A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Deadly Accident at Emballages Knowlton Kills 3
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Emergency crews rush to Les Emballages Knowlton following an Argon gas poisoning of three people The usually quiet streets of Knowlton on a Saturday morning were suddenly plunged into a chaotic mix of sirens and rushing emergency vehicles who converged on Les Emballages Knowlton after a tragic accident claimed the life of three people at the shampoo and cosmetics plant in Knowlton.

Two men were working in a large metal basin doing welding work when one of the men was suddenly overcome and fell unconscious after having inhaled argon gas. His companion tried to assist the injured man and was himself overcome by the dangerous and highly concentrated fumes.

The two young men welding in the metal tank were sub-contractors performing contract work at the plant.

The third victim, who was well trained in first aid and was attempting to rescue the two helpless workers, entered the area before proper ventilation of the dangerous gas could be dissipated and herself was overcome with gas poisoning. Nancy Desnoyers, a local resident, was attempting to help the men when she succumbed to the toxic atmosphere in the tank. A mother of three children, Nancy had worked at the plant for 9 years. All of Knowlton is saddened to learn of this tragic end of such a heroic person. Our sympathis to the family and friends of such a brave and selffless person.

The two would be rescuers who attempted to save the first victim were in a critical state of emergency at the University Hospital in Sherbrooke but have since died from their injuries.

The local coroner and the CSST, the government body responsible for workplace safety, are investigating the tragic event.

Les Emballages Knowlton is a large emplyer in the Lac Brome region and such a sad event left the workers and residents of the town speechless with a micture of disbelief and sadness. Thoughts and prayers go out to all First Responders of the Knowlton area and especially to the families of the workers involved.

Les Emballages Knowlton is a large manufacturer and packager of brand name hygiene products, shampoos and well known over the counter products. They employ over 600 people in their ultra-modern establishment of over 400,000 square feet in the heart of Lac Brome.

Taking Aim At The Mayor
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A unique dockside golf event took place at the Knowlton Marina and it gave everyone in Brome Lake who ever wanted to have a shot at Mayor Wisdom the perfect chance. Mayor Wisdom became a human floating target aboard a sailboat anchored off the docks and golfers could purchase a bucket of balls and tee up on the floating docks and take their best shot at Wisdom and try and get a hole in one!

Proceeds go to the Brome Lake volunteer firefighters. The marina has been running the tee-off event on Fridays and the special Thursday evening event featuring the mayor on the 30 foot sail boat saw record crowds. The Marina bar and terrasse were packed as people cheered the golfers on to victory!

While many golfers seemed to have had a few too many cold beverages which affected their swing and accuracy one fellow, Sebastien, who is pictured here obviousely had his game face on as he was able to land a direct hit to the sail boat! Of course Mr. Wisdom was able to dodge the ball but it sent a cheer up from the crowd when the ball made a loud "clank" as it struck the vessel!

Gerry Moar, who is the owner of the Marina plans to bring in even more interesting targets in the future as more and more people are coming for the lakeside driving range driving as far from Granby for the chance to belt a few balls into Brome Lake.

New Cobblestone Crosswalks
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Residents of Knowlton noticed some large machinery working at the corner of Victoria and Lakeside and the large circular cement cutter had many people wondering if repairs were being done to the water lines or perhaps some work on ancient building foundations.

Actually, the reason for the modifications to the streets was that new cobblestone crosswalks are being added to Knowlton. The charm of old fashioned cobblestones ill fit in perfectly with our charming Quebec village and visitors will no doubt appreciate the addition!

The terrasse of the Star Cafe which is typically filled with tourists and locals enjoying a tasty treat and a fine coffee had a large group watching as the workers from the Town of Brome Lake sliced into the roadways and brought in the forklift to haul the pallets full of fresh stones and then packed them by hand into place.

Someone on the street who was watching commented that the new cobblestone crosswalk was set into the road right where the yellow painted crosswalk markings had recently been painted but there was still the yellow crosswalk showing on one side and thought it was not so nice looking. His friend who was sharing a leisurely morning coffee on the deck of the Star Café reminded him that soon the paint would fade and he should get back to eating his muffin!

The crosswalks across from Knowlton Academy have also been changed and other corners in Knowlton will soon be seeing the latest improvements brought about by the mothers and fathers of the municipality of Lac Brome.

Many residents of Knowlton have expressed concerns over traffic not stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks and it is hoped that the lack of visible painted lines will not increase the risk for our pedestrians. We all appreciate the old-fashioned look of the new cobblestones and it will be a welcome cosmetic addition to our historic village!

Well done Knowlton!

Knowlton Marina Is The Place To Beat the Heat
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The RCMP Music Ride lines up in KnowltonWith the heat waves that typically turn July in the Eastern Townships into a boaters paradise coming as planned we've found one of the best kept secrets in the heart of Knowlton is actually not a secret! The Knowlton Marina has long been the launch site for boaters and canoeists who wish to enjoy boating on Lac Brome but the large wooden deck on the shores of Brome Lake are the perfect place to sit and relax with friends while watching the bathers in the distance and the coming and goings of the sailors of the region.

Boat launching during the week is only $10 and on weekends it's $12. There is a gas bar and of course the always popular weekend Bar-B-Que and the waterfront terrace where we can sit under the shade of umbrellas and anjoy a cold beer while watching the action at the docks.

There are boat rentals too so if you're just visiting Knowlton area while on holiday in Quebec you can enjoy a fishing trip! A fishing boat equipped with a 9.9 HP motor starts at only $25 per hour and a canoe or pedalo for a quiet paddle on the lake is only $12 per hour.

For the latest rate information visit the Knowlton Marina Website.

If you're looking for accomodation in Knowlton you can book a cottage at the "Captain's Cottage" or "Island View Cottage" which natgurally has a great view of the island! Right next to the marina which is located only a short walk to the center of picturesque Victorian village Knowlton. One of the coziest accommodations in the area with fabulous water front views. Because the cottages are tucked away in the south bay of Brome Lake in the Eastern Townships, they are quiet and peacefull so whether you are a sport enthusiast or lover of nature you are sure to experience great vacation. The sytaff and owners are so friendly...what else would you expect in Knowlton! We're not only one of the prettiest villages in Quebec we're also one of the friendliest!

The Tiki bar is a must see if you've never spent a warm summer holiday evening in Quebec's Eastern Townships a perch at the Touki Bar will make for a perfect eveining!

There is a snack bar and sandwhiches and of course if you're setting out to sail then you can pick up some bait and ice as well.

The Marina Knowlton is located at 78 Benoit Street which is located off of Victoria Street near the Knowlton Academy. If it's your first time just stop and ask anyone in Knowlton and they will point you the way!

Knowlton Residents Upset With State of Mill Pond
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With all the rain we've been having this year it's no wonder that there have been many problems come to our attention because of flooding. Early in the morning a large white banner was attached to the Mill Pond Dam saying "Mr. Mayor, water is supposed to go over not under this dam".

The recent breaking of river banks that made national news has underlined many issues that concern the residents of Knowlton. With the Coldbrook flooding and the Yamaska River breaching under the incredible rainfalls there have been many residents concerned about the state of the Mill Pond in the center of Knowlton. Recently a large banner was unfurled in the early morning after a rainfall; the dam at the Mill Pond seemed to be malfunctioning and water was pouring under the timbers and some irate residents made there feelings known. Many members of the community feel that the Mayor of Knowlton, Mr. Richard Wisdom, and the city fathers need todo something about the Mill Pond before it is too late!

With the permission of the authors, Destination Knowlton offers the open letter that recently appeared in the local Knowlton newspaper about the state of the Mill Pond. The article was written by Christina Ishoj and Antoine Rempp of the firm Ecodesign Akwatec Inc. who are an environmental firm based in Knowlton and they have graciously allowed us to republish this letter which sums up the feelings of many residents regarding the state of the Mill Pond:

Mill Puddle and Warm Brook
When it comes to the environment very often there is much more than meets the eye. Take for example the article in the Tempo about the replacement of the Blackwood Dam at the Mill Pond in downtown Knowlton. We are all in agreement that the dam is in need of replacement, (including a fish ladder that is properly designed) but let's look at the dam in the context of the immediate watershed of the Mill Pond. We can then begin to see a lot more needs to be cared for than just the dam.

The old dam is in a sorry state, much like the pond itself. Natural sedimentation that over time was intensified by human activity has reduced the depth of the pond to such a point that sand bars abound in the middle of the pond. Coupled with periodic lowering of the water levels for reasons unclear to us, we have an ecosystem poorly managed, and in dire need of serious remediation.

The deeper parts of the pond are not sufficiently deep to control water temperature, thus higher water temperatures reduce dissolved oxygen levels that in turn prove disastrous for indigenous aquatic life in the pond. Consider also that Mill Pond is an important feature in the watershed of Lac Brome. The relatively good water that enters Mill Pond from the Mont Glen watershed is efficiently reduced in quality by the pond where it is warmed, where the sediment load is greatest and where oxygen levels are reduced. Thus water of reduced quality leaves the pond over the dam, via Cold Brook heading toward Lac Brome. Gravel pits aside, we must be thankful that the water entering Mill Pond is of good quality, because this means our work is less extensive than in other watersheds where development upstream has created serious problems downstream.

Over the century, the purpose of the dam has changed, from function to aesthetique. In the recent past a fish ladder was introduced along the existing dam which as predicted by a few, proved to be highly ineffective. Why not consider a dam system that is more naturalized, consisting of large rock placements coupled with carefully designed embankment, which will function to control water levels while allowing fish to travel upstream as intended by nature. A thorough restructuring of the banks, shoreline (including aquatic plantations) and a dredging of the entire basin of Mill Pond will greatly improve habitat and the water quality of this watershed, and thus of Lac Brome. This way, when fish do arrive in the pond from Cold Brooke (because they can), they are greeted by a revitalized ecosystem that consists of cold, deep water, indigenous food sources, diverse aquatic flora and fauna habitat, and a clear passage upstream to cool brooks and gravel beds where nature intended them to spawn.

By simply replacing an existing older dam with a new one that may include an ineffective fish ladder, we are applying an expensive band-aid to a community wound that has been festering far too long. Perhaps an aquatic habitat of such poor quality doesn't affect the local residents too much. But think about the potential for wildlife and recreational tourism, if the pond were restored to its original glory.

Think about bird watching along a boardwalk, or renting a paddleboat to explore the pond after having lunch in onbe of the many local coffe shops that overlooks the pond. A green park space could surround the newly reclaimed pond, which could be connected to other recreation trails along Cold Brook toward the schools and new community centre. Even if this town is experiencing serious economic cycles of the down town core, such a reclamation of a wetland and integrated recreational path system, could be just the boost Knowlton needs.

A global plan to restructure Mill Pond would certainly give it the second wind it deserves. And if done properly, the benefits of such work would reach far beyond the pond, as the quality of life for the citizens; the educational opportunities for the children and the pleasure for the tourists improve immensely. It has been forty years since children have been able to fish trout in Mill Pond. Human activities have created this problem; we certainly have the solutions to remedy it.
What about the cost you say? Much like the Knowlton community centre, where there is a will, there is a way. All three levels of government have programs to assist with such work, (see what Regina did : go to http://www.wascanalake.com/) and with increasing
demands on urban wildlife spaces for condo projects, there is no reason why the proponents of new developments cannot significantly contribute to the beautification of water that will surely increase their profits. Creativity and diligence are just two ingredients that may propel this project full steam ahead. Everyone will benefit.

Let's keep Mill Pond a pond and Cold Brook cold, or consider renaming our water resources, Mill Puddle and Warm Brook.

Antoine Rempp, Ing. Jr. M.Sc.Env., Christina Ishoj B.E.S., B.Ed., Ecodesign Akwatec Inc., http://www.akwatec.ca/Ecodesign Akwatec Inc. is an Aquatic Engineering firm based in Knowlton, Quebec.

Canada Day In Knowlton
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July 1st brings celebrations to every small town and major city in Canada and Knowlton was no exception. The Lions Park beside the Brome Ducks Farm is where most of the events take place but as Canada Day is a traditional holiday there are localized events happening in backyards all over the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

The rain was off and on during the week so the fields were a bit soggy but that never stops a good party! Early morning at the Oddfellows hall on Knowton Road there was the popular pancake breakfast and the early risers filled the hall to enjoy the scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes. Everyone grabbed maple leaf tattoos and flags and after a tasty breakfast we were all ready to head to the Park for the fun.

The events are for the whole family with cake and ice cream, a kids bicycle parade, a piper, the 4-H club and more. Pony rides and sheepdog competitions are also held throughout the day. Most folks decided to bring folding chairs down to the park and settle under the tents and just enjoy the whole day while the Cedar Brook Farm held their petting zoo and the Silver Spurs played their wonderful tunes in the music tent. The Brome Squares did some high flying square dancing routines and there were games and contests for kids all day long.

So many tourists travel to Quebec and the Eastern Townships because of the friendly laid back atmosphere and this Canada Day holiday was no different! Everyone was happy and glad to have...well...a day off! Any chance to celebrate the pride we have to be living in Canada is welcome and the visitors from Vermont, Ontario and other worldwide areas was a testament to the popularity of the recreation and relaxation potential of our small town!

One of the highlights is the early settlers camp that is set up on the soccer pitch. The classic canvas tents and firepits are established just as they would have appeared in the early days of Quebec. The group of rangers and their families were dressed in traditional clothing and throughout the day re-enacted different aspects of life and the history of the Eastern Townships.

There were cooks and musicians and soldiers and teachers and all aspects of pioneer life were represented. It is always amazing to think of the hardships these pioneer Townshippers had to go through and when the call to fight was given the ragtag group of farmer soldiers headed out to battle against the enemy with their single load muskets!

The rangers gathered their muskets and took to the field for some authentic drill maneuvers and the booming of the muskets really echoed throughout the grounds.

It could have been the noise that spooked one of the sheep from the dog trials and there was a group of kids chasing the runaway sheep through the crowds! What a sight to see the sheep dogs with their noses down to the ground in hot persuit fo the rogue sheep and following the dogs a dozen or so laughing kids!

The classic car show was also popular amongst young and old alike as the younger folk looked at the older cars with awe and you could sense they were wondering how fast the cars could go and how cool they would look behind the wheel! The older gents had a whistfull fog int their eyes as they thought back to the good old days when a car like a 57 Chevy on the streets of Knowlton was a common site! Ahhh those were the days!

In the evening, under the threat of rain, was the fireworks display. Cars parked beside the Daycare on Victoria street beside the historical McKeen House and watched the show. From the fields the crowds could be heard ooing and awwing as the bursts of color exploded in the sky! The nightime shadows cast from the firework flashes turned the evening into a magical display and the kids just loved it! The rain began right after the fireworks and was just enough to cool things off after a full day of activities.

The Canada Day events were a huge delight again and we'll see everyone again next year!

RCMP Musical Ride Thrills Townshippers
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The RCMP Music Ride lines up in Knowlton The pagentry and pomp of the RCMP musical ride came to Knowlton June 24th and 25th visiting the Brome Fair grounds during the first annual Family Weekend at the popular fair grounds which included an antique car show, magicians, music and celebrity pig races!

The Brome Fair is celebrating it's 150th anniversary this year and the organizing committee wanted to bring a family oriented event to the fair grounds in June to take advantage of the wonderful setting instead of having only the annual Brome Fair during the Labour Day weekend. By all accounts the Brome Family Day at the fair was a huge success!

The RCMP Musical Ride was indeed the highlight of the weekend and both performances were well attended and the old wooden bleachers were packed with residents and tourists who were taking advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the incredible beauty of the musical ride. The show got started a bit behind schedule but the onlookers didn't seem to mind as a very talented troupe of acrobatic performers from the Russian Circus did a wonderful show of twirling, stretching, juggling and hula-hooping! Then came the magician who thrilled us all by somehow turning a silk handerchief into a large white duck...and then the duck into confetti right before our eyes! We are still wondering where that little quacker is!!

The RCMP Musical Ride is a combination of ballet performed by soldiers and horses. The RCMP uniforms were a crisp crimson red and made a stark contrast against the proud black horses. As they entered the fair grounds in fron ogf the bandstands you could feel the pride and hearst swelling from the onlookers! What a sight to have such a troupe of mounted soldiers on parade!

The horses pranced and galloped to a musical background and performed extremely precise movements forming swirling mazes and wheels and somehow managing to avoid bumping each other. The officers on the horses controlled their animals brilliantly, making sideways turns and tight circles in perfect sync to the music. It was quite impressive and the crowds applauded the various patterns that they created on the fields and from the upper seats it was indeed a glorious sight to watch!

One of the more familiar, and appreciated, Musical Ride formations was the "Dome," which may be familiar as the pose was once featured on the back of the Canadian fifty-dollar bill. The highlight of the Musical Ride was, of course, the CHARGE when lances, with their red and white pennons, are lowered and the riders and their mounts launched into the gallop. The dusts was swirling and the crowd cheered with appreciation!

The day was a huge success and seeing the police and horses in such a setting was a true Canadian moment. Thanks to all the organizers for bringing such a show to Knowlton!

The Musical Ride was developed from a desire by early members of the North-West Mounted Police to display their riding ability and entertain both themselves and the local community. Considering that the original Mounted Police members had a British military background, it was inevitable that the series of figures they performed were traditional cavalry drill movements. These movements formed the basis of the Musical Ride. Although it has been said the first Musical Ride was performed as early as 1876, the first officially recorded Musical Ride was performed in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1887.

Read more about the Musical Ride history at the official RCMP Musical Ride Website

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