Letters – Our Readers Write: Autumn 2019

Letters published in the Autumn 2019 edition of In The Hills magazine.

September 16, 2019 | Letters, Our Readers Write

J.W. Kearns’ grandfather Walker Kearns (left) and great uncle Will Kearns at J. Kearns & Son general store at 189 Broadway in Orangeville, c.1919. Courtesy J.W. Kearns.

J.W. Kearns’ grandfather Walker Kearns (left) and great uncle Will Kearns at J. Kearns & Son general store at 189 Broadway in Orangeville, c.1919. Courtesy J.W. Kearns.

J.W. Kearns’ parents (centre), Graham and Edna Kearns, with friends, c.1925. Photo Courtesy Museum of Dufferin P-1014.

J.W. Kearns’ parents (centre), Graham and Edna Kearns, with friends, c.1925. Photo Courtesy Museum of Dufferin P-1014.

General stores

Your “Counter Culture” article [summer ’19] brought tears to my eyes. I was part of the J. Kearns & Son team from 1945 to 1960. Playing on the line was Great Grandpa John, Grandpa Walker, Graham (my dad) and Uncle Will. We sold everything from Dods Knit Combo long johns (with back flap) and Ingersoll cheddar cheese to John S. Brown & Sons linens and Redpath brown sugar from a bulk bin.

Oh, by the way, in the backfield were Verna, Mabel, Jessie, May, Irene, Gert, John, Bill and myself. We took phone orders and had a delivery service (great when Bill Dermott was in shape). The tenure of the store was 1870 to 1963, complete with a fire in February ’48. I can remember Gertie May brought in a basket of eggs in return for two pairs of socks, a slip and five pounds of cheese.

Our address was 189 Broadway, The Olde Reliable House (now Dragonfly Arts on Broadway). Our phone number was 21.
J.W. Kearns, Rockwood

Terra Cotta Country Store. Owners Judy Vella and Bob McCloskey have offered coffee, baking and feel-good shopping in a charming locale for more than 20 years. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Terra Cotta Country Store. Owners Judy Vella and Bob McCloskey have offered coffee, baking and feel-good shopping in a charming locale for more than 20 years. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Thank you for the awesome article by Kira Wronska Dorward in the summer issue [“Counter Culture” summer ’19]. We were thrilled to see Terra Cotta Country Store included. As a small, independent, family-run business, we especially appreciate your advocacy for the village shop model. A number of customers made mention that it was their first visit and they came because of the article! Thank you to Kira for the gift of exceptional writing and the inclusion of our efforts in such a wonderful magazine.
Judy, Bob, Margie & Isabella McCloskey, 
Terra Cotta Country Store

Protesters at a recent local climate strike. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Protesters at a recent local climate strike. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Youth and climate change

Thank you for Nicola Ross’s story on youth and climate change, “We the young have started to move” [summer ’19].

We’re so very grateful Nicola didn’t commit hari-kari after years of throwing so much of her time, talent and energy into rousing the rest of us to take climate action. The result of all that slogging? Virtually nothing but despair, so she moved on to find joy elsewhere, thus saving her sanity.

Meanwhile, the climate emergency has just kept getting grislier, with record-setting heat waves, wildfires, floods, sea levels and extreme storms all on the rise. Though Nicola successfully escaped her own bout of climate despair, we as a species continue to march hell-bent for hari-kari.

It’s actually adult homo sapiens in wealthy countries who are mostly to blame. Yes, us. We the privileged urgently need to dump our twin addictions to fossil fuels and all that stuff we consume, but we keep on hanging on as the crisis deepens. While we persist, our children are waking up to the bleak reality of how shockingly brief the window is to turn it all around. They are alarmed and panicking – even pledging never to have children of their own.

Reality check: There is no shortage of climate solutions – we know how to roll back a lot of the mess we’ve made. But there seems to be no shortage of excuses either: Blame China, declare a hoax, leave it to our smart kids to fix, slag carbon taxes, claim it’s too overwhelming, or too complicated, or too late – and what can one person possibly do anyway?

Come on! Will we really let a small group of 1970s fossil fuel execs send our planet over the climate cliff? That’s our real enemy: Greedy oil and gas guys who knew beyond any shadow of a doubt in 1977 that burning too much fossil energy – coal, oil and gas – would lead to a catastrophic global greenhouse effect. But instead of urgently pulling back, they closed ranks, buried the evidence, paid fortunes to politicians to turn a blind eye and grease the fossil fuel wheels even more with huge taxpayer-funded subsidies, now in the trillions of dollars annually. They sowed endless seeds of doubt about the best climate science, smeared and demeaned honest climate scientists, and made like they were evolving into the greenest citizens ever to walk the planet. Meanwhile, their companies still rake in unimaginable profits.

Ranting aside, it truly is CPR for the soul to read about youth rising all over the world – including Orangeville! – stirring the pot for real action to salvage what can still be rescued and restored.

I look at the photos of Olivia Rowan and all those other beautiful and earnest Orangeville students who participated in the Canada-wide climate strike in front of MPP Sylvia Jones’ office, and hope rises in me too.

But they shouldn’t have to fight this fight alone. All humans, all ages need to stand up to help them secure what is their birthright: a livable future for all life on this still wonderful and astonishing planet.

The late, great astronomer Carl Sagan said it very simply: “Don’t sit this one out. Do something.”
Liz Armstrong, Erin

Inspired by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, Orangeville student Olivia Rowan urged on fellow protesters at a recent local climate strike. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Inspired by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, Orangeville student Olivia Rowan urged on fellow protesters at a recent local climate strike. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

I’m not quite sure I can accurately, or eloquently, write my thanks for Nicola Ross’s wonderful article on youth climate activists.

I have heard from so many friends what a wonderful piece it was! What an incredible way for my daughter, Olivia Rowan, to celebrate the end of the school year and the success of her efforts to engage young people in our community.

I am so delighted to hear that these young people have rekindled Nicola’s own flame. As was said of David Suzuki, it takes an awful lot of stamina to keep up the fight when nothing seems like it’s changing. Indeed, these young people have a lot to teach us, but they also need good teachers – of which Nicola is most definitely one!

Olivia truly is an extraordinary young woman. Thank you for all the encouragement and support this has given her. As parents, we rely heavily on the “village.” I am so very grateful Nicola is in ours.
Mary Rowan, Orangeville

Annika Vels and Believe clear a jump in competition at Caledon Equestrian Park. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Annika Vels and Believe clear a jump in competition at Caledon Equestrian Park. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Horse & rider

Anthony Jenkins’ article [“Horse & Rider” summer ’19] is very well written and a pleasure to read. He managed to capture the heart and passion of young equestrians on similar but different paths. Associate editor Dyanne Rivers got all of the side notes completely accurate.

I appreciate the time, effort and diligence in writing this piece and thank you for involving Caledon Equestrian Park.
Craig Collins & Helen Dillon, 
Equestrian Management Group Inc.

Constructed on the former tracks of North-Western Railway, Caledon Trailway covers 35 scenic kilometres from Terra Cotta to Highway 9. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Constructed on the former tracks of North-Western Railway, Caledon Trailway covers 35 scenic kilometres from Terra Cotta to Highway 9. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Caledon trailway

Re: “From Rails to Trails” [summer ’19]. With so many great trails to explore in the Headwaters area, it’s easy to take them for granted and assume they’ve always been there. Not so! Caledon’s most beloved trailway, and one that put us on the national stage, the Caledon Trailway, faced a rocky start and came within a single vote of not existing. This transformative story is now being told in The Caledon Trailway: Building the Dream and will be available in December. Beautiful photographs, archival images, first-hand accounts, original maps and a trail memoir by In The Hills contributor Nicola Ross will ensure this book is high on the must-read list!
Diane Allengame
, The Caledon Trailway: Building the Dream 

Cover to cover

Just a quick note to say how amazed we are every time your magazine arrives. We go through it quickly, then start at the beginning and eventually read every page. Even all the advertising gets read – this takes a few days, of course. It really is the best magazine ever. Thank you so much for all your efforts.
Dick and Deanna Ruple, Mono


Online In The Hills

We welcome your comments! For more commentary from our readers, or to add your own thoughts on any of the stories, please add a comment at the bottom of any article. You can also send your letters by e-mail to [email protected] or use our handy submission form. Please include your name, address and contact information. In the Hills reserves the right to edit letters for publication.

Related Stories

Keeping the General Store Alive in Headwaters

Jun 20, 2019 | Kira Wronska Dorward | Community

Local shop owners lean on lattes and eggs Benedict, artisanal gifts and festive community events – even Airbnb suites – as they serve their communities.

Inspired by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, Orangeville student Olivia Rowan urged on fellow protesters at a recent local climate strike. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Climate Change and the Young

Jun 20, 2019 | Nicola Ross | Environment

“We the young have started to move.” Youth here and around the world raise a battle cry for action on climate change.

Kilby Brunner Deforest with Beaverwood’s Halo. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

A Day at the Caledon Equestrian Park

Jun 20, 2019 | Anthony Jenkins | Leisure

The intense bond between animal and human fuels two dedicated young equestrians at the top of their game at this exciting show jumping event.

Constructed on the former tracks of North-Western Railway, Caledon Trailway covers 35 scenic kilometres from Terra Cotta to Highway 9. Photo by Pete Paterson.

From Rails to Trails

Jun 20, 2019 | Nicola Ross | Good Sport

Tearing up tracks for a place to go slow.

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