Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday November 24, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

Suddenly winter.  The Town Christmas tree was barely alight when the wind strengthened, the snow came in and Midland is now all frosty white.  It was a fun ceremony with hot chocolate and a visit from Santa.  Thank you to the Southern Georgian Bay Relators, Midland Pipes and Drums, Huronia Harmonizers, the Boathouse Restaurant, Midland Police, Town staff and our secret Santa.  

Christmas festivities were tempered by the announcement of CCL closing in Penetanguishene with the loss of 170 jobs.  The shutdown will begin next year and complete in 2015.  I am constantly perplexed that we live in province that is facing significant economic challenges and we have no plan to deal with the structural changes impacting our manufacturers. Picking up the pieces seems to be left to the smaller communities, most recently Leamington and Penetanguishene.


Monday November 25th will start at Barrie City Hall at 4:00 pm with the launch of the 2013 Mothers Against Drunk Driving campaign.  Then at 5:30 pm back to Midland for a closed meeting of Council dealing with matters of litigation and labour. At 7:00 pm is the November Council meeting. The agenda includes:
-          Three deputations:
o    Update on the SSEA budget arrangement
o    Presentation on the new Tiffin House retirement home
o    Information about Marina Park (the four story residential development next to Bayport)
-          Direction on the sale of four surplus Town properties – 349 Lakewood Dr; 1037 Ingram Cres; 1041 Ingram Cres; and 347 Estate Court.
-          Shawn Berriault, our Director of Public Works, will be recognized for his outstanding sustainability work with the SSEA
-          Discussion of appointing a temporary municipal representative to the Police Service Board
Right after Council another closed meeting dealing with personal, litigation and land acquisition. 

Tuesday’s highlight is the short County Council meeting in Midhurst at 9:00 am.

Two items for Wednesday November 27th.   At 7:00 am the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corp. is hosting an Employers Breakfast at Brooklea.  Please call NSCFDC if you wish to attend.

From 9:00 am to 11 am the OPP will be holding a car seat clinic at the Southern Georgian Bay OPP, Hwy 12. If you wish to have your infant seat professionally assessed you will need to make an appointment by calling 705-526-3761. 

On Thursday November 28th the four municipalities will meet at Midland Town Hall at 2:00 pm for their monthly Economic Alliance meeting.  This meeting will discuss the management structure for the Alliance and progress on the $400,000 funding request from the County. You are welcome to attend these meetings.

At 5:00 pm the downtown merchants are organizing a grass roots gathering to critique and revitalize the downtown. This spontaneous discussion is being done in parallel with the BIA.  The event will take place at the Shopmidland location at Hugel and King. Then at 5:30 you may wish to go to Ste. Marie for the first evening of “First Light”. This memorable event with take place for three nights starting on the 28th and is open from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

And be sure to wish your American friends a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Friday is a quiet day with Town staff attending their Christmas party in the evening.


Ending on a Christmas theme, the annual Civitan Christmas parade will take place on Saturday at 11:00 am.  It will start at Little Lake Park and move down King Street to the waterfront. Please come out for our wonderful annual event.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday November 17, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

It was the wettest coldest Remembrance Day anyone can recall and now it’s 15 degrees outside. Quite the rollercoaster we are on   - but nothing like our friends in Toronto.

On Thursday past County Council discussed its 10 year Affordable Housing Strategy.   (You may recall that the housing providers in our area had some serious concerns about the proposed strategy.)  Working together, we four mayors were able to make amendments for allowing North Simcoe to regionally manage its own housing solutions and set targets that would improve the affordable housing shortfall, as opposed to just maintaining it. Better results when we work together.

We were all taken aback to learn of the closing of the Heinz plant in Leamington with the loss of 730 well-paying jobs.  It shows that the manufacturers across Ontario are still under considerable pressure. I make a point of visiting with most of the large manufactures in Midland on a regular basis. While they are facing headwinds the good news is that they are hanging in and in many cases hiring. It’s going to be a long haul but there is a lot of good news for Midland out there.

On Monday November 18th the Big Brothers Big Sisters invite you to their AGM at NSSRC at 5:30 pm.

Then on Tuesday you are invited to another AGM, this one for the Huronia Foundation for the Arts at 7:00 pm at the library.

Wednesday puts me on Rogers Politically Speaking at 7:00 pm. You are invited to phone in questions to the live show – mayor Ford questions will be handled delicately.

Thursday November 21st at 9:00 am, you are invited to the official opening of Georgian Village in Penetanguishene.  This state of the art facility demonstrates the County’s commitment to helping our elderly live quality fulfilling lives.  At 4:00 pm at the Town Hall, you may wish to attend the November Police Service Board meeting.

On Friday at 11:00 am at Town Hall, the Town holds its public bi-weekly meeting on our Waterfront project.  One of our challenges is to come up with a memorable name for the to-be-created district. You are invited to participate in the Town’s “Name Our Waterfront Contest”. Creative people should check out contest details at:

And later that day we step into Christmas with the Town and the Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Board lighting the Town Christmas tree.  The ceremony starts at 6:30 pm with a parade from Yonge at King down to our waterfront. We will celebrate our tree with Christmas carols, hot chocolate and I am told a visit from the big man himself.  Come and enjoy the festivities.


            Shopping .

A reminder about the YMCA’s Gifts to Give event. If you have unused and nearly new gift items to donate (no furniture or clothing please) take them to the YMCA Employment Services – Midland, 334 King Street:
·         November 18th to 22nd, November 25th to 29th, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm
·         Saturday November 23rd   and 30th, 10:00 am to 1:30 pm

And finally, if you want to hear what the Orillia theatre scene thinks about our MCC, take a look at :

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday November 10, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

A special day tomorrow for all of Midland. Please join us at the Cenotaph at 10:30 am to mark Remembrance Day and pay tribute to our living veterans and those who did not return.

Tuesday November 12th begins at 9:00 am in Midhurst for the regular County Council meeting. Then at 6:00 pm your Council goes into a closed meeting to discuss three matters involving personal issues and labour negotiations. At 7:00 pm at Town Hall is the General Committee. A short agenda including;
-       A proposal for a special “luge” event in Little lake Park. A local entrepreneur has created an on-street luge system that is being marketed to the world. Midland is home base, so let’s see what we can do to help
-       Four surplus municipal lots will be considered for disposition
-       Two new draft by-laws covering procurement and communication
Then to make sure we do not go home early, a second closed meeting will be held to discuss the MPUC.

Wednesday will be a relatively quiet day with an evening meeting at the Best Western in Orillia to discuss our region’s Health Unit’s active transportation initiative.

If hockey is your passion you will want to attend the latest A Day in the Life series at the MCC. Pierre Pilote, NHL Hall of Famer; will be featured.  He was a perennial All Star and the Captain of the 1961 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Black Hawks. That’s at 7:30 at the MCC. Tickets at or the MCC box office.

Thursday November 14th at 9:00 am will see a very important discussion at the County Council chamber in Midlhurst.  The County’s 10 year affordable housing strategy was released some four months ago and raised many concerns amongst the housing service providers in our area. Underlying these concerns is the reality that there are few public housing dollars available and they are increasingly being allocated to the faster growing communities in our County. Our objective is to ensure that North Simcoe has a sustainable housing plan that will address our unmet need for affordable housing. You are invited to attend the debate.

Back home at the MCC the Hope Lives Here Book Launch will take place at 7:00 pm. Funds are being raised for the Cancer Support Centre.  Tickets are $50. Please contact Anna at

On Friday November 15th you are invited to the Waterfront Steering Committee meeting at 11:00 am at Town Hall. Then at noon it’s over to Walmart for the launch of the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign. Friday also sees the start of the Huronia Players 2013/2014 season featuring the play “In-laws, Outlaws and Other People Who Should be Shot”.  Tickets are available through the MCC.


Saturday – Gateway Centre for Learning will hold their Book Cellar event at 10 am at the library.


The Town would like your views on two important subjects.

1)     The Huronia Economic Alliance is seeking comments on what makes our area such a good place to live (or not). Please comment at

2)     Our Cultural Plan needs your input on our cultural assets and future investments. Please visit . The survey will close on November 15, 2013.

Many of you know Lu Robitaille a local artist who is renowned for her renditions of the Georgian Bay landscape.  She and her husband have literally sold the farm and are moving to Coldwater. With the downsizing Lu has to part with all her stock to lighten the moving load. She will be having a sale of her artwork until December 2nd.  If you want some unique artwork or just want to catch up with Lu please call her at 705-534-3971.

Lastly, Midland has become one of the few towns in Canada with publicly accessible WIFI – we are now officially a “hot spot”. My thanks to for providing this service.  Access will cover all of King Street from the waterfront to the MCC by Christmas.  So come downtown and get connected.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday November 3, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

The clocks have been turned back and Mother Nature is settling in for a short winter’s break. No break on the Town agenda though, as you will see below. Also by the time spring returns we will be well into the municipal election race. So if you are thinking of running, there is no time like the present.  

On Monday November 4th at 10:00 am invitees from the tourism sector will meet at the Oakwood Community Centre in Tiny. The objective is to develop a plan of action to better coordinate and market tourism in our area. We all appreciate how important tourism is for our economy but to date we have not effectively promoted our region’s many superior tourism assets. This plan will head us in that direction. The new plan will be publically available next February at the Tourism Summit to be held in Tay.

The positive economic news continues for Midland on Tuesday November 5th at 3:00 pm with the opening of the Des Jardins Caisse Populaire on Hwy 93 in Midland.

Wednesday November 6th will see the Grade 6 students from Bayview Public school at Town Hall for a tour - an infrequent opportunity to tell younger folks what municipal politics and operations are really like.

That evening, get ready for a series of meetings at Town Hall:
1)     At 6:30 pm is a special meeting of Council to decide on the signage for the new Bourgeois motors location on Hwy 12.
2)     At 7:00 pm is a Public Planning meeting for residents to comment on the rezoning and prospective sale of two surplus town properties - 340 Lakewood Dr. and 808 Birchwood Dr.
3)     Following is the regular Planning and Development Committee meeting including:
-       A revised proposal for the development of the Moranis property at 422 King St.  (Note that while the public cannot speak at this meeting I anticipate Council will recommend another public input meeting to gain comments on the revised proposal.)
-       Zoning change for the old Holy Cross church property at 845 Yonge Street.
-       A lot severance on Sumac Lane (fronting Little Lake)

If Town business is not your cup of tea you may wish to visit the MCC to take part in their new “Destinations” travel club. This monthly club will be hosted by Meg Whitton (the DOCK FM) and help you explore the world of travel. This inaugural meeting starts at 7:00 pm with the topic of “Cruising” (ocean cruising and river cruising).  Tickets are $19 at the MCC Box Office or online at

On Thursday November 7th Council will hold a closed meeting to obtain information about the prospective MPUC sale. While the meeting has been closed for a variety of reasons, I am trying to get at least portions of it opened so that you are aware of the issues confronting Council as it decides on the best course of action for our MPUC asset. I will put out a special e-mail if the meeting will be held, at least in part, in public.

Friday November 8th get ready for a pre-Remembrance Day treat “When Johnny Came Marching Home”.  This stirring performance features the Purple Heart Band, plus the three-part wartime harmony group The Maisies.  The fun starts at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $25 plus tax at MCC. $30 at door. Veterans are free.


Two special items for your Saturday:
The museum has a special craft event on Saturday and Sunday. Ethel Chynoweth Pawis will lead you in making your own moccasins at Huronia Museum.  The cost is $100 plus HST. Please call the Huronia Museum.
At 2:00 pm is a reception at the library in honour of past Board member Shirley Whittington
Monday November 11th is Remembrance Day.  Please join us at the Cenotaph at 10:45 am.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.