’ll see you down that winding road. Much love, Retro Rules, Bye for now.”
Bye for now Jonny. We will see you down the winding road. —By Neil Morton
Inspire: The Women’s Portrait Projectis delighted to announce that 10 women from the Peterborough Police Service will be highlighted in their exhibit at the 7th Annual SPARK Photo Festival taking place from April 1st through to April 30th at the VentureNorth building in Peterborough.
“I shot 10 incredible police women—with my lens, of course!” laughs Heather Doughty, original founder of the Inspire Project. “Some were 30 years of service in. They were truly amazing—it was a most enjoyable session.”
Photo by Heather Doughty
The 10 female police officers will have their stories told through the camera lens and through personal bios as a special segment of the Inspire: The Women’s Portrait Project exhibit on display during the SPARK Photo Festival (VentureNorth Building, 270 George Street North).
In addition, INSPIRE is honoured to be sharing exhibit portraits as part of the Women in Policing Symposium being held March 23rd at Fleming College. The symposium is a passion project of Detective Lindsey Leonard, who is one of the featured INSPIRE women. The symposium provides an opportunity for women interested in a policing career to meet local female officers and explore the profession at a hands-on and interactive venue.
Trent University alumnus Stephen Stohn ’66, a respected entertainment lawyer, award-winning producer, songwriter and author, has been appointed as the 12th chancellor of Trent University.
Stohn is the second alumnus to hold the position in the institution’s 55-year history. A 14-time Canadian Screen Award (formerly the Gemini Award) winner, Stohn is well known as the executive producer of various iterations of the Degrassi television franchise and for his role as executive producer of The Juno Awards for close to 20 years.
Photo of Stephen Stohn courtesy Trent University
As an attorney, Stohn has represented some of the most talented and successful artists Canada has produced in the last 30-plus years, helping to guide their careers to international success.
“The unique guiding principles of Trent have been foundational to my life,” says Stohn. “The formal and the informal learning opportunities that I look back on propelled my own career, but are even more important for students today as formative and needed tools to help confront and adapt to our rapidly-changing economic, political and social times. In coming back as chancellor, I’m delighted that I will be promulgating these special qualities of Trent.”
Photo of Stephen Stohn courtesy Trent University
As a student in the late Sixties, Stohn co-founded Trent’s student newspaper, Arthur, as well as Trent Radio—both of which are still widely known to Trent students and the Peterborough community.
Stohn’s transformational philanthropic support for Trent has been key in the development of several projects, including a $1 million gift to make the new Student Centre a reality. In 2015, he served as alumni-in-residence, participating and mentoring Trent students in workshops and seminars.