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Bas Bleu Book Discussion

All Women of the Bay are invited to this year's Bay of Islands Bas Bleu Book Discussion meeting. Everyone is welcome! 

This year's book is Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie.It's a Canadian Classic. First published in 1852, it is a first hand account of an English woman's life as a pioneer in Ontario. 

Date:  Thursday, July 20th

Time: 9:30 am to 12 noon

Place: Thoburn Island

Looking forward to a lively discussion!

P.S. The link to the calendar event with the Thoburn Island location can be found here.

Spring 2023 President’s Letter

Dear Friends,I hope you’ve enjoyed a happy and healthy “off-season”. It’s now the time many of us turn our focus to the Summer ahead in our special Bay of Islands. Britt and I can’t wait to get to the Bay and see you all.Your committed board of directors has been active over the Winter, acting on the priorities we members decided on together last Summer at our AGM.First has been fire protection & emergency planning. Our application to NEMI council resulted in a major fire pump subsidy from the local government. Other measures, including a fire alert text system and pump training will be rolled out soon. We’ll hold training this Summer for all BICA members on emergency planning and CPR.We have a full social calendar in store starting in July, including, by popular demand, bringing back Kids Fun Day after a hiatus of many years. Please consult the calendar and make plans to attend as many events as possible. Remember, our events are open to all.We continue to prioritize concern for our local environment. We’ll be active fighting invasive species like phragmites, facilitating water quality testing, and guiding members to help reduce light pollution, other invasive species, and working together to Love Our Bay.Whitefish River First Nation has a new Chief and Council. It’s an opportunity to renew our relationship with our neighbours. Chief Rodney Nahwegahbow recently wrote to me, “As we settle into my new role, I acknowledge the responsibility to maintain the strong relationships already in place.”Finally, water levels are always top of mind, and Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year. We must all be thinking about how to create adaptive dock solutions, with continued wide fluctuations expected in the years to come.I wish each of you a fun and healthy Summer in the Bay with family and friends.  

Best personal regards, 

Patrick Patrick Thoburn  President Bay of Islands Community Association

2023 Dues Reminder

It is time to renew your Bay of Islands Community Association membership by paying 2023 dues. It's easy to see if your fees are up to date by logging into your BICA profile. Right at the top there should be a banner that tells you your current status!In 2022, BICA continued to make a difference with fire safety measures, supporting water quality, reducing the threat of invasive species, building community through social events, and more. We did this through the volunteerism of our members. The modest dues we collect are our only source of revenue aside from in-person fund-raisers to cover our operating costs. 

BICA’s lean budget predominantly goes toward the important work of the Georgian Bay Association (GBA), the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association (FOCA), insurance and BICA web site hosting and maintenance. BICA is committed to the preservation and protection of the Bay of Islands for you and your family, and we value your support.It takes under two minutes. Please click here to pay your dues now. ·  Dues should be paid through the Bay of Islands Community Association website using a credit card via PayPal. ·  Rates are unchanged: $85 for Primary membership, and $40 for Associate membership. ·  If you still owe dues for 2022, you can pay for both 2023 and 2022.·  Questions about how to pay your dues? Contact Celesta Bjornson cbjornson@comcast.netRenewing your membership strengthens our community, and we thank you for being a member of our community. 

Update on UHT Tax 4/30 Deadline

Attention: BICA members who are non-residents of Canada

We wanted to share an important update regarding the filing deadline for the UHT tax form* and request for exclusion.

Per the Canadian Revenue Agency (press release 3/27/23): Although the deadline for filing the UHT return and paying the UHT payable was April 30, 2023, no penalties or interest will be applied for UHT returns and payments that the CRA receives before November 1, 2023.

Many of us were notified of and given a digital access code to file online, but the page is not working properly and you are unable to put in your property address.

Therefore, the recommendation is to mail your completed UHT form since there will no longer be any penalties applied if it is received after April 30th. But note, it still must be received no later than November 1st.

We know this brings a sign of relief to many of us. We have our good friends at GBA to thank for their lobbying efforts with the Canadian Government.  As a result of GBA's efforts, penalties and interest will be waived if your paperwork arrives after 4/30/23. 

* As a reminder, the Government of Canada has introduced an underused housing tax (UHT) on the ownership of vacant or underused housing in Canada. The UHT took effect on January 1, 2022.

Congratulations Ted Cowan!

We are thrilled to share that at a ceremony in Toronto on September 27, the Government of Ontario gave Ted Cowan the prestigious June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism. MPP Graham McGregor, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, presented the award to Ted. The June Callwood Award recognizes people and groups who have made outstanding contributions as volunteers in their communities. Ted has been recognized for his service to the Bay of Islands community as a board member and community volunteer. You can read the official press release here.  Thanks to Lindsay Richards, John Bjornson and Patrick Thoburn for supporting the nomination. Here are some quotes from Ted’s award citation:·       Through his bold and far-sighted actions of nature conservation, community building and partnerships with Indigenous peoples, Ted Cowan has served to inspire others in northern Ontario by his example. The Sudbury and Manitoulin districts are better places to live, work and play because of his efforts.·       Ted’s most significant and visionary act as a volunteer member of BICA was an extraordinary decades-long effort to achieve a land conservation agreement that resulted, in 2021, in the permanent conservation of more than 2,100 acres of pristine, historically prominent land: Northern Ontario’s Heaven’s Gate property. On behalf of all of us, congratulations Ted! Board of Directors

Sheguiandah Archaeological Tour: SundayAugust 20

We are pleased to share an exciting announcement for our BICA members -- a private tour of the Sheguiandah Archaeological Site!Although the Sheguiandah Archaeological Site -- officially named the Sheguiandah National Historic Site -- was only reopened to the public last season, it will be open again this coming season for a very limited number of tours. This is an incredible opportunity for BICA members to discover this historically significant area, right in our backyard!

Your board has chosen Sunday, August 20, from 11am-1pm, as our first date choice. Additional details:

The size of the tour groups is limited to 12, to ensure the best experience for everyone and to protect the site. The price for the tour is $31.50 per person, but there is a 20% discount for groups of at least 10, which brings the cost down to $25.20 per person. We are certain we can get at least 10 people for this date.  If enough people are interested and we require a second tour date, August 16, 10am-12pm or 2pm - 4pm might also be available.  The tour of the site includes complimentary admission to  the Sheguiandah Centennial Museum, as well a field guide booklet (with additional information and photos) with a piece of quartzite flake (not sourced from the site) for all participants. Note: the tour requires trail-walking and is not "easy". It's not "hard" either, but be forewarned, there is uphill walking. To reserve your place please let your BICA Social Director, Bobette Jones ( know asap as there are very few reservations available. If the Aug. 20 date doesn't work for you, please let her know which time slot works best on the alternative Aug. 16 date. All reservations are first-come-first served! 

Lost in the Light: Taking Action to Address Light Pollution

By Britt Oldenburg, Bay of Islands Association

One of the key attractions of cottage life is being immersed in the beauty of nature: the lake, the trees, the loons, and a dark, star-filled sky. This dark and starry sky is increasingly threatened by light pollution caused by artificial lighting.

Ironically, lighting designed to save energy has only increased light pollution. According to an article by Robert Dick in a 2021 Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) newsletter, energy-saving lighting is increasing the amount of artificial lighting at night by 2.2 per cent each year. It has become easy and inexpensive to light up docks and pathways with solar lights that stay on all night.

While light pollution interferes with our aesthetic enjoyment of the dark night sky, it also causes harm to nature. Animals, birds, and insects have evolved to take their cues from a world where the days are bright with sunshine and the nights are dark or gently illuminated by the stars and the moon.

For animals that use the stars to navigate for migration, the night skies and artificial lighting interferes with their ability to migrate. Birds can mistake artificial lights for their navigational stars, leaving them exhausted, dehydrated, and off course, and can sometimes lead to their death.

Nocturnal animals need the dark to protect themselves from predators. They use the protection of the dark to find food, eat, and mate. Artificial lighting reduces the time they have to spend on these essential life activities.

Even humans need darkness at night to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps us achieve the deep sleep we need to stay healthy. Artificial lighting affects our hormone levels and the structures by which we grow.

The good news is that light pollution is one of the easiest forms of pollution to address, and there are things we can do to help reduce its impact. As Nicholas St. Fleur wrote in a 2016 article for the New York Times, "light pollution is a problem researchers say could disappear with the flick of a switch.”

Angel Lillard of the McGregor Bay Association took this to heart this summer, after years of increasing light pollution from the Lafarge cement plant located on the eastern shoreline of McGregor Bay. Together with McGregor Bay Association President John Woodrooffe, they brought the issue forward to Lafarge, who quickly agreed to adopt a dark-sky policy that will see the lights turned off between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. Angel is now working to make the local municipality’s (the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands [NEMI]) dark-sky regulations more accessible so that cottagers can easily understand how to make their lighting comply with the by-law.

There are several initiatives in the Georgian Bay area aimed at curbing light pollution:

Killarney Provincial Park has a strong dark sky policy and was the first provincial park in Ontario to be designated a Dark-Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Lake Superior and Quetico Provincial Parks have since followed suit.NEMI passed regulations in 2009 in support of the Dark Sky Sanctuary designation.The Township of Georgian Bay has an extensive dark-sky bylaw regulating outdoor lighting to mitigate light pollution and conserve the dark-sky environment.The Township of Carling provides some guidance around outdoor lighting, stating that all external lights must be dark-sky compliant.The Township of the Archipelago’s comprehensive zoning bylaw includes a section outlining its dark-sky provisions. The Lafarge cement plant located in the southeast corner of McGregor Bay was a significant source of light pollution until concerned cottager Angel Lillard took action.Photo: Angel Lillard How You Can Reduce Light Pollution

Even if you don’t have an industrial source of light pollution in your area, we all have a role to play in reducing light pollution. This simply involves turning off lights that are not required, directing light rays to the ground, and blocking light from travelling upwards and into the sky. The International Dark-Sky Association recommends the following principles for lighting:

Turn off lights when you no longer need them. Consider using motion sensors so that lights are only on when you need them.Eliminate the upward direction of lights. Practically speaking, this means directing lights to the ground and choosing fixtures with shields that limit the amount of light that scatters upwards.Use low colour LED lights. Blue light scatters more than white light and has a disruptive effect on melatonin production, which interferes with the circadian rhythm of humans and animals alike. Example of a lighting fixture that shields light from scattering upwards. For more information on what you can do to make your outdoor lighting dark-sky friendly, check out the International Dark Sky Association here:

The Bay of Island Community Association held breakout sessions at this year’s Annual General Meeting to capture key issues for members. Light Pollution was one of the top issues that members wanted BICA to address.  Members can start to address the issue by simply turning off their lights at night.

BICA 2022 Annual Member Meeting Minutes

Bay of Islands Community Association 2022 Annual Members Meeting4:20 - 6:00 PM EST Saturday July 30, 2022 Ruby Island (TP2567)


1) Call to Order

Sheila Williams/Celesta Bjornson

2) Approval of Minutes - 2021a) Moved - That the general membership approves the minutes of the 2021 BICA


i)  Mover - Bobette Jonesii)  Second - Barb Van Sickel (1) Passed: Unanimously 3) President’s Report - Celesta/Sheila

a) Report appended to these minutes.

4)  Treasurer’s Report - Abbie Droleta)  Statement of Operations and Cash Reconciliation info was distributed to all members in attendance.b)  Summary of information by Abbie Drolet.c)  Moved - That the general membership approves the Treasurer’s Report for 2022i)  Mover - Zach Shewchukii)  Second - Scott Boatman (1) Passed: Unanimously5)  GBA Report - Liz Phillipsa)  Description of current GBA issues and initiatives presented by Liz.b)  Full report appended to these minutes.6)  Members Brainstorming Sessiona)  Attending members were divided into 6 groups each having a BICA Board member acting as facilitator. Each group was asked to discuss the following questions for approximately 20 minutes and brainstorm related ideas:i)  What are the most important issues facing our community?ii)  What are the most important initiatives our community association should continue or start?b)  Following the brainstorming session each member was given two coloured stickers for voting on each group's ideas.7)  Presentation of Brainstorming Ideas a) Each group’s ideas were written on a large notepad and then presented by the


b)  Following the presentation, all members were asked to place each of their coloured stickers on two initiatives or ideas that they were most interested in being pursued by the Association.c)  Voting was tabulated by Patrick Thoburn and posted on the BICA website on the Latest News page (refer to AMM Brainstorming Results posted September 1, 2022). 8)  Board Nominations & Election - Celestaa)  Sheila Williamsb)  Celesta Bjornsonc)  Patrick Thoburnd)  Liz Phillipse)  Abbie Droletf)  Trevor Marshallg)  Bobette Jonesh)  Scott Boatmani)  Jeff Bakerj)  Chris Redstonk)  New Members - Lisa Allison and David Gallupl)  Leaving Members - Jane Drolet, Sandy Moskal, Laurie Cookm) Moved - That the general membership approves the Board of Directors for 2022-2023.i)  Mover - Laurie Cookii)  Second - Jaclin Baker (1) Passed: Unanimously9)  Presentation of Gifts to new BICA members a) BICA burgee’s presented to all new members in attendance at the meeting.

10) Thank you and Presentation of Gifts to Outgoing Presidents Celesta Bjornson and Sheila Williams

a)  Thank you to Sheila and Celesta from new BICA President Patrick Thoburnb)  Presentation of framed “Bay of Islands” by George Eadie prints to Sheila and Celesta by Trevor Marshall Motion to adjourn – Britt Oldenburg, seconded Zach Shewchuk. Meeting Adjourned at 6:00pm EST

11) Minutes drafted by Trevor Marshall, Secretary12) NEMI Ward 1 Report 2022 by Laurie Cook appended to these minutes13) BICA Environmental Committee Report 2022 by Chris Redston appended to these


Bay of Islands Community Association Presidents’ Report, 2022

How amazing it has been to reunite as a community after 2 years largely apart! Though we are not quite back to “normal”, we have been provided the perspective that there is no place on earth, and no group of friends and family, that we would rather spend these life experiences with. The pandemic made us consider what “community” really means. To us it is both – both the incredible beauty of the landscape that cannot be replicated that we are all humble stewards of, and the importance of our relationships bonded by these shared values and decades & generations of connection. To share moments together, in person, here, is irreplaceable.

Perhaps no event or accomplishment represents importance of community better than our collective roll of supporting the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy’s $1.8 million purchase of “Heaven’s Gate”, which we highlighted last year. Heaven’s Gate is the nearly 1,000 acres of land on the north side of Red Deer Village Road that includes much of the La Cloche mountains connecting Willisville to Ft. La Cloche. Over 100 donors and friends celebrated the grand opening of the Heaven’s Gate trails on a recent and hot July afternoon. Many are to thank for preserving this land for all future generations to enjoy, but we were able to celebrate the importance of Ted Cowan’s leadership in making this happen.

There are so many other people to thank for their leadership and contributions this year. Michael Dewson has led the charge on our ongoing and successful phragmites eradication program. The Baker family, Rick Fournier, John Moskal, and others resumed the Bass Fish Derby / Fish Fry after a 2 year hiatus (more participants than we have ever had, and more fish than have ever been caught!). Lisa Allison pulling together the Bas Bleu Book Reading Club (despite our windiest day of the summer). The Drolets making this year’s Love Your Bay Day possible. And so many more.

And, we are excited to officially welcome and embrace new and old friends into the BICA community, including Antonia and Jens, Bob and Juanita, Chris and Abbie, Ron and Irene, Carolyn and Roc, Paul and Lana, Alan den Otter, Michael Boufford, Hugh Mchullan, Trish Phillips, Susan Monger, Justin and Andrea Montgomery, Ashley Jurjevich, and others. We have met them all, and it’s energizing to know that others drawn to this area are falling in love for the same reasons we all have, and they feel the humble responsibility they now bear as stewards of our community. Some of us were born into the Bay of Islands, others married into it, and more now are discovering it for the first time. We welcome all of you.

We are saddened by the loss of some long standing community members, and in particular by the untimely loss of Don Datz. He epitomized what it means (your thoughts / reflections here instead of mine) to spend part of your life here and this community becomes you. Don and his surviving wife Judy bought and ran Bay Villa for about 15 years. Don passed away unexpectedly at only 66 years. He exemplified what it meant to be a business owner who cared more about helping people than anything else. He gave us much and will be missed.

We are fortunate that as a non-profit organization relying solely on the contributions of its members that we have remained financially stable despite the pandemic. Revenue sources we

lost were essentially matched by other costs lowered because of the pandemic. We believe it is important to rebuild and grow revenue sources in the next few years through new membership, auctions, grants, and other sources, to fuel the important work BICA does.

We are absolutely thrilled to pass the baton to BICA’s next President, Patrick Thoburn, who is a 2nd generation Bay of Islands steward and will bring so much more of his creativity, passion, and leadership to BICA as our incoming President. As for us (Sheila and Celesta), we are more in to BICA than ever before, and after 6 years as co-Presidents (elongated thanks to COVID-19), we are ready to channel our energies finding and welcoming new members into the BICA community, and that’s what we’ll be doing now, including building stronger and more inclusive relationships with islanders who have never engaged, mainlanders like the Red Deer Village community, and the Birch Island community.

As we reflect on our 6 years together as co-presidents, the first thing that comes to mind is that we have loved working and leading together this whole time – how often does a co-president relationship actually get stronger vs. strained over that time period? Well, it happened with us. Our 2nd reflection was we wanted to change the perception that BICA’s primary mission is NOT that of a glorified social planning community. We’ve tried to embrace the totality of our by-laws – “To represent the interest of the members of the Bay of Islands, to foster a harmonious community spirit, to promote conservation of wildlife and to preserve the unique characteristics of the area”. We’ve focused a lot on BICA Board effectiveness, better fire safety, preservation of land and water (e.g., Love Your Bay Day, water quality, phragmites control, Heaven’s Gate support), invited new members into the BICA community, and so much more.

One area of BICA support we don’t talk enough about is the importance and effectiveness of the Georgian Bay Association (GBA), who has been doing an amazing job. The GBA focuses on the needs reflective of BICA and the other community associations up and down the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, and part of our budget goes directly to GBA to focus on bigger things we could never accomplish by ourselves. And beyond the financial support, BICA leaders have played many significant leadership roles over the years such as Hugh McLeland as GBA Chair, past GBA member like Thoburn, and today we are represented by Liz Phillips. Though we embrace our role in building community, we take a lot of pride in what we’ve done, because we are a community, to accomplish some great things together as stewards of this amazing land. Without community organizations like BICA, there is no GBA.

We look forward to spending time with you later this summer – safely and in person – and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together, and what we will share in our life journeys, in the years ahead.

Love Your Bay Every Day!Celesta Bjornson and Sheila Williams

AMM Brainstorming Results

On July 30 BICA held its 87th annual member meeting. We were pleased to welcome more than 60 members to glorious Ruby Island, currently enjoyed by the Bjornson family. To help set priorities for the coming years, members brainstormed and then voted on answers to the question, “What initiatives should BICA continue or start?” The results, shown in the chart below, have already spurred planning for 2023 on fire safety, a Kids Fun Day, fighting light pollution, preserving water quality and more!

Thank you to all of the BICA Community Members who actively engaged in the brainstorming and shared your thoughts.

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