Breakfast’s no joke

29 Mar

One of the unsung jewels of rural life that so many newcomers to the area often miss out on is the ‘communal meal.’ Part of this is because of their reticence to engage with their new community; god knows why. And part is because these shared dining events are becomingmore rare than hen’s teeth. There was a time that Dunvegan was renowned for its Women’s Institute turkey supper with all the fixings in the fall; the Kenyon Presbyterian Women’s Auxiliary’s delicious ham supper in the spring; and the church’s grilled chicken and corn-on-the-cob BBQ in the summer. Folks would come from far and wide to sit down for a hearty home-cooked meal with old friends and new neighbours. But alas, the WI is no more. And Murray MacQueen, the driving force behind the annual gas grill roundup, has passed on.

Now, I’m uncertain as to whether the church’s popular ham and scalloped potatoes buffet will arise from the ashes of Covid. However, I can say with 100% certainty that, this coming Saturday, April 1st from 8:00 to 10:00 am, the Dunvegan Recreation Association will throw their doors open for a Spring Breakfast fundraiser. And, if it’s anything like their traditional Winter Carnival breakfasts, it’s an event not to be missed.

DRA president Kim Raymond tells me the menu will feature homemade pancakes ready to be drenched in sweet butter and syrup, fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, succulent sausages, melt-in-your-mouth muffins, hot coffee and cold juice. The cost will be $10 for adults and $6 for children 5-12 years of age. Children under 5 eat for free. She was also thrilled to announce that the Souligny brothers have once again generously donated ‘Dunvegan Gold’ maple syrup so DRA breakfast patrons can enjoy the true taste of spring.

A breakfast of this sort takes a tremendous amount of volunteer effort to pull off. Please do your part by coming out to support them. If you’ve never been there, the DRA hall is located at 19053 County Road 24.

Maple sweet open house

As you’ll already be in the neighbourhood for breakfast, I heartily encourage you to stop by the Souligny Maple Syrup operation at 1717 Blyth Road. Laurent and Germain are hosting an Open House on Saturday (and Sunday, for that matter) from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The extended Souligny family are justly proud of their sap processing facility and would love to give you a tour and offer you tasting samples, as well as maple cones and candies. The operation is quite impressive. And, although the equipment looks space age, the syrup it produces is down-home delicious.

It’s unfortunate their state-of-the-art operation failed to make the cut in Ian Cumming’s recent article in Ontario Farmer. His commentary looked at a 1974 CBC Ottawa documentary hosted by a very young Mary Lou Findlay and disputed her prediction of Dunvegan’s demise. Cummin argued that, despite the disappearance of many smaller family farm operations, the GDA (Greater Dunvegan Area) has a growing number of thriving agriculture based businesses. However, it’s a shame that his overview missed Chicken Little’s spanking new (albeit under construction) poultry complex north of Dunvegan; CanaDream Farm, breedersof top-tier Dutch Warmblood and Canadian horses; and, of course, the Dunvegan Gold maple syrup operation.

Overwhelming support

Last Saturday’s benefit concert was packed with multi-generational families, friends and hangers on like Terry and me. Nevertheless, the amount raised was still quite impressive. In all, President Kim dropped off eight large carrier bags of food and $582 in cash. “I’m just amazed at the level of support generated by our small community,” Kim wrote in an email to members.

Tiny dancer beguiles

As for the concert, it was a delight. To be honest, part of me expected an afternoon of polite applause and fractured eardrums. Boy, was I wrong. Ian MacLeod, the school’s founder, does an amazing job with these budding Celtic musicians. He’s been teaching since 1993and currently has 42 students, 27 of whom participated in the concert.

Saturday’s showcase demonstrated just how accomplished a teacher this man is. As each group performed — beginner, novice, junior and senior — you could see the level ofconfidence grow. The seesawing bows of the beginners became steadily more nuanced and fluid as the students’ technique matured.

As icing on the layer cake, the group recitals were interspersed with some extremely talented individual performances. Space precludes me from mentioning everyone by name (at least this week), but Cole, Dawson and Oakley Williams were three who stood out when they went off-label and coloured outside the Celtic lines. As did Ashley Flipsen with her haunting guitar and vocal solo of a song she wrote herself.

However, the unintentional star of the show was three year-old Oonagh St. Pierre. For the entire length of the show she danced with wild, but quiet (at least from the back row),abandon to the music of her sister and the other MacLeod School of Fiddling students. She exhausted me just watching her joy.

Soccer a click away

For nearly 100 years, Dunvegan Recreation teams have been a force to reckon with in the Glengarry Soccer League. And the tradition continues as registration for the Dunvegan soccer program is now underway. The DRA would love it if you and your family were to play with them. In addition to having teams for all ages, Dunvegan boasts a regulation-size senior pitch (and a separate junior pitch), ample off-road parking and a new playground for toddlers.

If you would like more information on how to register for the 2023 season, visit: Some kids are born to play soccer. Are yours?