2021 Year in Review 2/2

January 13, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Attention Readers!

For our first two editions of the Orangeville Citi­zen in 2022, we’re taking readers through all the highs and lows of 2021 for our annual Year in Review.

The first half of our 2021 Year in Review, which highlighted significant stories from Jan. 7 to June 24, was published last week in the Jan. 6 edition of the newspaper. This week we’re publishing the second half of the 2021 Year in Review, from July 1 to Dec. 23.

Now, without any further ado, here’s a look at the year that was!

July 1

  • Orangeville’s Canada Day celebrations looked much different this year, following the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near a former residential school in Saskatchewan and the remains of 215 chil­dren in British Colombia.

In light of the unsettling reports of the mass unmarked graves, Mayor Sandy Brown put forward a notice of motion to light up the Town Hall orange instead of red and white from June 30 to July 2, which saw unanimous support during Council’s Mon­day night meeting.

Alder Recreation Centre’s façade will also be turned orange.

  • Orangeville residents have stepped up to make the message clear that “Hate Has No Home Here” with the ordering of roughly 1,000 signs touting the message, which will be displayed on their front lawns in time for Canada Day.
  • Orangeville Council unanimously sup­ported a motion on Monday (June 29) to add an orange crosswalk at the intersection of First Street and Broadway to commemorate all of the Indigenous children who were sto­len from their families and forced to attend residential school. The crosswalk is to be installed by Sept. 30 at a cost of up to $10,000.
  • The Dufferin OPP’s investigation into vandalism of the recently installed rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Mill Street and Broadway has concluded. As a result, four youths were identified in the incident and one 16-year-old male has been referred to the Youth Pre-Charge Diver­sion Program where various extrajudicial measures are considered when dealing with someone who has committed an offence.

These measures could include community service, paying for the damage caused, issu­ing a public apology, or whatever the courts deem to be fair. In the event that the pro­gram isn’t completed, the youth will then be charged criminally.

The Dufferin OPP treated this incident of mischief as a hate crime.

  • The Music in the Hills drive-in concert was held at the Mansfield Ski Club in Mulmur on June 25, selling out in five days, making for a big success. The event, which was started by the Suicide Aware­ness Council of Wellington-Dufferin in part­nership with Go With Crowe Real Estate, raised more than $11,000 for suicide prevention and awareness initia­tives within the community.

July 8

  • An evening of healing and reflection was held in the Town of Orangeville on June 30, following the discovery of unmarked graves outside Canada’s former residential schools.

Under an orange lit Town Hall sat the Eagleheart Singers and Drummers, who sang traditional songs of the Mushkegowuk (James Bay Cree) people to a small crowd, which was uploaded to the Town’s YouTube page for Canada Day.

  • Blowing in the wind, orange ribbons were tied along the chain-link fence outside of Princess Margaret Public School (PMPS). The ribbons are part of a memorial started by the school’s Grade 7/8 students, in honour of the 1,148 Indigenous children recently discovered in mass unmarked graves.
  • Orangeville’s 2019/20 economic devel­opment report was brought before Coun­cil on June 28, during their reg­ular meeting, which showed Orangeville lost about 1,200 jobs due to COVID-19.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Pub­lic Health has nearly reached 80 per cent of the adult population with a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Brother and sister from Orangeville, Frank Liebhardt and April Duncan have lots to be happy about. Through the MAXMILLIONS prize draw, the pair of siblings had a winning ticket, landing them $1 million. The winning ticket was purchased at Liuson Convenience Store on Brenda Boulevard in Orangeville.

July 15

  • The Mill Street Mall has been converted into the Elspeth Art Gallery, with the walls between shops now featuring local artists. The transformation took place over the past two months, effectively turning the mall into an arts venue for people to enjoy.

In addition to the inside changes, the out­side signage for the Mill Street Mall is going to be switched over, rebranding it as the “Old Mill Hub”, with a grand opening set for September 1.

  • Orangeville residents looking for a local family doctor and walk-in medical services are in luck. Chafford 200 Medical Center (195 Broadway), just celebrated its grand opening last Friday (July 9) and is currently accepting patients.

Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown noted the need for more walk-in clinics locally, as he said he’s had several resi­dents reach out to him about losing their fam­ily doctor recently.

  • Orangeville Council approved the creation of a Men’s Homelessness Committee during their Monday (July 12) night meeting.

The terms of reference for the committee was amended to allow eight citizen repre­sentatives instead of six, which include: Anthony Carnovale, Christopher Sheehan, James Jackson, Louis Sapi, Margo Young, Michael Demczur, Nolan Bentley and Ter­rance Carter. From Council, Mayor Sandy Brown, Coun. Joe Andrews and Coun. Deb­bie Sherwood, are also part of the committee.

  • The Dufferin–Caledon Green Party announced that Jenni LeFor­estier of Belfountain will lead the party into the next federal election as its official candi­date.
  • Grey Transit Route (GTR) users will now be able to travel between Dundalk and Orangeville every day of the week with the launch of weekend service.

Grey County began offering weekend bus runs on the Hwy. 10 route, which goes between Dundalk, Shelburne and Oran­geville, this past weekend (July 10). The expansion to include weekend bus ser­vice is part of a pilot project launched by the Town of Shelburne and will run until December. The pilot project is funded through a realigning of $25,000 included in the 2021 budget for two bus shelters.

July 22

  • Dufferin County and surrounding com­munities have rallied together to support a nearby First Nation that’s been in a state of emergency since late June due to a wide-spread COVID-19 outbreak

More than one in six community mem­bers living on Saugeen First Nation (SFN) have been infected with COVID-19 (123 of approximately 680) forcing the community into lockdown for more than a month and a half.

In an effort to support SFN, Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle (DCCRC) board chair, Debora Sipkema organized a donation drive that ran from July 5-16, collecting items that SFN was requesting, such as cleaning supplies, medicine, masks, non-perishable food, baby wipes, gift cards and diapers.

While the donation drive started off small, with a simple call to the community, Sip­kema told the Citizen she’s amazed with the response. Through donations collected by various organizations, churches, businesses, and individuals, nearly $16,000 in cash as well as gift cards were brought to SFN last Friday (July 16), in addition to a full busload of supplies.

  • Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared officers of wrongdoing in a fatal shooting of an Orangeville man during a hostage situation in March.

The province’s police watchdog, which investigates incidents involving police where a serious injury or death has oc­curred, launched an investigation after a 54-year-old man holding family members hostage, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Dufferin OPP officers were investigat­ed for criminal negligence causing death. The issue was to whether there was lack of care in the how police conducted the operation that caused or contributed to the man’s death.

Director of the SIU, Joseph Martino said in his view there was not.

Martino in the SIU report said there is nothing in the evidence to suggest offi­cers performed in anyway other than in concern for the safety and lives of those inside the house. He noted how officers, over the course of ten hours, wisely set up a perimeter outside the home to ensure others in the vicinity were not placed in danger.

  • The Orangeville Rotary Club’s Drive-Thru Ribfest was a major success, serving nearly 1,000 vehicles through Friday (July 16) and Saturday (July 17), raising approximately $30,000. All of the funds raised through the event will be donated back into not-for-profits and charitable projects undertaken by the local Rotary Club.
  • Swimmers throughout Orangeville have lots to look forward to. Town Council voted 7-0 to replace lap and leisure pool liners with stainless steel sides at the Alder Street Recreation Cen­tre. The project’s estimated cost is $4.33 million, with an expected completion by the end of 2021. The key benefit of putting in stainless steel walls is reduced operating costs, not only on energy usage but for maintenance as well.

July 29

  • Celebrate Your Awesome’s annual in-per­son pride and diversity celebrations have again had to be put on hold, due to the pan­demic, but that didn’t stop the organization from creating something special for the com­munity to enjoy.

In partnership with Theatre Orangeville, Celebrate Your Awesome (CYA) recently filmed a one-of-a-kind video for its virtual event, featuring all of the drag queens and musical acts that attendees of the group’s in-person celebrations had come to enjoy in 2018 and 2019. The film is set for release on August 7 at 7 p.m.

  • For the “No More Highways” Day of Action on July 24, supporters of “Stop the 413” gathered outside of Dufferin– Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones’ Office on Broad­way and marched down to the weekly Farm­ers Market held by the Orangeville BIA.

The protest was led by federal Green Party candidate for Dufferin–Caledon Jenni Le Forestier, who was instrumental in bring­ing about the federal environmental assess­ment that’s currently ongoing for the 413, as well as Laura Campbell, who’s the provincial Green Party Candidate for the local riding.

In all, about 30 people showed up to the Orangeville protest to voice their opposition to Highway 413 (GTA West Corridor), shar­ing concerns about the route paving over farmland, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt.

  • Healthcare workers across Ontario, including those at Headwaters, represented by the SIEU Union, held a rally in front of the local hospital on Tuesday (July 27) to speak out against wage cuts, concessions, and Bill 124.

The bill, which was enacted by the prov­ince, limits compensation increases for public sector workers to one per cent per year, which is less than one third of the current rate of inflation. Bill 124 also bars healthcare workers from negotiating for much needed mental health supports, fol­lowing a hectic 16 months of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are nearly 70,000 hospital workers across Ontario currently negotiating a new provincial contract.

  • After 70 years in the church, Pastor Don Fitchett passed away on July 18. His influ­ence and mentorship impacted a great many people who will miss him as pil­lar here in Orangeville and further afield.

August 5

  • The sound of motorcycles filled the streets of Mono as the Legendary Sikh Riders, who travelled there from British Columbia, joined the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario and Mandeep Singh Cheema Charitable Foundation for an evening fundraiser last Friday (July 30).

The Legendary Sikh Riders, which is a motorcycle group based out of B.C., have been on a cross-Canada ride, starting in Victoria, B.C. and ending in Newfoundland, since mid-July to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation Canada.

The July 30 event in Mono managed to raise $5,100 for the Ontario Chapter of the foundation and that money will directly sup­port granting the wishes of children who are terminally ill across the province.

  • A staffing crisis impacting hospitals across the province became increasingly apparent at Headwaters Health Care Centre over the August long weekend.

To address the immediate needs of the hospital, paramedics were brought in to help with patients in the Emergency Room (ER) and the COVID-19 Assessment Centre was closed to redeploy staff to other areas of the hospital. RPNs, ward clerks, registration staff, and screener/runner staff were also redeployed.

  • A Dufferin County resident recently received a special award from the region’s member of parliament for his selfless acts of kindness and generosity during the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Randy Narine, who operates Choices Youth Shelter in Orangeville and is a volun­teer firefighter for the Shelburne Fire Depart­ment, received the COVID-19 Local Commu­nity Hero Award from Dufferin–Caledon MP Kyle Seeback.

A large part of why he received the award is for the programs he runs for at-risk or less fortunate youth and a program he started during the pandemic, which was self-funded, that provides financial assistance to families impacted by job losses due to COVID-19.

August 12

  • More residents living in rural Dufferin County will soon be connected to better high-speed internet, as construction begins for a major broadband infrastructure proj­ect.

Officials from the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government announced the start of construction for a broadband expansion, in East Garafraxa on Aug. 6.

The expansion project comes after both the federal and provincial government com­mitted more the $470,000 to fund broadband projects, led by Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT), in the communi­ties of Garafraxa Woods as well as Marsville, Orton, Prices Corner and Craigsholme.

August 19

  • While services for youth and women fac­ing homelessness have long existed in Dufferin County, there’s been a growing demand for a men’s emergency shelter locally.

Choices Youth Shelter chair Randy Narine has been working on a solution for men over the past two years, and last Mon­day (August 9) the organization was able to officially open the doors of Orangeville’s first ever men’s shelter, housing up to six men at a time.

  • A five-story mixed use building is moving forward in downtown Orangeville.

Council unanimously ap­proved plans for the building during their meeting last Monday (August 9), which is being built on 60-62 Broadway (corner of Broadway and Wellington), and will feature 58 two-bedroom residential units as well as close to 600 sq. metres of retail space.

  • Sebastian Drygas, a young man from Mono, has hiked 922km in trail this year, going from one end of the Bruce Trail to the other: Queenston to Tobermory. The idea first came to him while hiking in Algonquin Park with his mother several years ago and it never went away. He subse­quently met some hikers who were attempt­ing to complete the trail and the dream of an idea became a reality.
  • Canadians are heading to the polls for a federal election in a few short weeks. Liberal Leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Gov. Gen. Mary Simon on Aug. 15, where his request to dis­solve Parliament was approved, and Canada’s 44th federal election officially began, with the vote scheduled for Sept. 20.
  • Students and staff who will be attending programming at the Georgian College Oran­geville campus this fall will be required to have a full COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Orangeville boxer, Josh Wagner in­creased his professional record to 8 – 0 after a huge win in the U.S. on Saturday, August 7.

Wagner was up against another unde­feated opponent – Jeffrey Torres – who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and entered the ring with a 7-0 record. He entered the ring as a welterweight, weighing in at 147 lbs, for his first out of country fight.

August 26

  • The Dufferin Overdose Awareness Commit­tee is launching a new anti-stigma campaign, in honour of International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.

The local group, made up of a number of Dufferin and Caledon based organizations, announced the launch of the anti-stigma cam­paign called “People who use drugs are real people: Stop the blame. Stop the shame. Stop the stigma”, on Aug. 19.

The campaign focuses on the drug-related stigma that individuals who use drugs may experience as well as educates the community on the impact of drug use stereotypes.

  • Choices Youth Shelter celebrated the grand opening of the first men’s emergency shelter in Dufferin County.

Staff and board members of Choices Youth Shelter alongside local politicians, and emer­gency service workers gathered outside of the local youth shelter, located at 59 Town­line, last Friday (Aug. 20) to mark the monu­mental day.

  • The Brooklyn Bridge in Grand Valley is taking on a fresh new look with the pier col­umns and abutments currently being painted by the Riverbend Artists of Grand Valley.

The mural project takes Grand Valley’s slogan, “Nature’s Playground” and brings it to life, with silhouettes of locally found ani­mals, such as a buck, owl, heron, and geese,

  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health has started providing a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to individu­als most at risk of serious illness.

The third doses of the COVID-19 vac­cines was made available at the local health unit as of Monday (Aug. 23), and will be provided to those in eligible pop­ulations, including transplant recipients, patients with hematological cancers, recipients of an anti-CD20 agent, and res­idents living in high risk congregate set­tings.

  • Mayor Sandy Brown has been exoner­ated in a recent code of conduct investi­gation, submitted to Council by the Town’s integrity commissioner, Guy Giorno.

Two complaints spurred the investi­gation, one regarding Mayor Brown’s posts on social media and the other regarding a letter announcing his resignation from the Town’s police services board.

September 2

  • The Labour Day long weekend is just around the corner, and Upper Grand Dis­trict School Board (UGDSB) students will be making their way back to the classroom, after shutting down earlier in the year.

Students will return-to-school as of Sept. 7, and the UGDSB has released a guide as of Aug. 20 for families as they enter the 2021/22 school year.

  • After nearly two years without the annual Ram Rodeo, Headwaters residents were thrilled to see it come back, with both Aug. 28 and 29 completely selling out of tickets.

A total of 1,500 people came through the event each day, helping to raise $5,000 for Tuff Therapeutic Riding Foundation in Mono, which provides therapeutic riding lessons to at-risk youth. Dufferin Search and Rescue from Headwaters also raised $2,200.

  • The trial of Michelle Hanson, an Amaranth mother facing charges in relation to the 2018 death of her three-year-old son Kaden Young, will now be held in Kitchener.

Hanson appeared in Orangeville court virtually on Monday (Aug. 30), where Justice Giselle Miller confirmed the venue location. A date for the trial has not yet been determined, but is expected to take place this fall.

  • Orangeville native, Karen Sorenson was recently appointed to the Senate of Canada and is looking forward to settling into her new role.

The Governor General signed off on her senate appointment in late July, a few days after Sorenson received a phone call from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying it was his privilege to ask her to sit on the Canadian Senate to represent Alberta, where she cur­rently lives.

  • Laura Ryan resigned from her role as Mayor on Mono Town Council on Sept. 2. In her letter of resignation, Ryan stated that she is no longer eligible to hold a seat on Council as she no longer lives or owns property in Mono. The sale of the property that she owned in Mono closed yes­terday, Aug. 31.

Sept. 9

  • Just north of the Alder Recreation Centre sits a newly opened park, created to hon­our the struggles and sacrifices that Cana­dian Forces experience in their efforts to promote peace in Canada and around the world.

Bravery Park, which had its official grand opening ceremony last Friday (Sept. 3), was inspired by the life and service of Cpl. Mat­thew McCully, who served as a member of Canada’s elite Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, responsible for training the Afghan National forces.

Cpl. McCully stepped on an improvised explosive device, while conducting a joint Afghan-Canadian foot patrol west of Kanda­har, on May 25, 2007. He passed away not only trying to protect his country, but train­ing Afghan soldiers to protect their own.

Following the death of Cpl. McCully, his mother, Valerie McGrady and sister, Shan­non McGrady, used their grief as fuel for a vision of creating a space to honour Cana­dian soldiers – Bravery Park.

  • The thousands of Indigenous children who were taken from their families and forced to attend residential school were commemorated locally. On Sept. 2, an orange cross­walk featuring seven feathers was painted at the intersection of Broadway and First St., marking a step towards reconciliation for Orangeville.
  • The Old Mill Hub (28 Mill Street), formerly known as the Mill Street Mall, celebrated its grand reopening last Wednesday (Sept. 1).

Artists came out to speak about their work in the Elspeth Art Gallery and there was a free balloon room for kids to enjoy.

The Old Mill Hub, which has been nomi­nated for Orangeville’s 2021 Arts and Culture Award, looks much different now following the rebrand. There’s now black signage in front of it to boost visibility outside and hall­ways filled with art inside, bringing art fans and shoppers alike into the building.

  • With the sudden resignation of Mono Mayor Laura Ryan, after nearly 30 years of public service, Council called a special meeting last Friday (Sept. 3) to decide how best to fill her vacant seat.

Following deliberations, Council decided to appoint a replacement as opposed to calling a by-election, noting there will be a Municipal Election in roughly one year.

Council voted unanimously to appoint Deputy Mayor Creelman as Mayor for the remainder of the current term and appointed Councillor Fred Nix to the Deputy Mayor’s seat.

  • The Ontario government will soon require people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccina­tion status to access certain businesses and settings.

The province announced last Wednesday (Sept. 1) that as of Sept. 22 Ontarians will need to show proof of full vaccination (two doses plus 14 days), and photo identification to access a number of non-essential busi­nesses and restaurants.

Premier Doug Ford, who previously said the vaccine passport would create a “split society”, said at the conference on Sept. 1 that the certificate is necessary to avoid further lockdowns and the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as the province continues to face the delta variant and a fourth wave.

Sept. 16

  • Michelle Hanson, an Amaranth mother charged in relation to the death of her three-year old son Kaden Young, will not face trial until 2022.

Hanson appeared in Orangeville court via Zoom briefly on Monday (Sept. 13), where a date for the start of her trial was expected to be determined. While the trial was expected to take place in Kitchener this fall, Justice Giselle Miller informed the court there were no longer dates available.

  • Dufferin County staff, contractors, and vol­unteers will soon need to show proof of full vaccination to attend in-person work spaces, after council implements a COVID-19 vaccina­tion policy.

Dufferin County Council, during their meet­ing last Thursday (Sept. 9) voted in favour of implementing a vaccination policy, which will go into effect on Nov. 1.

  • After two years without hosting an event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the weekly Classic Car Show, Cruisin’ on First, has returned to Orangeville Canadian Tire’s parking lot.

The first event back was held last Wednes­day (Sept. 8) and had around 100 partici­pants, showing off their classic cars.

Sept. 23

  • Over 66,000 ballots were cast in the Duf­ferin–Caledon riding on Monday and the results are in – Conservative incumbent Kyle Seeback will serve a second term.

Seeback won with 46.1 per cent of the vote (30,430), while Liberal candidate Lisa Post saw 32.5 per cent (21,464), followed by NDP candidate Samantha Sanchez with 10.1 per cent (6,668), and Anthony Zambito at 6.8 per cent (4,469).

When looking at the overall result, Trudeau is projected to maintain a minority govern­ment with 158 seats, while the Conservatives hold 119, Bloc Quebecois holds 32, NDP hold 25 and Greens hold two, according to prelim­inary results.

A total of 170 seats are needed to form a majority government.

Sept. 30

  • Council, board, and committee members within the Town of Orangeville must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 30 to avoid facing reper­cussions.

During Orangeville Council’s Monday (Sept. 27) meeting, a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy was approved 6-1, which will force members of Council, boards, and committees to disclose their vaccination sta­tus by Oct. 15.

Board and committee members who do not receive the vaccine by Nov. 30 will be removed for non-compliance.

  • The fantastic smell of freshly cooked food is flowing throughout the Orangeville Food Bank, thanks to the recent opening of its com­mercial kitchen.

The food bank relocated to a new building on 3 Commerce Road last July and officially opened their kitchen last week, which is now being operated by B Social under a yearlong pilot project.

  • The Walk on Wheels car parade rolled through Orangeville on Sunday (Sept. 26) raising nearly $11,000 for Autism Speaks Canada.

Over 40 vehicles participated and event organizer, Patti Thomas, who’s the mother of this year’s local Autism Speaks ambassador Emma Thomas, said she was thrilled with the turnout.

  • The Museum of Dufferin (MoD) has reopened their doors to the public after more than a year and a half of closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff at the MoD officially welcomed visi­tors back into the museum on Sept. 21.

Oct. 7

  • For the very first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, the local community came together to listen, learn, and commemorate thousands of Indigenous children who died at residential school.

A candlelight vigil walk was held last Thursday (Sept. 30) going from the entrance of the Alder Recreation Centre to the Medi­cine Wheel Garden, where a smudging cer­emony took place and Elder Karen Vanden­berg shared a traditional prayer regarding the Seven Grandfather Teachings.

  • The community came together to show their support on Oct. 4 during the National Day of Action for Missing and Mur­dered Indigenous Women (MMIWG).

A little over 30 people gathered at the Duf­ferin County Courthouse before marching to Town Hall for the 2nd Annual MMIWG Walk in Orangeville.

  • After bringing a motion forward request­ing that Orangeville Town Council approve $166,546 in temporary emergency funding for a men’s homeless shelter last Monday, Mayor Sandy Brown has changed his tune.

Following lengthy discussions and debate amongst councillors at their regular Council meeting on Sept. 27, the decision to approve funding was deferred to a Public Meeting held on Oct. 4. At that time Choices Youth Shelter, who’s been operating a men’s shelter in Oran­geville since late August, presented their busi­ness plan.

Prior to and following the presentation, councillors said that the issue of men’s home­lessness should be covered by the County of Dufferin, not the municipality. Mayor Brown’s motion with respect to the emergency funding was amended to reflect this and passed unanimously, with the key change being that the funding would come from Dufferin County instead of Orangeville.

  • More long-term care beds and seniors hous­ing is coming to Orangeville. Council passed a motion 7-0 directing Town staff to move forward with a 192-bed long-term care (LTC) proposal by Primacare on half of the Town’s 30-acre Humber lands, during its Sept. 27 meeting.

Oct. 14

  • Orangeville’s very first homeless shelter for men will be closing down tomorrow (Oct. 15) due to a lack of funding.

The shelter officially opened its doors on Aug. 9 through Choices Youth Shelter (59 Townline), thanks to a private donation of $20,000 to get it up and running.

However, Choices was unsuccessful in obtaining additional funding to keep it afloat, after requesting a little over $165,000 in emergency funds from the Town to get them through the winter.

The Town said the funding should come from the County of Dufferin.

  • Compass Run for Food, an annual ini­tiative which raises money for local food support programs in Dufferin County, has reached their 2021 goal of $65,000.

Oct. 21

  • Michelle Hanson, an Amaranth mother charged in relation to the 2018 death of her three-year-old son Kaden Young, is set to enter a plea.

Hanson’s new lawyer, Hal Mattson, made a brief appearance in court on Oct. 13 on Hanson’s behalf. During the appearance, Mattson said they are planning to enter a guilty plea.

A date to hear Hanson’s plea and the agreed statement of facts has been sched­uled for Nov. 23.

  • Dufferin County Council has made changes to their vaccination policy for employees, which will now include a six-week suspen­sion without pay leading to termination for those not vaccinated by Dec. 31.

During their meeting on Oct. 14, Warden Darren White brought forward concerns with the drafted policy council directed staff to proceed with following a special meeting on Oct. 7.

  • The Town of Orangeville is implementing a COVID-19 mandatory vaccination policy, which will require all Town employees, vol­unteers, students, and contractors who have in-person interactions at Town properties to be fully vaccinated, unless there is a valid exemption, by December 31, 2021.

Individuals who do not comply with the vaccination policy will be subject to disci­plinary action up to and including termina­tion in accordance with applicable legisla­tion, collective agreements, and Town of Orangeville policies, the Town shared in a press release.

  • Headwaters Health Care Centre has announced they will be requiring proof of vaccination to visit patients.

The local hospital issued a press release on Tuesday (Oct. 20) informing the public of their plans to implement the vaccina­tion policy for visitors later this fall join­ing other hospitals in the Central Region.

  • Wellington Dufferin Guelph (WDG) Health lab has reported its first case of influenza since April of 2020.
  • Despite years of fighting against the project, residents of Mono are going to see yet another giant gravel pit operating in town. The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) decided in its Oct. 7 ruling, that the Greenwood Aggregates application in Violet Hill should be approved, over objections made from the Town of Mono and its residents.

Oct. 28

  • Since the closure of Orangeville’s first men’s homeless shelter earlier in the month, a senior board member from Choices Youth Shelter, who operated the facility, says pos­itive steps are being made to secure long-term funding.

Randy Narine, chair of Choices, notes that there’s several different funding models for the service they’re trying to provide, all of which comes from the federal or provin­cial government and is then administered through the County of Dufferin.

He says in discussions with County staff, who oversee homelessness and housing ser­vices, there’s a strong will to see a homeless shelter for men reopen in Orangeville, serving all of Dufferin.

  • The Ontario government released a new plan last Friday (Oct. 22), to reopen the prov­ince long term.

In a press release, the province said over the next six months they plan to lift “all remaining public health and workplace safety measure” including the requirement for proof of vaccination and wearing face coverings indoors.

  • Mono’s newest councillor, Melinda Davie, was sworn in Tuesday (Oct. 26), during a regular Council meeting. Melinda had been appointed the week prior in a special meet­ing of Council, called specifically for the pur­pose of reviewing applicants for the position and choosing a councillor from amongst them.
  • A group of artists in Grand Valley com­bined their talents and drew inspiration from their town, best known as “Nature’s Playground”, to create the Main Street Bridge Mural Project 2021, holding a cere­mony celebrating its completion on Oct. 20.

Nov. 4

  • It was just like any other Thursday for Orangeville resident Derek Spencer, that is until he received a phone call that com­pletely shocked him. He was notified on Oct. 14 that he had just won $24,000 in the provincial BiggerTogether 50/50 raffle, ran by Big Brothers Big Sisters Ontario.
  • Headwaters Health Care Centre recently launched an upcycled multi-coloured com­munity library, thanks to a passion project between two local high school students.

Orangeville District Secondary School (ODSS) Grade 12 students, Trinity Allen and Victoria Swanson developed the library through the Believe Leadership Club, which is an after-school program, that is aimed at utilizing students’ passions to make a posi­tive change in the world.

Nov. 11

  • Artistic talent is alive and well in Dufferin County. Canada Post’s new stamp commemo­rating the 100th anniversary of the poppy becoming the official symbol for remem­brance in Canada, was designed locally, by a graphic designer in Mono.

Blair Thomson of Believe In, a design company, has an ongoing relationship with Canada Post for stamp design, and was commissioned to come up with some concepts for the centennial stamp, as were other graphic designers, and his came out on top.

  • Parking on almost all roads in Orangeville will soon be restricted to one side of the street. Town Council unanimously passed a motion on Monday (Nov. 8) to direct Town staff to update the appropriate bylaw to restrict parking to one-side, which will be implemented

Nov. 18

  • Melanchthon Mayor Darren White, who has served as Dufferin County’s Warden for three consecutive terms, is stepping back from the role, not seeking re-elec­tion next month. White officially announced his decision to step away from the lead position with Dufferin County Council, during a council meeting last Thursday (Nov. 11).
  • Antique lovers in Orangeville and the sur­rounding area have lots to be happy about. The building that formerly housed Oran­geville Flowers (78 John Street) has been converted into a massive antique store, featuring a wide variety of collectibles and mint condition items from the past.

Nov. 25

  • Michelle Hanson, a mother who faced charges in relation to the 2018 death of her three-year-old son Kaden Young, has pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death.

Hanson appeared in Orangeville court virtually on Tuesday (Nov. 23), alongside her lawyer, Hal Mattson to enter her plea.

Hanson was charged in relation to her son’s death after her vehicle was pulled into the Grand River on the early morning hours of Feb. 21, 2018, during a period of heavy flooding which saw river water rise up onto the road. Both Hanson and Kaden escaped the vehicle, but Kaden was pulled out of his mother’s arms. His body was later recovered in Belwood Lake on April 21, two months to the day of the incident.

  • ·       Work is continuing for a men’s homeless shelter in Orangeville, with the intention of putting something in place before the worst of the winter sets in.

Choices Youth Shelter operated a shelter for homeless men from August to mid-October of this year in Orangeville, but had to close down due to a lack of funding.

Since its opening, which was made possible through a one-time anonymous donation, Choices chair Randy Narine has been working to secure long-term funding to get the men’s shelter back up and running, and says he has verbally secured funding through Dufferin County.

Now, an appropriate location must be purchased or leased, which has been challenging with Orangeville’s hot real estate market.

  • Health Canada authorized the use of Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine on children 5-11 last Friday (Nov. 19) and the Wellington–Dufferin–Guelph Public Health Unit (WDGPH) has announced a regional plan to get kids vaccinated.
  • ·       The Orangeville Fairgrounds were a busy place to be last Saturday (Nov. 20).

The Orangeville Christmas Market saw 5,000 people through the door to shop around the 100 vendors located inside, and the 48 vendors located outside, selling a variety of products, with everything from flower arrangements and knitting to baked goods.

Dec. 2

  • Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) has confirmed the cause of suspicious email activity that led to the shutdown of their inter­nal systems, and the closure of the COVID-19 assessment centre.

On Friday (Nov. 26) the local hospital released an updated notice on their website noting their system had been subjected to “unauthorized access” resulting in a number of spam emails.

  • Orangeville Council got their first look at the 2022 draft budget on Monday (Nov. 29).

The net tax levy currently sits at 0.83 per cent, which represents a $310,000 shortfall, made up through the close to one per cent property tax increase being proposed. The 0.83 per cent figure is much less than the orig­inally anticipated 2.9 per cent increase.

  • The cost of replacing the pool liners at the Alder Street Recreation Centre just got more expensive.

Back in July of this year, when Council originally voted 7-0 to replace the leisure and lap pool’s vinyl liners with stainless steel, the project’s estimated cost was $4.33 million largely due to rising costs of steel.

Now the project’s price tag has risen to roughly $6.1 million, since structural defects have been uncovered as the pool replace­ment construction was being carried out.

  • Dufferin Community Foundation has reached the $1 million milestone follow­ing generous donations from two Dufferin County families.

The local charitable organization announced on Nov. 26 that their invest funds had exceeded $1.25 million, mean­ing up to $30,000 will be available for local charities in 2022 and rising to approxi­mately $50,000 a year beginning in 2023.

Dec. 9

  • Representatives of Family Transition Place (FTP) joined with members of the local community in front of their offices on Dec. 6 to commemorate the victims of École Polytechnique, on the 32nd anniversary of the massacre.

The École Polytechnique, also known as the Montreal Massacres, took place on Dec. 6, 1989 when lone gunman, Marc Lepine, separated the men from the women students inside the engineering school before opening fire; killing 14 women and injuring others.

  • Electric Vehicle drivers across Dufferin County are in luck. The region’s electric charging network, called “Charge Up in Dufferin”, has massively expanded, with 24 electric chargers recently installed, in Orangeville, Shelburne, East Garafraxa, Mono, Mulmur and Melancthon.

A press conference was held for the announcement of the chargers on Tuesday (Dec. 7) behind the local courthouse, where speeches were shared by dignitaries and a representative of Plug’n Drive, which installed the 24 chargers locally.

  • Headwaters Health Care Centre declared its Code Grey (Loss of Essential Services) “All Clear” on Dec. 1, with all of its systems now restored. Headwaters COVID-19 Assessment Centre also reopened the same day, after being closed due to the Code Grey being declared on Nov. 25, following unauthorized access to the hospital’s systems.
  • A local group of volunteers saw huge success with their fundraising effort last month, generating over $16,000 for Lyme disease research.

Janis Peel organized an outdoor Christmas urn/container sale through the month of November, in support of the G. Magnotta Foundation, which runs a research lab for Lyme disease at Guelph University, in memory of Gabe Magnotta who passed away from the disease in 2009.

While Peel initially hoped to raise $5,000 for the foundation, she was astounded by the level of support she saw from the community, more than tripling her original goal, with $16,195 raised.

 Dec. 16

  • ·       Orangeville Council approved its consolidated budget for 2022, totalling approximately $60 million, with a 0.83 per cent or $310,952 tax levy increase. This means taxpayers will soon be seeing a 0.83 per cent rise in their property tax bills from the municipality. For a house assessed at $400,000, the annual increase will be $76.
  • ·       Affordable supportive housing is moving forward in the Orangeville area, following a recent rezoning amendment approved by Council last Monday (Dec. 9) on a former Knights Inn motel.

The property, located at 236 First Street, was purchased by Services and Housing in the Province (SHIP) in mid-March of this year and it was operated until November as transitional housing to address homelessness.

Now the property is being converted by SHIP into permanent affordable supportive housing, with studio and two-bedroom apartments to accommodate individuals and families with low to moderate incomes, which is meant to address a shortage in Orangeville.

  • Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills has been elected as the 145th Warden of Dufferin County.

Mills was elected to the position, which he will hold for the 2022 term, during a county council meeting last Thursday (Dec. 9). He is taking over the role from Melanchthon Mayor Darren White, who chose not the seek re-election after holding the position for three years.

  • The provincial government has announced changes to the proof of vaccination require­ments with COVID-19 Omicron variant cases expected to rise in the coming weeks.

In a press release last Friday (Dec. 10), the government said they would be delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirement beyond Jan. 17. As well, effective Jan. 4, Ontario will be requiring the use of their enhanced vaccine certif­icate with QR Code and the Verify Ontario app in settings where proof of vaccination is required.

Dec. 23

  • The final train rolled down the tracks from Orangeville to Brampton last Friday (Dec. 17), marking the end of rail services for the region.
  • The Orangeville/Dufferin Soup Sisters have been working behind the scenes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to con­tinue supporting the women and children of Family Transition Place with soup, despite the stoppage of their in-person events.

Using money fundraised by the 39 branches of the Soup Sisters across Canada, soup has been mass produced in a factory setting, before being frozen and shipped off to the many women’s shelters Soup Sis­ters was supporting prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as Family Transition Place (FTP).

The group hopes to resume their in-person events in 2022, when it is safe to do so.

  • A one-of-a-kind children’s book has recently hit the market, written and illus­trated by local author, Constance Scrafield.

Scrafield’s recently published book, titled “Katie and Her Dinosaur”, takes read­ers through the scientific journey of a girl named Katie, who, with the help of a tal­ented scientist, clones a prehistoric dino­saur.

  • Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health, Dr. Nicola Mercer, has issued an order instructing businesses to allow employees to work from home where reasonable.

The notice was announced by WDG Public Health last Thursday (Dec. 16) and went into effect as of Monday (Dec. 20).

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