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 watershed icon white bg 74x74 editorial | Watershed’s award-winning editorial
takes readers to the heart
of our community
with insightful stories
and articles.


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 watershed icon white bg 74x74 design | Watershed’s classic design appeals
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circulation | With a regional circulation of 25,000 magazines per issue, Watershed is the largest publication
in the region.




HMCS Skeena
the Spirit of a Ship


Chris Barker has spent the last twenty-five years ensuring that the sacrifices of the fifteen seamen who lost their lives when HMCS Skeena was wrecked…read more

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author: David Newland   

The McLuhan


Over 6,000 books from Marshall McLuhan’s library sat in boxes waiting to be catalogued. The task went to his grandson, Andrew McLuhan, who discovered…read more

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author: Conrad Beaubien  
illustrator: Carl Wiens


Kiss Me Under a Shining Sun – the Lovely Kait Shannon


Jeanette Arsenault looks beyond a parent’s grief to keep the memory of her beloved daughter, Kait Shannon, alive. Kait’s Comfort Kits – packets of small luxuries…read more

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author: Janet Davies  
photography: Jeanette Arsenault

The Hay-Man of
Hastings County


John Macoun, an Irish immigrant, arrived in Canada as a young man. Over his lifetime, he dug up grasses, scraped mosses from rocks and pressed plants…read more

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author: Orland French  


INNOVATION:  Qoints and N100 Competition

author: Denny Manchee

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Attracting tech entrepreneurs to set up shop in Northumberland with a $100K carrot

Cobourg, tech Mecca. No, that’s not an oxymoron, it’s a big idea whose corporeal form is taking shape in a bare, spare office on William St. As lean as his tech startup, Cory Rosenfield talks digital analytics as though it was his first language. The 30-year-old is CEO and co-founder with Harris Maxwell of Qoints, a company that slices and dices the data of digital marketing campaigns to help clients see what’s working and what’s not.

Qoints can also compare a client’s results with its competitors – anonymously. A previous business allowed them to secure the rights to aggregate and pull best practices from their clients’ data. Smart move.

Let’s say you’re the brand manager for Starbucks K-cups, and you’re running 18 major digital loyalty promotions across Canada and the US in a year, and each one is somewhat different. Apps and platforms are changing so quickly, companies need to be equally nimble in their marketing strategies.

“Thirty years ago you could use Nielsen and get a report six weeks after the fact, but now in six weeks the coupon app you’re using doesn’t exist anymore,” says Cory, leaning against the desk, his blue suede shoes and yellow socks signaling his age and style. With a constantly-updated data feed, though, brands can tweak a campaign on the fly within that six weeks. “Right now we’re giving them a tool set to make obvious decisions but they still have to use their brains,” he says.

Cool, but why is this company in Cobourg? Well, last summer they won the N100 Startup Competition, a program launched by Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (NCFDC) in 2013. The N100 provides an equity investment of $100,000, as well as mentoring from the NCFDC and the business community – all contingent on the winning tech startup establishing an operating base in the region. “The goal of the NCFDC and our board of directors is to attract entrepreneurs to Northumberland and to create organic local partnerships and opportunities,” says John Hayden, Manager of Enterprise Programs and the brain behind N100. (He was inspired by a similar program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.)

Still, Cobourg as a tech hub, that’s bold thinking. But when Hayden toured Silicon Valley for the first time, he was struck that the tech juggernaut was embedded in a series of small towns accessible to San Francisco and San José by train. “Call me a dreamer,” he says, “but I like to think that Port Hope, Cobourg and other communities in Northumberland could be like this. This is the economy of the future, and we have a high quality of life here – a gentle lakeshore commute by bicycle, affordable houses, great schools – and you can hop on the train and be at Union Station in just over an hour. We just need a critical mass of entrepreneurs to make it happen.”

How is this dream unfolding? Qoints, which was based in Toronto before winning the N100, now has office space in TO, Cobourg and Buffalo (which is rebranding as a tech centre and has its own competition called 43North worth $250K US; Qoints won that, too). “We were able to turn that $100K into about 500K because it validated what our company was doing,” says Cory. “In our 43North application we guaranteed an operational presence in Buffalo for 2016. My partner is there from Tuesday to Thursday. Most of our clients are in the States – the dollars are much bigger there – and the team at 43North has introduced us to a lot of powerful people.”

Qoints has six full-time employees right now, “and we’re a totally distributed team,” says the young CEO. One is overseas, two or three are in Toronto and at any given time there are one or two in Cobourg, including 20-year-old Blake Adams, who graduated from Cobourg CI and just completed his second year in business at Queen’s University. He interned for the NCFDC last summer and is working for Qoints this summer as a marketing analyst and communications specialist. “A lot of my friends were looking for work in Toronto and Ottawa,” says Blake, “but this local opportunity came up and it’s great.”

“We scooped him up!” says Cory. “But there’s no snap of the fingers and all of a sudden there are six engineers for us to hire here, so it’s a balancing act,” he adds. “The CFDC understands we’re working towards a dream of having more people here, but at the same time we’re business-minded, analytic, picking and choosing how we build out the team here, based on what talent’s available.”

Cory tells me they’ve just hired another team member, a marketing specialist who recently sold her house in Toronto and bought a much bigger one in Cobourg. “She comes from the agency world and does influencer marketing,” he says. “It made it a lot easier for us to make a deal with her once she learned she could ride her bike to work in six minutes. She was dreading the commute into Toronto.”

On May 4, 10 companies competing for this year’s N100 had three minutes each to pitch their businesses to a Power Panel of executives at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope. The room was packed, the air electric. The competitors, selected from about 40 applicants, had no props, no visuals, just a mike and flooding adrenalin. It was Dragon’s Den, Cobourg Edition, and after two hours of presentations, five tech startups advanced to the next round: a business plan to be presented in June. From there, the group will be winnowed to three, who will have to present to the board in July.

Will the 2016 winner be a greentech company with a revolutionary air conditioner, or makers of a gadget that tells you how much sun you can take before getting burned, or the creators of a virtual operating room for training surgeons? At the very least Virtual SurgerySIM has nailed its tagline: “Most startups aren’t about life or death, this one is.”

As for the future of Qoints, Cory says, “We got our first formal acquisition offer last month. We have a long way to go before I’d entertain that, but I’ve got a call with the head of product at Nielsen tomorrow…” For more on the N100 and Qoints, go to and


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FENCE POSTS: Keeping the Mind Free of Reptiles

author: Dan Needles   illustrator: Shelagh Armstrong

I’ve always felt like a bit of a rebel, living as I have for nearly 40 years as a back-to-the-lander and filling the freezer every fall with food I produce myself. But to the bearded hobbits in my son’s…

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MUST, MUST, MUST: What’s New and What’s To Do

Our Must, Must, Must section highlights a broad range of events, festivals, activities and galleries that contribute to the diverse character of the Watershed region…

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author Chris Cameron   photography: bekky O’Neil and Keith Del Principe

The rolling Northumberland countryside can be a place of delightful contrasts, where unlikely dreams take root and grow. Keith Del Principe and bekky O’Neil…

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GEORGE'S POND: All That Glitter

author: George Smith   illustrator: Lee Rapp

If you’re a regular reader of my contributions to these pages, you know very well that deep thinking is not my forte. You’ll have to look elsewhere for an in-depth analysis of the Mueller Report…

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author: Shelby Lisk  

A derelict truck in a field, large skies at the edge of day, or billowing clouds over prairies, mountains and lakes. Through his graphic, colourful, large scale oil paintings of the landscape…

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Watershed Teaser: True or False

author: Tom Cruickshank   illustrator: Marc Mireault

Test your knowledge of local geography and other trivia related to our favourite corner of the countryside.…

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A CURATED COLLECTION: Signals in Silences - Yves Gaucher

The Art Gallery Of Northumberland Presents: Yves Gaucher…

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INNOVATION: The Market & Smør

author: Meghan Sheffield   photography: Mat + Sara

On the face of it, a brick and mortar greengrocer opening up on the main street of a small town shouldn’t necessarily bring the word…

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HABITAT: Conservation Authorities Under Provincial Fire

author: Norm Wagenaar  

For more than 70 years Ontario's conservation authorities have taken a watershed-wide approach to flood control, conservation and land management, a model which bypasses political boundaries…

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FIELD NOTES: Following the Flight and the Plight of the Tree Swallow

author: Terry Sprague   photography: Nicole Watson

It happened 50 years ago on the shores of the bay of Quinte but if I close my eyes, I can still remember the scene. Daybreak was faintly illuminating the distant horizon…

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FOOD & DRINK SCENE: The Comeback Kid: Where There’s Life There’s Hope

author: Signe Langford   photography: Johnny C.Y. Lam

Welcome to the local Food & Drink Scene where Watershed shares its secrets and discoveries. Our region is blessed with creative chefs, restaurateurs…

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WATERSHED PRESENTS: Spirit of the Hills

author: Chris Cameron 

The life of the creative artist can be a solitary one. There are the hours spent alone in front of a blank canvas or computer screen, and those little insecurities that can accompany any artistic…

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LOVIN' THE LOCAL: A Showcase Of Locally Curated Products

author: Stephanie Campbell

We’re Lovin’ the Local: A showcase of locally made and locally inspired products that reflect the heart and soul of entrepreneurs rooted in Watershed Country

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MEANDERINGS: Murder Most Foul

photograph: Courtesy of The Toronto Star Archives

Harold Vermilyea was a victim of the great depression. He lost his job as a manager of a California fruit packing operation and needed money. Sadly, his request for financial help from the family estate…


First Words


The fall brings back memories of duck hunting with my brothers when i was a kid. I was a tag-along but as long as I didn’t complain and I could distinguish between a blue-winged teal whistling into our blind and the silhouette… read more


I’m writing on behalf of the entire Wellington Water Week team to thank Watershed magazine for the gorgeous piece in the current Summer issue, created by Micol Marotti and Tim Zeltner. We were literally…



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hairline wide 865x8CONTRIBUTORS
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shelagh armstrong

sheilagh armstrongA graduate of the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design…

david newland

david newland

A writer, speaker, and musician based in Cobourg, David travels widely…

janet davies

janet daviesAfter a move from England to Toronto in 1993, Jan stayed there only until she discovered…