I ❤️ Westboro Beach Community Association!

Time to toboggan!

February is the month of love, and this month we are asking the community to show a bit of love for the Westboro Beach Community Association (WBCA). We have not been able to hold our usual events – Beach Opening, Beach Closing and our Winter Carnival due to Covid restrictions. As a result we have not been able to do any fundraising, and our modest bank account is running very low.

During the month of February, we would like to raise $1000.00 for our community association so that we can continue to host events and advocate on behalf of the community.

Setting tracks on the SJAM

Westboro Beach residents will be telling us why they love Westboro Beach and how WBCA has enriched their life, especially this year! We also have a perspective of a long time resident who has seen many changes over the past 40 years. Watch this space and our Twitter and Instagram accounts for more fascinating insights into life at Westboro Beach.

You can donate to the WBCA by sending an e-transfer to:

infowestborobeach@gmail.com ❤️

Winner – Holiday Lights!

Best Holiday Decorations in Westboro Beach!

We found it – the loveliest house in Westboro Beach. The competition was tough because there were so many great places to choose from. There were great streets too like Remic Ave. where almost everyone got in on the fun of decorating.  Thank you to everyone who decorated their homes and made the neighbourhood festive and to those who took the time to vote.   The winner is this more than a century old house at 324 Ferndale Ave., one of the oldest in Westboro Beach. One nominator wrote: The poinsettia wreaths, the lit-up garlands, and the lit outdoor tree are just beautiful. The setting makes me want to enjoy a hot chocolate on their porch.  Another wrote: This house could be used for a Christmas card because it is so lovely both during the day and at night.  Congratulations to Sylvie and Mark Veaudry, the homeowners, who are the winners of the $50 gift card from Farm Boy. 

Santa Visited Westboro Beach!

Check Out What is Happening at the Field House on Van Lang…

Take out being prepared at the field house!

Westboro Community Kitchen

The Westboro Community Kitchen began in 2015 and was held on the last Monday of the month. Initially, it used another location in Westboro but relocated as soon as the Field House on Van Lang became available.  In 2020, new approaches had to be developed and adopted. The kitchen crew pivoted to a takeout model and began preparing about 80 meals every second Friday. The means are then picked up by recipients or delivered to people in the catchment area who were past users of the community kitchen program or the Dinner in Van Lang program which was held monthly. For more information, please call  Hilary Rose at the Carlington Community Health Centre 613.722.4000 ext. 204hrose@carlington.ochc.org

After the Bell

The After the Bell program is held on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays during the school year for Grades 2, 4, 5 and 6.  It provides help with homework, develops self-esteem,  and encourages critical thinking and problem solving, leadership, and team work skills while offering healthy snacks. Currently, students can attend in person on Monday and online Thursday and Friday. For more information, please call Natasha at 613-722-4000 extension 322


As of December 3, 2020 Mothercraft Early On Years Program is offering free monthly activity kits that can be picked up at the Field House on Van Lang on Thursdays between 1:00 and 1:30. To register, email Maggie Gomez at Maggie.gomez@mothercraft.com  or call 6130728-1839 extension 290.

COVID Times – Programs Postponed Until Further Notice

Dinner with your Neighbours (last Wednesday of the month)

Coffee Time (four morning a week) hosted by the Van Lang Tenants Group

Baking with Donna (Friday evenings)

Leaders in Training (was held Tuesday and Wednesday evening) Sponsored by Christie Lake Kids

Checkout the activities going on at our neighbourhood field house on their Facebook page.

Brighten Up the Neighbourhood with Your Holiday Lights!

We can all use a bit more brightest these days. The 2020 holiday season will be different this year, but we can still be festive and celebrate with style! Get outside and stroll down the streets in our neighbourhood and let us know which house has your favourite light display. It can be simple and elegant or funky and fun. Send us a note (infowestborobeach@gmail.com) with your name and address and the address of your favourite light display.

Did I mention that there will be a prize? The address that gets the most votes will win a $50 gift certificate! The prize will be awarded on December 26.

So bundle up the kids, get outside and walk through our beautiful neighborhood and marvel at the light displays. Maybe some post -walk hot chocolate and cookies?

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End of Season Report: Selby Plains/Atlantis Pollinator Garden

The first season of the Westboro Beach Community Association sponsored pollinator garden is coming to a close and being put to bed for the winter for a nice long sleep.    Hoping that it will wake up in the spring ready to smile and bring another season of entertainment and delight to the community.

I would call it a wonderful start to the project.   And like all native based garden projects, it is a “long game” and it is great to have some real “zingers” to get people excited about the project, but it is important to invest in plants which will return year after year.  The following is my report

Weather:   The spring was sufficient with enough rain to get the project going.     Transplant shock was NOT an issue except for one of the white pines.   This was too bad because it was a nice specimen that I thought would flourish.  I was wrong.    July was HELL!   As you know it was incredibly hot and dry and I had to go into “survival mode” and keep up with the watering just to keep the young transplants alive which was my only goal because I knew the conditions were too difficult to flourish.    August brought rain and the surviving plants came to life and started to really establish.  The late summer rains really saved the day.

Invasive Plant Remediation:    This was kept in-check easily.    I typically went in every 3 weeks with the power whipper and cut back any new growth.   Camille Tremblay of the NCC recommended I wrap roots in black plastic but I was a bit reluctant to introduce plastic to the gardens and instead I experimented with cardboard coverings over the worst areas.   I got the idea from Ed Lawrence, the garden guy.   This worked quite well and it starved the roots of light.    I recommend the long term plan for dealing with invasive plants is to consider a combination of cardboard coverage as well and using a root extractor.   The value of the root extractor is that it can expose some healthy dirt during the extraction process and be an excellent microsite for planting fresh seed.     Here is an example of the tool:  https://extractigator.com/.    The only problem with this particular tool is that it assumes it is pulling out an existing tree that remains in place.   We need to find a tool that can grab the roots alone and pry.

Plant Details:   Here is a quick summary of each of the plants (both new and old) that live in the pollinator garden.

  • Dogwoods.   Big success!   I did grab some dogwoods from a remote highway.   I was able to select specimens that had a healthy mix of GoldenRod mixed in and these all took.   We also received a gift of Grey Dogwoods and it has survived the transplant shock.    In summary, the dogwoods are a winner and have a bright future.
  • Asters.    I plunked in a single aster two years ago when it was a buckthorn jungle and it survived.   And now that the buckthorn got removed, this plant flourished and delivered a large wonderful bouquet of purple in late august.   It stole the show when the other plants were less prominent.    We did introduce some juvenile Asters and they struggled but survived.   They don’t look like much now but hopefully they may take off but it will be a long game for them.
  • Black Eye Susans.    Not the super star I was hoping for but they survived.   At best, they got established and perhaps they may flourish in the future.
  • Smooth Blue Asters
  • Symphyotrichum Leaf
  • Yarrow.   July was not kind to this plant and I worked hard to keep them alive with watering but they took off in August.    I was not feeling optimistic about them but once the rains came, they took off.
  • Silver Weed.    By far my most favourite and cherished plant.    When I die, please cover my grave in this plant!   They had a lovely yellow flower and they really started to spread nicely.  I would love to get more of it.    The downside is that they are hard to maintain because when they are sending out the shoots, they travel over buckthorn saplings that want to compete with them.   Normally, it is easy to cut them down but I can’t do that now without damaging the silverweed.   I was forced to weed by hand.
  • Flowering Raspberry.   Was gifted a single plant and it went in.  Doing OK.
  • Purple Cone Flower.   Another gift
  • Canada Rye.   I have three plants coming up from seed.   They are pretty meek.  I don’t know much about this and don’t see it’s potential.
  • Ferns.    They did surprisingly well despite the dry conditions.   I can see them starting the show in early spring and then going into submission later.   I actually think they might work out.
  • Cedars.   I put in three native cedars in the wet spots.    They survived and established well.
  • Blue Spruce.    Donated.   Currently small and needs another 20 years.
  • Thistle.   It came up on it’s own and was the pollinator insects best friend.    It was covered in insects!!!    This is clearly an important plant as the insects have indicated.
  • Virginia Creeper.    It took off and I have taken cuttings and peppered them all down the fence.  They love the full sun and the berries were a birds best friend.
  • Anise Hyssop.   Started from seed.   One survived.
  • Figwort.   Survived and thriving.
  • Prairie Fleabane.  Came up naturally and turned out to be a hidden surprise.  Lovely flowers
  • White pines.    All transplants took except one.    As I say, if we need to plan the ‘long game’  this is the tree we need.
  • Milkweed.   It was a big failure for me but Briar Howes has dried my tears and made a second attempt at establishing this plant hoping for greater success than me.
  • Mullens.   They came up naturally and thrived.    I plan to keep their flower structures over the winter in case some little beast needs a winter bed.
  • Yucca.  Placed at entry way on crown of rocks.  Another one of my favourite plants because it does not need water and has amazing flowers.
  • Golden Rod.  We have about 3 plants that we planted and the remainder came with the Dogwoods.    Considering how important this plant is, I would like to get more of it.  It is basically the last food source for the Monarchs before they head south.
  • Grasses.   We had nice “tuffs” of grasses come up.    These are NOT lawn grass but something different.    They look interesting and maybe some grass person could educate me.

Wanted List:

  • More Asters because they bloom in the fall when everything else is leaving town.   They prolong the blooming season
  • Silverweed
  • Yarrow
  • Golden Rod

Next Steps

  • The first priority is to maintain existing plants.    Over time, the buckthorn will die off, provided we are on top of it, and the plants like the silverweed will take over.
  • If we get Phase 1 under control we can start expanding eastward to the SJAM Winter Trail Snow Gate.    There is lots of land there that has been cleaned of buckthorn.   
  • Royal Forest.    Our community has been gifted with an incredible “diamond in the rough”.   It is the sector of land immediately north of Royal Avenue and in this thicket of horrible buckthorn are  mature and majestic white pines, scotch pines, blue spruce, maple trees, and lilacs .     For very little cost, this thicket could be cleaned of invasive species, chipped and the native trees could be gifted to the community.    I envision it as a place to “leave the city” and put up a hammock between the giant trees for an afternoon with a book.   I would love to champion this project myself but would need the approval of the NCC.  One day with a wood chipper is all that it would take to reveal this incredible forest and add enormous value to Selby Plains.

In conclusion,  I think we are off to a wonderful start and this small project has brought a lot of simple joys to many passer-byers.     There was very little opposition to cutting down the buckthorn once people understood that it was for a pollinator garden.    Selby Plains and Atlantis woods is important to our city and it is the Westboro Beach Community Association’s gift to our community.

A huge thank you to  the Fletcher Garden folks that donated the base stock of wonderful plants (especially my favourite Silverweed!).  Thank you Susan Garland.

And we did get some press!!!   https://issuu.com/greatrivermedia/docs/kitchissippi_times_september_2020?fr=sYmExOTc0NDk1MA

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