Our County Correspondents
Dinosaurs in Dunvegan
You know those touristattracting lakes that I mentioned wishing Dunvegan had? It turns out that Glengarry was once completely covered with water. The only problem is that this was around 400 million years ago, when tourists with their bass boats and paddleboards were in real short supply. According to local paleontologist, George Kampouris ( who will be giving a presentation at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum on Sunday, August 14), the coast of this early body of water followed the base of the Canadian Shield. That’s the Lower Laurentian mountain range across the Ottawa River from Hawkesbury.
As time inched along, the ancient seafloor was pushed up and the ocean moved further away. As a result, by the Permian period (290 to 245 million years ago), Glengarry was part of a huge biomass factory of lakes and swamps that laid down the immense beds of coal (in some places several thousand feet thick) that stretch from Pennsylvania in the south to Moose River near Abitibi in the north.
Next on the timeline would have been the Mesozoic period (245 to 65 million years ago). “This is when Dunvegan and the rest of Glengarry would have been well above water, densely forested, crisscrossed by rivers… and inhabited by dinosaurs and their contemporaries,” George told me.
So why have dinosaur remains never been uncovered in our region, or any other part of Ontario for that matter? “They certainly lived here along with all the other animals of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods,” reports George. “However, the soil and rocks that originally contained their bones were all scraped away by the weight and force of the glacial ice that covered much of Canada some 50,000 years ago.”
While I had George on the line, I asked him about a rumour I’d heard that Shell Oil drilled exploratory wells in the Dunvegan area back in the late 1970s. I wondered if Glengarry might contain pockets of black gold or bubbling crude. “Yes and no,” George replied. “There are no traditional oil reserves. However, natural gas has been known to be released from black shale when drilling for water wells.” Interestingly, George did confirm that, around 30 years ago, test holes were drilled just over the 417 from Dunvegan, but the gas deposits weren’t economically viable given market prices at the time. He also told me that the capped wellheads are still visible on a side road east of the northern off ramp.
As you can see, George Kampouris (a research associate at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and the Dunvegan museum’s informal paleontologist in residence) is one knowledgeable guy. I know he wowed the crowd at the first Glengarry Rocks event back in 2011. And I see no reason to doubt that he will do so again. But the best way to find out is to bring your family to his presentation on Sunday, Aug. 14 from 1-4 p.m.
When you do, George will take you back to a time when Glengarry was just emerging from the primordial soup — eons before the first swirl of the pipes would ever be heard. If there’s time, George will identify your backyard fossils and other archaeological discoveries and discuss them with the audience. Sort of like a Prehistoric Roadshow. And there will be lots of fun in store for your junior paleontologists, as well. The museum will have a mock archaeological dig where kids can search for real artifacts… fossils to identify… petrified artifacts to examine… and many other kid- friendly activities. Plus, homemade sweets and cold drinks will be served.
Before I let George go, I asked him if he had three little known facts about Glengarry's paleontological past that he'd be willing to share. Here’s what I dug up for you:
1. Vankleek Hill and Rigaud Mountain are kissing cousins. Both pushed their way up through the bedrock during the Jurassic period, but never became full-fledged volcanoes… yet.
2. As the glaciers retreated, the rushing melt water carved a web of channels and tunnels through the bedrock. While most of these ‘karst,’ as they are called, have filled in over time, some still move water long distances. From high points like Finch, all the way to low points like the Moose Creek Bog.
3. Glengarry rocks contain both freshwater and saltwater fossils. Hello, folks, Here we are already in the month of August and the heat continues. And may I add, not enough rain. I speak for myself but I'm sure that a lot of you out there have gardens and lawns that are showing the lack of rain. My mother used to say, “We will have weather, whether or not.” I seem to keep bringing my mother's words of times gone by into my weekly columns. She was such a wise and wonderful woman. I still miss her.
Last week brought J.P. and I to the little town of Ste-Anne-de - Prescott to pay our last respects to Roland Brisebois. The church was full. I was astonished to see so many people paying their respects for such a simple man. Roland and his brother, Lucien, lived in Ste- Anne-de-Prescott all their lives and were well regarded by the people. We wish Lucien strength and courage to get through the time it takes to adjust. Our prayers are with you, Lucien.
Another sad departure of a very well-known member of our community, Fernand Brunet, also brought many many friends and neighbours to pay their respect at our Parish of StMartin-de-Tours. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
This past weekend took J.P. and I over to Maxville to the Highland Games. We had been asked to put in some hours of volunteer work and accepted, with pleasure. It gave us the opportunity afterwards to visit the grounds and take in some of the attractions. I must say there were a lot of people and the weather was just perfect. The Highland Games, once again this year, seems to have been an enormous success. It definitely is the best in Celtic entertainment what with the dancing, the fiddling, the pipes and drums and of course, all those Scottish games that are so fun to watch.
I didn't get any feedback as to the absence of deer and wild turkey but I think the wild turkeys read my column and decided to show up!
Two families together -- three big mamas and at least 20 little babies running about. They came right up to my kitchen window as though to say, “Hello, we are here.” J.P. puts corn out for them and they had their feast and then went on their merry way. Well, they've been back several times. The deer, however, are terribly bothered by the deer flies, as are we when we go outside, so we tend to think that they stay tucked in and amongst the trees to fend off those pesty flies. Despite, the flies, living in the country is grand!
I hope everyone had or is still having a wonderful Summer holiday. The weather has been great for swimming, just lying on the beach or taking in the wonders of the world and our lovely province of Ontario surely has alot to offer.
In closing, be kind, be thoughtful, be genuine but most of all be thankful. May you all have a wonderful week and God Bless!
Hello, Glengarry. We here in Lancaster trust all is well in the rest of the county!
Another Games weekend is gone and another Williamstown Fair is upon us. It's crazy to think that cooler nights will soon be here. A month from Labour Day! Where has this beautiful Summer gone?
I am keeping things brief this week as I am prepping for a few days off with my father-in-law. We will be off to Matane to enjoy some 20 degree weather this week before returning home for the Fair. Hope to see you all there.
The Char-Lan Skating Club hosts its annual fundraiser the weekend at the Williamstown Fair. The club will serve Freezies and ice cream. You can also drop off your “Early Bird” registration for the upcoming season. Receipts for early registration will be issued after the fair.
The Outreach Centre hosts a summer tea on Aug. 18 at noon. The tea includes soup, sandwiches, scones, pickles, veggies, cheese and desserts. Call 613347-1175 for reservations. Diners club will be serving cabbage rolls on Aug. 3 and salmon in lemon sauce on Aug. 10. Martintown Foot Care Clinic will be made available on Aug. 4. There will be Yoga 9-10 a.m., Day Away 10:30-3:30 and Meals on Wheels on Friday, Aug. 5. Wellness Clinic is available Monday, Aug. 8 along with Chat Group and Bridge 1-3:30 p.m. Meals on Wheels delivers August 9. Lancaster Foot Care will be available that day as well as Euchre 1-3.
The Alzheimer's Society of Cornwall and District will be holding its 16th annual Golf Tournament Friday, August 19 at 11 a.m. at Summer Heights. Cost is $125 for non members and $100 for members. That gets you 18 holes of golf, a cart, BBQ lunch, steak dinner, silent auction and door prizes. Call 613932-4914 for details.
The Summer Concert Series continues Sunday, August 7 at 7 p. m. with A Country Celtic Festival. Bob Cleary and Pat Kelly will be providing the entertainment. The evening includes a sing- along and refreshments. Cost is a freewill offering. See you there. Hello, Dalkeith. We are almost into the dog days of Summer, which I think have been all of July thus far.
So, we went to the Highland Games and my body is still in recovery mode from lack of sleep and too much dancing. But what a show!
Lots of kilts and muscle shirts and just so much happiness everywhere. We met so many friends and made many new ones. I got myself a kilt pin, and plan to make a sporran from all the pieces of fur and leather I have collected over the years. Then I will purchase a kilt when I lose this summer BBQ/party mode body fat. I will work out to get my dancing legs back and be a serious contender on the all night dance floor! Enough of me and more of what’s happening here in Dalkeith.
The Dalkeith Library is closing again, on or before September 3. This time however, the Friends of the Library will not respond to this overturned vote to close the Dalkeith Library. Thank You all for supporting the library/ drop in centre. Unfortunately, the gathering of interested residents was held before this column went to print. Will let you know the outcome next week.
At a last-minute meeting July 29, the SD&G Library Board decided to close our branch, in spite of our best efforts last Spring.
Come September, we will lose our busiest building in Dalkeith. It was very disappointing news, as the Friends of the Library were promised that both the membership drives had increased the usage statistics enough, and that we were safe from closure. Although no board meeting is scheduled in August, meaning no possibility of a rally like the one in April, it is hoped that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor can again work their magic. A gathering was scheduled for Tuesday, August 2 to see what action the community would like to take this time around. In the meantime, please visit the branch as often as you can in case we get a reprieve!
Community Spirit Salute
Dan Long and his wife, of Green Valley, really know the meaning of Community Spirit! They continually donate time and materials to help support our community projects, having a liking for historical buildings. Most recently, they helped the Friends of the Wharf, with their colourful restoration job. Thank you for your generosity, support and hope you give to our communities. We are so happy to have your support!
Former Pastor, Rev. Paul DeGraaf will be speaking at Breadalbane Baptist Church, Sunday, August 14 at 11 a.m., with a brunch to follow. Everyone welcome!
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LUCKY WINNER: Ron Mayer (centre), a Cornwall resident who works at Moulure Alexandria Moulding, won $5,000 in a 50/50 draw held at The Alexandria Firefighters Association’s golf tournament. He is shown with Alexandria fire station volunteer...