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Other Interesting Community Stories

RVH welcomes the first baby of 2021First-time parents Lilia DaSilva Gouvella and Ryan Furtado welcome their baby boy Diego, born January 1, 2021 at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. Each year more than 2,000 babies are born in Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) Birthing Unit and while each one is a unique and beautiful miracle, it calls for a special occasion to welcome the first baby born in 2021. Arriving at 8:49 a.m. on January 1, RVH is proud to present the first baby born in 2021 with an RVH keepsake Teddy bear. Midhurst residents and first-time parents Lilia DaSilva Gouvella and Ryan Furtado welcomed their baby boy Diego, weighing 6 lbs 8 oz., into the world. Congratulations to the whole family!

No Money for Food is Cent$less and Unjust.
Over four million Canadians, one quarter of whom are children, do not have adequate access to food. The recent Beyond Hunger report by Community Food Centres Canada highlights the scope of food insecurity, which has been made worse by the pandemic and oppressive systems like institutional racism. One in seven Canadians now struggle to put food on the table due to layoffs and economic downturn. Food insecurity is a human rights issue and to address the root cause, Urban Pantry advocates for income solutions that make it more affordable for Canadians to meet their basic needs with dignity.

In our work setting up community gardens, teaching food skills and delivering the Barrie Good Food Box, we see the value of community food programs. We also know that food banks assist people with immediate food relief in times of hardship. Unfortunately, food charity – mostly in the form of food banks – has become a band-aid solution that does not get to the root of the problem. Governments at all levels rely on charities to do the impossible task of solving food insecurity through charity alone. We need to support community food organizations and food banks. But more importantly, we need policies that address food insecurity as a poverty issue that can only be solved through income solutions.

 We are thankful to work alongside the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit when delivering community food programming. Their No Money for Food is Cent$less campaign hits the nail on the head; it advocates for an increase in social assistance rates to match real living costs (indexed to inflation); supporting fair workplaces and good jobs with regular hours and benefits; increasing minimum wage; and providing a basic income for all Ontarians. Until these income solutions are implemented, we are unlikely to see any reduction in the number of people who struggle with not having enough money to put food on the table.

 What else can be done? The Ontario Dietitians in Public Health recommend asking the provincial government for the release date of their new Poverty Reduction Strategy. Additionally, Community Food Centres Canada (CFC) has identified that the federal government needs to set targets and improve reporting on food insecurity, and ensure progress on food security is achieved equitably. Better data collection is needed, including annual reporting by Statistics Canada and the collection of race-based data. CFC also advocates for an indigenous food sovereignty fund to invest in culturally appropriate forms of food that support local communities and ecosystems.

 This is why Urban Pantry has joined Just Recovery Simcoe, an alliance between 40 groups and businesses from across Simcoe County proposing solutions that focus on increasing the health of people, our communities and nature.  We envision a future where people can enjoy the foods they want without needing to rely on food charity. We want communities where every person has sufficient income to access fresh, nutritious, culturally appropriate food. After all, there is nothing like food, to connect diverse peoples and keep them working together towards shared solutions. Visit www.justrecoverysimcoe.ca to learn more.

About Urban Pantry: Urban Pantry is a community food security program led by the Canadian Mental Health Association that delivers food skills, urban agriculture, and food access opportunities in Barrie & Simcoe County. Written by Jenna Zardo.

Some history about Tiny Township
Tiny township was named in 1822 after a pet dog of Lady Sarah Maitland (1792–1873), wife of Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. Two other adjoining townships were also named for her pet dogs, Tay and Flos (now Springwater Township).

Humans have occupied the area now known as Tiny Township for at least 11,000 years. Excavations in what is now Awenda Provincial Park in the 1970s uncovered four archaeological sites dating from the Paleo-Indian period. For much of the Pre-Contact period, the Indigenous peoples of the area would have been hunter-gathers living mostly in small family groupings which would come together in larger groupings during particular times of the year to collect resources such as fish or berries.

Around 1100 C.E., agriculture was introduced to south Central Ontario, with people growing corn, beans, squash, tobacco, and sunflowers. This led to the development of villages centred around longhouses.

By 1600 C.E., the five nations of the Huron-Wendat Confederacy had established their villages in the territory they called Wendake, a part of which included what we now call Tiny Township. Starting in 1615, French Catholic missionaries, first Recollets and then, in 1625, Jesuits, began proselytizing among the Huron-Wendat. The Jesuits built the mission Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and wrote extensively about the Huron-Wendat culture. In 1636, Jesuit missionary Jean de Brebeuf observed and wrote about The Huron Feast of the Dead which occurred at the Huron-Wendat village of Ossossane which was located in what is now Tiny Township.

Diseases brought by the French in this period had a devastating effect on the Huron-Wendat. It is estimated that circa 1600, just prior to European contact, the total population of Wendake was between 20,000 and 25,000 people. However, a series of epidemics between 1634 and 1642 reduced the population to about 9000 people. Attacks by the Haudenosaunee in 1648 and 1649 dispersed the Wendat people, with most traditionalists joining the Haudenosaunee, while others joined with the related, neighbouring Petun people. The remaining Huron-Wendat who followed the missionaries fled to French Territory.

In the 1700s, as the threat from the Haudenosaunee waned, Ojibwe people began to move back into the area. In 1798, the Ojibwe (Chippeway) and the British signed Penetanguishene Bay Purchase turning some of the land which would become Tiny Township over to the British who soon after established a naval base at Penetanguishene. A subsequent treaty in 1815, the Lake Simcoe–Lake Huron Purchase turned over the remaining part of the land which would become Tiny Township.

By the mid-19th century, families from Quebec began moving to the Tiny Township area for the cheap and fertile land to farm. The Baldwin Act of 1850 established the Corporation of the United Townships of Tiny and Tay. In 1868, the townships were separated through a Simcoe County by-law.

The township comprises the communities of Ardmore Beach, Balm Beach, Belle-Eau-Claire Beach, Bluewater Beach, Cawaja Beach, Cedar Point, Clearwater Beach, Cove Beach, Crescent Beach, Coutenac Beach, Deanlea Beach, Dorion’s Corner, East Tay Point, Edmore Beach, Georgian Bay Estates, Georgian Heights, Georgian Highlands, Georgian Sands Beach, Georgina Beach, Gibson, Ishpiming Beach, Kettle’s Beach, Kingswood Acres, Lafontaine, Lafontaine Beach, Laurin, Mary Grove, Mountain View Beach, Nottawaga Beach, Ossossane Beach, Perkinsfield, Randolph, Rowntree Beach, Sandcastle Beach, Sandy Bay, Sawlog Bay, Silver Birch Beach, Sloane Point, Thunder Beach, Tiny Beach, Toanche, Wahnekewaning Beach, Wendake Beach, Woodland Beach, Wyebridge, Wyevale and Wymbolwood Beach.

Lafontaine was originally called Sainte-Croix (French for “Holy Cross”). It was renamed Lafontaine to honour the politician Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, one of the early Joint Premiers of the Province of Canada.

In honour of the region’s French history, Lafontaine hosts the annual Le Festival du Loup in July, a festival of francophone music and culture which celebrates the death of a wolf that terrorised the village in the 19th century.


Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) is currently restricting all visitors.

This measure is being implemented in alignment with the province-wide lockdown and to keep our patients, staff and physicians safe

There are some minor exceptions in place, noted below:

Inpatient units

No visitors permitted

Pediatrics/Neonatal Intensive Care unit

One adult at a time for a child under age of 18

Birthing Unit/Obstetrics

One support person only with labouring mother and while in Obstetric unit or the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Special circumstances

On compassionate grounds as determined by the care team

Emergency Department

No visitors permitted unless deemed necessary by care team, or if accompanying a minor

Any visits that were pre-booked to occur after December 25 will be cancelled.

Ontario Cancelling Passenger Road Tests Across Ontario

Measures will help protect health and safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19

As a result of the Provincewide Shutdown, on December 26, the Ontario government will cancel all in-vehicle passenger tests across Northern Ontario until January 9 and for all 27 public health unit regions in Southern Ontario until January 23. This action is being taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We know that these measures may be a serious inconvenience for people waiting for a road test,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “However, these are unprecedented times and our number one priority remains protecting the health and safety of individuals, families and workers.”

Road test cancellations are without penalty. DriveTest clients will receive a credit in the system in order to rebook their test when the Provincewide Shutdown period ends and the region is at a lower-risk COVID-19 level.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are advised to stay home as much as possible with trips outside the home limited to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members.

DriveTest centres will remain open for essential indoor services, such as knowledge tests, with capacity limits and COVID-19 preventative measures in place. The ministry will also continue to offer commercial road testing and other commercial vehicle services during the shutdown to ensure the continued safe movement of essential goods and services. 

Quick Facts

The current COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused when the Provincewide Shutdown comes into effect. The impacts of these time-limited measures will be

evaluated throughout the 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.

Visit DriveTest.ca for more information about DriveTest services in your area.

Ontario Seeks Public Input on Plan to Improve and Protect Lake Simcoe

Public engagement to help determine next steps for the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan

BARRIE — The Ontario government is engaging with local partners, Indigenous communities and residents from the Lake Simcoe area to get their input on the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. The plan is the roadmap to improve the lake’s water quality, reduce pollutants such as phosphorus, support sustainable fisheries and address the impacts of invasive species. The feedback received will help determine if the document needs to be amended or updated.

“Thanks to the hard work of local environmental and conservation organizations, advocates and all levels of government, considerable progress has been made to restore Lake Simcoe over the past 10 years,” said Andrea Khanjin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “While this progress is encouraging, we know the watershed is under increasing pressure as the result of population growth and climate change. That’s why we are inviting all our partners, including the general public to participate in the review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep the lake beautiful for generations to come.”

Members of the public can take part in the 75-day public review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan by completing an online public survey between December 18, 2020 and March 3, 2021 and participating in a virtual town hall early in the new year. For more information and other ways to get involved in the review, visit the Protecting Lake Simcoe webpage.

Based on the engagement and the findings from the review, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks will consider making amendments to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan by the summer of 2021.

Restoring Lake Simcoe and its watershed is a key commitment of the government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

Quick Facts

Since 2009, the province’s actions to protect and restore Lake Simcoe have been guided by the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.

The province released the 10-year report on Lake Simcoe in July 2020, which highlighted progress towards the government’s commitments and results of monitoring


The province recently invested $581,000 in four new projects to help find better ways to reduce the amount of pollutants and nutrients, such as phosphorus, from

entering Lake Simcoe.

Over 450,000 people living in 22 municipalities depend on the Lake Simcoe watershed every day.

Impacts of Province-Wide Lockdown on Springwater Municipal Services

Township of Springwater / December 22, 2020 – Premier Doug Ford announced a Province-wide lockdown, effective December 26 at 12:01 am. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, including the Township of Springwater, will remain in lockdown for a minimum of 28 days.

The lockdown is being put in place in an effort to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The lockdown restricts indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household. Additionally, it prohibits in person shopping in most retail settings, however curbside delivery and/or pickup can continue. Essential retail (grocery stores and pharmacies) will be permitted to operate with capacity limits in place. Indoor and outdoor dining are prohibited at restaurants and bars; however they will be permitted to operate take out, drive-through and delivery services. As a result of the lockdown, the following restrictions and closures are in place in Springwater:

The Township Administration Centre will close for the holidays on December 24 at 12 noon and reopen by appointment only on January 4 at 8:30 a.m.

*Administration staff will continue to work on rotating shifts, in the office and remotely. Staff can be reached via email and phone. Contact information is available on the Township website at springwater.ca/contact

*Outside staff (Public Works, Recreation, Parks & Facilities) will continue with their current work schedule while practicing safe physical distancing.

*The Elmvale Arena will close to the public as of December 24, and all sports and recreational activities have been cancelled. Users of the arena will receive targeted information regarding the closure. User groups are encouraged to reach out to their minor sports organizations for additional details.

*Outdoor rinks, parks and trails will remain open with restrictions in place.

Maximum 10 person gathering limit outdoors. Provincial fines are in place for violators.

Physical distancing of 2 metres must be maintained at all times and a minimum of 3 metres when engaged in physical activity.

Face masks are recommended at all times. Face masks are mandatory if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Team sports (i.e. hockey or shinny) are prohibited on outdoor rinks.

Skate tying and warm-up rooms/huts are closed.

Outdoor equipment and structures are not sanitized.

Outdoor rinks are unsupervised, use at your own risk.

*Springwater Public Library branches will be closed to the public, however contactless curbside service will be available. Visit springwater.library.on.ca for details.

*Community halls, fire halls and public works yards remain closed to the public.

For additional information on COVID-19 in our area and public health recommendations please visit www.smdhu.org. For additional details on the Province-wide lockdown please visit www.ontario.ca/covid19

County continues to provide essential services during lockdown

Midhurst/December 23, 2020 – The Province of Ontario has announced a 28-day initial lockdown running December 26 to January 23. As the provider of significant regional services, the County is working with the Health Unit and area partners to ensure critical services are maintained while adhering to all safety guidelines.

Effective December 26 at 12:01 a.m. the following services, facilities and programs will be impacted:

CLOSED to the Public:

County Administration Centre (Midhurst)

The Administration Centre will be closed to the Public until January 23. Staff will continue to serve residents, clients and partners virtually by appointment only

The Service Simcoe Contact Centre will be moving to virtual service only at service@simcoe.ca or 705-735-6901

The Cravings @ Work Cafeteria will be closed to staff and the public during the lockdown

Simcoe County Museum

The facility will be closed to the public until January 23. Staff will continue to work towards offering the Skate Trail in late January, weather and restrictions permitting

Simcoe County Archives

Building access remains closed to the public during the pandemic. Staff will continue to provide remote/virtual services to the public and clients. Click here for information

CONTINUED Essential/Critical Services:

Landfills and Curbside Waste Collection

Landfills will remain open on their modified COVID-19 schedule, with holiday closures occurring on the Statutory Holidays only (December 25, December 26 and January 1) and at 12 p.m. on December 24

For safety precautions all landfills will move to cashless transactions (debit and credit only with tap preferred). Curbside waste collection services will continue. During the holidays, Friday collections on December 25 and January 1 will move to the Saturdays (December 26 and January 2). All other collection days remain the same during the holidays

LINX Transit

LINX Transit will continue to operate all routes with safety precautions in place. Holiday hours are in effect with no service on the three Statutory Holidays only (December 25, December 26 and January 1)

Ontario Works Offices

Due to the essential nature of the service, Ontario Works Offices will remain open to provide limited and modified client support. Enhanced safety measures and screening will be further implemented. Clients are encouraged to utilize virtual assistance options to further reduce foot traffic

Emergency Child Care Support

At direction from the Ministry of Education, the County of Simcoe is collaborating with local system stakeholders to facilitate access to targeted Emergency Child Care that will support eligible parents of school-aged children, from January 4-8, 2021. Click here to learn more. The County will also be supporting child care providers who wish to offer additional hours to support the child care needs of Emergency Workers during the outbreak. 

General Services

The County will also maintain safe operations in Long-Term Care and Seniors Services facilities, Paramedic Services, Economic Development and Tourism, Library Co-operative, Planning, Forestry, Transportation and Engineering, roads and plowing services, Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, Social Housing, Local Immigration Services, Children and Community Services, Customer Service, Legislative and Government Services (including virtual Council meetings) and administrative/support departments. Staff will be working remotely where possible and public/client assistance will be by appointment for relevant services. Given the scope of essential services, continuation of redeployment efforts for those still working in other essential departments, and the ability to continue serving our communities remotely, the County does not anticipate any planned staff layoffs during the lockdown. County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.

Used Raiway Ties –  Are they a contaminate?

Off Hwy 26 at Anne Street North, Midhurst, the Canadian Pacific Railway has a yard located beside the tracks.

Many of us have gone there to watch the Christmas Train stop and the professionals onboard entertain us.

Today, there is a pile of used ties beside the tracks and  there are concerns about contamination.

Will rain wash through the ties, taking the creosote out of the logs, transferring it into the ground and thence possibly contaminating the wells in that area? There is no municipal water system there. There are many wells.

Or, if a fire erupted in those creosoted logs, will it spread faster through the dried wood which has been treated with a dark brown oil distilled from coal tar and used as a wood preservative? It contains a number of phenols, cresols, and other organic compounds.

How combustible are they and is it a danger because the Springwater Park and the pine trees are right there?

We went down to the site and took some pictures. While there, the train passed by going south. There were 167 cars including two or three locomotives in the group. It included upwards to 200 seacans double stacked, boxcars, tankers and grain haulers.

To get some answers, we went online to CP Railway at www.cpr.ca. Their headquarters are in Calgary. The telephone number is 1 (888) 333-8111. When you call the number, it directs you to an emergency site and gives you two other sources which appear to be shipping related.

There is also a local number for CP Railway at 3582 Penetanguishene Road 705 7222 0635 but when I called it, the telephone rang but no answer.

At another site, it gave a “General Contact Form’ and a telephone number of their 24/7 Police Communications Centre at 1-800-716-9132 in Alberta.

Although I was not reporting an incident, the gentleman I talked to was more than helpful. I told him I represented the Springwater News and that we wondered about all the ties beside the track. He asked where? He obviously followed a map because he commented , “There it is!” and asked how far off the road these ties where and how many were there- I suggested 5000 but it could easily be more.

He must have signalled someone else because I could hear another commotion on the phone. Although he told me to go to another site, the new voice interrupted and in our conversation said…

1. Creosote is a contaminant.

2. Although used ties use to be sold to local people, they do not do it anymore.

I remember as a kid, dad, the hired man and me – too young to do much – cleaning up the used rails beside the railway track along County Road 6. Dad and a neighbour named Gordon Strath raised a 60 foot x 40 barn to put an 8 foot cement block wall under it. As they jacked up the barn, the ties were used as blocks crisscrossed two per row to hold the barn up. Ken Ritchie headed the crew that laid the blocks under the wall. Afterwards, we used the better ties for fence posts and I can remember years later, pulling the fence posts out of the ground as we changed 5 and 10 acre fields into 50 – 100 acre parcels.

Once upon a time, you could buy ties at lumber yards and they were used for landscaping, retaining walls and raised flower beds I said.

The fellow knew exactly what I was talking about and mentioned that you could still buy tie sized posts for the same purpose at some yards but they were not treated with creosote.

3. Usually, once a year – I do not know how long those ties have been at the Anne Street location – they come in with flatbeds and load all the ties and ship take them away I was told that the ties went to a Hydro plant in the United States where they were used to make electricity.

4. He took my name, telephone number and email address suggesting someone would contact me.

He also suggested that I could send an email to media_relations@cpr.ca. I will keep you informed.