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.
Peterborough’s Leslie Vilneff won the $683,592.40 jackpot from the March 2nd LOTTARIO draw with a ticket purchased at the Circle K on Hunter Street.
"I've been playing the lottery for over 30 years," says Leslie, while at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto to pick up his winnings. "I play LOTTO MAX, LOTTO 6/49 and LOTTARIO weekly. I was shocked when I realized I had a winning ticket. I couldn't believe it!"
The retired, married father of two plans on completing some home renovations, taking a trip to Hawaii and topping up his savings.
"This win means financial security," says Leslie. "I can buy things I couldn't buy before!"
After a 33 year career at Trent University—including six years as the head of Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area (GTA)—Joe Muldoon has announced his retirement on September 1st.
“Joe Muldoon has played a formative role in the development of Trent—first at our Peterborough campus and then in Durham,” says Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “His leadership in so many areas has been a key factor making Trent what it is today. In the last five years, his work on programming at Durham and his community involvement in the Region of Durham has positioned the campus for continued growth in both the short and long term.”
Under his leadership, the Trent University Durham GTA campus has grown from 900 to 1,400 students. His work was instrumental in developing several new Durham specific programs including Communications & Critical Thinking, Child & Youth Studies, Masters in Management, and Policing & Community Well-being. Over the last two years, Muldoon has worked on planning a new $35 million expansion with a 200-bed residence as well as increased academic and student space.
“I am deeply appreciative of all the opportunities Trent has provided me with over the years and feel remarkably fortunate to have spent the last six years in a leadership role at Trent Durham,” Muldoon says.
The community-minded Muldoon will still be involved with Trent as he continues to coach the Men’s Varsity Curling team. He has coached several sports in the Peterborough community over the years, including hockey, youth soccer, competitive soccer and curling.
Do you remember the first toy or stuffed animal you loved? We mean really loved. Chances are pretty good that at some point you had one and chances are even better that it was some kind of stuffed animal. You’d take it everywhere and your mom or dad would have to sneak it away to clean it every once in awhile. (Heck, you might even still have yours and if you do, that’s amazing, and we won’t tell anybody.)
For seven-year-old Eli Donaldson, that stuffie was Mimi, his soft, red monkey that followed him everywhere and anywhere. Eli’s dad Morgan gifted it to his mom Amy on Valentine’s Day back in 2012 and even though he was only nine months old at the time, he claimed it as his own—and who were his doting parents to argue?
Eli as a toddler with Mimi
In the years that followed, Eli and Mimi would do pretty much everything together—as in, Andy and Woody from Toy Story type stuff. On Valentine’s Day 2017, they even went as far as having a 5th birthday party for the little red monkey. He was part of the family. Like a family pet.
Eli and his Dad Morgan—Mimi
A year later, Eli wrote his public speaking speech at school about Mimi. He was selected to represent his class and present his speech in front of the student body. He brought his best friend on stage with him (see picture below) and his family couldn’t have been any more proud.
Eli speaking about Mimi
In August of last year, things took an unfortunate turn. Morgan took the kids out to run some errands and somewhere between going to Costco and the bank, Mimi was lost. Whether he fell out of the car or was put down in the store is unknown, all they knew was that he was missing and Eli was devastated. They retraced their steps several times over the next few weeks, asking several times at each location if anyone had handed in a red monkey.
They figured something like that would stick out in people’s minds. The closest they came to a reunion was with a lost Elmo. As the weeks went on, Eli struggled with his sleep and often cried out for his best friend. Watching this unfold was devastating for the family—including his sister Charlotte—and they tried their best to support him through the loss.
Fast forward to October 2018, and the wound was still fresh. Amy posted about Mimi having been lost on social media and was flooded with well wishes from family and friends who knew of the bond. A couple weeks later, Eli recieved a package in the mail.
Amy’s cousins from Ottawa had sent him a new soft, red monkey—very similar to Mimi, but just different enough. He was completely overwhelmed and sobbed in a bittersweet type of way his mom and dad picked up on. While he was instantly thankful for their thoughtful gift, he still couldn’t get over the loss of his beloved friend. Nevertheless, Eli took to the new monkey, affectionately named “Meems", and they became new pals.
As things carried on, Eli still never gave up hope that somehow Mimi would show up some day. Once in awhile he would say, "So, we have to go look for Mimi again, okay guys?" He wanted no leaf unturned across the entire city of Peterborough. Morgan and Amy would lovingly agree, but would look at each other with that helpless look that parents give each other when their child's heart is broken. If you’re a mom or dad, you know the feeling.
Eli and his mother Amy: The Reunion with Mimi at Cora
This past Family Day, the Donaldsons had some errands to run and decided to do them as a family. After their first stop, they decided on a pit stop at Cora for breakfast. Being Family Day, the restaurant was super busy. Gourmet breakfasts have a way of attracting people’s attention.
Morgan's friend, Cheryl, who is a waitress at the restaurant, was working and though she wasn't their server, popped by the table to say a quick hello. While they were chatting away, she noticed that Eli had Meems with him, which was interesting because after the loss of Mimi, Meems rarely left the house for fear of misplacing another friend.
Cheryl asked Eli the monkey's name and commented that he was cute, followed by these words they’ll never forget: “There's actually another one just like him here, too, at the restaurant."
Morgan and Amy assumed she meant another child in the restaurant had a stuffed monkey with him as well, but she continued, "Yeah, just like him. He's been here for the longest time!" The two looked at each other, "Just like him? Red?", Morgan asked. "Yep!" "Does he have hearts on his belly too?", Eli asked. "Yeah, he does!"... It couldn't be. It could.
Morgan quickly explained about his long lost friend, and asked if they could see it. Gently telling Eli not to get his hopes up, they watched intently as Cheryl walked over to the hostess stand, bent over, and reached in. When she came up holding the monkey, their jaws just about hit the floor. It was Mimi! Eli immediately began to cry. Amy began to cry. Cheryl began to cry. No one could believe it.
Somehow Mimi, who was lost in Costco or at the bank, made it to Cora and was accidentally left on a table after the customers who found him left. Over the next few months, Cheryl hid him to keep someone from giving up and throwing him away.
Like Eli, she didn't lose hope that the soft, little red monkey would be reunited with his owner. After seven months apart, the two best friends were together again and we can officially say that with just a little bit of faith all things are possible.