by Morri Mostow


T’s the season to party!

The Knowlton Christmas cocktail circuit kicked off at the official opening of AGUR Arts & Décor on December 1, in their spacious new downtown studio-gallery. More than 60 friends, customers and fellow merchants joined the party.

On display were art and custom furniture by the brother-and-sister partnership of Jean-Yves and Maddia Esquerre. BizBeat was particularly captivated by Jean-Yves’ unique Japanese-inspired sushi tables and the country collection of finely painted wooden signs, key holders, corner shelves, flowerpots and birdhouses. It’s worth a visit to their new gallery just to see Maddia’s unique three-dimensional collages, mixed-media paintings, and trompe-l’oeil frescoes. AGUR’s modest prices make these and other objets d’art attractive to both art collectors and gift-givers.

AGUR Arts & Décor, 294 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Open daily. Telephone: (450) 243-0620.


On December 3, BizBeat gathered around a glowing fire at the Lakeview Inn to meet the judges and organizers of Lac Brome’s annual Festival of Lights and the Canadian Tourism Commission’s WinterLights Celebrations 2001. An elegant wine-and-cheese reception, hosted by Lakeview owner Ron Blair and his wife Diane, preceded the evening judging tour. Local volunteer judges Elaine Cooper-Marsh, Sunil Mahtani and Audrey McLeod were joined by national judges Margaret Howe of Brantford, Ont., and Hubert Noseworthy of St. John’s, Nfld.

Judge Noseworthy said he was “delighted by the enthusiasm and high level of community participation in Knowlton.” Judge Howe said that she got the idea for the WinterLights Celebrations during an earlier visit to Knowlton’s summer Fleuri Festival.

Local winners will be announced December 15. National winners will receive their awards during Ottawa’s Winterlude Festival in February 2002.

For up-to-date information about WinterLights Celebrations 2001, visit


On Saturday, December 8, Brome Lake Fitness celebrated its first anniversary, with an afternoon party. Forty people enjoyed wine and cheese, and scrumptious carrot cake baked by Pat Duncan. She and her partners, Jo-Anne Lavallée and Janet Gibbons, gave away several three-month memberships, key chains, towels and t-shirts in a prize draw.

“We want to thank all our members for their support in our first year,” said Lavallée. The trio are delighted with their venture’s success. “We did even better than expected, with lots of new members and renewals,” added Gibbons, who showed off the gym’s newest equipment, a state-of-the art Atlantic lying leg-curl machine.

The club has two new part-time staff: Michelle Duncan, 17, daughter of Pat Duncan, and Debbie Bailey, who also teaches line dancing, aerobics and step classes. You can sign up now for these classes, which begin the week of January 14.

During the holiday season, the gym will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 24 and 31. It will be closed on December 25, 26, and January 1 and 2.

Brome Lake Fitness, 328 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Telephone (450) 243-6246


Saturday evening, BizBeat joined the packed throng at Knowlton Pub to celebrate with news owners Linda Bremner, Christine Mather, Evelyne Rivard and Randy Wolak. Patrons and local residents enjoyed an open bar and complementary canapés from 5 to 7 p.m. This was followed by a special party menu and live music.

Former owner Gerry Wood, recently back from a five-week stint in Ireland to set up a computerized bar system for a large pub, was also on hand to greet old friends and guests.

The four new owners, who officially took over on October 1, have lots of plans in the works. The upstairs room, which has taken on a cozy charm with new wide pine floors and an attractive new colour scheme, may soon be the venue for intimate dinner theatre, an open stage and other entertainment.

Bistro Knowlton Pub, 267 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Telephone (450) 242-6862.


Everyone is invited to L’Emporium du Village’s Christmas party next Saturday, December 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dave Evans will provide free horse-drawn wagon rides around town from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (pick up and drop off in front of the shop). There will be drinks and goodies for young and old in the store.

“This is our second Christmas party,” said Roxanne Stastny, “and we hope to make it an annual event.” This Knowlton gift and sundries shop is co-owned by Stastny and Sutton resident Stacey Richardson.

In Knowlton for the last five years, the Emporium carries a wide selection of European and North American magazines, Canadian newspapers, toys, a full range of Lang calendars, boxes, mugs, with country-style motifs, and a large selection of candy, including Jelly Bellys and Rogers Chocolates from Victoria, B.C.

The Emporium is the exclusive retailer for the beautiful trademark blue stoneware by local potter Robin Badger. Every signed serving piece and dish is oven-, microwave- and dishwasher-proof.

L’Emporium du Village, 293 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Telephone (450) 242-1242. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


L’Accent d’ici owner Heather Heath has had a hit on her hands since November, when she began carrying toys, puzzles and games for boys and girls, from newborn to age 12. “I saw a need in Knowlton for toys used in quiet play,” said Heath, “and sales seem to indicate that I was right.”

Her latest arrival is this season’s hot Groovy Girl dolls ($15.95 each) complete with clothes, chairs, footstools, hair accessories and sleeping bags. Prices for her new toys range from $0.99 for stocking stuffers to $35.95 for a Groovy Girl Uptown Baby, with diapers and bibs.

L’Accent d’ici, now in its fifth year, specializes in Canadian-made gifts and local crafts. These include stained glass, wooden objects, handmade slippers, Brome Fair posters, paintings, candles, creams, playing cards, jams, jewelry and greeting cards.

L’Accent d’ici, 27 Lakeside, Knowlton. Telephone (450) 242-2982. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


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