Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday November 30, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen

Santa has come to Town. A great day and a great Santa Claus parade.  I estimate that a couple of thousand people lined the route to wave at the jolly old elf. Lots of youngsters – and while I did not see it I believe our new Town mascot was in the parade.  So if you see a rather largish penguin wandering about the Town, she’s one of ours.

This week heralds the arrival of our new municipal councils. You have four council inaugurations to choose from in North Simcoe alone. Please consider dropping by to honour your fellow citizens who are prepared to spend the next four years helping make our municipalities belter for all of us.


Monday December 1st sees our annual YMCA Gifts to Give event. This special program allows individuals and families who are having a tough time making ends meet, select quality Christmas gifts for their loved ones. It takes place at the NSSRC from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. A food donation would be appreciated to help our Salvation Army Food Bank.

Inaugurations. Tiny Township invites you to welcome in its new Council at their Township offices at 1:00 pm.  Then at 7:30 pm it is your own Midland Council inauguration at 7:30 pm at the Town Council chambers.

Tuesday strikes a more serious note with a County Waste Management symposium at 2:00 pm at the County museum.

On Wednesday December 3rd the four mayors will meet to further our initiative to protect the area’s healthcare. Our major objectives are to ensure we continue to have a quality community hospital located here and that we sustain the range of medical services we enjoy in North Simcoe. Thanks to a combined effort, progress is being made with our hospital, the LHIN and the Ministry of Health.

At 7:00 pm you have a choice of meetings. The Penetanguishene Council inauguration will take place in their Council chambers on Robert Street. Midland will host its first Planning and Development Committee meeting of the new Council. (The agenda was not available at the time of writing so check the Town website at )

Thursday December the 4th sees more County Council orientation at 9:00 am in Midhurst. The meeting will also start the campaigning for the new County warden. And at 7:30 pm you are invited to the Tay Council inauguration in their chambers at 450 Park Street.  

Friday December the 5th - there will be no Waterfront Steering committee meeting. But there will be a cheque presentation by Bank of Nova Scotia to GBGH at 3:00 pm.  And at 7:00 pm it’s the Huronia Players AGM at the MCC.  The AGM is followed by a special variety show (still time for you to join HP as a member)



-       At 9:00 am the farmers market takes place at NSSRC
-       You are invited to a special day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The remembrance takes place at 2:00 pm in the Town Council chambers
-       Vox Huronia hosts its Christmas concert at St Paul’s church at 7:30 pm

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Making Decisions - 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday November 23, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen

The work of one Council draws to a close and a new one begins.  You would think the business of the Town would be taking a bit of a breather but that’s not the case. Your new Councilors are going though “basic training”, getting their committee assignments and being updated on the challenges they will be facing at the Council table.

From your mayor’s perspective things have never been busier. Last term, a major accomplishment was having the four municipalities come together around economic development. This term it will be around healthcare. Over the past year we have seen a series of events that have raised concern about the long-term sustainability of our healthcare services – services critical to our future. These events include potential withdrawal of services from our area and structural funding shortfalls at GBGH. The four mayors (including a mayor-elect) have committed to joining forces to provide civic leadership on this important matter. It’s a long term initiative that will require informed public engagement.  I will keep you updated.


On Monday the 24th at 7:00 pm is the November Council meeting – the last one of this term of Council. A relatively short but none-the-less challenging agenda for a retiring Council:  
-       There will be a Public Meeting (you may speak) on the proposed new by-law for development charges. The by-law will freeze development charges for the five year period, subject to an annual review by Council
-       Two deputations and a number of letters on the proposed 2015 Watercross event on Little Lake
-       A by-law to allow Kaitlin to build 4 model homes in their Bayport property
-       A vote on the Source Water Protection by-law

On Tuesday its County’s last Council meeting for the term.  At noon, Askennonia invites you to the NSSRC for a luncheon honoring our veterans and featuring Conrad Black as the speaker.

Wednesday November 26th is relatively quiet except at the Huronia Museum. From 5:00 to 9:00 pm they will be hosting a reception to launch their new General Store exhibit.  Lots of good things happening at the museum these days.

Then it gets busy. At 7:00 am on Thursday November 27th the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corp. (NSCFDC) and the Ontrario College of Trades host a skilled trades breakfast at the Best Western.  Then at 9:00 am County Councilors will assemble in Midhurst for their orientation.

In the afternoon, two long serving members of Town staff will be honored with separate retirement gatherings. At 1:00 pm you may wish to come and say farewell to Rick Leaney at the NSSRC. Rick has been the heart of our harbor operation for too many years to remember.  At 2:00 pm at the Fire Hall its Barb Anderson’s retirement.  While she does not have the title, Barb has been running our Fire Department - despite what the organization chart says.

And in the evening, two more special events:
-       The Town Tree lighting starts at 6:30 pm at the Town Dock with a parade up to the Library for a lighting ceremony at 7:00 pm. 
-       From 5:30 to 9:00 pm the famous “First Light” event at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons takes place with over 5,000 candles. Admission is $10.00 per person with a non-perishable food item.  This “Top 100 in Ontario” event will take place on the evenings of November 27, 28, and 29.

On Friday, November 28th, 2014 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon at the Brian Orser Arena, is a business presentation organized by our NSCFDC. The topic entitled “The Balanced Scorecard and Organizational Effectiveness” will be presented by Frieda Ambroziak.  Pre-registration is required at the NSCFDC 705.526.1371 ext. 113

Your new municipal Council will be going through a day of orientation. And if they survive that they are invited to the staff Christmas party that evening.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..

-        The Civitan Santa Claus parade will start down King Street from Little Lake Park at 11 am
-       The Serenata Choir Christmas choral presentation, including the Georgian Bay Brass, is at 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s 
-       Midland Secondary School hosts their artisan show at MSS from 9:00 to 3:00 pm. This will raise money for the MSS Learning Centre.
-       Final day for First Light at Ste. Marie


-       The Children’s Community Choir is hosting its Christmas show at St Paul’s at 7:00 pm
-       Midland Secondary School – second day for their artisan show at MSS from 9:00 to 3:00 pm.

And in closing I have a local charity that requires 300 square feet of dry storage for clean materials. If you have any space you can make available, let me know.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Making Decisions - 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday November 16, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen

The snow is here – and we love it, right  ;-)

A number of major developments on our area tourism front you should know about. Some three years ago the four North Simcoe municipalities identified tourism as a major economic pillar and decided to devote time and energy to building our tourism capabilities.  A consulting firm was brought in to develop a tourism plan. The plan was turned over to the new Tourism Action Plan Committee (TAP). That Committee is made up of our major area tourism services and attractions and all four municipalities.

Their first task was to choose a “brand” for our area. Not a simple task.  For example, when you say “Muskoka” most people think of lakes; woods; a Muskoka chair on a dock; and getting away from it all. When you say “Mildand/Penentanguishene/Tiny/Tay” – not much comes to mind. So we need a brand and that starts with selection of a brand name. Ladies and gentlemen that name is:  “The Heart of Georgian Bay”..” Au Coeur de la Baie Georgian” 

Initial work to build our brand has started with the launch of our area tourism website  More website work to come. Additionally, four TAP members (Martyrs’ Shrine/Wye Marsh/Huronia Museum/Keewatin) are developing a “Passport” marketing initiative for the tour and vacation markets, and will use a telemarketing campaign to attract new visitors to our area. And to cap off our excellent tourism week, the Province on Ontario has just announced that both St. Marie Among the Hurons and the SS Keewatin are now recognized as "Ontario Signature Experiences"

Our tourism initiative is on a roll.


Monday November 17th – your chance to enjoy good food at Boston Pizza and help out the Frank Graham 2015 Cycle Liberation Tour. Boston Pizza has graciously agreed to donate 10% of all food sales between 5:00 and 8:00 pm towards this special veteran’s event.  Then at 5:30 pm it’s the Big Brothers and Sisters AGM at NSSRC. 

A very busy evening on Tuesday November 18th.  At 6:15 pm the Salvation Army will launch its Christmas kettle campaign. The kick-off is at the Canadian Tire store on Hwy 93.  At 6:30 pm you are invited to join the Guesthouse for its AGM at St. Paul’s church. And at 7:30 pm at MCC, A Day in the Life features the internationally renowned Canadian tenor, Mr. Ben Heppner. Ben Heppner has been hailed as the finest dramatic tenor of our era.   He has excited audiences in the great opera halls of the world and with many of the leading orchestras.

Wednesday the 19th the four mayors will meet to start developing a plan to support our hospital and healthcare services.  The mayors are coming together in response to growing concerns about the potential loss of healthcare services and shortfalls in hospital funding. Left unaddressed, these challenges could negatively impact our future. The solution includes effective civic engagement, starting with the mayors and involving all citizens.  I expect the mayors to meet regularly over the next few years and involve the public fully in the process.

Thursday November 20th is another busy day. At 9:00 am the County will bring in the newly elected Councilors for their first training session. A lot to learn.  At 9:30 am the County is hosting a half day workshop entitled “Housing Solutions for Simcoe County” at the Simcoe County Museum in Midhurst.

That evening at 7:00 pm the YMCA Peace Medallion will be awarded to We are the Villagers charity for the excellent work that they do in our community with underprivileged children. The award will be accepted by Julianna Matayas and Geoff Crompton, the driving forces behind the charity. That’s at the YMCA Employment Centre at 334 King St. Please bring a non-perishable food item

On Friday November the 21st you may wish to attend the regular Waterfront Project Committee meeting at 11:00 am at Town Hall.  Then for your evening entertainment at 7:00 pm John Kokkinos opens his Digital Labyrinth exhibit in the Quest Gallery at the MCC. And at 8:00 pm it’s the Big Wigs stage show extraordinaire, also at the MCC.



-       9:00 am you will want to visit the fall and winter Farmers Market at NSSRC

-       10:00 am artists takeover the Huronia Museum until 4 pm with all sorts of artwork and crafts

-       Also at 10:00 am the Friends of the Midland Public Library will be marking the 4th anniversary of the Book Cellar, the library’s used bookstore. Buy a bag of books for $5. The sale runs until 2 pm with funds raised going to support your library

-       7:00 pm the Martels Rock and Roll show at NSSRC

-       8:00 pm its Big Wigs at the MCC


-       From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm is the Lorraine Jordan Community Carnival at the old Zellers location at the Mountainview mall.  Games, blow up castles, food, cotton candy and much more. Admission is free with a non-perishable food item or the donation of a new or nearly new item for YMCA Gifts to Give. All proceeds to local charities.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Making Decisions - 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday November 9, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen

Lots of buzz around the new Council and the looming prospect of snow.  Most citizens are pleased with the mix on Council, made up of some new young blood together with returning veterans. Comments about the snow are a lot frostier.

Monday November the 10th gets the old Councils back to work. Both County Council and Midland Council are “lame ducks” due to the large number of new members. County Council will meet at 9:00 am in Midhurst. Midland Council will meet in closed session at 6:00 pm to discuss a labour matter.  At 7:00 pm is the General Committee meeting.  A short agenda including:
-       Recommendation to allow Kaitlin to build 4 model homes at Bayport
-       Recommendation to adopt a new Source Water Protection Plan
-       Discussion on how to organize farmers markets for the 2015 season
-       Discussion of the Watercross event planned for Little Lake in 2015

Tuesday is Remembrance Day. Town Hall will be closed. Please join our men and women in uniform at the Cenotaph at 10:30 am for the Remembrance Day ceremony. At 5:30 pm that evening the Midland Legion Branch 80 will be hosting a special dinner in honour of our veterans.

The students of St. Theresa’s High Scholl are preparing a very special tribute to our service men and women. They have made commemorative markers, each identifying one the soldiers from our area who has fallen in the war. The markers will be posted along the path from St. Ts to the Cenotaph. The students will stand by the markers and help you better know those who have given us our freedom. Please make a point of stopping and talking with these special students.  

The four (new) mayors have had a number of discussions recently about how we can best ensure quality healthcare for our area. We have all agreed that effective public participation is essential, including direct participation by the mayors. The mayors will be meeting with GBGH on Thursday to better understand the existing funding model and to chart a course that will lead to a long-term sustainable financial commitment to our hospital by the LHIN.

Also on Thursday at 6:30 pm at the Library, the Severn Sound Environmental Association will be holding its annual partners reception.

On Friday November 14th, the Town will host a farewell reception for Deborah White, who is retiring after many years of the service to the Town, most recently in our Treasury department.
The reception starts at 1:00 pm at Town Hall.  Please come out and wish Deb well.

That evening at 8:00 pm at MCC, Huronia Players launches its 2014/15 season with It’s A Wonderful Life.   Can’t say enough about our wonderful theatre troupe.



-       We are the Villagers hosts a very imaginative event at the Library from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  A village is being set up and children will get to meet the people who make the village work – the postman, the baker – guess who plays the mayor? Should be lots of fun for families.
-       Victorian Christmas Street Festival at the NSSRC from10:00 am to 4:00 pm – all proceeds go to the Midland OSPCA


-       Brookside Music brings White Night in Russia to the MCC at 2:00 pm. A tour de force of Russian composers on piano and viola

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Making Decisions - 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday November 2, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen

The 2014 election is behind us and your Council has changed – significantly. There are five new members who will bring energy and talent to the challenges ahead. It’s a good result for Midland.  I just wish we could get the voting percentage up over the 41% mark. Official  results at:

The current Council will remain in place until the end of November. With only four Council members continuing, the Council is now known as a “lame duck” council.  As such Council will not be able to make and significant decisions affecting the Town during the month of November. But we can talk.


Monday November 3rd will see the public start of the Downtown Master Plan study.  You are invited to the public launch at the MCC at 6:30 pm. There will be presentations from a number of community leaders and a chance for you tell us what you want for your future downtown. Should wrap up about 9:00 pm

On Tuesday November 4th the work on the Downtown Master Plan continues with a Steering Committee meeting at Town Hall at 9:00 am. You are welcome to attend. At 5:00 pm, also at Town Hall, Bell Mobility will hold an open house about their wireless plans for our area.

That evening at 7:30 pm at the MCC, it’s a Day in the Life with Louise Pitre.  Ms Pitre is a Tony Award nominated songstress, often regarded as Canada’s first lady of musical theatre. Should be an interesting interview moderated by Fred Hacker.

Wednesday November 5th at 7:00 pm will see one of the shortest Planning and Development Committee meetings ever. Two items on the agenda;
-       Recommendation to move the draft Source Protection Plan to Council for approval
-       Economic development report, including the first report from our new economic development corporation

Thursday the 6th is the start of the Ontario Contact Conference at the MCC. This conference will bring 300 delegates from performers to agents to our Town. The three-day conference features contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, spoken word, and youth orientated programming. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved in the performing arts sector.
Friday November 7th will feature the regular Waterfront Steering committee at 11:00 am at Town Hall.  Then at 5:00 pm is a very special tribute to our veterans of the First Would War.  The  Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 80 will be hosting a dinner at its premises at 196 Queen starting at 6:30 pm.  That will be followed by a presentation by Dr. Nicholls who will tell us what conditions were like for our men and women who served in the Great War. Tickets are $25 and available in advance at Huronia Museum (705.526.2844

And don’t forget, the Ontario Contact Conference is at the MCC all day.


-       Georgian College has an Open House from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at its Midland campus. Your chance to see campus life.
-       The last day of the Ontario Contact Conference at the MCC

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Making Decisions - 2014