Food, clothes, and jewelry came together at Winter Fest 2019.  The networking event organized by Events Ontario’s Ayeesha Naeem and Yasmeena Menon brought together a wide variety of businesses for an afternoon of networking and workshops.

Winter Fest started in 2016, as a smaller event organized a wintry evening in December. “We had a lot of vendors that said you know what? In winter we really don’t have much to do, we don’t mind being part of the team,” Menon explained.   The workshops developed as a way to support their vendors, and keeping people interested.  “These businesses need support, so that’s how we do business coaching for them,” she said.  They teach everything from how to advertise, to how to properly do their taxes.

The larger of two conference rooms was buzzing with conversation as attendees strolled around the stalls.  Shazia Khan browsed a traditional clothing stall with her daughter and appreciated the event’s diversity. She wanted her daughter experience some of her heritage.  It’s important for them to see these kind of things,” she said.  It was about experiencing the people as well.  “In general it’s more about seeing people from your own culture,” Khan added.

There were more stalls in the lobby including food, and other merchants selling everything from candy to flowers.  Simply Elegant by Fouzia created a backdrop covered in vines with roses, and lights on it beside her company’s booth.   She resumed her career after a break to raise children by helping out at a charity event.  “If I see something, I bring it home and do it my way,” she said of where she gets her inspiration.   She also provides event organizing services.

Fouzia heard of the event through friends and contacted the organizers.  “I brought my backdrop, and here I am,” she explained.  She hoped to pick up tips on what people expect from an event organizer.  “How a floral designer should work according to their needs,” she said.   She learns from working with clients.  “Every client has their own path,” she said.

The event also included not-for-profit organizations.  One of these was Hum-We, a group dedicated promoting awareness of domestic abuse and violence in the South-Asian community and assisting victims in finding the help they need.  The group provides services including counselling for victims of abuse in their own languages such as Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi. “We are hoping for the best that in the future, we may not be needed,” Executive Director Sadia Khalid.

Menon views business as a way to build community.  “When you have trade in communities, business builds.  When business builds, communities develop,” she said.  They are looking at organizing a Spring Fest, and a Summer Fest.  For more information visit their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/EventOntario

Remembering Peter Haight                                                                                                 by Jenny Panda

Miriam Haight believes that the time is now for a hospice here in Milton. After 29 years of loving and

living with Peter, his time had come to the end. He was losing his twelve year battle with C.M.L., He was moved to a Hospice in Oakville where he was very well cared for as was Miriam, but it was a hardship to travel  so far to be with him in his final hours.

A Celebration of life, to remember Peter Haight was held on January 12th 2019 at Southside Church on Main Street.

Many people who loved and respected Peter filled the room. Fond memories of days of laughter, tears, daring adventures and youthful exploits were shared with the crowd. Photos of happy times with friends and family were shown on screens around the room as Leonard Cohen’s music, played on each morning of the Farmer’s Market, at the Gallery lent atmosphere.

Great friends of Peter recalled how he loved to talk with them about philosophy, art and life.

He set up a weekly group where they studied YOU HAVE THIS ChaNGE. One friend said “I revelled in his sense of humour”. He believed in the afterlife and told them “I’m ready: when it happens I’m ready.”

Memories at the event were shared BY Derek, of Peter on a motorbike “a la Titanic”, through a graveyard being pursued by police and landing in a deep pothole.

Many said that he was always good to talk to and there when they needed him. He opened so many doors.

His sister Ruth remembered how “he could do anything” he set his mind to.

Peter’s son David shared that his dad was a sort of ‘King of Kensington’ who “besides building relationships with people, he liked to build…. He was a ‘Field of Dreams’ kind of man- build it and they will come- or they will build it! He was a charmer, dreamer, flirt, a ladies’ man.”

The Gallery on Main Street was a permanent venue where the public could enter and be inspired by art from Canada and the World. The displays were stunning and Peter was always friendly, welcoming and ready to have a conversation. There was a place for some local artists to show work. Well known artist Ann Kornuta, whose art can be seen along the Main Street and in the Mall, was given a spot outside the Gallery for her to paint on Saturday mornings during the Farmers’ Market, as was Sarah Joncas, an Internationally known artist  for her work in Pop Surrealism.

Tom Dietrich, whose work was shown in the past at the Gallery recalled how he displayed a memorable large cut out of himself (naked, but cunningly disguised behind one of his sculptural works), in the window of the gallery to promote his artshow.

One of Peter’s friends, local author Ron Base often displayed his novels on a stand outside the Gallery on summer mornings at the market. Quoting from Scaramouch he said: “Peter ‘was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world is mad’ He had a magical spirit that kept him going… Rest well old friend. You are loved.”

The Townsend Smith foundation, a local not-for-profit charity has been working for years to build a hospice here in Milton. The Foundation was started by Janet Townsend after the death of her husband. She was later joined by Lyndon Smith after the death of his wife, well-loved Tai Chi teacher Tessie Smith.

“We would like to honour the memory of Peter by giving back to the community he loved“ said Miriam  “His generous nature gave to those when needed, either by financial contribution or his time. He loved living in Milton, ran for Town Council and served on many boards…. I know in his heart he wanted to do what was best for our community.”

In Peter’s memory, Miriam is asking Miltonians to help raise funds for the Townsend Smith Foundation that is striving to soon build a hospice here in Milton.

More than $1250.00, has been raised so far on the go fund me.link specifically in memory of Peter Haight that you can access at;

https://www.gofundme.com/remembering-peter?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_u_g&fbclid=IwAR0Rsg1_BT24kzUbAT4XR7XJTevs5QylT1p7bWbsU5e58ktV9Zz28nsQhUI

for the Townsend Smith Foundation you can donate now

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/townsend-smith-foundation/#donate-now-pane

Both will be combined for funding to build Milton’s Hospice.

Laura Steiner
Author

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