Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Can Be Beautiful

Photos By: Sharon A. Layton-Pollock

Hi everyone. I just wanted to share a few photos taken today while out walking on the Mapelton Road near beautiful Elgin.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Gillespie’s Cottage Industry

Written By: Sharon A. Layton-Pollock

Danny Gillespie of Parkindale was recycling long before it was a common household task that it is today. In the early 70’s, while in Fredericton, Danny was introduced to a local initiative project called “The Repair and Redistribution of Household Articles”
Later Danny enrolled at the Moncton Community College to further hone his skills of upholstery. His skills were enhanced by friends and family who brought their furniture to him for restoration.
In 1989, after all the necessary procedures and papers filed, Danny hung out his shingle…”Valley Upholstery” at his Parkindale log home and has been there ever since. Danny enjoys the satisfaction of taking a precious family heirloom that has seen its better day and restoring it to its original state, much to the pleasure of his customer.
Danny has experienced a great variety of jobs over the years from bike seats, truck and car interior, snowmobile and ATV’s, barber shop chairs, salon chairs and even a chiropractor’s bench. He remembers fondly of redoing a 1937 Desoto and many other antique cars.
Not only does Danny work in the local areas of Salisbury and Petitcodiac, but does special jobs for Spenser Memorial Home, various truck companies, CRC Recreational Vehicles, banks and the Jordan Life Care Center.
But Danny’s talents don’t stop with upholstery; Danny is a fine musician with his own unique voice and style that has delighted audiences everywhere. In Danny’s own words he tells this story:
“I feel like I have been around music all my life, from the songs we sang in Sunday School and church, the songs my parents sang and the songs on the radio. Saturday nights, as a little
boy, would be bath night and afterwards we would listen to country music on the radio, live CKCW…the Bunk House Boys. I would learn the songs off the radio get in the old swing in the yard and sing my heart out.
By the time I was 13 I had a guitar. Pauline Stevenson showed me how to play “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down,” and I have been playing ever since. As a teen, I and a group of friends got into folk music, Ian and Sylvia, etc. I started to play coffee houses and house parties. As soon a I turned 21 I went to Fredericton. In 1971 I gathered up a bass player, a lead guitarist and started playing the bar scene. We played songs by Dylan, Neil Young, The Band, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and did a Blue Grass set as well. I also played the mandolin.
By 1974 I had moved back to Albert County started technical school and played Howard Johnsons on the weekends. By 1977 I hooked up with Dale Stiles and my wife, Coleen, who is an excellent bass player, we called ourselves “Pickled Skunk,” and we played all types of venues in Sussex, Petitcodiac and Moncton.
Lately I have been playing solo with guest performers, and having a fairly eclectic song list I try to provide the music the audience likes.” Entertaining is my drug of choice, and I always feel so lucky when I have a chance to do it.”
Something fairly new in the music circle, and which Danny has adopted is “House Concerts.” A House Concert is a chance to experience music in a warm and intimate environment. Someone opens up their home and invites people into their living room or rec room to share great music by one of their favorite musicians for a minimal fee that goes to the musician. It is a chance to meet the performer, purchase and have them sign one of their CD’s if they have one.
House Concerts are a wonderful way to open up your home and enjoy great music with friends and family. Great music makes so many people happy, and House Concerts also gives great exposure to incredible musicians, whose talent you really believed in, and wish to help promote.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Canadian Syrup Inc. Elgin….Celebrates Re-Opening

Photos Top To Bottom:
Murals on door by Fred Harrison of Goshin, Elgin, NB
Murals in Conferance Room
Map showing all the countries where Canadian Syrup Inc. goes to.
Roger showing parts of the factory.
Roger pointing out packages ready for Australia
Ribbon cutting, staff in blue (6 of 15)L President of the Albert County Chamber of Commerce Brian Keirstead, MLA Wayne Steeves, Judy and Roger Steeves and son Kirk.
Murial in staff room
Fire in May of 2009 that destroyed the original plant

All photos by Sharon A. Layton-Pollock

On Tuesday, December 21, 2010 many family, friends and neighbours braved the stormy weather to join Roger and Judy Steeves, of Canadian Syrup Inc., to help celebrated the re-opening of their 12,000 square foot production facility by highlighting its new production and packaging capacities.

Roger took several groups on a tour of his new and improved facility. While doing so he told of his families struggles and hardships to bring “From The Ashes,” so to speak, his company to become a company that now ships maple products to countries all over the world. He was very proud to tell of the new product lines they have developed and of the new ones they are working on. His latest success was to develop a syrup that stayed suspended in ice cream to make a Maple Swirl Ice Cream treat.

As he lead the tour to the far end of the facility, the shipping and receiving department, he pointed out, with great pride, the boxes upon boxes all wrapped and waiting for the big trucks to start their journey to their final destination of Australia.


Our family was one of the first settlers to arrive in the Elgin area dating back to the 1700's. Our great-grandfather received land grants. At that time there were native Indians who were very familiar with the art of making maple syrup. Legend says: in the early days, Indians discovered maple syrup by accident. It has been told that one spring an Indian brave threw his ax into a maple tree located near their fire pit. While the women were cooking on an open fire, the heat from the fire started the sap dripping from the tree, down the ax handle and into their pots. This made their meal very sweet, so they collected this "sweet sap" in larger amounts and boiled it into a sweet thick syrup. Similarly, our great-grandfather made maple syrup in large iron pots over an open fire, using wooden spills in small drill holes in the maple trees.
Our grandfather was one of the first in the area to construct a building, as well as using a new method of extracting the water with an evaporator. He advanced from wooden spills to steel spills, and collected the sap with horse and sleigh. Our father carried on the tradition. He used more modern equipment such as corrugated evaporators, lids on cans, and plastic pipe which ran from one tan house to the main camp. With our father we expanded using pipeline to all trees, vacuum pumps, reverse osmosis machines and forced air evaporators. The tradition continues with our son. He helped to develop a WORLD CLASS LINE OF NATURAL PRODUCTS that are sold world wide.
Our "Original Canadian Syrup" continues this tradition, as an award winning 100% Natural product that was hailed as breakthrough in Maple Syrup technology.
This special formulation consists of the same natural ingredient breakdown as maple sap, but is much more consistent in taste, color and aroma. With our unique process, Original Canadian Syrup brings the highest quality with no additives or preservatives, allowing you to use it exactly like traditional maple syrup at a significant cost savings.

The "Original Canadian", A natural choice from the Steeves family to yours!

The Honourable Rob Moore was unable to attend, due to illness, but had earlier said, “The Canadian food processing industry makes an important contribution to the strength of our provincial and regional economy. Thought our government’s investment of more than $240,000. Canadian Syrup Inc. is enhancing its productivity and improving its capacity to compete in national and international markets.”
The project has helped the company to retrofit an existing building to replace the processing, packaging and warehouse facilities that were destroyed by fire in May 2009. The company’s state-of-the-art facility supports an enhanced production process, automated packaging and provides co-packaging services to other companies.
MLA Wayne Steeves said, “The Government of New Brunswick recognizes the importance of the maple syrup industry as a contributor to the province’s economy. We are proud to be able to contribute to the success of Canadian Syrup Inc. a home-grown New Brunswick company, with assistance from Business New Brunswick’s NB Growth Program.”
Roger Steeves, President of Canadian Syrup Inc. said, “We know firsthand how difficult it is for small business in our province with a lot of companies closing or moving out of NB. We are proud to say that we continue to grow and are the largest employer in the small community of Elgin. Now, after a year of hard work, determination and significant investments by our family in getting our new facility operational, along with some funding help from ACOA and BNB, we are able to continue producing our great products for customers all over the world.”
Support for the Canadian Syrup’s development of its new facility includes a $240,000 repayable loan made available through ACOA’s Business Development Program (BDP). The Province of NB is assisting the company with an investment of $40,000.00

Manufacturing of syrup, sugars, spreads and candies. Canadian Syrup Inc. has won the Canadian Grower New Product Award and is Federal Licensed Packaging Plant. With the capability of producing 20,000lbs of bulk product per day, plus packaged ...163 Gowland Mountain Rd., Elgin, NB

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Written By: Sharon A. Layton-Pollock

November 6th, 2010 the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame held its fifth induction ceremony at Casino New Brunswick. Those inducted were (photo) left to right: John Timmins, Bill Snowden, Winona & Ernie McLean, Greg Sewart, Jim Hallehan, Raymond Roach, Dave Gorvett, Mrs. Dave Mosher, Gerry Marshall and Frank Fraser.
The evening was glitz and glamour and fine dining. The manager of the dining facilities at the Casino stood off on the side lines and watched as members took their place on the stage to receive their awards. She later said she had never seen a ceremony so moving and well done.
The seventh members to be called for their induction were Winona and Ernie McLean. Winona in her long black gown and sequenced gold top Ernie looking dapper in his black tuxedo, walked arm in arm across the floor. Every person in the room came to their feet and applauded them as they made their way to the stage, a fine tribute, to their contribution, over the years, to motorsports in the area.
Plans are already in the making for 2011 sixth annual Induction Ceremony.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Day I Met Mary

(Photo #1 Deborah Carr Photo #2 Mary Majka Photo #3 Myself and Mary Photo #4 David Christie, Mary and Deborah

Written By: Sharon A. Layton-Pollock

I arrived fifteen minutes early at the library in Riverview and already the large room was filled to capacity. With camera in hand and my book ‘Sanctuary’ tucked under my arm, I managed to find a spot in the corner. I was anxious to have the author, Deborah Carr, and the subject, Mary Majka autograph my book. As I got myself settled and was waiting my mind wondered back to when I first met Mary.
In 1987 my daughter Lois and her classmates, from JMA Armstrong high in Salisbury, were going on a field trip, and I volunteered to drive a vanload of her friends. The itinerary for the afternoon was exploring Albert County, and finishing up at Mary’s Point Bird Sanctuary in Harvey. The day was a delight and I so enjoyed telling my Albert County stories to these Westmorland County kids. My father was born and raised in Curryville and there I was born also, so the countryside was very familiar to me and I had no problem arriving at our final destination.
We pulled in and piled out at Mary’s Point Shorebird Reserve, and there to greet us was Mary Majka and David Christie. What an interesting woman she was, with her thick Polish accent, and tuffs of white hair peeking out from under her knitted hat. We followed her down a winding pathway through forest and field and arrived at her cottage on the Bay. We sat around wherever we could find a spot, on a picnic table some refreshments were laid out and Mary began. She told of the flight and plight of the Semi Palmated Sandpiper, she introduced us to the vast variety of life found in and around the marshes of Harvey, she told us about the restoration of heritage properties in the area. The more she talked the more excited she became, and the more she used her arms and hand jesters in telling her stories. I as enthralled with her knowledge, hospitality and excitement, as were the students who gathered round.
The day was a delight, and a great learning experience; it was nice to be back home in Albert County. On our way to Harvey all vehicles travelled the same route, but on the way home I veered off the beaten pathway. I went around this turn and that turn onto dirt roads in the deep woods. After driving for quite awhile and shadows were lengthened I looked over at Lois, with great concern in my voice I said,
“Gee I wonder if I made the right turn or not?” You could have heard a pin drop, Lois turned around to her friends and said, “Don’t worry, Mom’s just kidding, she knows her way around here,” much to their relief.
I never saw Mary again for several years, but often wondered about her. In 1995 I married and moved to Albert County and soon met Mary again. I was very much involved in the tourism industry and Mary was still working on her many passions, one being the natural preservation of Albert County.
Often times our aggressive tourism industry associations plans would not set well with Mary’s endeavours and she was not afraid to speak her mind. On one such occasion I decided to put my thoughts, in these regards, down on paper in a letter to Mary. After receiving and reading my letter Mary called me and asked me to tea. There she told me she never thought about the tourism industry in the way I had shed light upon it. We became friends and allies in different Albert County projects. Mary has since won awards in tourism related matters.
Since I have moved away from Hopewell Cape we have kept in touch via phone calls, e-mails and great visits. So to say the least it was a great pleasure to join with the many people at the Riverview Library on November 23, to listen to author, Deborah Carr, read an exert from her newly published book of Mary’s extraordinary life called “Sanctuary…The Story of Naturalist Mary Majka.”
The book Sanctuary was seven years in the making. Deborah would take her lap top on what Deborah called “Her Thursday mornings with Mary.” There she visited, interviewed, walked, talked and sometimes even cry with Mary. Then when she felt she had enough info, Deborah locked herself away, so to speak, and began weaving Mary’s story together.
It was so moving to listen to her; because I had also gotten to know Deborah, we both lived in Hopewell Cape. I joined her at different writers workshops, followed her articles in different newspapers and magazines and latter attended workshops given by Deborah herself.
Deborah opened the floor up for questions, and there were many, for she and her writing was no stranger to those in attendance. Then she stepped back and invited Mary to come to the front. David pushed her forward in her wheelchair, and all waited with baited breath to hear what she herself had to say.
The stories were not new to me for she had shared them with my husband,Richard and I, on her different visits with us, but they were still wonderful to hear, and to watch as she got more excited, the twinkle in her eyes and waving her hands about adding to the pleasure of listening.
Mary told us she was 87 years old and she found the process long and sometimes very painful as Deborah kept pulling her past to the forefront of her memory. Remembering the loss of her beloved Father, the separation from her Mother and brother during World War II. The toils of farm work in the hills of Austria.
But her spirit sustained her and life got better. She and her husband Mike moved to Canada and arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax. Caledonia Mountain in beautiful Albert County New Brunswick became her new home, the place where she has pursued her life long passions. Mary said it was her hope that those reading her story would be inspire to do their best and make a difference in the world we all live in.
At the end there was a line up waiting to have Deborah and Mary sign their books. A gentleman at the back of the room was sitting at a table selling her book, and he told me Sanctuary was one of the most popular local books Chapters has ever had, and that they have trouble keeping it on the shelf. I would recommend her book to everyone. Deborah told Mary’s story eloquently and it will move you and inspire you, and I will cherish my book forever.
I was the last in line and Mary wrote in my book…”To Sharon an old, good friend with best wishes! Mary Majka Nov.2010.”