Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday December 20, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

And so it is Christmas.  Our remarkable non-winter continues.  Even with the reminder of a light dusting of snow this morning, you know it’s not really winter when Blue Mountain has to reopen its mini-putt to entertain the Christmas vacationers.

While I would prefer that this last missive of the year have a lighter tone, there are two recent public issues that are causing some concern.  Our local newspaper carried a story that our hospital may be facing major changes in the years ahead. As reported, these changes could affect staffing and service delivery.

This week also saw the release of a significant Discussion Paper from the Ministry of Health. It pointed to potentially sweeping changes to primary care (your family doctor), service delivery outside of hospitals from the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and the likelihood of reorganizing components of healthcare delivery, likely through “healthcare hubs”. A lot of change to consider all at once.

These announcements, while appearing to come out of nowhere, reflect the reality that Ontario is no longer the health care leader that it used to be. The good news is that GBGH, the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN and the MoH have promised to hold extensive consultations before changes are made. The other good bit of news is that North Simcoe is not caught flat footed. Over the last four years the citizens of North Simcoe, the mayors and the leaders of our healthcare institutions have met regularly to discuss how to improve the delivery of healthcare for all residents. While change may be difficult, we will use this opportunity to strengthen healthcare in our area.

The second issue concerns our Midland Library. Mayor Marshall has written a number of pieces indicating that he would prefer a merger of our two municipal libraries. While I respect his position, the fundamental question is not about merger or not, but rather what type of library best serves the interests of the people of Midland.

Our library has its own Board of Directors put in place to set policy and oversee its operation. Municipal Council has limited influence over Board decisions.  So while it is entirely appropriate for our library Board to consider their form of operation, they must remain focused the needs of our citizens. And I have every confidence that they will do so.


A short work week. On Monday December 21st you will want to take the young ones down to the MCC at 1:00 pm for a free screening of the Christmas favorite Polar Express.  At 5:00 pm it’s my last formal meeting of the year with the Citizens Healthcare Steering Committee at GBGH. The meeting will focus on organizing the North Simcoe public meeting on healthcare set for mid-February. More information in the days ahead.

Town Hall closes at noon on December 24th and opens again on January 4th. Remember Bruce Stanton will host his annual free skating party on Thursday December 31st from 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the NSSRC.

It’s now time to put the world away and enjoy this season of peace and hope with family and friends. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gord McKay

P.S. One last taste of the season. See what Cottage Life has to say about Midland’s own Butter Tart Beer:

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday December 12, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The days are getting busier as Christmas approaches. Still no snow on the horizon but that has not slowed down the Christmas shopping. Get out there and enjoy the season.

Monday Dec 14th at 3:30 pm will see the retirement reception for Father Bernie Carroll, Director of Martyr’s Shrine. The gathering at the Shrine will celebrate Father Carroll’s stewardship in making the Shrine a more welcoming part of our North Simcoe community.

At 5:30 pm is a closed meeting of Council for personal matters.  Then at 7:00 pm is the December combination General Committee and Council meeting. A lengthy agenda including:

-       Our annual Civic Awards to deserving citizens and organizations

-       Three deputations:

o    Midland Seniors Council on the needs of the elderly in Midland

o    Lakehead University`s Kim Fedderson and its impact upon Simcoe County

o    We Are the Villagers will tell us about this excellent local charity

-       A Public Meeting (you may speak) on the proposed signage on the health building on Highway 12

-       Confirmation of Council’s intent to proceed with an OPP costing

-       Review of the progress on the Tiffin Phase 6 work plan

-       A vote on the agreement with our professional fire fighters

-       Introduction of our new Customer Service Feedback form

-       Review of our operations Dashboard – a way to keep Council and the public up to date on how well we are meeting our strategic objectives

On Tuesday Dec 15th the Town will engage in its annual table-top emergency planning exercise. Not to worry. You will not be seeing any additional emergency vehicles on our streets. That evening at 6:00 pm I join our 726 Midland Sea Cadets for their annual Christmas dinner celebration.

Wednesday the 16th seems to be healthcare day. It starts at 8:00 am with the quarterly meeting of the Physicians Recruitment Committee. Then at 4:00 pm the mayors are invited to meet with Karen McGrath, President of GBGH, to hear the results of the recent external assessment of our hospital. As you are aware, the four mayors remain committed to working to keep our community hospital healthy and well-funded.

Thursday December 17th starts at 9:00 am at the County for an Audit and Finance Committee meeting. At 12 noon the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre is opening their doors to the entire Town for a free festive meal at their location on Yonge Street. I know you will be warmly welcomed by our urban First Nations’ community.

On Friday the 18th, the Good Lovelies are at the MCC for their Christmas concert – unfortunately it’s all sold out.



-       2:00 pm at the MCC a Day in the Life features Santa Claus.  If you have young ones who want the inside scoop on Santa, this is for you

-       5:00 pm Victorian Christmas – Your chance to visit 4 Midland homes all decked out for the season. Tickets are still available at the Town; the N.S.S.R.C.; the Library; SerendipiTea, and Tripp's Paint.



I am not sure that this is in the festive category but Midland`s Best Butter Tart beer sold out its first run at the local LCBO`s in just four days.  I understand that they have a new supply in. You have to try this local taste of the season.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday December 6, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

If our recent summer-like weather is any indication it promises to be an interesting winter.  But there is no dampening of the Christmas spirit as you will see below.

A quiet start to the week.  On Tuesday December 8th at 9:00 am at Midhurst, County Council debates changes to our waste management system. Over the last 5 years the County has implemented significant changes to our municipal waste recycling and collection.  However our household diversion rate is stuck at about 52% - 48% of our waste still goes to landfill. Further the amount of waste each household generates each year continues to increase. This discussion will see if the County is willing to put in new policy measures to reduce the amount of garbage that we all generate.

On Wednesday the 9th something very special – the Tay Township Great Christmas Caravan comes to Town.  Captain Eric, of Keewatin fame, and Mayor Scotty have somehow finagled a tractor-trailer full of toys.  These toys will be distributed to childrens’ charities across North Simcoe.  Midland’s turn is at noon in front of the NSSRC. Groups such as Boys and Girls Club and the Salvation Army will be there to receive this Christmas bounty. Please drop by to see Santa at his best.

At 4:45 pm at St. Pauls, Sistema Huronia will perform a series of pieces demonstrating the string playing skills that local children have learned this semester. This will be a short informal concert to provide a friendly atmosphere for our youthful musicians to perform together for the first time. Please come and show these youngsters that they are appreciated by all of us.

That evening, at 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council to discuss a labour matter. Then at 7:00 pm Council has an open meeting to discuss budget related matters, followed later on by a closed meeting to discuss the personal aspects of the budget matters. While Council tries to avoid closed meetings, this series of closed meetings arises from your Council’s comprehensive review of the way the Town operates. This internal review will give us the needed information to sustainably provide our needed services while allowing the Town to undertake new initiatives such as downtown revitalization and investing in our cultural economy.

And speaking of culture, the down-east talents of the Barrra MacNeil will be on display at the MCC. This sold out performance is indicative of the cultural growth we are seeing in our area.

On Thursday December the10th there are two meetings for you. From 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at the Best Western, the Severn Sound Sustainability group will host a workshop on invasive species. You need to register in advance. Please contact | 705.526.1371 x. 112.  Then at 6:00 pm the Hanson Group is hosting a public input session to review the “development design guideline” for their new development on Highway 12. The event is at our Library.

Friday the 11th at 10:00 am will feature a short meeting of the Downtown Safety Committee at Town Hall. This meeting will finalize the recommendations for the “Situation Table” – a new form of coordinating police and social agencies to help those who are having trouble coping in society.

In our downtown, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm there will be a live remote in the new parking lot on the corner of King & Bay Street.  Corus Radio will be set up doing a live broadcast and the Midland Fire department will be bringing a truck as we're doing a fill-the-truck food/toy drive for charity. Look for our local merchants to be open for your Christmas shopping – a great opportunity to shop local.


A weekend for family plans. Just one cultural note. The iconic Bobby Curtola will be live on stage at the MCC at 8:00 pm on Sunday


As part of our Town moving to a more modern economy, Council has decided to revamp its by-laws respecting home based businesses. The intention is to move from a regime that restricts entrepreneurial home-based activity to one that encourages it, while respecting the rights of citizens to enjoy their residential neighborhoods.

Our Planning Department is now gathering your views on the topic. If you operate a home-based business, the Town wants to hear from you. You can help by filling out the survey:  Your information will be kept confidential.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday November 29, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Christmas season is upon us. This past week saw the lighting the Town Christmas tree; the Santa Clause parade; and Serenata’s Sing We Noel concert. Remember parking is free in the downtown during December. 

Other noteworthy developments this past week - Penetanguishene and Midland Councils have both voted to start the transit link running between the two communities in January. The new entrance to the commercial property off of Highway 12 at Jones Road is now open, although traffic congestion suggests that more work is needed on the access to the Walmart plaza. And Midland has received its first shipment of our new hometown beverage Midland’s Maple Butter Tart Beer. A definite “must try”. Should be available at our local LCBO.


Monday November 30th sees the return of a unique Midland event – Gifts to Give.  Team Jordan, NEBs and the YMCA Employment Centre have been collecting quality donations that will be given to needy individuals and families who otherwise would not be able to afford Christmas gifts.  The gifts will be made available at the NSSRC from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. This year Waypoint will make the program accessible to all of North Simcoe by providing a transit service. The pick-up for Tiny Township will leave at 12:15 pm from the Swinging Seniors Centre near the beach and from Victoria Harbor Community Centre leaving at 12:40 pm.

Tuesday December 1st and another special event. A spontaneous group of 50 local “guys” will come together at Lot 102 at 6:00 pm for the inaugural Guys Who Care event. These gentlemen will each donate $200 and then select one charity to receive the combined $10,000. And all this will take less than an hour. A truly sharing community. Also that evening at 7:00 pm is the Huronia Players AGM at their location.

Wednesday the 2nd see two Town meetings. At 5:30 pm is a closed meeting to discuss human resource matters. At 7:00 pm is the December Planning and Development Committee.  The agenda includes:

  • A detailed discussion of “second suites” and what restrictions, if any, Council may place on them. (The province requires residential buildings be allowed to have a second suite included in the building unless there is a sound planning reason not to do so.)
  • A review of the many projects linked to our recently adopted Downtown Master Plan
  • A discussion of the Master Plan implementation associated with the Midland Bay landing property

    Thursday the 3rd starts early with an 8:00 am meeting for Councilors and interested parties to discuss our Municipal Energy Plan. That’s at the Library.

    On Friday December the 4th, the three day Bantam-Midget Silver Stick Tournament kicks-off at the NSSRC. That evening you are invited to attend the Lions Christmas party at 6:30 pm at the Legion. Tickets are $30:00 and include dinner.  Please call Ethel at 527-4115.



  • 10:00 am at Lakehead University – A planning meeting for the upcoming Zero Waste conference

  • 2:00 pm the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women ceremony in the Askennonia Room at the NSSRC.  This moving tribute is organized by the Rosewood Women’s Shelter to remind all of us of the continuing tragedy of men’s violence towards women.  Please do attend.


The famous “First Light” event at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons heads into its 16th year in 2015 with a second schedule of dates that will see the historic site aglow with over 5,000 candles. In addition to November dates, December 3rd, 4th and 5th have been added. Also new for 2015 is a spectacular fireworks display on Thursday December 3rd.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday November 22, 2105

Ladies and Gentlemen

Snow. I know I should not be using four letter words but somebody had to say it.

Monday November 23rd starts busy and stays that way all day. At 9:00 am you may wish to participate in a National Housing Day symposium at the Simcoe County Museum.  At 5:30 pm the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Simcoe host their AGM at the NSSRC. Also at 5:30 pm Council meets in closed session to consider Committee appointments and to receive legal advice.

At 7:00 pm it’s the November Council meeting. Items on the agenda are:

  • Two presentations including a special award to Jeff Fillingham. Jeff, who has mobility challenges, recognized the need for an accessible taxi in Midland.  He launched a campaign and with the help of Central Taxi successfully brought that service to our community
  • Three deputations:
    • EDCNS will give us a status on their economic development work
    • Quest Art School and Gallery will inform us about the visual arts
    • NSCFDC will tell us how they are helping small business
  • Public Meeting (you may speak) on the setting of fees for our Risk Management Official.  The RMO works with companies to develop plans for source water protection
  • Decision on the new Midland –Penetanguishene transit service.  The service should better link our two communities by early in the new year
  • Review of the Tiffin by the Bay development site work-plan
  • Recognition of the OMB appeal against the Downtown Health Hub at Edgehill Park

    Tuesday the 24th also starts at 9:00 am in Midhurst with the County Council meeting. (If you have ever wondered what we do down at County, you may wish to take a look at our November agenda for Council

    At noon Askennonia is hosting a special Honour Our Veterans lunch. If you wish to attend please contact Askennonia at 526-7609.  You need to register in advance.

    At 1:00 pm the focus shifts to MSS in Midland for the launch of the seasonal RIDE program. Safe and sober driving is always in season. At 2:00 pm you may wish to attend the North Simcoe Housing Working Group meeting. One of their key initiatives is developing a common guideline for “second suites” for all four North Simcoe municipalities.

    Come 7:00 pm you are invited to a special evening of glitter and ceremony – the first MCC Cultural Awards.  Awards will be made in four categories to those who have significantly benefitted our area’s cultural scene. The feature speaker for the evening is mayor Dan Mathieson of Stratford, Ontario who will tell us how culture has transformed his municipality. Admission is free.

    On Wednesday the 25th I head over to Collingwood for a meeting of the urban mayors of Simcoe County.  We will be discussing the challenges of urban centers in rural settings and how we can work better together. At 3:00 pm you may wish to drop into the new offices of Carlson-Wagonlit travel on King Street as they celebrate their grand re-opening. And at 5:00 pm the BIA starts the Christmas season with tree lighting festivities. The actual tree lighting takes place at 7:00 pm at Neehozday Park, next to the Library.

    Thursday November 26th sees the Downtown Safety Committee meeting at 10:00 am at Town Hall.  The Committee is getting close to finalizing a new approach for Midland to improve our downtown safety and assist those with challenges. One of the features of the new system will be what is known as a “situation table”. A situation table is called as needed to bring together a group of social agencies to work out a coordinated approach to dealing with a challenged individual. This approach places a lot more emphasis on prevention as opposed to reacting to incidents.

    Then at 5:00 pm Council meets to discuss the developing MPUC Request for Proposal. The meeting will start in closed and then later on move to a public meeting.

    Friday the 27th.  At 9:00 am the Affordable Housing Advisory committee meets at County. Friday is also the first day of the three day Novice/Atom/Pee Wee Silver Stick Hockey Tournament at the NSSRC. And lastly, at 7:00 pm, the iconic folk singer Valdy is at the MCC.


  • 11:00 am is the 2015 Civitan Santa Clause parade in downtown Midland
  • 7:30 pm at St Pauls is the Serenata Choir “Sing We Noel” concert. Tickets at the door

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday November 15, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

A little bit of snow this past week-end - a reminder of what’s ahead.  Also a memorable Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph.  It has to be the largest crowd that I can recall. A large contingent from Base Borden, our veterans, air and sea cadets, school children, a sprinkling of politicians and lots of townsfolk. The freedoms we enjoy do not come without cost.  A sincere thank-you to all veterans and to those who serve. We will never forget.

Monday November the 16th has two meetings for you. The Audit Committee meets at 2:00 pm at Town Hall. Perhaps of greater interest is the Official Plan Review meeting at the NSSRC at 7:00 pm. This meeting is part of the regular 5 year planning cycle where all citizens are asked to provide input on the future of their community -  what should it look like?; what services should be provided?; how it should grow?  Please come and provide your views on your Midland community.

On Wednesday the 18th is one of my favourite duties as the children from Huron Park School will tour Town Hall and the Police station. It is always a lot of fun answering their questions, including that perennial favorite – “Does the mayor get to boss everyone around?”

Thursday the 19th will see the North Simcoe mayors gather to discuss bringing fibre optic infrastructure to our area. With modern business and citizens becoming more and more connected, having high speed access in no longer a “nice to have”. The four municipalities are working together to ensure it is coming to North Simcoe soon. Look for more information in the days ahead.

At 6:00 pm the Syrian Refugee committee meets in the basement of Midland Library.

The theme is "$5 Pizza Night", salad and can of soda, cookie/sweet for $5. All funds raised will help the cause. You are welcome to come along and show your support.

On Friday I travel to the Nottawasaga Inn for a full day meeting with the County. This meeting will give County councilors a rare chance to really discuss topics such as service delivery, economic development and active transportation.



  • 9:00 am Candy Cane Bazaar at our Legion until 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 pm Habitat for Humanity dedicates its new home in Penetanguishene
  • 6:30 pm Martyrs’ Shrine lights up its Christmas tree.  This 85 foot spruce is considered to be the tallest Christmas tree in Simcoe County


The Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be collecting coats and winter apparel at their main office in Midland, as well as the Penetangushene office. Donations can be made during regular business hours from Monday – Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from November 5 to November 30, 2015.

‘Midland’s Best’ Maple Butter Tart Ale is Ready!  Our award winning beer should be on LCBO shelves by December 4th.  You may recall that Midland along with11 other area municipalities entered the Muskoka Craft Beer Festival in Bracebridge this past August.  We won that contest and as a result, the reward was having our beer concept made a reality and sold in regional LCBO stores.  Look for a media launch at Ciboulette et Cie on Friday, November 27th

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday November 8, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

A bright and sunny week ahead. I hope to see you at the Cenotaph on Wednesday as we remember our fallen sons and daughters.

I often get asked about what’s new in the Town.  My answer is “a lot”. Let me give you a quick summary.

Many are aware that things seem to be happening – service delivery is being reviewed; budgets are being reduced; new initiatives undertaken. It’s true. Council is looking at all of the Town’s operations with the view to improving service delivery while better managing costs. The process naturally starts with tough questions. The answers that Council selects will move Midland to the more prosperous forward-looking community we all want. Council’s direction is contained in its Strategic Plan.  It was adopted earlier this year. If you have a few moments take a look at

Getting down to specifics:

  • Downtown Health Centre (Edgehill Park) - Council voted in favour of this important healthcare project. It has been appealed to the OMB. We will have to wait likely until spring, to receive the provincial body’s direction.
  • Midland Bay Landing – A downturn in the Chinese economy has affected the timing for some of the funding for the project. Our partner, the short-term funding and the contractual terms all remain in place and are being honoured. Our partner is actively looking for additional funding.
  • MPUC – Council is exploring the options for a better business arrangement for our small utility. These options include possible merger or sale. Council is in the process of asking other electrical companies what they would propose to meet our needs. I anticipate that a formal request for interest will be issued by year end.
  • Council has given direction to obtain a costing for service from the OPP. This process is expected to start this fall. Council has made no decision as to whether we will go with the OPP or not.
  • Budget – The 2016 budget is one of many budget steps that will move Midland to a more cost efficient municipality. This budget round in particular will start the process of asking the tough questions while making sure the quality of service we enjoy is protected or enhanced.
  • On the development side we are starting to see more quality jobs and development activity in our Town:
    • The Highway 12 – Jones Road should be open any day. MTO is being slow in granting its approval.
    • Marina Park has been acquired by Romspen who are actively working on its completion.
    • Mountainview Mall is under new ownership. They are considering aligning the stores scattered throughout the mall along the mall’s County Road 93 frontage.
    • Pearl Mist and St. Laurent cruise ships will visit us 14 times in 2016.

      And there’s a lot more. If you have any questions, please contact myself, your Councillor or Town staff. We are there to help.


      Monday November the 9th is just busy. At 5:00 pm you may wish to attend the meeting of the Citizen’s Healthcare Steering Committee at GBGH. From 6:00 to 8:00 pm the County of Simcoe invites you to its regional Transit Consultation session at the Midland Library.  This meeting will help the County decide on its support for area transit projects. Also at 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council as we assess nominations for the annual Merit Awards. And at 7:00 pm is the November General Committee meeting, including:
  • Update on the Senior 55+ Summer Games to be hosted by Midland in 2016
  • Consideration of our joint transit arrangement with Penetanguishene
  • Discussion of the municipal “dashboard” to guide the implementation of Council’s strategic plan
  • Discussion on live streaming to the internet of Council meeting

    Tuesday the 10th is a little more relaxed with the County Council meeting at 9:00 am in Midlhurst.  At 7:30 pm A Day in the Life returns to the MCC with a special guest, Dr. Abdul Hai Patel. Fred Hacker will engage Dr. Patel in a discussion about the tenets of the Islamic faith and how it fits into our Canadian society.

    On Wednesday November the 11th we will gather at 10:30 am at the Cenotaph to remember those who have fought and fallen for our Country.

    Thursday is also an exceptionally busy day. At 6:30 pm the Severn Sound Environmental Association will hold its annual partner reception at the Library. At 7:00 pm is the 2016 Ontario 55+ Summer Games launch event at the NSSRC. Please come and find out more about the 18 events, the new logo and opportunities to volunteer at the games.

At 7:00 pm, Quest Art School + Gallery will be hosting their third annual Quest Art at Home event.  For $365, patrons can borrow an original work of art by a prominent Simcoe County artist for one year, plus they will receive a $300 tax receipt and a Quest Art family membership valued at $65. All proceeds from Quest Art at Home are directed to visual arts educational programs for children, teens, adults and seniors.  Contact Karen Mealing at 705-526-ARTS (2787).

And if that is not enough, at 8:00 pm at the MCC, Community Living Huronia features a fun evening of lip-sync entertainment and the sounds of Kitty and the Boyz.

Friday the 13th.  At noon, a luncheon will be hosted at GBGH to recognize the Nurse Practitioners in our area. Then at 2:00 pm we roll into the Christmas season as the Salvation Army launches its Christmas Kettle campaign at Walmart. Two items for you at 8:00 pm:

  • Huronia Players launches its new theater season with the opening of Mr. Everything at the MCC
  • AC/DC tribute band performs at the MCC (I grew up on AC/DC)


  • Victorian Christmas Gift and Craft show at the NSSRC from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  All proceeds to the Ontario SPCA.


This week, Mr. Eric Conroy, affectionately known as “Captain Rick”, announced he would step down as General Manager and leader of the SS Keewatin project. The Keewatin came back to Port McNicoll in 2012 in no small part because of the vision and energy of Captain Rick. The good news is that Eric will be staying on as a volunteer. Truly a builder of our community.

And in closing on a bit of happy news. Reader’s Digest will be publishing an article about our Butter Tart event in their January issue.  Wonderful exposure for Midland and area!

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015