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Elmvale Water Festival 2010

The 2010 Elmvale Water Festival (Saturday August 21) was presented by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation (

Figure 1: George Lawrence  (right), Deputy Mayor of Tiny Township, introducing Bob Whittam (left).

Starting the day with a Native Water Ceremony and ending with aSaturday night dance hosted by Daryl McLean (Beach Party) as a fundraiser for North Simcoe Jr Farmers, there was plenty of activity all day long.

With a Farmer's Market, Children's Water Education activities (thanks to the Children’s Water Education Council), petting zoo (provided by Rounds Ranch) and lots of games (provided by Friends of Minesing Wetlands and the Tiffin Centre for Education), there was certainly something for everybody.

Music throughout the day was provided by Marshall Dane, Eve Goldberg, Jory Nash, as well as Patrick Prealy and Band.

Figure 2: Bob Whittam receiving a Tom Thompson print from Ross Kentner, President of Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation.

In addition to all of the usual fun and excitement typical of this annual event, Bayshore Broadcasting introduced an Environmental Trade Show, 100-Mile Diet Luncheon, and the 1st Annual Simcoe County Environmental Awards.

The inaugural Simcoe County Environmental Award was presented to Mr. Bob Whittam whose forty year career in conservation includes experience with the Long Point Bird Observatory, Bon Echo Provincial Park, 1,000 Islands National Park, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa. Best known in the area for his past work as Executive Director of the Wye Marsh, Bob led the successful effort to operate the marsh under the direction of Friends of Wye Marsh. Bob’s passion for the natural environment came through in his inspiring presentation. Like all of the presentations at the Elmvale Water Festival, this one was filmed, with the video to be found on the web page of the Elmvale Foundation (

Figure 3: Robert Sandford
The keynote speaker at the 2010 EWF was Robert Sandford whose presentation "Restoring the Flow: Towards a New Canadian Water Ethic" kept us at the edge of our seats, having described how he survived an unexpected, accidental journey under the Athabasca glacier and into the North Saskatchewan River, having fallen through a crevasse in the ice.

Bob is the EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of United Nations "Water for Life" Decade. Bob also sits on the Advisory Committee for the prestigious Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, is Director of the Western Watersheds Climate Research Collaborative, and an associate of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan. In addition Bob sits on the Expert Panel for the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy that is presently focusing on Canadian water policy. He is also a member of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation's expert Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW).

Figure 4: James Gordon performing “We’ll be watching you”.

After his riveting presentation, Bob signed copies of his books “Water Weather & the Mountain West” (Rocky Mountain Books, 2007) and “Restoring the Flow: Confronting the World's Water Woes” (Rocky Mountain Books, 2009). An interview with Robert Sandford for Water Canada Magazine by William Shotyk can be found on our web page, and that of Water Canada Magazine (

Distinguished singer-songwriter James Gordon not only gave us an informative presentation on “Sustainability of Municipal Water Supplies: The Role of the Wellington Water Watchers”, but entertained us as well with his original music. His song “We’ll Be Watching You” was sung to the tune of Sting’s song “I’ll Be Watching you”, but the James Gordon version is about the watchful eye of Wellington Water Watchers on the Nestle water bottling plant in Aberfoyle, Ontario where Nestle pays a bit more than $ 3 per million litres of groundwater removed.

Figure 5: Kevin McMahon introducing WATERLIFE

The documentary film WATERLIFE was introduced by award winning writer/director/producer Kevin McMahon who provided a personal introduction followed by a question/answer period.

WATERLIFE follows the epic cascade of the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. From the icy cliffs of Lake Superior to the ornate fountains of Chicago to the sewers of Windsor, this feature-length documentary tells the story of the last huge supply (20 per cent) of fresh water on Earth. The source of drinking water, fish and emotional sustenance for 35 million people, the Great Lakes are under assault by toxins, sewage, invasive species, dropping water levels and profound apathy. Filled with fascinating characters and stunning imagery, WATERLIFE is an epic cinematic poem about the beauty of water and the danger of taking it for granted. The film is narrated by The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie.

Figure 6: From left, Bill Shotyk, Deb Shaw of Bayshore Broadcasting, and Mike Powell, Executive Director of the Elmvale Water Festival.

Information about our speakers including contact details, video of the presentations, and much more, can be found here.

We are very grateful to Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for their generous support of the 2010 Elmvale Water Festival. In particular, we wish to acknowledge the initiatives and achievements of Deb Shaw, Vice President of Promotions, for her boundless enthusiasm and tireless efforts, and all of the creative energy she contributed during 2010.

In 2011, the Elmvale Water Festival will be teaming up with the Elmvale Fall Fair to bring hands-on water activities to hundreds of schoolchildren. Watch for more news to follow.